Thursday, March 27, 2008

Rude Rubinstein

This appeared in the Jerusalem Post, composed by Professor Amnon Rubinstein:-

Settling Jews outside of Israel proper is - it is submitted - illegal in international law and is defective morally. The fourth Geneva Convention, which Israel has signed and ratified, prohibits such settlements. True, the Knesset has not translated these provisions into Israeli legislation, but in the opinion of this writer such an act of domestic reception is unnecessary as the convention by its very definition relates to occupied territories which lie outside the limits of Israeli law and jurisdiction.

My response:-

With all due recognizance of my lack of an academic degree in international law, I suspect that Professor Amnon Rubinstein errs and has, perhaps, allowed personal political ideology to overcome simple principles of jurisprudence and rational thought. In writing that "Settling Jews outside of Israel proper is...illegal in international law and is defective morally", while basing himself on the fourth Geneva Convention, claiming that thast document "prohibits such settlements" ("The folly at Givat Zeev", Mar. 25), he is expressing a defective logic and misrepresenting facts.

In the first place, that convention applies, as does any contractual obligation, to those who are signatories who are defined as the "High Contracting Parties". As there was no "Palestine" when that convention was produced, Israel cannot be considered as "occupying" another entity's territories, an entity that is not a party to that contract. Secondly, it was David Ben-Gurion, in a statement pronounced in the Knesset on December 3, 1949, who declared that the UN resolution of 29th November no longer has any moral force and is null and void. Taken together with the reality that the official representative bodies of the Arab community of the British Mandate refused to acknowledge that 1947 decision, in essence, the area administered currently by Israel since 1967, what Rubinstein refers to as "occupied", is still part of what the League of Nations Supreme Council defined on July 24, 1922 as the area to be reconstituted as the national home of the Jewish people. A Jew and a state institution representing the Jewish people, such as Israel, cannot be an "occupier" in its own country.

Moreover, Jews moving in to places like Givat Zeev and Shiloh are fulfilling the principle established in that Mandate decision which guaranteed them the "right to immigration to and close settlement on the land", paragraph 6. Therefore, even if the state of Israel was not actively encouraging and aiding such acts, individual Jews surely maintain those rights even unto this day.

Third, and last, since Jews lived in and owned and tilled property in those "territories" for hundreds of years prior to the wars of aggression by which Arabs, local and foreign, sought to eliminate the state of Israel, both in 1947-49 and in 1967, they are only returning home. Surely, they must protect the civil liberties of the non-Jewish population (and note: the terms "Arab" appears nowhere in that document becuase the international community and it law did not recognize any specific Arab ethnic or national right to the area of the Mandate). But that does not affect the right of a Jew or group of Jews or an entity like the state of Israel to facilitate those actions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

While your points are valid, those who believe that somewhere between 1993 and 2000 there formed an entity of Palestine, won't agree to them.

The most convincing argument against Rubenstein is the fact that the Geneva Convention doesn't say what he thinks it does. When it forbids transfer of civilian population to occupied territories (even giving the fact that YSH is occupied according to the definitions of the GC- itself a stretch), that's referring to forced transfer. I don't remember the last time the Israeli government forced its citizens to move over the green line in order to change the facts on the ground. In fact, even their hatavot have completely stopped.

Read the document, you'll see it says what I say it does.