|What is the Basis
for the Legal Status of Israel and the Settlements?
Professor Eliav Shochetman, Hebrew University, Jerusalem
From Makor Rishon, 27th August, 1999
Anatomy of an Illusion: The Israeli - Palestinian Two-State Solution
By Eric L. Rozenman
Midstream, February-March, 2003
Short of a U.S.-led trusteeship for the territories,
proposed in December by former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, echoing
Allied occupation of post-World War II West Germany and Japan, a peaceful
Palestinian Arab democracy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip seems improbable.
This refusal to concede the legitimacy of Jewish
sovereignty in any form remained the dominant Arab attitude. Hence the enormity
of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's transgression -- making peace with Israel
in 1979 even while insisting that Palestinian claims would have to be met
-- and general Arab joy at his assassination two years later. Hence Arafat's
celebration of Sadat's death then and his assertion in 2000 that he would
not risk the Egyptian's fate by settling for a West Bank and Gaza Strip state
without Jerusalem and without the return of Palestinian Arab refugees to
The 1967 Six-Day War, caused by Arab rejection of an Israel without the West Bank and Gaza Strip, ended with an additional impasse -- Israeli control of those territories and eastern Jerusalem. The Arab League's Khartoum conference met Israel's
offer to negotiate with the "three no's": no recognition, no negotiations, no peace.
To cut this knot President Richard Nixon's secretary of state, William Rogers, suggested in 1969 that peace be reached based on the pre-'67 lines "with minor border modifications." Israel would be recognized by its neighbors and the West Bank and Gaza Strip would be granted to Jordan -- the Arab state established on three-fourths of what had been the League of Nations' British Mandate for Palestine. Jordan also would continue to oversee Jerusalem's Islamic shrines.
But King Hussein, who crushed Arafat and the PLO's "Black September" insurrection in 1970 -- killing approximately 4,000 in three weeks -- lost primacy on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In 1974, the Arab League punished him for largely sitting out the 1973 Yom Kippur War waged by Egypt and Syria against Israel and declared the PLO "the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people." Soon after the "two-state solution" in its present form took hold among self-styled progressives in Israel, Europe, and the United States. This despite Arab support limited to the occasional, unrepresentative Palestinian interlocutor like Issam Sartawi or distant non-Palestinian Arab leader like Tunisia's Habib Bourguiba.
The two-state illusion was codified in the Palestinian autonomy provisions of the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty -- themselves understood as a preliminary stage. Yet the Palestinians under Arafat furiously rejected autonomy, not only for what it did not give them immediately, but also for what it granted Israel, recognition and legitimacy.
The answer to this question is no. Egypt did not establish sovereignty over the Gaza Strip and the sovereignty of Jordan over Judea and Samaria was recognized by only two countries, Britain and Pakistan. In fact, Jordan never held legal sovereignty over the areas of Judea and Samaria, and has relinquished any claims to sovereignty there. The status and rights of Jordan over the parts of Eretz Israel it occupied for 19 years were at most the rights of an occupying force. (See IMRA comment.)
In consideration of the fact that Israel succeeded in restoring this territory in a war of defense that had been forced upon it, while Egypt and Jordan took the same territories by means of illegal aggression in the War of Independence, Israel's rights over the areas of Judea and Samaria take priority over the rights of the hostile Arab countries. These areas, therefore - from the point of view of international law - never ceased to be part of the western Eretz Israel designated in its entirety for the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people, including of course, the right of Jews to settle in their land as established in the British Mandate.
Did the End of the British Mandate over Eretz Israel Generate Any Change in the Rights of the Jewish People Over its Land From the Point of View of International Law? The answer to this question is also no. Article 80 of the UN charter was written to defend the validity of rights determined in the Mandate even after the mandate system no longer exited. After the areas of western Eretz Israel were liberated from the Arab occupier in the Six Day War (1967), returning them to the control of the Jewish people, all the obligations according to international law remained as they were. The purpose of these areas, after all, was that they serve as the basis for the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people.
|Feature Question' by Rabbi David Samson
"Is it permissible to surrender portions of the Land of Israel to an enemy as part of a peace agreement?"
Arutz Sheva News Service, June 13, 2003: This week's 'Ask The
Rabbi Yechiel Michal Tekuchinsky, author of Luach Eretz
Gen 13:7 So fights broke out between the herdsmen of Abram
and Lot, despite the danger they all faced from the tribes of Canaanites
and Perizzites present in the land. 8 Then Abram talked it over with Lot.
"This fighting between our men has got to stop," he said. "We can't afford
to let a rift develop between our clans. Close relatives such as we are must
present a united front! 9 I'll tell you what we'll do. Take your choice of
any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want that
part over there to the east, then I'll stay here in the western section.
Or, if you want the west, then I'll go over there to the east." ...11 So
that is what Lot chose-the Jordan valley to the east of them. He went there
with his flocks and servants, and thus he and Abram parted company. 12 For
Abram stayed in the land of Canaan, ...
Gen 17:7 And I will continue this agreement between us generation after generation, forever, for it shall be between me and your children as well. It is a contract that I shall be your God and the God of your posterity. And I will give all this land of Canaan to you and them, forever. And I will be your God. TLB--
|Rabbi David Samson is one of the leading
English-speaking Torah scholars in the Religious-Zionist movement in Israel.
He has co-authored four books on the writings of Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Hacohen
Kook and Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook available on-line at RabbiKookBooks.com.
Rabbi Samson learned for twelve years under the tutelage of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda
Kook. He served as Rabbi of the Kehillat Dati Leumi Synagogue in Har Nof,
Jerusalem, and teaches Jewish Studies at Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva Institutions.
Tzvi Fishman was a successful Hollywood screenwriter before making Aliyah to Israel in 1984. He has co-authored several Torah works with Rabbi David Samson and written several books on Jewish/Israel topics. His two most recent books Days of Mashiach and Tuvia In the Promised Land are available on-line at: RabbiKookBooks.com.
|The "Ask The Rabbi" column is underwritten by a special grant from the William P. and Marie R. Lowenstein Foundation of Memphis, Tenn.|
On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates-- the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites." Genesis 15:18-21.