Recently I wrote about how important it was for Israel to insist on its legitimate rights under international law, rather than allowing its enemies to define the terms of the discussion. The recent Levy Commission report — perhaps many years late — tries to reestablish these rights:
“According to international law, Israelis have a legal right to settle all of Judea and Samaria, at the very least the lands that Israel controls under agreements with the Palestinian Authority,” Levy stated. “Therefore, the establishment of Jewish settlements [in Judea and Samaria] is, in itself, not illegal.” …
The committee issued its report on [July 10, 2012], which was subsequently handed over to Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein. In the report, Levy wrote that “upon completing the committee’s tasks, and considering the testimonies heard, the basic conclusion is that from an international law perspective, the laws of ‘occupation’ do not apply to the unique historic and legal circumstances surrounding Israel’s decades-long presence in Judea and Samaria.”
“Likewise,” the report said, “the Fourth Geneva Convention [relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War] on the transfer of populations does not apply, and wasn’t intended to apply to communities such as those established by Israel in Judea and Samaria.”
The government still has not adopted this report. Apparently it presents an “inconvenient truth” for those who believe, for whatever reason, that Israel needs to withdraw from all or most of Judea and Samaria.
It needn’t. The fact that Jews have as much right to live in these areas as Arabs (and even that Israel has a prima facie claim on these disputed territories stronger than the Palestinian Authority) does not prevent Israel from ceding some of its rights in the event that an Arab leadership capable of being a real peace partner were to appear.
Accepting the report is not tantamount to annexing Judea and Samaria, as the hysterical Left claims.
But what is the opposing view? That Jews do not have a right to live east of the 1949 boundaries and that the Israeli presence there is an illegitimate occupation of “Arab land.”
In the first case, Israel can theoretically negotiate a compromise with the Arabs in which it gives up land for an end to belligerency. There is a flavor of extortion here, but nevertheless Israel has a position from which to negotiate.
But if Israel begins negotiating from the position that it is occupying someone else’s land, then the only thing there is to negotiate is the timetable for withdrawal. This is precisely the Palestinian position, and it is also reflected in the Arab League Peace Initiative.
Oslo syndrome sufferers love this, because it supports their position that everything is the Jews’ fault, and that the solution is to make ourselves ‘better’ so that the antisemites will come to love us. Of course, this is precisely as insane as it sounds.
Israel should always try to act in accordance with moral principles. But it should behave morally not only towards Arabs, but toward its ‘stockholders’, the Jewish people. And that means not surrendering their right to self-determination in the land of Israel.
Here is an example of what has come of the Israeli government allowing its enemies to rewrite history and invent international law:
Since 2005, Israeli exporters to EU countries have had to list zip codes and place names from where goods were manufactured. Under the EU-Israel free trade agreement, Israeli products are allowed duty-free entry into the EU, but not goods made in the settlements. EU products coming into Israel also enjoy a duty-free status.
Israeli officials said that amid protests from various European NGOs and parliamentarians, who claimed that a number of goods were slipping through the cracks, the EU decided to publicize the list of locales and zip codes from which duties must be levied. The policy itself is not new, only the publication of the names.
Nevertheless, it elicited an angry reaction from the Foreign Ministry for two reasons: the move was carried out even though Israel and the EU have been in consultation about it for a number of weeks, and it included three zip codes – 71724, 71728 and 71799 – in Modi’in, Maccabim and Re’ut.
“For anyone who deals in reality, there is not the slightest doubt that the Modi’in, Maccabim and Re’ut localities are an integral part of Israel, and their future is not in question,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
So first the Foreign Ministry signed a free-trade agreement that in effect made borders out of the 1949 cease-fire lines, and now it is having humiliating arguments over what zip codes are included within these non-borders!