Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Okay, I'll Talk About Occupation

For all Birthright participants, past, present and future, who are worried they may not really be told anything on occupation when in Israel (or were told something on their campuses/from friends and were hoping to learn something to combat what they felt are lies), here's the nitty-gritty:

There is an occupation. Two, in fact. At least.

As a result of non-stop Arab terror throughout the 1950s and 1960s (heard of the fedayeen and the PLO's Fatah, all operational before 1967?), Israel was forced to defend itself in June 1967.  Yes, defend.  The administration of the territories taken in that war is a "belligerent occupation". That's the first occupation.

But don't be fooled.  The term "belligerent" doesn't mean that Israel's administration is belligerent (some will try to fool you and rewrite the definition like this: 'Military occupation occurs when a belligerent state invades the territory of another state'. Israel was not 'belligerent' in the way that is phrased. It was threatened, water route closed off, UN supervisors kicked out of Sinai and Jordan actually invaded Jerusalem and shelled Israeli locations. Oh, and there was no "state of Palestine"). The use of 'belligerent' was simply to indicate that it resulted from a war like in this definition: "belligerent occupation [is] established as a consequence of an armed conflict, that is to say through the conduct of hostilities".  And Israel fought a war that was defensive, against hostile countries.  And it was a just war. And justified. And moral.

Just by the way: "the 1949 Geneva Conventions do not contain a definition of belligerent occupation".

UPDATE: Some claim this - "The Fourth Geneva Convention applies to the West Bank, to the Gaza Strip, and to the entire City of Jerusalem, in order to protect the Palestinians living there." Others point to the fact that the Convention is between High Contracting Parties and as there never was a state called "Palestine", and no legal political sovereignty therein, Israel need protect anybody there but not because they are "Palestinians" but because they are humans who deserve humanitarian rights. What anti-occupationists do is to extend this misrepresentation and use humanitarian law to leverage political rights. That's cheating.

The second occupation could very well be the Arab occupation of Eretz-Yisrael but more on that later.

There is nothing wrong in using "Judea & Samaria".

Judea and Samaria (in Hebrew, Yehuda v'Shomron) is the correct name for the territory that Jordan occupied beginning in 1949 until Israel assumed its administration in 1967.  As regards who is the legal sovereign, there is a dispute. So, okay, it's "disputed territory". Some actually think it is "liberated territory".  For sure it was included in the area of the historic Jewish homeland that was to become the Jewish state as decided by the League of Nations in 1922.

The terms Judea & Samaria date back to Biblical times and appear numerous times in the Old and also the New Testament.  The 1947 partition plan borders of the UN used the terms Judea and Samaria. You can find them in many books from centuries ago.  And if we are discussing names, Throughout the 1920s, the Arabs of the Palestine Mandate requested to be termed Southern Syrians and that "Palestine", actually "Southern Syria" be joined to the French mandate over Syria.

About the use of 'West Bank': when the Kingdom of Jordan (remember, the illegal occupier of the territory, having conquered it in 1948) decided to annex the area, it created the tern 'West Bank'. That's it: April 1950.

Are Judea and Samaria "illegally occupied"?  No, Judea and Samaria are not "illegally occupied".

After the Balfour Declaration, the 1919 Versailles Peace Conference and the San Remo Accords of 1920, the League of Nations' decision to create the Mandate for Palestine recognized the Jewish right to settle and live in Judea & Samaria. Yes, here in Article 6:

The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.

And do not forget, the Mandate assured that recognition be given 

to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country;

Jordan denied Jews the right of living in Judea and Samaria after the Mufti-inspired pogroms of the 1920s and 1930s and then the 1948 war ethnically cleansed the area of thousands of its of its Jews, some families having resided therein for centuries, as in Hebron and Jerusalem's Old City.  Israel's is the most valid claim to the area.

Let's recall that the Oslo Accords established three geographical areas of jurisdiction in Judea and Samaria  – A, B and C – until a Israeli-Palestinian peace accord could be signed. Those accords did not prohibit Jews residing in Judea and Samaria?  Can you imagine Israel banning Arabs from living in Israel?

Let us borrow these conclusions:
Attempts to present Jewish settlement in ancient Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) as illegal and "colonial" in nature ignores the complexity of this issue, the history of the land, and the unique legal circumstances of this case.

Jewish communities in this territory have existed from time immemorial and express the deep connection of the Jewish people to land which is the cradle of their civilization, as affirmed by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, and from which they, or their ancestors, were ousted.

The prohibition against the forcible transfer of civilians to territory of an occupied state under the Fourth Geneva Convention was not intended to relate to the circumstances of voluntary Jewish settlement in the West Bank on legitimately acquired land which did not belong to a previous lawful sovereign and which was designated as part of the Jewish State under the League of Nations Mandate.

Bilateral Israeli-Palestinian Agreements specifically affirm that settlements are subject to agreed and exclusive Israeli jurisdiction pending the outcome of peace negotiations, and do not prohibit settlement activity.

Judea and Samaria also possess security value as strategic military requirements.

The area encompasses the southern and northern suburbs of Jerusalem and those to the east of Tel Aviv and the Jordan River to its west.  It includes Israel's central mountain range, and at 1,100 meters above sea level, it overlooks Israel’s largest population center in Tel-Aviv, as well as Israel’s only international airport and as far south as Ashkelon and north to Hadera.

And you should know that Judea and Samaria includes approximately 21% of all territory west of the Jordan River which is a land mass of 3,438 square miles (5,500 square km).  Its length (North-South) is approximately 79 miles (125 km) and varies from 19-34 miles (30-55 km) wide (East-West). Approximately 8% of Judea and Samaria has been developed including all Israeli and Palestinian-Arab development. The built up areas of Israeli settlements cover approximately 1.7 percent of all the land there.

If you have been told there are 'apartheid roads' in Judea & Samaria, there aren't.  The roads are traveled by all, Jews and Arabs.  But, yes, when there is an upsurge in terror and other forms of Arab violence, there will be restrictions.  In the almost 40% of Judea & Samaria that is under the control of the Palestinian Authority, it is illegal for Jewish Israeli citizens to enter or use those roads.

Have I occupied your attention?

There's more to come.



NancyB said...

Just excellent! I will be referencing this post of yours very frequently. Thanks for all your work on this blog.

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