by Steven Plaut
A fascinating development this week in Israel was the release of the report of a governmental commission, whose assignment was to define the legal status of the “occupied territories” for purposes of government policy. The commission was headed by Edmund Levy, an interesting Supreme Court Judge and one of the only ones who is not a judicial activist leftist.
The Obama people are upset with the report – an indication of how good it is – and Israel’s moonbat Left is positively wetting itself in anguish. The synopsis of the report itself can be read in English here.
Basically the report says that the West Bank – Judea and Samaria – are not occupied territories at all but, at most, disputed territories, something like the US-Canadian border areas were during parts of North American history. As such, there is no reason why Israel cannot build there and even seize land there under eminent domain. There is nothing in international law that would make settlements “illegal.” And these should thus be proclaimed by Israel as completely legal. Whether or not Israel should build settlements then becomes a matter of Israeli interests and policy, not legal obstacles.
Here in brief is the case for Jewish settlements in the West Bank:
- It is in Israel’s acute national interest to prevent the West Bank from serving as a terrorist base, from which rockets, mortars and possibly weapons of mass destruction would be launched at Israel. Life in Israel would be impossible with the West Bank serving as a “Palestinian State,” basically a clone of Hamastan in Gaza. It is thus critical to do everything to prevent that from happening.
- Every accord or “deal” that provides for any sort of “Palestinian” state or sovereignty or entity operating outside Israeli control in the West Bank will produce the scenario of the previous point, mass terrorist aggression from “Palestine,” making life in Israel impossible. It does not matter what would be written in any accord or treaty.
- Israel would be prevented from taking serious action against terrorist aggression from this “Palestine” by international pressures and sanctions, and the Israeli Left would rally the world against Israeli “aggression” in all such cases.
- While there are other moral and historic arguments why Israel and Jews have the right to live in the West Bank, the only REAL purpose of “settlements” is to prevent the emergence of any “Palestinian state.” No other rationalization or justification is needed. There are no other effective alternative ways to prevent the conversion of the West Bank into Hamastan.
West Bank settlements are no obstacle at all for the economic development of the “Palestinian” population centers there, nor to forms of limited autonomy, which should be the most that Israel is willing to concede to the “Palestinians.” (And even they are not an entitlement.)
There is a more fundamental problem with the whole word “occupation.” The anti-Israel lobby, including Israel’s Left, adopted the nonsense word “occupation” originally after 1967 because at the time it still conjured up associations with the Nazi occupation of Europe and the Japanese occupation of East Asia before and during the War. Israeli leaders decided that semantics did not matter and refused to fight against the terminology, and the battle was forfeited more than 40 years ago. The analogous Hebrew word “kibush” is an even more ridiculous word, meaning “conquest.” It is like claiming that the Belgian and Dutch territories liberated from the Nazis by the Allies are now “conquered territories.” As a matter of general policy, I would suggest that any time an Israeli uses the nonsense word “kibush,” and that includes half the articles in Haaretz, then you should regard absolutely everything else that person says about the world to be absolute nonsense.Steven Plaut
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