Israel’s annexation moment has arrived

Israel/Palestine
on 40 Comments
settler flag
A Jewish settler hangs and Israeli flag in the unauthorized West Bank Jewish settlement of Migron. Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012. (Photo: Sebastian Scheiner/AP)

Earlier this week the Electronic Intifada (EI) published two articles on Israel’s “creeping annexation” of the West Bank supported by pictures of an entry visa on a passport that read “Judea and Samaria only,” which EI argued re-classified the West Bank as part of Israel. For travelers entering through Jordan since 2009 Ali Abunimah noted some have received restricted visas that only permit entry to the West Bank, barring visitors from Jerusalem and Israel. Before this week those visas were known to have stamps that stated, “Palestinian Authority only.” By using the language of “Judea and Samaria,” a reference to the biblical heartland of Eretz Yisrael and the name of the current Israeli administrative district in the West Bank that serves the settlements, the Jewish state is de facto claiming sovereignty over occupied Palestinian land. This change in status is accompanied by increasing calls from within the government to formalize Greater Israel, and it just may indicate that Israel is finally planning to formally annex the West Bank.

While the idea of annexation has floated through the Israeli government since 1969, after last year’s Palestinian UN bid the call to pass legislation to absorb the West Bank jumped from whispers to policy. In September 2011 Knesset party leaders from Likud, Shas and the National Union sent a letter to Netanyahu demanding he annex the West Bank as a punitive measure for the Palestinian “unilateral” statehood bid, as well as cut aid the Palestinian Authority (PA), cancel PA visa privileges and prohibit any Palestinian construction in areas under Israeli security control. “The PA’s UN bid on unilateral recognition is a blunt breach of those agreements, which have, in the last 18 years, taken their severe toll on us,” said the letter. Continuing, if Israel does not annex the West Bank it will “completely lose its deterrence, thus stimulating the Palestinians to continue their actions against it in the international arena,” and:

In fact, the international damage that Israel could suffer in the wake of the UN vote is significantly smaller than that it would suffer if it doesn’t follow up on the principle you set a decade ago – ‘If they give, they’ll get; if they don’t give, they get nothing.’

That same month Danny Danon (Likud) introduced a Knesset bill to officially annex the West Bank and cut Israeli funding to the PA. “If the Palestinian Authority wishes to proceed on this reckless path and bring further instability to the region, Israel cannot continue to pour funds into this sinking ship of failed leadership,” said Danon in September 2011 after proposing the bill. For Israeli officials, the 2011 bid was viewed as a breach of the Oslo Accords, which bars any change in the legal status of the West Bank until final status negotiations are reached. In light of what Israel considered to be the Palestinians sandbagging the negotiations process, a block of hard-liners then in turn backed Danon’s proposal, however the Knesset did not pass the resolution.

In addition to acquiring new territory, annexation would also relieve Israel of its financial obligations as an occupying power under international law. In Danon’s bill, the fiscal benefits of annexation were listed as a major coup. “The funding agreements with the PA were reached with the hope that their leaders would work to create an environment of lasting peace and security with Israel. Given that it is clear that the Palestinians have no such desire, Israel must no longer be required to stand by these arrangements,” said Danon again in September 2011 as reported by Haaretz. This same logic was then echoed in the United States when Tea Party representative Joe Walsh (R-Ill) introduced a resolution endorsing annexation also in 2011. Aptly titled, “Supporting Israel’s right to annex Judea and Samaria in the event that the Palestinian Authority continues to press for unilateral recognition of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations,” HR 394 mimicked Danon’s rhetoric. It argued that because the Palestinian leadership is abandoning the peace process, Israel is no longer required to abide by its tenets. In essence, Walsh pitched that because the Palestinians were the first to drop Oslo, Israel now had a legal window to annexation.

But because the Oslo accords prohibit either party from initiating “any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” Israel is also guilty of abandoning the interim agreement. Apart from the continual expansion of existing settlements, earlier this year Israel effectively annexed new territory in the West Bank by retroactively legalizing three new outposts, an outright change in the status of three West Bank localities and a flagrant breach of the Oslo Accords. At the time Mondoweiss‘s Annie Robbins reported in April 2012, “The outposts, Sansana, Rechelim and Bruchin, were never formally authorized when founded in the 1990s and are still considered illegal under international law,” yet the Israeli government still re-classified them—unilaterally—ending a ten-year freeze on new settlement construction. Concurrent to regularizing the outposts, Robbins also noted inside of Knesset, ministers overrode a high court ruling on a different illegal settlement, Ulpana, which was slotted for demolition in May 2012. But right-wing Knesset members reached an agreement with the government to stay the eviction and in turn extrajudicially reversed a High Court ruling. Around the same time, while Knesset was out of session a group of 25 ministers met and drafted a series of pro-settlement legislation that allowed for the legalization of another illegal outpost, Migron. The resolution did not pass, but like Ulpana, the ministers flexed their power and made agreements with the government on behalf of the settlers that were in direct contradication to the High Court’s orders. Ulpana and Migron therefore marked the pro-settlement bloc’s ability to strong arm the Israeli government into annexing swaths of the West Bank.

A few weeks later both Ulpana and Migron were evicted, but right-wing Knesset ministers re-grouped that July, meeting in Hebron to map out the practical steps to reach a “one-state” solution during the second annual Conference for the Application of Sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, organized by the “Women in Green,” a settler group founded by a mother and daughter originating from Belgium. From the group’s website, the conference debated the details of a future Knesset bill for annexation, or “an application of sovereignty”:

[A] number of people spoke, including the Chairman of Habayit Hayehudi (the New National Religious Party), the government minister, Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz, who called for the application of sovereignty over the entire territory, and not only over the communities or over Area C. According to Minister Hershkowitz, the application of sovereignty over a part of the territory will be interpreted by the other side as the beginning of a surrender of the rest of the area; accordingly, things must be made crystal-clear, and action must be taken for the comprehensive application of sovereignty.

MK Uri Ariel also participated in the Conference, and set forth his political philosophy regarding the future of the area, as he presented a political program that also includes changing the structure of Knesset elections, so that even if the Arabs of Judea and Samaria were to receive citizenship, they could not bring about a dramatic change in the Israeli political map.

The speakers also included Adv. Yitzhak Bam of the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, who analyzed the legal reality in Judea and Samaria, and stated that the issue of the application of sovereignty is not a legal question, but purely political, since there is no other sovereign authority that demands the return of the territory to it, and, in practice, there is a sort of ‘sovereignty vacuum’ in Judea and Samaria.

Cumulatively, the Hebron “one-state” conference, combined with Israel’s legalization of new outposts and policies like the one EI uncovered suggest that, similar to the Palestinians, Israel is exploring new options outside of the Oslo framework. Although unlike the Palestinians who put their UN bid to an international vote, Israel is taking actions that are truly unilateral on the ground, and may again attempt to annex the West Bank through a Knesset bill. While Israeli calls for annexation can be scoffed off as the agenda of a rogue hard-right coalition,  when taking into consideration that this group already managed to legalize three new settlements, the plans they outlined in the Hebron one-state conference should not be ignored. Just this past September “the Land of Israel Lobby,” an assembly of 40-50 Knesset members “toured the West Bank and called on the government of Israel to adopt the Levy (‘Israel is not an occupying power’) Report,” as Robbins reported.

While on the tour MK Aryeh Eldad linked the loss of Ulpana and Migron to his plight for annexation. Arutz Sheva reported, “Recently we witnessed the destruction of the Ulpana [neighborhood in Beit El] and we saw the Israeli government destroying Migron and we understand that if the Netanyahu government would adopt the legal recommendations of the Levy Report, all these obstacles that prevented the preservation of Migron and the Ulpana could be prevented. We could have saved these settlements,” said Eldad.

Palestinian human rights activist Omar Barghouti often says in lectures, “our South Africa moment has arrived,” referencing the sea change in international grassroots support for the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. But at the same time there is a quiet, yet public directive from high-ranking members of Israel’s ruling coalition outright stating they want to annex the West Bank, and they are building support and strategic plans to make it happen. And so although the Israeli visa stamps that now read “Judea and Samaria only,” may not indicate actual Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank, it does demonstrate that for Israel, it’s annexation moment has arrived.

40 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    December 6, 2012, 3:21 pm

    Oslo bans any change in legal status to West Bank until * * *? Are the settlements (for which land was confiscated, suggesting a change of legal status) covered by that rule, or did Oslo here (as in so much else) treat the two parties differently? Is the application of Israeli law to parts of the West Bank (including, as it does, occupied East Jerusalem) a “change in legal status”?

    Makes you wonder? Well, makes me wonder.

  2. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    December 6, 2012, 3:25 pm

    I doubt, even under the madman Netanyahu, that Israel would annex the WB. Not because they’d be morally above doing so – it’s always been obvious that control over all of Palestine is Israel’s ultimate goal – but because it would be impractical for them to do so right now, with so many unwanted non-Jews living there. Once a way is found to dispose of the ethnically incorrect inhabitants of Palestine, the Israelis won’t hesitate to annex the WB. But that time is not ripe.

    • RoHa
      December 6, 2012, 8:12 pm

      I’m inclined to see it the other way round. I suspect that we will hear the following from an Israeli Government spokesthingy.

      “We have tried time and time again to talk to the Palestinians, but to no avail. Each time the eldest Palestinian shook his heavy head and refused. Now the time has come to talk no more. For our own security, we must annex the remaining part of the land of our people. And for our own security, we cannot share it with people who remain so irredeemably, fanatically, hostile to us. And so, with sobs and tears, we are forced to require them to transfer themselves across the Jordan to the Palestinian state that exists over there. We know that this will cause some inconvenience to them, and we regret it. We weep for them. We deeply sympathise. But what must be must be. It is the only way we can be secure, and it will give them the opportunity to fulfil their national aspirations in their own way.”

      Followed by annexation and the very nicest buses running continually to the Allenby Bridge.

      (That’s actually pretty good. Do you think the Israelis will pay me if they use it?)

      • Eva Smagacz
        December 7, 2012, 5:00 am

        RoHa,

        You have my vote for Cassandra award for year 2012.

      • RoHa
        December 8, 2012, 11:32 pm

        Cassandra award? I’ve got a shelf full of thsoe already. What I want is a “Most Egregiously Inaccurate Prophecy Of Doom” award.

      • Kathleen
        December 7, 2012, 8:30 am

        Too good. Netanyahu may use it.

  3. Annie Robbins
    December 6, 2012, 4:28 pm

    killer article. blown away by the way you pulled it all together allison.

  4. W.Jones
    December 6, 2012, 11:11 pm

    Allison,

    This reminds me of the nationalists’ claim that the country need not “give up” the West Bank, because it was supposedly taken in a “defensive” war. Similarly, in Norman Finkelstein’s 1996 debate with Daniel Pipes, Pipes claimed the Palestinians must submit to everything demanded of them because they were supposedly defeated in the Cold War.

    So just now I was very surprised to see the flags at 10:21 in the film “The Lost World of Communism”:

    :o

    • W.Jones
      December 6, 2012, 11:39 pm

      This was the quote by Cold War historian Daniel Pipes I referred to, reflecting the mentality:

      I think the Palestinianss are only entitled to autonomy because basically they have lost. In WWI they joined the losing side. In WWII they joined the Nazis. [False: Many served in British Mandate forces.] In the Cold War they joined the Soviets and lost. In the war between Iraq and the Allies they joined Iraq. They lost. They lost. They lost. Everytime they lost. Do you know what happens to losers? They often don’t get the results they seek.

      Besides what I mentioned earlier, I think the US backed the PLO too during the Cold War.

      • MLE
        December 7, 2012, 6:36 am

        What losing side- WWI they were part of the Arab rebellion which was on the side of the allies against the Turks (winning side). WWII they were under the authority of the British, which was the side that won…

        It’s Hasbara so of course it’s a pile of elephant doodoo but its so bafflingly wrong

      • Obsidian
        December 7, 2012, 7:39 am

        They were not part of the Arab rebellion, they remained loyal to the Ottomans.
        In the 1940′s the Arab Legion, which at most comprised 1,600 troops, helped the British in Iraq and Syria.
        The Mufti’s henchmen did join the Nazi cause. In 1944, German and Palestinian commando’s tried to poison the water system of (Jewish) Tel Aviv as part of Operation Atlas.

      • talknic
        December 7, 2012, 9:02 am

        “The Mufti’s henchmen did join the Nazi cause.”

        Palestinians in the Balkans… Interesting stuff. Got a source?

        “Palestinian commando’s tried to poison the water system of (Jewish) Tel Aviv”

        They were accused of attempting? Again, a source please.

      • W.Jones
        December 7, 2012, 9:36 am

        Obsidian,

        You know, Lawrence of Arabia. When the Ottoman empire left, I heard there was only 1 Turk left in all of Jerusalem.

      • Avi_G.
        December 7, 2012, 9:51 am

        Obsidian says:
        December 7, 2012 at 7:39 am

        Palestinian commando’s tried to poison the water system of (Jewish) Tel Aviv as part of Operation Atlas.

        Well, I know that what you wrote is a lie because there was no such thing as “Palestinian commando’s[sic]“, let alone a Palestinian army.

        The Mufti’s henchmen did join the Nazi cause.

        You’re pathetic. The only reason the Mufti allied himself with Germany in WWII was due to Britain’s betrayal of Palestinian allies in WWI. That’s why the Mufti in WWII allied himself against the British and with Germany. But when you write that they joined the “Nazi cause” you’re spinning garbage, as usual.

      • Basilio
        December 9, 2012, 5:58 am

        The Mufti joined the Nazis only because the British had betrayed the Palestinians. What he did was wrong, and I don’t like what the Mufti Husseini did, but when your land is being carved in a way where your people’s destiny is being sold it can make you go off the chain. Jews did also support Hitler until they realized he was against them.

      • Obsidian
        December 9, 2012, 6:10 am
      • Woody Tanaka
        December 7, 2012, 10:30 am

        What a stupid statement by Pipes. By that logic, the Jews should be forced to have nothing but autonomy, too, as they were losers for 2,000 years, from when the Romans kicked the snot out of them to when they got their asses handed to them by the Austrian psychopath. Loss after loss after loss. (he says, tongue in cheek…)

      • W.Jones
        December 7, 2012, 2:24 pm

        C’mon WT, you know the drill, Yes they were losers but then after incredible odds they overcame the barbarian Arab hordes in 1948 and ever since, like in the recent “it felt more like an actual war” this November.

  5. Avi_G.
    December 6, 2012, 11:47 pm

    Excellent article, Allison. Very thorough.

  6. Annie Robbins
    December 7, 2012, 12:24 am

    In September 2011 Knesset party leaders from Likud, Shas and the National Union sent a letter to Netanyahu demanding he annex the West Bank

    the haaretz article referencing the letter dated 9/27 stated the leaders of several right-wing Knesset factions said in a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday.

    there’s a fabulous 9/14/2011 video here demonstrating the fruitcake vibe of this movement. and believe me, they’re nutcases. simone daud’s The declaration of ‘The Jewish Authority in Eretz Yisrael

    In preparation for the upcoming United Nations vote on Palestinian statehood Jewish settlers in the Samaria region of occupied Palestine declared the establishment of The Jewish Authority in Eretz Yisrael yesterday (Sept 14th) . I don’t think this has been covered by anyone aside from uncomfortably histrionic coverage by al-Jazeera Arabic. I’m not going translate al-Jazeera’s article here. But the flag of this Authority and a video from the inaugural speeches speak conveniently to two points.

    The Hebrew writing on the flag says ‘The Jewish Authority in Eretz Yisrael.’ It is framed around a picture of Ariel the lion of God, a symbol of the tribe of Judah I guess. The notion of Eretz Yisrael has two meanings, the first is religious. The second is legal and describes the only borders that Israel has explicitly recognized. In 1967 the Knesset extended its jurisdiction to the whole Eretz Yisrael and in 1978 the Israeli Government in a letter from Menachem Begin to the US government defined this legal Eretz Yisrael as the Land of Israel-Palestine. Of course, within these borders we have a likely disenfranchised Arab majority.

    don’t miss this video.

    • Hostage
      December 7, 2012, 3:07 am

      demonstrating the fruitcake vibe of this movement. and believe me, they’re nutcases.

      Oh yeah. The government of Israel has never even bothered to translate the full text of the Levy Commission Report into English. The 8 pages containing the summary of legal conclusions was comical enough. Levy was the sole dissenting Israeli High Court Judge in the 10-1 Gaza disengagement plan judgment (HCJ 1661/05). The High Court of Justice was unequivocally clear about the fact that settlers don’t have a legally protected right to live everywhere in Palestine on the basis of shop-worn hasbara (the Balfour Declaration, the San Remo resolution, the Mandate, Article 80 of the UN Charter, & etc.).

      The Court explained that the authority of the military commander is derived from the applicable public international law regarding belligerent military occupations. It also ruled that the IDF doesn’t hold a valid title to the occupied territory, so it can’t convey one to Israeli settlers. Naturally, Netanyahu picked Levy, Alan Baker, et al for the job of writing-up a legal excuse for decriminalizing the outposts under the applicable Israeli laws, but they couldn’t resist the temptation of writing another ill-timed whacko manifesto about the Balfour Declaration, San Remo, and the absurd idea that Israel isn’t occupying Palestine according to the applicable international law. The government’s real legal advisors recommended it be given the donkey’s burial (dragged off and thrown out beyond the gates of Jerusalem).

      • Annie Robbins
        December 7, 2012, 3:55 am

        hostage, 2 good links relating to your post that might interest you. noura erekat’s
        No, Israel Does Not Have the Right to Self-Defense In International Law Against Occupied Palestinian Territory

        link to jadaliyya.com

        and here’s another little fruitcake video for your entertainment (re:the absurd idea that Israel isn’t occupying Palestine)

  7. peeesss
    December 7, 2012, 4:04 am

    The Oslo accords does not negate 65 years of UN resolutions, Security Council resolutions as well as GA resolutions. The Oslo accords noted Paletinian recognition of Israel as a “State” but Israel only accorded the PLO as the “Representative ” for the Palestinian people to negotiate with the Israeli Govt. The Oslo Accords did not include any reference to a future Palestine State , side by side with Israel. Rabin himself never stated that the eventual goal was an Independent Palestine. And because Arafat did not have one lawyer to oversee the agreements while Israel had dozens going over every word some texts of the aggreement might be construed , at least by Israelis, as allowing the establishment of Colonies{settlements} Edward Said resigned from the Palestinian assembly to protest vociferously the capitulation and ignorance of the PLO delegation to Oslo. The Oslo accords was a sellout by the PLO , albeit possibly not deliberate, by slaves to their Slave Masters and with, of course, the US behind the Slave Master. To now have people speak of the Oslo accords as now overiding all the resolutions passed by the UN these past 65 years is ludicrous. The UN has just recongized Palestine as a non-member “State of Palestine” encompassint he westbank East Jerusalum and the Gaza Strip , based on the 1967 borders. That is now the State of Palestine. If the Israelis do annex the West Bank the whole world, even the US citizenry might finally realize the real intent of Zionism was the whole of Palestine from its inception. Cynical as I am and aware of the worlds indifference to the just cause of Palestine for the past 60 plus years, I do not believe annexation would be to Israels advantage at this time. I do believe it would cause a backlash to which Israel will not want to encounter at this time. So Israel will continue to buil settlements , occupy more land , until the time is more fortuitous to reclaim all of “Eretz Israel”.

    • peeesss
      December 7, 2012, 4:27 am

      I should add I do believe that Palestinian steadfastness will finally enable the world to realize the horror of Zionism and what the State of Israel has committed in its name. Hopefully this will bring an end to the suffering of the Palestinian people and a hint of justice.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 7, 2012, 5:17 am

        I do believe that Palestinian steadfastness will finally enable the world to realize….

        me too peese, a zillion times over.

        To now have people speak of the Oslo accords as now overiding all the resolutions passed by the UN these past 65 years is ludicrous.

        do you think they care about that? they’ll use anything they think will twist in their favor. reminds me of something Dahlia Scheindlin wrote, first source links here link to mondoweiss.net it’s not like israelis don’t understand what’s going on here.

        link to 972mag.com

        The developments surrounding Givat Ha’ulpana showcase of the government’s prized policy: expand settlements at all costs, in all regions, in all ways; circumvent the Supreme Court; overturn the leadership’s own policies at will; push the bar of settlement acceptability in public discourse as far beyond the separation wall as possible, by making claims so wild that retreating to completely illegitimate starting points is seen as moderation and restraint. And finally, the real goal: strengthen the existing reality of one sovereign ruler over the territory from the Jordan to the sea.

    • Hostage
      December 7, 2012, 5:00 am

      And because Arafat did not have one lawyer to oversee the agreements while Israel had dozens going over every word some texts of the aggreement might be construed , at least by Israelis, as allowing the establishment of Colonies{settlements} Edward Said resigned from the Palestinian assembly to protest vociferously the capitulation and ignorance of the PLO delegation to Oslo.

      With all due respect to the late Edward Said and political theater, you would have a better chance of being hit by lightning than getting all 15 ICJ Justices to agree on a complex question of international law. But all of the Justices, including those who felt the need to write their own separate opinions, agreed that the Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. The opinions contained many references to the Oslo Accords, but nothing which altered the facts or the law pertaining to the illegal situation created by Israel.

      • peeesss
        December 7, 2012, 12:46 pm

        Hostage. “Those who felt the need to write their own separate opinion”. “those” was one, the American Justice who even in his separate opinion stated the separation wall was illegal as were all settlements in occupied territory. This is the Law and based on the past UN resolutions, not the Oslo Accords. The opinions contained ” many references to the Oslo Accords”. I do not believe factual. I could be wrong. I hope your reference about ” political theatre” wasn’t a slap at Edward Said. a truly giant of a man.

      • peeesss
        December 7, 2012, 12:53 pm

        Hostage. Oh by the way , It is not “complex”. And all the Justices “did agree” on the question of the separation wall and settlements in the “OccupiedTerritories.” as being illegal. Case closed if International Law has any meaning.

      • Hostage
        December 7, 2012, 4:13 pm

        Hostage. “Those who felt the need to write their own separate opinion”. “those” was one, the American Justice who even in his separate opinion stated the separation wall was illegal as were all settlements in occupied territory.

        Look again, there were separate written advisory opinions from: Koroma, Higgins, Al‑Khasawneh, Buergenthal, El Arabi, and Owada. None of them were considered dissenting opinions. link to icj-cij.org

        This is the Law and based on the past UN resolutions, not the Oslo Accords. The opinions contained ” many references to the Oslo Accords”. I do not believe factual. I could be wrong.

        You are. References to General Assembly resolutions don’t necessarily constitute enforceable agreements or create binding obligations for member states to legally “recognize” other political entities. That’s especially true in cases where the Court doesn’t believe that a particular resolution reflects customary state practice on the subject.

        Israel argued that on-going negotiations on settlements under the terms of the Oslo Accords precluded the Court from exercising jurisdiction. The Court interpreted the Oslo Accords like any other conventional agreements covered by its statute. Contrary to popular belief, the Court did not agree with Israel’s interpretation of the meaning or significance of the Accords. More importantly, Israel admitted in its arguments, that if negotiations failed, recourse to international arbitration was possible. So the notion that Palestine’s status can only be settled through bilateral negotiations or the lapsed Oslo process has always been bogus:

        46. The first such argument is to the effect that the Court should not exercise its jurisdiction in the present case because the request concerns a contentious matter between Israel and Palestine, in respect of which Israel has not consented to the exercise of that jurisdiction. According to this view, the subject-matter of the question posed by the General Assembly “is an integral part of the wider Israeli-Palestinian dispute concerning questions of terrorism, security, borders, settlements, Jerusalem and other related matters”. Israel has emphasized that it has never consented to the settlement of this wider dispute by the Court or by any other means of compulsory adjudication; on the contrary, it contends that the parties repeatedly agreed that these issues are to be settled by negotiation, with the possibility of an agreement that recourse could be had to arbitration.

        77. Lastly, a number of agreements have been signed since 1993 between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization imposing various obligations on each Party. Those agreements inter alia required Israel to transfer to Palestinian authorities certain powers and responsibilities exercised in the Occupied Palestinian Territory by its military authorities and civil administration. Such transfers have taken place, but, as a result of subsequent events, they remained partial and limited.

        112 . . .For the reasons explained in paragraph 106 above, the Court cannot accept Israel’s view. It would also observe that the territories occupied by Israel have for over 37 years been subject to its territorial jurisdiction as the occupying Power. In the exercise of the powers available to it on this basis, Israel is bound by the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Furthermore, it is under an obligation not to raise any obstacle to the exercise of such rights in those fields where competence has been transferred to Palestinian authorities.

        118. As regards the principle of the right of peoples to self-determination, the Court observes that the existence of a “Palestinian people” is no longer in question. Such existence has moreover been recognized by Israel in the exchange of letters of 9 September 1993 between Mr. Yasser Arafat, President of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Mr. Yitzhak Rabin, lsraeli Prime Minister. In that correspondence, the President of the PL0 recognized “the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security” and made various other commitments. In reply, the Israeli Prime Minister informed him that, in the light of those commitments, “the Government of Israel has decided to recognize the PLO as the representative of the “Palestinian people”. The Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip of 28 September 1995 also refers a number of times to the Palestinian people and its “legitimate rights” (Preamble, paras. 4, 7, 8; Article II, para. 2; Article III, paras. 1 and 3; Article XXII, para. 2).

        The Court considers that those rights include the right to self-determination, as the General Assembly has moreover recognized on a number of occasions (see, for example, resolution 58/163 of 22 December 2003).

        link to icj-cij.org

        So the Court treated Oslo as a binding agreement that required Israel to grant Palestinians self-determination in the territory occupied by Israel.

      • Hostage
        December 7, 2012, 8:08 pm

        It is not “complex”.

        In fact the historical and legal claims made by the Zionists and the legal issues involved are very complex. Take a look at the length of the article, citations, and 42 responses to the European Journal of International Law blog which analyzed the Levy Commission report: Justice Levy’s Legal Tinsel: The Recent Israeli Report on the Status of the West Bank and Legality of the Settlements link to ejiltalk.org

        For example, the ICJ explained that the latest international guarantees regarding freedom of movement and access to the Holy sites, on both sides of the Green Line, were among the rights contained in Article 62 of the Treaty of Berlin (1878). See paragraph 129 of the Advisory Opinion.

        Despite the claims of the authors of the Levy Report that the Mandate (as well as in the Balfour Declaration) only protected the “civil and religious” rights of Palestinians, the rights contained in Article 62 of the Treaty of Berlin had included a stipulation on political rights:

        In no part of the Ottoman Empire shall difference of religion be alleged against any person as a ground for exclusion or incapacity in matters relating to the enjoyment of civil or political rights, admission to public employments, functions, and honors, or the exercise of the various professions and industries, in any locality whatsoever.

        The famous San Remo resolution noted that the draft articles of the Mandate were accepted, with the exception that an undertaking was added to the process verbal which required Great Britain to protect the “existing rights” of the non-Jewish communities of Palestine.
        link to cfr.org

        The ICJ also noted in paragraph 129 of the advisory opinion that those “existing rights” were inter alia the subject of safeguarding clauses contained in Article 13 of the Mandate and an entire Chapter of the UN Partition Plan. Several subsidiary organs of the United Nations have advised that Israel still has binding legal obligations under the terms of the minority protection plan contained in UN resolution 181(II), including its acceptance of the Palestinian refugee’s right of return or compensation. Those rights also include freedom of movement and access to the Holy Sites on both sides of the Green Line too.

    • Sibiriak
      December 7, 2012, 6:48 am

      peeesss says:

      Israel will continue to buil settlements , occupy more land , until the time is more fortuitous to reclaim all of “Eretz Israel”.

      Or: Israel will continue to expand settlements, occupy more land, and when the time is right, annex those settlement areas, and leave what pieces of non-contiguous territory remain to the Palestinians for their “state”.

    • mondonut
      December 7, 2012, 2:40 pm

      peeesss says: The UN has just recongized Palestine as a non-member “State of Palestine” encompassint he westbank East Jerusalum and the Gaza Strip , based on the 1967 borders. That is now the State of Palestine.
      ========================================
      This is incorrect. The UNGA did not recognize territorial borders for Palestine, and they cannot create borders or assign territory. The borders of Palestine will be determined when they sit down with the Israelis and agree to them.

      • Hostage
        December 8, 2012, 12:04 am

        This is incorrect. The UNGA did not recognize territorial borders for Palestine, and they cannot create borders or assign territory.

        *The Security Council has adopted several resolutions which called on the member states not to recognize or assist the government of Israel in maintaining the illegal territorial situations that it has created in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem.

        *The General Assembly and the UN Credentials Committee in-turn recognized the armistice lines as the borders of Palestine several years ago. The General Assembly:
        *Acknowledged the 1988 Declaration of the State of Palestine in line with “the exercise of the inalienable right of the Palestinian people” to self-determination. See resolution 43/177;
        *It said that Palestinian statehood is not subject to the peace process or to any veto. See operative paragraphs 1 & 2 of resolution 55/87
        *It adopted UN reports and resolutions on credentials that mentioned “their State, Palestine”. Those resolutions describe the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967 as “their territory” and say that “the credentials of the delegation of Israel do not cover that territory”. See A/58/L.48, 15 December 2003; General Assembly 58/292, 17 May 2004.
        *The verbatim record of the General Assembly discussion of resolution 58/292 indicates the words “pre-1967 borders” had intentionally been adopted to replace the words “Armistice Line of 1949”. See A/58/PV.87

        *Under similar circumstances, the General Assembly Credentials Committee refused to accept the validity of the credentials of the representatives of the Union of South Africa for territories where it had created illegal situations. As a consequence, they could not vote or participate in the business of the United Nations as the legal representatives of the inhabitants.

        *In any event, the General Assembly can impose legal consequences that result from permanent international armistice lines of demarcation imposed under the terms of a Chapter VII UN Security Council resolutions, because they are legal boundaries that the parties are required to observe and respect. That’s especially true in cases where the Security Council and the ICJ have declared that third parties may not recognize or assist Israel.

  8. Avi_G.
    December 7, 2012, 5:18 am

    To now have people speak of the Oslo accords as now overiding all the resolutions passed by the UN these past 65 years is ludicrous.

    Indeed. That’s a very good point.

  9. amigo
    December 7, 2012, 6:23 am

    Allison, why did you delete my two posts??.

    I simply made a play on words as in “ANN-EX-NATION” which is what Israel has in mind for Palestine.

    I was about to make a donation .I will have to rethink that decision if I am to be censured for no apparent reason.I thought you were about fairness and freedom of speech.

    Am I wrong.

    • Woody Tanaka
      December 7, 2012, 10:32 am

      Oh, salve your butthurt and pony up the cash. Everyone here has had posts dropped. Don’t think you’re some kind of special martyr.

  10. Sibiriak
    December 7, 2012, 6:56 am

    In September 2011 Knesset party leaders from Likud, Shas and the National Union sent a letter to Netanyahu demanding he annex the West Bank as a punitive measure for the Palestinian “unilateral” statehood bid

    Actually, those party leaders urged the “gradual annexation of all West Bank settlements”, not the annexation of the West Bank itself, according to the linked article.

  11. seafoid
    December 7, 2012, 8:02 am

    It hardly matters what Israel does now.
    The rot is too far advanced in Galut.

  12. American
    December 7, 2012, 9:33 am

    This is a Israeli assassination waiting to happen. I would bet Israel tries to kill him while he’s in Palestine.

    link to reuters.com

    (Reuters) – Hamas’s exiled leader will step onto Palestinian land for the first time in 45 years on Friday for a “victory rally” in the Gaza Strip, displaying his newfound confidence after last month’s conflict with Israel.
    Meshaal, 56, ran the group from exile in Damascus from 2004 until January this year when he quit the Syrian capital because of Iranian-backed President Bashar al-Assad’s war against Sunni Muslim rebels. He now divides his time between Qatar and Cairo.

    Israel Threatens to Cancel Gaza Truce Over Islamic Jihad’s Planned Visit
    Insists Visits From Top Leadership Won’t Be Tolerated
    by Jason Ditz, December 06, 2012

    Israel has reportedly threatened to abandon the existing Gaza Strip ceasefire if the leadership of Islamic Jihad follows through on planned Sunday visits. The group’s two leaders were planning to visit at the same time as Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal’s first visit.

    For the group it’s likely about avoiding being upstaged by Meshaal’s heavily publicized “first ever” visit, but Israel is saying that if the visit is followed through on, they will consider the truce ended.”

  13. talknic
    December 7, 2012, 10:12 am

    Israel can only legally annex territory by a referendum of or by an agreement with the legitimate citizens of the territory to be annexed. (sans illegal settlers)

    The US helped shape the Laws surrounding the legal acquisition of territory when it held a referendum of Mexican citizens of Texas (sans US citizens in Texas) to see if they wanted to be annexed to the US, then a referendum of US citizens to see if they wanted to annex Texas and it’s citizens. Likewise a referendum of the Russian citizens of Alaska. Same Hawaii. By adopting this procedure for annexation, the US was instrumental in that method eventually passing into Customary International Law.

    If Israel attempts to unilaterally annex non-Israeli territory without an agreement or referendum, we will see a repeat of UNSC reolutions against the annexation of East Jerusalem, beginning with a Chapt VI resolution reminding the parties of the Law (all Law is binding BTW) and how they must act according to the law. It is the wording of Chapt VI resolutions outlining the requirements under the Law and/or UN Charter that are voted on.

    UNSC Members cannot veto the law or vote to allow a law or UN Charter to be broken. They can only vote for a Chapt VI resolution outlining legal requirements or, as the US has in the past, abstain from voting. (BTW the majority of UN / UNSC resolutions against Israel are reminders of its obligations and previous resolutions. UNSC res 252 has some EIGHT reminders. Israel calls it bias. Is the Gas Co biased when it reminds folk to pay their bills per the contract they agreed to? Of course it isn’t. The Hasbara fails again)

    A Chapt VII resolution against Israel for ignoring a Chapt VI resolution and the law/Charter is another matter. Actions which might be taken against a state for having ignored the laws contained in a Chapt VI resolution are not predetermined or set in concrete. UNSC Members states can vote against or as the US has done so many times, veto the resolution in its entirety.

    AIPAC et al desperately lobby the US senate because ALL of Israel’s illegal eggs are in the lone US veto basket. Change US opinion and Israel will drown in the bog it has made for itself over the last 64 years.

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