by Amnon Lord
Renowned international law expert Dr. Jacques Gauthier thinks Israelis are not as aware of their historical rights to the land as they should be.
Dr. Jacques Gauthier is a Canadian lawyer and international law expert who is currently the greatest expert on the San Remo Conference, during which the legal infrastructure for the Jewish state was laid in 1920.
Gauthier, whose life's work has been devoted to proving the legitimacy of the Jewish claim to Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria under international law, says the question of the legitimacy of the settlement enterprise – and the legal basis of Israel's very existence – is one of crucial importance.
He believes that for Israel and the Jewish people, it is imperative not to lose sight of what was theirs in the past.
Over the past two decades, the legal arena has become rife with propaganda by left-wing organizations and by the Palestinians, giving way to the rise of a new term: Lawfare- the misuse of legal systems and principles against with aim to delegitimizing the adversary, wasting their time and money, or winning a public relations victory.
In this reality, the question is simple, Gauthier says: Are Jews living east Jerusalem, or as settlers in Judea and Samaria, or in Hebron, or even within the Green Line legal residents? Do they own land and property that are not actually theirs?
Israel's critics, he explained, claim that Jews should be barred from living in certain areas in the country, so the question of justice and sovereignty is crucial because if the right granted over the entire territory exists within the framework of international law – then the Jews are not in breach of the law.
According to Gautier, Israel lacks sufficient understanding and recognition of the historical rights of the State of Israel as a Jewish state.
"If you do not know your rights, you also do not know how they are working against you," he said, adding that while the concept of "occupation" is not necessarily wrong, "the fact that your sovereignty is subject to conditions of occupation doesn't mean that you have lost your rights."
Gautier said, "I oppose the phrase 'occupied Palestinian territory,'" he concludes.