Israel cannot claim to be a democracy as long as nearly a half-million of its citizens are under the IDF’s anti-settlement judicial dictatorship.

By Moshe Dann, JPOST

A PALESTINIAN Beduin village near Jericho. Disputes over land in the West Bank often end up decided

In response to calls from the international community and anti-Israel organizations to “end the occupation,” referring to the presence of Jews in Area C of Judea and Samaria, aka “the settlers,” supporters of Israel respond: “We are not occupying someone else’s land; this land belongs to Israel and the Jewish people by law and by history.”

But the IDF’s judicial system in Area C, aka “the occupied territories,” which represents the state, composed of the Military Advocate General (MAG), the IDF Prosecutor’s Office, and the Civil Administration takes a position in line with Israel’s critics and the international community. As MAG’s website states, Area C, in which all settlements are located, is “subject to belligerent occupation,” which means “the occupation of territory belonging to another country.”

According to this law, territory gained as a result of a war, any war, including a defensive one, is not legitimate. It implies that “the sovereignty of the occupied territory is not vested in the occupying power and is essentially provisional,” but it does not assign sovereignty to any country.

Israel’s High Court also takes the position that Israel is in “belligerent occupation” of the “occupied territories.” Although it maintains that the status of the territories is unclear, it has never ruled on the question. This issue is examined by Prof. David Kretzmer, in his study, “The law of belligerent occupation in the Supreme Court of Israel” (International Review of the Red Cross, 2012).

To whom, then, does Judea and Samaria belong? According to MAG, which applies Jordanian law, it seems to be Jordan. This is strange since Jordan invaded Judea and Samaria in 1948 as part of genocidal war against the newly established state, committed war crimes and established an illegal and brutal regime that was not recognized by the international community. It then attacked Israel in 1967 and was defeated in the Six Day War. Moreover, Jordan relinquished all claims to the area 30 years ago. Yet, MAG decided that Jordanian law prevails in Area C, as it does in the Palestinian Authority-controlled areas. MAG’s decisions not only deny the rights of the Jewish people to their homeland, they seem to be contrary to what most of the Israeli government believes.

In addition, the application of Jordanian law contravenes Israeli administrative law as well as Ottoman land law. The problem is that the Israeli government has never clearly stated its position.

In the absence of a government decision to extend Israeli law to Area C, therefore, the “rule of law” is whatever MAG and the High Court decide. MAG has sole and exclusive power and jurisdiction and it dictates what rules apply in disputes over land ownership. Its decisions are absolute, non-transparent and cannot be challenged; it reports only to the defense minister. And, since it represents “the state,” its decisions are accepted as law by the High Court. When cases involving land disputes are brought to the High Court, its decisions cannot be appealed since it the court of last resort.

Ironically, even bizarrely, the IDF’s legal system in Area C, the High Court and thus the Israeli government are legitimizing the claim that Israel is occupying Palestinian territory, and that Israelis/Jews are stealing private Palestinian land. When cases are brought against Jewish farmers, homeowners, or even IDF security measures, MAG provides misinformation to the High Court, which orders the destruction of Jewish property and changes in security infrastructure.

MAG’s decisions have led directly and indirectly to the murder of Israeli Jews. For example, the community of Itamar complained that the fence protecting it was weak and inadequate. MAG refused to allow repairs and reinforcement because it decided – without proof – that the fence was built on “Palestinian-owned” land. As a result, Arab terrorists were able to infiltrate the community time after time. Three teenagers playing basketball were murdered in 2002; five members of the Shabo family were murdered that same year; Shlomo Miller, Itamar’s security officer, was killed in 2004; and five members of the Fogel family were murdered, including an infant in 2011.

A year ago, an Arab terrorist breached a flimsy perimeter fence around Kiryat Arba, near Hebron, and stabbed to death Hallel-Yaffa Ariel, an teenage girl, in her bedroom.

The recent wave of Arab Palestinian arson attacks in places such as Neveh Tzuf, could have been contained if MAG had allowed Jewish communities to build protective infrastructure. MAG ignored the vulnerability of these communities.

In a number of places in Judea and Samaria, IDF military facilities were turned over to local Arabs by order of the IDF commander. In several instances, Women in Green organized protests and were able to stop or limit such transfers, for example at Shdema, between Efrat and Tekoa in Gush Etzion. MAG opposed their efforts.

Instead of protecting Jews, MAG seeks to destroy Jewish property and Jewish communities, such as Amona and parts of Ofra, while promoting fraudulent and non-existent Arab land claims. MAG squanders millions on destroying Jewish property, while allowing Arabs and Beduin to take over state-owned land, aided by the European Union and other anti-Israel organizations. The IDF’s legal system in Judea and Samaria is directed by high-ranking officers who oppose the settlement movement.

According to Israel National News, for example, a few weeks ago, Brig. Gen. (ret) Dov Tzedakah, “was dismissed from his position as the head of the IDF Civil Administration’s negotiations with the Bedouin in Judea and Samaria following allegations that he is a member of an extreme-leftist organization funded by the European Union (EU).” Except for Israel National News (A7), this story was not reported by the media. Another officer has ties to left wing NGOs, according to news reports. This is only the tip of the iceberg.

Israel proudly proclaims that it is “the only democracy in the Middle East.” The IDF’s biased judicial establishment in Area C of Judea and Samaria brings that claim into question. Israel cannot claim to be a democracy as long as nearly a half-million of its citizens are under the IDF’s anti-settlement judicial dictatorship. We are being stabbed in the back by our own. We need to “drain this swamp.”

January 22, 2017 | 12 Comments » | 41 views

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12 Comments / 12 Comments

  1. I hope I live long enough to witness a time when no Israeli government claims to represent a democracy. Because democracy is in fact an antithesis of Jewish nationalism, which is what authentic Zionism was supposed to be all about.

    The truth is, I never have been interested in democracy in the USA, and even less so in Israel.

    Do any of you reading this comment understand its underlying logic?

    Arnold Harris, Outspeaker

  2. If an occupation is a “belligerent occupation”, then the regulations of the IVth Hague Convention apply. But the IVth Hague Convention assumes that in a “belligerent occupation” the displaced occupant was its legitimate owner that had sovereignty over it. But Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem were territories which had been placed in trust for the benefit of the Jewish People in 1922. Under the express terms of that trust the Jewish People had the right of close settlement on the land. Instead of a “belligerent occupation” this was a “lawful occupation”, in which the Jewish People were liberating land they were expressly permitted to settle under Article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine — land that Britain, as trustee had been relied on to protect for them. Jordan had no sovereignty over this land that had been won by an aggressive war in 1948 when Britain, the trustee of this trust resigned. None of the members of the Arab League had recognized Jordan’s claim of sovereignty over territories on the west bank of the Jordan River. Of all sovereign states, only Britain and perhaps Pakistan recognized this claim.
    As Dean Eugene Rostow has pointed out, the resignation of a trustee, as Britain had in 1948, does not terminate a trust. See also the UN’s decision in Namibia. In 1967 when the Jewish People obtained unified control over these territories, legal domain in the collective rights to political self-determination vested in them after they liberated territory in which they had had a beneficial interest since 1922. See generally, Brand, Several Paths from a 1920 Jewish Homeland to a 2016 Jewish State.

  3. @ Bear Klein:
    There won’t ever again be any kings of Israel, BK. Because taking power from the original judges of the Jewish nation and awarding their collective power to a single and not infrequently injudicious king is precisely what broke up the original Jewish state and rendered the two parts more easily conquered by their enemies, first the Assyrians who broke up the Kingdom of Israel and later the Babylonians who destroyed the Kingdom of Judea. And never forget that it was the fools of the Jewish nation of that era who wanted our nation to be like all others, with their systems of capricious kings. I would rather die multiple deaths than to witness that terrible process all over again.

    What I want is a nationalist-oriented republic with a written constitution. And I want it to be Jewish nationalist, not democratic.

    Arnold Harris, Outspeaker

  4. The territories are not part of Israel as recognised by anybody – including Israel. That is why there is no apartheid in Israel. The territories are a military jurisdiction and indeed NOT democratic. So what are our anti-democratic nats objecting? It rather makes the point Israel needs consent and democracy and exposes the limits of those who are not educated in anything besides Talmud and Torah. Read some history and note that the regimes with widest flexibility of consultation and consent do better than those without.

  5. If the article is stating the truth (unsubstantiated), there is a path of responsibility from the MAG to the defense minister to the prime minister. At least the last two can be asked to account for the total lack of cooperation between the IDF/MAG and the Jewish citizens living in Judea and Samaria. There must be some coherent reason why nothing has happened so far. To put it bluntly, who, exactly, is being held back by his short hairs?
    I think Am Israel deserves an answer to this question. It would be nice if we could settle this without the intervention of the POTUS.

  6. @ ArnoldHarris:
    I understand. I’ve said it many times that democracy is a false god. The Torah seems to call for a republic, as representatives were to be chosen by each tribe. Beside that point, democracy can fast become mob rule and buying votes etc. can turn it into a dictatorship quite quickly.

  7. @ ArnoldHarris:
    Is there more than one state to the Republic you are speaking about or do you mean districts within the State of Israel with a constitution to allocate representation of the people?

  8. The hearing began with procedural arguments during which the judges became irritated at defense attorneys who sought to summon Col. Guy Hazut, the head of the Kfir Brigade in which Azaria serves.

    Hazut two weeks ago visited Azaria’s father, Charlie, and encouraged him to fire his attorneys and forgo an appeal — in an apparent breach of legal protocol. Recordings of the conversation were published by Channel 2.

    Judges responded to the request to call Hazut by advising the attorneys to stay focused on the defense of their client.

    “What is more important — to direct the defense or to chop off some heads?” Judge Lt. Col. Carmel Vahavi demanded, referring to what appeared to be an attempt by the defense to discredit Hazut.

    I repeat my opinion of the unbeleivable corruption of the IDF command and military justice system… all facilitated by the environment in which they work.

    BB, Erdan, Rivlin, Yaalon all stood up at Duma and declared to the world that Jews burned a baby… not only a slander but also an illegal abuse of their office and the justice system. They followed up by setting another example to the citizens of Israel by promulgating laws based on their falsehoods so they could lock up jews without trial or real evidence.

    Next we have a soldier shoot a terrorist and some of the same players stand up again, this time even before investigation,… the IDF high command, the Defense Minister…. bellowing to the world that the soldier was guilty…… instructing his military subordinates along the chain of the military justice system that they MUST find the soldier guilty in order to justify the DM’s incredibly criminal and corrupt behavior…. the DM believing that only the soldiers pound of flesh could exonerate him of his despicable crime of abuse of authority and interference with the system of justice. His repeated public declarations of the soldiers guilt were to ensure that his subordinates would understand the desire of their commanders for a guilty finding…. and as night follows day the military investigators, the military prosecutors and the military judges all heeded the publicly bellowed desires and followed those declarations as they would any order of the highest in command.

    In order to make sure that his subordinates heard clearly his criminal public bellowing he even repeated less than a week before the verdict to students once more that the soldier was guilty….. but he made the mistake of publicly then declaring, and recorded in newspapers, that he and Eisenkot both decided that something needed to be done after the shooting in order to avoid riots by arabs and the usual condemnation of foreigners……. we can see now from their own words what their true motivation was in repeatedly and publicly declaring the soldier guilty… it was nothing to do with ethics,as he stated prior, nor to do with justice…. it was a strategic intentional decision to sacrifice the life of a soldier as an appeasement to the enemies to avoid problems.

    And now we see again, in the arrogance of the military judges that justice is of no interest to them… it matters not that the behavior of Hazut clearly and transparently indicates the corruption begun by Yaalon and Eisenkot, as confessed in their own words…. the judges want to overlook Hazut’s actions as irrelevant… as if Hazut is some idol or icon like yaalon and eisenkot that must be left alone no matter what criminal behavior is committed. The judges follow the original orders and wish it all to blow over without incriminating the real criminals in this case… criminals who did not make a mistake but intentionally obstructed justice. And now the judge is annoeyed because the defense of the soldier seeks to have Hazut testify… the judge pretends irrelevance but Hazut demonstrates the chain of corruption which any uncorrupted Judge could not leave unanswered. Hazut is Yaalon is Eisenkot is the judges, is the prosecutors, is the investigators …. is mandebilt who ignores the crimes of yaalon and eisenkot… likely because their crimes are the same as rivlin, bb and erdan at duma…. a web of corruption seeking to sacrifice one soldier who killed a terrorist for their ongoing, serial crimes of abuse of office, abuse of authority, obstruction of justice, interference with the justice system…. they all screamed fire in a crowded theatre and caused justice to be murdered… a despicable criminal behavior… still ongoing… still covered up…more despicable is that Israelis allow this to continue…..

    this is my opinion of this disgusting state of affairs…. this is the corruption behind all the other corruptions…

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