Israeli Sovereignty Would Free Residents of the West Bank from Ottoman Law

To its opponents, the change in the legal status of certain areas of Judea and Samaria is “annexation;” to its proponents, it is the “extension of sovereignty” or the “application of Israeli law.” Naomi Khan argues that the last term best captures the practical implications of the measures in question. Since the Six-Day War, the Jewish state has continued to uphold the Ottoman legal system in areas of the West Bank under its jurisdiction—despite the fact that the Ottoman empire ceased to exist in 1922; “annexation” would end this situation. Setting aside the usual questions of foreign policy, security, and the possibility of Palestinian statehood, Khan argues that this change would be the one most felt by those who live there:

Ottoman land law makes no sense in today’s world, and the situation as it stands is untenable. . . . Some of the most egregious aspects of this bizarre system are rarely discussed. For example, under Ottoman law, you can steal someone else’s property simply by using it for a while; women are not allowed to own, inherit, buy, or sell property; and private individuals may lay claim to public property simply by planting trees on it.

A second massive failing in the system is the basic fact that the land registry for Judea and Samaria is not available to Israeli citizens. . . . Additionally, the administration of the land registry is completely outmoded. The painstaking, glacial pace of handwritten recordkeeping is fertile ground for forgery, and leads to further violation of property rights, making it nearly impossible to conduct property transactions in a normal fashion.

Israel’s failure to carry out the necessary registration and regulation of land in these areas has enabled the Palestinian Authority to carry out a well-planned, carefully timed, and well-funded land-seizure program: tens of thousands of acres of land in Judea and Samaria have been commandeered through illegal construction and agricultural projects. [Indeed], the Palestinian Authority has done precisely what the state of Israel has failed to do for more than 50 years, creating its own land registry in areas under full Israeli jurisdiction and redefining reality with facts on the ground.

Read more at JNS

More about: Annexation, Israeli law, Ottoman Empire, Palestinian Authority, West Bank

Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy