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Applying Israeli Civilian Law to Parts  Of Judea and Samaria: Myth and Facts

Israel’s proposed plans to apply civilian law to approximately half of “Area C” of Judea and Samaria, where nearly half a million Israelis live in proximity with a considerably fewer number of Palestinian Arabs, has unleashed a firestorm of condemnation from the European Union, leaders of the Democrat party, the Arab world and beyond. Denouncing the move as illegal, they warn it would undermine the stability of the Palestinian Authority, inevitably result in violence throughout the Middle East and become the death knell to implementing a two-state solution.

In a Newsweek article on June 22, 2020, entitled “Palestinians and Israelis Will Both Gain From Israeli Sovereignty Over West Bank,” law professor Avi Bell explains why the decision does not violate international law. He notes that opponents claim that “international law forbids annexation justified by conquest of sovereign territory of another state during an unlawful war (or perhaps any war at all).”

He counters that “applying Israeli law to parts of Area C is lawful… ” [and] “has nothing to do with annexing another state’s sovereign territory. Israel already has a valid claim to territorial sovereignty, whether it applies its civilian law to the area or not.”

Their arguments, Bell asserts, are based a number of specious assumptions and claims:

1. Palestine is a state. It is not, since it does not meet any of the requirements established by international law to be recognized as an independent country;

2. Failing to acknowledge that in 1922, the League of Nations designated Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) as a Jewish homeland;

3. Denying the “international doctrine of Uti Possidetis juris granting Israel sovereignty over Judea and Samaria when it declared its independence in 1948”;

4. “Pretending the PLO received sovereign title of the West Bank from Jordan’s illegal conquest and annexation of the territory during its 1948 attempt to destroy Israel;”

5. Suggesting “the illegality of Israel defending itself from Jordan’s aggression in 1967 and therefore misinterpret Israel’s application of its civilian law to part of Area C as an attempt to gain sovereignty over another country’s territory.”

6. Applying Israeli civilian rule will preclude the possibility of achieving a peace agreement.

The Two-State Solution

As soon as the British Royal Commission of Inquiry, known as the Peel Commission, recommended establishing a separate Arab and Jewish state in 1937, the Arabs rejected the idea, and have spurned every opportunity since then to establish their own state. A Joint Memorandum of January 6, 1947 submitted to the British Cabinet by the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and the Secretary of State for the Colonies, explained what prompted this unconditional refusal. The Arab, it declared, is “implacably opposed to the creation of a Jewish State in any part of Palestine, and they will go to any lengths to prevent it.” Israel is often held responsible to make endless concessions to Arabs for the sake of peace while being offered nothing in return. The mere hint by Israel of abandoning the idea of the delusional two-state solution, is viewed as confirmation that Israel is not truly interested in a peaceful resolution to the

Yet, who is Israel’s alleged peace partner supposed to be? According to the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), Palestinian Arab TV Live recently avowed that “Fatah: Cooperation with the occupation and its institutions is treason.” Lest the severity of this declaration not be appreciated, Fatah Central Committee member and Fatah Commissioner for Arab and China Relations, Abbas Zaki warned that anyone found cooperating with Israel “should be shot.” To ensure the message was heard, the message was broadcast on June 1, 6, 8, 9 (twice) and 13, 2020.

PMW reported that earlier in 2020, a leading Palestinian Authority (PA) official and Mahmoud Al-Habbash, PA Supreme Shari’ah Judge and Chairman of the Supreme Council for Shari’ah Justice, proclaimed that anyone who agrees to President Trump’s “Deal of the Century” “will pay the price of treason.”

As chairman of both the PA and Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas publicly proclaimed that Palestinian Arabs simply want a “Palestine” based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. PMW has shown that “From the Sea to the River” is his actual vision of “Palestine,” which denies Israel’s right to exist.

Pay to Slay

The PA’s continued, unabashed payment of stipends to Palestinian-Arab prisoners and to families of convicted terrorists who are either incarcerated in Israeli prisons or have died while murdering Israelis is additional proof that Palestinian Arabs want all of the land of Israel. This is a religious war, which prevents any compromise.

Palestinian Arab terrorists know that whether they are killed in action or incarcerated in Israeli prisons as a result of their crimes, their families will be compensated by the PLO, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and/or other Palestinian-Arab terror organizations.

Until Palestinian Arab leaders are held accountable for continuing to provide financial support to terrorists and their families; acknowledging Israel’s right to live in their ancestral home; ceasing incitement in the schools, mosques and social media and stopping the violence and terror against Israel and her citizens, the conflict will continue.

Alex Grobman, who has an MA and PhD from the Hebrew University, is senior resident scholar at the John C. Danforth Society and a member of the Council of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.

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