Israel Resource Review 22nd Febuary, 2006


Contents:

Are Israel's Settlements Legal?
The Late Eugene W. Rostow


Assuming the Middle East conference actually does take place, its official task will be to achieve peace between Israel and its Levantine neighbors in accordance with Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. Resolution 242, adopted after the Six-Day War in 1967, sets out criteria for peace-making by the parties; Resolution 338, passed after the Yom Kippur War in 1973, makes resolution 242 legally binding and orders the parties to carry out its terms forthwith.

Unfortunately, confusion reigns, even in high places, about what those resolutions require.

For twenty-four years Arab states have pretended that the two resolutions are "ambiguous" and can be interpreted to suit their desires. And some European, Soviet and even American officials have cynically allowed Arab spokesman to delude themselves and their people--to say nothing of Western public opinion--about what the resolutions mean. It is common even for American journalists to write that Resolution 242 is "deliberately ambiguous," as though the parties are equally free to rely on their own reading of its key provisions.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Resolution 242, which as undersecretary of state for political affairs between 1966 and 1969 I helped produce, calls on the parties to make peace and allows Israel to administer the territories it occupied in 1967 until "a just and lasting peace in the Middle East" is achieved. When such a peace is made, Israel is required to withdraw its armed forces "from territories" it occupied during the Six-Day War--not from "the" territories nor from "all" the territories, but from some of the territories, which included the Sinai Desert, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

Five-and-a-half months of vehement public diplomacy in 1967 made it perfectly clear what the missing definite article in Resolution 242 means. Ingeniously drafted resolutions calling for withdrawals from "all" the territories were defeated in the Security Council and the General Assembly. Speaker after speaker made it explicit that Israel was not to be forced back to the "fragile" and "vulnerable" Armistice Demarcation Lines, but should retire once peace was made to what Resolution 242 called "secure and recognized" boundaries, agreed to by the parties.

In negotiating such agreements, the parties should take into account, among other factors, security considerations, access to the international waterways of the region, and, of course, their respective legal claims.

Resolution 242 built on the text of the Armistice Agreements of 1949, which provided (except in th case of Lebanon) that the Armistice Demarcation Lines separating the military forces were "not to be construed in any sense" as political or territorial boundaries, and that "no provision" of the Armistice Agreements "Shall in any way prejudice the right, claims, and positions" of the parties "in the ultimate peaceful settlement of the Palestine problem." In making peace with Egypt in 1979, Israel withdrew from the entire Sinai, which had never been part of the British Mandate.

For security it depended on patrolled demilitarization and the huge area of the desert rather than on territorial change. As a result, more than 90 percent of the territories Israel occupied in 1967 are now under Arab sovereignty. It is hardly surprising that some Israelis take the view that such a transfer fulfills the territorial requirements of Resolution 242, no matter how narrowly they are construed.

Resolution 242 leaves the issue of dividing the occupied areas between Israel and its neighbors entirely to the agreement of the parties in accordance with the principles it sets out. It was, however, negotiated with full realization that the problem of establishing "a secure and recognized" boundary between Israel and Jordan would be the thorniest issue of the peace-making process. The United States has remained firmly opposed to the creation of a third Palestinian state on the territory of the Palestine Mandate. An independent Jordan or a Jordan linked in an economic union with Israel is desirable from the point of view of everybody's security and prosperity. And a predominantly Jewish Israel is one of the fundamental goals of Israeli policy. It should be possible to reconcile these goals by negotiation, especially if the idea of an economic union is accepted.

The Arabs of the West Bank could constitute the population of an autonomous province of Jordan or of Israel, depending on the course of the negotations.

Provisions for a shift of populations or, better still, for individual self-determination are a possible solution for those West Bank Arabs who would prefer to live elsewhere. All these approaches were explored in 1967 and 1968. One should note, however, that Syria cannot be allowed to take over Jordan and the West Bank, as it tried to do in 1970.

The heated question of Israel's settlements in the West Bank during the occupation period should be viewed in this perspective. The British Mandate recognized the right of the Jewish people to "close settlement" in the whole of the Mandated territory. It was provided that local conditions might require Great Britain to "postpone" or "withhold" Jewish settlement in what is now Jordan. This was done in 1992. But the Jewish right of settlement in Palestine west of the Jordan river, that is, in Israel, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, was made unassailable. That right has never been terminated and cannot be terminated except by a recognized peace between Israel and its neighbors. And perhaps not even then, in view of Article 80 of the U.N. Charter, "the Palestine article," which provides that "nothing in the Charter shall be construed . . to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments . . . "

Some governments have taken the view that under the Geneva Convention of 1949, which deals with the rights of civilians under military occupation, Jewish settlements in the West Bank are illegal, on the ground that the Convention prohibits an occupying power from flooding the occupied territory with its own citizens. President Carter supported this view, but President Reagan reversed him, specifically saying that the settlements are legal but that further settlements should be deferred since they pose a psychological obstacle to the peace process.

In any case, the issue of the legality of the settlements should not come up in the proposed conference, the purpose of which is to end the military occupation by making peace. When the occupation ends, the Geneva Convention becomes irrelevant. If there is to be any division of the West Bank between Israel and Jordan, the Jewish right of settlement recognized by the Mandate will have to be taken into account in the process of making peace.

This reading of Resolution 242 has always been the keystone of American policy. In launching a major peace initiative on September 1, 1982, President Reagan said, "I have personally followed and supported Israel's heroic struggle for survival since the founding of the state of Israel thirty-four years ago: in the pre-1967 borders, Israel was barely ten miles wide at its narrowest point. The bulk of Israel's population lived within artillery range of hostile Arab armies. I am not about to ask Israel to live that way again."

Yet some Bush administration statements and actions on the Arab-Israeli question, and especially Secretary of State James Baker's disastrous speech of May 22, 1989, betray a strong impulse to escape from the resolutions as they were negotiated, debated, and adopted, and award to the Arabs all the territories between the 1967 lines and the Jordan river, including East Jerusalem. The Bush administration seems to consider the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to be "foreign" territory to which Israel has no claim. Yet the Jews have the same right to settle there as they have to settle in Haifa.

The West Bank and the Gaza Strip were never parts of Jordan, and Jordan's attempt to annex the West Bank was not generally recognized and has now been abandoned. The two parcels of land are parts of the Mandate that have not yet been allocated to Jordan, to Israel, or to any other state, and are a legitimate subject for discussion.

The American position in the coming negotiations should return to the fundamentals of policy and principle that have shaped American policy towards the Middle East for three-quarters of a century. Above all, rising above irritation and pique, it should stand as firmly for fidelity to law in dealing with the Arab-Israeli dispute as President Bush did during the Gulf war. Fidelity to law is the essence of peace, and the only practical rule for making a just and lasting peace. This article ran in "The New Republic", on October 21, 1991

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Historical Approach to the Issue of Legality of Jewish Settlement Activity The Late Eugene W. Rostow

. . . The Jewish right of settlement in the West Bank is conferred by the same provisions of the Mandate under which Jews settled in Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem before the State of Israel was created. The Mandate for Palestine differs in one important respect from the other League of Nations mandates, which were trusts for the benefit of the indigenous population.

The Palestine Mandate, recognizing "the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country," is dedicated to "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing nonjewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."

The Mandate qualifies the Jewish right of settlement and political development in Palestine in only one respect. Article 25 gave Great Britain and the League Council discretion to "postpone" or "withhold" the Jewish people's right of settlement in the TransJordanian province of Palestine-now the Kingdom of Jordan-if they decided that local conditions made such action desirable.

With the divided support of the council, the British took that step in 1922.

The Mandate does not, however, permit even a temporary suspension of the Jewish right of settlement in the parts of the Mandate west of the Jordan River.

The Armistice Lines of 1949, which are part of the West Bank boundary, represent nothing but the position of the contending armies when the final cease-fire was achieved in the War of Independence. And the Armistice Agreements specifically provide, except in the case of Lebanon, that the demarcation lines can be changed by agreement when the parties move from armistice to peace. Resolution 242 is based on that provision of the Armistice Agreements and states certain criteria that would justify changes in the demarcation lines when the parties make peace.

Many believe that the Palestine Mandate was somehow terminated in 1947, when the British government resigned as the mandatory power. This is incorrect. A trust never terminates when a trustee dies, resigns, embezzles the trust property, or is dismissed. The authority responsible for the trust appoints a new trustee, or otherwise arranges for the fulfillment of its purpose. Thus in the case of the Mandate for German South West Africa, the International Court of justice found the South African government to be derelict in its duties as the mandatory power, and it was deemed to have resigned. Decades of struggle and diplomacy then resulted in the creation of the new state of Namibia, which has just come into being. In Palestine the British Mandate ceased to be operative as to the territories of Israel and Jordan when those states were created and recognized by the international community. But its rules apply still to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which have not yet been allocated either to Israel or to Jordan or become an independent state.

Jordan attempted to annex the West Bank in 1951, but that annexation was never generally recognized, even by the Arab states, and now Jordan has abandoned all its claims to the territory.

The State Department has never denied that under the Mandate "the Jewish people" have the right to settle in the area. Instead, it said that Jewish settlements in the West Bank violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which deals with the protection of civilians in wartime. Where the territory of one contracting party is occupied by another contracting party, the Convention prohibits many of the inhumane practices of the Nazis and the Soviets before and during the Second World War-the mass transfer of people into or out of occupied territories for purposes of extermination, slave labor, or colonization, for example.

Article 49 provides that the occupying power "shall not deport or transfer part of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies."

But the Jewish settlers in the West Bank are volunteers. They have not been "deported" or "transferred" by the government of Israel, and their movement involves none of the atrocious purposes or harmful effects on the existing population the Geneva Convention was designed to prevent.

Furthermore, the Convention applies only to acts by one signatory "carried out on the territory of another." The West Bank is not the territory of a signatory power, but an unallocated part of the British Mandate. It is hard, therefore, to see how even the most literal-minded reading of the Convention could make it apply to Jewish settlement in territories of the British Mandate west of the jordan River. Even if the Convention could be construed to prevent settlements during the period of occupation, however, it could do no more than suspend, not terminate, the rights conferred by the Mandate. Those rights can be ended only by the establishment and recognition of a new state or the incorporation of the territories into an old one.

As claimants to the territory, the Israelis have denied that they are required to comply with the Geneva Convention but announced that they will do so as a matter of grace. The Israeli courts apply the Convention routinely, sometimes deciding against the Israeli government. Assuming for the moment the general applicability of the Convention, it could well be considered a violation if the Israelis deported convicts to the area or encouraged the settlement of people who had no right to live there (Americans, for example).

But how can the Convention be deemed to apply to Jews who have a right to settle in the territories under international law: a legal right assured by treaty and specifically protected by Article 80 of the U.N. Charter, which provides that nothing in the Charter shall be construed "to alter in any manner" rights conferred by existing international instruments" like the Mandate? The Jewish right of settlement in the area is equivalent in every way to the right of the existing Palestinian population to live there.

Another principle of international law may affect the problem of the Jewish settlements. Under international law, an occupying power is supposed to apply the prevailing law of the occupied territory at the municipal level unless it interferes with the necessities of security or administration or is "repugnant to elementary conceptions of justice." From 1949 to 1967, when Jordan was the military occupant of the West Bank, it applied its own laws to prevent any Jews from living in the territory. To suggest that Israel as occupant is required to enforce such Jordanian laws-a necessary implication of applying the Convention-is simply absurd. When the Allies occupied Germany after the Second World War, the abrogation of the Nuremberg Laws was among their first acts.

The general expectation of international law is that military occupations last a short time, and are succeeded by a state of peace established by treaty or otherwise. In the case of the West Bank, the territory was occupied by Jordan between 1949 and 1967, and has been occupied by Israel since 1967.

Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 rule that the Arab states and Israel must make peace, and that when "a just and lasting peace" is reached in the Middle East, Israel should withdraw from some but not all of the territory it occupied in the course of the 1967 war. The Resolutions leave it to the parties to agree on the terms of peace.

The controversy about Jewish settlements in the West Bank is not, therefore, about legal rights but about the political will to override legal rights. Is the United States prepared to use all its influence in Israel to award the whole of the West Bank to Jordan or to a new Arab state, and force Israel back to its 1967 borders? Throughout Israel's occupation, the Arab countries, helped by the United States, have pushed to keep Jews out of the territories, so that at a convenient moment, or in a peace negotiation, the claim that the West Bank is "Arab" territory could be made more plausible. Some in Israel favor the settlements for the obverse reason: to reinforce Israel's claim for the fulfillment of the Mandate and of Resolution 242 in a peace treaty that would at least divide the territory.

For the international community, the issue is much deeper and more difficult: whether the purposes of the Mandate can be considered satisfied if the Jews finally receive only the parts of Palestine behind the Armistice Lines-less than 17.5 percent of the land promised them after the First World War. The extraordinary recent changes in the international environment have brought with them new diplomatic opportunities for the United States and its allies, not least in the Middle East.

Soviet military aid apparently is no longer available to the Arabs for the purpose of making another war against Israel. The intifada has failed, and the Arabs' bargaining position is weakening. It now may be possible to take long steps toward peace. But to do so, the participants in the Middle East negotiations-the United States, Israel, Egypt, and the PLO-will have to look beyond the territories. This article appeared in The New Republic on April 23, 1990

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Arafat's Appointed Mufti Endorses Suicide Attacks Dr. Aaron Lerner Director, IMRA

Dr. Mordechai Kedar, a lecturer in the Arabic Department in Bar Ilan University and a researcher at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies told IMRA that Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, who was appointed by Yasser Arafat to be the Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine, endorsed suicide attacks in his weekly sermon from the Al Aksa Mosque broadcast live on May 25th at 1:00 p.m. on the PA's Voice of Palestine radio station.

"Sabri told the story of the Mu'ta Battle of 630 between the Moslems and the Byzantines. Ja-far Ben Abi Talib infiltrated the Byzantine lines alone, knowing that he would be killed. They cut his right hand and he continued to fight with his left hand. They cut his left hand and he continued to fight with other parts of his body and they then killed him. When the Moslems found his body they found that he had 50 stab wounds on his body - all on the front of his body, which demonstrated that he did not try to escape."

"This is thought of as suicide?", asked Ekrima Sabri, "this is martyrdom"

Kedar explained that the meaning of the story is that someone who goes into battle knowing with certainty that he will die is not committing suicide but instead martyrdom. "I see this as Ekrima Sabri explicitly permitting suicide attacks," Kedar noted.

Kedar sees Ekrima Sabri's statement as the Palestinian Authority's official answer to the debate taking place in the Moslem world over whether one may take part in a suicide attack.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis) Email: imra@netvision.net.il Website: www.imra.org.il

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Arafat makes poison gas accusation aganst Israel

President Arafat at the Ministerial Meeting of OIC; Israel uses depleted uranium, poison gases and radioactive material in war to exterminate the Palestinians; no compromise on return of refugees their homes

President Arafat addressing the Ministerial Meeting of OIC: www.wafa.pna.net/EngText/26-05-2001/page001.htm

Why this absolute incapacity in the UN Security Council in the face of this war of aggression waged by the Government of Israel against our people?

Doha, Qatar, May 26th. Wafa,

President Yasser Arafat described the Israeli unleashed assault, as a destructive war of aggression aimed at exterminating our people.

H.E. wondered about the absolute incapacity in the UN Security Council in the face of this war of aggression waged by the Government of Israel against our people? Who imposes this complete silence on the UN Security Council? Is it double standards and the total bias in favour of aggression and the aggressors at the cost of international norms and laws and at the cost of the victims of our people, our land and our Christian and Islamic holy places that fall under the Omari concordat, which we are fully commeted to it and respect it?

H.E. said We are for a just, full and comprehensive peace in our region and on all Arab tracks. We are for the peace of the brave for the sake of our children and their children. In the wake of these circumstances, dangerous military escalation and the current situation, we do not find what is better than the Egyptian-Jordanian initiative and the recommendations of the Mitchell Commission, particularly its recommendation for a final and complete freeze on settlements.

H.E. The President added that the government of Israel continue to evade all resolutions of the international legitimacy. In this attempt, Israel is being covered and protected by the rejection to let the UN Security Council adopt a resolution on international forces or observers to proveide for international protection to our people in the face of this total Israeli aggression against our homeland, people and holy places.

Hereby is the full text of the speech of President Arafat to the Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Organization of Islamic Conference in Doha Qatar Today:

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Glory to (God) Who did take His Servant For a Journey by night From the Sacred Mosque, To the Farthest Mosque, Whose precincts We did Bless,- in order that we Might show him some Of Our Signs: for He Is the One Who heareth And seeth (all things) Sadaqa Allahu Al Azhim Your Highness Brother Sheikh Hamad Ben Khalifa Al - Thani, President of the Islamic Summit, Prince of the fraternal State of Qatar, Excellencies the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Countries of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Peace, God's mercy and blessings be with you from the Holy Land whose precincts God did bless, from Al Quds Asharif, Holy Jerusalem, the place of the nocturnal journey of our Prophet Muhammad, God's prayers and peace be upon him, and the place of nativity of our lord Jesus Christ, peace be upon him.

Peace, God's mercy and blessings be with you from steadfast Palestine and from the people of Palestine, who irrigate with their blood their holy land with Al Aqsa Intifada in defense of the Al Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock, the Holy Mosque of Jerusalem (Haram Sharif), the Church of Nativity, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and all the Christian and Islamic Holy Places. The spark that ignited this aggression against our people and holy sites was the visit made by Sharon, with agreement of Barak, to the Haram Sharif (the Holy Sanctuary). Following Sharon's visit, the Israeli army opened fire on the worshipers at the Haram Sharif, despite our calls on Barak not to permit this provecative vist.

Peace be upon you from the land blessed by God, the first of the two Qiblas and the third after the two holy Mosques. It is the land that is being exposed to the conspiracy of judaization, and Zionist settlement with the aim of uprooting our history that goes deep in time and existence. It is the great international conspiracy that made our homeland, territory, history and holy places free to grab in contravention of any human justice or international legitimacy. The masses of our Palestinian people, who are in garrison to the Day of Judgement, as our gracious Prophet had said, are irrigating with their blood the land of Palestine, its plains, mountains, historic and holy places. How many are the heinous massacres perpetrated by the Israeli occupiers at the Holy Al Aqsa Mosque against the worshipers as they were praying in the presence of God during the month Ramadan "in which was sent down the Quran, as a guide To mankind, also clear (Signs) For guidance and judgement (Between right and wrong)", at the Holy Ibrahimi Mosque, at the Prayer at dawn where the treacherous bullets of the settlers and the Israeli occupation army sawed the souls of innocent people as they were worshiping God to protect their land and holy places. In addition, there are the monstrous massacres against our unarmed people carried out by missiles and bombs shelled from the F-16 war planes, the Apache helicopters, tanks and artillery, their missiles and internationally prohibited bombs, including depleted uranium, poison gases and radioactive material used against our Palestinian people, their institutions and facilities, their homes, farms and factories.

Your Highness Brother Sheikh Hamad Ben Khalifa Al - Thani, Excellencies the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is the eighth consecutive month of this unjust war of aggression waged by the Government of Israel, its army and settlers against our people, our land, our Palestinian Authority, and its apparatuses, installations and security forces. It is a destructive war of aggression that aims at uprooting our people from their land, and the extirpation of our history and holy places from this Holy Land, whose precincts God did bless. It is an aggressive war aimed at the extermination of our existence from our homeland, the only homeland that we have, and from our lands, the land of the nocturnal journey of Prophet Muhammad, God's prayers and peace be upon him, and the land of the nativity our lord Jesus Christ, peace upon him. They try by all means to obliterate and destroy our Islamic And Christian holy places, and judaize our Holy Jerusalem.

The Government of Israel lays siege to our people for the eighth consecutive month, bombards cities, bulldozes land, demolishes factories and installations, destroys bridges and residential areas and kills children while they are in the bosoms of their mothers and fathers. Which conscience in this world can remain silent in the face of killing the child Muhammad Durra? Which conscience in this world can remain silent while the shells penetrate the body of four months old child Iman Hijjou as she was sucking the breast of her mother? Did she threaten the Israeli security with her missiles and tank bombs in order to kill her?! as they and their media with the help of some foregn medias spread lies all the time!!.

Yes, indeed, this is a destructive war of aggression aimed at exterminating our people, destroying their existence, entity and holy places without giving due consideration to human rights and international legality. Our people are facing this destructive war and these crimes and massacres perpetrated by the Government of Israel over fifty years. Will the world forget the massacre of Deir Yassin or the massacre of Dawaymeh, of Lod and Ramla in 1948? Will the world forget the massacres of Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps? Will the world forget the massacres at the Holy Al Aqsa Mosque, the Holy Ibrahimi Mosque and the other crimes and massacres? During the last eight months we lost in the blessed Al Aqsa Intifada 600 martyrs and more than 28 thousand injured among them huge numbers of children, women and elderly!

Our Palestinian people, who are in garrison to the Day of Judgement, in Holy Jerusalem and in its precincts, call upon you and upon all brothers, friends and the international community, to stop this destructive Israeli war of aggression which is sawing every day the lives of our children and people. These souls do not find in the international community anyone who stands up in the face of aggressive Ito tell her: Enough killing the Palestinian people, who have the right, as all other peoples in the world, to live in freedom, dignity and independence on the territory of their homeland, in their independent state and in their Holy Jerusalem, the eternal capital of independent Palestine.

Why this absolute incapacity in the UN Security Council in the face of this war of aggression waged by the Government of Israel against our people? Who imposes this complete silence on the UN Security Council? Is it double standards and the total bias in favour of aggression and the aggressors at the cost of international norms and laws and at the cost of the victims of our people, our land and our Christian and Islamic holy places that fall under the Omari concordat, which we are fully commeted to it and respect it?

Your Highness Brother Sheikh Hamad Ben Khalifa Al - Thani, Excellencies the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The history of these Islamic meetings at the level of the summit and at the level of foreign ministers is connected to this great conspiracy against our people, our homeland, Palestine, Holy Jerusalem and our Christian and Islamic holy places. Despite the important decisions adopted by the recent Islamic summit, convened in the fraternal State of Qatar, to stop the aggression and to protect our holy sites, the Israeli aggressors become more obstinate. They continued their aggression against our people, homeland and holy places because they are not afraid of punishment be imposed on them, be they political or diplomatic or economic, to force them to stop their aggression. Frankly, I say, the Israeli aggressors enjoy complete protection of and total support for their aggression from the dominating and hegemonic forces in the international community. Regrettably, the Israeli aggressors continue to receive the protection even though we have accepted the resolutions of the international legitimacy and agreed that they be the road to achieve just peace which will guarantee for us our national rights, full and complete, in our homeland and holy places and in our holy Jerusalem. The conspiracy however was unmasked and appeared in its most ugly face. The Israelis continued judaizing Holy Jerusalem, especially what they announced recently that Sharon received the architectural designs to build a synagogue in the courtyard of the Haram Sharif as a basis for building the Temple as they claim. In addition, they continued building more settlements and expanding already existing ones in- and outside Holy Jerusalem, instead of vacating them in compliance with the resolutions of international legitimacy which call for the Israeli withdrawal from all our occupied territories, and which consider these settlements as illegal actions.

Our Palestinian people hold fast to their land, holy Jerusalem and their holy places. They will not forsake any iota of dust of their homeland. They will not give up any of the resolutions of international legitimacy. They will not surrender the right of return of the Palestinian refugees which they have in fulfillment of UNGA Resolution 194 which stipulate the right of refugees to return to their homeland and homes from which they were unjustly displaced at the point of the gun.

Your Highness, Brother Sheikh Hamad Ben Khalifa Al - Thani, Excellencies, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs,

The issue of Palestine is your issue. The issue of Jerusalem and its holy places are your issue and your holy places. There is no way to save Holy Jerusalem from the dangers of judaization and the cancerous settlements creeping on the Holy City except by your firm, solid and full - of - faith stand, as an Arab and Islamic nation, in the face of this wicked aggression and dangerous aggressors as well as in the face of those who protect the Israeli aggressors from international legality, and the legality of human rights and the United Nations.

The danger is imminent. It is grave. Henceforth it can not be stopped by statements of denunciation, condemnation and censure. There is no way but to take a firm stand that puts aggression and the aggressors in shackles, and that ensures the right of our people to live in their homeland free from occupation, settlements, racist aggression and military escalation. The Government of Israel is pressing on in these practices because it thinks that by force and omnipotent power and by the most modern weapons of destruction, murder and annihilation it will be able to subdue our people, judaize their Holy Jerusalem and annul their right to independence, sovereignty and a free and dignified life in their homeland. It forgets that our people are omnipotent giants who will not be disparaged or resign, and who will continue their steadfastness and sacrifices until a young boy or girl will be able to hoist the flag of Palestine, on behalf of our nation, on the walls of Jerusalem, the minarets of Jerusalem and the Churches of Jerusalem. They see it far, we see it near. We say the truth. "And to enter your Temple As they had entered it before, And to visit with destruction All that fell into their power." (Sadaqa Allahu Al Azhim).

Your Highness, Brother Sheikh Hamad Ben Khalifa Al - Thani, Excellencies, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs,

Our steadfast, persevering and mujahid people pin great hopes on you. You are their support. You are the Arab Islamic bulwark on whom they depend in their jihad and sacrifices, in their patience and perseverance in making sacrifices. Our people await an Islamic Arab stand as well as a stand from all believing Christians, the Non-Aligned countries and from all friends the world over. They are awaiting this stand that will give them support, encouragement and solidify their steadfastness in the face of the Israeli war machine, and its ongoing escalation against our people and holy places. They are awaiting a stand that supports their steadfastness in the face of the Israeli actions of destruction caused to our people, to their towns, villages and refugee camps, as well as in the face of bulldozing our green lands, the demolition of our factories and installations and vital facilities, the demolition of our infra- and supra-structures; the economic and financial siege, the holding of our tax revenues, the siege imposed on supplies and medicine and the prohibition of our workers to work whose number exceed 360 thousand workers, and in the face of the other forms of siege and starvation.

Dear Brothers,

We are for a just, full and comprehensive peace in our region and on all Arab tracks. We are for the peace of the brave for the sake of our children and their children. In the wake of these circumstances, dangerous military escalation and the current situation, we do not find what is better than the Egyptian-Jordanian initiative and the recommendations of the Mitchell Commission, particularly its recommendation for a final and complete freeze on settlements. We have agreed to freeze settlements and stop their expansion after the Oslo agreement with our late partner Rabin, who was assassinated by these extremist Zionist forces, who do not want peace or any agreement but want military escalation, and to bring our Palestinian people and our Arab and Islamic nation to their knees, and to judaize the Christian and Islamic holy sites, as they are doing in Jerusalem, Hebron, Bethlehem, Beit Jala and Beit Sahour. There is an international consensus on this initiative and the report of the Mitchell Commission which was established as a result of the Sharm Sheikh meeting in which the USA, the European Union, the Secretary General of the UN, Egypt and Jordan participated. Why do we not follow upon this to put a mechanism of implementation by convening a new conference of Sharm Sheikh in which the Russian Federation, the other co-sponsor of the peace process can participate and in which representatives of the Islamic Summit, the Committee on Jerusalem and other international forces are present. Why do we not exert all international efforts so that they be accepted and implemented by Israel, which tries to rid itself from all agreements and commitmensigned by the various Israeli Governments? The government of Israel continue to evade all resolutions of the international legitimacy. In this attempt, Israel is being covered and protected by the rejection to let the UN Security Council adopt a resolution on international forces or observers to proveide for international protection to our people in the face of this total Israeli aggression against our homeland, people and holy places.

Our people pin great hopes on you and on your stand. They are fully confident that Holy Jerusalem and beloved Palestine are held in trust by you, and that you will not jeopardize this trust that God, Al Mighty, has put in you til the Day of Judgement.

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful, We will, without doubt, Help Our apostles and those Who believe, (both) In this world's life And on the Day When the witnesses Will stand forth, Sadaga Allahu Al Azhim. www.wafa.pna.net/EngText/26-05-2001/page001.htm

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When Peace Now's Academic Spokesman Endorses Selective Murder of Jews Dr. Ze'ev Sternhell

As the months since the downfall of Ehud Barak go by, not only does the sense of loss increase, but so too the dilemma deepens in which the left wing finds itself - facing a government of the settlers that is pushing Israel closer and closer toward the insane margins of statehood.On the backdrop of the current struggle, the decision to pump huge additional sums of money into the territories, coupled with an explicitly-stated refusal to freeze settlement activities, rears up like a carefully-calculated strategic ploy, and not merely an attempt to placate the masses.

As a result, the Palestinians have the right to view this government initiative as a deciding factor in favor of continuing the conflict. Implementation of the initiative would certainly bring about an escalation in the resistance and violence, together with a louder call for international intervention as the only solution both to the severe distress of the Palestinian population and to Israel's inability to keep itself in check.

Nevertheless, this government - as cruel, if not criminal, as its behavior toward the occupied population may be - is a government that was democratically elected.

Hence the following simple question, as biting as it is, must be asked - does the fact that a government enjoys a stable majority in the Knesset afford it the authority to demand that the minority accept the law it lays down, at all times and under any circumstances?

It should be noted immediately that expressions of this kind have never once tickled the conscience of the settlement-oriented right. When Barak was in power and was conducting negotiations with the Palestinians on fundamental principles, to which we will have to return to in the future anyway because, after all, there is no other basis for peace, there was no doubt that the settlement leaders would use all means at their disposal to oppose any attempt to evacuate their communities.

It was the fear of violent resistance that kept the moonstruck settlements in the heart of Hebron, the Gaza Strip and the suburbs of Ramallah in place. The settler rightists have always made a point of clarifying that as far as they are concerned, any decision on the evacuation of Jews from their homes is morally invalid and tantamount to treason.

In the past decade, it was this fear of a rupture that could have ended in bloodshed that paralyzed Rabin and Peres and later prevented Barak from unequivocally presenting his withdrawal map. Now comes the practical question: If the right is allowed to aim a loaded pistol at the heart of any government in Israel, why does the left have to submissively accept dictates that threaten turning Israel into a country that could be held accountable for war crimes?

The left has been debilitated not by the Intifada, but by the Palestinian demand for the right of return. The Palestinian leadership, one can safely assume, failed to properly assess the Israeli reaction to such a demand or understand the magnitude of its error in raising it. After all, the top officials in the Palestinian Authority know that a right of return to within the Green Line (the pre-1967 borders of Israel) will never be realized; yet they don't dare tell the truth to the residents of the refugee camps.

Presumably, this last barrier will also be lifted in the not-too-distant future. The Intifada is serving both as an attempt to delay the outcome and, at the same time, an opportunity to construct another stratum of bravery and sacrifice on which to lay the foundations of independence.

Many in Israel, perhaps even the majority of the voters, do not doubt the legitimacy of the armed resistance in the territories themselves. The Palestinians would be wise to concentrate their struggle against the settlements, avoid harming women and children and strictly refrain from firing on Gilo, Nahal Oz or Sderot; it would also be smart to stop planting bombs to the west of the Green Line. By adopting such an approach, the Palestinians would be sketching the profile of a solution that is the only inevitable one: The amended Green Line will be an international border and territory will be handed over to compensate the Palestinians for land that has already been or will be annexed to Israel.

In the immediate term, however, there is a pressing need to adopt a position on the proposal to send international forces to Israel - a suggestion that is gaining momentum, and not only in Europe. After all, if there is reason to oppose a U.S. infantry battalion stationed in the Sinai, if it is a good idea to allow UN observer forces to take up positions on the Golan Heights and along the border with Lebanon, why is there such a fierce rejection of their proposed presence in the PA?

If we have nothing to hide; if our behavior is exemplary; if we aren't shooting at children or stopping pregnant women at roadblocks; if we aren't starving entire villages, why don't we allow U.S. officers to report this to the entire world? If we are only defending ourselves against the forces of evil, fighting terrorism with the purest of intentions and arms, and, it goes without saying, upholding signed deals and international law, why don't we allow the truth to be revealed?

This hypocritical government, which has little regard for the life of a non-Jew, appears to be on the verge of setting a new record and persuading its citizens that truly someone else must save us from ourselves. When Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir held the reigns of power, even their most bitter enemies knew that there were red lines that the two former prime ministers would not cross, at least not consciously or intentionally. This confidence in the moral considerations of the veterans of the Etzel and Lehi pre-state, underground militias has now disappeared altogether. The human dimension that characterized the members of that fighting elite is a stranger to the Pinchas Wallersteins, Benny Elons and fanatics from Hebron and isn't understood by them and their like.

Ariel Sharon has yet to finally decide whether he wants to be like Menachem Begin or the leaders of the settlers. For now, all the signs seem to indicate that imperviousness, evil and shortsightedness are gaining the upper hand. Published in Ha'aretz on 11th May, 2001

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"Gush Shalom" Spokesman Endorses PLO Suicide Attacks in Settlements

Gush Shalom spokesman Gidon Spiro's column in the Jerusalem weekly Kol Hazman, May 25, 2001,page 42:

"I understand that that here is not Ghandi's India and the Israeli occupation army is not the British army and therefore, the armed Palestinian struggle, just in its essence, will continue. And therefore, it should be concentrated against the settlements. If there is no way except that suicide missions continue, it would be best to take the Japanese Kamikaze method of planes crashing down upon the settlements and army bases rather than suicide bombers blowing themselves up in malls and buses within the Green Line".

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Sharon's Bureau: Our Patience is Running Out Menahem Rahat

Officials in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Bureau last night stated clearly that Israel's patience in continuing the cease-fire in the face of Palestinian violence is coming to an end.

"Only Arafat and the Palestinian Authority will bear the consequences of the deterioration for which they are responsible," said the statement. "Israel expects the international community to do what is necessary to persuade the Palestinians and Arafat to lay down their arms."

"Even though Israel announced a unilateral cease-fire except in cases where lives are endangered," said the statement, "the Palestinians are continuing - in contravention of the conclusions of the Mitchell report and despite calls by the prime minister - to carry out terrorist attacks, ever more vigorously."

The statement points out that despite the terrorist attacks and the security dangers involved, Israel over the last few days has opened an additional crossing point for Palestinian workers, thus allowing thousands more Palestinians to enter and work in Israel.

As to the Mitchell report, it has become known that Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres support a settlement freeze and unequivocal acceptance of the report - in contrast to the stance of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The latter is of the opinion still that an interim formula could be reached which would allow Israel to continue construction in the settlements in a limited manner.

Meanwhile yesterday, American special envoy William Burns arrived in Israel and is due to meet today with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and PA Chairman Yasser Arafat. The envoy is also expected to meet with Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer.

Yesterday an Islamic Movement conference, representing 56 Islamic countries, convened in Doha, Qatar, and decided to cut off all diplomatic contacts with Israel. The representatives were thus responding to PA Chairman Yasser Arafat's demands[ . . . ]

This article ran on May 27, 2001 in Maariv

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Historical Approach to the Issue of Legality of Jewish Settlement Activity
The Late Eugene W. Rostow


. . . The Jewish right of settlement in the West Bank is conferred by the same provisions of the Mandate under which Jews settled in Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem before the State of Israel was created. The Mandate for Palestine differs in one important respect from the other League of Nations mandates, which were trusts for the benefit of the indigenous population.

The Palestine Mandate, recognizing "the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country," is dedicated to "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing nonjewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."

The Mandate qualifies the Jewish right of settlement and political development in Palestine in only one respect. Article 25 gave Great Britain and the League Council discretion to "postpone" or "withhold" the Jewish people's right of settlement in the TransJordanian province of Palestine-now the Kingdom of Jordan-if they decided that local conditions made such action desirable.

With the divided support of the council, the British took that step in 1922.

The Mandate does not, however, permit even a temporary suspension of the Jewish right of settlement in the parts of the Mandate west of the Jordan River.

The Armistice Lines of 1949, which are part of the West Bank boundary, represent nothing but the position of the contending armies when the final cease-fire was achieved in the War of Independence. And the Armistice Agreements specifically provide, except in the case of Lebanon, that the demarcation lines can be changed by agreement when the parties move from armistice to peace. Resolution 242 is based on that provision of the Armistice Agreements and states certain criteria that would justify changes in the demarcation lines when the parties make peace.

Many believe that the Palestine Mandate was somehow terminated in 1947, when the British government resigned as the mandatory power. This is incorrect. A trust never terminates when a trustee dies, resigns, embezzles the trust property, or is dismissed. The authority responsible for the trust appoints a new trustee, or otherwise arranges for the fulfillment of its purpose. Thus in the case of the Mandate for German South West Africa, the International Court of justice found the South African government to be derelict in its duties as the mandatory power, and it was deemed to have resigned. Decades of struggle and diplomacy then resulted in the creation of the new state of Namibia, which has just come into being. In Palestine the British Mandate ceased to be operative as to the territories of Israel and Jordan when those states were created and recognized by the international community. But its rules apply still to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which have not yet been allocated either to Israel or to Jordan or become an independent state.

Jordan attempted to annex the West Bank in 1951, but that annexation was never generally recognized, even by the Arab states, and now Jordan has abandoned all its claims to the territory.

The State Department has never denied that under the Mandate "the Jewish people" have the right to settle in the area. Instead, it said that Jewish settlements in the West Bank violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which deals with the protection of civilians in wartime. Where the territory of one contracting party is occupied by another contracting party, the Convention prohibits many of the inhumane practices of the Nazis and the Soviets before and during the Second World War-the mass transfer of people into or out of occupied territories for purposes of extermination, slave labor, or colonization, for example.

Article 49 provides that the occupying power "shall not deport or transfer part of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies."

But the Jewish settlers in the West Bank are volunteers. They have not been "deported" or "transferred" by the government of Israel, and their movement involves none of the atrocious purposes or harmful effects on the existing population the Geneva Convention was designed to prevent.

Furthermore, the Convention applies only to acts by one signatory "carried out on the territory of another." The West Bank is not the territory of a signatory power, but an unallocated part of the British Mandate. It is hard, therefore, to see how even the most literal-minded reading of the Convention could make it apply to Jewish settlement in territories of the British Mandate west of the jordan River. Even if the Convention could be construed to prevent settlements during the period of occupation, however, it could do no more than suspend, not terminate, the rights conferred by the Mandate. Those rights can be ended only by the establishment and recognition of a new state or the incorporation of the territories into an old one.

As claimants to the territory, the Israelis have denied that they are required to comply with the Geneva Convention but announced that they will do so as a matter of grace. The Israeli courts apply the Convention routinely, sometimes deciding against the Israeli government. Assuming for the moment the general applicability of the Convention, it could well be considered a violation if the Israelis deported convicts to the area or encouraged the settlement of people who had no right to live there (Americans, for example).

But how can the Convention be deemed to apply to Jews who have a right to settle in the territories under international law: a legal right assured by treaty and specifically protected by Article 80 of the U.N. Charter, which provides that nothing in the Charter shall be construed "to alter in any manner" rights conferred by existing international instruments" like the Mandate? The Jewish right of settlement in the area is equivalent in every way to the right of the existing Palestinian population to live there.

Another principle of international law may affect the problem of the Jewish settlements. Under international law, an occupying power is supposed to apply the prevailing law of the occupied territory at the municipal level unless it interferes with the necessities of security or administration or is "repugnant to elementary conceptions of justice." From 1949 to 1967, when Jordan was the military occupant of the West Bank, it applied its own laws to prevent any Jews from living in the territory. To suggest that Israel as occupant is required to enforce such Jordanian laws-a necessary implication of applying the Convention-is simply absurd. When the Allies occupied Germany after the Second World War, the abrogation of the Nuremberg Laws was among their first acts.

The general expectation of international law is that military occupations last a short time, and are succeeded by a state of peace established by treaty or otherwise. In the case of the West Bank, the territory was occupied by Jordan between 1949 and 1967, and has been occupied by Israel since 1967.

Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 rule that the Arab states and Israel must make peace, and that when "a just and lasting peace" is reached in the Middle East, Israel should withdraw from some but not all of the territory it occupied in the course of the 1967 war. The Resolutions leave it to the parties to agree on the terms of peace.

The controversy about Jewish settlements in the West Bank is not, therefore, about legal rights but about the political will to override legal rights. Is the United States prepared to use all its influence in Israel to award the whole of the West Bank to Jordan or to a new Arab state, and force Israel back to its 1967 borders? Throughout Israel's occupation, the Arab countries, helped by the United States, have pushed to keep Jews out of the territories, so that at a convenient moment, or in a peace negotiation, the claim that the West Bank is "Arab" territory could be made more plausible. Some in Israel favor the settlements for the obverse reason: to reinforce Israel's claim for the fulfillment of the Mandate and of Resolution 242 in a peace treaty that would at least divide the territory.

For the international community, the issue is much deeper and more difficult: whether the purposes of the Mandate can be considered satisfied if the Jews finally receive only the parts of Palestine behind the Armistice Lines-less than 17.5 percent of the land promised them after the First World War. The extraordinary recent changes in the international environment have brought with them new diplomatic opportunities for the United States and its allies, not least in the Middle East.

Soviet military aid apparently is no longer available to the Arabs for the purpose of making another war against Israel. The intifada has failed, and the Arabs' bargaining position is weakening. It now may be possible to take long steps toward peace. But to do so, the participants in the Middle East negotiations-the United States, Israel, Egypt, and the PLO-will have to look beyond the territories.

This article appeared in The New Republic on April 23, 1990

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An Update on the Legality of Jewish Settlement Activity
David Bedein


A report was presented on February 21st, 2006 by "Bitselem" which claims that Israel's policies of settling Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, in areas that came under Israel's control after the 1967 war, are patently "illegal and in violation of international law".

While it would seem somewhat unnecessary to defend the right of a Jew to build a home in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem or in the hills of Judea, it is still necessary to explicate the legality of settling Jewish communities in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

Israel is not an occupier in any part of Jerusalem, which is its capital city. Israel lost the Old City of Jerusalem in the 1948 war and regained control of all of Jerusalem after repulsing an attacked by the Arab legion in Jerusalem in 1967. Israel is not an occupier in Judea-Samaria. "Occupation" can only occur when one sovereign state usurps the land of another sovereign state. However, when Israel acquired control of Judea-Samaria in 1967, in the course of fighting a defensive war, there was no state to whom this area belonged. It was in the hands of Jordan, but Jordan was simply an occupier of that area, whose presence in Judea and Samaria was recognized only by Great Britain and Pakistan and was unclaimed Mandate land, to which Israel had substantial claim. During the period of the British Mandate for Palestine, Britain was charged with "secur(ing) the establishment of the Jewish national home" and "encourag(ing) close settlement by Jews on the land", under the terms of the San Remo Treaty, which was ratified by the League of Nations, with allowance for Jewish settlement in all of Palestine, west of the Jordan River, which includes, of course, Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

This was set in international law and it has never been superseded. When the United Nations replaced the League of Nations, it assumed obligations of the League. The 1947 partition resolution for Palestine , passed by the United Nations General Assembly on November 29th, 1947, did not supersede the Mandate. The General Assembly makes only recommendations, which have no standing in international law. Judea-Samaria and the eastern part of Jerusalem are often alluded to as "Arab" in nature. This is only because the Jordanians forbid Jews from living there from 1948 until 1967, after having banished all Jews from areas where they had lived for centuries. There was no significant international protest about the exclusion of Jews from traditionally Jewish areas of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. There are calls today for Israel to move back to the 1967 lines, as if this line represents the "real" borders of Israel. However, what came to be known as the "Green Line" was never a border. It was an armistice line, established at the end of the 1948-49 war. It was never intended to be a border; and the expectation at the time was that in short order Israel would negotiate with her Arab neighbors in order to set final borders. Those negotiations still have not taken place.

On 22 November 1967, the UN Security Council indeed adopted Resolution 242, which called for "Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict" as well as "termination of all claims or states of belligerency" and recognition that "every State in the area" has the "right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force." Resolution 242 never called for withdrawal from ALL territories occupied in the Six Day War any withdrawal was to be contingent on negotiations that would secure a state of peace for Israel.

As far back as the late 1800s, individual Jews had begun purchasing land in Palestine, in anticipation of the establishment of a Jewish state. The Jewish National Fund began to do the same starting in 1901. (Before the end of WWI, this took place within the Ottoman Empire, it continued during the Mandate period and the British worked to establish a land registry.)

Subsequent to the 1967 war, when Israel acquired control of Judea-Samaria, this Jewish-owned land came into Israeli hands . Thus, there is some portion of Judea-Samaria that is simply owned by Jews, legally and outright. Some of these Jewish communities rest on such land for example, in the area of Gush Etzion, which predates the establishment of Israel. When Israel assumed control over all of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria in 1967, she became the custodian of that part of the land not owned outright by anyone. This is according to international law, which gives Israel the right to build on this land for purposes of security.

The Israeli Jewish communities in Judea-Samaria do not represent a "cause" of Palestinian Arab intransigence or violence , nor are they or the stumbling block to peace. . After all: The Palestinian Liberation Organization was founded in 1964, when Judea-Samaria was not under the control of Israel. What the PLO wanted to "liberate" was Israel within the 1967 lined. At that time, the PLO charter specifically stated that it had NO CLAIM on the lands controlled by Jordan and Egypt, that is, on Judea-Samaria and Gaza. It never changed that charter and the claim that land until Israel had control of it. To this day, the PLO and even more so now, Hamas sees any city in any part of Israel as constituting an "illegal settlement" this includes Israel within the Green Line. The presence of Israel in any part of the land whatsoever is seen as illegitimate. Just view www.palestineremembered.com

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Different Definitions: What is Settlement Activity?


This was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer on August 25th, 1997:

And After So Much Discussion in Israel as to "Who is a Jew", the Time Has Come to Ask:

What is the Definition of "What is Settlement Activity"? by David S. Bedein, MSW

US President Bill Clinton and many Jewish organizations have asked Israel to restrain "settlement activity" as a gesture to advance the peace process.

This leads to a question - What is the definition of "settlement activity" ?

Let us examine three widely accepted definitions of Israeli "settlement activity":

1. The "Geneva Convention" definition: Areas that Israel has taken by force"

Most recently, a coalition of international human rights organizations took out ads in all of the major Israeli newspapers, in which these groups quoted the Geneva Conventions that forbid any nation from settling their citizens in areas that were taken by force of military action.

That would mean that the areas that the Israel Defence Forces conquered in the 1948 war of liberation beyond what the UN in 1947 had allocated for the new Jewish state would be considered to be illegal "settlement activity". That would mean that Israel conducts illegal settlement activity in Ramle, BeerSheva, Nahariya, Tzfat and Lod, let alone Jerusalem, which the UN declared an international city.

In other words, the Geneva Conventions would view any plane that takes off or lands at Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod in "settlement activity".

2. The US State Department/Canadian foreign ministry definition: "All areas taken by Israel in 1967"

The The United States State Department and all major foreign ministries around the globe, along with Israel's Arab political parties, define Israeli "settlement activity" as all areas taken by Israel as a result of the 1967 six day war, especially Jerusalem, which Israel annexed immediately following the war.

Israel has thus far settled 185,000 Jews in nine Jerusalem neighborhoods, after the 1949-1967 Jordanian restriction that forbid any Jewish residency or Jewish tourism in these areas, including the Old City of Jerusalem.

There are now more Jews than Arabs in the areas of Jerusalem that had been under Jordanian control.

No major country in the world recognizes Israel's sovereignty in Jerusalem. That includes the United States.

Perhaps that is why new US legislation that recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital carefully deletes any reference to Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem.

In addition, Israel has settled 145,000 Jews in the west bank districts of Judea and Samaria along with Katif near Gaza and another 14,000 of its citizens in the Golan Heights, that was conquered from Syria in 1967 and formally annexed in 1981.

3. The Israeli "Peace Now" definition

The Israeli "Peace Now" movement, nominally affiliated with the Israeli political parties of Meretz and Labor, distributes a map of settlements that it opposes, carefully excluding Jerusalem. However, "Peace Now", opposes further Jewish housing development that is contiguous to Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem.

Having finally defined the term, is there any question as to whether Israel will stop "settlement activity"?

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