Israeli gov’t study declares West Bank not occupied, Earth flat

Israel/Palestine
on 95 Comments
settlements
(Photo: Reuters)

Earlier this year Benjamin Netanyahu formed an Israeli government panel to judge on the legality of the settlements. The panel was headed by former Supreme Court justice Edmond Levy and was intended to respond to the 2005 Sasson Report on government complicity with the settlement project (and possibly head off an impending UN study into the settlements). Today, the “Levy Committee” issued its findings and among other things declared that Israel is not an occupying force in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

From Haaretz:

With regard to Israel’s legal status in the West Bank, the Levy Committee declared that Israel is not an occupying power. The panel arrived at that conclusion after considering two conflicting legal approaches on the question.

The first approach, presented by elements generally identified with the left, holds that Judea and Samaria are “occupied territories” under international law, ever since they were captured from the Jordanian kingdom in 1967.

According to this approach, as a military occupier, Israel is subject to international restrictions governing occupation, first and foremost the Hague Regulations with regard to the laws and customs of ground warfare, and the Fourth Geneva Convention with regard to protecting civilian populations in times of war.

Under these covenants, an occupier must manage the area and maintain order while taking care of its security needs and the needs of the civilian population until the occupation ends. There is a prohibition against damaging private property, and the occupier is also banned from moving any of its own population to settle in the occupied area.

The committee also heard conflicting legal opinions, submitted by elements identified with the right, such as the Regavim movement and the Binyamin Regional Council. They presented the position that because Judea and Samaria were never a legitimate part of any Arab state, including Jordan, Israel is not an occupying power.

As such, the conventions dealing with management of occupied territories and their populations are not relevant to Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria.

With regard to the Geneva Convention and its Section 49, which forbids an occupier from transferring any of its population to settle in the occupied area, the right-wing groups argued that this section was formulated after World War II and was aimed at preventing the forced transfer of populations, a situation that isn’t relevant to Judea and Samaria.

Members of the panel accepted the legal opinion presented by the right. They explained that the generally accepted concept of occupation relates to short periods in which territory is captured from a sovereign state until the dispute between the two sides is resolved. But Judea and Samaria have been under Israeli control for decades, and it is impossible to foresee a time when Israel will relinquish these territories, if ever.

The Israeli NGO Yesh Din issued the following press release in response to Levy:

Attorney Michael Sfard, Yesh Din’s Legal Advsior: The Levy Committee was Conceived in Sin to Legalize a Crime, and Has Accomplished its Mission

There are basic errors in the committee’s conclusions that contradict Israeli and international law

The committee’s conclusions will detract from the little protection afforded to Palestinian rights in the West Bank

Adoption of the committee’s recommendations will legalize land theft and complicate Israel’s relations with the entire world

Yesh Din refused to appear before the committee because its purpose was to bypass the State Attorney’s Office, and its very establishment violates the principles of the rule of law. Yesh Din will present a legal opinion to the Attorney General.

Following the publication of the conclusions of the Edmund Levy Committee, Attorney Michael Sfard, the legal advisor to the human rights organization Yesh Din, said today: “The Levy Committee was conceived in sin to legalize a crime, and it has fully accomplished its mission. Its report is not a legal report but an ideological report that ignores the basic principles of the rule of law. The members of the Levy Committee apparently fell down the rabbit hole, and their report was written in Wonderland, governed by the laws of absurdity: there is no occupation, there are no illegal outposts and there is apparently no Palestinian people either. To that we must say in the words of Alice: ‘This is the silliest tea party I have ever been to.’”

Attorney Sfard explained that the committee’s conclusions suffered from elementary errors: “For example, the committee’s ruling that the government’s conduct ought to be viewed as consent to establishing the outposts is no less than embarrassing. According to law, the Government of Israel expresses its consent to establish settlements solely by explicit decisions of its plenum or by a committee it authorizes to do so. The Levy Committee’s suggestion to view illegal statements or actions by various ministers as government consent undermines the principles of the rule of law and good governance.”

As for the determination that Israel is not occupying the West Bank, Sfard says that “the members of the Levy Committee are living in ‘La La Land.’ Israel occupied the West Bank by armed force and even though Jordan ceded the territory, the international community, via its binding resolutions (such as the Partition Resolution and many others) has designated it for a Palestinian state. Therefore, Israeli rule of the territory is a rule of occupation as long as there has been no agreement otherwise between the parties.”

Adoption of the committee’s recommendations would lead to widespread land theft and complicate Israel’s relations with the rest of the world. The committee’s recommendations are a targeted assassination of the rule of law and, consequently, of the protection of the rights of Palestinians in the occupied territories.

From the outset, Yesh Din refused to appear before the committee, because it was established with the goal of bypassing the Attorney General and the State Attorney’s Office, and, accordingly, the organization’s position was that the committee’s formation was itself a violation of the principles of the rule of law. In a letter sent to the committee upon its establishment, and signed by Yesh Din’s Public Council, which includes several former senior officials of the State Attorney’s Office: Michael Ben Yair (the former Attorney General), Talia Sasson (the author of the Sasson Report on the unauthorized outposts), and Yehudit Karp (the former Deputy Attorney General), Yair Rotlevy, Chair of Yesh Din’s Public Council, emphasized that the Attorney General is the sole authority that is supposed to advise the Government of Israel on legal matters.

“The leaders of the State were displeased with the advice they received from the Attorney General,” the letter stated, “and set out to seek advice from an external source. And thus, in the search for advice to bypass that of the Attorney General, the committee was conceived. The committee was conceived in sin and is contrary to the rule of law and the status of the head of law enforcement in Israel – the Attorney General. Accordingly, Yesh Din, which has devoted itself to the struggle to defend human rights by strengthening the rule of law, cannot lend its hand to a process that is essentially an act of defiance against the authority responsible for law enforcement.”

Yesh Din will present the Attorney General, the sole authorized interpreter of the law for the Government of Israel, with the organization’s opinion on the issue of the unauthorized outposts, before he decides how to act on the Levy Committee’s recommendations.

Even Jeff Goldberg isn’t buying it (or doesn’t want to):

What this means, if implemented, is simple: The Israeli government would treat West Bank land as if it were land in Israel proper (pre-1967 Israel). Now, of course, if Israel were to treat the land of the West Bank as part of Israel, it would necessarily follow that it would have to treat the people who live on that land as Israeli citizens, extending them full voting rights, just as it extends citizenship to people who live in Israel proper, regardless of ethnicity. So: The natural consequence of this notion, if it is carried through to law, would be to extend voting rights to the Palestinians of the West Bank. This would spell the end of Israel as a Jewish-majority democracy, but the right-wing in Israel seems more enamored of land-ownership than it does of such antiquated notions as, you know, Zionism.

95 Responses

  1. seafoid
    July 9, 2012, 11:10 am

    “But Judea and Samaria have been under Israeli control for decades, and it is impossible to foresee a time when Israel will relinquish these territories, if ever”

    Confirmation in case it was needed that peace and Zionism are contradictory.
    Jewish hubris, there it is.
    So they have bet Israel on YESHA. Idiots. Yediots.

    And what about that “impossible” ?

    “It is impossible to see how the Federal government will let a major investment bank go to the wall” Dick Fuld, CEO Lehman Bros, August 2008

    “It is impossible to see the levees protecting New Orleans being breached” Governor of Louisiana, December 2004

    “It is impossible to see the US losing the war in Afghanistan” George W Bush 2001

    • YoungMassJew
      July 9, 2012, 2:40 pm

      seafoid a slight correction : They are also Yiddiots!

    • Shingo
      July 9, 2012, 8:19 pm

      That passage stood out like a sore thumb to me too Seafoid.

      But Judea and Samaria have been under Israeli control for decades, and it is impossible to foresee a time when Israel will relinquish these territories, if ever.

      So it becomes legal because the crime has gone on for too long to be undone. I guess stolen property ceases tp be stolen after some designated period.

      Yediota indeed.

  2. seafoid
    July 9, 2012, 11:14 am

    The WB is not occupied because Hashem has granted it to the Jewish people so that Moshiach can come.

    But they can’t say that in any legal document .

    Wouldn’t it be hilarious if Moshiach landed in Cairo ? Wearing a hijab.

    • Roya
      July 9, 2012, 3:24 pm

      What Moshiach? Jews have already returned to Eretz Israel. Rotshchild made himself the de facto Moshiach. What a divine man.

      • seafoid
        July 9, 2012, 5:30 pm

        the Temple, the temple.
        Mosh can only come when the Temple is ready

  3. Sumud
    July 9, 2012, 11:23 am

    So the moment that both Ehuds and numerous others have vaguely referred to, when Israel would become as apartheid state, is officially here – unless Netanyahu’s government repudiates the report.

  4. Eitan
    July 9, 2012, 11:35 am

    The a very good book to read on this subject is The Legal Foundation and Borders of Israel under International Law by Howard Grief.

    This paper is also a very good read on the subject of Jewish legal rights under international law to settle and rule over mandate Palestine.

    • Sumud
      July 9, 2012, 11:48 am

      San Remo, heard it all before Eitan, garbage.

      • Eitan
        July 9, 2012, 12:00 pm

        It’s clear that there are very many whom may not agree with the international treaties and laws that ensure Jewish rights and sovereignty over the entire of mandate Palestine. The book itself is actually a bit intimidating and overwhelming in its 720 pages of legal validation of Jewish rights to settle the entire mandate. The paper I linked to is a much abridged paper. I encourage all whom are interested in international law to order the book and have a look at it. The book is available on amazon here.

      • seafoid
        July 9, 2012, 12:57 pm

        Eitan
        Re that book

        There is no Moshiach.
        The rest is just padding

        I think the big question is which country will offer residency to all those Israelis when TSHTF.

      • Eitan
        July 9, 2012, 1:01 pm

        Seafoid,

        In fact this book deals with matters of international law and Jewish legal rights to settle and be sovereign over the entire of Mandate Palestine. It doesn’t deal with the other rights of Jewish people to settle the Land including religious, historical, and moral.

        Regards,
        Eitan

      • seafoid
        July 9, 2012, 1:05 pm

        Eitan

        there are no such rights.

        I speak regularly to a settler in Shiloh. I have heard all your BS already.

        If you are Ashkenazi your roots are Italian, not Near Eastern. you have no historical rights to the West Bank.

        Israeli Jews either accept 1948 Israel or they lose it all.

        40% of your exports go to Europe.

        We goys have more patience than you have people. We can bring down your economy. And we will.

      • Eitan
        July 9, 2012, 1:17 pm

        Seafoid,

        The book deals with the rights granted to the Jewish people under international law. Other rights, including historical, that you mention above are not covered in the book.

        This article
        is also very helpful. To put it in other words, while there is clear moral and historical basis that helped shape international law in regards to the Jewish right to settle the entire of Mandate Palestine, the relevant treaties and rights derived from these laws can stand strongly on their own without additional arguments.

        Hope that helps,

        Eitan

      • Klaus Bloemker
        July 9, 2012, 1:19 pm

        Eitan

        When the Jews of old left Judea and Samaria during Roman times,
        they forgot to put up a sign:
        ‘JEWISH PRIVATE PROPERTY – WE WILL RETURN IN 2000 YEARS ‘

      • Eitan
        July 9, 2012, 1:41 pm

        Klaus,

        I want to clarify, I am speaking of legal rights, not historical ones.

        I’m hoping that helps clear things up,

        Eitan

      • Mooser
        July 9, 2012, 1:54 pm

        “rights granted to the Jewish people”

        Can you please tell us who “the Jewish people” are in a way which will determine who has all these granted rights. And BTW Eitan, “Whoever I happen to think is Jewish, and want in Israel” is not a suitable answer.
        And you don’t have any other, do you?

      • Eitan
        July 9, 2012, 2:26 pm

        Mooser,

        That is an important point as the San Remo Resolution on Palestine named the Jewish People as the national beneficiary of the principle of self-determination in the Mandate charter, for the purpose of applying the general provisions of Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. The dual or joint application of the Balfour Delcaration with Article 22 conclusively meant that Palestine was reserved for the Jewish People as a whole, not merely for the approximate 60,000 Jews living in Palestine at the end of the Great War.

        As to Who is a Jew?

        link to jewfaq.org

        I hope that helps, Mooser please let me know if that was enough clarification.

        Regards,

        Eitan

      • Abierno
        July 9, 2012, 3:29 pm

        Fortunately, Romney will be arriving in Israel to articulate strong support
        for this position as well as for Netanyahu’s goals for Iran.

      • American
        July 9, 2012, 4:00 pm

        @ Eitan

        Israel does not recongize and has said it doesn’t recongize international law.
        The book is a joke, an argument against international law…based on whatver law Israel “makes up” for itself.

      • piotr
        July 9, 2012, 4:03 pm

        It is very helpful to compare the unequivocal South African Act of 1912 by British Parliament, concerning the land that was controlled by the British Crown, with no ifs and buts, with very tenuous legal constructions based on San Remo conference (was conference statement a binding treaty, or a resulution how to approach the treaty with Turkey that was concluded later and was, well, a treaty) etc. South African Apartheid had 100 times sounder legal basis.

        Some time after San Remo conference but BEFORE the Israeli declaration of independence, and well BEFORE 1967 the concept that people have certain rights regardless of having a state got a better representation in international law. Israeli legal position (or illegal position) basically says that since the lands belonged to Ottoman Empire which was an absolute monarchy, Israel inherits the rights of an absolute monarch in respect to whoever inhabits lands she controls, bestowing blessings and curses, land and water grants and dispossession as she sees fit.

      • Light
        July 9, 2012, 4:36 pm

        From your link

        “It is important to note that being a Jew has nothing to do with what you believe or what you do.”

        That’s about as clear as Israel’s borders.

      • seafoid
        July 9, 2012, 5:29 pm

        We have a genuine bot here, people

        Ethan ,

        G-d via the British granted Erez Israel to the Jewish sociopaths in 1922 via San Remo.

        Whatever.

        Jews have the right to settle all over Erez Israel.
        Whatever

        Now how many Jews are there in Gaza? There were Jews in Netzarim and 25 Jewish soldiers died defending them and the Israeli government swore they would never leave.

        But they did. and their synagogues were torn down, their mikvahs destroyed, the holy books taken away.

        Because it is not about San Remo. It is about the real world.
        And when something has to be sacrificed for the bigger picture the settlers get it.

        So they’ll shaft you too. You’ll be taken out of your home by jewish soldiers just like the fruitcakes in Netzarim were, San Remo or no San Remo.

      • Shingo
        July 9, 2012, 8:27 pm

        It’s clear that there are very many whom may not agree with the international treaties and laws that ensure Jewish rights and sovereignty over the entire of mandate Palestine

        That’s because there aren’t any.

        This is the old Hasbrat crap about de jure statements that appear nowhere in any text but have to be inferred and interpreted through BS that argues that statements don’t mean what they say and don’t say what they mean.

      • Shingo
        July 9, 2012, 8:35 pm

        The dual or joint application of the Balfour Delcaration with Article 22 conclusively meant that Palestine was reserved for the Jewish People as a whole, not merely for the approximate 60,000 Jews living in Palestine at the end of the Great War.

        San Remo have legality to the Balfour declaration, it did not change it’s stars goals. Balfour and Britain repeatedly stated that there was no intent to create a Jewish State, let alone declare that the whole of Palestine be given to the Jewish people.

        Article 22 makes no suggestion of it either. The Zionists lacked any legal standing to assert a claim to the territory of Palestine during the Post-WWI peace conferences at Versailles and San Remo. The Principle Allied Powers decided there were no bases for a legal entitlement, so Lord Balfour suggested that some polite words about the “historical connection” of the Jewish people be added to the Mandate instead. The travaux préparatoires of the British Foreign Office Committee that was tasked with drafting the Mandate reveal that the Allies did not consider the historical connection as a basis for any Jewish claim:

        “It was agreed that they had no claim, whatever might be done for them on sentimental grounds; further that all that was necessary was to make room for Zionists in Palestine, not that they should turn “it”, that is the whole country, into their home.

        – See PRO FO 371/5245, cited in Doreen Ingrams, Palestine Papers 1917-1922: Seeds of Conflict, George Brazziler, 1972, pages 99-100

      • Inanna
        July 9, 2012, 10:08 pm

        Wrong Eitan. Jews had no right to destroy the state of Palestine, to ignore the Palestinian right to self-determination, to massacre unarmed Palestinians, to drive them from their homes, to not allow them to return to their homes, to steal their homes, lands and property. Israel had no right to steal lands belonging to the Islamic endownment or to Christian churches, to raze 500 villages to the ground, to destroy holy sites and use them as bars, clubs, museums etc.

      • ColinWright
        July 10, 2012, 12:58 am

        To Eitan:

        I got tired of shooting apart specious Zionist claims supposedly based on the Balfour Declaration and the San Remo Conference a long time ago.

        So — you’re wrong. If you don’t know it, you should. If you need further technical assistance, the warranty period is over, and I only provide explanations on a ‘pay-per-call’ basis.

      • Darcha
        July 10, 2012, 1:42 am

        Eitan,
        I’m always willing to bite when this tin-foil hat argument is made. Could you please show us where the San Remo Resolution ‘names the Jewish People as the national beneficiary of the principle of self-determination’? I’ve tried and can’t find it anywhere. The only mention of the ‘Jewish People’ is in the sentence ‘The Mandatory will be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 8, 1917, by the British Government, and adopted by the other Allied Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people….’ The only mentions of rights in the document regard the rights of non-Jews in Palestine or Jews outside of Palestine. The 4th para of Article 22 similarly spells nothing out.

        These are legal documents. Legal documents spell things out. Wishful thinking doesn’t create new wording. There is no wording in these documents not requiring wishful thinking.

      • Shingo
        July 10, 2012, 5:04 am

        Could you please show us where the San Remo Resolution ‘names the Jewish People as the national beneficiary of the principle of self-determination’?

        Don’t expect any cogent response Darcha. Those who go by Howard Grief’s book only ever quote from the book, not San Remo itself. Their entire argument is based on what Grief’s book tells them to think. It’s the old drek about statements not saying what they mean and not meaning what they say.

      • Shingo
        July 10, 2012, 6:16 am

        This paper is also a very good read on the subject of Jewish legal rights under international law to settle and rule over mandate Palestine.

        That paper is about as credible as a billion dollar bill from Zimbabwe.

        Just one example:

        Under the terms of the settlement that were made by the Principal Allied Powers consisting of Britain, France, Italy and Japan, there would be no annexation of the conquered Turkish territories by any of the Powers, as had been planned in the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement of May 9 and 16, 1916.

        This is absolute rubbish of course.

        The 3rd paragraph of the Sykes-Picot Agreement required the Allies to consult with the Sharif of Mecca on the form of government in the brown area of international administration in Palestine.
        link to avalon.law.yale.edu

        The Muslim Holy Places in Hebron and Jerusalem had been completely excluded from the territory of the brown, “International Enclave”, shown on the map attached to the Sykes-Picot Agreement in accordance with the Government of India’s Proclamation No. 4 to the Arab and Indian Sheikhs and the Sharif of Mecca. The remainder of Palestine was included in the area pledged for Arab Independence. See for example paragraph 4 (c) on pp 4 (pdf page 5) and paragraph 6 (a), (d), & (e) on pp 8-9 (pdf page 9-10) CAB 24/72, “The Settlement of Turkey and the Arabian Peninsula” (Former Reference: GT 6506) , 21 November 1918 and the collection of small and large detailed maps of Palestine in CAB 24/72 “Maps illustrating the Settlement of Turkey and the Arabian Peninsula”, (Former Reference: GT 6506A) 21 November 1918.

        The boundaries of Palestine had been established in an “Aide-memoire in regard to the occupation of Syria, Palestine and Mesopotamia pending the decision in regard to Mandates, 13 September 1919″ that was handed by Mr. Lloyd George to M. Clemenceau and placed before the Versailles Peace Conference. It divided the territory between the British, French, and Arab administered OETAs on the basis of the “principles of the Sykes-Picot agreement” and “the Sykes-Picot line” – and Palestine was strictly limited to only that area occupied by the British armed forces after their withdrawal from Syria. As Field Marshal Wilson noted above, that area did not include Transjordan. The memoire mentioned “the Arab State” that the British and French had committed to support in Zones A and B under the terms of Sykes-Picot. The memo is available in the FRUS and in J. C. Hurewitz collection. All of the plans involving OETA North, South, and East had to be revised after August of 1920, when the French overthrew Faisal’s Syrian Kingdom. That only happened after the Cairo Conference and Mr. Churchill’s meeting with Abdullah. The relevant extracts from the aide-memoire are:

        1. Steps will be taken immediately to prepare for the evacuation by the British Army of Syria and Cilicia including the Taurus tunnel. 2. Notice is given both to the French Government and to the Emir Feisal of our intentions to commence the evacuation of Syria and Cilicia on November 1, 1919′… …6.The territories occupied by British troops will then be Palestine, defined in accordance with its ancient boundaries of Dan to Beersheba.

        *In 1925 an Arbitrator appointed by the Council of the League of Nations ruled that Palestine and Transjordan were separate states. See Affaire de la Dette publique ottomane. Bulgarie, Irak, Palestine, Transjordanie, Grèce, Italie et Turquie. Genève, 18 avril 1925
        link to untreaty.un.org

      • seafoid
        July 10, 2012, 6:01 pm

        Inanna says:

        ” Jews had no right to destroy the state of Palestine, to ignore the Palestinian right to self-determination”

        Haram!

      • Blake
        July 10, 2012, 8:51 pm

        Under international law no one had any right to give any part of Palestine to anyone whatever their persuasion or ethnicity Eitan but the Palestinians themselves. That is basic common sense.

      • Blake
        July 10, 2012, 11:52 pm

        @ Klaus: Ah but did they even leave? Highly dubious and suspect. Romans were not in the habit of ethnic cleansing.

      • Mooser
        July 11, 2012, 12:09 am

        “Link to Jewfaq”

        Oh please, chump. Anotherwords, you cannot tell us in simple words, or from an uninterested source, exactly who is a Jew and who is not. So the definition of Jew is ‘whoever Zionists want or don’t want at any given time.’

        Please Eitan, we’ve been through all this San Remo malarkey a hundred times before. Stick it where the sun…. oh never mind.

      • lyn117
        July 11, 2012, 1:15 am

        Eitan, could you please explain how if Palestine was “reserved” for the Jewish People by the British Mandate treaty, what does this clause of it mean:

        “it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, …”

        Please address, specifically, the expulsion of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine by the “Jewish People” who settled there, and the banning of non-Jewish communities from access to water or voting in their place of origin.

      • Roya
        July 11, 2012, 4:13 am

        Come on, everybody. Why are we empowering Eitan by giving him the time of day to express his Zionist fantasies? He is clearly using Zionist tactic #58: When faced with a predominantly anti-Zionist readership at a news outlet, do the following: (1) contact your local ADL. The ADL will prioritize your request based on the level of delegitimization threat the outlet poses. When the readership and/or the author(s) are largely Jewish, indicate a high level of urgency, as His Majesty Mr. Foxman Himself will deal with the self-hating variety. (2) Then provoke the readership by inserting a statement of Level A Bullshit (see your Hasbara handbook for the levels of Bullshit classification) among other intelligent-sounding, but fabricated if necessary, statements. The absurdity of your statements will throw the readership into an emotional state of chaos, resulting in multiple responses from multiple readers. This is a good thing because it will distract the readership from the factual content at the news outlet while the ADL engages in a public smear campaign against the website and its owners. Keep in mind that a big lie is more believable than a small lie.

      • Kathleen
        July 11, 2012, 2:11 pm

        Century 2000 BC
        Real Estate Broker: a voice in a burning bush
        Only Jews need apply

        Aye yi yi.

      • ColinWright
        July 11, 2012, 2:51 pm

        “Israeli Jews either accept 1948 Israel or they lose it all.”

        Why ’1948 Israel’ (presumably you mean the cease fire lines that emerged when Israel had got all it could get for the moment).

        Those have no legal significance. Why not the 1947 boundaries the UN laid down, which Israel accepted at the time?

      • ColinWright
        July 11, 2012, 3:02 pm

        “I think the big question is which country will offer residency to all those Israelis when TSHTF.”

        We (the US) will, of course. It’ll be penance for our sins.

        I suppose we can dump off 20% on Canada since they’re the only other country that currently supports Israel, but really — the Israeli Jews will be our baby.

        I wonder if we could bamboozle Canada into taking them all? They’re kind of slow up there…

      • RoHa
        July 11, 2012, 9:14 pm

        “I suppose we can dump off 20% on Canada since they’re the only other country that currently supports Israel”

        Australia and the UK support Israel as well, so I expect we’ll get some of them. I think I’ll buy shares in companies that make ear-plugs and the like. We are going to need them to cut out all the whining.

      • pjdude
        September 24, 2012, 9:03 pm

        what legal rights? last time I checked naked aggression and theft aren’t legal rights?

      • pjdude
        September 24, 2012, 9:05 pm

        um if it was for jews as a whole by definition it could’t be self determination do I need to add you to the list of people who need the definition of self determintion beaten into their heads?

    • Diane V. McLoughlin
      July 9, 2012, 12:37 pm

      ‘Ruling over’ [justly; righteously] all inhabitants of a land, versus what is being done to the Palestinians: two separate different things. If this committee’s conclusions are accepted, then Palestinians will have every right to demand: their citizenship papers; the immediate withdrawal of occupying forces; equal rights, including the right to vote, as well as equality before the civil law; and redress for past harms committed both by the settler class and the state itself. Hallelujah! Free at last.

    • The Hasbara Buster
      July 9, 2012, 2:54 pm

      This paper is also a very good read on the subject of Jewish legal rights under international law to settle and rule over mandate Palestine.

      The paper you link to is a piece of scholarship. Now ownership rights are not granted by scholars (or by commenters on blogs), but by the relevant legal bodies.

      In the case of the West Bank, the UN’s Security Council has declared the Jewish settlements to be legally invalid, and the International Court of Justice has ruled that Israel is an occupier in that territory. Thus, and contrary to your claim, the Jews have no right under international law to settle and rule over that part of Mandate Palestine.

    • Light
      July 9, 2012, 2:58 pm

      That’s an odd title given that the Israeli government has not defined the state’s border.
      Why do you even cite international law when Israel ignores any law it disagrees with? Doesn’t might make right?

      If all of the West Bank belongs to Israel then why aren’t all residents of the West Bank citizens with equal rights and representation? Why can’t Palestinians from the West Bank marry Israelis?

    • thankgodimatheist
      July 9, 2012, 8:27 pm

      San Remo again? You can’t be serious! That was the defunct League of Nation’s baby superseded by the United Nations resolutions. I think you have more chances with suggesting the Bible as a more valid document..

    • Dutch
      July 9, 2012, 9:01 pm

      @ Eitan

      Don’t you think it’s strange that San Remo isn’t playing any role in the debate – except on Zionist blogs? Could that be because it was a scraped together colonial enterprise (in which even the Balfour Declaration was included), of which the world admits and agrees that is has been overtaken by a whole pile of new legislation? Or do you really expect us to start debating this corpus mortus? In that case I suggest you write a serious introduction (a whole lot more serious than the linked blog) and ask MW to publish it. Then, at least, you make a serious effort to explain why this matter deserves attention again.

      • Shingo
        July 10, 2012, 4:00 am

        Don’t you think it’s strange that San Remo isn’t playing any role in the debat

        That’s a great point Dutch.

        Grief’s luny theories didn’t hold water then and they certainly don’t now. If that Zionist San Remo argument was ever even valid, why has the Levy Committee not presented this argument front and centre rather than the only pathetic claim they could scrape together – we stole the land too long ago for anyone to remember and who’s going to force us to withdraw anyway?

    • braciole
      July 10, 2012, 7:28 am

      Eitan.

      in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country;

      Israel has done just about everything it can to “prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”. Why should Israel benefit from a treaty it has so wilfully breeched. So please STFU about San Remo!

  5. Shmuel
    July 9, 2012, 11:40 am

    Members of the panel accepted the legal opinion presented by the right. They explained that the generally accepted concept of occupation relates to short periods in which territory is captured from a sovereign state until the dispute between the two sides is resolved. But Judea and Samaria have been under Israeli control for decades, and it is impossible to foresee a time when Israel will relinquish these territories, if ever.

    Capital solution to that pesky IHL problem: Hold onto occupied territory for a few decades and declare that you will never give it back and, presto-chango, it’s yours to keep!

    Reminds me of this classic exchange from I, Claudius:

    Guard: I can’t do it. I can’t just kill them, they’re underage.
    Macro: They’re on the list. Now get on with it.
    Guard: The girl is a virgin. It’s unprecedented to kill a virgin. It will bring bad luck to the city.
    Macro: Then make sure she’s not a virgin when you kill her. Now *get on with it*.

    • seafoid
      July 9, 2012, 1:01 pm

      It is only a report. A bone thrown to the settlers. To let them know they now control government. The Israeli government however won’t change anything official. It is playing a very long game based on the understanding that enough pauperisation will drive the Palestinians out after which everything will be tied up.

      And that is nuts.

  6. Basilio
    July 9, 2012, 11:41 am

    Israel has chosen to embrace the dark-side and, naturally, it seeks to justify its dark positions.

    • ColinWright
      July 10, 2012, 12:53 am

      What’s the non-dark side of Israel?

      You imply that it’s like a celestial body or something — and that there’s a good Israel, an Israel that’s bathed in light somewhere.

      Where is it? When did it exist?

      • Mooser
        July 11, 2012, 12:16 am

        “What’s the non-dark side of Israel?”

        There are in Israel, as there must have been even in Nazi Germany or Stalin’s Russia or Mao’s China a certain number of good people, who try either to make as few moral compromises as possible, or disengage as much as possible, and a group who will, in spite of all the risks, resist the regime. I don’t know how much difference they can make, but they are there.

      • ColinWright
        July 11, 2012, 2:53 pm

        On the one hand, you’re right.

        On the other hand, they’re no more ‘Israel’ than Sophie Scholl was a Nazi.

      • ColinWright
        July 11, 2012, 3:36 pm

        “There are in Israel, as there must have been even in Nazi Germany or Stalin’s Russia or Mao’s China a certain number of good people…”

        To take this further, it’s even worse than that.

        It is, indeed, not just the Sophie Scholls who are good. I’m sure there are many perfectly ‘good’ Israelis.

        It’s all in how you look at things. Try reading Melita Maschmann’s ‘Account Rendered.’ The author was a perfectly nice girl who was a little Nazi — and worked vigorously to help Germanize Poland. It was only afterwards she started looking at what she had done differently.

        Many Israelis may well be — presumably are — perfectly decent people. That only makes it worse. At least we can be thankful their ideology is utterly indefensible. That simplifies things a bit.

        Given the Jewish taste for self-criticism, presumably once all the Zionists are defeated and firmly relocated to New Jersey, we’ll get some confessionals similar to Maschmann’s.

        However, that’s in the future. For the moment, the first item on the agenda is getting them relocated to New Jersey.

  7. Gryfin
    July 9, 2012, 11:43 am

    So, if the Occupied Territories are now part of Israel proper, the Apartheid argument just got quite a bit stronger.

  8. traintosiberia
    July 9, 2012, 11:48 am

    Its time for Dersowitz to add a disclaimer to the book “Genesis of Justice” that the concept of justice, resonings of legal issues,moral visibilty of any contentious issues do not apply to the activities of Israel. And why not Israel is unique.It can reclaim something lost 3000 years ago,holocaust to Gypsries dont rise to the same level of human conscience andmagnitude of sufferrings of forced transfer of people practsied by Nazi is no way near to the forced tarnsfer of palestinians . A conviction of this nature can come from only one source a product of a combination of racism and relegious bigotry with faith in the efficacy of pure raw power.

  9. ritzl
    July 9, 2012, 11:51 am

    Putting aside the grim “affirmation of the obvious” (on the GoI’s part, not AH) inevitability of this for a second, what does this do to Beinart’s, et. al. (including Presbys and Methodists) call to parse out and boycott settlement products?

    If they’re not settlements anymore, by Israeli decree, and given the fawning/undue importance imparted to “what the GoI (and its supporter group) thinks” how do potential boycotters make that distinction now (especially since the PCUSA GA used Beinart as cover more than once in the debate)? How will Beinart?

    Is he going to further rationalize a rationalization with a “definition of pornography” discussion about “knowing a settlement when I see it”, ymmv? Or will he simply now admit that no distinction between Israel and the Occupation/illegal settlements can be made in any meaningful way?

    Maybe now we can all just get on with it. If it says “Made in Israel” don’t buy it.

    • chinese box
      July 9, 2012, 1:08 pm

      @ritzl

      Very good points. As with his volte-face on the Iraq War, Beinart always seems to be a day late and a dollar short. His new book might have been very effective in the ’80s or ’90s, but I’m afraid that he and the other liberal Zionists are going to slip further and further into irrelevancy as the “facts on the ground” render their prescriptions obsolete.

    • eGuard
      July 9, 2012, 1:49 pm

      Beinart doesn’t give a thing about the situation in Israel/OPT. He is working the US Liberal Jews side of the street, which is a sort of garrizoned look-at-each-other community. Nothing much will come out if it, except that we neighbours hear some noise now & then.

      He does so very consistently (they call him “brilliant”): he puts his mouth where the money is.

  10. ahadhaadam
    July 9, 2012, 12:20 pm

    If Bibi adopts these “findings” it means that Israel is not only de-facto an apartheid state but also de-jure.

    The colonization and land theft under a facade of “legality” and an Orwellian subversion of justice is also what characterized the S. Africa apartheid regime.

  11. HarryLaw
    July 9, 2012, 12:29 pm

    They certainly have plenty of chutzpah, when these crimes come before the ICC, the Government of Israel will be laughed out of court, just one niggle when Michael Sfard said ” therefore, Israeli rule of the territory is a rule of occupation as long as there has been no agreement otherwise between the parties” A position paper by Al -Haq has a different take on this….. ” As a result of the absolute nature of the relevant principles enshrined in the law of occupation, the representatives of the Palestinian people are prevented from concluding “land swap” agreements during occupation, moreover the expression of consent to be bound by an agreement is to be without legal effect as a result, such transfer would not grant the occupying power lawful title to the territory and the sovereign rights would remain with the occupied population. see here.. link to alhaq.org Maybe I misunderstood Michael, I hope so.

  12. joec
    July 9, 2012, 12:35 pm

    There’s an extent to which they’re right. The use of occupation law by supporters of Palestinian freedom is not without its fallacies and drawbacks.

    link to jadaliyya.com
    link to jadaliyya.com

  13. MHughes976
    July 9, 2012, 12:50 pm

    This isn’t really new, is it? I remember Begin saying that Judaea and Samaria (shrieks of protest, maybe, from the ghosts of Omri and Ahab) were not occupied but liberated territories. In my view, territories in the process of conquest. In future time the status of the former territory of Moab, which seceded from Omrid control at the impulse of the sacrilegious tyrant Mesha, may need to be considered.

  14. Klaus Bloemker
    July 9, 2012, 12:53 pm

    The Levy Committee’s report seems to be one of the few statements where the Holocaust isn’t mentioned as the rationale for Israeli policies.

    • MHughes976
      July 9, 2012, 3:28 pm

      The ‘Holocaust’ – not that I think that this biblical and theological term, indicating an acceptable sacrifice, should be used for a historical event or a human crime or sacrilege – was never really the foundation of Zionism. The foundation concerns much more ancient things. There has been no legitimate state in the Holy Land on a Zionist view at least since Herodian times and if there was ever to be renewed legitimacy it had to be founded on the unique rights of the Jewish People.

  15. BillM
    July 9, 2012, 1:09 pm

    Is it too late to get the Presbyterians to reconsider their vote? The denial of the Occupation itself is proof that boycotts must encompass all of Israel, not just settlement (or are they “neighborhood”) products.

    • Sumud
      July 9, 2012, 1:49 pm

      Is it too late to get the Presbyterians to reconsider their vote?

      It’s never too late, as long as apartheid exists. It’ll come up again in 2013, and 2014, and 2015…

  16. David Samel
    July 9, 2012, 1:40 pm

    I saw this at least a decade ago in an article by the noted “scholar” Ephraim Karsh, who explained how there is no Occupation because there is no country that legally held title to the area and therefore no country’s land was occupied. I thought it was a wonderful way to “end” the Occupation – simply deny there is one. The added wrinkle here, which Shmuel commented on with his usual wit, is that Israel turned an Occupation into a non-Occupation simply by holding on to the territory so long that it no longer fit the self-serving definition of Occupation, which requires that it only be short-term.

    Take a look at the comments on haaretz. Most of them say if it’s not occupation, it’s apartheid.

    • Mooser
      July 9, 2012, 1:59 pm

      “Take a look at the comments on haaretz. Most of them say if it’s not occupation, it’s apartheid.”

      Yes, from what we have seen here in the Mondoweiss comment section, Zionists believe apartheid is an acceptable, even laudable way to run a country. That’s why Israelis would rather say it’s apartheid, not occupation.

      • piotr
        July 9, 2012, 4:10 pm

        A minor correction, Mooser. Zionist do not like the word Apartheid which is Dutch, but it is OK to use a Hebrew word for Separation, Hafrada/hafradeh. Like Halacha is superior to Sharia, Hafrada is superior to apartheid.

      • Mooser
        July 11, 2012, 12:18 am

        Thanks, for the info. piotr. Yes, of course, if you just call it by a different name, a Hebrew name…

    • Blake
      July 9, 2012, 2:26 pm

      David, To them I would say ALL of “Israel” is zionist occupied Palestine then.

    • Shingo
      July 9, 2012, 8:42 pm

      I saw this at least a decade ago in an article by the noted “scholar” Ephraim Karsh, who explained how there is no Occupation because there is no country that legally held title to the area and therefore no country’s land was occupied.

      As Hostage says, these guys live to talk international law so long as it’s not in a court of law, where it counts.

      Alan Baker tried to sell this nonsense to the ICJ (on behalf of the Iaraeli MFA) and all 15 High Court justices laughed at him.

  17. justicewillprevail
    July 9, 2012, 3:18 pm

    Well if you are not occupying the West Bank, what are you doing with the entire military and police apparatus that is embedded there, solely for the purpose of oppressing the people who have been there for centuries, whilst protecting and enabling those recent immigrants who have helped themselves to land and water? Israel is Alice in Wonderland as far as their national ideology goes, their pathetic attempts to deny the reality of what they have done are a gruesome joke. Love the way they sign up to international agreements and then ignore them, or rewrite them to suit their egomaniacal, vindictive, discriminatory policies. 1984 Newspeak, endless war, and the blatant theft of another people’s land, culture and history. They are so mired in their own power, lies and corruption, they have lost any sense of truth and reality.

  18. Parity
    July 9, 2012, 4:38 pm

    The Presbyterian General Assembly meets every two years.

  19. talknic
    July 9, 2012, 5:48 pm

    Same program is underway at WikI/Pedia.

    You’ll be seeing more of the settlements aren’t illegal!

    It’s insidious.

    • Sumud
      July 10, 2012, 1:08 pm

      It sure is talknic.

      I only skimmed over that long discussion – the zios know the important role that wikipedia plays in online discussion and they want to destroy it. See how much effort went into removing a simple statement of fact about the legal status of the settlements..

      They’re pissing into the wind though – when Palestinians reject the 2 state solution en masse and demand one-person/one-vote, it’s all over for zionists anyway. They work so hard to convince people the settlements aren’t illegal and the more they succeed the quicker its going to blow up in their faces.

      • Roya
        July 10, 2012, 6:16 pm

        What’s more is that Israel is training and compensating people to Zionize Wikipedia. See link to youtube.com and link to youtube.com. Wikipedia is not a good source for the I/P issue.

      • Sumud
        July 10, 2012, 8:32 pm

        Wikipedia is not a good source for the I/P issue.

        I still think it’s OK. There are cases where relevant information has been hidden or deleted but in general there’s still a whole to of useful stuff there. And the nature of the beast is that it’s permanently in flux – so the damage done by them today can be undone tomorrow, next week or next year.

        The Government of Israel is highly delusional if it thinks it can get away with apartheid by paying people to edit wikipedia.

      • Roya
        July 11, 2012, 12:32 am

        @Sumud: IMO Wikipedia is fine for a quick overview in the Israel-Palestine area if you want to get a gist of what something or who someone is, but that’s it. I used to go to WP a lot for information but started noticing a pro-Israel trend. I didn’t think much of it considering that mainstream media is pro-Israel anyway until I saw the reports that Israel is actually training and compensating people to edit WP, and this becomes much more clear if you look at the public editing histories–there are about 5 Zionists to every non-Zionist.

        Delusional or not, Israel does get away this. And if you watch the first video, the trainee says, “WP is the number one source for information today . . . we want to be the guys who influence what is written there, how it’s written, and to ensure that it is balanced (sic) and Zionist in nature. . . It is our job to prove we are right. . . We want to make sure our side of the story–the right side of the story–is getting the coverage that it needs” (as if BBC, CNN et al are not enough Zionist outlets).

        If you look at the second source, the dude says, “Israel is the most progressive democracy in the Middle East, for that matter the only democracy blah blah blah Israel is not an apartheid state blah blah we give facts.” And the people they are training are part of the Yesha Council of Settlers so these are not just regular Israelis occupying Wikipedia. These are settlers, aka the extremists of the bunch aka the people who think God really is a real estate agent aka the people who worship Baruch Goldstein. Another report I remember said that they give out prizes to the “Best Zionist Editor.”

  20. ToivoS
    July 9, 2012, 6:55 pm

    This would spell the end of Israel as a Jewish-majority democracy, but the right-wing in Israel seems more enamored of land-ownership than it does of such antiquated notions as, you know, Zionism.

    I don’t normally pay much attention to Goldberg since he rarely has any intelligent insight about anything. But this quote caught my attention. It is something that many here must have noticed but it is a development that I hadn’t thought about before.

    Simply, modern Israel really is not motivated by the ideology of Zionism, but rather with the reality on the ground and how to better their lives. Stealing land, has obviously been a successful tactic in the past so why not today? Goldberg, by living abroad, is guided by the ideology, not the reality. It took about 2 generations after the successful communist revolutions in Russia and China the people and cadre to lose their belief in communist ideology — the people of those nations gradually accepted the reality of their failed economies and adapted selfish attitudes. It seems that Zionism in Israel could be suffering a similar fate.

  21. DICKERSON3870
    July 9, 2012, 10:25 pm

    RE: “But Judea and Samaria have been under Israeli control for decades, and it is impossible to foresee a time when Israel will relinquish these territories, if ever.” ~ Israeli government panel

    IN OTHER WORDS: (White) Might Makes Right!

  22. homingpigeon
    July 10, 2012, 12:29 am

    We must react to references to San Remo and international law as we would to a conference in which the Chinese declared that Peru was the homeland of the gypsies.

    Eitan, how about suggesting that Palestine belongs to Zionists because the ancient Hebrews were the first to domesticate the donkey and the word appears in the Torah more times than in the Koran? You might get us all to waste a lot of time digging up references to the donkey in Akkadian tablets.

    • ColinWright
      July 11, 2012, 3:28 pm

      “We must react to references to San Remo and international law as we would to a conference in which the Chinese declared that Peru was the homeland of the gypsies. “

      Indeed. However, in this case the worst of it is that, the Chinese never actually made the declaration that it is claimed they did.

      The lies just get piled on the lies. It’s a universe of lies. Each lie only refers to another lie. If it weren’t so goddamned infuriating, it would be kind of interesting.

  23. ColinWright
    July 10, 2012, 12:49 am

    “…With regard to Israel’s legal status in the West Bank, the Levy Committee declared that Israel is not an occupying power…”

    The logic is irrefutable. If Israel was an occupying power, she would be in transparent violation of several international agreements she is signatory to. Therefore, she is not an occupying power.

    Go to any Holocaust denial website you like if you’re confused. Let me know if anything is still unclear to you.

  24. gracie fr
    July 10, 2012, 6:25 am

    Interesting interview of Israeli lawyer Talia Sasson who elaborates on legal questions surrounding the settlement policy:
    link to timesofisrael.com

  25. giladg
    July 10, 2012, 6:27 am

    Read the report, study it, and only then attack it on merit and only on merit. Enough with the generalizations already!

    • Mooser
      July 11, 2012, 12:26 am

      “Read the report, study it, and only then attack it on merit and only on merit. Enough with the generalizations already!”

      Okay giladg (another non-capitaliser! Wow, is this place getting anti-Semantic or what?!?) anything you say! Let’s get started, and start at the beginning. Okay I see by the cover it’s a report by the Government of Israel, on the situation in the possibly occupied territory! Okay, so Israel is investigating the legal status of it’s own occupation. So there we go, the report has no goddam merit. How could it, when it’s written by a completely self-interested entity.
      Now, giladg, I’m not saying the report is no good, it’s plenty good,
      for a laugh.

      • Mooser
        July 11, 2012, 12:41 am

        Oh, crap, I owe you another apology! I forgot where you came from. I guess to you there’s absolutely nothing wrong, nothing invalid about, an interested government ‘investigating’ it’s own actions.
        Carry on comrade!
        Oh, and BTW, I can’t tell you how inspired I was by your comments on the necessity for religious unity to build a state. You know, I live in the US, so I know just how weak religious diversity and a goal of equal rights makes a nation.

      • ColinWright
        July 11, 2012, 3:06 pm

        “Oh, and BTW, I can’t tell you how inspired I was by your comments on the necessity for religious unity to build a state. “

        The ‘Planet Israel’ syndrome again. What isn’t true elsewhere becomes true on Planet Israel, and was is true elsewhere is inapplicable to Planet Israel.

        It’s a realm of inverted reality, morally speaking.

    • ColinWright
      July 11, 2012, 3:19 pm

      “Read the report, study it, and only then attack it on merit and only on merit. Enough with the generalizations already!”

      I am NOT wasting my time with yet another piece of Zionist bilge. It is always the same worthless crap.

      You know what this ‘report’ is, we know what it is, you know we know what this is, and we know you know what this is.

      So can we quit already? This is like one of those ‘I’m not stoned’ arguments with a thirteen year old.

  26. gracie fr
    July 10, 2012, 6:43 am

    ….”The impasse of the Israeli settlement enterprise revolves around territorial claims
    derived from interpretations of its legal underpinning, political interests and social
    constructions anchored in mythical and symbolic claims often contravening accepted
    legal standards. The resulting blurriness of the legality and the pretexts for settlement
    construction are, according to Newman, best understood through the lens of territorial
    claims and the settlements are, effectively, multifold manifestations of claims to
    territory deployed as strategies of legitimisation with varying intensity and success.
    These multifold manifestations consist of territory seen as: 1) an economic resource
    (access to more/better agriculture, water, the construction of new ‘neighbourhoods’
    pertaining to a mercantilist strategy); 2) a strategic asset (purportedly optimising
    security requirements and military strategic options and to employ ‘realities on the
    ground’ as point of departure in bilateral negotiations); 3) a demographic container
    (a container of people through which the state attempts to transform sovereignty
    de jure into de facto control encompassed in the dual dimensions of the conflict, the
    territorial control and demographic superiority) and, entering the scene of territorial
    symbolism; 4) territory as historic and religious homeland (attachment to territory
    based on identification of symbols and signs in the landscape, in the case of the West
    Bank and East Jerusalem epitomised in the use of the biblical term ‘Judea and Samaria’
    or as expressed in the Israeli Declaration of Independence: ‘Eretz Israel’26 (literally
    meaning ‘Greater Israel’ referring to the entire West Bank and, in some versions,
    even including part of other states of the region such as Jordan and Egypt). Lastly;
    5) territory as an exclusive entity (the exclusive claim to land through which others
    peoples’/nations’ claims to the territory are delegitimised and alienated).27 More
    concretely in relation to the settlement enterprise, Israel’s main argumentative pillar
    has evolved around a mixture of Jewish history, security and autonomy ……
    link to diis.dk

  27. pjdude
    September 24, 2012, 9:01 pm

    is it just me or does that sound like its not occupied because we have zero intention of stopping our occupation?

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