The decision by a commission of legal scholars, led by retired Israeli Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy, that Israeli settlement in Judea and Samaria is legal, created a storm of protest from the usual quarters.
Today I’m going to dissect one paragraph that epitomizes the misconceptions surrounding Israel’s legal rights in Judea and Samaria. It happens to appear in a New York Times editorial, but that’s really not important (unless you are still awed by the ignorance or malice of the editors of that newspaper).
Here is the paragraph:
“Most of the world views the West Bank, which was taken by Israel from Jordan in the 1967 war, as occupied territory and all Israeli construction there as a violation of international law. The world court ruled this way in 2004. The Fourth Geneva Convention bars occupying powers from settling their own populations in occupied lands. And United Nations Security Council resolution 242, a core of Middle East policy, calls for the “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.”
Most of the world
This can’t mean most of the world’s 6.9 billion people, most of whom don’t give a rat’s posterior about Israel. It probably refers to most of the members of the UN General Assembly, where there has been an automatic majority against Israel on every imaginable subject since the 1970s. Is this supposed to add authority to their argument?
view the West Bank
“West Bank” is a term applied to what had previously been called by its biblical names, Judea and Samaria, by Jordan in 1950. Using this expression obscures the historical Jewish connection and suggests that Jordanian control of the area, which lasted only 19 years, was somehow ‘normal.’
which was taken by Israel from Jordan in the 1967 war
This continues the theme that the normal situation was usurped by Israel in 1967. But when Jordanian troops marched into the area in 1948, killing and driving out the Jewish population, they violated the provision of the Mandate that set aside the area of ‘Palestine’ for “close Jewish settlement,” and the one that called for the civil rights of all existing residents — Jewish or Arab — to be respected. It also violated the UN charter which forbids the acquisition of territory by force. Only Pakistan and the UK recognized the annexation of the area (even the Arab League opposed it).
The Jordanian invasion and annexation of Judea and Samaria was, in fact, illegal under international law. Israel’s conquest in 1967, on the other hand, can be seen as a realization of the terms of the Mandate.
as occupied territory
As I wrote yesterday, the concept of a ‘belligerent occupation’ does not apply here. What country owned the territory that Israel ‘occupied’? Not Jordan, which was there illegally, nor Britain, whose Mandate had ended, nor the Ottoman Empire, which no longer existed. The nation with the best claim was Israel, the nation-state of the Jewish people, who were the intended beneficiaries of the Mandate. Judea and Samaria are disputed, not occupied, and the Jewish people have a prima facie claim based on the Mandate.
and all Israeli construction there as a violation of international law. The world court ruled this way in 2004.
This refers to the advisory opinion against the security fence issued by the International Court of Justice. The opinion refers to Israel as an “occupying power” and says that the fence is built on “occupied Palestinian land,” despite the fact that there is no legally delimited border between Israeli and ‘Palestinian’ land.
The Fourth Geneva Convention bars occupying powers from settling their own populations in occupied lands. And United Nations Security Council resolution 242, a core of Middle East policy, calls for the “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.”
Since the land is not ‘occupied’, the Fourth Geneva Convention does not apply. And even if it were occupied, legal scholars (including the Levy commission) have made excellent arguments that the Convention was not intended to apply to voluntary ‘transfers’ of population like settlements, but to forced deportations like the Nazi transfer of German Jews into occupied Poland.
About the Author: Vic Rosenthal created FresnoZionism.org to provide a forum for publishing and discussing issues about Israel and the Mideast conflict, especially where there is a local connection. Rosenthal believes that America’s interests are best served by supporting the democratic state of Israel, the front line in the struggle between Western civilization and radical Islam. The viewpoint is not intended to be liberal or conservative — just pro-Israel.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.
If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.
- Miracle in Ashkelon: No One Home When Missile Hits
on August 20, 2014 3:29 PM
- British Consul-General Helping to ‘Free Palestine’ ?
on August 20, 2014 2:30 PM
- Sapir College Closed (Again!) Due to ‘Rain’ of Rocket Fire
on August 20, 2014 1:07 PM
- 2 Terrorists Dead, 5 Hurt; Hamas Vows ‘Netanyahu Will Pay’
on August 20, 2014 12:42 PM
- Live Updates: Hamas Rockets Land Along Coast, In Border Towns (15:21pm)
on August 20, 2014 11:50 AM
- Breaking News: #BlocktheBoat #EpicFail as ZIM Unloads
on August 20, 2014 11:30 AM
- Israel Used Bunker-Buster Bombs in Raid on Mohammed Deif’s Home
on August 20, 2014 10:37 AM
- State Dept. Terms Gaza-Based ‘Jerusalem Council’ a Terrorist Group
on August 20, 2014 10:17 AM
- ISIS Beheads American Journalist, Threatens Obama Will Repeat
on August 20, 2014 4:07 AM
- Live Updates: Rockets from Gaza, IDF Targets Senior Hamas Officials (1:38am Wednesday)
on August 19, 2014 11:59 PM
- Former Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum Visits City of David
on August 19, 2014 10:33 PM
- US Holds Hamas Responsible for All Rocket Attacks on Israel
on August 19, 2014 10:03 PM
- American-Born Lone IDF Soldier Found Dead
on August 19, 2014 8:53 PM
- US Adds ISIS-Linked Gaza Terror Group to Foreign Terror List
on August 19, 2014 8:44 PM
- Under Rocket Fire, PA Calls for UN to Force Israeli Withdrawal from Judea, Samaria
on August 19, 2014 8:37 PM