Affirming the Jewish State’s Territorial Rights

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This week a three-person committee appointed in January by Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu started handing out its 89-page report on settlements and the legal status of Israel’s presence in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). The committee was led by Edmund Levy, a retired Supreme Court justice, and also included Alan Baker, a former ambassador to Canada and legal adviser to the Foreign Ministry, and Tchia Shapira, a former deputy president of the Tel Aviv District Court.

The report’s (summarized here) conclusions on the most basic level are consistent with what any fair, informed consideration of the issue will indicate. First, Israel is not an occupier in the West Bank; second, what the 1949 Geneva Convention said about population transfers—in response to Nazi occupations in World War II—does not apply to Israel’s circumstances in the West Bank; and third, “according to international law, Israelis have the legal right to settle in Judea and Samaria and the establishment of settlements cannot, in and of itself, be considered illegal.”

The reasons are straightforward. In the Palestine Mandate of 1922, the League of Nations granted Jews the right to “close settlement” of the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean—including, of course, the West Bank. While, according to the terms of the 1947 UN Partition Resolution, the Jewish leadership was willing to forgo its right to parts of the land where a Palestinian state was to be established, including the West Bank, the Palestinian and Arab side emphatically rejected the partition plan and instead launched a war to strangle the newborn state of Israel in its cradle.

When the dust cleared from that conflict, Judea and Samaria were in the hands of Jordan—which had conquered them as part of a violent aggression aimed at eradicating another state. Jordan’s rule there from 1949 to 1967 was never recognized by any world body, or by any individual countries other than Britain and Pakistan. In the 1967 Six-Day War—in which Egypt, Syria, and Jordan again tried to wipe out the Jewish state—Israel instead conquered the West Bank back from Jordan. In 1988 Jordan formally renounced all claim to the territory.

Simple logic, then, dictates that since 1967 the West Bank has belonged to Israel—unless it should voluntarily choose, similar to the Jewish leadership in 1947, to forgo part of its right to it. First, no international legal document has ever superseded the Palestine Mandate and its terms have never been abrogated. Second, Jordan was one of the aggressors in the 1967 conflict, and to say the attacked party is obligated to restore land to the attacking side—in other words, that aggression must be rewarded—mocks both common sense and morality.

Those points have, indeed, been asserted by international legal luminaries like Stephen M. Schwebel, who wrote in the aftermath of the war that:

As between Israel, acting defensively in 1948 and 1967, on the one hand, and her Arab neighbors, acting aggressively, in 1948 and 1967, on the other, Israel has the better title in the territory of what was Palestine, including the whole of Jerusalem.

Also affirming Israel’s rights was the late renowned legal scholar Eugene V. Rostow, who wrote that Israel’s right to settle the West Bank was “unassailable.” Experts taking similar views since 1967 have included Julius Stone, David Matas, David M. Phillips (hat tip to Ted Belman for the latter three links), and others.

None of this, of course, has stopped Israel’s alleged “occupation” and settlement of the West Bank from being one of the causes célèbres of international politics since 1967, with the UN and the EU—bodies very much under Arab and Muslim sway—ritually denouncing both as “illegal.” And while U.S. presidents except for Jimmy Carter have not viewed the settlements as illegal, they have been highly critical of them and insistent, to varying degrees, that Israel’s relinquishment of lands conquered in 1967 is a key to peace.

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  • RonaldCarnine

    Of course this report will be rejected. It does go a long way to establishing Israel's rights and the aggression of the Arab nations. Israel was a sovereign nation in 1948 and the Mufti of Jerusalem was a Nazi. In other words, the Arabs backed the losing side in WWII and the Mufti was never prosecuted, but he should have been. The left will immediately attack the report and the people responsible for writing it, but historical truth is historical truth. Now we will see is the Obama administration will back it.

  • IranAware

    Take what is yours , screw public opinion

  • SHmuel HaLevi

    It is relatively important what US Presidents have to say about our National rights to the Lands of Israel, but not at all fundamental. Their views are of far less value as our views would be relative to the European Settlers of the US assuming the land of Native Americans and transferring or killing them in the process. Does the US prefer that we all institute a review of the "Indian Reservations", all 480 of them?
    We, the Jewish people in Eretz Israel are re assuming control over land stolen from us by EU invaders and Islamic nomadic "hamulas".
    Others, including in particular the Islamic tribes in Eretz Israel and even in our Temple Mount, have systematically stolen Lands never theirs before.

    • LibertyMan

      Just a point of fact…..

      Actually there was no clear definition of "Indian Land" in North America since most of the indigioinous people in North America were at war with each other for atleast 2000 years before Jamestown. Also on a side note… slavery amoung the "Indian" Population long before the Euro's arrived debunking another myth that slavery was brought here by the Euros.

      And in reference to the comparison of Indian Reservation vs Palestinian Refugee camps… The Indian population can move off the reservation and assimulate. Just the opposite for the "so-called" Palestinian Refugee which are kept together by forse for terrorist breeding camps and political footbals. These people have been purposefully dehumanized by the Islamists who keep them.

  • Ain't No Dhimmi

    If Obama can say that "Muslims have always played an important part in American History."
    ( what he is really saying is that Muslims are" entitled" to take back former land,…. America.")

    Obama lead the "Muslim Day of Prayer" on the mall in Washington, DC.
    50,000 Muslim Men praying for "The Soul of America." September (Virgo) 25, 2009
    This Rite determines "the future destiny" of America and is an act of surrender to Islam.

    If he pushes Israel back to 1967 borders and moves the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,
    he will have effectively "captured" Jerusalem for Islam.
    This has to be accomplished in the time frame of
    2012 to 2016.
    The 4 years that Bill Clinton says "Obama needs to complete his policies."

  • elixelx

    The head of Peace NOW, Israel appeared on the IBA NEWS in English programme:
    Elhanan (IBA); Is this a political document?
    H0PN: Of course it is..
    Elhanan: Is that because it supports the right-wing agenda of Netanyahu?
    HoPN: Of Course
    Elhanan: The predecessor of this study which took the opposite point of view and which was supported and accepted by the Kadima party…was that a political document
    HoPN: Of course not
    Elhanan: Why do you say that?
    HoPN: you are drawing a false equivalence; The last one was written by a woman of outstanding character…
    Elhanan: Youmean the woman who became a high-ranking member of Israel's most left-wing party, Meretz, on the back of her report…
    HoPN: She was of outstanding character
    Elhanan: More outstanding than a retired Supreme Court Justice who sat on the bench for 25 years and has NEVER been involved in politics?
    HoPN; It's a bit stuffy in here; is that red light blinking at me..,oh…there's a cockroach…

  • Marty

    It's important to note that islamic thugs invaded Israel 1350 years from arabia. No one invited or wanted them. The country was almost immediately reduced to an economic backwater where those christians and Jews who were not murdered or coerced into converting to islam succumbed to the misery of dhimmitude. The place remained in wretched condition until Jews reclaimed it beginning a century ago. arabs and muslims have no right, historical or otherwise, to claim any part of Israel. They should go away and retire to the hellholes from which they originated, stay there, and enjoy their pedophilia habits and first cousins.

  • stern

    One other note to add:
    The Mandate for Palestine at exactly the same time and by exactly the same process as mandates for Mesopotamia, Syria and Lebanon. If Israel's "occupation" of Judea and Samaria is illegal, then the Arabs can similarly be said to be illegally occupying Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Lebanon. It really is time we started pointing this out to the world.

    (Jordan, of course, is slightly different: this artificial entity was created arbitrarily by Great Britain, slicing off a huge chunk of the mandate set aside for "close Jewish settlement" in order to compensate its Hashemite friends who lost out in Saudi Arabia).

  • Schlomotion

    These quotations from the 2009 Global Language Dictionary "do not work." Nobody is asking Israel to make "land concessions" in a "land for peace" deal. Alas, you don't just get to reword the lexicon and hope that it changes reality. The doff to Thomas Kuhn notwithstanding, there is nothing scientific or politically scientific about trying to affect a "paradigm shift" by pretending that today is Day One and Palestinians are some Indians on an Israeli reservation making wild and crazy demands for "more land" when they want to stop being annexed.

    Since we are being fruity here, we might as well just discuss that in gematria, the number 89 means "to thrust, push; to overthrow, repulse, drive out, expel" and alternately, "ravenous beast; bird of prey" or "to impose a burden." Since we are just having fun with word and number substitutions, it makes sense to consider Netanyahu's new paper as solely significant by its page number.

    • stern

      "Nobody is asking Israel to make "land concessions" in a "land for peace" deal."


      Once again, the troll proves that it is an idiot and thinks we are too.

    • Ghostwriter

      Yeah,no kidding. If Joseph Goebbels were still around,he might like Schlomotion's anti-semitic ravings. I don't and I believe that most here don't either.

  • Silver Scumbag

    Nobody is asking Israel to make "land concessions" in a "land for peace" deal??? James Baker III ( II were enough ) tried that at least 2x.

    The last time was in the white paper on what to do about a post American presence in Iraq. The wording was in the conditional tense except when it dealt with Israel.

    Should turned to must. " We should try" squealed this RINO on Meet the Press.

    Lipstick on a pig. or James Baker III RINO.

    Invade the Sinai, annex Gaza, West Bank and take out the garbage.

    • Schlomotion

      If a man robs a bank, he is not asked by the police to make "financial concessions" back to the bank. He is arrested and forfeits all of his property to the jailer until release.

  • Tale-of-the-Donkey

    ………. Romney's (possible) appointment for Veep is..

    Bush's State Department, anti-Israel, RINO, Condoleezza Rice who undercut Israel's interests behind the scenes.

    Anti-Israel Ms. Rice…….is Right In Line with Biblical Prophecy.

    Rice ~whose aberrant (anti-Israel "Christian" "Replacement Theology"
    ….prevents her from ever being an Israel advocate in good faith.

    She always worked over time (under the radar) to screw Israel in the Bush administration!

    EXAMPLE: Aug 26, 2008 – Condoleezza Rice urges Israel to split Jerusalem

  • Tale-of-the-Donkey

    God said this to Hagar regarding the descendants of Ishmael. {Islam} ……

    Genesis 16:
    12“He will be a wild donkey of a man,
    His hand will be against everyone,
    And everyone’s hand will be against him;
    And he will live to the east of all his brothers.”

    ~ New American Standard Bible

    Allah is a false god of man’s making.

    Unfortunately for Muslims, and considerably more so for the rest of the world, Islam is extremely strict and uncompromising,

    Over the last 1400 years, 270 million non-believers were murdered by Muslim jihadists.

    Speaking of anti-Israel RINO Condoleezza Rice for VEEP;
    In the last administration Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pressured Israel to drop all of its redline conditions for her BOGUS & contrived "peace summit" between Palestinians and Israelis.

    "Redlines" are the points that cannot be conceded. Ms Rice was always pressuring Israel to make concessions for "peace" that favored Israel's sworn enemy!.

  • Ronald Johnston

    The longer osama obama is able to prolong the inevitable, the harder it is going to be for Israel to do what it has to do!!! Which is to destroy islam!!!! islam is not a religion, it is an evil ideology!!!! We will have to practice genocide to ever rid the world of this evil!!!! That is what they want to do to us!!!!




  • kbs55

    Israel should start demanding a return to the original Balfour Declaration (dated 2 November 1917) borders.

  • Jakareh

    The expulsion of ethnic Germans from the Sudetenland set the precedent. No less than Czechoslovakia did in the 1940s, Israel today has the right to free itself from a population that does not wish to integrated and is perennially disloyal. The Arab minority, moreover, presents a permanent to the existence and well-being of the tiny Jewish State. Their presence is as a pretext for aggression by Israel's much larger Arab Muslim neighbors and constitutes a fifth column once that aggression occurs.

  • pyeatte

    Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt by the 1979 treaty. If Egypt renounces that treaty or attacks Israel, then Israel gets it back, as the rightful owners. I suspect there is a lot of oil and gas under those sands, perhaps in shale, so let the games begin. Israel would also get to share the Suez Canal passage fees – not a bad deal.