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Enough Already: Are Israeli Settlements Actually ‘Illegal’?

The question brings us to an examination of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Red Cross, and reveals an uphill battle against law and reason for those who want the settlements gone.

by
Moshe Dann

Bio

April 4, 2011 - 9:50 am
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Logically, since Jordan renounced its claim to Judea and Samaria in 1988, and signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, recognizing its current border, the only other possible valid legal claim, defined in the Mandate, is that of Israel; Palestinians have no claim because the area was never a Palestinian state.

According to Professor Newton, “Occupation itself does not change sovereignty, but temporarily displaces it until full sovereignty is either restored or reasserted.”  By extension, Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria is legal and legitimate because it did not acquire territory belonging to another state or legal entity.

Sooner or later, Israel will have to decide what part of Judea and Samaria belongs to the Jewish people and what to do about that.

Finally, since Israel did not “forcibly transfer” populations, prohibited in GC IV, condemning Israel lacked solid foundations. Therefore, in 2002, the Arab states at the Rome Statutes of the International Criminal Court added a new element to the law governing war crimes, making it a crime for an “occupying power” (i.e., Israel) to transfer its citizens into “occupied territory” not only forcibly, but indirectly as well — that is, by providing any assistance such as mortgages and infrastructure.

This Rome treaty provision was specifically designed to declare Jews who built homes over the Armistice Lines of 1949 and Israel guilty of war crimes. An extension of GC IV, it leads back to the ICRC. Without the ability to examine their archives, however, it’s a dead end. What is the ICRC hiding, and why?

Whether Israeli settlements are “unacceptable” and “unhelpful” is debatable. ICRC and kangaroo court rulings against Israel, like those of the International Court of Justice, however, have no basis in proper judicial procedures. They serve only to demonize and delegitimize Israel, and abrogate the meaning of just law.

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The author, a former assistant professor of history, is a writer and journalist living in Jerusalem.
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