Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Myth of 'Occupied' Territories

The Myth of 'Occupied' Territories: "One of the most misused, misapplied and misunderstood definitions in the dictionary of the Arab-Israeli conflict is the term "occupied territories". The vast majority of people simply do not know the facts or misinterpret them, thus completely distorting the real picture of the land distribution between the Arabs and the Jews. The truth of the matter is that, according to international law, the Jews have the complete and unquestionable right to settle the territories of Judea, Samaria and Gaza (collectively known as Yesha). Not a single enforceable international document exists that forbids them from settling the lands of Yesha.

On the contrary, the only existing enforceable document actually encourages Jewish settlement. This document was created on April 24, 1920 at the San Remo Conference when the Principal Allied Powers agreed to assign the Mandate for the territory of Palestine to Great Britain. By doing so the League of Nations "recognized the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine" and established "grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country." Article 6 of the Mandate "encouraged ... close settlement by Jews on the land," including the lands of Judea, Samaria and Gaza (Yesha).

There is nothing whatsoever in the Mandate that separates Yesha from the rest of the mandated territory. That means that the right of the Jews to settle the land spreads to the whole of Palestine. As a side note it is worth mentioning that the 76% of the territory of Mandated Palestine known today as Jordan, were [sic] not permanently exempt from settlement by the Jews either. Article 25 only allowed to "postpone or withhold application of [this] provision."

With the disbanding of the League of Nations, the rights of the Jews to settle the territories of Palestine, including Yesha, were not hurt. When in 1946 the United Nations was created in place of the League of Nations, its Charter included Article 80 specifically to allow the continuation of existing Mandates (including the British Mandate). Article 80 stated that "nothing ... shall be construed in or of itself to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever ... of any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties.""

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