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Monday, August 8, 2011

Israel's Legal Claim on Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem

Nadene Goldfoot
The very cradle of Jewish civilization took place in the kingdom of Judea in the south, where the Jewish prophets orated. The kingdom of the north was Israel.  Samaria "Shomron" was the capital of the Northern kingdom of Israel and occupied 25 acres.  It's also the name of the entire northern region of the central highlands. Judea and Samaria  were called "West Bank" in 1951 by Jordan who had occupied it illegally in 1948.  The fight was on when Israel declared their statehood in the U.N. and the surrounding Arab states attacked.  Jews were killed and about 10,000 were expelled by the Jordanians from Judea and Samaria. 

In 1920 British held "The British Mandate which was the last "legal sovereign authority" for the Territories.  Jordan and Egypt illegally held them from 1948 to 1967 when Israel regained them in the Six Day War brought on by the surrounding Arab nations.  They are still part of the British Mandate as no government replaced the Mandate's jurisdiction.  Its guidelines called for Jews to settle the area.  The Balfour Declaration was the recognition of the British alliance and agreement with Dr. Chaim Weizmann and his group in the form of a letter written by the foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild, a Jewish financier on November 2, 1917.  Unknown to Weizmann's party, the British had made agreements with the Arabs as well.  However, the Balfour papers had stated, "His Majesty's government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this objective, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."

"The Jews have the legal right to settle the land assured by treaty and  protected  by Article 80 of the U.N. charter.  The Jewish right of settlement in the area is equal to the right of the existing Palestinian populaton to live there."  Eugene Rostow, former U.S. Under Secretary of State. 1990. 

According to Eugene Rostow, a former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs in the Johnson Administration, Resolution 242 gives Israel a legal right to be in the West Bank. The resolution “allows Israel to administer the territories” it won in 1967 “until 'a just and lasting peace in the Middle East' is achieved,” Rostow wrote in The New Republic (10/21/91). During the debate on the resolution, he added, “speaker after speaker made it clear that Israel was not to be forced back to the 'fragile' and 'vulnerable' [1949] Armistice Demarcation Lines.”  Rostow was the Dean of Law of Yale University. 
The Arabs had ignored the 1948 proclamation in the UN of Israel's creation as well as the Balfour Doctrine giving Jews the right to settle in their section of Palestine.  Israel came into existence by legal land development and not by conquest.  To the surprise of its enemies, it won in 1948 and the Arab nations refused to join it in peace negotiations. 

1967 found Israel attacked by the many surrounding Arabs and she won in 6 days.  From 1967 to 1977, 76 Jewish communities were built in the Territories of Judea/Samaria on undeveloped land with most of them built for security reasons.  Survivors of  Gush Etzion returned to rebuild Jewish communities that Arab forces had captured and destroyed in the 1948 War. 

Arabs were using the Territories as places to launch attacks against Israel.  The UN Resolution 242 called for bilateral negotiations to give Israel more secure borders and create better stability.  The PLO called for a Palestinian state to REPLACE  Israel up to 1988.  They were not calling for a separate state to exist next door.  Their maps still do not show Israel, only a land named "Palestine." 

After 1977, 74 more communities were built in the Territories on unallocated government land.  By 2005, the 150 communitites included about 200,000 Israelis living on less than 2% of Judea/Samaria's land.  80% of the people live in communitites close to the GREEN LINE.  This consists of the suburbs of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.  This pre-1967 boundary is not an internationally recognized border.  It is an armistice line that marks positions held by Israeli and Arab troops when the final truce was called at the end of the 1948 War.  It remained an armistice line because the 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.  As yet these negotiations have not only not resolved outstanding issues to the satisfaction of both parties, but that the Arabs have refused to come to the table to talk, even as they plan on marching to the UN to demand their state. 

The Arabs continue to attack Israel with rockets and missles fired into the southern area.  Israel's security needs are more urgent than ever.  Their Hamas-led Palestinian government continues to call for Israel's destruction.  Lebanon also is a place from which attacks come from.  Hamas has close ties with Iran, Syria and Hezbollah and forged ties with Al Qaeda.  They all call for Israel's destruction.  The vulnerability of Israel from the Judea/Samaria areas is obvious.  Granting the Arabs their state now would be deadly  for Israel. There would be no difference from the attacks from Gaza or Judea/Samaria then. 

Israel had been the victim of Arab aggression  in the Six Day War.

International law is very clear.  Being the victim of aggression, Israel's legal position is that they have the right to live in Judea and Samaria.  Otherwise its occupation of Judea/Samaria and the Gaza Strip would have been illegal.  Legal disposition of territories conquered in a defensive war can be determined only by a peace treaty between the belligerents.  With an absent peace treaty, continued sovereignty and economic activities of the victim of aggression over its newly won territories is completely legal as long as such activity does not unfavorably prejudice the indegenous people.

As a matter of fact, Israel being in Judea and Samaria was beneficial until their administration was turned over to the Palestinian Authority under the Oslo Agreements. 

After the 67 War, Israel offered to return conquered territory in exchange for a formal peace.  Arab nations refused the offer as they have done previously.  Israel could have legally annexed all the newly won territories but chose not to because they expected the Arabs would want their land back and Israel could return land in exchange for a peace agreement.  This happened with Egypt when Israel returned all of Sinai at the Camp David I accords in 1979.  At that time Sadat didn't want Gaza back.  Jordan had a peace treaty with Israel in1994 and King Hussein also didn't want Judea or Samaria and he conceded that he had no legal claim to the area or its Arab popuation. 

East Jerusalem was reunified in June 1967 with West Jerusalem.  The 1972 figures showed that almost a million Arabs lived in the administered area with 640,600 in Judea and Samaria which covers 2,270 square miles of land.  388,600 were living in the Gaza Strip on 140 square miles and North Sinai and 8,000 on the Golan Heights on 500 square miles.  The smaller Christian communities of Greek Orthodox and Latins are mainly in Ramallah, Bethlehem and Beit Jala.  The Druze live in the Golan Heights. 

Israel assumed that should an area in question revert to Arab sovereignty under a treaty of peace, Jewish communitites should be allowed to continue to live in it, just as Arab communitites live in Israel.   It is impossible to disregard the Jewish attachment to holy shrines in areas beyond the bounds of pre-1967 Israel.  The number of Israelis who settled in the administered areas since 1967, including the Nahal military settlements for security was 4,200 as of 1972.  Israel's policy has been to pursue peaceful co-existence with the Arabs in these administered areas. 

Although Alan Dershowitz, famous lawyer,  is personally against Jews living in Judea and Samaria, he sees "no good reason why ancient Jewish cities like Hebron should be Judenrein."  Jews were forced out of  these cities through massacres.  The return of a few thousand Jews to Hebron would not affect the demographics of that Arab populated area.  If Palestinians claiming refugee status returned to Israel it would be turned into a 3rd Palestiniann state.  Jews living in Judea and Samaria are not a barrier to peace.  The barrier has been the unwillingness of many Palestinians and their terrorist groups and nations to accept the existence of a Jewish state in any part of Palestine.  Sharon had decided to do everything to reach a settlement with the Arabs back in April 2003. 

If the Arab leaders had been in agreement with peace with Israel, there could have been a state of Palestine in 1937 or 1947 or 1949 and there never would have been any refugees.  If the leaders took the offer of their state in 1967 or 2000 there would not have been the sovereignty by Israel in Judea and Samaria.  These were missed opportunities over and over because of the Arabs refusal of peace with Israel. 

As Dershowitz puts it: " When the Jewish nation is the only one criticized for faults that are far worse among other nations, such criticism crosses the line from fair to foul, from acceptable to anti-Semitic."  It stands "accused with charges including being a criminal state, the prime violator of human rights, the mirror-image of Nazism, and the most intransigent barrier to peace in the Middle East.  Throughout the world Israel is singled out for condemnation, divestment, boycott and demonization with its leaders being threatened with prosecution as war criminals.   How the UN ignores its basic right to exist and to protect its citizens from terrorism and to defend its borders from hostile enemies is beyond reason. " The slap in the face is the number of UN countries who are ready to recognize a belligerent group as a state called Palestine without any peaceful intent towards Israel. 

Definition:  Judea and Samaria:  The Territories or "West Bank" 
Resource:  The Standard Jewish Encyclopedia by Dr. Geoffrey Wigoder,D.Phil., Editor-in-Chief
Textbook:  Middle East Past & Present by Yahya Armajani, Thomas M. Ricks
Big Lies:  Demolishing the Myths of the Propaganda War Against Israel by David Meir-Levi
Israel 101 by StandWithUs
Facts About Israel by division of Information, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem
The Case For Israel, Alan Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

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