| ... more
Are Israeli Settlements in the West Bank Really Illegal?
Summary ... As far as most of the world goes, the legality of the communities in Judea and Samaria has been determined, in secret, by the International Committee of the Red Cross, an international relief organization. It is not a judicial body, yet, in the case of Israel, the majority of the world has chosen to accept its rulings as law. However, the legal status of "Palestine", designated as the "Jewish national homeland," was already established almost 100 years ago by the League of Nations, the San Remo agreements, and the British Mandate.
Although many substantive legal arguments support the right of Jews to build in Judea, Samaria (the West Bank) and eastern Jerusalem, Israeli communities are accused of being "illegal," according to international law. But, what is this "law" and who decided that Israel was guilty?
UN Resolutions? They are not laws, or sources of law. The International Court of Justice (ICJ), is the UN's primary judicial organ. Its advisory opinions are only recommendations, and, although they are influential, are not proper legal decisions. Unable to get a fair hearing before the ICJ, Israel does not appear there.
In fact, the UN Charter (Article 10) does not grant the General Assembly, or the ICJ the authority to determine the ownership of disputed territories — although it does.
"The law" is the Fourth Geneva Convention — one of the most important sources of conventional international and humanitarian law. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the official "guardian," of GC IV, meeting secretly at their headquarters in Geneva, in 1971, unilaterally decided that Jewish communities built in areas acquired by Israel as a result of the Six Day War "violated" GC IV and were therefore, "illegal."
Because ICRC rulings are considered authoritative, they are used by the international community to condemn Israeli "settlements," and "occupation."
The legal status of Palestine, designated as the "Jewish national homeland," was established by the League of Nations (1920), San Remo Agreements (1920) and British Mandate, and endorsed by the US Congress; that was "the law," and remains so today, despite the ICRC.
ICRC and UN Resolutions declare that "Israeli settlements are illegal;" they don't say, however, to whom this territory belongs. Palestinian [sic] leaders have said they will declare sovereignty and ask for UN recognition. But, with the PA [PA/PLO] divided between Fatah and Hamas, its leadership shaky, who rules, and who will rule in the future?
Arab leaders themselves can't decide about a second Arab Palestinian state — the first was Transjordan, established in 1921, two-thirds of whose population is Palestinian — since that means accepting Israel; none are willing to give up the "Palestinian right of return," control of eastern Jerusalem, and eliminating settlements.
UN recognition of the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization], beginning in 1974, six months after it massacred school-children in Ma'alot, provided legitimacy, but the PLO — "the sole representative of the Palestinian people" — has rejected the "two-state-solution" as an end-of-conflict. Its Charter, calling for the elimination of Israel by force, remains unchanged.
The Oslo Accords (1993), Hebron Agreement (1997), Wye River Accords (1998) and Gaza Disengagement (2005), which gave the PA large areas of Judea, Samaria and all of Gaza and placed nearly all Arab residents of these areas under PA rule, "land-for-peace," provided the basis for self-government, and eventual statehood.
Legal questions regarding Jewish presence in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem remain; the ICRC's decisions, therefore, are crucial.
Since ICRC deliberations and protocols are secret, however, there is no way of knowing how they arrived at their decisions, nor is there any possibility of appeal.
The ICRC's unique interpretation, contrary to the obvious intent and purpose of GC IV, was designed specifically to thwart Israeli settlements; it was never applied in a comparable situation elsewhere.
Many prominent jurists and the Israeli government have rejected charges of "illegality" and "occupation," arguing that the provisions of GC IV do not apply, and that, at best, these areas should be called "disputed," subject to negotiations.
Despite the ICRC's refusal to open its archives and explain itself, in defiance of all democratic and judicial norms of conduct, accountable to no one, and deliberately distorting facts, their decisions are widely accepted as law. We need to know how and why the ICRC made those decisions. What are they hiding, and why?
Opposing Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem may be politically expedient, a convenient charge to indict Israel, but assaulting their legality is baseless.
The International Committee of the Red Cross is an international organization that provides aid and asssistance for all peoples, and receives billions of dollars in aid from individuals, organizations and nations. It needs to be held accountable, especially in this situation. Meeting in secret, behind closed doors, is not how ethical orgainzations conduct business. Information for contacting the ICRC may be found on their Web site. In addition, in the United States, you can also contact your Congressional representative and Senators, as well as the US President.
[ Published: May 18, 2010 ]
- The Myth of 'Occupied' Territories
- Are the Israel Settlements in Judea and Samaria Illegal?
- Israeli Settlements Are More Than Legitimate
- The Settlements Issue: Distorting the Geneva Convention and the Oslo Accords
- Who Stole the Holy Land?
- World Leaders Ignore International Law
The tragedy of the pro-'Palestinian' movement is its attachment to a single narrative: "Look at how wretched the lives of the 'Palestinian' people are," they tell us, "It is because of Israeli oppression." Because this narrative must be constantly reinforced, there is little room for real reporting about the failures of the 'Palestinian' leadership and the corruption and infighting that have caused the 'West Bank' [i.e., Judea & Samaria] and Gaza to languish.
The Arab leadership is attempting to portray the current Intifada as a kind of popular, spontaneous struggle that expresses the population's despair over the political situation. In reality, it is an Intifada supported and directed by the Arab leadership of the PA/PLO-Fatah and Hamas.
Rabbi Meir Kahane points out that, contrary to popular belief, the Temple Mount is in Arab hands, the cunning Arab foxes. And the words of Motta Gur ring hollowly — and it is the Jews who are to blame. They took a miracle and disdained it. They, who took holiness and profaned it. They who were given a Zion, a Jerusalem, Temple Mount — gave it over to the jackal-foxes.
Hamas explains general principles and objectives in 42-article document.
PA/PLO leader Abbas seems intentionally to ignore that he and his PA/PLO are responsible for the violence, as a result of their daily incitement against Israel. A recent poll found that approximately half of 'Palestinians' believe the "Intifada" should lead to the destruction of Israel.
What is really going on behind the scenes of the current terrorist attacks? It's actually a lot more than what is seen on a daily basis. Hamas is fighting to take control of the PA/PLO while Fatah is doing its best to stay in power and get Gaza back under its control.
US Jewish leaders blew it recently when what was a rare opportunity to ask the US president face-to-face to release Jonathan Pollard, they didn't even consider the matter as being a priority.
Obama needs to wake up. The real enemy is not Netanyahu. The real enemy is Iran, Hizb'Allah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Islamic State, and the establishment of a terrorist state in the midst of Israel.
It's no state secret that US President Barack Obama is not a huge fan of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His distain for the Jewish leader is well-known throughout the world; he's never tried to hide it. But now that Israel is having new elections in March does it mean Obama could, either directly or indirectly, influence the elections in Israel in order to obtain a defeat for Netanyahu?