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Friday, May 31, 2013

All About Israel's Administered Areas From Six-Day War

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                       

  We Jews Do Not Enter Area A.  There is no similar sign on the other side for B and C.

Territories that were occupied by Israel in the course of the Six-Day War against Israel came about when the Israel Defense forces miraculously defeated the massed Arab armies which menaced Israel's frontiers.  There are 4 administrated areas.

1. Judea and Samaria (West Bank) of the Jordan.  This territory had been until 1948 part of the British Mandate of Palestine.  Between 1948 and 1967 it was ruled by Jordan, which annexed it in 1950.  Since Judea and Samaria were never officially annexed by the Israeli government, the IDF Civil Administration has jurisdiction over the districts today.

2. The Gaza Strip had also been, until 1948, part of the British Mandate of Palestine.  Between 1948 and 1967 (with a short interruption in 1956-7), following the Sinai War, it was administered by an Egyptian Military Government.  It was not annexed by Egypt. Israel left completely in 2005 but keeps control of shipping lanes to keep out arms to be used against her.  .

3. The Sinai Desert was, until 1967, under Egyptian administration. It was given back to Egypt in return for peace agreement in March 1979 by Sadat with Begin.  .

4. The Golan Heights were, until 1967, under Syrian administration.  Since the 67 War, the Golan has officially been incorporated as parts of Israel.

The status of the administered areas had not changed from June 1967 to 1973.  Pending a peace settlement in which the borders between Israel and its neighbors will be decided, it is that of territories occupied during a war.  Israel had not annexed any part of the areas.  East Jerusalem was reunified in June 1967 with West Jerusalem.

Population: By July 1972, almost a million Arabs lived in the administered areas.
640,600 of them in Judea and Samaria (2,270 sq miles)
388,600 of them in the Gaza Strip and North Sinai (140 sq. miles)
   8,000 of them in the Golan Heights (500 sq miles)

The population of the areas is predominantly Muslim.  The smaller Christian communities of Greek Orthodox and Latins are mainly in Ramallah, Bethlehem and Beit Jala.  In the Golan Heights there are Druzes.

Until a peace settlement, which will determine the political future of the areas, Israel's policy tries to achieve the objectives of co-existence and cooperation between the Arabs of the areas and Israelis.  It is trying to enable the people to live normal lives  and to maintain security to all alike.  During the 1970's, Judea, Samaria and Gaza were the 4th fastest growing economy in the world-ahead of such places as Singapore, Hong Kong and Korea, and substantially ahead of Israel itself. (Historian Efrain Karsh).  Israel had been working hard to improve their lot.  

Local Authorities include 23 municipalities and 31 rural councils in Judea and Samaria.  Elections were held in 1972 in accordance with Jordanian law.  75% of voter participation caused about half the mayors to be replaced by new ones.   There were 3 municipalities and 7 rural councils in the Gaza Strip and North Sinai.  Liason officers of the Israel Ministry of the Interior approved their budgets, arranged to lend them funds at low interest, and audited their finances and administration.

Israeli Living in Administered Areas:  Between June 1967 and December 1972, Israel had established 14 towns in the Golan, 6 in Judea and Samaria, 7 in Gaza and North Sinai and 5 in East and South Sinai.  by 1977 there were 76 Jewish communities built in the Territories on undeveloped land.
 There are 3 different types:

1. Nahal villages:  Established by the IDF.  Nahal is a corps which combines military training with farm work.  Members become farmers when service ends.  The villages are military points, like those held by any other unit of the IDF.

2. Civilian villages:  Established in areas which Israel hopes may be assigned to its jurisdiction by peace treaties.  Israel knows where borders need to be for security.  These positions are not conditions and that in peace talks, everything will be negotiable.

3. Communities: Established where political future is not covered  with the assumption that should the area revert to Arab sovereignty under a treaty of peace, it should be allowed to continue to live in it just as Arab communities live in Israel..  We are talking about our ancient history of Judea and Samaria, established by King David and his son, King Solomon of which this land contains the Jewish holy shrines in areas beyond the bounds of pre-1967 Israel.  No Israeli would relinquish large parts of the administered area or accept any arrangement that banned Jews from living in places which are of religious and historical significance.

By 1977, some Israelis, such as the survivors of the Gush Etzion block, returned to rebuild Jewish communities that Arab forces had captured and destroyed in the 1948 war.  After 1977, 74 additional communities were built in the Territories on unallocated government land.  By 2005, the 150 communities included about 200,000 Israelis living on less than 2% of the land of Judea and Samaria.   80% of the people here live in communities close to the Green Line, currently consisting of suburbs of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.  The Green Line (a pre-1967 boundary) is not an internationally recognized border.  It is an armistice line, marking positions held by Israeli and Arab troops when the final truce was called at the end of the 1948 War.  the Green Line remained an armistice line because Arab leaders refused to negotiate to set final border lines.  The Oslo Accords called for Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate for a final border between the State of Israel and a future Palestinian state.  To date, these negotiations haven't resolved outstanding issues to the satisfaction of both parties.

Disputed Territories:  The communities that Israel built in Gaza and Judea and Samaria were in undeveloped, uninhabited areas and are entirely legal.  Palestinians have legitimate claims to sovereignty over some of the land..  Many are longtime inhabitants who feel they have been deprived of political rights and self-determination.  Israel disputes their territorial claims and Israel also has strong claims to the land.  Therefore, these lands are referred to as disputed territories.  Israel has 3 types of claims:

1. Legal claims:  The British Mandate 1920-1948.  this was the last legal sovereign authority for the Territories.  Jordan and Egypt illegally held them between 1948 to 1967.  They remain unallocated portions of the British Mandate since no government formally replaced the mandate's jurisdiction.  The guidelines called for Jews to settle the area on what was called, The Jewish Homeland as per League of Nations.  the Jews' right to live on the land is a "legal right assured by treaty and specifically protected by Article 80 of the UN charter.  ...the Jewish right of settlement in the area is equivalent in every way to the right of existing Palestinian population to live there.  (Eugene Rostow, former US under Secretary of State, 1990).

2. Historical claims:  Judea and Samaria (West Bank) were the cradle of Jewish civilization since the 2nd millenium BCE and had a continuous Jewish presence until the 1948 War when Jewish inhabitants were killed and about 10,000 were expelled by the Jordanians.

3. Security-related claims:  Arab states had repeatedly launched attacks against Israel from the Territories' strategic locations and UN Resolution 242 envisioned bilateral negotiations that would give Israel more secure borders and lead to greater regional stability.  Until 1988, the PLO officially continued to call for a Palestinian state to replace Israel, not for a separate state that would exist alongside it.  Today Abbas offers recognition if Israel takes his steps that would allow the destruction of the state as they continue to call for the destruction of the state!

Ending Occupation:   From 1993 to 2007, Israel gradually ended the "Occupation."  when the Oslo peace process began in 1993, Israel began ending its military administration as it turned civil governance of the Palestinian population over to their elected government.  In 1994 Israel began turning the administration over to the PA.  However, radical Palestinian groups call all of Israel "Occupied Territory."  Since 2005, Israel uprooted Jewish communities from Gaza.  Israel's goal was to help create a self-governing Palestinian state in all of Gaza and most of Judea and Samaria, incorporating land where 98% of Palestinians live.

Since 1993, the regions have been divided into areas A, B, and C.  Area A was assigned to the Palestinian Authority where most of the Arab residents live. According to many estimates, 1.5 million Arabs live in the region.  Accurate statistics have been difficult to obtain with claims that Arab demographics have been artificially inflated.   Area B is under joint control and has large tracts of barren land.  Israel has full control of Area C where most of the over 340,000 Jewish residents live.

All the while, Israel's security needs remain urgent.  In Gaza, the Hamas-led Palestinian government continues to call for Israel's destruction and even after the recent cease fire, have fired rockets, missiles and mortars into southern Israel.   Israel has been repeatedly attacked from Palestinian and Lebanese territories.  Hamas has ties with Iran, Syria and Hezbollah and has forged ties with al Qaeda.  They all call for Israel's destruction.  

Today an even bigger threat looms over Israel with Iran getting atomic capabilities and their threat to destroy Israel.  Syria, though engaged in a 2 year old civil war and has killed almost or more than 80,000 of their own people, are now threatening Israel with missiles bought from Russia.  Egypt is falling apart since putting in a Muslim Brotherhood leader, Morsi.  Jordan is straining with taking in Syria's refugees and a large Palestinian citizen population.  The Middle East is heating up along with the weather.   

Resource:  Facts About Israel 1973, published by the Division of Information, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem
Israel 101 published by Stand with Us, supported by Christians United for Israel Sections A, B, C

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