Illegality of Israeli Settlements? Some Second Thoughts

May 17, 2014 at 9:32 AM 15 comments

Written By

Lewis D. Eigen

Illegal Settlements

This is a typical criticism of the new settlements the religious Israelis set up in Judea and Samaria.

Settlements!  Whenever any of the media interview Arabs unhappy about Israel, one of the major complaints is that the Israelis keep expanding their settlements which either take more of what is supposed to be Arab land
and/or utilize more of the limited resources of the area–mostly water.  The word “illegal” is almost always used in connection with the settlements by critics and many of the American friends of Israel.  Yet the Israelis keep enlarging the existing settlements (in housing units if not in geographic territory).  The Palestinians are put in the difficult position that the Peace Talks are supposed to negotiate the exact borders and division of the land and allocation of resources, but the Israeli’s keep unilaterally changing the subject of the negotiations–the land borders–at Palestinian expense.  The Israeli government is also in a difficult position in that there is a very strong political minority of orthodox Jews who say that God concreated Judea and Samaria for the Jewish People, and no Israeli government has the right to agree to prevent Jews from settling in their God-given lands.  Regardless of the law and the decisions of the government, they keep trying to settle on new areas, even as the Israeli Defense Forces remove them, often forcibly.  Each such incident causes a major political issue within Israel.  The Governments of Israel have thus far been unwilling to crack down sufficiently to stop the new settlement attempts completely.  They claim they would do so for a general, lasting and secure peace where the Arabs recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish State.  But since that is not close, and one major wing of the Palestinians–Hamas–takes the position that Israel does not have such a right of existence and worse, their charter calls for the murder of all Jews in any part of the world, the Israeli government is not about to go through the internal pain and disunity that would take place when they did officially give up the right of Jews to all of the land God consecrated for them.  (Of course no one knows what the precise borders of God’s gift are.)

This article explores a few facets of the settlement problem that are rarely discussed–aspects that will help those people interested in the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict might better understand.

 

Hasmonean_Kingdom

THis map shows the Jewish Kingdom in 100 BC. It not only included all of modern Israel, Judea and Samaria, all of Gaza and the West Bank. Outlined in blue, it also included much of Jordan, Lebanon and Syria as well as some of Egypt today. It was actually larger than this in earlier times.

Land & War

The claim of illegality of the settlements is based on one of the International Conventions that prohibits accession of territory as the result of war.  If this legal principle were taken literally and all past violations remedied, we would be redrawing the borders of much of the world.  Start with this reality: There is not a square foot of territory of the Middle East that has not been annexed as the result of war.  Most square feet have changed hands and nations many times–almost each time by force of arms. Some Israelis point out correctly that the Jews were ousted from their huge empire in Judea and Samaria by the force of arms. How could it be immoral or improper to take back by force what was taken from them by force. Of course, what most do not say is that the Ancient Jews themselves built that Empire by force. So at what point do we start the moral status quo of who has the right to what land? If we choose the latter half of the 20th Century, then Israel has altered the territory by force.  If we consider the first half of the 20th Century, the land belongs to Turkey. It was taken from them by the allies in WWI–by force of arms.  The Ottoman Turks “owned” the land for more time historically than any other nation or group. Of course the Turks siezed the land by force, from other Moslems who had taken it by force from pre-Islamic peoples of the Middle East, the Romans, the Jews and so forth into pre Biblical times. Really, only the British transferred control to the Arabs and Jews without a formal war, but there were insurrections of both.

So to pick a point in historical time and say the morality of the world is now reversed, the rules of the game have been changed, and those whose lands have been usurped cannot take it back by force is quite hypocritical. Of course the Israelis who make this point, cannot then turn around and say that it is “illegal” for the Palestinians to try and get control of the land they once controlled using violence and war.   Even Jews who think that the israeli settlement policy is self-destructive for Israel if not immoral, observe that it may be a coincidence or it may be anti-Semitism, but why is Israel the only nation which has won territory by war who should give it back.  America does not offer to return Indian lands. No one suggests that the Austro-Hungarian territory of much of Europe be returned to Austria and Hungary. China (although they still claim it) is not supported by any other country in their desire to re-control Vietnam. Or cede South Africa back to the Zulus or to the other Black tribes from whom the Zulus took the land by force of arms. Only the Jews seem to be held to this new “enlightened” level of morality and international law.  It should be noted however that most of the world has also criticized Russia for taking the Crimea from Ukraine, however the difference there is that it was the Russians themselves who gave the Crimea to Ukraine.

Just a few Jews can move onto West Bank land, erect a tiny shack, raise the Israeli flag, and they have created a new settlement in Judea or Samaria.  They also often create a geopolitical incident.

Just a few Jews can move onto West Bank land, erect a tiny shack, raise the Israeli flag, and they have created a new settlement in Judea or Samaria. They also often create a geopolitical incident.

Then of course there is the major justification of most of the Israeli settlers themselves. They have been given the right to all those lands by God! And what religion in the world has not at some point claimed that God’s law trumps man’s law?  The extreme, fundamentalist Jews of Israel believe that.  Now most Jews of Israel do not, and the majority of Jews outside of Israel do not believe in the literal obedience to the word of God in general as revealed in the Bible.  This is true of most people in the world. The irony is that there are three groups of people in the world who do believe that God’s law generally and in this case must supercede human secular law. They are the very fundamentalist Jews, Christians, and Moslems. The fundamentalist Jews and Christians interpretation of His law is that the Jews should have control of the disputed lands. The fundamentalist Moslems agree in principle with their Jewish and Christian counterparts–God’s law must prevail. However, they believe that the Koran trumps and supersedes the earlier Bible and that God changed his will.

Perhaps the most difficult problem that the human race faces in the 21st century is how to prevent minority extreme wings of majority religions in a culture to dominate the religious and civil life and laws of a culture and nation.

Dresden WWII

This was Dresden at the end of WWII. Every other German city was equally destroyed. Germans left alive were starving and freezing to death. They were so badly beaten that they were amenable to anything the allies wanted. The Israelis, who have even more firepower than America in WWII have never imposed this kind of destruction on the Palestinians.

Israel Has Never Totally Destroyed the Arabs

There is one difference in the Arab-Israeli conflict over land and virtually all others. The difference is that in other wars, the winners imposed such horrific pain on the losers that the latter sued for peace and agreed to whatever settlement the winners imposed.  The Germans in WWII were literally starving to death after the Allies had destroyed the entire German infrastructure and most of the male German population. The Germans “agreed” to cede the territories they claimed to Poland and others, and a peace treaty was signed with a puppet government that had been established by the Allies.  The Germans would have given anything after the Russians finally took Berlin, to have a situation like that of the Gazans after Israel attacked Gaza after years of repeated acts of war and thousands of attacks against Israel.   No Gazans have starved to death as many Germans did.  No Gazan women were been raped by the dominant military forces as the Russians did in Germany.  The percentage of the Gazan infrastructure that was destroyed was a small fraction of what had occurred in Germany–Japan also. And as for human casualties, total military and civilian casualties of the Gazans was but a tiny fraction of what the Germans and Japanese suffered.  (Hamas themselves have killed more Palestinians than the Israelis have and since the creation of Israel in all the wars between the Arabs and Israel, the Israeli’s have killed far fewer Arabs than the Arabs themselves have in their almost constant internecine warfare.)

The net result was that the Palestinians have not done what almost all other war defeated people have done in history:  Make a peace on the best terms that they can get, concentrate on rebuilding their economy, and in most cases become strong allies and traders with the nations who defeated them.

Some argue that the Arabs have not been beaten badly enough. That Israel, with all its military prowess, simply did not have the political will to “finish them off.”  Their own traditional morality has simply forbidden that.  Others point to the Arab culture, where “face”, dignity, and self-respect are of greater value to the Arabs than is their infrastructure, the lives and welfare of their people, their national aspirations and even the futures of their children.

The other explanation is that the religious fundamentalists in the Palestinian minority have dominated the society and, persuaded many that all Palestinians who may be killed are better off for it as they go directly to Paradise as martyrs, Therefore they are willing to lose many lives and all infrastructure.

 

Peace Requires Political Control by the Moderate Majority

Almost everyone who has studied the Middle East agrees that if there is to be any solution, the non extreme majorities of both sides have to be able to gain control over their extreme minorities. However on each side, there is a critical factor that has made this impossible in the recent past and so far, the present. In Israel, the democratic structure of many parties in a politically polarized society, gives the extreme religious parties a de facto veto over most government actions. If the settlement growth were stopped–a goal of the majority of Israelis–the existing government would fall. The reality is that simple.  In addition, some of the ultra orthodox are so fanatical that they would likely assassinate political leaders who would deny God and the Jewish people just as they murdered Prime Minister Rabin when they thought that he was about to do that.  Many Jewish politicians personally fear Jewish terrorists more than Moslem terrorists.

On the Arab side, they do not have the difficulty that democracy imposes on Israel, since although many claim they want to be democratic, the concept of democracy is far from what anyone in the West might recognize, and the prevailing Islamic religious view is that democracy itself is against the will of Allah.  However, their predilection to internal violence and assassination makes the Israeli few political assassinations seem like a Sunday School picnic. Thousands of Arab politicians and political wannabes have been slaughtered by the extremists. Anwar Sadat, the great Egyptian who pushed peace foward, didn’t last very long afterward. Political killings and brutal tortures are almost normative in many Arab cultures and amongst the Palestinians in particular. The situation is so bad, that the names of the political victims do not even make the press and media coverage of the area unless it is a major official as in Lebanon. the underlings are murdered frequently.

Many were terribly puzzled as to why Yasser Arafat never accepted the Independent state that Bill Clinton had brokered and Arafat had indicated he would sign. The reason may not be so complex as many of us try make it. He told us himself. He would have been murdered if he had signed. All it takes is one dedicated fanatic willing to sacrifice his own life. Arafat knew better than anyone else that he had tens of thousands, not just a few who were potential assassins if he signed.  He had been attacked several times when there were suspicion that he was doing something that some fanatic extremist did not like.

 

Must Israel Behave Differently Than the Rest of the World Has?

A solution will be difficult enough. But something that plays into the hands of the fanatic extremists on both sides is the harping of many of us in the rest of the world on the niceties of international law.  Outside focus in the settlement legality issue is counterproductive.  If there were a worldwide return of annexed land in process, the argument could be made for Israel, but in its absence, pressuring Israel alone only increases the sense of the Israeli center that the nation is under siege by a hypocritical world which wants Israel to do what no other nation has ever done before and is not willing to do now. For those Jew’s whose paranoia of anti-Semitism has been justified by the events of the first half of the 20th century, it produces an artificial alliance between moderate and secular Jews and their extreme fundamentalist fellow Israelis with whom they would normally be politically fighting tooth and nail if there were not these artificial causes for the false unity. One left wing Israeli told me:

“I personally am opposed to territorial acquisition by force. I personally would live to see the American Secretary of State go the our Knesset (parliament) and announce that New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and much of Southern California is being ceded back to Mexico from whom it was taken by force, (settling the Mexican War)  and as part of the new justice of the world that the US asks Israel to give back and relinquish all title and rights to the non-Israeli areas of Judea and Samaria.  I and most Israeli’s could get behind that. But as long as we Israelis are the only one, I could not in good conscience say that the Jewish people should be the only ones in the world to give up the right of land by conquest. In our case, our war was defensive–agaisnt all those Arab Armies who attacked us. The Mexican army never attacked you.”

Example of Americans in Milwaukee protesting the "illegal" settlements

Example of Americans in Milwaukee protesting the “illegal” settlements.  Normally most of these people are supporters,

The wagging of the international diplomatic fingers and citing international law also gives more strength and influence to the Arab extremists and religious fanatics. They become more than ever convinced that they are morally right–even some of the Christian West agrees. And the Moslems turn to their word of God, through The Prophet, which makes Islamic land as sacred to them as to the fundamentalist Jews. They become more convinced than ever that the sacrifice of their coreligionists’ lives is for the protection of Islam and is desired by God. And they have arguments to attack and even murder those Palestinian leaders who are more interested in a viable independent state than one that controls ever square foot of “Islamic” territory.

The illegality argument regarding the israeli settlements have been made for almost half a century, and certainly has done no good whatsoever, and many think it has made matters much worse.  Israel must abandon the fanatical notion of a small group of religious extremists, not because it violates international law which as we have seen is not totally clear. They must be abandoned because they do no good for the vast majority of Jews who are paying their taxes to support the dream of the ultra orthodox few who neither pay their share of taxes but will not even fight for Israel against the real enemies. They must be abandoned because it is not worth the lives of those innocent Israelis, nor the Arabs who die over land that has no strategic value and de minimis economic value to the people of the region.

So what can be an effective argument to Israelis regarding their settlements policy?

One of the best is the appeal to the Israeli tradition of trying to be a beacon to the nations–to set an example for the world.  This was an important concept for the Jews who first established Israel and the Labor Party governments of the past.  It is less important to Israelis today as a deep cynicism of moral rectitude is part of the opinion of many who have seen that no matter what they do, so many countries attack their various attempts to defend themselves.

 

A Beacon to the Nations

There are still many Israelis who still are committed to the idea that by establishing a state in modern times, they have a chance to be a model nation for others to emulate.  Ironically they have been very successful at this in many ways.  No country has ever developed so rapidly.  Their modern, technological society is the envy of many and that has been a model others have tried to emulate.  Their water management has changed the way all nations deal with water, including the Arabs who fight their existence.  Their education system is a model for many counties for in less than a century Israel has world class universities with students coming from much older nations to study generally and many of the Israeli nation building techniques like reclaiming the desert for habitation and agriculture.  Israel’s Supreme Court is prestigious worldwide and its independence of the legislature and executive is rare even among democracies.  So it is time that acquisition of land by conquest is ended for a modern, globalized world.  In principle, most Israeli political leaders are willing to live within the 1967 boundaries with swaps of land for Israel to include the larger settlements in return for giving other land to the Palestinians to give them a corridor to connect Gaza and the West Bank and other purposes.  Fairness is a fundamental Jewish concept deeply embedded both in the Jewish religion and the secular ethics and norms.  Not all Israelis will be at all moved by this argument, but the secular Jews, the majority, still value this notion.

There are many Israelis who want peace and a 2-state solution if their security can be protected.

There are many Israelis who want peace and a 2-state solution if their security can be protected.

The majority of the Israelis still prefer a two state solution so long as Israel be accepted as a Jewish State by the new Palestinian State and have assurances of security.  The fear of many Israelis is that the Palestinians might claim to accept Israel, build their state (even with Israeli assistance) but use the time to continue to preach hate of the Jews to the coming generations and build their resources for another full scale war in 20 years to eliminate Israel.  But negotiations could provide security guarantees, and that Israeli majority knows perfectly well that the settlement issue is just a major thorn in the sides of both the Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiators.  So simply on pragmatic grounds, a halt in new settlements will help pursue the possibility of peace.

 

Other Arguments of Persuasion

There is an internal political situation in Israel that could also be used to persuade the majority of Israelis to support new settlement cessation.  The deeply religious Israeli minority that wants the right of Jews to settle in the land God gave them tend to also be very much opposed to any two state solution.  The peace opponents, and there are many but still a loud minority, realize that they can blow up peace talks by more encroaching on Palestinain territory with more settlement building attempts, just as the Palestinian minority that wants no peace settlement so they can continue their armed struggle to oust the foreign usurpers from the Middle East.  A suicide bomber of other violent attack on Israel will cause a halt to the Peace Process.  For most Israelis the extreme religious drive to settle in Judea and Samaria has not resonance, and that extreme minority is de facto in control of the peace process for the Israeli side.  Many Israelis want to “get their country back.”  Most Israelis are reluctant to make this schism very public lest the enemies of Israel think they are divided and view it as a weakness of which they can take advantage.  But it really does exist.  There is no successful peace process possible in Israel unless the majority can gain enough control to prevent the extreme minority from sabotaging  efforts to reach a solution, just as the majority of the Palestinians who want peace have to gain enough political control so that Hamas cannot make sure that there will be no settlement.

Positive reasons for ending new settlement expansion is that much money can ge saved by not having to pay for the Israeli Defense Forces to keep the peace as each new settlement produces push back and squabbles with the Palestinians in the area.  The majority can also prevent what is a real scam where opportunists pretend to create new settlements for religious reasons when their real purpose is to have the Israeli government pay them a huge stipend to leave the settlement at some time in the future when peace may be iminent.  The families who had settled in Gaza were paid large sums when the Israeli government decided to withdraw from Gaza.  The majority would gladly put a stop to that.

 

Sumary

In summary, positive arguments presented to the Israelis are likely to have much better results than wagging the settlement illegality finger.  At worst, it will not have much effect, but the negative legality arguments have made no headway whatsoever.

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Entry filed under: History, Politics, Solutions. Tags: , , , , , , .

The Israeli Lebanon War: Response to Switzerland Slavery Still Lives & The Slavers Use Israel to Distract

15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Michael  |  May 19, 2014 at 5:33 AM

    Interesting article, to which I’d add the topic of the British Mandate. The League of Nations (and later, the UN) has given the British a mandate for Palestine after they took control from the Ottoman Empire. In 1948 Jordan occupied part of the territory nowadays called “West Bank”, otherwise known as Judea and Samaria, and Egypt occupied Gaza, areas that were occupied by Israel in 1967. Jordan annexed the West Bank (a move unrecognized by anyone except UK and Pakistan) and has renounced the annexation since. These areas are therefore “orphans” in terms of statehood, and this should be included in the discussion of the legality of Israeli’s living in Judea and Samaria.

    Reply
    • 2. Scriptamus  |  June 1, 2014 at 5:50 PM

      That is absolutely right. Thanks for adding it.

      However, as I understand the international legal issues, the UN Resolution Creating Modern Israel assumed that area was to be Palestinian–not Jordanian. But it restricted to the land Israel had sovereignty over to the original israeli borders. This have been expanded somewhat as a result of the outcome of the several wars. However, Israel is already on record as agreeing to the pre 1967 borders with tradeoffs and swaps and all of Judea and Samaria would never be in the swap–Israel has not enough land to trade off for them.

      If there could ever be a two state solution and peace, the would then be a real possibility for the ultra orthodox Jews to settle in Judea and Samaria. They would do so as guests or citizens of the Palestinian State. Mexico fought a nasty war with the United States which many Mexicans resent to this day. But everyone has found a way for Americans to obtain land and set up a residence in Mexico and also keep their American citizenship. There are many advantages for the Mexicans of such and arrangement. Peace might be able to achieve what are the unrealized and unrealistic war objectives of the ultra orthodox Jews of Israel were not able to achieve.

      Reply
      • 3. Michael  |  June 2, 2014 at 4:13 AM

        The UN resolution (I assume you refer to 182) was limited in time and dependent on the acceptance of it by all parties. It also sketched borders which have nothing to do with today’s reality nor were sustainable by any scenario. Israel after the Independence War did not have borders but cease-fire lines, which by definition are temporary. Nowadays, Israel has a defined border with Jordan and Egypt, secured in peace agreements and an internationally recognized border with Lebanon.

        The agreements you refer to, with or without the land swaps, were proposals for a peace agreement and an end to the conflict, done in negotiations. Since these proposals were refused by the Arab side, they are no longer valid. It doesn’t mean that any new deal will automatically include past ideas.

        I don’t see why you link Jewish aspirations to live in Judea and Samaria, including Jerusalem (and its Old City) exclusively to ultra-orthodox Jews. Many Israeli’s living there are not even remotely religious.

        The idea that another Palestinian State is needed and that it will be viable, is not really supported by the situation on the ground. There are already more than 20 Arab states, of which one Palestinian (Jordan) and I’m not even counting Gaza. All are failing states, and most are disintegrating completely (Iraq, Syria, Libya). So what is the logic of creating another entity that will be overrun by al-Qaeda on the day it is created?

      • 4. Scriptamus  |  June 3, 2014 at 2:54 PM

        Good points as usual but not really on point here.

        You are correct that technically the land swap deal was contingent upon the Palestinian acceptance which foolishly they never did. However, as a practical matter the Prime Minister, the Israeli chief negotiator appointed by the cabinet and several other high ranking Israelis have subsequently said that this was still their position. What we all should be aware of is many of the ultra orthodox and deeply committed settlers disapprove of the Israeli government policy on this. Nonetheless, that is the Israeli policy and if there will be a settlement, it will be along those lines. (BTW Abbas has also publicly accepted this arrangement.)

        You say that not all the settlers trying to expand the settlements and want free access to Judea and Samaria are orthodox. I will take your word for that, but when I was there I did not meet one who was not very religious. I have not ever seen a TV interview with a settler who was not wearing a yarmulka and based his right to be their on the Bible. By what right do the non religious claim that they can go and settle on that land. They could not do it i Canada, or France without the permission of the governments. The ONLY justification Jews have to that land is God. So what do the non religious say?

        Last you observe that all the Arab states in the area are failing states. That has been true since the Golden age of Islam more than 600 years ago. But what right does Israel have to eliminate failing states or prevent another one from existing if that is the self-determination of the people there to try? You argue that Al Qaeda will take over the Palestinian state if it were created. They have not even been able to take over Iraq. And what is to stop them from taking over Gaza. The make trouble, but they take over nothing. Hamas is a greater danger in my opinion than Al Qaeda. The danger of a Palestinian State for Israel is that the Palestinians would feign peace and use the next decade or so to build up their industrial and military capacity to the point that they can start another war. But any settlement would I am sure, have controls so that the Israelis can inspect for that (and Mossad would find out even if they didn’t.) They could always re-occupy if necessary.

  • 5. Vote Draiman  |  June 1, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    Under International Law – An Arab/Palestinian State cannot be established in Israel
    The Exclusive Political Rights Granted To Jews In 1920 At San Remo
    San Remo Agreement of 1920 that established the British Mandate for Palestine. It granted the Jews exclusive collective political rights to Palestine, in trust, to vest when the Jews had attained a population majority.
    The San Remo agreement of 1922 states that only the Jewish people can set-up its own government.
    In violation of the of the agreement the British allocated over 77% of the Jewish land to Trans-Jordan.
    Now you want to allocate more Jewish land to the Arab/Palestinians, again in violation of the agreement. This would create two Arab countries and one Jewish country greatly reduced in its original land allocation. This is in violation of International law and the San Remo agreement which was adapted by the League of Nations and signed by 51 member countries.
    Under the law we must address the ejection of close to a million Jews from Arab countries and the property and assets that were confiscated. In addition about a third of those Jews died during those Arab pogroms against its Jewish population.
    YJ Draiman

    Reply
  • 6. Scriptamus  |  June 1, 2014 at 5:28 PM

    You make one very good and important point and one that I personally think is not so valid.

    The latter is the 1920 San Remo Agreement. There are a host of legal arguments back and forth as to its legality and binding nature. Even Israel does not take the position that they only are entitled to the territory of Judea and Samaria. However, even if the areas were ceded to the Jews, the present Israeli government had the absolute right to enter into a new treaty and change the status of the territories. There will never be a two state solution or any solution unless Israel agrees. Israel is already on record as agreeing to the pre 1967 borders with tradeoffs and swaps so I think this point is moot.

    However, your second major point is terrific and absolutely crucial in the general discussion. A HUGE proportion of the Jews in the Middle East were ejected (Ethnically Cleansed) from the Middle East–including Egypt–most without being allowed to sell their property or take it or money with them. The proportion of Arabs in the Middle East who had been dislocated when Israel became a state was tiny. None the less we almost always hear about the dislocated Palestinian and their “right of return”. We rarely hear about the dislocated Jews adn THEIR right of return. However, that is mostly the fault of the Israelis and the American Jews who rarely discuss this point. So thanks for making it.

    I have actually started another article on this topic and hope to have it done in a few few weeks and will publish it on Scriptamus. I would look foward to your reaction to it.

    Reply
    • 7. YJ Draiman  |  March 6, 2015 at 4:02 AM

      The San Remo Agreement was confirmed by the 1920 Treaty of Sevres.

      Reply
      • 8. Scriptamus  |  March 6, 2015 at 3:03 PM

        According to all the International Legal Opinions, the San Remo Agreement and the Treaty of Sevres have clearly both been superseded by other treaties and concords, the most important of which was the UN Declaration creating the state of Israel. That was then supported by almost (except for some orthodox) every Jewish organization in the world and especially the Jewish groups in Palestine. This supersedes all other agreements regarding a Jewish State in the Mid-East. There is NOTHING in that agreement that even implies that Jews have a right to settle anywhere in the region without the permission of the government of the area whatever that might be, Arab citizens of Israel are entitled to settle anywhere in Israel as long as the do so in accordance with Israeli law. Arabs, who are NOT citizens of Israel have NO RIGHTS to settle in Israel unless Israel allows this. The same is true for Jewish Settlers who would settle outside of legal boundaries of Israel. They may only do so at the sufferance of the Arab Governments.

        One last point. Even the present Israeli Government which dares not to curb the settlement activities–even they do not cite the San Remo agreement knowing full well that it has been superseded. The few members of the Government who will publicly defend the right of Jews to settle in Judea and Samaria justify it as the mandate of God plus the tradition of Jewish presence there forever–not the San Remo Agreement.

  • 9. Michael  |  June 9, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    Israel actually is a side in a future agreement. What is the point of making agreements with a state that can’t uphold them because it doesn’t have a functioning government? Iraq and Syria are not functioning by all accounts, with parts of the area run by various extremists.

    What Abbas has or has not accepted is of no importance whatsoever. He is not a legitimate leader, has overstayed his term for over 6 years now and is not supported by anyone but a bunch of his armed minions.

    I didn’t refer to “settler trying to expand the settlements and want free access to Judea and Samaria” – just to Jews (and Israeli’s in general) who live in Judea and Samaria. About the interviews – it says more about the interviewers, who seek to uphold the traditional image of the Evil Jew – wearing a yarmulka and wielding an Uzi. Next time you’re in the area – go to Ariel, or to Pisgat Zeev, and look around you – see how many stereotype “settlers” you’ll find.

    Judea and Samaria are at best “disputed areas” the legal status of which is a matter of debate. Why wouldn’t Jews live wherever they want in their homeland? You might as well ask by what right Arabs live there.

    The argument of re-occupation has been proposed before Oslo as well. Unfortunately, the events lived up to the blackest predictions – the Israeli army had to go in and fight well-armed terrorists hiding between dense civil population. The IDF had to use a huge amount of restraint to limit civillian casualties, restraint which caused heavy casualties to the Israeli forces. The Israeli public is not in the mood for another such adventure, since the Israeli’s are actually the ones to do the fighting and dying against even better armed terrorists the next time.

    Reply
  • 10. Scriptamus  |  June 9, 2014 at 2:16 PM

    The only area where I have a major disagreement with you is over the right of a Jew to settle in Judea and Samaria. You claim it is disputed land. Who are the disputants. One one side are the Palestinians, all the Arab countries, the EEC, the United States, the UN, and most of the world. On the other side are a minority of Israelis, and a few others scattered in the US (like yourself) and elsewhere–particularly fundamentalist Protestants, Even the Government of Israel does not dispute this. Most Jewish Americans do not support the right of Jews (or anyone else) to unilaterally settle in Judea and Samaria or anywhere else.

    As Americans we cannot settle anywhere we want in the United States. Nor could we settle on land that is in dispute. So unless one believes that the world of God as perceived by those who wrote the Old Testament trumps all man-made law, unilateral settlement is out.

    Reply
    • 11. Michael  |  June 10, 2014 at 3:42 AM

      Well, how about the Mandate given by the League of Nations? That one actually specified that Jews are to have their home state in Palestine, which back then included all of Jordan as well?

      By the way – I am not in the US, just to make that point clear.

      I think that the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria is ensuring the safety and survival of the State of Israel. On multiple levels – physical, moral, theological and ideological safety and survival. And I don’t think it matters much whether most Jewish Americans support Jews living there or not. Its a fact, its not going to change and the sooner the Arabs and others will accept that, the sooner will be peace. May I remind you that not so long ago very few people supported the idea of the Jewish State, and look where we are now.

      Reply
  • 12. YJ Draiman  |  February 15, 2015 at 9:54 AM

    The most obvious and dangerous cause of conflict and instability in the Middle East is the so-called peace process itself

    Let me advance an interesting opinion: The most dangerous cause of instability in the Middle East is the so-called peace process itself.
    I know this is an unusual point of view. Give me a chance to describe my theory.
    By my count, there have been at least 25 major outbursts of violence between Jews and Arab-Palestinians in the Middle East since 1920.
    Every one of these conflicts ended in a similar way. Either outside powers imposed a ceasefire — or else Israel halted military operations, before the campaign was accomplished and just before a ceasefire could be imposed.
    Every one of these conflicts began in a similar way, too: with a renewed attack by the Arab side, or else (as in 1956 or 1967) by Arab violations of the terms of the previous armistice or ceasefire and a blockade in the Suez Canal.
    Think for a minute how unusual this is. Wars usually end when one side or the other decides it cannot continue fighting. The losing side accepts terms it had formerly deemed unacceptable because the alternative — continued fighting — seems even worse. Wherever have you heard the vanquished calling the terms.
    I doubt many Hungarians are delighted to have lost more than half their territory to neighbors in Romania and the former Yugoslavia. The Bolivians still remember the loss of their Pacific coast to Chile in 1884. Some in Indonesia continue to regard East Timor as rightfully theirs.
    Yet for the most part, these nations have reconciled themselves to these unwelcome outcomes.
    Exactly the opposite has occurred in the Arab-Israeli dispute.
    Egypt lost the Sinai Peninsula in 1956, but got it back by pressuring Israel. It lost the Sinai again in 1967, and again recovered it (although this time the right way, after signing a formal peace). I might mention that when Egypt gained its independence, it did not include the Sinai.
    Syria lost the Golan in 1967, attacked Israel in 1973, lost again — and still demands the return of the territory.
    Arab-Palestinians rejected the 1947 partition, resorted to war, lost, and to this day demand compensation for their losses.
    It is like a game of roulette where the management stops the game whenever you begin losing too badly, with promises to refund your money as soon as it conveniently can. What gambler could resist returning to the tables?
    I understand why Western governments have acted as they have. They have feared that unless they somehow smooth the situation, the world oil market will be upset and radical ideologies will spread through the Islamic world. Just like the Arab oil embargo of 1973.
    What they do not see is that their efforts to contain the problem have in fact aggravated it, and accelerated the hostilities by the Arabs.
    Think of this alternative history:
    Suppose that the Western world had not intervened in 1949. Suppose the Israeli war of independence had been fought to the bitter end: Arab armies breaking apart and fleeing, as they have in the past, commanders laying down their arms, columns of refugees crossing the Jordan River.
    The 1949 war would have ended not with an armistice, but with a surrender. Arab-Palestinian refugees would have had to settle in new homes, just as the million Jews expelled from their former homes in the Arab lands resettled in Israel.
    The outcome would have squelched any hope that more fighting would have yielded a different result — and the more decisive result might have dissuaded Arab governments from any further attempts to resort to force.
    Now Think of another scenario.
    In the 1990’s, the former Yugoslavia erupted into war. New states with new borders were carved out of the old country. Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced. Horrific atrocities were committed. Happily, the conflict ended. The displaced adjusted to life in their new homes. Former enemies may still mistrust each other, but violence has faded and seems unlikely to return.
    Suppose instead the world had agreed that one of the combatant ethnic groups — the Serbs, say, but it really does not matter — retained a permanent inextinguishable right to reclaim its former homes with all its new offspring’s. Suppose the world agreed to pay displaced persons from that group billions in foreign aid on condition that they never permanently resettled in the territory to which the ethnic group had moved. Suppose the world tolerated Serbian terrorist attacks on Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo as understandable reactions to injustice. The conflict and violence would continue.
    Would there be peace in the former Yugoslavia today?
    The Middle East peacemakers for the most part act with the highest of intentions and the most exquisite patience. But instead of extinguishing the conflict, they have prolonged it. A peace process intended to insulate the Arab world from the pain of defeat has condemned the Arab world — and the Arab-Palestinian people above all — to an unending war, which is initiated by the Arabs.
    Every war must end — and end badly for at least one of the belligerents. It is time for this war to end too, and at last. May the victor be merciful.

    Reply
  • 13. YJ Draiman  |  July 5, 2016 at 11:48 PM

    Jewish Rights to Palestine Were Internationally Guaranteed
    In the first Report of the High Commissioner on the Administration of Palestine (1920-1925) presented to the British Secretary of State for the Colonies, published in April 1925, the most senior official of the Mandate, the High Commissioner for Palestine, underscored how international guarantees for the existence of a Jewish National Home in Palestine were achieved:

    “The [Balfour] Declaration was endorsed at the time by several of the Allied Governments; it was reaffirmed by the Conference of the Principal Allied Powers at San Remo in 1920; it was subsequently endorsed by unanimous resolutions of both Houses of the Congress of the United States; it was embodied in the Mandate for Palestine approved by the League of Nations in 1922; it was declared, in a formal statement of policy issued by the Colonial Secretary in the same year, ‘not to be susceptible of change.’ ” 29

    Far from the whim of this or that politician or party, eleven successive British governments, Labor and Conservative, from David Lloyd George (1916-1922) through Clement Attlee (1945-1952) viewed themselves as duty-bound to fulfill the “Mandate for Palestine” placed in the hands of Great Britain by the League of Nations.

    PS
    The Oslo Accords are null and void as Stated by Abbas at the UN in the summer of 2015. The Arab/Palestinians never abided by its terms and never intended to abide by its terms. I was a deceptive way to get control of the territory as a prelude to commit terror and take over the rest of Israel. The best example you have is the terrorist state in Gaza and the increased terror and violence from the Arabs in Judea and Samaria aka The West Bank.

    Reply
  • 14. YJ Draiman  |  July 5, 2016 at 11:49 PM

    In Israel; if we do not fight for our rights, we will not be here. It is a matter of survival.
    Abbas the financier of the Munich Massacre.
    Complain on Israel ignoring its Jewish roots and heritage of our nation.
    The minute the U.N. its representatives or anyone else call Judea and Samaria aka West Bank occupied territory, than there is nobody to talk to. Jordan is also occupied territory. Moreover, all the Arab countries established after WWI are also occupied territory; they were all allocated their territory by the Supreme Allied Powers at the same time they allocated Palestine aka The Land of Israel as the National Home of The Jewish people in their historical land as international law. The Jewish people must fight for their rights and heritage no concessions. Past concessions and compromise have proved counterproductive and only increased terror and violence. Stop deluding your-selves the Arabs do not want peace; they want all of Israel without the Jews. When the Arabs teach and train their children to hate, commit terror and violence, and their charter calls for the destruction of Israel. You are dealing with the enemy and not a peace partner. NEVER AGAIN. Stop the Ghetto Mentality.
    The Arabs attacked Israel with superior men-power and weapons, in four wars since the British left The Land of Israel aka Palestine in 1948. The lost all four wars in utter defeat. It is time for the Arabs to face reality. The Land of Israel west of the Jordan River which was liberated in four defensive wars; will be retained by Israel and its Jewish population for eternity.
    It is enough, that the Arabs have Jordan, which is Jewish territory, and the homes and 120,000 sq. km. of land the Arabs confiscated from the expelled million Jewish families, who lived in the Arab countries for over 2,500 years and now were resettled in Israel and comprise over half the population.
    YJ Draiman

    Reply
  • 15. Scriptamus  |  July 6, 2016 at 3:59 PM

    Mr. Draiman’s comment here illustrates one of the major the great difficulties in resolving the Arab-Israeili conflict. He and a minority of Jews in Israel and outside, honestly believe that the West Bank and other lands–what they call Judea and Samaria, belong to Israel by a combination of divine right and the fruit of conquest.

    More Jews and almost all non-Jews in the world, do not believe that modern national boundaries should be determined by Biblical covenant, any more than they believe that adulterers should be stoned to death, or women should be obedient to their husbands.

    Draimen also gets incensed when the term “occupied territories” is applied to the current West Bank area and more. They argue that “you cannot occupy what you already own”. However, when the US Occupied Germany and Japan after WWII, we had armed soldiers patrolling the streets and functioning as the highest form of policing and law and order. Some self government was allowed but the occupiers always had the right to nullify actions not perceived by the occup[iers as in the best interests of all. The occupiers had the right of searches and seizers without warrants. All permits for utility, infrastructure and businesses were at the sufferance of the Americans. German or Japanese who were considered detrimental, were incarcerated by the occupiers or banned from many activities. I for one, cannot think of a single activity or power exercised by America in those cases that Israel is not exercising at this time. If it is not an occupation in teh West Bank, it sure looks like one and has all the elements of an occupation.

    Many people Jewish and others look at the fact on the ground and cannot reach any other conclusion but that Israel occupies these territories. To describe the occupation for what it is, is not anti-Semitic; it is realistic. Mr. Draiman assumes that anyone who describes the situation as “occupation” is against it, and that is not so at all. I for one am very clear that there is an ongoing occupation, but I do not think that it is illegal or even detrimental to the area. The Palestinians and other Arabs have had over 60 years to negotiate a peace treaty. AIn the vast majority of that time, they have refused to even meet with the Israelis much less attempt to negotiate a peace treaty. If the United States had ended the occupation of Germany and Japan without a peace treaty sincerely negotiated and signed with the intention of carrying it out, WWIII would have broken out long ago. No other occupation has ended without a mutually agreed upon peace treaty and this occupation should be no exception.

    The strongest argument against Draiman’s claim that all this land is part of Israel, is what would happen if it were so? A minority of Jews would be imposing their will on a larger majority and democracy would be impossible. For most Jews and non-Jews,that is anathema. However, and this is key to understanding the extreme position of some Jews regarding Middle East Land, many of these ulta-orthodox Jews are OPPOSED to democracy. God has given us the law; it is up to humans to obey, not try and play God be making laws. Many still regard the Israeli government as illegitimate. Those ultra-orthadox Jews are not alone in this belief. Many fundamentalist Christians even in America held that view. And large numbers of Moslems do. These ultra-orthodox Jews agree completely with the Supreme Leader of Iran and the “Caliph of ISIS” with one exception. They each have different views and interpretations of what are the laws of God. So if Israel wanted to start a theocracy like Iran did, a good start would be to annex the currently disputed lands.

    Reply

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