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Israeli Settlement Facts and Falsehoods

December 10, 2012 2:30 pm 6 comments

A neighbourhood in Ariel, Israel.

1. Judea and Samaria (Jewish roots) or West Bank (Arab roots)?

“Judea” (יהודה) is the origin of the term “Jew” (יהודי). Its Hebrew spelling combines one of God’s names: Jehova (יהוה) and one of God’s acronyms: ד’. Judea and Samaria are the cradle of Jewish history, religion, culture, holidays, ethos, language and yearnings. The official name of the area was “Judea and Samaria” from Biblical times until April 1950, when Jordan occupied/annexed the area, renaming it “West Bank,” as distinguished from the east bank of the Jordan River. Judea and Samaria was the official name used by the 1922-1948 British Mandate of Palestine, as well as by the U.N.

2. Are Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria an obstacle to peace?

Jewish settlements were established in Judea and Samaria after the 1967 War. However, it was pre-1967 Arab terrorism which annihilated the Jewish communities of Hebron, Gush Etzion and Gaza and raged in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the Galilee during the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s — Arab terrorism aimed at preventing the establishment of an “infidel” Jewish state in the “abode of Islam.” Several Arab armies, and Palestinian terrorists, raided Israel in 1948 and persisted in anti-Jewish terrorism before the 1967 establishment of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria.

3. Is the strategic goal of Mahmoud Abbas to uproot the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria?

Mahmoud Abbas is the chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which supersedes and oversees the Palestinian Authority. The PLO was established in 1964, three years before the establishment of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. The 1964 Covenant of the PLO referred only to the pre-1967 area of Israel. The current PLO Covenant targets Judea, Samaria and the pre-1967 area of Israel for “liberation.”

Abbas is, also, the leader of Fatah, which was established in 1959, eight years before the establishment of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. The August 2009 Sixth Convention of Fatah called for the continued struggle “to eradicate the Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.” The strategic goal of Abbas is to uproot the Jewish state and not, merely, the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria.

4. Would the uprooting of Jewish settlements advance peaceful coexistence?

Peaceful coexistence on the one hand, and the uprooting of Jewish or Arab communities on the other, constitute an oxymoron. The 1.6 million Arabs, among 6 million Jews, within pre-1967 Israel do not constitute an obstacle to peace; nor do the 350,000 Jews, among 1.7 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria. The uprooting of Arab communities in pre-1967 Israel would be as immoral as would be the uprooting of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. “Judenrhein areas” contradict peaceful coexistence. In fact, the litmus test of Palestinian/Arab intent is the acceptance or rejection of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria.

5. Does Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria prejudge the outcome of negotiation?

Palestinian construction in Judea and Samaria — which is dramatically larger than Jewish construction there — presents facts on the ground, just as Jewish construction does. Western tendency to single out Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, while ignoring Palestinian construction, prejudges the outcome of negotiations! Opposition to Arab presence in pre-1967 Israel should not be tolerated; so, too, should the opposition to a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria. Israel’s government razes illegal Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria. Israel should, also, raze the 1,100 illegal Arab homes built annually in Jerusalem and the thousands of illegal Arab homes in Judea and Samaria.

6. Are Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria legal?

Judge Stephen Schwebel, former president of the International Court of Justice, determined that Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria was rooted in self-defense and therefore did not constitute “occupation.” Eugene Rostow, former dean of Yale Law School, former undersecretary of state and co-author of U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, which sets out the criteria for Israel-Arab peacemaking said U.N. Resolution 242 does not call for withdrawal to the pre-1967 boundaries; Israel’s withdrawal from Sinai amounts to a 90 percent withdrawal from post-1967 areas; the legality of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria “cannot be terminated except by a recognized peace between Israel and its neighbors, and perhaps not even then, in view of Article 80 of the U.N. Charter, ‘the Palestine article,'” which upholds the 1922 British Mandate for Palestine. This 1922 international legal instrument considered Judea and Samaria part of the Jewish national homeland: “Jews have the same right to settle [in Judea and Samaria] as they have to settle in Haifa.” The 1993 Oslo Accord does not prohibit the construction of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria.

The campaign against Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria is based on gross misrepresentations. It is not a peace-enhancer; it is an appeasement-enhancer, fueling terrorism and undermining the pursuit of peace.

This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.


  • Wallace Edward Brand

    The WWI Allied Principal War Powers, held talks in Paris in 1919 to decide what was to be done with the land they had conquered. Claims for territories in Europe were decided promptly but the claims of the Arab People and the Jewish People for the collective political rights to Syria, Mesopotamia and Palestine went unresolved until they reconvened in San Remo. On April 25, 1920 they decided to recognize the Jewish People as the owners of the collective political rights to Palestine. However as to the existing individual political rights of those in non Jewish communities, referred to as one of the civil rights, these were protected against any prejudice by those who would establish and administer the government of the territory in the savings clause of the Balfour Declaration. The same issue is currently under debate now in a bill to resolve the same issues under domestic Israeli law. These have been fixed under International Law since San Remo. At the meeting in San Remo, the French sought to add “political rights” to the savings clause that saved civil rights (including individual political rights) and religious rights but the proposed amendment was rejected. It appears that the Jewish People had been recognized as the owner of these national rights and the Arabs were rejected. Possibly it was because the Jewish People was the only people that had no other home, whereas the Arabs held exclusive national or collective political rights to 22 other states.

  • Michael D Perloff

    Judea and Samaria were illegally occupied by foreign Arab armies for 19 years until the invaders were expelled in 1967. In any similar situation anywhere in the world Judea and Samaria would be called “liberated territories.” Why a special definition just for the Jewish state? And why call it “disputed?”

    The Arabs claim these liberated territories still belong to them. They have made reference to “Israel occupied Palestinian territory” and “disputed land” their mantra so often that the general public believes it’s true.

    Using the Arab terminology of occupation undermines Israel’s position and lends credibility to the fallacious Palestinian Arab narrative of victimhood and disposession when none is warranted.

  • It is my understanding that Jordan never legally annexed Judea and Samaria. That is why Israel is now legally occupying it. According the International law, a country cannot occupy land won in war from another country. Since this land was not legally a part of Jordan, it was not land won in war from another country.

    • Torben Michael Kaae

      “As Jordan no longer makes any claim to the West Bank and Egypt makes no claim on Gaza the only remaining claimants are Israel and the Palestinians. As to who has the stronger claim, the Palestinians never had any title to these territories. Moreover, international law distinguishes clearly between “aggressive conquest” and territorial acquisition after a war of self-defense. Former US State Department Legal Advisor Stephen Schwebel, who later headed the International Court of Justice in the Hague, wrote in 1970 regarding Israel’s case: “Where the prior holder of territory had seized that territory unlawfully, the state which subsequently takes that territory in the lawful exercise of self-defense has, against that prior holder, better title”

      It Means: If a state in lawful exercise of selfdefense conquers none state territory (terra nullius), it can´t be an unlawfull occupier.

      Another people – by the way – without legal claims to this territory – claims this territory anyway; thats at least, what they tell the World – and strange enough the World still listens !

      Jordan was until 1967 an illegal occupier in 1988 renounced it´s claim on this territory (Westbank.)

      The League Of Nations unannimously adopted (51 votes)
      the Jewish right to a National Homeland and by the establishment of The United Nations this decision became implemented in The Charter of The U.N. Article 80.

      Israel has a strong claim on The Westbank.

      Which all included make this territory a Disputed Territory.

      Only direct Peace talks between the parties involved with a supervisor included and in full respect of The Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 will do.

      It will be most unlawful to enforce a peacetreaty upon the parties involved.

      • Torben Michael Kaae

        Sorry folks – forgot to mention this:

        Professor in International Law and Justice, Hans Kelsen, wrote in 1952 a book, “Principles of International Law”, which became a bestseller – Worldwide.


        And to where does this lead us ?

        Did this territory belong to Egypt ? NO !
        Did this territory belong to Jordan ? NO !
        Did this territory belong to the Palestinians ? NO !

        This means that this territory was ‘none Sovereign territory’ for which we have a latin expression: *TERRA NULLIUS* means ‘land belongs to nobody’!

        Try to Google it.

    Looking foward to more facts.
    I gotta look back into your other writings.

    Brooklyn Chai.
    Whoops, I mean AM YISRAEL CHAI

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