March 7, 2011 at 6:23 am 1 comment

The meaning of conquest

 and occupation


Excerpts from his book “How to avoid Armageddon”

Available through Amazon

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Actually, even if the media and all the various international agencies and governments used the term “disputed territories” instead of “occupied territories” or “conquered territories,” it would still be a controversial term, because Judea and Samaria were taken by Israel in wars of defense that had been launched from the same areas on two occasions.

Nevertheless, Israel is constantly accused in the United Nations and other international organizations and agencies as well as most of the media for illegally occupying Judea and Samaria and building illegal towns and settlements on Palestinian land. U.N. Resolution 242, the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Oslo Accords are frequently cited to confirm the illegality of Israel’s actions. Yet, when studying these and other documents and agreements connected with the Arab-Israel conflict, one can get the impression that in any real court of law and justice, Israel’s claim to sovereignty in Judea and Samaria and its right to build settlements would be deemed at least as valid as the rights of the Palestinians. But then I’m biased. So lets see what the archives reveal.

First there was the League of Nations San Remo Conference on April 24, 1920, which conferred the Mandate for Palestine to Britain. The aim of the Mandate was to enable the “historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine,” in accordance with the Balfour Declaration, and to “secure establishment of the Jewish National Home.” An agreed text was confirmed by the Council of the League of Nations on July 24, 1922, and it came into operation in September 1923.

However, Article 25 of the Mandate allowed the postponement or suspension of provisions of the Mandate in the territories east of the Jordan River. Needing to mollify Arab disappointment in the whole region because of unfulfilled promises to them, Britain implemented Article 25, inferring elimination of the Jewish people’s rights there, even though this contravened Article 15 of the Mandate. This measure eventually led to the creation of the Kingdom of Jordan on 77% of Palestine. But this did not change or abrogate the Jewish right of settlement in the parts of the Mandate west of the Jordan River (which included Judea and Samaria a.k.a. the West Bank). This perception of Palestine remained a League of Nations protocol until the demise of that organization in 1946.

The successor of the League of Nations, the United Nations Organization, confirms this in its Charter in Chapter 7 (Article 80), stating that all existing international agreements remain unaffected. In other words, the decisions of the League of Nations regarding Palestine remained in place as far as the U.N. was concerned and should be considered valid to this day. Thus any rejection of Israel’s right to a presence in the Judea and Samaria, ignores an important international legal document.

Next: On November 29, 1947 the U.N. General Assembly passed Resolution 181 (the Partition of Palestine) to divide Palestine into two separate states – a state for Arabs and another for Jews. This in itself went in the face of the San Remo Conference, but times had changed and the Jews accepted it, while the Arabs went to war.

Following the war, in which the Arabs were largely repulsed, the armistice agreements signed between Israel and the neighboring countries that invaded her in 1948, were intended to serve only as interim agreements until replaced by permanent peace treaties. The borders drawn up in the armistic agreements were regarded by all parties as provisional. However, no peace treaties were actually signed until decades later. Those that were signed – between Egypt and Jordan – did not change the armistice lines between Israel and the West bank (previously held by Jordan, but which relinquished its claims in 1988), which are still regarded provisional, pending a full peace agreement with the relevant parties – i.e. the Arab Palestinians and Israel. In other words they still need to be negotiated, which is what has been happening intermittently since 1993. But the negotiations have been bedeviled by intense diplomatic and armed hostility by the Palestinians, which has made cool, pragmatic negotiations impossible until now. (Settlement construction in the West Bank by Israel has not helped foster peace either. More on this issue later.)

Clearly, all this documentation is confusing even to people familiar with the whole issue. This might be one of the reasons why it is easier to simply call Israel’s actions illegal. Indeed, this does seem a justified accusation when reading Article 49, paragraph 6, in the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949), which is used to substantiate the accusation of illegal occupation and settlement of lands Israel conquered in 1967, as well as forced expulsion of local inhabitants.

Paragraph 6 states: “Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.”

It must be noted that there have been hundreds of temporary and permanent deportations of people from the territories by Israel, accused of involvement in terrorism and incitement. An exonerating factor in Israel’s favor might be the fact that the Fourth Geneva Convention (drafted after the massive population transfers during the Second World War to ensure that local populations coming under occupation would not be forced to move) did not anticipate the unprecedented intensity and ruthlessness that started in the early nineteen nineties, of thousands of deadly armed attacks against Israel’s population by people in these territories.

Also stated in Article 49, which has a greater bearing on Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria is the following: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” Israel argues that none of the Jewish settlers was deported or forcibly relocated by any government order. They all moved of their own free will to the heart of their ancestral homeland, to places where in many cases they, their parents or their ancestors, once lived before being expelled by others. This seems like a somewhat liberal reading of Article 49 by Israel, and while it might satisfy advocates of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria, it is rejected by the Arabs.

But it should be remembered that jurisdiction over these territories was highly questionable, as they had previously been occupied by Jordan. In other words there had not been any Palestinian sovereignty in the West Bank or Gaza when Israel was attacked in 1967. Indeed, Jordan’s occupation of the area from which it had attacked Israel, had not been recognized by the international community (with the exception of Great Britain and Pakistan), but not even by the other Arab states. The area could arguably be considered to have been terra nullius or not legally occupied by any sovereign state when taken by Israel in a defensive war in 1967.

Continued at Biased wording – 2:

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Entry filed under: Blogroll, dangeous lies and halftruths, How to avoid Armageddon, In order to survive, Solutions for Palestine, United Nations. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .


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