Emory International Law Review


The territorial integrity of States has come to be accepted as a fundamental principle of international law. The secession of a region from an existing State will be accepted in very special circumstances, but the acquisition of a territory that is included within the national borders of a State is strictly prohibited. The territorial integrity of Palestine is the central theme of this Article. The establishment of Israeli settlements in Palestine and the construction of a wall/fence by Israel within Palestinian territories has been condemned in terms of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and by an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, respectively. In January 2020, former President of the United States, Donald Trump, with Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu by his side, announced a “peace plan” in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute that will constitute a “win-win opportunity for both sides.” The “peace plan” included Israeli control of a unified Jerusalem as its capital, the annexation of Palestinian land with the Jordan River as its Eastern border, and sovereignty of Israel over Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. It is argued that the Trump/Netanyahu proposal is not a “peace plan” since Palestinian authorities were not included in its design and that the taking of Palestinian land by Israel clearly constitutes a blatant violation of the territorial integrity of Palestine. Palestine has been recognized as a State by 138 Member States of the United Nations, has been admitted as a Member State of the International Criminal Court (ICC), and although the Prosecutor of the ICC has raised certain concerns about the territorial confines of Palestine, a Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC recently decided that its territorial jurisdiction extends over the entire Palestinian territory occupied by Israel, including Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem.