By Ted Belman
In anticipation of the Security Council vote coming up The Guardian published an article ay Ian Williams claiming Obama must call Israeli settlements illegal. The only problem is, they are not illegal. [See:The Truth about “the occupation” and “the settlements”]
Except for the Carter administration, all US administrations refused to call them illegal. A letter is circulating now in the US collecting signatures of prominent persons, asks Pres Obama to support UNSC resolution condemning settlements, and includes this paragraph,
“The settlements are clearly illegal according to article 49 of the Fourth Geneva convention – a status recognized in an opinion issued by the State Department’s legal advisor on April 28, 1978, a position which has never since been revised.”
Dweller one of our esteemed commenters advises, and he is right,
The 20th century’s foremost authority on Jus Gentium, the Law of Nations, Julius Stone, DEMOLISHED the Carter State Department’s ‘illegality’ opinion — calling it “a subversion…of basic international law principles” [Julius Stone, Israel and Palestine: Assault on the Law of Nations (Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, Washington, DC), p. 5], and denouncing any attempt to render the territories or any other part of the historic Land of Israel judenrein [“clean of Jews”] as tantamount to “turning international law on its head.” [Ibid., p. 181]
What’s more, Carter’s legal advisor had written that 1978 opinion by citing (inappropriately) a 20-years-earlier-published book of Professor Stone’s – which is (partly) WHY Stone offerred his analysis! — and why he published his then-new [above-cited] 1981 book, to set the record straight.
Furthermore, Stone’s findings were in the event sufficiently powerful to move then-President Ronald Reagan to soundly, unequivocally REVERSE the assertions of settlement “illegality” previously advanced by his predecessor’s transparently self-seeking State Dept.
The Reagan administration thenceforth did occasionally characterize the “settlements” as “impediments to peace,” or some such Mickey Mouse language — but never EVER assigned any notion of ‘illegality’ to them.
So the Letter’s assertion of “never since been revised” is absolutely false.
Even Obama at the height of his fight with Netanyahu over settlement construction, did not declare them “illegal”. He merely called them “illegitimate”.
Furthermore, the paragraph quoted that they were illegal pursuant to Art 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. But this convention does not apply, although the international community refuses to admit this, because it only applies if a Party to the treaty occupies land of another Party to the treaty. These lands were never the land of such a Party. Just as Carter’s lawyers misinterpreted the law to get a required result so did the ICJ in their opinion on the fence.
This lie has been repeated so many times by so many people that most of the world believes it to be so.
Every other member of the UN security council agrees that settlements are illegal, including Britain and France. The international court of justice has affirmed their illegality. The US once called them illegal, then termed them unhelpful, and currently regards them as “unhelpful” and “illegitimate”. [..]
Washington’s line is to ignore UN decisions and international law and say that it is up to the parties to negotiate such “permanent-status issues”.
On the contrary, it is the international community which ignores international law or misinterprets it for self serving purposes
It also ignores that Res 242 and the Oslo Accords and the Roadmap require a negotiated settlement. That means that the attempt by the PA to get such a resolution passed is another breach of its obligations.
The US, properly is demanding negotiations.
“We believe that continued settlement expansion is corrosive – not only to peace efforts and the two-state solution – but to Israel’s future itself. The fate of existing settlements is an issue that must be dealt with by the parties, along with the other permanent-status issues – but, like every US administration for decades, we do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity.”
“Permanent-status issues can be resolved only through negotiations between the parties – and not by recourse to the security council. We therefore consistently oppose attempts to take these issues to this council and will continue to do so.”
Williams is wrong to say that the “resolution …, on the face of it, reflects US official policy.”
The truth of the matter is that the US administration has long attempted to limit such negotiations by pre-judging the outcome of negotiations. Complaining about settlements is a case in point. Nevertheless, it keeps repeating that permanent status issues must be resolved by negotiations.
The Guardian and the international community sanctimoniously proclaim that international law is on their side and the side of the palestinians whereas in reality, it is on the side of Israel
The San Remo Resolution and the Palestine Mandate both support the right of the Jews (Israel) to Judea and Samaria and such right exists to this day.