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December 7, 2016 / 7 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘sovereignty’

Peres, Sharon, Barak, Star in Campaign for Ma’ale Adumim Sovereignty

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy: Israel’s late ninth president, Shimon Peres, will star posthumously in a giant campaign promoting the annexation of Ma’ale Adumim, a town just four miles east of Jerusalem. Established in the early 1970s as an IDF post, Ma’ale Adumim received its status as a city in 1991, and today has close to 40,000 residents. Its unique location means that, should it receive Israeli sovereignty, the Jewish urban sprawl of Ma’ale Adumim and Jerusalem would forever thwart Arab hopes of establishing a geographically contiguous Palestinian State.

The new campaign is banking on the fact that all of Israel’s past mainstream politicians have supported the settlement enterprise, even if some of them later became its sworn enemies. And so, under the slogan “Continuing in their Path,” the campaign banners quote Shimon Peres’ statement: “The development of Ma’ale Adumim will secure the defenses of Jerusalem”; late prime minister and destroyer of Jewish Gaza Ariel Sharon: “Ma’ale Adumim will be built as part of the State of Israel for eternity”; settlements foe and former prime minister, Ehud Barak: “Everything you build in Ma’ale Adumim remains part of the State of Israel forever, period”; and the destroyer of the Jewish city of Yamit, the late Menachem Begin: “I bless the establishment of Ma’ale Adumim. The only viable option is our rule in Judea and Samaria.”

The intentional irony of the campaign, targeting an Israeli Jewish public out of which a consistent 80% have been telling pollsters they support imposing Israeli sovereignty on Ma’ale Adumim, with or without a peace agreement, was not lost on Israel’s combative left. MK Michal Rozin (Meretz) said Saturday night that “usurping the character and works of the late Shimon peres such a short time after his death to promote Greater Israel is a disgrace. This is a cynical use of the Israeli consensus to destroy the Zionist dream.”

The campaign will feature giant billboards at the entrance to Jerusalem and around the Knesset, as well as newspaper ads, a Facebook page called “Sovereignty in Ma’ale Adumim,” and a website named Ribonut (Sovereignty).

Maale Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel said the campaign “expresses the clear position of the majority of the people who want to continue the Zionist vision and the settlement enterprise. It’s been 50 years since the city of Jerusalem was united and we returned to our historic homeland regions. All the governments of Israel have developed the area and we wish to continue the path of the leaders of Israel and the Zionist movement and impose Israeli sovereignty on the city of Ma’ale Adumim. This is how we will fulfill the vision of all our past prime ministers, both from the left and from the right, since the city’s inception.”

JNi.Media

Bennett: US Elections an Opportunity for Imposing Israeli Sovereignty

Monday, September 26th, 2016

Habayit Hayehudi Chairman, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, on Tuesday morning told Israel time Israel should take advantage of the elections season in the US to impose Israeli law on Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria such as Ariel, Maale Adumim, Gush Etzion and Ofra.

“It’s time to take an active step instead of constantly being on the defensive,” Bennett said.

When told that while President Trump would probably endorse such a move, President Clinton would likely reject it, Bennet said, “We can’t expect the world to be more Zionist than we are. We must be the ones initiating the action.”

Responding to a question about the world’s reaction to such a move, Bennett noted that Labor Prime Minister Levy Eshkol did not cower before world opinion when he unified Jerusalem in 1967, nor did Likud Prime Minsiter Menahem Begin when he passed the law making the Golan Heights part of Israel.

“I’m not suggesting it would be easy,” Bennett said, “but we need to do that which is proper for us. We must chart our vision and we must start working to apply it.”

Bennett admitted that his party’s line is in conflict with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s call at the UN for making the Two State Solution a reality. “Creating a Palestinian State along the 1967 border, with some swapping of territories, would be a horrendous mistake,” he said. “Currently we only have eight seats in the Knesset. When we have 30 seats we’ll be able to apply our entire agenda on this matter.”

When asked if he didn’t think it was time to end the cycle of violence once and for all, Bennett suggested that so far violence has been the result of Israel handing over territory, and not from annexing territories. “When we handed over the Gaza Strip we got rockets; when we handed over Judea and Samaria we got the second intifada.”

“The rules in the Middle East are sometimes counterintuitive,” Bennett said. “To maintain peace here, we must be very strong. As soon a you’re too soft in this neighborhood, you catch a blow. When everyone around understands that we are determined not to hand over even one square inch, the appreciation for our position would only grow, and we’ll see fewer conflicts and confrontations. They’ll accept it.”

Regarding the issue of the Amona community, which the Supreme Court has ruled must be evacuated and demolished by early December, Bennett said, “We’re working on it. Yesterday we launched a team of several judicial experts to examine several proposed alternatives, not just regarding Amona but concerning a long line of settlements in Judea and Samaria.”

“The Supreme Court must obey the law and must follow government policy,” Bennett said, explaining that “in recent years, before Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) became Justice Minister, and before we were part of the government, unfortunately governments have gone to the Supreme Court and stated, ‘Of course, we must demolish.’ And so the high court responded, saying, ‘Do go ahead and demolish.’ They asked for extensions, but eventually the time expires. The high court very much relates to government policy. And we must turn this policy by 180 degrees, which we will do.”

Reminded that the AG Avihai Mandelblit is on the record as saying the proposed “Arrangement bill” to compel Arab claimants who can prove ownership over Jewish land to accept market value compensation, Bennett said, “Maybe that’s what he’s saying, and he is an advisor (the AG is also the government’s legal counsel). When I was a hi-tech CEO I had legal counselors, but I made the final decisions. The government rules, the legal counselor gives legal advice. Usually we prefer to accept their positions, but on occasion we don’t. Otherwise, the legal counselor becomes prime minister, which isn’t what the citizens of this country want.”

“Otherwise, why waste our time having elections, let the legal counselors run the country,” Bennett concluded.

JNi.Media

For The Sake Of Peace – Sovereignty Now

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

Nearly 50 years have passed since we returned to the ancient parts of the Land of Israel, the cradle of the Jewish people, but we have not yet determined its legal status. The Land of Israel is tired of being the state of Israel’s “mistress.”

The time has come for the children who were born into this situation, children of communities and outposts, to become legitimate children of the state of Israel. What is called for is a proper marriage between the state and the Land, an application of sovereignty, and a full legalization of the communities.

Peace is actually hampered by the lack of sovereignty. This is true regarding peace in Israel as well as the world in general. Peace must and can be achieved only with a sovereign Land of Israel. All over this world, every person who believes in the Bible, whatever his religion, know this to be true.

“In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it…. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths, because the Torah will go out from Zion and the word of God from Jerusalem. And he will judge between the nations…. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift up sword unto nation and will not learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2).

This is the strongest and most exalted vision of peace the world can aspire to, and we are obligated to realize it.

Without the settlement of the Land of Israel throughout its entire area, without the application of sovereignty and the establishment of a life of Torah and ethics throughout the Jewish homeland, peace is impossible. In the weekly Torah portion of Masei that we read last month, we encountered the passage that teaches us “and you shall inherit the Land and dwell in it because I have given the Land for an inheritance to you.”

The Ramban defines the meaning of this commandment of inheritance that was given to the People of Israel as the removal of foreign sovereignty and control over the Land of Israel.

The Ramban states that this is incumbent upon us as a positive Torah commandment. The presence of many Jews in the Land of Israel is vitally important and certainly we are commanded to settle the Land and abide by our commitment not to abandon it to desolation – but settling the Land is not enough in terms of providing the Land with its appropriate validity and integrity.

The realization of the triple thread of Torah, People, and Land will come about only when the Jewish People apply sovereignty over the Land, conducting their own military/security, judicial, educational, social, and economic systems according to the Torah way.

Only thus does the divine ideal rule; only then will the prophecy “They will beat their swords into plowshares” be fulfilled. A state of the People of Israel in the Land of Israel is not just a means of survival but a phase in the development of world peace.

We must be thankful for everything we have received from the Almighty, but we also must continue to broaden and deepen the foundations of sovereignty in all areas of the Land. Thank God, in recent years more and more people are talking about and acting on sovereignty; we gratefully acknowledge the efforts of the members of the Land of Israel Lobby in the Knesset and its heads, MKs Yoav Kish and Bezalel Smotrich, along with the director of the lobby, Orit Struk.

Meanwhile, the Almighty is organizing events, causing the world to understand who is good and who is bad, who is evil and sanctifies death. The old Middle East is disintegrating. States are disappearing. Knowledgeable people are opening their eyes and seeing the changes beginning to take shape – and they understand what those changes must entail.

The Oslo Accords of the 1990s were a terrible mistake. They gave disastrous legitimacy to terrorists, breathed new life into the “two-state” delusion, and brought chaos and confusion to the Land and the world. We must return to the true path, to the basic stance that the Land of Israel belongs to the People of Israel. The application of sovereignty must be the goal of Zionism today.

Yehudit Katzover

ריבונות Ribonut, Sovereignty, The Magic Ingredient

Monday, September 5th, 2016

The truth is that our victory, our security, our chance to see the State of Israel thrive the way it should is ריבונות Ribonut, Sovereignty and nothing else. Without declaring ריבונות Ribonut, Israeli Sovereignty over all of the Land we liberated with Gd’s help in the 1967 Six Days War, we are effectively turning our miraculous victory into a defeat.

Yes, that’s the bottom line, the uncomfortable truth.

Nadia Matar, Yehudit Katzover (of Women in Green) and the many others who have been dedicating their time of late to promoting Sovereignty nailed it correctly. The 7th edition of their Sovereignty Journal was recently published. It’s a must-read for sure!

If Sovereignty had been declared over all the Land in June, 1967, we would never have gotten mired in the “occupation” dilemma. Today’s security and diplomatic problems are results of lack of clear Israeli Sovereignty. The longer it’s delayed the more complicated it will be to clear up the resulting problems and dangers.

It’s not “frustration” and lack of “state of their own” that pushes the Arabs into terrorism, it’s the weakness of the Israeli Government and the fear that there will be a new Arab state called Palestine, sic, that makes Arabs feel that they must show their “anti-Israel” stance. So, the nicer, weaker and more understanding we are towards the Arabs the more they feel the need to show their support for terror/Hamas. Call it self-preservation Arab style. That’s right. The further the Israeli Government goes from full Sovereignty, the closer the Arabs go to terrorism.

It is time to change tracks and have the Government of Israel declare full Israeli Sovereignty on all of the Land we now hold. And, yes, that does mean we must “phase out” the PA Palestinian Authority and declare it null and void.

Only that will bring us peace and security!!

Batya Medad

Thousands March 9 B’Av Night in Support of Israeli Sovereignty in Judea and Samaria

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

Thousands of marchers from all across Israel participated in the 22nd annual walk around the walls of the old city of Jerusalem on Tisha B’Av night, Saturday, organized by Women in Green. This year the walk, which began following the traditional reading of the scroll of Lamentations at the Independence Park in downtown Jerusalem, was focused on Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria. The marchers circled the ancient walls carrying Israeli flags, accompanied by police.

The march was concluded with a rally that began with a rousing speech by Women in Green co-founders Yehudit Katsover and Nadia matar. Katsover asked why did the 9th of Av become the time of the year when so many calamities took place in the history of the Jewish nation (the destruction of two temples, the fall of the city of Beitar to the Romans, the expulsion from Spain, the expulsion from the Gaza Strip). She pointed to the fact that the sin of the spies, the first event that established Tisha B’Av as a day of mourning for the ages, was the sin of fear of going out to conquer the promised land. The spies convinced the nation that we couldn’t do it.

9 B'Av Jerusalem march 2016 organizers Yehudit Katsover and Nadia matar / Photo credit: Gershon Elinson

9 B’Av Jerusalem march 2016 organizers Yehudit Katsover and Nadia matar / Photo credit: Gershon Elinson

“We can’t do it! The state of mind of ‘I can’t do it’ is the cause of defeat. That’s the root of the destruction,” Katsover said. “Tisha B’Av is here to remind us to mourn the things we could have done but didn’t … because of our fear. We don’t build in Judea and Samaria because we’re afraid of pressure from the dwarf Obama. We fail to save [the community set for demolition] Amona because the Supreme Court is afraid of the world. We don’t impose sovereignty because we fear the demographics. We don’t carry out this march in the direction of the Temple Mount because we fear the Arabs and the deteriorating State of Jordan.”

“If we allow our subjective fears to dictate our objective reality, we’ll keep falling time and again,” Katsover declared. “This is the root of our destruction. The first time this approach was introduced was on Tisha B’Av and since then, each year, we cry over the fact that we failed to trust ourselves.” And she announced, “On this Tisha B’Av we’ll decide that we can do. We can and we will. We will not permit the baseless tears to stop us.”

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Dov Kalmanovich / Photo credit: Gershon Elinson

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Dov Kalmanovich / Photo credit: Gershon Elinson

Dov Kalmanovich, Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, the first Israeli victim of the First Intifada (the skin of his face and a large part of his body were burned away by a Molotov cocktail that was hurled at his car on December 9, 1987), said the way to bolster Israel sovereignty across the Land of Israel was through unrelenting construction. He said liberation didn’t end with the conquering of the city, that’s where it started — and the rest is all about building the city. “With your support we’ll cry out for a sovereign Jerusalem,” but this sovereignty must be borne by physical building, Kalmanovich told the marchers.

Former MK Aryeh Eldad / Photo credit: Gershon Elinson

Former MK Aryeh Eldad / Photo credit: Gershon Elinson

 

Former MK Aryeh Eldad told the audience about his late father, MK Israel Eldad, who each year on Tisha B’Av would visit the Israel Museum, stand in front of the statue of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, who suppressed the Bar Kokhva rebellion (132 – 135 CE) and tell him, “So, what do you say? Where are you and where are we now?”

“On the surface he appeared to be right,” Eldad said about his father. “The Roman Empire disappeared and we are here, a sovereign nation returning to its homeland after destruction and catastrophe the likes of which history has not known. But it isn’t that simple.”

“The curse of Hadrian is still hovering above us,” Eldad continued. “After he destroyed Beitar and hundreds of other communities, and massacred half a million Jews, he was not satisfied, and sought to revise history and erase the memory of Israel. This is why he rename Jerusalem Aelia Capitolina (after Jupiter Capitolinus, the same god who eventually lent a derivation of his name to Capitol Hill). And he changed the name of the province of Judea to the province of Syria-Palestine.”

“This curse of Palestine has been chasing us to this day,” Eldad said. “If we want to return to the mountain, we must erase the name Palestine from Eretz Israel.”

The crowd responded with soaring applause.

Other speakers included Rina Ariel, mother of 13-year-old Halel Yaffa Ariel hy”d who was murdered in her bed a few weeks ago by an Arab terrorist; former Russian dissident Rabbi Yosef Mendelevich; and Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan.

MK Yehuda Glick / Photo credit: Gershon Elinson

MK Yehuda Glick / Photo credit: Gershon Elinson

The last speaker at the rally was MK Yehuda Glick, whose name and personal history have become intertwined with the story of Jewish efforts to return to the Temple Mount. “For two thousand years we’ve kept the commandment of ‘Bitterly she will weep at night’ (Lamentations 1:2), but no more! We stop crying and start doing! The fathers of the Zionist movement have taught us the diaspora is not only the punishment but the sin, too. Zion is the holy Mt. Zion, and Zionism took that name because it wanted to return to Zion, to the Temple Mount, and you,” he turned to the audience, “are part of the return to Zion, to the Temple Mount.”

Pointing out that when he began ascending to the Temple Mount only about a hundred Jews a year would go there, but in the past year some 20 thousand have come.

“Since the day fifty years ago, when God gave us, through the IDF, the land of our fathers, the Golan, Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, and we said that Temple Mount is in our hands (the famous victory cry of Paratroopers commander Gen. Motta Gur, June 7, 1967), it really has been in our hands,” Glick said. “Temple Mount is holy, not the status quo,” he continued, crying, “Eicha-How [the Hebrew title of the Book of lamentations] is a scream. How can there be such and absurd reality in which we cannot pray in this place? How can it be that the global center of ‘Nation will not take up sword against nation’ fall in the hands of people who sanctify the sword? How can we give more and more power to the Waqf?”

Glick, whose first few months in office have been marked by liberal and tolerant statements that puzzle the media, concluded decidedly, “We must make clear that all the talk about the chance for a Palestinian State is finished. We will proceed in imposing Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, and anyone wishing to live in peace is welcome, and if they don’t we’ll use harsh measure against them.”

“We are now a nation of building in the daytime, not a nation of weeping at night,” Glick concluded.

The rally then erupted in three calls of “Higia z’man ribonut” (the time for sovereignty is now) and proceeded to the Kotel Plaza to sit down and say Lamentations.

9 B'Av Jerusalem marchers 2016 / Photo credit: Gershon Elinson

9 B’Av Jerusalem marchers 2016 / Photo credit: Gershon Elinson

JNi.Media

Yehuda Glick: It is Clear Israeli Law Will be Applied in All of Judea and Samaria

Friday, July 8th, 2016

MK Yehuda Glick responded forcibly to a Ynet article which discussed the number of people from Otniel who have been murdered by Arab terrorists, where “nearly every second family” has been touched by terror.

Glick wrote back that “Otniel, like all the settlements in Judea and Samria is strong. We will get over this, and we will grow and flourish. In the end, it is clear to everyone that Israeli law will be applied to all of Judea and Samaria. Why wait!”

Jewish Press News Briefs

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

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/the-case-for-israeli-sovereignty-in-the-golan-heights/2016/05/16/

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