Why the Israeli Presence in the West Bank Conforms with International Law

April 10 2018

It is generally taken for granted, even among Israel’s friends, that the territories acquired from Jordan in 1967 are under “occupation.” Israel itself even applies to the West Bank the laws of the Geneva Convention regarding occupied territory. But, argues Eugene Kontorovich, it does so in error. (Interview by Sarah Haetzni-Cohen.)

In international law, there is a clear rule regarding the establishment of new countries: a country’s borders are determined in accordance with the borders of the previous political entity in that area. So what was [in Israel’s territory before statehood]? The British Mandate. And what were the borders of the British Mandate? From the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. The UN General Assembly’s declaration on November 29, 1947 was a recommendation for partition, rather than an operative resolution. What actually defined the situation was what the Mandate did, and it neither accepted the recommendations nor put them into force.

During the 1948-49 War of Independence, Jordan and Egypt conquered territories from Israel illegally, and it was almost universally agreed that neither Jordan nor Egypt had any legitimate claim of sovereignty over Judea, Samaria, or Gaza. But Israel did. When Israel liberated the territories in 1967, it renewed its control over lands that it had sovereignty over based on the Mandatory borders.

Today, the prevalent approach is that even though the land did not belong to Jordan, it was “Jordanian enough,” and therefore the laws of occupation and the Geneva Convention apply to it. This is nonsense, because even if we assumed this was correct, the Geneva Convention no longer applies when there is a peace treaty, and there has been a peace treaty with Jordan since 1994. . . . These are not occupied territories.

At the same time, Kontorovich advocates extending Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank:

The basic [goal should be] Palestinian self-government within a defined territory. They already have something like this today. It doesn’t mean [Palestinians should be in a position to put Israel] in danger, but they can govern themselves. The second stage is the dissolution of Israel’s military rule in Judea and Samaria. Some of the area would be under regular Israeli law (and the Palestinians living there would be offered citizenship). Israel should not use the term “annexation,” because when you annex something, it is not yours.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Gaza Strip, International Law, Israel & Zionism, West Bank

The Significance of Mahmoud Abbas’s Holocaust Denial

Aug. 19 2022

On Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, during an official visit to Berlin, gave a joint press conference with the German chancellor Olaf Scholz, where he was asked by a journalist if he would apologize for the murder of Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics. (The relationship between the group that carried out the massacre and Abbas’s Fatah party remains murky.) Abbas instead responded by ranting about the “50 Holocausts” perpetrated by Israel against Palestinians. Stephen Pollard comments:

Scholz’s response to that? He shook Abbas’s hand and ended the press conference.

Reading yet another column pointing out that Scholz is a dunderhead isn’t, I grant you, the most useful of ways to spend an August afternoon, so let’s leave the German chancellor there, save to say that he eventually issued a statement hours later, after an eruption of fury from his fellow countrymen, saying that “I am disgusted by the outrageous remarks made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. For us Germans in particular, any trivialization of the singularity of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable. I condemn any attempt to deny the crimes of the Holocaust.” Which only goes to show that late is actually no better than never.

The real issue, in Pollard’s view, is the West’s willful blindness about Abbas, who wrote a doctoral thesis at a Soviet university blaming “Zionists” for the Holocaust and claiming that a mere million Jews were killed by the Nazis—notions he has reiterated publicly as recently as 2013.

On Wednesday, [Abbas] “clarified” his remarks in Berlin, saying that “the Holocaust is the most heinous crime in modern human history.” Credulous fools have again ignored what Abbas actually means by that.

It’s time we stopped projecting what we want Abbas to be and focused on what he actually is, using his own words. In a speech in 2018 he informed us that Israel is a “colonialist project that had nothing to do with Judaism”—to such an extent that European Jews chose to stay in their homes and be murdered rather than live in Palestine. Do I have to point out the moral degeneracy of such a proposition? It would seem so, given the persistent refusal of so many to take Abbas for what he actually is.

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Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Anti-Semitism, Germany, Holocaust denial, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority