Just 15 miles to the north of Jerusalem, the Jewish effort to return to the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria (Yesha) suffered a severe blow this week – or did it?
The neighborhood of Givat HaUlpena in Beit El was emptied of 33 Jewish families – the result of government fear of international opinion, Peace Now hatred of Jewish settlement in Yesha, and animosity on the part of the Israeli legal apparatus. The homes, built on or near the same hilltop on which the Patriarch Jacob dreamed of angels ascending to the heavens, are likely to be dismantled, while the land will remain desolate and unused. Clearly a step backward in the Jewish people’s return home to Eretz Yisrael.
Or is it? Prime Minister Netanyahu, anxious not to see the type of injurious violence against young Land of Israel lovers that typified the destruction of homes in Amona six years ago, offered the residents a deal: I’m planning to destroy the homes no matter what, with thousands of policemen and soldiers and whatever else it takes. However, if you leave peacefully, without threatening violence, I’m willing to also build 300 homes in Beit El, unfreeze another 551 in other areas of Judea and Samaria, establish a ministerial committee that will greatly neutralize Ehud Barak’s authority, and so on. What do you say?
After over a week of negotiations in which the government concretized the construction plans, including maps and dates, the town of Beit El agreed: No violence.
The 300 units in Beit El have already received government approval.
Considering that the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria has suffered many, many blows in its nearly 40 years, and considering that in 1983 there were 23,000 Jews in Yesha, 114,000 in 1993, 220,000 in 2002, and 346,000 today (not including Jerusalem) – the Land of Israel faithful seem to be skipping from one HaUlpena-type “defeat” to the next, all the way to final victory.
Legal Expert: Jerusalem is Jewish
International law expert Dr. Jacques P. Gauthier of Canada – a non-Jew – has devoted most of his adult life to researching and disseminating his categorical conclusion that “Jerusalem is Jewish under international law.”
His doctoral thesis on the topic is one of the heaviest books most people have ever seen: 1,300 pages, with 3,200 footnotes. It details how the world community of nations granted the Jewish people irrevocable legal rights to Yerushalayim in an unbroken series of treaties and resolutions: The Balfour Declaration, the San Remo Conference of 1920, and affirmations by other world bodies such as the UN.
Dr. Gauthier delivered his most recent presentation at a conference this month sponsored by the AIJJ (Alliance for International Justice in Jerusalem) in the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. Among the speakers was Keep Jerusalem/Im Eshkachech President Chaim Silberstein, who spoke compellingly about the negative practical implications of a divided Jerusalem.
Dr. Gauthier explained that San Remo, where the four main European victors of World War I convened to draw up the Middle East’s new borders, is truly the cornerstone of Jewish rights to Jerusalem. Clearly very personally connected with his work, he explained how he received rare photos of the event and painstakingly figured out who participated and where precisely each one sat. He was even able to obtain detailed minutes of the proceedings, apparently no easy feat.
What precisely was resolved at San Remo? Among other things, that a Jewish state should be established in western Palestine – i.e., the area west of the Jordan River. The text indicates that while the Jews were to receive a state, the Arabs were to have only their “civil and religious rights” safeguarded – clearly indicating no political or national rights there.
As such, all claims that the Arabs deserve a state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are groundless. For, as Dr. Gauthier repeats at every opportunity, the legal principle of “la chose jugée” (judged issue) means that once the issue was decided, as it was in San Remo, the Supreme Council, the League of Nations, and the UN, the decision becomes irreversible and forever binding in a “sacred trust.”
Discerning readers might notice that the Balfour Declaration and San Remo do not specifically mention Jerusalem. But they also do not mention Tel Aviv, Haifa or any other Israeli city – for it is clearly understood that sovereignty in a given area includes the cities and towns thereof. Only in 1947 did an official UN call emanate for Jerusalem’s internationalization; but as stated above, the UN had no mandate to do this in contravention of the previously-passed resolutions.