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Law & Ethics of Human Rights

Editor-in-Chief: Stopler, Gila

Editorial Board: Benvenisti, Eyal / Cohen-Eliya, Moshe / Macedo, Stephen / Rosenblum, Nancy

2 Issues per year

CiteScore 2017: 0.16

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.195
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.140

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The Blessing of Departure: Acceptable and Unacceptable State Support for Demographic Transformation: The Lieberman Plan to Exchange Populated Territories in Cisjordan

Timothy William Waters
Published Online: 2008-01-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2202/1938-2545.1021

What limits ought there be on a state’s ability to create a homogeneous society, to increase or perpetuate non-diversity, or to create hierarchies within existing diversity? This article examines those questions with reference to the Lieberman Plan—which proposes to transfer populated territories from Israel to the Palestine in exchange for Jewish settlements on the West Bank— as an abstract exercise in demographic transformation by the state. First the article considers if the Lieberman plan would “work”: Would it create the alterations it proposes, and would those changes achieve a stable, peaceful, perhaps even just settlement? It finds that though there is debate about the range of effect, there is little doubt that transfer would alter the state’s demography. It then turns to the international standards that might govern the transfer of territory and the denaturalization of citizens, to see how they would characterize such a plan. It finds that comparisons to ethnic cleansing are inapposite, and that norms protecting citizenship are considerably more complex than they first appear—even allowing ethnically targeted denaturalization in some cases.The article then analyzes the loyalty provisions of the Lieberman Plan, and notes that, contrary to the usual normative assumption that citizenship is tied to the state, the foundations of citizenship are actually a habitual or formative link to a given territory, which in turn creates a right to citizenship not in any particular state, but in the one that incidentally is sovereign over that territory. This interaction of citizenship and territory, when considered together with norms requiring equal protection for all citizens, suggests that the polity has an interest in defining its own territorial scope, and thereby its membership. The legal regime is ambiguous, and therefore deliberations about this question are in the realm of politics. The article demonstrates how transfer’s assimilation to existing norms suggests a novel interpretation of selfdetermination with far-reaching consequences for both sides of the conflict.Finally, the article notes that international law, though it polices excesses, is largely silent on the principal determinant of demography: the fact of state control over territory.

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Published Online: 2008-01-01

Citation Information: Law & Ethics of Human Rights, Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 1–65, ISSN (Online) 1938-2545, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2202/1938-2545.1021.

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