The UN’s laughably-named Human Rights Council wants to examine how Israel’s right to Judea and Samaria might affect the Arabs living there:
The United Nations’ Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed on Friday three officials to conduct a fact-finding mission on how the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (Yehuda and Shomron) affect the lives of Palestinian Authority Arabs.
According to a CBS News report the Council president, Uruguay Ambassador Laura Dupuy Lasserre, named three women to the panel: Christine Chanet of France, Unity Dow of Botswana and Asma Jahangir of Pakistan.
Dupuy Lasserre was quoted in the report as having said their mission will be to look at how Israeli communities impact “the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people.”
Isn’t that phrasing prejudicial? Couldn’t the same be asked of Israelis—just add terror to the list?
In March, the 47-nation UNHRC adopted a resolution establishing the “fact-finding mission” as one of five resolutions condemning Israel.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry subsequently decided to sever its ties with the UNHRC, saying the decision stems from a series of unilateral moves that the “Palestinians” are trying to lead against Israel.
On Friday, Israel called the mission “flawed and biased,” accusing the rights body of corruption for again singling out the Jewish state while “systematically ignoring massive human rights violations” elsewhere.
Exactly so. Still, Israel might want to look at this is one of those “teaching moments” we hear so much about:
‘Israelis have a legal right to settle all Judea and Samaria’
Retired Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy, who heads a committee tasked with examining the legality of Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, declared on Tuesday that Israelis have a legal right to settle the region.
“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.”
[T]he 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.”
Note the ambiguity: “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.” I’d like to know more about why it’s either “all” or “at the very least”.
Arlene Kushner, at whose blog I first read this story, helpfully notes:
“The lands that Israel controls under agreements with the Palestinian Authority” refers to Area C under Oslo, which is under Israeli civilian and military (security) control. This includes every Jewish community and the Jordan Valley.
I suppose the conclusion is that Israel has already made deals with the “Palestinian” “Authority”, so it is bound by them.
From now on, it must be made very clear to the proponents of the settlement enterprise and to the political echelon that they are to operate only within the confines of the law, and the various law enforcement institutions must decisively enforce the law in the future.”
The committee’s recommendations include the following: The government must clarify its position on the issue of Israeli settlement in Judea and Samaria to prevent varying interpretations of its policy; a new community will only be built after the government or an authorized ministerial committee has approved it; the expansion of a community outside the bounds of its authorized jurisdiction must first be approved by the defense minister or a ministerial committee on settlements, in coordination with the prime minister.
On the other hand, the committee declared that the encouragement provided by the government to the settlement enterprise constituted authorization. According to the committee, communities that were built on land owned by the state, or privately owned Israeli land, with the help of government bodies could not be classified as “unauthorized” due to the absence of an official government decision to authorize them. The very assistance provided by the government in their establishment constitutes implicit authorization.
Under these circumstances, the report concluded, the evacuation of such communities would be impractical and another solution, such as compensation or land swap, should be implemented. Therefore, the committee recommends in its report, the government should avoid issuing demolition orders for these communities because it is the government itself that created this situation in the first place.
What I like especially is that Israel is to make its own determinations about what is lawful and what is not—according to Israeli, not “international”, law. The rest of the world can go pound sand—especially the Arab world which has so much of it.
PS: Note also that no reference is made to any binding historical documents or announcements regarding Israeli legal authority. Not the Balfour Declaration, not the British Mandate of 1922, not even UN Resolution 242, which called only for return of lands (i.e. Sinai, Gaza, negotiated plots of Judea and Samaria), and a cessation of belligerency. (Who’s kept their end of that bargain?)
I just thought I’d bring them up (again).