This of course applies to Jerusalem as well, specifically, areas such as Ramat Eshkol, Gilo, and other eastern Jerusalem suburbs. While Jews around the world see no difference at all between these areas and pre-’67 neighborhoods such as Rechavia and Meah She’arim, the Arabs continue to term Ramot, Pisgat Ze’ev, etc., as “illegal settlements.” But, as the Levy Report explains, these areas were never Jordanian, but had rather been allocated to the Jewish people.
Interestingly, for a year or so after the War of Independence, western Jerusalem was Israel’s official capital – while eastern Jerusalem had no status at all. Jordan did not “annex” it until 1950. Even then, among all the countries in the world, only Pakistan recognized this move.
Another myth that the Levy Report puts to pasture is the claim that Israel is in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention by building and settling Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem. The Convention, dated August 12, 1949, details rules and guidelines for “occupied territories” – which Judea/Samaria is not. Levy makes clear that the territory was not captured from its legal sovereign, and that in any event, “occupation” is not a term that can apply to such a long period as 45 years, with no end in sight. Rather, the report states, if Jews have lived on land for several years with no Arab claimant objecting, Israel should allow them to register the land in their name. Similarly, the government should not be involved in land disputes: It need not have to approve every land purchase, and should not be allowed to evict alleged trespassers unless a claimant demands it.
Whether the international community, or even the Netanyahu government, will accept and recognize the Levy Report is another question. Meanwhile, supporters of the Land of Israel can rest assured that their efforts to build the Land are well-grounded, not only religiously and nationalistically but legally as well.
In addition to visiting Yerushalayim, there is much readers can do to become strong advocates for keeping Jerusalem united under Israeli sovereignty. For information on bus tours in news-making areas of Jerusalem, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech website at www.keepjerusalem.org.
Chaim Silberstein is president of Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech and the Jerusalem Capital Development Fund. He was formerly a senior adviser to Israel’s minister of tourism. Hillel Fendel, past senior editor at Israel National News/Arutz-7, is a veteran writer on Jerusalem affairs. Both have lived in Jerusalem and now live in Beit El.