Israeli Prof. Questions Claim to West Bank

An Israeli law professor charged today that the government of Israel violates international law by such acts as establishing settlements on the West Bank, expelling inhabitants of that territory and demolishing houses there. Prof. Yoram Dinstein, Dean of the Law Faculty at Tel Aviv University, also questioned Israel’s claim to the West Bank.

Dinstein was a participant in the International Conference on Peace in the Middle East sponsored by Tel Aviv University that has drawn distinguished political scientists from the U.S., Britain, France and Israel as well as economists and experts on international law. The conference was initiated before President Anwar Sadat of Egypt visited Israel in November 1977. Its theme is the implications of the peace process in the Middle East and how that process should proceed.

Dinstein contended that Israel cannot base its claim on the West Bank on the fact that it was never officially part of Jordan because only two nations — Britain and Pakistan — ever recognized Jordanian sovereignty there. According to Dinstein, Israel too recognized the annexation by Jordan when it signed the cease-fire agreement that terminated hostilities between the two countries in 1948. In addition, Dinstein said, a majority of West Bankers voted for annexation to Jordan 30 years ago and ratified it at the Jericho conference at the time. Discussing the legal aspects of the transition from war to peace, Dinstein observed that Israel is angered when anyone questions its right to Jerusalem. But, he added, no one has ever recognized that even western Jerusalem is part of Israel.

Prof. H. Kelman, of Harvard University, stressed the need of a solution to the Palestinian question without which, he said, there will be no comprehensive peace in the region.

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