ANALYSIS: Finally an end to the settlement tightrope walk?

Israel sometimes lives in West Bank world and sometimes in Judea and Samaria world.


A competitor walks on tightrope

For fifty yeaqrs, Israel has walked a tightrope of international law between the “West Bank world” and “Judea and Samaria world.”

The so-called “settlement regulation bill” snaps that tightrope and forces Israel to make a choice.

On one hand, Israel has implemented a “belligerent occupation” of the West Bank. That neutral legal term is not to be confused with political accusations of being an “occupier.” It means that Israel – since the 1967 Six Day War – has had certain legal rights and obligations, as long as it controlled the West Bank.

In that spirit, Israel has acknowledged certain responsibilities toward the Palestinians, and the IDF West Bank courts have declared themselves bound by the Geneva Conventions.

In that spirit, private Palestinian land has been generally off-limits to Jewish settlers, with some exceptions for security, at least in theory and in the courts.

In West Bank world, private Palestinian land has been any plot or series of plots of land to which Palestinians have some evidence of ownership.

In Judea and Samaria world, hundreds of thousands of settlers have moved into the West Bank supported directly and indirectly by both Labor and Likud governments.

In this world, IDF West Bank courts sometimes ruled that Israeli law enforcement violated the rights of Palestinian defendants in a way they do not with Israeli civilians.

Underlying Judea and Samaria world are two basic ideas. One is that all of Judea and Samaria should belong to Israel, because it won back this land – which historically belonged to the Jewish people – in a defensive war with Jordan in 1967, and Jordan illegally possessed the land at the time anyway. The second is that most Palestinian claims to private land on which Jews now live are baseless, or at most, those claims deserve compensation, since Palestinians have not bothered to use those lands.

Before certain UN bodies, Israel has even claimed the Geneva Conventions do not obligate it to answer international demands, ignoring them while saying it usually complies voluntarily.

The real world, including the International Court of Justice and the UN Security Council, has never accepted Israeli settler presence in the West Bank. But it has tolerated it somewhat, as long as there were peace negotiations in progress (or being discussed) and as long as Israel committed to stay off private Palestinian land.

Israel sometimes lives in West Bank world and sometimes in Judea and Samaria world.

Passage of the settlement regulation bill, by retroactively legalizing Jewish homes on private Palestinian land, would end that balance.

The High Court of Justice would likely restore that balance because – even if the legislation passes – Israel would still not be adopting a final, definitive stance. To get the court to uphold the bill, Israel would need to annex the West Bank and make the area fully “Judea and Samaria.”

As long as it does not, it admits that – under international law – the situation is temporary, or contingent upon a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.

In that sense – should the legislation pass and independent of whatever chaos may ensue with international bodies like the International Criminal Court – part of the issue would be that Israel had cut the tight rope, but failed to provide itself a safety net on which to land, what to speak of a steady foundation below it.

January 31, 2017 | 3 Comments » | 65 views

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3 Comments / 3 Comments

  1. But in today’s news the settlement bill has been postponed* and an accelerated eviction order has been issued for Amona.

    *or not

    what’s going on? Both the article about postponing dated 1/31 and the one about passing it dated the first are on the front page of A7 with no explanation.

    So, it’s law?

  2. Israel must build at least 100,000 housing units per year in Judea and Samaria for the next 10 years and more. It also needs to build 3 secure superhighway connecting Judea and Samaria to Israel.
    Construct extensive military bases in Judea and Samaria to protect the people and the country.
    Israel also needs to build at least 50,000 housing units per year in greater Jerusalem.
    Open Atarot airport and a high tech center and more industry, and build many additional roads and secure highways in and from Jerusalem with expanded rail system.
    Israel must also build a minimum of 15,000 housing units in the Galil and 15,000 housing units in the Negev every year for the next ten years and expand the infrastructure, public transportation – fast trains, roads and highways. They have to expand industry and commerce with incentives to enhance the desire of people to live in the Galil and the Negev.
    Construct military bases and local agencies in Judea and Samaria to protect and help the people and the country.
    YJ Draiman
    P.S. The Arabs were allocated after WWI over 12 million sq. km. of territory with a wealth of oil reserves. The Jewish people were allocated about 120,000 sq. km. but now have only about 21,000 sq. km. There is already an Arab Palestinian state allocated to them in violation of Agreements, which is on Jewish land over three times the size of Israel, east of the Jordan River; it is called Jordan where 80% of the population are Arab Palestinians and the Arabs in Judea and Samaria have a Jordanian passport.
    Oslo accords are null and void as stated by Abbas in the U.N. in the summer of 2015. Israel must dismantle the Arab PA and include Judea and Samaria as a continuous sovereign part of Israel. Transfer Arab population to Jordan, Gaza and to the homes and the over 120,000 sq. km. of homes and land the Arab countries confiscated from the Million Jewish families they expelled who now settled in The Land of Israel.
    YJ Draiman

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