Beyond the Pale

In the Oslo Accords, there was no limitation put on the settlement of the territories by Jews. It was not yet beyond the pale. The Mitchell Report opened the door for this to be so when it called, for the first time, for a freeze of Jewish settlement. Who says that terror doesn't pay?

Ted Belman,

Ted Belman
Ted Belman
The world has decided that the territories are beyond the Pale for the Jews.

In a crash course on Jewish literacy, published by we learn the following about the Pale of Settlement:

"From 1791 until 1915, the Jews living in Eastern Europe were confined by the Czars of Russia -- starting with Catherine the Great -- to an area known as the 'Pale of Settlement' (meaning 'borders of settlement').

"Jews were specifically expelled from Moscow and St. Petersburg and forced into the Pale. Later they were also expelled from rural areas within the Pale and forced to live only in shtetls."

Any settlement beyond this area was "beyond the Pale". Later, this expression was generalized to identify ideas or activities that are out of bounds, as being "beyond the pale."

Once again, the powers that be are trying to restrict Jewish settlement to pre-1967 Israel and declaring Jewish settlement in Judea, Samaria and Gaza as beyond the pale. Jews everywhere should utterly reject this restriction on their rights and liberty. Similarly, they should also reject a settlement freeze as required by the Roadmap and recently demanded by US President George Bush.

The Balfour Declaration of 1917 was contained in a letter from Lord Balfour to Lord Rothschild. It said (in part): "His Majesty's government looks with favor upon the establishment in Palestine of a national homeland for the Jewish people."

Pursuant to this declaration that was issued after Britain took possession of the lands due to the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the League of Nations created the British Mandate for Palestine. Under the terms of the Mandate, Britain's principal obligation was to facilitate the implementation of the Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917, which pledged "the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people." No territorial restrictions whatsoever - neither east nor west of the Jordan River - were placed on the Jewish National Home. In fact, the Mandate stipulated that Britain was to "facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage close settlement by Jews on the land."

A similar right was not given to the Arabs. This was and is the law of the land. It has never been rescinded.

When the United Nations succeeded the League of Nations, it assumed all things done in its name, including the Mandate. In 1947, the General Assembly passed Resolution 181, in which it

"Recommends to the United Kingdom, as the mandatory Power for Palestine, and to all other Members of the United Nations the adoption and implementation, with regard to the future government of Palestine, of the Plan of Partition with Economic Union set out below...."

Pursuant to this plan,

"A declaration shall be made to the United Nations by the provisional government of each proposed State before independence. It shall contain inter alia the following clauses:

"The stipulations contained in the declaration are recognized as fundamental laws of the State and no law, regulation or official action shall conflict or interfere with these stipulations, nor shall any law, regulation or official action prevail over them."

These stipulations included:

"No discrimination of any kind shall be made between the inhabitants on the grounds of race, religion, language or sex."

Israel provided such a declaration and came into being and the Arabs refused to do so and rejected the whole Plan. The world conveniently forgets about this basic requirement.

After the Six Day War, the Security Council passed Resolution 242, which legitimated Israel's occupation of the territories until such time as she could withdraw to secure and recognized borders. No such borders have been recognized and therefore, there is no requirement to withdraw. This resolution included in its preamble the following: "Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war...."

It wasn't until the Oslo Accords in 1993 that the Arabs accepted this resolution as binding. They are now using this preamble to deny Israel the right to retain any part of the territories. This argument should be rejected out of hand. It should be noted that international law permitted an exception to this rule in the case of a defensive war. This exception continues to this day. Also, the people involved with the drafting of this resolution all acknowledged that not all territories had to be given up for peace.

In the Oslo Accords, there was no limitation put on the settlement of the territories by Jews. It was not yet beyond the pale. The Mitchell Report opened the door for this to be so when it called, for the first time, for a freeze of Jewish settlement. Who says that terror doesn't pay?

When Yasser Arafat aborted the peace process, such as it was, and started the war of terror, the world community in one chorus said that the Arabs needed hope, i.e., a promise of a state, for there to be progress on the peace process. This was the precursor to President Bush promising, for the first time, such a state in his June '02 speech. The desire of the US to have Arab support for her invasion of Iraq in March '03, led to the infamous Roadmap. .

The Roadmap for the first time, regarding settlements, demanded that "Israel immediately dismantle settlement outposts erected since March 2001.... Consistent with the Mitchell Report, Israel freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements)."

The pressure on Israel to accept the Roadmap was enormous. Even so, her acceptance was stipulated to be subject to 14 reservations, none of which, unfortunately, rejected these settlement provisions. The US, rather than look upon this as a conditional acceptance, took the position that the acceptance was complete, but subject to 14 concerns, which it undertook to take into consideration, and Israel went along.

Nevertheless, the Roadmap provides, "The following is a performance-based and goal-driven roadmap, with clear phases, timelines, target dates, and benchmarks aiming at progress through reciprocal steps by the two parties?."

The first phase included Israel's obligations regarding settlements and the Palestinian obligations of "Ending terror and violence, normalizing Palestinian life, and building Palestinian institutions? present to May 2003."

If ever there was a roadmap for peace that arrived stillborn, this was it. Absolutely nothing was done by the Palestinians or Arabs regarding their obligations, so in law, nothing can be asked of Israel regarding the settlements. The steps are stipulated to be reciprocal.

This, of course, did not deter Bush and the whole Quartet from continuing to demand that Israel dismantle post March 2001 settlements and freeze the rest. Dr. Rice, you will recall, demanded action in the name of Israel's "commitment".

Although the Roadmap is moribund and cannot be brought back to life until the leopard changes his spots, Bush demanded that Sharon's disengagement plan not replace the Roadmap and the entire Quartet emphasized this. It seems everyone wants to maintain the fiction that the Roadmap can be implemented.

Back to the Pale of Settlement

Israel should maintain its right to settle in the territories until the Palestinians fulfill their obligations regarding security.

Israel should continue to put facts on the ground (settlements) as a means to put pressure on the Palestinians to begin the peace process in earnest. The Palestinians should not have the luxury to be unaccountable. If they delay or are intransigent or commit acts of terror or incitement to hatred, then they must accept that such actions have consequences; namely, that settlements will expand.

Israel should insist on the requirements of Resolution 181, which effectively provides that building Jewish homes in the territories are not beyond the pale.

Israel should realize that to acquiesce in the settlement freeze is to accept that she does not have the right to settle there. This she must not do.

The Middle East is in a state of flux now. Once the US presidential elections are over Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia will be dealt with. There is no telling what the final outcome of all this will be. There is even no telling what will become of Iraq. Under such turbulence, Israel should be battening down the hatches to wait out the storm, rather than adding to the turbulence by disengaging.

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