The title of this post is actually something of a misnomer. It is indeed about lies – and one lie in particular – but it isn’t a lie that has been whispered. It is, rather, a lie that has been trumpeted so often by Israel’s enemies (including our own Loony Left) that one is forced to conclude that Nazi Minister for Propaganda Josef Goebbels was right when he formulated his philosophy: if you repeat a lie often enough and loud enough, sooner or later, most people will believe it.
The lies told by Israel’s enemies are too numerous to mention but today’s post will deal with one of the most basic. This lie holds that Israel’s construction of Jewish “settlements” in Judaea and Samaria (known variously, in the terminology preferred by the Israel-bashers, as the “West Bank”, the “Occupied Territories” or – and this is the biggest lie of all – the “Occupied Palestinian Territories”) is “illegal under international law”.
So – let’s get a few things straight.
Opponents of the Israeli “settlements” claim that Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention “precludes an occupying power from settling its own citizens in territory taken by military force. ”
The aforementioned Article 49 states: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” But the Israeli citizens who have made their homes in Judaea and Samaria (and that part of Jerusalem which was liberated in 1967 from the ILLEGAL Jordanian occupation) were neither deported, nor transferred to those areas by the Israeli Government (and, indeed, in many cases, they moved into those territories AGAINST ISRAELI GOVERNMENT POLICY – in effect, forcing the Government’s hand). The Jews who are reclaiming our ancestral home in Judaea and Samaria have been coerced by no-one, they have not been deported there by the Israeli government, nor have they been transferred there. They are there by their own wishes entirely and they are free to leave if they so wish. They are not “High Contracting Parties” to the Geneva Conventions, but private citizens. The “High Contracting Parties” to the Geneva Conventions are the states which are signatories to the Conventions. It is they who are bound to act in accordance with the Conventions.
People tend to forget this, but the pre-Six Day War boundaries between Israel and her neighbours were, in fact, no more than armistice lines, which were never intended to demarcate Israel’s permanent borders. This was actually due to the Arab insistence that the armistice agreements make it clear they were not establishing permanent borders. Thus, Article II.2 of the 1949 Israel-Jordan Armistice agreement clearly stated: “It is also recognized that no provision of this Agreement shall in any way prejudice the rights, claims and positions of either Party hereto in the ultimate peaceful settlement of the Palestine question, the provisions of this Agreement being dictated exclusively by military considerations.”
Furthermore, Article VI.9 of the same agreement reaffirmed that: “The Armistice Demarcation Lines defined in articles V and VI of this Agreement are agreed upon by the Parties without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines or to claims of either Party relating thereto.”
Thus, there is nothing sacred about the so-called “Green Line”.
Much has been said of the “Rights” of the so-called “Palestinians” – by which the defenders of those “rights” mean only the Arab inhabitants of the area once delineated as the Mandated Territory of Palestine. They conveniently forget that, from the establishment of the British Mandate in the geographical area known to the Christian world variously as “Palestine” or “the Holy Land” at the end of World War I, right up to the establishment of the State of Israel, “Palestinian” was a term referring to all the inhabitants of that area (and many of Israel’s oldest citizens still have “Palestinian” passports to prove it). Furthermore, “Palestine” – or, to give it its correct name, Eretz Yisrael – was designated by the League of Nations, who entrusted the Mandate to Great Britain, as a Jewish homeland.
The 1922 Mandate for Palestine applies to Judaea and Samaria, as well as to the territories within the 1949 ceasefire lines (the “Green Line”) and states as its aim the establishment of a Jewish National Home in that area. It does, indeed, protect the civil and religious rights of non-Jewish residents, but NOWHERE does it grant anyone other than the Jewish People NATIONAL rights within the area of “Palestine”.
Article 6 of the Palestine Mandate signed by the League of Nations in 1922 AND NEVER ABROGATED, required the Administration of Palestine (ie. Britain) to facilitate and encourage “close settlement” by JEWS on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.
As I said, this obligation was never abrogated. Indeed, Article 80 of the 1945 UN Charter explicitly prohibits the alteration “in any manner (of) the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties.” Thus, the aforementioned Article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine is as valid today as it was in 1922. Furthermore, when the Jordanians occupied and annexed Judaea and Samaria in 1948, it is THEY who were in illegal occupation – an occupation which was legally recognized by no-one other than Pakistan, Iraq and the United Kingdom. Thus, when Israeli forces liberated those territories in a DEFENSIVE war in 1967, they were liberating them from an illegal occupier, NOT from a sovereign power. These lands were never, in fact, allocated to any “High Contracting State” to whom the obligations of the 4th Geneva Convention could be said to apply. The most that could be said about them is that they were “No Man’s Land” – and so Israel has as much right to them as anyone else. More so, in fact, since these lands were part of the territory allocated by the League of Nations for the development of a JEWISH national home.
So much for the legalities of the Jewish “settlements” in Judaea and Samaria. As far as the wisdom of their existence goes – not to mention our moral and ethical rights – I could say much, much more, but I think I will leave that for an separate article.