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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 18, 2020

Territorial Justice in Israel/Palestine

Margaret Moore


This Article examines the two dominant theories of territorial justice — one associated with justice, the other with self–determination. It applies these theories to the case of Israel/Palestine, and to ongoing claims by political actors with respect to territorial rights there. It argues that justice theory seems to straightforwardly suppose the territorial rights of the State of Israel, at least if historical and retrospective considerations are not at the forefront, though once they are brought in, this argument can be deployed in support of a number of different political positions. The self–determination argument, it is argued, is somewhat less indeterminate and seems to most straightforwardly support a “two–state” compromise. However, as with justice theory, its assumptions can be challenged on a number of fronts, and could also be deployed to buttress other arguments. The merits and challenges of both theories are analyzed through this case study.

* Margaret Moore is a Professor in the Political Studies department at Queen’s University, Canada, where she teaches political theory. She is the author of A Political Theory of Territory (Oxford, 2015) and other articles on various aspects of place–related rights, as well as three other books in contemporary political theory. Her most recent book, Who Should Own Natural Resources? (Polity Press, 2019), is a theory of justice and natural resources. She is grateful to the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada for support of her research and to the editors of the Journal and the participants at the Conference on Historical Injustice at Tel Aviv University for helpful and very challenging comments on an earlier draft of this Article. She is also grateful to Daniel Lukac for research assistance. Cite as: Margaret Moore, Territorial Justice in Israel/ Palestine, 21 Theoretical Inquiries L. 285 (2020).

Published Online: 2020-09-18
Published in Print: 2020-07-28

© 2020 by Theoretical Inquiries in Law