Throughout the world, anti-Israel sentiment is on the ascent. UNESCO considers the Western Wall, the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb to be Palestinian holy sites. The UN routinely passes anti-Israel resolutions without blinking an eye. Even the US population has been turning against Israel. There, two female congresswomen, who support the BDS Movement, were recently elected to the US Congress. But the election of Ilhan Omer and Rashida Tlaib did not occur in a vacuum. For quite some time, the legitimacy of the State of Israel has been questioned on US college campuses, where the ADL reported an 87% increase in anti-Semitic incidents in 2017. However, one must ponder, are the Jewish people truly the occupiers that the BDS Movement, the Women’s March, the Students for Justice in Palestine and certain Democrats make them out to be?
Internationally acclaimed legal expert Dr. Jacques Gauthier recently gave a talk, where he emphasized the importance of Israel’s legal rights.
Dr. Jacques Gauthier, a Canadian lawyer who specializes in international law, argued powerfully that those both in the international community and the US who claim that Israel has no legal titles in the holy land are historically wrong. He recently delivered a talk for the Jews for Judaism organization, where he proclaimed: “Often you will hear at the United Nations that the Jews are thieves in Jerusalem, the land has been stolen and they are trespassers. They’re wrongful occupiers. Their outlaws.”
Gauthier emphasized that each one of these allegations relates to legal rights and entitlements, stressing that whether Israel or the Palestinians is correct can be found in international law: “If the Jewish people have not been given the rights under international law, then maybe they are thieves. Maybe they are trespassers. Maybe they are occupiers.”
However, what if international law argues the opposite from what the Palestinians claim? “If they have been given the right to be in Jerusalem and every part of the holy land, in what was called Palestine at the beginning of the twentieth century, then they are not thieves. They are not trespassers. They are not occupiers. They are not odious settlers as is so often repeated in General Assembly resolutions of the United Nations and even at times in Security Council Resolutions.”
According to Gauthier, although the Balfour Declaration is a historic and important document, it by itself does not grant the Jewish people the right to the Land of Israel because the British did not have legal title to the land at the time when they issued it. The area was still controlled by the Ottoman Turks. He claimed that the main purpose of the Balfour Declaration was to enlist Jewish support for Great Britain during the First World War. Gauthier stated that Lord Balfour and his contemporaries saw how the Jews were influential in the Russian Revolution, leading for them to hope that Jewish influence can work to their benefit at their great hour of need during one of the bloodiest global conflicts of the twentieth century.