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The Shtakhim

Following are some facts on the origins of what present day news commentators refer to as the Israeli “settlements” ,  “illegal settlements”, “illegal outposts” or “occupied territories”. The correct legal term is disputed territories.

On page 207 of Liel Leibovitz’s captivating book entitled, “Aliyah“, a book which recently inspired me to write on the Deir Yassin incident, which occurred during Israel’s War of Independence, he points out some other often neglected facts. At the time of the War of Independence the West Bank was not owned by any sovereign nation. In 1947, the UN passed Resolution 181, otherwise known as the “Partition Plan”. This area was to become part of the newly birthed Arab State. The borders drawn for this Partition Plan have been referred to as “Auschwitz Borders” by such eminent doves *** as Abba Eban.

The Arabs rejected the idea out of hand, and proceeded to make war on Israel. They lost.

During the War of Independence, the Kingdom of Jordan managed to capture the West Bank. However, no one recognized Jordan’s 1950 declaration of sovereignty over this area, save the United Kingdom and Pakistan. In 1967, the Arabs, including Jordan, declared war on Israel yet again. Israel won again, this time also gaining what has been called the West Bank, and known to Israelis as historical Judea and Samaria.

According to historical custom, and then subsequently  international law, when one wins territory from an aggressor, there is no legal requirement to return it. That would especially be the case when said land is not under the recognized sovereignty of the previous occupying power, as was the case vis-a-vis Jordan prior to 1967. Besides all of this, the Jewish people hold a superior claim to all other sovereign entities, due not only historically, but also according to the League of Nations, the San Remo Convention, said superior claim being put into international law in perpetuity.

For further reading click HERE. An excellent book which covers all aspects of the question exhaustively is Howard Grief’s book, The Legal Foundation and Borders of Israel under International Law.

***The right-wing political camp in Israel is sometimes referred to as “hawks”, left-wingers “doves”.


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