One State Israel

Yes to a Strong Israel

How to Win in Gaza

Israel doesn’t have to reconquer Gaza to destroy Hamas. We just have to humiliate Hamas and knock out capabilities like the tunnel networks that immediately threaten us. And then let the Gazans fight it out.

By Caroline B. Glick

Israel deployed ground forces in Gaza Thursday night both because Hamas’s terror tunnels into Israel have become an unacceptable threat, and because it had to break the deadlock that had developed between it and Hamas.

Until the ground invasion, Israel and Hamas were in a holding pattern. Hamas would not accept a ceasefire deal because Egypt’s offers provided the Iranian sponsored, Muslim Brotherhood terror army with no discernible achievements. And absent such achievements, Hamas prefers to keep fighting. Israel for its part is unwilling to make any concessions to Hamas in exchange for its cessation of its criminal terror war that targets innocent civilians in Israel as a matter of course.

Since Hamas initiated the current round of warfare against Israel, Israelis have been split in their assessments of how best to win the war. Still now, with ground forces deployed in Gaza, the dispute over the proper goal of the operation remains significant.

Although everyone supports the troops, politicians on the Left, led, most openly by Labor party leader Isaac Herzog say that Israel should limit its goals to the maximum extent and seek a ceasefire because “there is no military solution” to the conflict with Hamas.

Israel’s best bet, they say, is to do everything it can to end the Hamas missile strikes as quickly as possible through negotiations. At the same time, Herzog argues, since there is only a diplomatic solution to the Palestinian conflict with Israel, Israel needs to send negotiators to Ramallah to beg Palestinian Authority President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas to sign a peace deal with the Jewish state.

There are several basic problems with the Left’s position. First, Hamas and its partners in Gaza from Islamic Jihad, al Qaeda affiliated jihadist militia and Fatah have no interest whatsoever in peaceful coexistence with Israel. They exist to fight Israel. This means that the only way that Israel can get them to stop fighting is by using its military force to convince them that it is not in their interest to continue shooting. In other words, the only “solution” to Hamas’s aggression is a military solution.

Beyond that, Abbas has ruled the PA for the past decade. Throughout this period, he consistently demonstrated through deed and word that he will never, ever sign a peace treaty with Israel. Abbas has twice rejected offers of peace and statehood from Israel. Just three months ago he rejected another offer from US President Barack Obama. During the same period, he has signed three peace deals with Hamas. The most recent one is now in force, on the ground.

Since Hamas initiated its newest round of criminal projectile assaults on Israel, Abbas has acted as a full partner in the war. He has represented Hamas internationally. He has negotiated on its behalf – and continues to do so in Cairo.

Given all of this, the notion that Israel can pin a diplomatic strategy for ending Hamas’s war against it on Fatah is not merely ridiculous. It is inexcusably irresponsible for would-be national leaders to maintain faith with it. The only purpose such behavior serves is to reinforce the Americans and Europeans in their delusional faith that the chimerical two-state solution is a recipe for utopian peace rather than war, bloodshed and radicalization.

On the other hand, the Right, led most outspokenly by Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman insists that the role of IDF ground forces in Gaza should be to reconquer the area with the aim of destroying Hamas’s capacity to continue shooting rockets and missiles. Only such a ground-based operation, they claim will eliminate the threat of Hamas’s projectiles. There are several problems with this position.

The main reason that Hamas began the current war is because the terror group is in distress.
The Egyptians have cut off the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood’s financial and military supply lines through the Sinai. Hamas of the summer of 2014 is not Hezbollah from the summer of 2006. Hezbollah had open supply lines from Iran through Syria and Turkey. Hamas is locked in between Israel and Egypt.

Moreover, Hamas is challenged on the ground in Gaza by the same jihadist groups that now fight with it against Israel. If Hamas cannot produce a victory in this round of fighting then its friends from al Qaeda affiliates and from Islamic Jihad will renew their challenge to its authority. Add to the mix the response of a public angry at Hamas for forcing it to serve as human shields for missiles and terror masters who were unable to bring home the bacon so to speak by fighting, and there is a reasonable chance that Hamas will face a full-blown insurrection once a ceasefire with Israel goes into effect.

Finally, a full-scale ground invasion is a risky proposition. There is no assurance of success. Israel deployed ground forces in south Lebanon in 2006. But due to incompetent national and military leadership, the forces achieved little from a strategic perspective while absorbing painful losses.

Israel faces an acute operational challenge in Gaza. The nine year absence of IDF forces and Israeli civilians on the ground has wrecked Israel’s intelligence gathering capabilities and so limited the IDF’s operational effectiveness. If in 2004 Israel was able to defeat Hamas through targeted killing of its commanders, repeating that success today without good human intelligence assets on the ground is a much more difficult prospect.

None of this is easy or simple. No result is guaranteed. But in fighting Hamas today, Israel finds itself in a better position than it has faced in past fights with Hamas. For the first time, we face an enemy with a limited shelf life. Without supply lines from Egypt, Hamas cannot fight forever. Its allies at the UN can feed its forces and protect Hamas from an insurrection from a starving population. But the UN cannot rearm Hamas. It cannot reopen the smuggling tunnels from Egypt to enable materiel, money and trainers to enter Gaza.

Hamas is desperate for anything it can call a victory. By denying it one on the one hand, while taking action to force its leaders to prefer organizational humiliation to personal destruction on the other, Israel can win a decisive victory.

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Wedding under Fire

Wedding under Fire


Bride Shiran takes cover in a wine cellar with her guests as the Code Red siren is sounded during her wedding in Beer Yakov.

Top Nine Gaza Media Myths

The IDF is defending the citizens of Israel and the media calls them the aggressor?


With Israeli ground action in Gaza now underway, in response to ceaseless Hamas attacks, the usual media myths and misrepresentations about Gaza are being recycled, with some new ones thrown in.
Here are some of the key myths, gleaned from present and past coverage:

Myth: It’s true that Palestinians in Gaza are attacking Israel with indiscriminate rocket fire, but what other answer do they have to Israel’s suffocating blockade?

Of course, there were no Palestinian children dying as a result of Israel’s restrictions on Gaza, since Israel has been careful to allow in more than enough food and medicine. But beyond this, Kristof’s claim is that the only way for the Palestinians to end the “suffocating … Israeli embargo” (to use his term) is to fire missiles.

What Kristof and those who speak similarly ignore – or simply don’t know – is that before there was a missile assault and other terror attacks from Hamas-ruled Gaza, there was no “embargo,” just as there is no embargo on the West Bank. So missiles are not the answer for the embargo, they are the cause for the embargo.

Myth: Israel and the United States helped cause the war in Gaza by refusing to allow, after the Palestinian reconciliation, payment of salaries to Hamas civil servants in Gaza.

Fact: It was PA head Mahmoud Abbas who opposed paying salaries to the Hamas employees, according to multiple press accounts. The AP reported, for example, that:

In comments earlier this week, Abbas indicated he is in no hurry to pay the Hamas loyalists. He said Hamas should keep paying their salaries “until we agree” on a solution. He also criticized the protests by Hamas loyalists over the salary issue, saying it was a “bad sign.” (AP, June 9, 2014)

Myth: Because far more Gaza residents than Israelis have been killed, the Israeli actions are “disproportionate.”

Fact: First of all, contrary to Khalidi, three quarters of the Palestinians killed at the time of his writing were combatants, not civilians, including 290 Hamas combatants who had been specifically identified.

Moreover, it’s impossible to reach conclusions about right or wrong based on the number of people killed. Consider that the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor killed about 3,000 Americans. Does it follow that the US should have ended its counterattacks against Japanese forces once a similar number of Japanese had been killed? Since it didn’t do so, does that mean the US acted disproportionally, in violation of international law, or even immorally, and that the Japanese were the aggrieved party? Clearly the answer is no.

Myth: Israel’s actions are illegal since International Law requires proportionality.

Fact: Proportionality in the Law of War has nothing to do with the relative number of casualties on the two sides. Rather it refers to the military value of a target (how much of an impact would the target’s destruction have on the outcome of a battle or war) versus the expected threat to the lives or property of civilians. If the target has high military value, then it can be attacked even if it seems there will be some civilian casualties in doing so.

What has to be “proportional” (the term is not actually used in the relevant conventions) is the military value of the target versus the risk to civilians.

By this measure, Israel’s efforts to destroy missiles before they can be fired at Israeli civilians, even if that places Palestinian civilians at risk, seems to conform perfectly to the Laws of War. There is no requirement that Israel place the lives of its own citizens in danger to protect the lives of Palestinian civilians.

Myth: Israel is in the wrong because it’s not fighting fair: it has anti-missile defenses and bomb shelters, while the Palestinians don’t.

Fact: Why hasn’t Hamas built bomb shelters for civilians in Gaza? Who’s stopping them? Hamas has imported huge quantities of cement, but it’s been forcefully diverted from the civilian sector and instead used to build bunkers and tunnels for Hamas leaders and fighters, along with hidden missile firing positions and underground warehouses full of weapons including long range missiles.

On the other hand, Israel’s requirement since the early 1990′s that all new homes have a secure reinforced room, and its building of (often rudimentary) bomb shelters in communities near Gaza have helped to shield Israeli civilians from Hamas attacks, though at a cost of over $1 Billion dollars.
It is ironic that Israel is criticized for successfully protecting its civilians by following international law, while Hamas is portrayed as a victim because it violates that same international law.

Under international law – and the Oslo Accords – Hamas certainly has no right to stockpile weapons or attack Israel, and Israel is therefore justified in taking measures to disarm Hamas and prevent it from terrorizing both the Israeli population and the Gaza population.

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Letting the Anti-Semitism Genie Out of the Bottle

Anti-Semitism is rampant in Europe and the Western Governments do nothing to stop it.

By Ari Lieberman

Since the commencement of Operation Protective Edge, there has been a surge of anti-Semitic attacks in Western Europe. That should come as no surprise to anyone watching developments there. With rising Muslim populations and concomitant Islamic radicalism, anti-Semitism in Europe will continue to manifest itself in ever increasing lethality and numbers. The Toulouse and Brussels Museum shootings are not aberrations by crazed gunmen. These acts were calculated and are the product of a medieval society that encourages xenophobia taught within the context of religious indoctrination.

Israel’s current counterinsurgency campaign and its efforts to protect its citizens from indiscriminate terrorist rocket attacks has inspired closet anti-Semites and other assorted judeophobes to come out of the woodwork. On Twitter, the hashtags #HitlerWasRight and #HitlerDidNothingWrong have gone viral prompting Jake Tapper of CNN to note that there’s “vile stuff out there via hashtags.”

In France, an Islamist mob tried to storm two Jewish synagogues trapping a group of worshipers for a period of time before the racist hooligans were dispersed by police. Two Jews and six policemen were hurt in the melee. The attack comes on the heels of a firebombing of a synagogue in a Paris suburb and an anti-Semitic assault on a 17-year old girl by an Arab who called her a “dirty Jewess” and threatened that, “inshallah [she] will die.” Demonstrators in another Paris suburb chanted “slaughter the Jews,” and “death to the Jews.”

While Israel faces existential threats from its Arab neighbors and Judeophobia takes hold in Europe and elsewhere, the Obama administration and its cowering allies in Western Europe allow the disease of anti-Semitism to spread, fester and otherwise go unchallenged. We’ve witnessed this shameful apathetic behavior in the past and our inaction then led to the biggest calamity the world has ever known. The world looks to the United States for leadership and moral guidance but the administration’s shameful silence in the face of such evil is proof that it is pathetically devoid of both.

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400 New Immigrants from France to Arrive in Israel

Every immigrant who arrives in Israel strengthens us as a people, and this is all the more so when it comes to the growing Aliyah from France.


Wednesday, July 16 at 18:00 at Ben-Gurion International Airport, the Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption and the Chairman of The Jewish Agency will welcome the new immigrants.

Thursday, July 17 at 14:30 in Jerusalem, the new immigrants will receive their te’udot zehut (Israeli ID cards) during a festive ceremony to be attended by the Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption and the Chairman of The Jewish Agency.

JERUSALEM – Undeterred by the security situation in Israel, hundreds of
French Jews are coming home: Some 400 new immigrants from France will arrive
in Israel Wednesday, July 16 aboard two special flights organized by
The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant
Absorption. The families will be joining communities across Israel. More than
100 immigrants will be moving to Tel Aviv and the center of the country,
while approximately 60 will be moving to the southern cities of Ashdod and
Ashkelon. 130 new French immigrants will move to the coastal city of
Netanya, and approximately 50 to Jerusalem.

2014 has seen a dramatic increase in Aliyah from France and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption and The Jewish Agency expect more than 5,000 French Jews to immigrate to Israel by the end
of the year. 3,289 French Jews immigrated to Israel in 2013, compared to 1,917 in 2012 – a 60% increase. That trend is continuing in 2014, with
approximately 2,600 French Jews arriving in Israel during the first six
months of the year, compared to 812 during the equivalent period in 2013.
This dramatic increase is due, in part, to a special plan developed by the
Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption and The Jewish Agency to
encourage Aliyah from France and ease French Jews’ integration into Israeli
society. The plan includes efforts to strengthen Jewish identity amongst
French Jewish youth, expand Israel experience programs, remove bureaucratic
barriers to employment in Israel, and boost the number of Jewish Agency
shlichim (representatives) in France.

Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky
said: “Despite the rocket onslaught against the people of Israel, not one
immigrant from France has canceled his or her arrival. More and more people
are asking whether Jews have a future in France, but no one doubts that
French Jews have a future in Israel. Israel has become a preferred
destination for young French Jews and this is due, in part, to The Jewish
Agency to strengthen young French Jews’ connections to their Jewish
identities and to Israel. By the end of 2014, more than 5,000 Jews are
expected to make Aliyah from France. Within a single year, and for the first
time in history, a Jewish community in the West is sending a full percent of
its Jews to build their lives in the State of Israel. We await you in Israel
with open arms.”

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Read of the day: Israel as the Last Man Standing

As the Muslims continue to destroy each other, Israel will survive to rebuild its homeland.

By Thomas Lifson

The Middle East, always complex, is descending into a form of chaos that seems baffling. Bringing order to the complexity is Daniel P. Goldman, aka Spengler, writing in Tablet Magazine. A former Wall Street numbers guy, Goldman brings together a lot of demographic data expressed in useful charts, to lay out his case that time is on Israel’s side, and that the Muslims of the Middle East are engaged in a long-term battle, which he likens to the 30 Years War that devastated Europe in the 17th century.

As the Muslims self-destruct, Israel meanwhile prospers, and perhaps more importantly, is having babies at a rate higher than the local Arabs, whose fertility is declining.

Here are his conclusions:

The historical homeland of the Jewish people aka Judea and Sumaria will pass into Israeli sovereignty not because the national-religious will it to be so, or because an Israeli government seeks territorial aggrandizement, but because Israel will be the last man standing in the region, the only state able to govern Judea and Samaria, and the only military force capable of securing its borders. It will happen without fanfare, de facto rather than de jure, at some moment in the not-too-distant future when the foreign ministries of the West are locked in crisis session over Iraq or Syria. And it will happen with the tacit support of Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.

Israeli authority will replace the feckless regime of the Palestine Authority in order to maintain public order and ensure that the electricity works, and the roads are secure, and that bands of jihadist marauders or Shiite terrorists do not massacre entire villages; this action will elicit the reflex condemnation from bored and dispirited Western diplomats. The realization of the Zionist dream will then be consummated not with a bang, but a whimper; the bangs will be much louder elsewhere.

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MSNBC, NBC Ignore Hamas’ Human Shields

It is true that Israel provides safeguards for it’s civilians, unlike Hamas that force Gazans to be human shields!

By Tamar Sternthal

Over the last several days, NBC and MSNBC have repeatedly emphasized what broadcaster Brian Williams has called “a rather lopsided conflict”: Israeli citizens have bomb shelters, sirens and an Iron Dome to keep them safe from incoming rockets, Gaza civilians have none of these means of protection against Israeli airstrikes, the networks report. While this is all true, NBC and MSNBC ignore the true lopsidedness of the conflict: that Israel has invested heavily in both technology and construction to safeguard its citizens and to provide them with critical life-saving warnings as well as high-tech and low-tech protection, while the Hamas government of Gaza, which has not taken steps to safeguard its people, has actually gone of its way to endanger them.

While Hamas has acquired advanced Iranian and Syrian rockets, it has not dedicated any of its technological abilities for defensive purposes, including warning systems. While it has developed a vast underground network of tunnels and bunkers to shield its weapons, Hamas has not used any of its coveted concrete to build shelters for its civilians. While the Israeli government provides its citizens with detailed guidelines about how to protect themselves and their families, the Hamas government encourages its citizens to literally stand in the line of fire as human shields.

While William correctly notes that in Gaza there “are no sirens to warn civilians of an incoming strike,” he neglects to mention that in this round of conflict, like in the previous round, Israel goes to great lengths to warn the local population of an impending strike so as to keep them out of harm’s way. As has been widely documented, Israel phones Gaza residents, drops leaflets, and then targets the roof of a house used as a terror command center with a “knock on the roof,” or a blank shell, before it bombs.

Chris Hayes also points out Gazans’ defenseless while remaining mute about Hamas responsibility in actively cultivating this situation. He stated July 8 on “All in With Chris Hayes”: “And keep in mind, Gaza does not have early warning sirens and it does not have the bomb shelters for its civilian population that Israel does. . . . .”

Keep in mind, Chris Hayes, while Hamas deliberately positioned its fighters and rocket launchers among its civilian population, Israel has at times aborted attacks against those firing rockets in order to spare civilians.

And while Hayes has no qualms about stating as fact that “Keep in mind, Gaza has been under siege for several years,” he attributes the hundreds of rocket salvos against Israeli civilians as an Israeli claim. Thus, he states: “Israel has called up 40,000 reservists, raising the possibility of a ground invasion to stem the tide of rockets it says are being fired from Gaza into civilian areas of Israel.”

Keep in mind, Chris Hayes, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon acknowledges that Palestinian rocket fire against Israeli civilians is a fact. It’s not just an Israeli claim.

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UCLA Must End Harrassment and Bullying of Jewish Students

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is a university-funded student organization that harasses Jews, an ethnic minority on campus!

By Susan Tuchman

In an attempt to target, harass and intimidate pro-Israel Jewish students at UCLA, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) recently demanded that candidates for student government positions sign a statement pledging they will not go on any trip to Israel sponsored by three Jewish organizations.

Notably, SJP has targeted only Israel and three Jewish organizations that sponsor trips to Israel. Not a single church or mosque that pays for or sponsors Israel trips was singled out.

Since the student government rejected SJP’s divestment resolution, members of SJP have engaged in what a UCLA student leader has described in the UCLA newspaper as “hate speech against the Jewish community” and a campaign of “cyberbullying toward both the Jewish community and council members that voted against the resolution.”

Students who opposed the anti-Israel divestment resolution reported feeling uncomfortable even walking on campus because of the hate mail they received. This is outrageous. Students must feel safe on campus.

First, the UCLA leadership should publicly condemn the SJP by name and strongly denounce the group’s effort to delegitimatize educational trips to Israel by some organizations but not others, so that pro-Israel Jewish students will be excluded from the student government and a pro-Israel viewpoint will be eliminated from discussions.

Second, UCLA should severely sanction the SJP for violating UCLA’s rules against harassment and discrimination. The sanction should include a requirement that the SJP publicly apologize to fellow students, particularly pro-Israel Jewish students, for targeting, disrespecting and hurting them.

Anti-Jewish harassment, intimidation and bullying are the hallmark of SJP. This group needs to finally get the message that their misconduct will no longer be tolerated, and there will be tangible consequences when they violate university rules and harm fellow students.

When SJP at Northeastern University slipped mock eviction notices under hundreds of dorm rooms earlier this spring, the group was immediately suspended.

The UC Board of Regents, President Napolitano and Chancellor Block must likewise act swiftly and decisively to show the entire UC community that student freedom, safety and well-being are their number one priority.

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Turkey’s High-Risk Power Play

Turkey is a member of Nato yet it supports terrorists!

By Caroline Glick

For most Westerners, Turkey is a hard nut to crack. How can you understand a state sponsor of terrorism that is also a member of NATO? How can you explain Turkey’s facilitation of Kurdish independence in Iraq in light of Turkey’s hundred-year opposition to Kurdish independence?

Last week an Israeli security official told the media that the abduction of Naftali Frankel, Gilad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah was organized and directed by Saleh al-Arouri, a Hamas commander operating out of Turkey.

Turkey has welcomed Hamas to its territory and served as its chief booster to the West since the jihadist terror group won the Palestinian legislative elections in 2006. Erdogan has played a key role in getting the EU to view Hamas as a legitimate actor, despite its avowedly genocidal goals.

Turkey has been the largest supporter and enabler of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
Erdogan’s government has allowed ISIS fighters to train in Turkey and cross the border between Turkey and Syria at will to participate in the fighting. Moreover, according to Pipes, Turkey “provided the bulk of ISIS’s funds, logistics, training and arms.”

To date, most Western analyses of the Erdogan regime’s behavior have come up short because their authors ignore its strategic goal. In this failing, analyses of Turkey are similar to those of its Shi’ite counterpart in Iran. And both regimes’ goals are wished away for the same reason: Western observers can’t identify with them.

Iran is not a status quo power. It is a revolutionary power. Iran’s goal is not regional hegemony per se, but global supremacy. As Lee Smith recently noted, two decades before al-Qaida and its goal of establishing a global Islamic caliphate burst onto the scene, Ayatollah Khomeini had already made the Islamic division of the world into the House of Islam and the House of War the basis for Iran’s foreign policy. He viewed his Shi’ite theocracy as the rightful leader of the Islamic empire that would destroy all non-believers and their civilization.

As Iran expert Michael Ledeen wrote last week, to defeat the US in Iraq, “the Iranian regime provoked all manner of violence, from tribal to ethnic, because they believed they were better able to operate in chaos.”

Spelling out his goal in a speech in the spring of 2012, Erdogan described Turkey’s mission thus: “On the historic march of our holy nation, the AK Party signals the birth of a global power and the mission for a new world order. This is the centenary of our exit from the Middle East [following the Ottoman defeat in World War I]. Whatever we lost between 1911 and 1923, whatever lands we withdrew from, from 2011 to 2023 we shall once again meet our brothers in those lands.”

To achieve this goal, like Iran, Turkey seeks to destabilize states and reduce peoples to their ethnic, sub-national identities. The notion is that by dividing societies into their component parts, the various groups will all be weaker than one unified state, and all of them will feel threatened by one another and in need of outside support.

By fragmenting Turkish society into long-forgotten component parts while uniting it under radical Islam, he wishes to unite the country under his Sultanate rule while dividing its various factions against one another to maintain support for the regime over the long haul.

A large part of repressing the Kurds at home involves denying them outside assistance. By acting like Iraqi Kurdistan’s best friend, Erdogan hopes to attenuate their support for Turkish Kurds.

But while their chaos strategy is brilliant in its way, it is also high risk. By its very nature, chaos is hard, if not impossible to control. Situations often get out of hand. Plans backfire.

And what we are seeing today in Syria and Iraq and the wider region demonstrates the chaos strategy’s drawbacks.

As Pinchas Inbari detailed in a recent report for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, the Syrian civil war is causing millions of Syrians to leave the country and their migrations are changing the face of many countries.

For instance, their arrival in Lebanon has transformed the multiethnic state into one with a preponderant Sunni majority, thus watering down Hezbollah’s support base.

As for ISIS, it is scoring victories in Iraq today. But its forces are vastly outnumbered by the Baathists and the Sunni tribesmen that defeated al Qaida in 2006. There is no reason to assume that these disparate groups won’t get tired of their new medieval rulers.

Many commentators claimed that Erdogan’s recent foreign policy setbacks in the Arab world convinced him to abandon neo-Ottomanism in favor of more modest goals. But his cultivation of Iraqi Kurdistan, and his sponsorship of ISIS, al-Nusra, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas tell a different story.

Erdogan remains an Islamic imperialist. Like Iran he aims to destroy the global order and replace it with an Islamic empire. But like Iran, if his adversaries get wise to what he is doing, it won’t be very difficult to beat him at his own game by using his successes to defeat him.

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Israeli Settlements Are Not Illegal

There are no “occupied territories” there are only disputed ones.

By Michael Curtis

Seventeen nations of the European union did not listen to or remember the remarks of Julie Bishop, foreign minister of Australia, made on January 21, 2014. She asserted that the international community should refrain from calling Israeli settlements illegal under international law while their status is not yet determined.

The EU members neglected this wise advice and impetuously issued a warning that financial transactions, investments, and economic activity with Israeli settlements or benefiting them carry legal and financial risks. In their view, this dire analysis stems from the “fact” that the Israeli settlements, according to international law, are built on occupied land and are not recognized as a legitimate part of Israel’s territory.

The beginning of wisdom is that the territories in question are disputed, in spite of the constant repetition by so many in the international community that they are “occupied territories.” Though Jordan, between 1950 and 1967, claimed to have annexed the area that is now called the West Bank, the international community did not accept this claim as valid. Jordan never had any legal title to the area. Even Jordan later withdrew its claim.

No other political entity has had legal title or sovereignty or statehood over the area since the days of the Ottoman Empire. The legal claim to the area thus remains disputed. There is no sovereign authority to which Israel can return the land without negotiated agreement. After the 1967 Six-Day War, a war fought in Israel’s lawful exercise of the inherent right of self-defense, as Article 51 of the U.N. Charter justifies, Israel established the international law of belligerent occupation to the area it had captured. Control is exercised on the basis of international law, the Hague Regulations of 1907 and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, and Israeli law, with the objective of ensuring public order and civil life. The Israeli High Court has determined that this control must be carried out on the basis of “proportionality.”

What international law declares the settlements illegal? The critics of Israel all rely on an interpretation of one clause in an international document – namely, Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. Article 49(6) forbids transfers of populations to occupied territories, stating, “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” It is concerned with people and with their rights, not with territory or legal questions relating to that territory. But no one is being transferred involuntarily. Israelis are not being deported to the West Bank, nor are Palestinians being deported from the West Bank.

Do the settlements prevent a two-state solution? There were no boundaries between Israel and Palestinians ever drawn up, and therefore the future and extent of the territories is to be decided by negotiations, as called for by U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. It was the rejection by the Arab League and Palestinians of the U.N. Partition Resolution of November 29, 1947 calling for two states, one Jewish and the other Arab, that prevented the creation of an Arab state. It is noticeable that almost all the continuing construction in the settlements are in those of the units that are suburbs of Jerusalem, areas that Palestinians accept would be part of Israel in any final status agreement. The settlements in no way prejudge the outcome of negotiations. On the contrary, their existence must not be used as an excuse to prevent those negotiations.

Do the settlements prevent a two-state solution? There were no boundaries between Israel and Palestinians ever drawn up, and therefore the future and extent of the territories is to be decided by negotiations, as called for by U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. It was the rejection by the Arab League and Palestinians of the U.N. Partition Resolution of November 29, 1947 calling for two states, one Jewish and the other Arab, that prevented the creation of an Arab state. It is noticeable that almost all the continuing construction in the settlements are in those of the units that are suburbs of Jerusalem, areas that Palestinians accept would be part of Israel in any final status agreement. The settlements in no way prejudge the outcome of negotiations. On the contrary, their existence must not be used as an excuse to prevent those negotiations.

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