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Monday, August 9 2010

Legal Beagles Weigh in on Right of Return, Mavi Marmara

Intl_justice2 A first of its kind position paper says there's no legal basis for the Palestinian right of return. YNet News writes:

Law professor Yaffa Zilbershatz: "We reviewed all of the international law in the field and the normal range of human rights, the field of laws of citizenship and the field of laws of refugee rights and we have shown that there are no grounds for the Palestinian claim that their right of return has a basis in law. The opposite is true: In 1948, when the refugee problem was born, return was not an option, and the prevailing trend was opposite to this – to separate the sides, sometimes even by force through population transfer. The interesting thing is that this is also the trend gaining ground today in the UN.

In an unrelated piece, a Turkish jurist says Mavi Marmara organizers violated international law. Malam picked up on that article published in one of Turkey's opposition papers. Among the issues raised:

B. According to international naval law, a ship is suspected of not sailing under a national flag, it is legitimate to board [forces] on such a ship, even in time of peace. If a ship flies two or more flags and exploits them for its own interests because it does not belong to a specific nationality, it will be considered a vessel without nationality. The Mavi Marmara was flying the Comoros flag, but [de facto] it was sailing under the Turkish flag. "Under international law, the situation created full legitimization for Israel to board it by force."

C. "Justly or unjustly," the Gaza Strip region is a war zone under Israeli control. A ship sailing into a war zone and openly stating that is its destination exposes itself, according to the international laws of combat, to the legitimate intervention of the [other] side in the war to board the ship even if it is in international waters . . .

E. According to the international laws of combat, there is no absolute prohibition against the killing of civilians.3

Malam explains the latter point in this footnote:

3 Since the sentence was written in the context of the affair of the Mavi Marmara, apparently its intention is that according to international law there is no prohibition against killing civilians in self defense when forces are in danger.


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