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December 10, 2016 / 10 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘case’

Eight Crucial Things You Need to Know About the Amona Case

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

Yehuda Yifrach, Courts Editor for Makor Rishon, on Friday listed the eight most important and least known facts about the Amona case. If you haven’t read a rightwing Jewish publication in the last month, Amona is a community of some 40 Jewish families in Samaria, slated by the Supreme Court for demolition on Dec. 25. You can read some background material here.

1. Jordan had no right to parcel out lands
When the Amona case first reached the Supreme Court, a representative of the land registrar for the IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) argued that despite the fact that the location was a bald and abandoned mountaintop, there existed documented parcels of land which had been registered by the Jordanian government as belonging to area sheiks and clans. However, as an invading and occupying power, Jordan had no right to award these lands. Jordan’s rule over the “West Bank” was not recognized by the vast majority of UN member states save for the UK and Pakistan, and so this local Arab “ownership” is based on a lie.

2. Only 0.5% of the Amona land is registered to private Arab owners
After the Supreme Court had ruled in their favor, anti-Israeli NGO Yesh Din, which has been at the forefront of the Lawfare attacks on the Jewish State, decided to sue for damages over the years of denied use of the parcels in question. The problem is that while the Supreme Court does not entertain evidence, lower courts do, and in Jerusalem Magistrate Court it was discovered that out of the nine Arab petitioners, seven own land that is entirely outside the Amona perimeter, and have had no problem working their land had they been so inclined. The remaining two owned only a sliver – about half an acre altogether, out of the 125 acres of the Amona territory – less than .5%. The remaining land is registered to names of non-existent people who do not appear in the 1967 census.

3. COGAT didn’t differentiate between the parcels with known and unknown ownership
Despite the above facts, the COGAT prosecution related to the parcels whose owners are unknown as being privately owned, declaring that some 15 acres in the southern part of the settlement belonged to real private owners. They then told the court that, in fact, there was no difference between the various parts of the community and that the half-acre that became 15 acres was, in effect, indistinguishable from the rest, and the entire community had to come down.

4. The Settlement Arrangements Act does not violate international law
Regarding the Settlement Arrangements Act, which the left, as well as senior Netanyahu cabinet officials, are saying violates international law, former Tel Aviv University president and international law expert Prof. Yoram Dinstein has argued that “when an occupier appropriates the power to legislate in an occupied territory, said power belongs to the occupying state and not to one of its organs (COGAT).” In a recent article, Prof. Dinstein has shown how international law is entirely indifferent regarding the particular mechanics of legislation in an occupied zone, be it the local general or be it the government that posted said general in said zone.

5. International law compels Israel to care for the rights of Jewish and Arab resident
Another popular argument against the Settlement Arrangements Act is that it violates international law because it sanctions the impounding of Arab owned land for the sake of a Jewish community. However, it has been noted that international law compels the occupier to care for the needs of all the civilians under its rule, Jews and Arabs alike, and the right of a government to expropriate private property for public use, with proper payment of compensation (eminent domain) is inherent in exerting such care.

6. The Settlement Arrangements Act is consistent with the pre-67 law in Judea and Samaria
This one is quite interesting.
Unbeknownst to many, the Settlement Arrangements Act is consistent with the legal systems that were in use in Judea and Samaria before 1967. Both Ottoman law and Jordanian law determine that in a case where a man built and planted in good faith land belonging to another, should the value of the construction exceed the value of the land, the land owner is compelled to receive compensation.

7. Israel legislates retroactively when needed
Another argument against the Settlement Arrangements Act is that it retroactively alters a court ruling. But the state of Israel regularly legislates retroactively, as in the amendment that reversed many hundreds of court sentences of Arab terrorists, to facilitate the Gilad Shalit deal with Hamas.

8. The Settlement Arrangements Act is not unconstitutional
Finally, the most crucial argument against the Settlement Arrangements Act is that it is unconstitutional – the constitution in this case being Israel’s Basic Laws. Setting aside the paradox whereby one Knesset law is inapplicable in the territories while the same Knesset’s basic laws are applicable – does Israel’s basic law really dictate that 40 families with their 200 children who have lived in Amona for 20 years be evicted to satisfy the alleged rights of two claimants who own less than .5% of the land and have never lived there? Has the court become so immoral as to be the enemy of its constituents without any foundation?

JNi.Media

Betrayed by Obama in 2014, IDF Switching to Rafael Missiles in Case of Hellfire Embargo

Friday, November 11th, 2016

In the summer of 2014, in the middle of the 50-day Gaza War (Operation Protective Edge), the Obama Administration betrayed its “greatest ally in the Middle East” by suspending arms shipments to Israel, and delaying delivery of US-made Hellfire missiles to Israel — expressing concerns that Israel would employ these missiles in areas in Gaza population centers. The unimaginable has happened.

This act of betrayal immediately led to Israel reassessing its views on US aid, particularly the notion that it could always depend on US re-supplies in wartime, and initiated new weapons projects to reduce its dependence on US weapons.

According to a Ynet report this week, The IAF has now modified its Apache helicopters to enable use of Rafael-manufactured air-to-surface missiles alongside and US-mad Hellfire. It means Israel will no longer be at the mercy of future American administrations when it comes to utilizing its most important advantage against Hamas — the helicopter.

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems manufactures a number of air-to-surface missiles, most notably the Popeye and the Have Lite missiles. Its website lists their Main features as being effective against high value land and maritime targets; versatile and cost-effective; offering pinpoint accuracy and lethal efficiency; day, night and adverse weather operation; Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) capability; and featuring a variety of trajectories to meet weather and threat conditions.

Israel deals directly with US companies for the vast majority of its military purchases, but those still require US government permission, which is far from being automatic. In March 2000 the Israeli government was refused permission to purchase BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles.

Incidentally, although the US sells Israel close to $3 billion in weapons, paid for by an aid agreement, the US military uses a variety of Israeli-made military equipment, including:

ADM-141 TALD (Improved Tactical Air Launched Decoy) – a device used to protect warplanes from enemy fire.

AGM-142 Have Nap “Popeye” – the standoff air-to-surface missile with precision guidance we described above.

M120 mortar – A 120 mm mortar developed by Soltam Systems.

B-300 / Shoulder-launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon (SMAW) – An anti-tank or bunker buster recoilless rifle developed by Israel Military Industries. The SMAW is based on the Israeli B-300.

Cardom – A 120 mm “recoil mortar system” using modern electronic navigation, self-positioning, and target acquisition.

Gabriel (missile) – A sea skimming anti-ship missile.

SIMON breach grenade – A rifle grenade designed to breach through doors.

LITENING targeting pod – A precision targeting pod designed to increase combat effectiveness of aircraft.

International MaxxPro – An MRAP armored fighting vehicle.

Samson Remote Controlled Weapon Station – A remote weapon system.

IAI Kfir – An all-weather multirole combat aircraft formerly used by the US Navy for training purposes.

DASH III helmet-mounted display – The first modern Western HMD, upon which the JHMCS was based.

Uzi submachine gun – compact submachine gun primarily used by the ZIM Integrated Shipping Services merchant marine and formerly the United States Secret Service.

JNi.Media

Knesset Committee discussed Yitzhar Minor’s Case

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

On the morning of Tuesday, August 2, the Knesset Committee for the Rights of the Child discussed the case of the Yitzhar minor banned by an administrative order from all of Yehuda and Shomron, including his own home.

No representatives from either the Justice Ministry or the Shabak showed up for the meeting.

Knesset Member Betzalel Smotrich, who with Knesset Member Rabbi Yehuda Glick initiated the discussion, said,

“The intolerable ease with which [the GOC”s] decide to use administrative orders, force, and violence against youths and children from Yehuda and Shomron under the code name of “security” is improper and illogical. The distancing order served to this specific youth and the increasingly shameful treatment of the general population of Yehuda and Shomron must stop. There are serious consequences to the irresponsible conduct of the ISA and security authorities, firstly in terms of the trust that the public has in the security authorities, and that itself is very serious. Additionally, even we as Knesset Members have limits. The failure of the representatives of the Justice Ministry and the ISA to appear, is nothing other than disrespect for us the Knesset Members and for the Knesset, and we must not let this pass quietly.

“I announce to anyone who has not yet heard, the settlements are not an enemy of the people and if there is a child who has “gone astray” he should be treated and returned to the proper path. A Youth Probation Service officer and social workers must be assigned to him during administrative proceedings exactly as is customary in criminal proceedings against minors. He must not be treated like the worst terrorist. I call on the Defense Minister and the Justice Minister to introduce a different approach than that which has been prevalent over the past few years, and to restore sanity. The residents of Yehuda and Shomron must not be perceived as the enemy.” Knesset Member R. Yehuda Glick: “A 15-year old boy is not a ticking time bomb. An administrative order is a type of emergency order which is given in the case of a ticking time bomb. There’s a chance that he will scribble a word on a mosque or puncture something? Then a Youth Probation Service officer can be assigned to monitor him. This is a boy without a criminal record and they are using a method against him which is unnecessary.

“For the past eight years I have experienced the Israeli Police fighting me, besmirching me and presenting me as the most dangerous man in the Mid-East, and in the end claimed that I want to change the status quo [on the Temple Mount]. It appears that the security forces are taking upon themselves the task of educating the public. It cannot be that an administrative order is served to a 15-year old boy without even [consulting] the Youth Probation Service or a social worker. It is inconceivable that this has to be said in this committee.”

Honenu Attorney Menasheh Yado, who participated in the discussion, stated that, “Over the past year and a half there has been massive use of administrative orders, and the [security] system is caught unprepared for the use of such orders. They [the orders] are being implemented without any consideration by the welfare authorities or their involvement, without any judicial oversight, and they have caused enormous damage, and situations which would never have occurred in criminal proceedings. “Additionally, only following the appeal which we filed and criticism from the courts, have preliminary hearings begun recently to be held, although they are required by law.”

The representative of the National Council for the Child, Attorney Carmit Pollack Cohen, called for increased involvement of the welfare authorities in the procedure of serving administrative order when minors are involved. In June 2016 the Israel National Council for the Child sent urgent letters to the GOC’s of the Home Front and Central Commands requesting that they investigate the possible consequences of the administrative orders served to the Yitzhar minor.

The mother of another minor under an administrative order described how every night policemen arrive at the family’s home in the middle of the night, bang loudly on the door, and wake up the entire family, which has caused some of the families whose children are under administrative orders to request that the child stay out of the house so that the family will not suffer from the house checks by the police. See here for the Yitzhar minor’s experience.

Knesset Member Moti Yogev, who is a member of the Knesset Committee for the Rights of the Child: “I still have faith in the security system, but I think that there must be supervision over the authorities. I think that statements need to be made here, that in order to come to a decision concerning distancing a minor from his home and place of education, there needs to be a near certain danger and that a professional welfare authority must be involved.” MK Yogev further described several cases in which he intervened and returned youths to their place of study, which shows that a balanced method had not been properly implemented.

Chairwoman of the Knesset Committee for the Rights of the Child, MK Yifat Shasha Biton concluded the discussion with a statement that the treatment of minors in administrative proceedings must be similar to that of minors in criminal proceedings, in which there is increased judicial review and involvement of the welfare authorities.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Prosecution Quietly Closes Duma Arson Suspect Case for Lack of Evidence

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

The prosecution last week informed attorney Adi Keidar of the Honenu legal aid society that the investigation of Kokhav HaShahar youth coordinator Natanel Forkowitz, who was arrested on suspicion of involvement in the Duma village arson murder, is being closed for lack of evidence. The announcement came six months after Forkowitz had been picked up by the Shabak secret police without any stated charges. He was then interrogated for 12 days without being allowed to see his lawyer.

According to Keidar, the admission of his client’s innocence was not initiated by the prosecution, but came in response to Keidar’s own inquiry regarding the status of Forkowitz’s case. Only then did Attorney Rachel Avishar Abeles from the Central District Prosecutor’s Office admit that the case had been closed.

Forkowitz, who was awarded the president’s badge of excellence during his military service, a family man with no criminal record, was guilty only of working as youth coordinator in Kokhav HaShahar, in the government run Hebrew Shepherd program to engage socially unaffiliated youth, a.k.a. hill youth. Forkowitz was picked up during his IDF reserves service.

The Shabak’s entire case against Forkowitz rested on the fact that he sold a vehicle to a youth hill from the Shilo block who was a suspect in the arson case. The interrogators insisted that Forkowitz had known of his vehicle’s involvement in the arson, and his own military record and his history of firm opposition to the “price tag” actions did not save him from the courts who kept extending his detention, relying on “secret information” his lawyers were not allowed to see.

In the end, there was no connection between the suspect in the Duma case and a vehicle, and the youth who had purchased it from Forkowitz was let go after 21-days’ detention that included abusive interrogation.

Attorney Keidar said in a statement that “this incident should disturb the sleep of all the citizens in this country, especially the residents of Judea and Samaria (Kokhav HaShahar is in the Benjamin region), who can find themselves in the all-powerful hold [of Shabak], detained under harsh conditions for no reason, all of it in order to serve the aims of Shabak interrogators who clearly knew all along that [Forkowitz] had no connection to the incident. It is also saddening that the courts have acquiesced to this behavior and did not cut it off at the beginning.”

David Israel

The Case for Paranoia

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s website, Abu Yehuda}

I am sitting at my desk on a quiet day. There are no screaming sirens. Hezbollah isn’t bombarding us with its tens of thousands of missiles, and Hamas tunnels aren’t disgorging terrorists near kibbutz dining halls. Nobody has been stabbed yet today (as far as I know) by an Arab teenager. Iran’s nuclear project is not yet complete and the Islamic State is occupied with devising more ingenious ways to kill people. Bashar al-Assad is bombing hospitals, but they are in Syria, not here.

Nevertheless we are at war.

Israel is under severe and sustained bombardment from its enemies in the Muslim world and also Europe, the UK and the US, in two main non-physical spheres of combat.

One is the propaganda war, in which the world is saturation bombed with lies about how we are the vilest imaginable creatures who are constantly committing the most sadistic atrocities, particularly against angelic Palestinian children who only want to grow into peace-loving Palestinian adults.

The world is told that we entered this land that wasn’t ours and viciously dispossessed those aforementioned peace-lovers, punishing them for the sins of Hitler, which actually weren’t sins since we ourselves are worse than Hitler and deserved everything we got. Justice, it is told, requires that 11 million ‘Palestinians’ be allowed to come ‘back’ to the land they never saw and take our nice cars and buildings and rape our women, because everything belongs to them.

People hear that our communities are illegal (according to laws and interpretations they invent as they go along) and we are white Ashkenazi racist colonialist exploiters whom it is acceptable – obligatory – to ‘resist’ violently. Not only that, but we have hooked noses and are descended from apes and pigs.

Any means of resistance is legitimate, but anything we do to defend ourselves is illegal, because it is European white colonialism. Even if some of our skins are black and most of us are not from Europe.

There is also the BDS movement, which tries to weaken the state economically while at the same time driving home the lesson that we are so depraved, so subhuman, that civilized people mustn’t engage in any kind of intercourse with us, not in commerce, sport, academics, the arts or anything else. BDS is presented as a grass-roots movement, but it is organized with the support of the usual suspects, mostly European.

Somewhat more subtly, almost all of the American ‘mainstream’ media push a line according to which Israel is intransigent, its government is extremely right-wing and it has no interest in peace. It is suggested that our PM is afraid to take risks for peace and needs to be pushed. This is despite the fact that the government is precisely in the center of the Israeli political spectrum, and has made concessions to the Arabs more or less continuously since the Oslo accords were signed, including a total withdrawal from the Gaza strip. At the same time, the Palestinians have barely altered their positions – in some ways they have hardened them – and at present refuse to sit down with us at all.

All of these propaganda themes can be shown to be false, irrational or both. But it doesn’t matter. Other ‘occupations’ throughout the world, as well as actual genocides, sieges and horribly bloody wars get little or no attention. Only Israel is singled out. Accusations against Israel are often believed with no proof, but when Israel establishes that they are false, it is ignored.

The function of this assault of lies is to prepare the people of the world for the ultimate violent destruction of the Jewish people and their state, to make it understandable, even welcome, to them.

The other non-physical ‘war’ employs a multifaceted strategy of subversion inside Israel herself. Israel has an open society with a free press and a commitment to democratic governance and personal liberty. So our enemies dedicate massive amounts of money and manpower to exploit those characteristics in order to disrupt and destabilize our country.

Money is provided to anti-state extremists to support and nurture their organizations and allow them to carry out operations to feed the propaganda campaign, to promote conflict between Jewish and Arab citizens and to provide raw material for diplomatic and legal warfare against Israel in international forums. Anti-Israel activity by Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem is financed and encouraged, including illegal construction in areas supposedly under Israeli control. Demonstrations are organized with the intent of provoking security forces; international activists are pleased to provide video cameras to record the confrontations.

Attempts are made to influence our elections and to destabilize governments that the US administration and Europeans see as insufficiently compliant. The last election saw a major effort against Netanyahu, “V15,” run by a former advisor to President Obama. Financing for the project was murky, but a predecessor to V15 got a grant from the US State Department, “to promote coexistence.”

What we are planning is so important to the administration that in 2013 the CIA called Israel one of its main targets of surveillance – along with China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, and Cuba! We should be flattered to be in such company.

Especially in the US where there still remains some support for Israel, a more subtle tactic is popular: loving us to death. Groups like J Street, the Israel Policy Forum, the Union for Reform Judaism and now even the ADL insist that they can’t possibly be any more pro-Israel, but then attack Israel’s democratically elected government and argue that they have a right to pressure Israel to change its policies. Naturally the changes they want are territorial concessions that will make our state indefensible. These groups are all close to the Obama Administration and follow its lead. It used to be possible to assume that Jewish organizations would be pro-Israel. Not anymore.

We mustn’t forget the international support for the Palestinians themselves: the billions given to UNRWA, whose task is to maintain and expand the population of Arabs claiming refugee status (they are the only group in history for whom such status is hereditary). UNRWA schools are used to teach Hamas ideology, and sometimes to store rockets that will be fired at Israel. More billions are fed to the Palestinian Authority, which uses them in part to pay salaries to convicted terrorists in Israel’s jails and for propaganda against Israel (much of the rest is simply diverted to the bank accounts of the ruling elite).

Finally, the Obama Administration has just concluded a process to strengthen Iran, the oft-declared enemy of both Israel and the US, which glories in its intention to destroy us both. Although the arrangement is supposed to serve American interests, it seems highly unlikely that it will benefit the US for Iran, where “death to America” is chanted by crowds on a daily basis, to be a nuclear-armed power in control of the entire Middle East. What is absolutely certain is that Israel’s survival has been made more difficult.

Next week there will be an international conference in Paris where several big nations will decide on ‘parameters’ that they would like to impose on Israel. The parameters will involve the usual concessions to render Israel vulnerable.

Yes, it’s paranoia. But not insanity. Much of the world is conspiring against my country. To be precise, there is a decentralized network of conspiracies, with centers located in the White House, Teheran, Riyadh, Paris, London, Ramallah and other places. Some of the participants are enemies of the others, but on this they seem to be able to cooperate: the anti-Zionist Left, the Jew-hating Right and the Muslims all agree that we have to go.

Has the world ever worked together so well for a cause? Such a massive common effort devoted to trying to accomplish one thing (in this case, our destruction)? Would they cooperate this well if an asteroid were heading for the earth? Think what the resources devoted to us could do if applied to problems like hunger, climate change, illiteracy or disease!

Vic Rosenthal

The Case for Israeli Sovereignty in the Golan Heights

Monday, May 16th, 2016

{Written by British-Israeli political commentator and writer Eylon Aslan-Levy. Originally posted to The Tower Magazine website}

The Golan Heights are back in the news, with concerns that a great power deal on Syria’s future might include renewed demands on Israel to return the territory to the embattled regime of Bashar al-Assad. The Israeli cabinet was helicoptered to the mountain ridge on April 17 for a special session, in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that he wished to “to send a clear message [to the world, that] Israel will never come down from the Golan Heights.”

Netanyahu was right to make such a statement. Whatever the political future of Syria, Middle East regional security requires international recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Moreover, as the war-weary great powers seek a comprehensive settlement in Syria, they have a unique political and legal opportunity to do so.

With the rise of terrorism and the collapse of much of the Middle East into near-anarchy, the world is entering uncharted waters in which the normal rules of statecraft and international law offer no clear answers. The international community, therefore, has an opportunity to reinforce a troubled international order by recognizing the border between Syria and Israel east of the Golan Heights. It is vital that the international community conclusively end the ambiguity over the Golan’s fate in order to help stabilize the region in the decades ahead.
The Golan Heights is a strategic ridge abutting the Sea of Galilee. Israel captured the territory in the 1967 Six-Day War when it repelled an invasion by the Syrian army. Rejecting Israel’s surprise offer at the war’s end to return the Heights in exchange for peace, Syria launched a failed but bloody bid to recapture the Heights in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Israel formally annexed the Golan on December 14, 1981. Three days later, the United Nations Security Council unanimously declared the annexation null and void in Resolution 497, demanding that Israel rescind its decision. Responding to Netanyahu, the Security Council confirmed in April that its resolution still stands.

To date, even Israel’s allies remain unconvinced of its claims to the Golan. The day after Netanyahu vowed that the Heights would “forever remain under Israeli sovereignty,” the U.S. and Germany reaffirmed their position that the Golan is not under Israeli sovereignty in the first place. The U.S. State Department confirmed that it expects the fate of the Heights to be determined via negotiations—although by acknowledging that “the current situation in Syria does not allow this,” spokesman John Kirby implicitly legitimized Israel’s continued hold over the territory pending Syria’s reconstitution.

No serious observer, however, believes that Syria can be reconstituted. The Kurds declared an autonomous Federation of Northern Syria (Rojava) in March 2016, and will not surrender this freedom lightly. The Syrian opposition is against a formal partition of Syria, but the option of transforming the country into a federal state is on the table. If the country’s five-year-long civil war continues, interest in partition will likely grow, either as a last resort or recognition of an existing reality. The logical corollary of ceasefire efforts is that a de facto partition will begin to crystallize, as none of the warning parties will agree to govern together or be governed by each other. “We know how to make an omelet from an egg,” observed Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, but “I don’t know how to make an egg from an omelet.”

Any geopolitical settlement that involves redrawing Syria’s borders for the sake of regional security must also rubber-stamp Israel’s control of the Golan for the same purpose. The Heights have now been governed by Jerusalem for over twice as long as Damascus—49 years versus 22. It is time to recognize that change as permanent.
Broadly speaking, there are four key ways in which a state can cease to exist under international law. First, a state can splinter through a series of secessions, leaving behind a rump state that inherits its predecessor’s legal personality. For example, Russia is the recognized legal continuation of the USSR. Second, a state can be ripped apart by internal strife to such an extent that it is deemed to have ceased to exist and no single successor inherits its legal personality. Yugoslavia is an example of this. Third, a state can dissolve itself by agreement. Czechoslovakia, for instance, voted to divide itself out of existence. Fourth, a state can voluntarily merge or be absorbed into another state, as when East Germany dissolved itself when it was united with West Germany.

Syria could plausibly collapse along the lines of the first two possibilities: Secessions could leave a diminished core limping on like post-Soviet Russia; or the secessions could be of such magnitude that the world concludes Syria has ceased to exist, rejecting the claim that a rump Assad-governed enclave is the rightful continuation of Syria. But whatever happens, there will only be a stable border between these entities and Israel if the latter retains permanent control of the Golan Heights.

The current military situation in Syria.

The current military situation in Syria.

This Soviet-style scenario could play out as follows: Syria could experience a series of secessions, beginning with ISIS and the Kurds and extending to other rebel groups. If Damascus accedes to these secessions, betting on the survival of Assad’s Alawite minority in a smaller state, the new states’ independence would be universally recognized. In turn, the world could recognize the rump Syria as the legal successor of the old entity, including its continued claim over the Golan Heights. Indeed, the Vienna Convention on State Successions in Respect of Treaties is explicit in stating that “a succession of states as such does not affect a boundary established by treaty,” i.e., the legal instruments that created modern Syria.

Nevertheless, the promotion of new borders for the sake of regional security provides a golden opportunity to take other factors into account.

First, the Golan is vital to Israel’s security: Israel cannot risk the presence of a powerful army or jihadist guerillas along the eastern shores of the Sea of Galilee. This means that Israeli possession of the Golan is vital for regional security, because a war in which the Golan is used against Israel would have regional ramifications. Considering Hezbollah’s heavy involvement in the Syrian war, anything that allows the Iranian proxy to threaten Israeli territory increases the prospects and potential scope of a regional war in which Israel will use force that many will undoubtedly condemn as disproportionate in order to eliminate the threat of incessant rocket attacks on a vulnerable population. Indeed, it appears that Iran is formulating a Plan B for Syria that involves leaving a Hezbollah-style force on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights for the day after Syria ceases to be unitary state. Jerusalem needs to control the Heights in order to minimize this threat.

Second, the question of the Golan’s fate needs to be settled in order to prevent future instability. Whatever entities arise east of the Golan need to know that they have no chance of reaching the Sea of Galilee if war is to be prevented. Hezbollah and Iran are likely to invoke Israel’s presence on the Heights as an excuse for further aggression, so the world needs to resolve in advance that it will categorically reject such arguments and treat the Golan border as inviolable.

Third, the residents of the Golan wish to remain part of Israel. Increasing numbers of Golan Druze are taking Israeli citizenship. If other parts of Syria are splintering off because the residents reject being ruled by Damascus, the wishes of the Golan Druze, who have known Israeli rule for 50 years now, should be similarly respected. And that is before addressing the issue of the Israeli Jews living on the Golan. The world claims that the Golan is occupied, but in an ongoing comparative study, Prof. Eugene Kontorovich of Northwestern University Law School has found that the international community has generally been willing to allow settlers to vote in referenda on the fate of occupied territory. Thus, the Baker Plan envisioned Moroccan settlers voting on the fate of Western Sahara and the Annan Plan allowed Turkish settlers in Northern Cyprus to vote on the island’s fate.

If the international community were to follow its own established practice, it might propose a referendum in which all residents of the Golan—Jewish and Druze—could vote to accept Israel’s annexation of the territory. At any rate, this would be far less controversial than actually delivering these Druze into Assad’s hands.

There are other grounds on which the international community could legally ratify Israel’s control of the Heights. Consider the legal principle of “effectivity,” which was eloquently articulated by the Canadian Supreme Court in its landmark 1998 legal opinion on the possible secession of Quebec. This ruling “proclaims that an illegal act may eventually acquire legal status if, as a matter of empirical fact, it is recognized on the international plane.” Addressing fears that this would encourage illegal activity, the court clarified that “a subsequent condonation of an initially illegal act [does not] retroactively create a legal right to engage in the act in the first place.” This principle gives the world the ability to conclude that, although the initial annexation was illegal, and there is no right to annex occupied territory, the effectiveness of Israel’s policy means that it should receive retroactive approval, especially in light of a fundamental change of circumstances.

It is true that international law considers the crime of aggression to be a violation of jus cogens law, meaning that states must refrain from recognizing its effects. But the Heights were not conquered in an aggressive war, and the Security Council notably rejected the idea that the annexation was aggressive in a Jordanian draft resolution on the issue. Having recently annexed Crimea, even Russia should be open to reconsidering the case for defensive conquest.

Legally and politically, the case for recognizing Israel’s control of the Golan would be solid.
That would cover a Soviet-style collapse, in which Syria splinters but leaves behind an intact core. But should Syria be officially dissolved instead, as was Yugoslavia, by the secession of various regions, a radically new legal and political reality would be created.

Consider the following scenario: If Syria experiences multiple secessions, which might include the Assad regime fleeing Damascus in favor of a coastal Alawite state, it is possible that no new state would comprise a majority of Syria’s territory or population. In this case, the world powers might declare that Syria has ceased to exist and refuse to recognize any of the successor states emerging from the rubble as the inheritor of Syria’s legal personality. “Extinction is not effected by…prolonged anarchy within the State,” explained Justice James Crawford of the International Court of Justice, “provided that the original organs of the State…retain at least some semblance of control.” Syria could soon conclusively fail to meet that test.

After the Yugoslavian civil war erupted, it became clear that the country could not be reconstituted. The Badinter Arbitration Commission judged in 1991 that “Yugoslavia is in the process of dissolution.” Then, in 1992, the Security Council decreed in Resolution 777 that “the state formerly known as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has ceased to exist” and stated that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, later known as Serbia and Montenegro, could not “continue automatically” Yugoslavia’s membership in the UN. The FRY’s claim to be Yugoslavia was widely disputed, since it did not contain a majority of its predecessor’s population or territory. In a subsequent treaty, the five successor states agreed to divide between them the former Yugoslavia’s rights and assets as sovereign equals.

Seven independent states and more autonomous regions eventually emerged from the former Yugoslavia.

Seven independent states and more autonomous regions eventually emerged from the former Yugoslavia.

Yugoslavia dissolved despite the survival of its federal territories. The judgment that such a state in effect longer exists would be even stronger in the case of a unitary state collapsing along battle lines rather than internal boundaries, as Syria is doing now. In effect, no new state would have a strong claim to “be” Syria, and the world powers could declare that it has been extinguished with no single successor.

This would create a curious paradox or lacuna—a gap in the law. In effect, standing international resolutions would be demanding that Israel return territory to a state that no longer exists. Crucially, since none of the successor states would automatically inherit Syria’s rights and assets, none would inherit a prior legal right to the Golan Heights. Israel would have a prima facie obligation to hand over the territory, but no state in the world would have a legal claim to receive it. What would happen then?

The answer is that nobody knows. Syria’s successor states would have to justify their existence on the basis of the territories they control at the end of hostilities. They could not claim territory outside their effective control. This provides a unique window in which Israel’s claim to the Golan could be recognized with reference to its actual possession of the territory.

Such a situation would be almost unprecedented. It would be the first dissolution of a unitary, rather than federal, state in modern history, with one ironic exception—Palestine. When Mandatory Palestine collapsed into internecine warfare in 1948, the world recognized Israel’s boundaries not with reference to the 1947 UN Partition Plan, which was never implemented, but Israel’s actual possession of territory at the end of hostilities. It is true that claims to the territory by invading third parties were not recognized, namely Transjordan’s claim over the West Bank, but the ambiguity created by the unresolved question of sovereignty over this territory haunts the world to this day and remains a source of instability. By recognizing Israel’s control of the Golan, the world can prevent the emergence of another such anomaly that will only be a source of future grief.
The purpose of international law is to protect the international order, one in which states exist within secure and recognized borders. When the law provides no clear answers, it should be interpreted in the spirit of bolstering this international order. If the international community wishes to do this, nothing can legally stop it. The only way to bolster this international order and resolve the open question of the Golan is to recognize Israeli control over the territory.

From the Israeli perspective, this is obvious. Realistically speaking, there is no longer any incentive for Israel to return the Heights to Damascus. Until recently, some in Israel hoped to offer the Golan in order to seduce Syria away from the Iranian axis, a bold gamble to thwart Tehran’s push for regional hegemony. But with Iran emboldened by the recent nuclear deal and Syria now firmly under its domination, that possibility is foreclosed.

The process by which the world might recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Heights, however, will not be easy. The world needs not wait until the official collapse of Syria, but these scenarios may still be a way off, as the world powers resist recognizing the inevitable. Iran and Russia have every interest in maximizing Assad’s control over Syria, and would only write off the country as an absolute last resort. Recognizing breakaway states would raise uncomfortable questions about what is to be done about ISIS. And the current areas of control by various parties to the Syrian civil war do not neatly divide into separate, coherent entities that could be viable states.

But as surrounding states collapse further into a war of all against all, international recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan would be a bold statement in defense of the international order. Should the world fail to make such a statement, the Middle East could yet pay a heavy price for the world’s failure to let an anachronistic policy fall into desuetude.

{Eylon Aslan-Levy is a British-Israeli political commentator and writer. He is a graduate of Oxford and Cambridge, and a veteran lone soldier in the IDF. Twitter: @EylonALevy }

The Tower

German Technology Giant Siemens AG to Pay $44 Million to Settle Israeli Corruption Case

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

German technology giant Siemens AG has agreed to pay Israel $44 Million to settle a charge that it bribed executives at the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) to win a bid to supply turbines from 1999 to 2005, Israel’s Justice Ministry announced Monday. The company has also agreed to appoint an external inspector to supervise its business in Israel.

“We are pleased that the Israeli State Authorities chose to have an arrangement that does not include an indictment against Siemens AG recognizing…. that Siemens fully cooperated in the course of the investigation,” Siemens said in an e-mailed statement.

Siemens AG says it plans to continue its business in Israel on a major scale, including purchasing Israeli products and services and investing in Israeli companies.

Six IEC executives are facing charges in Tel Aviv court for bribery and money laundering. They are accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash bribes or, for the discriminating corrupt officials, transfers to their Swiss bank accounts.

Last October a former finance officer for Siemens in Argentina admitted to paying $100 million in bribes to government officials to secure a contract to produce national identity cards.

And prosecutors in Germany are investigating Siemens for allegedly charging $2.2 million for work that was never done at Berlin’s long-delayed new airport.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/german-technology-giant-siemens-ag-to-pay-44-million-to-settle-israeli-corruption-case/2016/05/03/

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