Palestinian Statehood: A Secessionist Dialogue

Miskolc Journal of International Law (Hungary), Vol. 8, No. 1, p. 1, 2011

Thomas Jefferson School of Law Research Paper No. 1729425

17 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2010 Last revised: 29 Oct 2012

Date Written: December 23, 2010


Given Israel's long-term de facto sovereign control over the Occupied Territories, one may assess the presumptive 2011 Palestinian declaration of de facto statehood in terms of a secessionist dialogue. One thing that many Palestinians and Israelis would agree on, is that Israel is not a mother State. But Israel's resumption of West Bank and East Jerusalem Jewish settlement construction (in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention) exemplifies Israel's complete de facto sovereignty.

Russia and the United States claim that the 2008 secessions of South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and Kosovo were all "unique" secessions: supposedly preventing them from being models for any other secession. This is disputable. But assuming it were true, Palestine's secession would a fortiori qualify as a unique secession.

Given the absence of a multilateral treaty on secession, one must continue to rely on Customary International Law (in the absence of an authoritative international judicial opinion on point) to speculate about the legitimacy of future secessions. In July 2010, the International Court of Justice issued an advisory opinion on the legitimacy of the secession of Kosovo. The majority opinion was flawed for two reasons: the majority (1) avoided answering the real question asked, and (2) failed to assess and apply the leading national case on point: the Canadian Supreme Court's Quebec Secession case.

Applying a secessionist analysis would not solve the Palestinian problem. It would provide a legal tool for assessing the legitimacy of Palestine's presumptive 2011 declaration of de facto statehood.

Keywords: Secession, Palestine, Israel, Palestinian Authority, West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, Israeli Settlements, De Facto Sovereignty, Kosovo, South Ossetia, Abkhazia

JEL Classification: K10, K33

Suggested Citation

Slomanson, William R., Palestinian Statehood: A Secessionist Dialogue (December 23, 2010). Miskolc Journal of International Law (Hungary), Vol. 8, No. 1, p. 1, 2011, Thomas Jefferson School of Law Research Paper No. 1729425, Available at SSRN:

William R. Slomanson (Contact Author)

Thomas Jefferson School of Law ( email )

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