Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

The Inconvenient Truth

As the Nazis, y"sh, discovered decades ago, a lie repeated often enough takes on the aspect of truth.  Nowhere has this found greater expression than in lies repeated over and over against Israel.  As David M Phillips notes in a recent article, this certainly extends towards the lie that Israeli is "illegally" occupying the so-called Palestinian West Bank.
The conviction that Jewish settlements in the West Bank are illegal is now so commonly accepted, it hardly seems as though the matter is even open for discussion. But it is. Decades of argument about the issue have obscured the complex legal question about which a supposedly overwhelming verdict of guilty has been rendered against settlement policy. There can be no doubt that this avalanche of negative opinion has been deeply influenced by the settlements’ unpopularity around the world and even within Israel itself. Yet, while one may debate the wisdom of Israeli settlements, the idea that they are imprudent is quite different from branding them as illegal. Indeed, the analysis underlying the conclusion that the settlements violate international law depends entirely on an acceptance of the Palestinian narrative that the West Bank is “Arab” land. Followed to its logical conclusion — as some have done — this narrative precludes the legitimacy of Israel itself
Here are in the inconvenient facts: In 1920 the United Kingdom was given a mandate by the League of Nations to develop the territory of Palestine, which at that time consisted of what today is both Israel and Jordan, as a national home for the Jewish people.
In 1922, the British unilaterally violated this mandate by giving Jordan to their Arab wartime allies from Saudi Arabia.  Yes, that's correct.  Noble king Abdullah II's familiy is not from Jordan.  They were kicked out from Arabia by Ibn Saud's tribe and given a new home by the British.
From 1922-1947 the British repeatedly changed the terms of the Mandate, restricting Jewish immigration while doing their best to flood the land with Arabs and North Africans in order to create a massive Arab majority they could then use to say "See, the Jewish population is such a minority we can't create a state for them!"
In 1947, with the mandate crumbling, the British handed the question of what to do with Israel to the United Nations.  The UN, in the only pro-Jewish move it has ever taken, voted to partition the land between the Jewish and Arab populations, creating two states.  The Jewish leadership accepted.  The Arab leadership did not.
In 1948 the British army withdrew from Israel and the War of Independence was fought.  Since the Arab leadership had rejected the UN partition deal, no two defined states were created.  The ceasefire in 1949 created a new reality on the ground - a predominantly Jewish Israel inside what is now called the Green Line and unowned territories outside it with Yehudah and Shomron occupied by Jordan and 'Aza occupied by Egypt.
Between 1949-67 only Britain and Pakistan recognized Jordan's illegal occupation of Yehudah and Shomron.  No one recognized Egypt's rulership over 'Aza.  Any talk of a "stolen" Arab state involved Israel, not the so-called occupied territories where the local populations were kept under an iron fist by their occupying brothers.
In the wake of the Six Day War, this situation arbitrarily changed.  The same countries that previously did not recognize Egyptian and Jordanian rule of Yesha suddenly did, once Israel took the lands over.  The same groups that previously claimed that pre-1967 Israel was "occupied Palestine" suddenly started applying that name to Yesha.
There was never an independent state called Palestine in all of history.  There was never a Palestinian currency, parliament or president until the murderer Yassir Arafat, y"sh, was granted the title.  Palestinian culture appears spontaneously in the 1920's after the British and French divided Syria away from Israel.  Under the Ottomans they had been part of one satrapie and the locals in Israel considered themselves Syrian, not Palestinian.  Only once they were separated did this new group suddenly appear.
These are the inconvenient facts.  More follow:
Thus, if the charge that Israel’s hold on the territories is illegal is based on the charge of theft from its previous owners, Jordan’s own illegitimacy on matters of legal title and its subsequent withdrawal from the fray makes that legal case a losing one. Well before Jordan’s renunciation, Eugene Rostow, former dean of Yale Law School and undersecretary of state for political affairs in 1967 during the Six-Day War, argued that the West Bank should be considered “unallocated territory,” once part of the Ottoman Empire. From this perspective, Israel, rather than simply “a belligerent occupant,” had the status of a “claimant to the territory.”
To Rostow, “Jews have a right to settle in it under the Mandate,” a right he declared to be “unchallengeable as a matter of law.” In accord with these views, Israel has historically characterized the West Bank as “disputed territory” (although some senior government officials have more recently begun to use the term “occupied territory”).
Are the "settlements" in Yehuda and Shomron illegal?
Nonetheless, Israel established and maintains a military administration overseeing the West Bank in accordance with the Hague Regulations, probably the only military power since World War II other than the United States (in Iraq) that has done so. For example, consistent with Article 43 of the Regulations, which calls on the occupant to “respect … unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country,” Israel has for the most part continued to follow Jordanian law in the West Bank, despite its position that Jordan itself had illegally occupied it.

Article 46 of the Hague Regulations bars an occupying power from confiscating private property. And it is on this point that the loudest cries against the settlements have been based. Israel did requisition land from private Arab owners to establish some early settlements, but requisitioning differs from confiscation (compensation is paid for use of the land), and the establishment of these settlements was based on military necessity. In a 1979 case, Ayyub v. Minister of Defence, the Israeli Supreme Court considered whether military authorities could requisition private property for a civilian settlement, Beth El, on proof of military necessity. The theoretical and, in that specific case, actual answers were affirmative. But in another seminal decision the same year, Dwaikat v. Israel, known as the Elon Moreh case, the court more deeply explored the definition of military necessity and rejected the tendered evidence in that case because the military had only later acquiesced in the establishment of the Elon Moreh settlement by its inhabitants. The court’s decision effectively precluded further requisitioning of Palestinian privately held land for civilian settlements.
After the Elon Moreh case, all Israeli settlements legally authorized by the Israeli Military Administration (a category that, by definition, excludes “illegal outposts” constructed without prior authorization or subsequent acceptance) have been constructed either on lands that Israel characterizes as state-owned or “public” or, in a small minority of cases, on land purchased by Jews from Arabs after 1967.
I encourage you to read the article in full.  A thorough analysis of the subject, objections can only be raised against it through skewed, incomplete or biased sources of information or through outright lying, the kind of lying that has created the myth of the so-called Palestinian people in the first place.

1 comment:

Shalmo said...