A former Lord Chief Justice is one of over 100 Jewish legal experts to sign a letter opposing Israel’s plans to annex parts of the West Bank.
Lord Harry Woolf joined former Supreme Court justices Lord John Dyson and Lord Lawrence Collins in expressing “grave concern” over Israel’s plans. Anthony Julius, a solicitor who sucessfully defended author Deborah Lipstadt against holocaust denier David Irving, also signed.
Addressed to the Israeli government, the letter warns annexation would expose Israel to “new and grave dangers under international law.
“It would implicate Israel’s international responsibility for unlawful actions. It would cause significant measures to be taken by other states. It would give rise to the risk of liability for individuals who participate in the decision.
“We call upon you to follow the path of the law. We call upon you to desist from any purported annexation of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
One of the other signatories, Professor Philippe Sands QC, a barrister and professor of law at UCL, said annexation would be a “grave breach of international law.
“It will have the most serious consequences: for individuals, for peoples, for countries, for the rule of law. It offers insecurity, instability and lawlessness, the very opposite of what its proponents intend,” he stated.
Another signatory, Judge Dennis Davis, president of the Competition Appeals Court in South Africa, said he signed the letter because “I desperately want to see peace between Israel and the Palestinians and annexation removes any such possibility.”
The letter was organised by the Global Jewish Coalition, a group of international Jewish organisations campaigning to stop annexation and promote a two-state solution. Hannah Weisfeld, director of Yachad UK – one such member organisation – welcomed the letter.
“This letter is another evidence to the mounting opposition to annexation within the British Jewish community,” she said. “A community that is overwhelmingly supportive of Israel’s right to exist and flourish but is also opposed to Israel’s plan to illegally and unilaterally annex West Bank Territory.”