Lawyer-Activist: No Fear of Hague on Regulation Law

Attorney-activist explains why Netanyahu need not fear that the Regulation Law will lead him to The Hague.

Hillel Fendel ,

Regulation Law Committee
Regulation Law Committee
Knesset spokesman

The latest spin from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's circles - that the Regulation Law will lead the State of Israel to the International Court of Justice in The Hague - is groundless, writes attorney-activist Aviad Visoly, a former head of the Haifa area Likud chapter.

The Regulation Law is proposed Israeli legislation that will enable the State of Israel to protect long-time residents from specious claims that they are occupying someone else's land. If passed, it is expected to save thousands of Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria eyed by left-wing organizations and local Arabs from destruction. On the other hand, owners who can prove that their land is occupied will receive 125% of its worth.

Visoly writes that the entire idea of The Hague taking up the case of the Regulation Law is far removed from reality. In an article released Saturday night, Visoly explains that two international courts function in The Hague: "One is the International Court of Justice, which has already dealt with the Jewish settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria in the past regarding the confiscation of lands for the construction of the anti-terrorism fence/wall. The President of this Court, Prof. Stephen Schwebel, a past judge on the Hague's International Court of Justice, has written that because 'Jordan's seizure and subsequent annexation of the West Bank and the old city of Jerusalem were unlawful,' Israel therefore did not illegally "conquer" these areas.

On the other hand, Israel's liberation of the areas was quite acceptable, because "a state acting in lawful exercise of its right of self-defense may seize and occupy foreign territory as long as such seizure and occupation are necessary to its self-defense."

In addition, Jordan has already ceded its claims on Judea and Samaria, voluntarily in 1988 and in a peace agreement with Israel in 1994.

The ICJ did rule once against Israel's 'occupation' in the past, but it relied chiefly on rulings by Israel's own Supreme Court describing Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria as a "belligerent occupation." Netanyahu should "first fix up his own Supreme Court if he is worried about The Hague," Visoly writes.

Visoly notes that when the ICC ruled on the wall/fence, Israel's response was to ignore it and continue to construct the barrier. Other nations also ignored the ruling, as did the UN Security Council. All the more so, then, regarding the Regulation Law, which does not involve confiscating lands and is therefore "pareve, balanced and totally kosher."

The second court in The Hague is the ICC, the International Criminal Court established by the Rome Charter – to which neither Israel nor the U.S. is a party. Several African nations have also opted out of the Rome Charter of late, charging that the court is "racist." With its prestige already at a low, "it is quite doubtful," Visoly writes, "that the ICC will now wish to get involve in cases that will risk it being charged with anti-Semitism to boot."

Visoly has more. He notes that the topic of the Regulation Law – legislation regulating private property – has nothing to do with international law. In addition, if the ICC decides that territory can be conquered not only from a "state" but also from a "people," most other states in the world will face similar charges.

In the past, Israel legally and officially annexed the Golan Heights, which was liberated from a sovereign country – "and the world continued to revolve on its axis as usual."

"Netanyahu's spin regarding the Hague," Visoly concludes, "as others of his spins in the past such as the 'need' for a construction freeze in Jerusalem and Judea/Samaria, is simply a fictitious approach for internal political needs alone."

The Knesset will vote on the Regulation Law on Monday. However, both Netanyahu and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, along with various others from both left and right, have opposed the Regulation Law.