John Robson’s recent column asks whether there exists another country whose declared capital we do not recognize. There does not. Why Israel then, he posits.
Because Israel is the only nation who has declared its capital partially on territory that — contrary to the UN Charter and international law — has been forcefully annexed. It alone lays claim to a city whose eastern sector falls beyond its sovereign territory. The global consensus opposing Israel’s claim to Jerusalem is not a “lie” told by “tyrannical corrupt anti- Semitic regimes.” It is an affirmation of the doctrine that territory acquired through force would not receive international recognition. It serves to disincentivize the forceful acquisition of territory by ensuring that conquest does not legitimize through recognition.
Following the Knesset’s formal annexation of Jerusalem in 1980, the Security Council called upon states to withhold recognition of Israel’s claim. States with diplomatic missions were required to withdraw from the City. This began the process of collective non-recognition that continues to this day. It is an expression of foundational international principles that are intended to ensure territorial integrity, promote the self- determination of peoples, and disincentivize the threat or use of force.
If Mr. Robson endeavours to see and hear the global reaction that has long accompanied Jerusalem’s contested status he will find a preference for negotiation not declaration, a consensus that the city must be shared between two peoples who both possess a vested claim to Jerusalem and whose contrasting devotions must be reconciled. And he will find that the collective failure to recognize the Israeli claim to the united city is not forged in animus but is dictated by the principles of international order.
David Hughes, Grotius Research Scholar at the University of Michigan Law School Re: Moral clarity compels action on Jerusalem. John Robson, March