It is time to state and educate people about the facts of Judea and Samaria
It’s time to learn the facts about Judea and Samaria
To truly understand the status of this territory we have to first differentiate between the personal and the national.
Palestinian laborers work on a construction site in a religious Jewish settlement in the West Bank. [File]. (photo credit:REUTERS)
The recent furor surrounding the government’s decision to declare nearly 1,000 acres at Gvaot in Gush Etzion “State Land” is a classic example of the ignorance of history and law that governs most discussions of Israeli actions beyond the internationally hallowed “Green Line.” Media headlines around the world screamed about “annexation” and “land grab,” the Palestinian Authority declared it a “crime” and foreign ministries around the world have demanded the reversal of the decision. However, few articles, press releases or communiques mention the crux of the matter; the legal and historical status of the land in question.
For many, if not most, around the world, every inch of land beyond the 1949 armistice lines is automatically Palestinian; a display of unfamiliarity with history and international law.
To truly understand the status of this territory we have to first differentiate between the personal and the national.
Of course there is land privately owned by Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, what many call the “West Bank” in seeming deference to the Jordanian occupation, which invented the term as juxtaposition to its eastern bank. These areas, like privately owned territory anywhere in the world, cannot be touched unless there is very pressing reason for a government or sovereign power to do so. These areas, according to Ottoman and British records, constitute no more than a few percent of the total area, meaning the vast majority is not privately owned.
However, to contend that these territories are “Palestinian” on a national level is problematic. To claim an area belongs to a particular nation requires the territory to have belonged to that people, where they held some sort of sovereignty that was broadly recognized.
All of these criteria have been met historically by the Jewish people, and none by the Palestinians.
In fact, the Jewish people were provided with national rights in these territories not just by dint of history and past sovereignty, but also by residual legal rights contained in the League of Nations Mandate, which were never canceled and are preserved by the UN Charter, under Article 80 – the famous “Palestine Clause,” that was drafted, in part, to guarantee continuity with respect to Jewish rights from the League of Nations.
For the past almost 2,000 years, since the destruction of Jewish sovereignty and expulsion of most of its indigenous people, it remained an occupied and colonized outpost in the territory of many global and regional empires.
The Ottomans were the most recent to officially apportion the territory, in what they referred to as Ottoman Syria, which today incorporates modern-day Israel, Syria, Jordan and stretching into Iraq. Before The Ottoman Land Code of 1858, land had largely been owned or passed on by word of mouth, custom or tradition. Under the Ottomans of the 19th century, land was apportioned into three main categories: Mulk, Miri and Mawat.
Mulk was the only territory that was privately owned in the common sense of the term, and as stated before, was only a minimal part of the whole territory, much of it owned by Jews, who were given the right to own land under reforms.
Miri was land owned by the sovereign, and individuals could purchase a deed to cultivate this land and pay a tithe to the government. Ownership could be transferred only with the approval of the state. Miri rights could be transferred to heirs, and the land could be sub-let to tenants. In other words, a similar arrangement to a tenant in an apartment or house as having rights in the property, but not to the property.
Finally, Mawat was state or unclaimed land, not owned by private individuals nor largely cultivated. These areas made up almost two-thirds of all territory.
The area recently declared “State Land” by the Israeli government, a process which has been under an intensive ongoing investigation for many years, is Mawat land. In other words, it has no private status and is not privately owned.
Many claims to the territory suddenly arose during the course of the investigation, but all were proven to be unfounded on the basis of land laws.
Interestingly, it should be clearly understood by those who deem Judea and Samaria “occupied territory” that according to international law the occupying power must use the pre-existing land laws as a basis for claims, exactly as Israel has done in this case, even though Israel’s official position is that it does not see itself de jure as an occupying power in the legal sense of the term.
None of these facts are even alluded to in the many reports surrounding the government’s actions in Gvaot. This is deeply unjust and a semblance of the relevant background, history and facts would provide the necessary context for what has been converted into an international incident where none should exist.
I frequently take foreign visitors and officials on a tour of Efrat and Gush Etzion and am amazed at the well-meaning ignorance and preconceived positions that many, even friends of Israel, hold about the status of this area and wider Judea and Samaria. Usually, however, by the end of the tour many of these positions have been debunked and those that I speak with are astonished that there is even another side to the story, having been assured that the pro-Judea and Samaria position is based solely on the Bible.
I welcome and even challenge anyone and everyone to come and see the reality for themselves and learn the history and context of the region, if only for the sake of intellectual honesty. No one ever lost out through intellectual curiosity, and I am certain that we can lessen the next furor and international incident if a greater number of people can be made more familiar with the facts of history.
The writer is mayor of Efrat, which is situated in the Gush Etzion, and a former partner in a leading law firm.
You need to tell the Palestinians that had their Jordanian citizenship revoked, and the Jordanian government that revoked that citizenship.
"When the disengagement was declared, the color of the cards (yellow and green), that had been used as a statistical device, became the criteria for determining the citizenship status of a citizen. The government issued instructions to the effect that those who habitually lived in the West Bank, that is green card holders, on 31 July 1988 were “Palestinian citizens,” while those who were living in Jordan or abroad were Jordanian. Put another way, over one-and-a-half million Palestinians went to bed on 31 July 1988 as Jordanian citizens, and woke up on 1 August 1988 as stateless persons." http://www.badil.org/en/al-maj...
THIS, is not from a "palestinian propaganda site".
"In 1988, King Hussein decided to sever the ties between Jordan and the West Bank. Before 1988 all West Bank Palestinians held 5-year Jordanian passports and were considered Jordanian citizens. After 1988, all West Bank Palestinians became stateless.
According to the 1988 decision, all Palestinians who were living in the West Bank before 1 August 1988 were Palestinian nationals. The declaration also stated that all
the leaders of the PLO are not Jordanians but Palestinians."
"In July 1988, at the height of the first Palestinian intifada, or uprising, against Israeli military occupation, the late King Hussein decided to sever "administrative and legal" ties with the West Bank. The motivations behind that decision, as well as its constitutionality, remain disputed, but include a sharp decline in Jordan's economic fortunes at the time, and the growing international recognition of the Palestinian Liberation Organization as the representative of the Palestinian people. King Hussein explained his decision as one of deference to Palestinian wishes for national autonomy.
One consequence of this severing of ties with the West Bank was that Jordanians of Palestinian origin residing in the West Bank at that time lost their Jordanian nationality." http://reliefweb.int/report/jo...
THE REAL ROOT CAUSE
The entire biblical Land of Israel, including pre-1967 Israel (i.e., Israel within its 1949 armistice demarcation lines, constituting 17% of Mandatory Palestine) and post-1967 Israel (i.e., Judea, Samaria, the eastern portion of Jerusalem, and Gaza, constituting 5% of Mandatory Palestine; and the Golan Heights, constituting 1% of Mandatory Palestine), aggregately constituting 23% of Mandatory Palestine, belongs exclusively to the Jewish people, despite the fact that Arabs -- rather than Jews -- presently constitute the overwhelming majority of the population in the post-1967 areas of biblical Israel (except for the eastern portion of Jerusalem where Arabs form only a slight majority and the Golan Heights where Jews form a slight majority). However, for purposes of this essay only, I have taken the liberty of ahistorically(1) positing the existence of a "Palestinian" people ethnically distinct from the masses of Arabs clans ranging through 21 Arab countries from Mauritania in the West to Oman in the East, and (2) treating these post-1967 areas of biblical Israel (sans the Golan Heights) as the World views them, namely, as the "Occupied Palestinian Territories".
The Arab nations and numerous philo-Arab pundits routinely assert that the present Arab war of terror against Israel and the Jewish people results from Israel's military occupation, since the 1967 Six Day War, of these "Palestinian" lands. The "Occupation" is, accordingly, ubiquitouslyproclaimed to be the "Root Cause" of the Arab-Jewish conflict -- the alleged reason being that a military occupation always incites the occupied people to perpetrate acts of violent resistance against their occupiers. Yet, if this be true, then why is it that the illegal military occupations, from 1948 to 1967, of these very areas by Jordan (as to Judea, Samaria, and the eastern portion of Jerusalem) and by Egypt (as to Gaza) did not result in any "Palestinian" uprising against either of these foreign occupiers during those long 19 years? In fact, the Arabs of Judea, Samaria, and the eastern portion of Jerusalem, after having emphatically insisted that they were “southern Syrians” prior to Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, supinely accepted that they were “Jordanians” from 1948 to 1967, only to assert their identity as “Palestinians” after Israel’s capture of these territories in the Six Day War.
Furthermore, in light of the fact that the Palestine Liberation Organization was created in 1964 -- a full three years before Israel acquired the "Occupied Territories" from Jordan and Egypt -- it is more than obvious that this entity’s raison d'être was never the liberation of these not-as-yet-acquired lands, but rather the "liberation" (i.e., destruction) of Israel within its 1949 armistice demarcation lines.
Moreover, the military campaign, in 1967, by the Arab World to destroy Israel within its 1949 armistice demarcation lines cannot logically be asserted to have been caused by the subsequent results of that very war, namely, Israel's acquisition of the "Occupied Territories" of 1967.
And neither can it be credibly asserted that the prior invasion, in 1948, of Israel within the even more restrictive 1947 United Nations partition plan lines by seven Arab states -- namely, Lebanon, Syria, Transjordan (precursor to Jordan), Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, in the process of which two of them, Transjordan and Egypt, conquered and illegally occupied, respectively, the areas of Judea, Samaria and the eastern portion of Jerusalem, and of Gaza -- was caused by Israel's future acquisition, in 1967, of these very same "Occupied Territories".
In fact, although United Nations General Assembly Resolution no. 181, issued November 29, 1947, commonly known as the "Palestine Partition Plan" -- which called for the termination of the Mandate for Palestine and, inter alia, for the creation in its place of an independent "Palestinian" Jewish state (comprised of 3 small barely-adjoined cantons, constituting almost 11% of Mandatory Palestine) and an independent "Palestinian" Arab state (comprised mostly of the "Occupied Territories" of 1967, constituting almost 11% of Mandatory Palestine) -- would have carved out from Mandatory Palestine a second "Palestinian" Arab state (after Transjordan, constituting 77% of Mandatory Palestine, which was created in 1922 from virtually all of Mandatory Palestine situated east of the Jordan River), and although the Jewish leadership of Mandatory Palestine accepted the Resolution, the Arab leadership of Mandatory Palestine (as well as all of the Arab and Muslim countries which were then members of the U.N., namely, Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey and Yemen) rejected the Resolution -- by both declaration and conduct. The violent response of the "Palestinian" Arabs and the surrounding Arab countries to the passage of the Resolution, which culminated in their 1948 invasion of Israel within its 1947 partition plan lines, sealed Arab rejection of a "Palestinian" state upon thevery lands which were, decades later, to become known as the "Occupied Territories" of 1967.
Obviously, the realand only Root Cause of the conflict was, is, and always will be the unified Arab rejection of the existence of a sovereign Jewish nation-state in any portion of the biblical Land of Israel -- even within the 11% of Mandatory Palestine allotted to the Jewish people by virtue of the Palestine Partition Plan.
However, notwithstanding the foregoing Truth, Israel initiated the 1993 Oslo Accords based upon its pollyannish assumption that, by unilaterally transferring portions of the "Occupied Territories" (namely, the 8 main Arab-populated cities of Judea and Samaria -- Jericho, Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah, Kalkilya, Tulkarm, Bethlehem and 80% of Hebron -- together with hundreds of their satellite villages plus virtually all of the Arab-populated areas of Gaza) to the "Palestinian" Arabs pending the negotiation of an end-of-the-conflict peace treaty, the Jewish State would be able to prove to the Arab world that -- even in the absence of having yet concluded with the "Palestinian" Arabs a final peace treaty -- it nonetheless actually intended to end the "Occupation" and would, thereby, be able to dissolve any further "justification" for the continuing Arab war of annihilation against it. Pursuant to the Olso Accords, by the end of 1995, Israel had withdrawn itself, in phases, from 42% of Judea and Samaria and 80% of Gaza with the result that 98% of the Arab population of the former and virtually 100% of the Arab population of the latter were then being governed, not by Israel, but rather by the Palestinian Authority headed by Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat. Yet, despite -- or, more accurately, due to -- Israel's substantial withdrawals from the "Occupied Territories", by the latter part of 2001 substantiallymore Israelis had been murdered and maimed by Arab terrorists in the 8 years subsequent to the advent of the Oslo Accords than in the four decades prior thereto. This happened only because -- with autonomous territorial bases on pre-1967 Israel's doorstep with which to indoctrinate a generation of Arab youth in the religious and irredentist justifications for the murder of Jews, and with which to build the mortar, rocket and suicide-belt factories necessary for the implementation thereof -- the "Palestinian" Arabs were able, not only to continue, but to exponentially increase the lethality of their pre-Oslo Accords war of attrition (commenced in 1987 and denominated by the international media as the “First Intifada”) against the Jewish State, the intensity of which spiked in September 2000 (denominated by the international media as the “Second Intifada” or the “Aksa Intifada”), and has continued unabated, at that level, until this very Day.
In this context, it is noteworthy that the post-Oslo Accords portion of this war of attrition was waged against Israel in violation of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s solemn renunciation of its self-perceived “right” to perpetuate terrorism and other acts of violence against the Jewish State. Below is the full text of that renunciation: