Professor Kontorovich on Ceasefire Proposals and International Law

Proposals to transfer to Lebanon the Sheba Farms area of the Golan Heights in exchange for a stop to Hezbollah's rocket campaign violate a bedrock norm of international law, according to Professor Eugene Kontorovich in an op-ed appearing in the New York Sun. Kontorovich argues that the proposals allowing Lebanon to expand its borders through the illegal use of force violate the non-acquisition principle consistently affirmed by the U.N. Security Council, the International Court of Justice, and the U.S. itself.

Naked Aggression, The New York Sun, August 7, 2006. By Eugene Kontorovich.

"No one in the international community believes Lebanon has a legitimate claim to the Sheba Farms, known to Israelis as Har Dov. It has never been within Lebanon's internationally recognized borders. It was under Syrian control until 1967, when Israel took it in the Six Day War. Israel entered southern Lebanon in 1982; when it withdrew in 2000, the Security Council certified that Israel no longer occupied a single inch of Lebanon. However, the Lebanese government and Hezbollah were not satisfied, raising what Secretary General Kofi Annan described as an entirely "new claim": that Sheba Farms was also Lebanese territory. After looking into the matter, Annan and the Security Council unanimously concluded that the area was not Lebanese and never had been.

"Enlarging Lebanon's boundaries to encompass the Sheba Farms is one of Hezbollah's stated reasons for its abduction of Israeli soldiers and bombardment of Israeli cities. Thus if the conflict ends with Lebanon gaining the land, it will have been as the result of aggressive force. It will have succeed in doing what Saddam Hussein failed to do in Kuwait.

"...Hezbollah's contempt for international law shocks no one. What is unsettling is the U.S. and the U.N. lending their credibility to this gross assault on international norms which, if it succeeds, would be the first time in decades that a nation has successfully enlarged its internationally recognized borders through naked aggression."

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