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Pompeo: Israeli ‘Settlements’ Not Illegal Under International Law

Pompeo: Israeli ‘Settlements’ Not Illegal Under International Law

Prime Minister Netanyahu: “The United States adopted an important policy that rights a historical wrong.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIUGt_O0jI8

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a major policy shift on Monday by declaring that the United States no longer considers Israeli ‘settlements’ to be illegal under the international law. The statement reverses the U.S. State Department’s long-held policy that regarded Israeli ‘settlements’ in the region of Judea and Samaria, also referred to as the West Bank, “inconsistent with international law.”

“Calling the establishment of civilian settlements inconsistent with international law has not advanced the cause of peace,” he said. “The hard truth is that there will never be a judicial resolution to the conflict, and arguments about who is right and who is wrong as a matter of international law will not bring peace.”

Reuters news agency reported Secretary Pompeo’s statement:

The United States on Monday effectively backed Israel’s right to build Jewish settlements on the occupied West Bank by abandoning its four-decade-old position that they were “inconsistent with international law.”

The announcement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was a victory for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is struggling to remain in power after two inconclusive Israeli elections this year, and a defeat for the Palestinians.

Pompeo said U.S. statements about the settlements on the West Bank, which Israel captured in 1967, had been inconsistent, saying Democratic President Jimmy Carter found they were not consistent with international law and Republican President Ronald Reagan said he did not view them as inherently illegal.

“The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements is not, per se, inconsistent with international law,” Pompeo told reporters at the State Department, reversing a formal legal position taken by the United States under Carter in 1978.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Secretary Pompeo’s announcement. “The United States adopted an important policy that rights a historical wrong when the Trump administration clearly rejected the false claim that Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria are inherently illegal under international law,” Israeli Prime Minister said. “This policy reflects an historical truth – that the Jewish people are not foreign colonialists in Judea and Samaria. In fact, we are called Jews because we are the people of Judea.”

According to U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, the U.S. declaration would further the cause of peace in the region. “I am pleased that the effort has concluded and that the secretary’s conclusions have been published,” Ambassador Friedman told the Jerusalem Post. “I believe that they will bring truth and clarity to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and advances the cause of peace.”

Writing for Israel Hayom newspaper, the noted columnist Caroline Glick described the significance of move:

Monday will long be remembered as a turning point in Middle East history. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement Monday that Israeli settlements are not illegal per se is the most significant shift in US Middle East policy in the past generation. Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s capital has been a matter of US law since 1996. (…)

Pompeo made two revolutionary assertions in his statement. First, he said that “after carefully studying all sides of the legal debate,” like the Reagan administration before it, the Trump administration has concluded, “The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se inconsistent with international law.”

Second, Pompeo noted, the near ubiquitousness of the false assertion that settlements are illegal has not advanced the prospects for peace. To the contrary, it has harmed the chances of getting to peace.

Predictably, the European Union condemned the U.S. policy annoucement. “All settlement activity is illegal under international law and it erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace,” the EU said in statement. “The EU calls on Israel to end all settlement activity, in line with its obligations as an occupying power.”

Israel took control of Judea and Samaria area, also referred to as the West Bank, in the defensive war of 1967. Syracuse University Professor Miriam Elman wrote a detailed post for Legal Insurrection making the legal case for Israel’s ‘settlements.’

Related: You can read about Professor Jacobson’s visits to settlements in Samaria in 2013, To Samaria and back

[Cover image via YouTube]

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“”Predictably, the European Union condemned the U.S. policy announcement. “All settlement activity is illegal under international law and it erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace,” the EU said in statement. “The EU calls on Israel to end all settlement activity, in line with its obligations as an occupying power.”””

So what historical map is Europe going to revert to that would be legal under international law.

Important legal note: the status of the West Bank and Gaza is disputed. They are not occupied.

In order to claim that these are occupied territories someone needs to point out from which sovereign nation Israel seized them from? Hint: the last sovereign entity that possessed those territories. Jordan didn’t hold title to that land. Egypt didn’t hold title to that land. And there never was a sovereign entity named Palestine.

Once again it’s “special rules for the Jews” per the EU and other degenerates. The same game these same degenerates played when Trump recognized the Golan Heights as Israeli territory. If a nation like Israel is the victim of an aggressive attack and successfully defends itself, seizing territory belonging to the aggressor in the process, the victim keeps the territory.

It’s a simple concept. If a country is an aggressor then that country is punished by not making it whole again. They gambled, they lost, they do not get their chips back, so to speak, so they can better make more aggressive wars in the future.

    Arminius in reply to Arminius. | November 18, 2019 at 7:03 pm

    The incredible disappearing text.

    The last sovereign entity to hold title to that land was the Ottoman Empire. And the victorious allies forced them to cede that territory.

    The British held that land as a mandate, in trust, following WWI. And based on the mandate Israel has legal claim to all the territory from the Med to the Jordan.

    But they don’t want all of it because it’s full of savages that call themselves now Palestinians.

    The Muslims have the middle east oil. Follow the petro-dollars.
    What does Israel have that matches that?

    M-E Money is the root of many state partnerships.

    Milhouse in reply to Arminius. | November 18, 2019 at 8:49 pm

    If a nation like Israel is the victim of an aggressive attack and successfully defends itself, seizing territory belonging to the aggressor in the process, the victim keeps the territory.

    The claim is that international law on this changed in the few years between the Potsdam Agreement and Israel’s Declaration of Independence. The acquisition of territory by war, they say, is no longer lawful, even for a defending country.

    It’s not an inherently ridiculous argument, but besides being awfully convenient for those making it, Prof Kontorovich has made some impressive arguments against it, or at least against such a change having happened before 1967.

    None of which is all that relevant here, since the “territories” are not part of Israel according to Israeli law.

      Arminius in reply to Milhouse. | November 18, 2019 at 9:53 pm

      The people claiming the law had changed before Israeli independence have an even narrower window than that. The USSR seized the former German enclave of Konigsberg and claimed it as Soviet territory, renaming it Kaliningrad, in 1946. That was post-Potsdam. Definitely post-founding of the UN.

      Again, I see this as another example of special rules for the Jews.

      DaveGinOly in reply to Milhouse. | November 19, 2019 at 12:40 am

      Kontorvich argues that the “West Bank” was part of Israel ab initio not having been part of the mandate transferred by Britain to the Arabs.

      Israel lost the West Bank to Jordan, and the dividing line between the belligerents (and Prof. K says), the so-called “green line,” was recognized internationally as a cease-fire line that separated the combatants and froze their positions, and that it did neither confirmed Jordan’s claim on the territory nor did it prejudice Israel’s claim.

      Israel subsequently took the West Bank back from Jordan, territory that Jordan had occupied. You can’t be an “occupier” or your legally-owned territory.

      This is not the usual link I provide, but this is very recent and the title suggests strongly that he discusses exactly these things in this video:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_pMZWuysOE

        Milhouse in reply to DaveGinOly. | November 19, 2019 at 1:31 am

        That works for Judaea and Samaria, which were part of mandatory Palestine and thus do not belong to any country, at least until Israel claims them. It doesn’t work for the Golan Heights, which were part of Syria until 1967. If international law had changed by then and made the acquisition of territory by war illegal, then Israel’s annexation would be illegal (to the extent that there’s such a thing as “illegal” in international “law”). But Prof K makes strong arguments that if such a change has happened it did so after 1967.

When the idiots at the EU, and their fellow idiots mostly in North America, perpetuate the myth that Israel is required to hold the territories formerly held by Egypt and Jordan in trust in perpetuity for the fictional Palestinians then they are sending the message that the run-of-the-mill Arabs calling themselves Palestinians never have to negotiate.

Which is why, pace the EU (pronounced EEEW!), international law encourages countries like Israel to develop such territories for their own use. “The longer you wait” the message is to the Palis, “The less will remain for you to get back.”

So when is the US going to surrender all of our land to the Indians (native American)?

    Arminius in reply to Geologist. | November 18, 2019 at 8:06 pm

    You really are an expert at missing the point.

    Israel, as I observed, seized Gaza, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights by force of arms. They get to keep it.

    Same as us.

People are missing the point at issue here. This is not about whether the territories are “occupied” as most countries regard them, or “administered” as Israel does.

Nor is it about the legitimacy of said occupation/administration. A lot of people seem to imagine that occupation is illegal. It’s not. Even if the territories are occupied, that occupation is legal, and the EU (mostly) acknowledges this.

The issue here is whether, assuming Israel is legally occupying the territories, this somehow imposes an obligation on it to practice apartheid, by forcibly preventing Jews from living there and forcibly evicting any who move there. That is the proposition maintained by all who claim the “settlements” are illegal, and it’s utterly bizarre. They also claim, even more bizarrely, that Jews themselves, despite not being parties to international law, are somehow committing some sort of offense by living where they have “no right” to.

And simultaneously with condemning Israel for not doing this, they also accuse Israel of apartheid. The cognitive dissonance here is astonishing.

Put it this way: The US occupied Okinawa until 1972. This was perfectly legal and nobody thought otherwise. But the US, as an occupying power, had certain obligations. One of those was that it could not deport some of its own unwanted population (e.g. black people) and force them to move to Okinawa.

But if a US resident, of any color, decided to move to Okinawa it would be bizarre to claim that international law forbade it; individuals are not parties to international law, and are not bound by it. It would be even more bizarre to claim that the US had an obligation to forcibly prevent this person from moving there, let alone to forcibly expel him and demolish his home, let alone to do so on account of his race. And it would be especially bizarre if this person were an Okinawan whose grandparents had immigrated to America.

And yet that is exactly the position most countries take! They say, without any pretense of a foundation, that it’s illegal for any Jew to live in Judaea, and that Israel as the occupying power has a duty to forcibly expel all Jewish residents, while leaving Arab residents alone.

    Milhouse: They say, without any pretense of a foundation, that it’s illegal for any Jew to live in Judaea, and that Israel as the occupying power has a duty to forcibly expel all Jewish residents, while leaving Arab residents alone.

    It doesn’t require a forced deportation of an unwanted population into the occupied territory. Rather, transferring civilians of the occupiers into the occupied territory is illegal. The question then is whether there is a concerted effort to transfer civilians in order to gain a foothold in the occupied territories. Indeed, when Israelis move into settlements in the occupied territories, they then claim the land as part of their historical inheritance.

      Milhouse in reply to Zachriel. | November 19, 2019 at 10:23 am

      “Transfer” by definition means the occupying power is making the people move. In Israel the government has never “transferred” any Jew to the territories. On the contrary, it has usually worked hard to prevent it; the history of the Jewish return to Judaea is one of defiance against government policy. Jews decide to move somewhere, the government resists, and eventually either it forcibly expels them or it’s shamed and pressured into letting them stay.

      And yes, the whole point of that provision in the Fourth Geneva Convention was to prevent forced deportations of unwanted populations into the occupied territory, as the Germans had just done.

        Milhouse: “Transfer” by definition means the occupying power is making the people move.

        They can volunteer and it would still be against international law if it is part of a concerted effort to stake a national claim to the land. It’s clear that Israeli settlements in the West Bank have always been intended to eventually be made permanent parts of the State of Israel.

        Milhouse: And yes, the whole point of that provision in the Fourth Geneva Convention was to prevent forced deportations of unwanted populations into the occupied territory, as the Germans had just done.

        Article 49(6) is meant to protect peoples in occupied territories, such as when Nazi Germany was sending ethnic Germans into eastern Europe as part of their Lebensraum policy.

          Milhouse in reply to Zachriel. | November 20, 2019 at 3:08 pm

          They can volunteer and it would still be against international law if it is part of a concerted effort to stake a national claim to the land.

          No, it would not, since the occupying power is not transferring anyone. The term “population transfer” inherently involves coercion.

          In this case the state is not involved at all, it is not transferring anyone. On the contrary, except in the Jordan Valley, the state has done everything it can politically get away with to put as many obstacles as it can in the way of Jews wishing to live in the “territories”. The whole history of the “settlement” movement is one of struggle and resistance against Israeli governments, both “right” and left. Therefore the claim that the existence of Jewish residents in the “territories” is illegitimate constitutes pure antisemitism.

          Milhouse in reply to Zachriel. | November 20, 2019 at 3:16 pm

          Article 49(6) is meant to protect peoples in occupied territories, such as when Nazi Germany was sending ethnic Germans into eastern Europe as part of their Lebensraum policy.

          No, it is not. It’s meant to protect disfavored minorities in the occupying power’s country from being transferred out of its territory and into the occupied territory, for the purpose of ridding the power’s own territory of them. That is what the Nazis did, and the whole Article 49 is aimed directly at their practices.

          Milhouse: No, it would not, since the occupying power is not transferring anyone.

          If they facilitate the transfer, especially as a means of staking a claim to the territory, then it is a violation of the article.

          Milhouse: The term “population transfer” inherently involves coercion.

          Where coercion is involved, the Geneva Convention uses the term “forcible transfer” as in Article 49(1).

          Milhouse: Therefore the claim that the existence of Jewish residents in the “territories” is illegitimate constitutes pure antisemitism.

          If they are staking a claim as part of Israel, then it’s an obvious affront.

          Milhouse: That is what the Nazis did, and the whole Article 49 is aimed directly at their practices.

          Nazi Germany was sending ethnic Germans into eastern Europe as part of their Lebensraum policy.

          Milhouse in reply to Zachriel. | November 20, 2019 at 5:05 pm

          Nazi Germany was sending ethnic Germans into eastern Europe as part of their Lebensraum policy.

          No, it wasn’t. It planned to do so after the war, when the area had been suitably cleared of its previous inhabitants, but of course it never got the chance.

          Milhouse: It planned to do so after the war, when the area had been suitably cleared of its previous inhabitants, but of course it never got the chance.

          And would have been prohibited by an Article 49.

          Milhouse in reply to Zachriel. | November 21, 2019 at 10:11 am

          Article 49 was aimed at what the Germans did, not whatever plans they had for after winning the war. Had they actually won the war there would not have been an Article 49.

          Milhouse: Article 49 was aimed at what the Germans did, not whatever plans they had for after winning the war.

          So you’re saying colonization of occupied territory is not prohibited by the Geneva Convention?

          Milhouse in reply to Zachriel. | November 24, 2019 at 2:36 am

          What does “colonize” even mean? States don’t colonize anything, people do. And if those people are moving of their own accord they’re not bound by the Geneva Convention, and the occupying power is not expected to prevent them.

          Milhouse: What does “colonize” even mean? States don’t colonize anything, people do.

          Spain didn’t colonize the Americas, people did. Apple didn’t invent the iPhone, people did. Nazi Germany didn’t invade Poland, people did.

          Milhouse: And if those people are moving of their own accord they’re not bound by the Geneva Convention

          If it is part of a concerted effort to lay claim to the land, especially if the government facilitates the colonization, then it is illegal under international law.

Where’s Obama and Clinton when you need them?, says Isis.

buckeyeminuteman | November 19, 2019 at 12:22 pm

All of present-day Israel and Jordan were British Palestine. The British only let Jews settle west of the Jordan River. When Israel declared its independence the night before the British pulled out of Palestine, the land the Jews occupied (everything to the West of the Jordan) was theirs. International law recognizes this concept when a colony gains independence from a ruling country. Throughout the independence war, the lines shifted due to assaults and retreats. When the ceasefire was signed, the Jordanian army occupied what now makes up the West Bank. In 1967, Israel was attacked from all sides and gained it back. The West Bank is Israel. The Golan Heights is Israel. East Jerusalem is Israel. These facts cannot be legally disputed.

Reuters shows its bias in its opening sentence, referring to the so-called West Bank as “occupied”.

The only occupation of it was by Jordan, and Israel expelled that occupation by force half a century ago.

Israel was established by Treaty, and its territory was defined at that time. Nothing has changed since other than that the nation of Jordan was established on most of what was to have been Israel.

    Milhouse in reply to Aarradin. | November 20, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    Israel was not established by treaty. It was established by the declaration of independence on May 5, 1948.

    Its territory has never been defined, other than by its own laws. Specifically, the armistice line of 1949, the so-called “green line” (because it was drawn in green pencil) was explicitly declared not to constitute a legal frontier. It merely defined where the respective forces were at the time, and it was not expected to last the 19 years that it did.

Aarradin: Israel was established by Treaty, and its territory was defined at that time.

Under what treaty and provisions did the Palestinians give up their homeland?

    Milhouse in reply to Zachriel. | November 20, 2019 at 3:17 pm

    They never had any territory, or any claim to any territory. They would not have been parties to any treaty, were one to exist.

      Milhouse: They never had any territory, or any claim to any territory.

      Other than inhabiting the area, of course.

        Milhouse in reply to Zachriel. | November 20, 2019 at 4:58 pm

        So when Italians settled in Bensonhurst it became their “homeland”, and they get to negotiate a treaty with the USA?!

          Milhouse: So when Italians settled in Bensonhurst it became their “homeland”, and they get to negotiate a treaty with the USA?!

          Have no idea what you are trying to say. Palestinians are indigenous to the region, not recent immigrants.

          Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | November 21, 2019 at 10:16 am

          No, they are not indigenous. On the contrary, the indigenous people of Judaea are the Jews.

          “Palestinian” simply means Arabs who were resident in the Palestine Mandate in 1948, even if they’d only arrived there less than two years earlier. The vast majority of them had arrived in the previous 50 years or so, after returning Jews had started building the place up and creating jobs. Even the few whose families had been there for centuries go back no farther than, at most, the Arab invasion in the 7th century. They never were a separate entity called “Palestinians”; in fact they can’t even pronounce “Palestine”!

          Milhouse: Even the few whose families had been there for centuries go back no farther than, at most, the Arab invasion in the 7th century.

          DNA analysis of the paternal lineage supports both Palestinian and Jewish roots to the area, diverging in the Neolithic period.

          Z: DNA analysis of the paternal lineage supports both Palestinian and Jewish roots to the area, diverging in the Neolithic period.

          What’s interesting about this result is the strong paternal signal of Jewish ancestry with Arab populations in the area, even after two millennia of the diaspora. The overall genetic signal, however, shows much greater mixture with populations where Jews had settled.

          Key:

          Ashkenazim (Ash)
          Roman Jews (Rom)
          North African Jews (Naf)
          Near Eastern Jews (Nea)
          Kurdish Jews (Kur)
          Yemenite Jews (Yem)
          Ethiopian Jews (EtJ) (23).

          Palestinians (Pal)
          Syrians (Syr)
          Lebanese (Leb)
          Israeli Druze (Dru)
          Saudi Arabians (Sar)

          Russians (Rus)
          British (Bri)
          Germans (Ger)
          Austrians (Aus)
          Italians (Ita)
          Spanish (Spa)
          Greeks (Gre)

          Tunisians (Tun)
          Egyptians (Egy)
          Ethiopians (Eth)
          Gambians (Gam)
          Biaka (Bia)
          Bagandans (Bag)
          San (San)
          Zulu (Zul)
          Turks (Tur)
          Lemba Bantu (Lem)

          See Hammer et al., Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations share a common pool of Y-chromosome biallelic haplotypes, PNAS 2000.

          Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | November 24, 2019 at 2:34 am

          You’re deliberately misrepresenting your sources. They’re absolutely not about “Palestinians”, but about Middle Easterners generally. All they show is that Jews came from the Middle East, which we already knew. Jews are the indigenous people of Israel; the Arab residents are indigenous to the Middle East, but not to Israel.

Milhouse: You’re deliberately misrepresenting your sources. They’re absolutely not about “Palestinians”, but about Middle Easterners generally.

Hammer et al: “A multidimensional scaling plot placed six of the seven Jewish populations in a relatively tight cluster that was interspersed with Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations, including *Palestinians* and Syrians.”

So, yes, Palestinians were part of the study of paternal lineage. Note that Palestinians nestled closer with most Jewish populations than most Arab populations.

    Milhouse in reply to Zachriel. | November 25, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    Again, the study was of Middle Easterners generally. Not of so-called “Palestinians”. Since “Palestinians” are Middle Easterners, the results are not surprising. But “Palestinians” are not a distinct entity from other Arabs, and the vast majority of them were recent immigrants, who came in the 20th or late 19th century. In the mid-19th century “Palestine” (which wasn’t called that at the time) was mostly empty.

Milhouse: Not of so-called “Palestinians”.

Palestinians were specifically fractured off.

Milhouse: But “Palestinians” are not a distinct entity from other Arabs

The Palestinian male lineage is closer to most Jewish groups than it is to most Arab groups, including inhabitants of the Arabian peninsula.

Milhouse: and the vast majority of them were recent immigrants

The genetic evidence from the y-chromosome is that Palestinian males and Jewish males are essentially one population, having diverged in the late Neolithic.

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