Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Israeli Settlements are Legal
Settling Truths -Editorial
•Three legal experts on a government-appointed advisory body have concluded that the 45-year-old settlement project, which has reunited the Jewish people to land resonating with Jewish history dating back thousands of years, cannot in any way be construed as an international crime.
•Backed up by their intimate knowledge of international law, they argue that the British Mandate, which was ratified by the League of Nations, called for the creation of "a national home for the Jewish people" in the territory west of the Jordan River, including Judea and Samaria.
•The 1947 UN Partition Plan for Palestine never replaced the British Mandate since it was rejected by both the Palestinian Arab Higher Committee and by the states of the Arab League. While in the wake of Israel's War of Independence, Jordan seized control of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and parts of Jerusalem, Jordan's sovereignty was never recognized by the international community.
•Thus, the territory enjoys a unique status in international law as land that has never been unequivocally set aside for a specific people by the international community.
•While these conclusions might not succeed in convincing Israel's detractors that settlements are legal, at least the plain truth has now been reiterated - for the record.
Settlements' Legality Won't Prevent Peace -Jonathan S. Tobin
The release of a report on the legality of Israel's presence in the West Bank commissioned by Prime Minister Netanyahu is being widely dismissed by critics of his government as well as those of the Jewish state. Opposition to the settlements is so deeply entrenched that there is no argument, no matter how grounded in logic or justice, that would persuade those committed to the myth settlements are the only obstacle to peace, that they are not illegal.
But those horrified by the fact that Israel is willing to assert that it has rights in the West Bank that are as worthy of respect as those of the Arabs, are not just wrong about the legal arguments. Their assumption that a belief in the settlements' legality makes a peace deal impossible is equally mistaken. The assertion of Jewish rights merely means Israel has a leg to stand on when negotiating the permanent status of the West Bank and Jerusalem.
The Palestinians are unwilling to recognize Israel's legitimacy as a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn. It is that reluctance to give up their opposition to Jewish sovereignty even inside the Green Line that prevents peace. So long as the Palestinians are encouraged to believe they can uproot all of the Jews, including those living in the Jewish settlement known as Tel Aviv, it won't matter what the legal scholars say.