This afternoon I participated in a small blogger meeting. One of the drawbacks of bashing the Left so often is that people forget that doesn't make me Right. This afternoon's event was the second or third such a get-together where I've found myself way off to the left of a roomful of true Right-wingers.
A central theme of the meeting was that International Law must be wrenched back into the service of the Right, by demonstrating that settlements are legal, the Palestinian's claim to the West Bank is, at best, less credible than Israel's, and so on. The funny thing is that these cases really can all be made using legal tools - which if you think about it isn't that surprising. The art of being a lawyer is that you build a legal case from the position you're handed, no matter what it is. In a nation-state there's a universally accepted judiciary which decides who's case is more convincing, there are layers of judicial appeals, and there's a legislature that can change things if the laws have become outdated or unacceptable by enough of the voters.
None of this exists between states, so ultimately, the entire international law aspect of the conflict (and most other conflicts, too) is at best an attempt by one side or the other to bludgeon their adversary into accepting a position they aren't willing to accept.
None of the discussants at the meeting ever broached the subject of what the Palestinians are supposed to do with the positions being mooted. Nor did they need to. A legal confrontation isn't about finding common ground; it's about using the law to achieve your desired outcome.
I need to describe how the Israelis and Palestinians might find that common ground. Or not find it.