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December 3, 2015 3:21 pm

Israel Draws Up Document Justifying Legality of Settlements, Property Claims to West Bank

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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The settlement bloc of Ariel in the West Bank (Judea-Samaria). Photo: Wikipedia.

The settlement bloc of Ariel in the West Bank (Judea-Samaria). Photo: Wikipedia.

Israel is preparing a document providing the legal justification for Israeli settlements, Israel’s Channel 2 reported on Thursday evening.

According to the report, the document – which spells out why settlement construction in the West Bank is completely legitimate and does not violate international law — will be translated into multiple languages and distributed to all Israeli embassies in the world.

The document is part of an initiative spearheaded by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, who is guiding the Ministry’s legal team.

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Channel 2 highlighted certain clauses of the document, among them passages stating that Israel’s property claims to Judea and Samaria are valid, as the land “was never under the legitimate sovereignty of any country,” and  because the “Jewish affinity to Judea and Samaria is thousands of years old.” The settlements, according to the document, are not new; nor do they constitute “colonization.”

According to Channel 2, the document also says that the settlements were established under the supervision of the Supreme Court, and that the Disengagement – Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 – was a unilateral political move, not the fulfillment of any kind of legal obligation.

Hotovely, according to the report, is going to convene legal minds from across the world to examine the document, which is being undertaken with the knowledge of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has also been serving as Foreign Minister since the forming of his new government less than a year ago.

The document is based almost entirely on the Levy Report, Channel 2 claimed, referring to the 2012 “Report on the Legal Status of Building in Judea and Samaria,” authored by a three-member judicial committee headed by former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy, which concluded that Israel’s presence in the West Bank is not an “occupation,” and that settlements are legal under international law.

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  • THE FAISAL-WEIZMANN AGREEMENT 3 January 1919 His Royal Highness the Emir Feisal, representing and acting on behalf of the Arab

    TWISTS AND TURNS
    The Faisal-Weizmann Agreement January 3, 1919 was a great beginning of Jewish and Arab cooperation. However, it was short-lived. The three White Papers and the Peel Commission, while trying to uphold the Balfour promise succumbed over time to Arab terrorism and influence.
    THE FAISAL-WEIZMANN AGREEMENT
    3 January 1919
    His Royal Highness the Emir Feisal, representing and acting on behalf of the Arab Kingdom of Hedjaz, and Dr. Chaim Weizmann, representing and acting on behalf of the Zionist Organization, mindful of the racial kinship and ancient bonds existing between the Arabs and the Jewish people, and realizing that the surest means of working out the consummation of their natural aspirations is through the closest possible collaboration in the development of the Arab State and Palestine, and being desirous further of confirming the good understanding which exists between them, have agreed upon the following:
    Article III
    In the establishment of the Constitution and Administration of Palestine, all such measures shall be adopted as will afford the fullest guarantees for carrying into effect the British Government’s Declaration of the 2nd of November, 1917. (Balfour Declaration)
    Article IV
    All necessary measures shall be taken to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale, and as quickly as possible to settle Jewish immigrants upon the land through closer settlement and intensive cultivation of the soil…
    (signed) Faisal Ibn Hussein
    signed) Chaim Weizmann
    “Faisal Ibn Hussein bin Ali al-Hashemi, was for a short time King of Greater Syria in 1920, and later King of Iraq. He was a member of the Hashemite dynasty. Chaim Weizmann was President of the Zionist Organization, and the first President of the State of Israel.
    Faisal’s father, Hussein bin Ali, the Sharif of Mecca and King of Hedjas, formally endorsed the Balfour Declaration in the Treaty of Sevres (the peace treaty between the Ottoman Empire and Allies at the end of World War I) of 10 August 1920, along with the other Allied powers. Under Arab pressure, the King later unilaterally reneged on this treaty.”
    The following remarks are summaries of the White Papers and the Peel Commission
    WHITE PAPER OF 1922
    After 1921 Arab riots and slaughter of Jews, Churchill issued a White Paper in 1922 stating that the Balfour Declaration could not be amended and that the Jews were in Palestine by right.
    Churchill declared: “But in order that this [Jewish] community should have the best prospect of free development and provide a full opportunity for the Jewish people to display its capacities, it is essential that it should know that it is in Palestine as of right and not on the sufferance. That is the reason why it is necessary that the existence of a Jewish National Home in Palestine should be internationally guaranteed, and that it should be formally recognized to rest upon ancient historic connection.”
    At the same time, to appease Arab violence, the government decided to create an Arab nation from all of the land east of the Jordan River removing 76% of Palestine from Jewish habitation. Churchill also hinted that he might have to regulate Jewish immigration to Palestine if the Jewish population grew too fast. The Arabs found that the more they rioted, the more Britain limited Jewish immigration.
    WHITE PAPER OF 1930
    More Arab riots and another White Paper. This paper hinted at the need to curtail Jewish immigration to the area originally designated by the Balfour Declaration as a homeland for the Jewish people.
    THE PEEL COMMISSION JULY 1937
    At the height of 1936-1939 Arab riots, a royal commission of inquiry headed by Lord Robert Peel went to Palestine to investigate. He recommended that the British Mandate be abolished and the country divided between two peoples with Jerusalem becoming an international city under British rule. He saw no injury to Arabs with Jewish immigration. The British accepted the recommendation. The Jews rejected it as the portion given for a Jewish state was miniscule. The Arabs rejected it because they wanted no Jews and no Jewish state. The proposal was shelved.
    THE WHITE PAPER OF 1939
    As the fierce riots by Arabs in Palestine continued, the British produced yet another White Paper. This infamous paper is known for its closure of Israel’s ancient homeland to Jewish immigration – at the very time Jews were beginning to lose their lives in Europe under Nazism. Instead of enabling Jews to flee to their ancient homeland, Britain virtually slammed the door shut to millions of Jews who were about to be slaughtered.
    Britain, whose sole claim to ruling the Holy Land was because of the spoils of war, decided that over the next five years of 1940-1944, a maximum of 75,000 more Jewish immigrants could come to Israel.
    After that, Britain would let the Arab majority decide if more Jews could come. This paper also placed restrictions on Jews buying land from Arabs. Thus Britain, who was given the unique opportunity to fulfill the ancient prophecies of the Bible, promising that one day the Jews would come back to live in their promised land, failed to give the Jewish people their homeland and are thus complicit in allowing 6,000,000 million Jews to be slaughtered in World War II.
    Incidentally, there were members of the House of Commons who opposed this White Paper, asserting that it was in opposition to the Balfour Declaration. But it was approved by the House of Commons on 23 May 1939 by 268 votes to 179.
    The 1939 White Paper was rejected by Jews, Arabs (for opposite reasons) and the League of Nations. Because of bureaucracy, the British refused to let even a total of 75,000 jews immigrate.
    Britain decided there would be no Jewish or Arab state on the remaining 24 percent of Palestine.

  • Binyamin Halevi

    Binyamin HaLevi
    Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely will spearhead a legal effort. She’ll seek international legal consensus that the Report’s conclusions—that the ‘settlements’ are legal—clearly conform to international law (ibid).

    Quote: The Lubavitcher Rebbe. Spoken 3 days after the Litani incursion, 1978:

    “Additionally, it is vital that the Israel government continue their action with the utmost energy and continue to complete the action; not by taking one step forward and then sending delegations to the entire world to hear the response of the one who sits in Washington, or what will they say in Moscow, London or Paris etc., asking if we may go forward with the next step or not”.

    Full talk will appear on my blog ISRAEL STAND STRONG in a couple of days. Full book available on Amazon.com. This talk appears on pages 12 -15.

  • theo

    This is wonderful news A true Chanuka gift
    For too long Israel has acted to please others It has gotten us nowhere Our ally, America ,in the person of John Kerry , utters his usual claptrap and implied threats
    Our land is our land and no apologies need to be made
    Whatever we do the Swedes and others will still mouth their anti Semitism

  • sabasarge

    It’s about time.

  • There is no doubt that Israel has the ability to draw up documents that justify the legality of settlements and property claims to West Bank. Unfortunately, NOBODY IS LISTENING because NOBODY CARES.

    Hundreds of millions of Muslims want ALL of Israel to be permanently wiped-off-the-map as soon as possible. The ONLY “documents” they care about are the Koran and Hadiths [Islamic religious writings].

    ************************************************
    HELP SUE THE TERRORISTS:
    ************************************************

    http://www.IsraelLawCenter.org

    ************************************************
    HELP FIGHT ISRAEL-BASHING ON-CAMPUS:
    ************************************************

    http://www.CameraOnCampus.org
    http://www.DavidProject.org
    http://www.Israel-Academia-Monitor.com
    http://www.IsraCampus.org.il
    http://www.JewHatredOnCampus.org
    http://www.SSImovement.org
    http://www.TheIsraelGroup.org
    https://twitter.com/cmaccabees

    ************************************************
    HELP-ISRAEL ORGANIZATIONS TO JOIN:
    ************************************************

    http://www.afsi.org
    http://www.IronDomeAlliance.com
    http://www.IsraelBonds.com
    http://www.KeepJerusalem.org
    http://www.rza.org
    http://www.vfi-usa.org
    http://www.zoa.org

  • Joseph Feld

    It’s about time the Levy report was published. Under Ottoman Turkish rule for about 500 years ‘Palestine’ was Southern Syria, not a separate country. Jordan invaded the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1948 — and only two countries recognised Jordan’s claim. When JOrdan withdrew its claim, who should have it reverted to? The British Mandate? Ottoman Turkey? East Jerusalem and the West Bank are the heartland of Biblical Israel and should have reverted to Israel as part of the Jewish national homeland.

  • Avi

    The world needs to know:
    1. Judea/Samaria part of Kingdom of Israel from David to Roman Destruction and Expulsion. 1,100 Years.
    2. If doubt this, read: Joshua, Kings I and II, all the prophets.
    3. Even after forcible expulsion by Roman legions, Jews lived there. 3,000 years continuous Jewish presence.
    4. Hebron, Gush Etzion, Nablus, many areas Jewish communities in 1920’s and 1930’s, many years before State of Israel.
    5. Arabs offered State in November of 1947. They said no.
    6. 1967. Israel told Jordan: Do not attack. We will not fire on you. Jordan attacked. Israel RE-TOOK areas lost in 1948 in a DEFENSIVE war against Jordan.
    7. The areas settled in 1969-1970 were by those who RETURNED to their childhood homes. Chanan Porat and his friends were children who grew up there and their fathers were killed by Arabs in 1948 defending their homes.
    8. In late 70’s and early 80’s, Menachem Begin educated people by teaching history: Judea means land of the Jews. It is our the heart and soul of our homeland.
    9. ISIS is in Sinai, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza. To allow a “Palestinian state” in Judea is to create a terrorist state. Logical to committ suicide by leaving Judea?
    10. To say in United States: Blacks or Hispanics cannot live in this neighborhood is illegal, discriminatory, and racist. To say to Jews you can’t live in Judea is same. But that is U.S. State Department policy: Jews can’t live there because…they are Jews. The U.S. State Department is definitely discriminatory and racist.
    11. 1,900 years Jews longed to return. Every holiday “Next Year in Jerusalem.” Including Judea which Jerusalem is a part of! Passover. Yom Kippur. Under wedding canopy. 3 Times a day in Prayer. Get up at night to mourn the loss. Next Year in Jerusalem and Judea. To say Judea is not the heart of Israel, and has been the heart of Israel since David, 3,000 Years is to say: New York not part of U.S. London not part of England. The world needs to know. Enough with the leftist garbage already that Judea is Palestinian!, a name created by the Romans to try to erase the memory of 1,000 year old Sovereign Judea.

  • Peter

    Why cant both parties not submit the issue to the International Court of Justice for arbitration? It is the uppermost tier of the International legal system.

    • Reply to Peter:

      You ask — “Why can’t both parties submit the issue to the International Court of Justice for arbitration?”

      The way your question is posed is intelligent, because it already implies that you know that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is not the “Supreme Court of the World.” You seem to understand that the ICJ does not have, within the international legal system, the same position that the Supreme Court of the USA has in American law.

      It is fairly realistic to say that international law is much akin to an ongoing discussion about rights in which every country and NGO has its lawyers and every law professor and layman an opinion. In this context, I would certainly advise the Jewish People and Israel against going to the ICJ for reaffirmation of longstanding Jewish rights with respect to Eretz Israel.

      Looking at the ICJ track record since WW2, governments have waning confidence in the ICJ. It is an international truism to say that most countries work very hard to ensure that matters involving their vital interests are not turned for final resolution by the ICJ.

      Whether this normal prudence applies with respect to the Jewish People’s connection with Eretz Israel needs to be assessed in connection with the marked anti-Israel bias and deeply flawed legal reasoning in the ICJ’s Advisory Opinion of 9 July 2004 on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

      For the Jewish People and Israel, far better to seek a full-and-final peace settlement to be agreed between the parties to the dispute.

  • David Marks

    It’s about bloody time this was done. It’s been obvious for years that the West Bank was part of the Mandate set aside for the Jews and agreed to by the UN. If it’s occupied by anyone it’s occupied illegally by the motley crew that call themselves Palestinians.

  • Debbie Mankowitz

    About time!! The San Remo Resolution outlines Israel’s legitimate rights according to International law. Howard Grief’s treatise http://www.acpr.org.il/english-nativ/02-issue/grief-2.htm clearly articulates Israel’s right to Judea and Samaria.

  • Wallace Edward Brand

    I hope the document will include a reference to a book, now out of print, that was published in 1947 and reprinted by Hadassah, NY, in 1977. It contains the legal opinion of eight very distinguished American jurists who have concluded as I have that “ . . .the historical purpose of the Balfour Declaration was clearly to give Jews the right to immigrate into Palestine, create a majority there, and ultimately reconstitute their ancient commonwealth. The administrative framework of the Mandate was designed for the achievement of that purpose.” The Basic Equities of the Palestine Problem p. 29-30. Arno Press reprint (1977) It consists of a legal opinion written by Simon H. Rifkind, Chairman, Judge of the United States District Court, New York; Jerome N. Frank, Judge of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals, Second Circuit; Stanley GH. Fuld, Judge of the Court of Appeals of the State of New York; Abraham Tulin, member of the New York Bar, Milton Handler, Professor of Law, Columbia University; Murray I. Gurfein, member of the New York Bar; Abe Fortas, former Undersecretary of the Interior of the United States (and later Justice of the US Supreme Court) Lawrence R. Eno, member of the New York Bar. It parallels my own opinion SSRN.com/abstract=2679399

  • You promote only old decoys which never worked. And they will not work, doesn’t matter how many times you repeat them.

    The SMART victorious remedies for saving Israel are developed long time ago, but people like you traitorously block even the info about them. Why? Because you only want keep promoting never worked oversimplified slogans. And you hate everything which is smart. So, not the enemies, but people like you is the most horrible problem of Israel…

    © Yosef Yakov-Lev, CEO
    NY Middle East Institute – http://www.NYMEI.org ©

  • This claim is underscored by the Balfour Declaration (1917) and legalised by the San Remo Agreement (1920) for both sides of the Jordan but it seems to me that by accepting the UNSCOP (1947) Partition – rejected by the Arabs – we have painted ourselves jnto a corner.

  • The Levy Report – What Is It?

    In January, 2012, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appointed a committee to examine the status of Israeli building in Judea and Samaria. Edmund Levy, former Justice of the High Court, headed the committee; its other members were Alan Baker, international lawyer and former adviser for the Foreign Ministry, and Tehiya Shapira, retired Tel Aviv District Court Judge. Their Report “The Status of Building in Judea and Samaria” – was released on July 8, 2012.

    It: Provides basic legal conclusions. Because of both historical and legal factors, the decades-long presence of Israel in Judea and Samaria is not “belligerent occupation.” Israel’s situation is unique (sui generis) and Israel has the legal right to settle in Judea and Samaria. The accusations currently being leveled by the international community against Israel as a violator of “international law” because of plans to build in eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria are countered by the Levy Report conclusions. Offers a number of important recommendations, consistent with the conclu­sions, regarding adjustments in Israeli policies and practices in Judea and Samaria.

    These recommendations would clarify the rights of Israeli citizens living in Judea and Samaria, who currently find themselves at a serious disadvantage when conducting land transactions in Judea and Samaria: It cannot be overemphasized: The Israeli legal system default in Judea and Samaria favors Arabs claims in land transactions. [Note: in time we can add specific examples of legal situations that the recommendations address. We don’t have to have this the moment the website is up.] When the prime minister was presented with the 90-page Report, which includes legal arguments, he declared, according to one impeccable source, “This is just what we need!” But then contents of the Report were leaked, and the prime minister began to understand the political opposition it might face. He tabled the Report, which has never even been brought before the Ministerial Committee on Settlements for discussion. The full text in Hebrew was briefly on the prime minister’s website, but was removed.

  • Moe

    Stop using terms like “settlements” and “west bank”. Those are Jewish communities on the ancestral heartland of the Jewish nation. And ABOUT TIME!

  • Joseph

    Jordan annexed east of the river illegally, changed the name of this land portion illegally, and barred the Arabs from entry illegally. The opnus falls on Britain who was the first nation that supported Jordan’s actions.

  • Jonathan Usher

    That’s terrific

  • john

    At last, the Levy Report is to be published. There is nothing new in the Levy Report that we didn’t already know. The detractors will say its wrong, the UN will declare it irrelevant, Abbas will say the international law and treaty that supports Israel does not exist. Moon will smile and ignore it. The BDS’ers will carry on with their hate crimes. The EU will still insist that produce from Judea and Samaria be labelled. The world will still care nothing for truth and justice for Jews.

  • Greg Platt

    I justify Israel’s presence when I read the Bible that records that the Jews were there 1000s of years ago!

  • Robert Davis

    Excellent news and congratulations to deputy foreign minister Tsipi Hotovely and Netanyahu of course. This is a political step long overdue and will lower political pressures on Israel soon since antisémites will understand theirs is a waste of time, effort and money, they cannot stop the future. Israel has to make headway and claim sovereignty over the jewish provinces and as soon as possible expel arabs from Western Palestine. Then it will achieve its war of independence and will recognized in its viable borders by the world willy nilly.

  • No mention of San Remo (1920) and the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine (1922) neither one of which have ever been repealed, revoked or rescinded?

  • vivienne ziner

    CORRECTION:to delegitimize the “communities” is to DELEGITIMIZE Israel itself!
    AM Y’ISROEL CHAI!

  • vivienne ziner

    Finally!!! kol ha’kavod to those who speak the truth- the land of Judea and Samaria are NOT “occupied”; they were won in wars that were not started by Israel but won by Israel; they are the traditional homeland of the Jews and Jews ALWAYS lived here, except when they were expelled by hostile occupiers-but never for long!!!

    The way to “peace” is not through “giving ” away our territory! That false narrative MUST be corrected. Judea and Samaria are no less Israel than Tel Aviv or Herzlia and to delegitimize “the communities” is to legitimize Israel itself.
    AM Y’ISROEL CHAI!

  • mackykam

    Why does Israel feel the need to justify its existence to anyone? Does the government of Israel really believe anyone will give 2 hoots (not my preferred term)? Might just as well attempt to justify the legitimate existence of Jews to the world!

    The bible alone legitimizes our existence and our inheritance. Those who don’t believe in the bible won’t believe Jews have a right to the land. And christians who believe in transference theology delegitimize Jewish rights to the land and as a Chosen People.

    If Israel wants to prove its rights to the land it has to fight for it, and not worry over any arab civilian deaths. Arabs don’t accept Jewish women and children as civilians. Why should the government of Israel?

  • Sandra rapke

    What took so long?

  • The roman empire did not like even the jews and christians and killed them for 300 years till constantine got converted. So the muslims have no right or connection with the romans and cannot claim the word palestine for them and they must vacate the north africa also

  • At last! A much waited for initiative which I hope will begin to turn the tide. Let the light shine!

  • Mickey Oberman

    Ms Hotovely is truly a remarkable person.

    I can visualize her as the Prime Minister of Israel.

  • Scott

    Great first move into complete annexation.
    It’s about time.

  • Suzanne Waller

    If marketed in the right way by professionals, it can.go a long way to allay the criticisms of Israel’s policies!

  • Actually, “settlement” is a misnomer, as Ariel is a “city.” The English translation of the “Report on the Legal Status of Building in Judea” is found at: http://regavim.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/The-Levy-Commission-Report-on-the-Legal-Status-of-Building-in-Judea-and-Samaria2.pdf

  • This document needed to be written. Israel has not explained the reason for her behavior to the world to counter the lies and propaganda which have been and continue to be broadcast by the pro-Palestinian media unabatedly. Israel has not to date, properly defended her rights. Its high time she did. I just hope it is not too late for her to firmly assert herself.

  • While the newborn Palestinian People also has some rights, the age-old Jewish People has for millennia consistently affirmed its moral, political and legal claims to Eretz Israel. There, then self-identified “Jews” have lived in each and every year since biblical times.

    The Jewish People’s longstanding rights in Eretz Israel notably include aboriginal rights of entry, sojourn and settlement. Across two millennia as a minority in the homeland of the Jewish People, then self-identified “Jews” have in each generation exercised their aboriginal rights of entry, sojourn and settlement, just as explicitly recited in the 1948 “Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel.”

    Both the Christian gospels and the Muslim Koran recognize the connection between the Jewish People and Eretz Israel. Thus, across two millennia first dominant Christians and then dominant Muslims generally understood why there were then Jewish pilgrims and other self-identified “Jews” seeking to dwell in Eretz Israel.

    During and after WW1, a consistent series of declarations, resolutions and treaties explicitly recognized the longstanding connection between the Jewish People and its historic homeland and called specifically for “close settlement by Jews on the land.” There, the Jewish People now has aboriginal rights; treaty rights; and also a right of self-determination, wherever Jews constitute the majority of the local population.

    The relationship between the Jewish People and its aboriginal homeland is very much like that of the native Peoples of the Americas to their tribal lands. Of all extant Peoples, the Jewish People has the strongest claim to be “the” aboriginal People of Eretz Israel.

    Nor has the Jewish People lost its longstanding aboriginal rights of entry, sojourn and settlement, simply because Jews are now no longer the minority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

  • john train

    Now we will see whether Michael Berenbaum and his self-selected cohorts who undermined the Levy report and came out in glowing support of the Obama talking points on the Iranian deal will again emerge with a sanctimonious statement which undercuts this position and, In effect, declares that the entire West Bank is stolen territory.

  • Jerome Verlin

    Notice the difference in terminology in this encouraging article’s last sentence. The Levy Report was titled “Report on the Legal Status of Building in Judea and Samaria” versus the article’s characterization of the Report’s conclusion that “Israel’s presence in the West Bank is not an ‘occupation,’ and that settlements are legal under international law.”

    We do our cause a gratuitous injustice when we ourselves use terms like “settlements” and “the West Bank,” as here, and of course a whole slew of other poisoned pejoratives so favored by the Western media.

    Stop.

  • Ilya

    It’s high time…

  • Yehudi Kalev

    It’s legitimate Israeli land. Seeking approval from or explaining to the nations only raises questions to that legitimacy. Just like Nuttenyahoo’s shelving of the Levy Report, his immoral destruction of Jewish homes, his long term blatant human rights violations against Jews, and his eagerness to give land and support to the illegal Arab occupiers & terrorists. No, I think Israel’s corrupt leftist controlled government is just blowing more smoke, proven by their entire track record during the reign of the BB governments.

  • Saba

    This is good news it should have been done long ago.

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