Levy Report helps settlements in Israel

Israel, Judea and Samaria (occupied territories?), and Gaza. All these are the real Jewish and Israeli birthright, from the beginning. A God-given birthright, as Trump should recognize.. Which now-in-force international law and treaties recognize, going back to the San Remo Resolution. Even UN Resolution 242 couldn't change that. Disengagement from any of them spells disaster. A two-state solution violates this birthright. (As a candidate for ambassador clearly understands.) Why won't the Likud Party protect this birthright? Why do some accuse champions of Judea-Samaria of having crypto-Nazi tendencies? What can dispel the confusion on this point? And will The New York Times correct their own record in this regard? Or does a generation of the unteachable prevent a properly sober discussion? And now a new battle cry sounds: no taxation without annexation. Where is the proper statecraft Israel needs? Note: Israel is also a safer place for Christians than any other country in the Middle East.
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This week saw the first report about the Levy Report on settlements in Judea and Samaria, a/k/a “The West Bank.” The Levy Report made clear: Jewish settlements in that region are perfectly legal and do not break either international or Israeli law. American officials don’t want the government of Israel to accept that report, much less act on it. They have no more chance of stopping them than King Canute had of stopping the tide.

The Levy Report in detail

The government has already published the Levy Report, and even translated it into English. The Levy Report says that the situation in Judea and Samaria is not only unique but one-of-a-kind. Simply put, Jews lived in that land for centuries before the Jordanians annexed the region and kicked the Jews out. Furthermore, only Pakistan recognized what Jordan did as legal.

In 1967, Jordan attacked Israel after it mistook returning Israel Air Force planes for Egyptian planes. The Israel Defense Forces not only pushed back but also pushed the Jordanians completely out of Judea and Samaria. The IDF has administered those lands ever since, but has had to contend with the United Nations Relief Works Agency. That agency is the only refugee program ever invented with a self-perpetuating mission.

The Levy Report said that the “classical laws of occupation” do not apply to Jewish settlements in the region. Neither does the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. CNAV has already discussed the reasons for this. The most important one is: never once did the government of Israel draft any Jew to settle in Judea or Samaria, nor sentence any Jew to “exile” in those lands. That is what the Nazis did in the lands they occupied. That is what the Fourth Convention expressly forbids.

The Levy Report criticized the government’s settlement policy in only one basic way: it told the government to make up its mind whether to let people settle there or not, make it official, and stand by it.The rest of the report gives detailed ways to say where a given settlement stands under the law, depending on how the settlers set it up, how they got the land (and from whom), etc. But the report has one basic thrust: let them settle!

History of Judea and Samaria

Israel, its neighbors, and disputed territories. The large shaded region is the subject of the Levy Report.

Israel, its neighbors, and disputed territories. Graphic: Central Intelligence Agency

Jerrold Auerbach (New York Sun) sums up brilliantly the history of Jews in Judea and Samaria. He points out that the original British Mandate, and the League of Nations, both guaranteed the rights of the Jews to settle there. Those instruments are still in force and effect. Even the UN recognizes them, and has never officially ended them.

To be more specific: in the early twentieth century, Palestine and Palestinian referred to Jews, not Arabs. Arabs hijacked the word Palestine for themselves after the Six-day War. They never expected to lose it, of course.

The history of the name Palestine is much longer, and shameful. In 135 AD, Emperor Hadrian of Rome sent several legions to quell the revolt of Simon bar Kochva, who pretended to be the long-sought Messiah. (He wasn’t, of course.) Hadrian then scattered the Jews throughout his Empire (the Diaspora), as Shalmaneser V did to the Ten Lost Tribes, and as Nebuchadnezzar II did to the Tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Hadrian then called the country Palaestina. Which is Latin for Philistia or Philistim. That name (from which comes the English name Philistine) literally means “Land of the Invaders.”

But the Philistines that Hadrian might have thought of were not Arabs. They were the Caphthorites, who came from Crete and displaced the Avvites that had lived in the Gaza region in Abraham and Isaac’s day. These Caphthorites worshiped a god in the shape of a walking fish (Dagon). They captured Samson (and lost 3,000 people when he brought the Temple of Dagon down on their heads, and his). They captured the Ark of the Covenant, and then had to give it back after their people came down with outbreaks of cancer and possibly bubonic plague. (See Samuel chapter 5.) And eventually Nebuchadnezzar wiped them out.

The present Arabs, who call themselves Palestinians, descend from Arab migrant workers. They moved into the land after the first Zionist settlers reclaimed the desert and swamp land that they bought from Ottoman absentee landlords. And the British gave them a homeland: a land they called “Transjordan,” or across the Jordan. Jordan, of course, is under the control of Hashemite Bedouins.

It is with these, and not with the Jews, that the “Palestinians” have any quarrel. More to the point: The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan renounced all claim to Judea and Samaria in 1996. In that year they signed a treaty with Israel. That treaty sets the western boundaries of Jordan as the Jordan and Yarmuk Rivers, and the Arab Wadi, from south of Ein Gedi to east of Eilat on the Gulf of Aqaba.

The demographic issue

Old-guard politicians in Israel have always feared that, if Israel simply annexed Judea and Samaria, the Arabs would out-breed and eventually out-vote them. Shimon Peres, who took over the ceremonial presidency of Israel from Chaim Herzog, still thinks that way.Yesterday he told mourners for Benjamin Herzl, the Zionist pioneer, that settlements in the West Bank would cause Jews to lose their majority in Israel.

Other politicians immediately said that Peres was wrong to say that or even think it. Tzvi Ben Gedelyahu wrote in Arutz-7 that the Jews have been outbreeding the Arabs in Judea and Samaria. And they have done so despite Netanyahu unofficially freezing settlements in those regions. Ben Gedelyahu obviously hopes that the Levy Report will lead the government to unfreeze settlements.

Ted Belman (Israpundit) expects the government to do just that.

US Afraid of Levy Report

The US State Department does not want the government to adopt the Levy Report. Spokesman Patrick Ventrell said:

We do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity and we oppose any effort to legalize settlement outposts.

Two things work together to give the State Department its current attitude:

  1. The State Department’s “careerists” have been pro-Arab and anti-Israel since before the Israel War for Independence. That culture has never changed.
  2. Barack H. Obama is the most thoroughly anti-Israel (nominal) President in history.

But the State Department cannot cite a single treaty or convention that calls the settlements illegal. The Levy Report demolishes all the habitual arguments. Furthermore, as Belman (see above) says, US Presidents since Reagan have never said that settlements were illegal. They have called them “ill-advised,” but never illegal. And they have (so far) thwarted any UN resolution calling them illegal.

Belman also cites report after report that, long ago, said the same things that the Levy Report says today. Julius Stone’s words should be answer enough to those who say that when a Jew goes to live in the West Bank, the government of Israel has “transferred” him there within the meaning of the Fourth Geneva Convention:

The terms of Article 49(6) [of the Fourth Geneva Convention] however they are interpreted, are submitted to be totally irrelevant. To render them relevant, we would have to say that the effect of Article 49(6) is to impose an obligation on the state of Israel to ensure (by force if necessary) that these areas, despite their millennial association with Jewish life, shall be forever judenrein.

That last word is German for “a Jew-free zone.” The Jordanians made that happen before. The Levy Report says that will not happen again.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

16 Responses to Levy Report helps settlements in Israel

  1. […] Levy Report Helps Settlements in Israel […]

  2. Jeff A says:

    “[T]he situation in Judea and Samaria is not only unique but one-of-a-kind.”

    define: u·nique
    Adjective: Being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else

    Please fix that sentence.
    It is redundant and/or just makes the person sound dumb.

  3. DinsdaleP says:

    As your other article stated, there’s a little practical difference between ordering people to settle a region won in war and telling zealous settlers who want to voluntarily occupy that land that they won’t be stopped if they try. That kind of word-parsing is paying lip service to the spirit of the Geneva Conventions while claiming to follow the written agreements.

    There isn’t a clean, purely political solution to this issue because it’s tied up in the religious beliefs of more than one culture. If different Christian sects can’t cooperate in taking care of the shrine where Jesus was buried without animosity, it’s hard to imagine Jews and Muslims coming up with a solution that doesn’t end up with at least some animosity as well.

    Israel was formed by land taken from the people residing there in the 1940’s and handed over the Jewish people to give them a homeland. Quite ironic that you have no qualm with this seizure and redistribution of land by the United Nations, which displaced thousands, even as you froth over “Agenda 21”. The original pre-1967 borders were and are obviously defensible, and there’s no justification to allow settlements the size of small cities to be the basis for denying the native Muslim population a land of their own.

    Imagine if the earlier wars had gone the other way and Israel lost significant pieces of its 1949 territory to the Arab nations before a cease-fire was set. Then the Arabs passively allow settlements of these seized lands by the population that was originally displaced in 1949. They would have had a better “I was here first” argument than any ancient grievance, since they were the actual people displaced by the U.N. Would Israel ever accept a final peace deal that freezes their homeland as a pockmarked landscape where another nation holds entire cities within their national borders?

    Take the situation of West Berlin sitting within the borders of East Germany, multiply it by each settlement, and it’s clear that this is not a viable long-term solution.

    Israel won against the aggressors in the past wars (and I’m glad for that), but it’s time to move forward and give the people displaced by the founding of Israel a solid, basically contiguous homeland of their own, rather than making them refugees for other nations to absorb or trying to draw a map based on seized land and gerrymandering-type gimmicks.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      And as usual, you completely distort the real history of that region. You ignore the deliberate whittling away of the original British Mandate, and you ignore Grand Mufti Haj Amin Husseini not only working with Adolf Hitler but acting as Hitler’s evil genius.

      Of course, you know how the Arabs would have acted, had the fortunes of war been reversed. All you hae to do is look at how the Jordanians behaved. They annexed the “West Bank” with no legal right to do so, and then proceeded to render the land Judenrein, or however you say that in Arabic.

      And as for that refugee problem: the United Nations Relief Works Agency is solely responsible for the continuance of any “refugee problem” in Judea and Samaria. They are the only refugee agency with a self-perpetuating mission. Quite a racket if you can get it. And yes, I said racket. Because that’s what the UN is. Imagine them naming Iran to the Arms Trade Convention Council!

      • DinsdaleP says:

        I’m not ignoring anything – you’re throwing in non-sequiturs, or to be kinder, “mitigating circumstances”.

        The undeniable fact is that the United Nations declared that a certain territory was to be a new Jewish state of Israel without the people living in the territory at the time having any say in the process, and as a result they were displaced. That’s a historical reality regardless of whatever worries you have about Agenda 21, but if it’s done for the benefit of people you favor, it’s okay.

        • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

          No, the Arabs were never displaced. They “displaced” themselves. The prize example is Jaffa. When the Haganah moved in, they told those people that they could stay if they wanted to. Instead they packed up and moved out en masse. The Haganah gave them what amounted to safe conduct.

          The Arab residents of East Jerusalem did not have that same cut-off-one’s-nose-to-spite-one’s-face attitude. The IDF told them to go home (home being “to their homes in East Jerusalem”), and they did. Their sons and grandsons are still there. And most of them say that they’d rather answer to the Israelis than to the PA.

          • DinsdaleP says:

            I suspect that you’re using cherry-picked examples to represent the entirety of a situation. A positive outcome in a single location means little – it’s like saying that one group of Native Americans who successfully integrated into Colonial-European society means that there was no massive or forced displacement of the majority of Native Americans by outside settlers.

            However, I freely admit that my knowledge of the relevant events in the founding of Israel is limited, so I’ll be reading up a bit before going too far out on a limb.

            What I’ve read so far, though, is that tens of thousands of non-Jewish people living there were displaced by the 1948 wars, and that they never were allowed to return to their homes afterward. Native Palestinian residents from the villages of Iqrit, Bir’im, al-Ghabsiyya, Krad al-Baqqarah and Krad al-Ghannamah were forced out, to cite some specific examples.

            There was also a decision by the Israeli Supreme Court in 1951 that sanctioned the right to return, but the Israeli government apparently did not follow through.

            My original point in bringing these items up is not to get caught up in the back-and-forth over specific, but to acknowledge the overall policy that the U.N. took lands from one indigenous people and gave it to another to govern and settle. That’s an indisputable fact, and if you want to rail against your concerns over the U.N. interfering with the sovereign rights of people where they live, you need to address how it’s not hypocrisy for the founding of Israel to be acceptable in that context. You want it both ways when it favors a group you like.

          • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

            I’ll say just one thing about the Native American situation: the Iroquois Federation made their fatal mistake by throwing in with the British in our War for Independence. They lost. It just took awhile for them to pay the penalty for that loss, that’s all.

            Now about the Israeli situation: you ought to do what you said you would do: read up more than you have on the history of modern Israel before you go out on a limb, and saw it off. As you have just done.

            You repeat the canard that Israel forcibly evacuated large numbers of Arabs. And I repeat the rebuttal: Israel did no such thing. Those Arabs who pulled up stakes, listened to a bunch of people who promised them the Thousand-and-one Nights if they were to pull up stakes. And those who made those promises, never settled those people anywhere.

            Add to it, the United Nations Relief Works Agency, which coddles some of those people in place and looks the other way while they are brought up to hate other people.

            I do dispute your premise. It is absolutely false. The UN were the Johnnies-come-lately to the Middle East. You have to go all the way back to the earliest history of the first Zionist settlers (the kubbutzniks) who bought the land from absentee Ottoman landlords, and then reclaimed it, against every expectation that those same Ottoman landlords had. Then you go to the British Mandate. Originally, British Mandatory Palestine covered all of what is now Israel and Jordan both. Then came the division into Palestine to the West, and Transjordan to the East of the Jordan River. Then, in one bit of cowardice after another, the British ate away at the part of Palestine that would go to the Jews.

            Then came the UN, who presented a partition plan that I would never have accepted. For his own reasons, David Ben-Gurion did. For their own reasons, the Arabs did not. Thus the Israel War for Independence began within twenty-four hours of the end of British rule. All that the UN did, several months later, was to declare an armistice, wherever the troops were standing at the time. This is the Green Line that everybody talks about. And understand this: the UN inherited certain understandings that the old League of Nations had reached. That included the right of Jews to settle anywhere in the region. The UN never revoked that.

            In 1950, Jordan annexed Judea and Samaria, and expelled its Jewish population. Only Pakistan (and, by disputed accounts, Britain) recognized that act as lawful.

            Those are the things that the Levy Commission looked at. Those are the things I had seen. If I didn’t know any better, I would suspect that Edmond Levy consulted my earlier articles on the subjects, articles that I wrote last year when riots broke out yet again, though they practically fizzled.

            The only ones with any sovereignty in the region are the Jews. The Arabs living in the region, descend from migrant workers who came in to the region only after the Jews had drained the swamps and made the deserts bloom.

            Now those are the facts. You have as much right to dispute them as you have the right to dispute the sum of two plus two. Which is to say, no one will throw you in prison for it, but little good will it do you.

      • Fergus Mason says:

        “you ignore Grand Mufti Haj Amin Husseini not only working with Adolf Hitler but acting as Hitler’s evil genius.”

        To be fair he wasn’t the only one. Avraham Stern, founder of the notorious “Stern Gang” terrorist group, also had close links with the Nazis at various points during the war. Stern’s thugs also murdered Count Bernadotte, who’d managed to save up to 11,000 jews from the concentartion camps.

  4. Salubrius says:

    My legal opinion on Jewish exclusive political rights over Palestine West of the Jordan has been published as a two part op ed in Arutz Sheva, and can be found at:
    Part 1: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/11408
    Part 2: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/11412
    This video, will be helpful to non-lawyers. It contains the gist of the facts on which my opinion is based except it does not touch on the intention to delay vesting of the political rights in the Jews until after they had attained a population majority in Palestine.
    Debunking the Palestine Lie” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7ByJb7QQ9U

  5. Fergus Mason says:

    “Barack H. Obama is the most thoroughly anti-Israel (nominal) President in history.”

    Ronald Reagan? His relationship with Begin was considerably worse than Obama’s is with Benny – he literally detested the little terrorist rat. He never visited Israel, witheld arms donations on several occasions, signed a UNSC resolution condemning Israeli aggression, demanded (not requested like Obama did) a settlement freeze, faced down AIPAC over arms sales to Saudi Arabia, offered the PLO protection from Israel, opened negotiations with Arafat, said that the Israeli “occupation” actually “damages the self-respect and world opinion of the Israeli people,” refused to visit a concentration camp on the grounds that it would impose guilt on Germany and laid a wreath for Waffen-SS men, saying that “they were victims just as surely as the victims in the concentration camps.”

    Or would all that only have been a problem if his name had been Ronald Hussein Reagan?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      I will take the above under advisement. This is, after all, the same Ronald Reagan who sent to Israel one of the best ambassadors we ever sent there: Thomas Pickering. Pickering it was who put the Antiquities Authority in touch with experts at Texas A&M University to help them retrieve a 2,000-year-old fishing boat from Lake Chennerith (a/k/a the Sea of Galilee) without having it crumble to powder. The above litany is inconsistent with that act.

      • Fergus Mason says:

        “I will take the above under advisement.”

        Of course. However, feel free to check it out. All the facts are verifiable. AIPAC’s opposition to the Saudi AWACS sale seemed to cause particular irritation. Alexander Haig threatened that there would be “serious implications on all American policies in the Middle East” if Israeli influence harmed the sale, and Reagan himself said “It is not the business of other nations to make American foreign policy.” That was right before he announced an indefinite freeze on arms donations.

        Of course, given Reagan’s close relationship with Mrs Thatcher, Begin’s hostile – not to mention demented – behaviour towards the UK might not have been the cleverest approach to take…

        “The above litany is inconsistent with that act.”

        Not at all; in fact it’s entirely consistent with it. You send your best ambassadors to countries you’re likely to be doing some heavy-duty diplomacy with. The dullards can get dumped in Brussels or Ulan Bator. During Reagan’s administration the prize posting for US diplomats was Moscow, which was hardly the capital of a country Reagan liked and admired.

  6. […] but won’t say why. (CNAV has gone over this before. See also this treatment of the Levy Report.) More seriously, the resolution accuses Israel of certain “grave breaches” of the […]

  7. […] The Levy Report […]

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