Daily Israel Report

Ex-High Court Judge: Israel not 'Occupier' Under Int'l Law

A panel headed by a retired High Court judge concluded that there is no “occupation” and international law does not bar Jews from Yesha.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 7/4/2012, 10:01 AM

Samaria: Halamish
Samaria: Halamish
Israel news photo: Flash 90

A panel headed by a retired High Court judge concluded that there is no “occupation” and international law allows Jews to live in Judea and Samaria.

The conclusions of the committee represent a revolutionary turn of thought against the view widely accepted by the international community that Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are part of an “occupation” prohibited by international law.

Edmund Levy, who served on the High Court from 2001 until his retirement, headed a three-man committee that concluded that from a historical and legal prospective, and considering agreements with the Palestinian Authority, the international law against ”occupation" does not apply to Judea and Samaria.

It noted that Jordan’s assumed sovereignty over most of Judea and Samaria after the 1948 War for Independence was not legally recognized by the international community, meaning that Israel did not “occupy” the same land during the Six-Day War in 1967.

Virtually all of the international community including the United States, has continually labeled Israel as an “occupier” based on the notion that it took over Jordanian land in the war. In fact, the land was administered by Britain under a League of Nations Mandate after World War I and was to be divided between Israel and a new country of Trans-Jordan after the declaration of Israel as an independent country.

Arab nations, including Jordan, did not accept the partition plan and unsuccessfully tried to annihilate the young state of Israel. Jordan then occupied most of Judea and Samaria after the war.

The conclusions of Levy’s committee will be turned over to the Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, the Hebrew-language Yisrael HaYom newspaper reported. He has previously said he is not obligated to accept the report’s conclusions.

The committee declared that international law does not apply to Judea and Samaria and recommended that the government not destroy houses and expel families from communities that were built with government approval. It said financial limitations precluded their examining other communities and outposts, often built in neighborhoods that have no territorial link to the home community. However,  it noted it is difficult to believe they were built without the knowledge of cabinet ministers.

It also said that the government should make its policies clear to prevent different interpretations when it approves new communities. The committee suggested that Arabs and Jews register their land claims within four or five years or lose their rights.

The committee’s report will be turned over to the newly created ministerial committee on settlement in Judea and Samaria.