Tikkun, May 11, 2017

In 1968, Yehuda Blum, an Israeli international legal scholar and diplomat, offered what was perhaps the first, and most influential, legal argument for an Israeli claim to the West Bank: the theory of the “missing reversioner.” Under this theory, the full set of international rules governing “belligerent occupation” did not apply due to the absence of a legitimate prior sovereign to which the territory could “revert.”

[...] Blum’s distinction is no longer valid under current international law, due to the right of self-determination, recognizing the political rights of “peoples” not yet organized into a sovereign State, and the infusion of international law generally with the values it embodies. Under this recognition of the political rights of non-state peoples, the beneficiary of the trust-like status of occupied territory, in the absence of a legitimate prior sovereign, must be “the people” of the territory.