Tuesday, July 10, 2012
In case you haven’t heard the news, Israel owns Samaria and Judea – again.
Well, at least, according to the Levy Commission Report, the area also known as the West Bank is not “occupied territory.”
The orange area in the right-middle of the map below is the area under discussion. It was indeed Israel after God gave it to the Hebrew children under the leadership of Joshua. Yes, they had to take it from the Canaanites, Palestinians, etc., but clearly according to the Bible it was theirs.
Permit me a bit of foreshortening, but after 70 AD, when Israel ceased to exist as a political entity, the land was up for grabs and was indeed “occupied” by the Romans, Greeks, Turks, British and French, and finally at the end of WW II, was once more Israeli with the founding of the modern nation.
As the inestimable Ruthie Blum said in a recent column, “... the committee’s assertion that Jewish settlement of the West Bank is not illegal because it is — gasp — NOT occupied territory.
“How is this possible?
“In 1967, when Israel managed not to get annihilated by its Arab neighbors by emerging the victor of the Six-Day War, the territory it captured was Jordanian. But even that was questionable, as the Hashemite Kingdom’s annexation of the West Bank in 1948 was never recognized internationally — and in any case, it renounced its claims to the area in 1988. In other words, there is no sovereign entity in that territory.”
THE BOILING POT
The Levy Commission is not a political entity as much as a look at legitimate “international law” regarding the West Bank, Samaria and Judea.
But metaphors notwithstanding, there is a lot of shrieking, gnashing of teeth, tearing of garments, and plotting going on right now. Blum’s piece on Israel HaYom’s website only takes the leftists who want Israel out of the area to task.
Not dealt with is the leftist parties, or the Palestinians or the Arab nations.
Pity poor Prime Minister Netanyahu. As if he didn’t have enough challenges before him.
THE GIST OF IT (and this is part of Ruthie’s rebuttal)
The Levy commission has recommended legalizing dozens of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). The committee, led by retired Supreme Court Judge Edmond Levy, concluded that international law allows Israeli Jews to live there.
This report is in direct contradiction to a 2005 report commissioned by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and headed by Talia Sasson, former director of the State Prosecution Criminal Department. The Sasson report concluded that dozens of Jewish communities and outposts in Judea and Samaria were "illegal."
For decades, many of us have argued that the areas of Samaria and Judea were never Jordan’s legally, that they were never “Palestinian” since even Hebron, etc., were rejected in the 1947 UN offer of Palestinian and Israel nations.
The War of Independence against five (or six) Arab nations didn’t really settle the issue. The June, 1967 “Six Day War” was far more definitive, since it put Israel in control of areas that had earlier been controlled by Egypt (Gaza), the Golan Heights (Syria) and Samaria and Judea (Jordan).
The argument has raged ever since. With the introduction of the Oslo Accords local Arabs who gave themselves the title “Palestinians.” laid claim to what Jordan had earlier given up. Under the Ugly One, the late Yasser Arafat, certain territories (similar to the 1947 offer at least in the West Bank) were turned over to the Palestinian Authority.
Due primarily to a combination of intransigence, corruption and poorly played political hands, Arafat and then Mahmoud Abbas managed to lose Gaza to the Iranian proxies of Hamas, and convince most of the Palestinian civilians that they would be better off under Israeli rule than under the Palestinian Authority. (Yes, there is firm proof of this in the form of major evaluations by balanced sources.)
Whether by design or not, the US has been pouring millions of dollars into the Arab West Bank areas through USAID, providing college scholarships for young Palestinians, grants for the establishment of new businesses, bailouts for those which are in danger of collapse, and by so doing has convinced most Arabs in Judea and Samaria that business income, BMWs and peace trumps bullets and the PLO.
DEAD AT LAST
The Oslo Peace Accords are admittedly dead, according to even many of the leaders of the Palestinian Authority. Peace negotiations are non-existent.
Neither President Obama nor Secretary of State Clinton have visited Israel since his immaculation, though Mitt Romney is headed over soon. Be interesting to see if he mentions this latest event.
SIMMER NOT BOIL
What with Egypt yet to become Iran II and Syria yet to become Libya II, Israel and the world are watching the Levy Commission’s fallout as a squeak and not a roar. At least publicly.
This is like one of those little bash the gator games at Chucky Cheese where they pop up and a kid smacks them back down.
There are any number of West Bank settlements that people want to become major towns or cities, populated by mostly ultra-right religious Jews. Where a month ago they were stranded between hopelessness and anger, today there is at least a glimmer of home that Israel could become larger.
What will the Palestinians’ leaders say regarding all of this? It is their history that they will not miss this chance to miss the chance.
Please take the time to visit Israel Ha Yom’s website and read Ruthie’s piece. At least you might have a good laugh.
Below is the test of the Levy Commission Report:
THE LEVY COMMISSION REPORT
"After having considered the terms of reference set out in the Commission's mandate, and in light of what we have heard, as well as the considerable body of material presented to us by a wide range of bodies, our conclusions and recommendations are as follows:
"Our basic conclusion is that from the point of view of international law, the classical laws of 'occupation' as set out in the relevant international conventions cannot be considered applicable to the unique and sui generis historic and legal circumstances of Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria, over the course of decades.
"Therefore, according to international law, Israelis have the legal right to settle in Judea and Samaria and the establishment of settlements cannot, in and of itself, be considered to be illegal."
So begin the conclusions of the report of the Commission to Examine the Status of Building in Judea and Samaria, a legal panel headed by Supreme Court Justice (ret.) Edmund Levy.
The committee goes on to say that, "With regard to settlements established in Judea and Samaria on state lands or on land purchased by Israelis with the assistance of official authorities such as the World Zionist Organization Settlements Division and the Ministry of Housing, and which have been defined as 'unauthorized' or 'illegal'" – administrative blockages imposed on the planning and zoning authorities "must be removed immediately."
Pending completion of procedures granting valid building permits, the state "is advised to avoid carrying out demolition orders, since it brought about the present situation by itself."