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How the army helps settlers establish illegal outposts

Through the use of civilian security coordinators in settlements and outposts, the IDF has, essentially, privatized law enforcement in the West Bank. A further aspect of this symbiotic relationship is the army’s use of the coordinators to promote de facto recognition of unauthorized settler outposts.

By Yossi Gurvitz, for Yesh Din

A Jewish settler from the illegal settlement of Mitzpe Yair chases the flock and threatens the shepherds of Gwawis. He is holding an M16 rifle, issued to him by the Israeli army, as part of his paid job as a security coordinator. The law states that he is not allowed to take any action outside the settlements' borders, September 18, 2012. (photo: Shiraz Grinbaum/Activestills.org)

A Jewish settler from the illegal settlement of Mitzpe Yair chases a flock and threatens shepherds of Gwawis. He is holding an M16 rifle, issued to him by the Israeli army as part of his paid job as a security coordinator. The law states that he is not allowed to take any action outside the settlement’s borders, September 18, 2012. (photo: Shiraz Grinbaum/Activestills.org)

Our first post about our report “The Lawless Zone” focused on the unclear relationship through which Israel effectively privatizes powers in the field of defense, law enforcement and policing, and transfers these to Israeli settlers. The security coordinators are residents of West Bank settlements who receive quasi-military powers. Although they are not formally empowered to issue commands to soldiers, in practice they do so, and in many cases they exploit their powers in order to expand their settlements’ territory.

This is the main problem created by the institution of the security coordinators, and accordingly our key recommendation is that the army should reassume these powers and appoint security coordinators who are officers in the permanent army and are accountable solely to the army and not to the settlements. There is another problem, however, one that highlights the symbiotic relationship between the army and the settlers.

Read the full Yesh Din report here

In the mid-1990s, the Israeli government decided not to establish new settlements unless they were approved by the entire government. Since then the phenomenon of the “outposts” has developed. An outpost is the result of the seizure of land that is ostensibly private and unauthorized, but enjoys the de facto support of the authorities, including generous support from government sources. This tool is used by settlers to seize Palestinian or public land. This process was described in extensive detail both in a report prepared by Attorney Talia Sasson and in the Yesh Din report “The Road to Dispossession.” In recent years the emphasis has been on expanding and approving existing outposts, rather than on establishing new ones.

None of this could have happened without extensive assistance from the army. In one instance, the outpost of Netzach Binyamin was torched by Palestinians. The army did not provide protection and so the Israeli civilians fled. In a case involving the land seizure orders in Dura al-Qara, the army concealed the existence of the orders from the Palestinian residents to prevent them appealing, exposing a long-standing pattern of collaboration between the army and the settlers. Our latest report has identified a new dimension to this collaboration.

In 2009 the district brigades redefined the guarding areas for which the security coordinators are responsible. The changes were made after many years in which the coordinators effectively worked without any geographical restriction, since the guard order defining their operations did not specify the boundaries of the settlements. Following a petition submitted by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the army took no less than four years to prepare the amendment.

The amendment led to two changes. Firstly, the guarding area of the settlement was defined not according to its municipal boundaries, but according to the defense perception of the brigade commander. More importantly, for the first time the orders defined guarding areas for illegal outposts: 48 such outposts were allocated independent guarding areas, while 35 more were included in the guarding area of their parent settlement.

This provision constitutes the de facto approval of the outposts by the IDF – and this in an administrative process that was supposed to restrict the security coordinators’ operations.

This process happened quietly, without a government decision, without public discussion and without updating the courts, which are still hearing the issue. An ostensibly technical military order bypassed all these stages, granting official recognition to a criminal offense.

This post is presented as a public service, in case you still believe in the fairytale about the wild settler and the army that does not pick and choose its operations. The army very much picks and chooses its operations; it has always done so.

Written by Yossi Gurvitz in his capacity as a blogger for Yesh Din, Volunteers for Human Rights. A version of this post was first published on Yesh Din’s blog.

How the IDF abdicates its monopoly on violence in the West Bank
Resource: Privatizating law enforcement in, around settlements
Sheriffs of the land: Meet the settlers with military authority

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    1. Whiplash

      “This provision constitutes the de facto approval of the outposts by the IDF”

      Actually no. All this provision does is allows for self defense of Israelis in whatever community they live. It is not acceptable that Palestinians can attack Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria and Israelis have no coordinated defense.

      If there was no Palestinian terrorism in Judea and Samaria, there would be no need for coordinated defense.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gypsy Roberts

        Whiplash…you’d be funny if you weren’t so brain-dead. What is NOT acceptable is the fact that you believe you believe your biblical fairy-tale lands, “judea” and “samaria”, belong to Israel. News flash, pal. It’s the OCCUPIED WEST BANK, and your so-called “Israeli communities” are ILLEGAL under INTERNATIONAL LAW.
        Get the settlers the f*** out; problem solved. See how easy it is?

        Reply to Comment
        • Whiplash

          Biblical and Mythical? United Nations General Assembly Resolution for the partition of Mandate Palestine recognized Judea and Samaria in the body of the resolution in describing the proposed states:

          “The boundary of the hill country of Samaria and Judea starts on the Jordan River…”

          Most of Judea and Samaria would have been in the Palestinian state if the Palestinians had accepted the partition plan. Having failed to accept the Partition Plan the Palestinians did not acquire a state.

          Under the Mandate for Palestine which was valid international law, the land in mandate Palestine was set over for Jewish close settlement and development. In 1945 the UN Charter guaranteed the rights of peoples under the Mandate system. The rights have never been surrendered but have been exercised for the last 47 years.

          At worst the lands of Judea and Samaria are unsettled territories in that the Palestinians claim a right to a state on the same lands. The Palestinians have no claim to exclusive possession of all of the territories.

          Reply to Comment
          • You are kidding, right?

            Whiplash: “In 1945 the UN Charter guaranteed the rights of peoples under the Mandate system.”

            Untrue, actually.

            Whippie is referring to Article 80, which resides in the chapter devoted to the transfer of LoN Mandates to the new-fangled UN Trusteeships.

            And, so sorry, but the Mandate for Palestine was never transferred over to a UN Trustee – the Mandatory Power (i.e. the UK) refused to even consider that option.

            And since
            a) the transfer to a UN Trusteeship never happened and
            b) Article 80 deals only with what what happens when (a) takes place then….
            c) Whiplash is talking nonsense.

            We know he is talking nonsense, precisely because the first line in Article 80 says….”nothing in this Chapter shall”…..

            Q: What Chapter is “this Chapter”?

            Reply to Comment
          • Whiplash

            You are Kidding:

            “And since
            a) the transfer to a UN Trusteeship never happened and
            b) Article 80 deals only with what what happens when (a) takes place”

            Of course, you have this backwards. Section 80 provides for rights to continue until a mandated territory becomes a UN trusteeship. Professor Eugene Rostow states:

            “This right [the right of settlement] is protected by Article 80 of the United Nations Charter, which provides that unless a trusteeship agreement is agreed upon (which was not done for the Palestine Mandate), nothing in the chapter shall be construed in and of itself to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which members of the United Nations may respectively be parties.”

            Reply to Comment
          • Whiplash

            One might also note that International Court of Justice, Advisory Opinion of June 21, 1971 (paras. 42-86) states: “The last resolution of the League Assembly and Article 80, paragraph 1, of the United Nations Charter maintained the obligations of mandatories. The International Court of Justice has consistently recognized that the Mandate survived the demise of the League.”

            The rights of the peoples under mandatory governments, including the rights of the Jews to settlement in any part of mandate Palestine except private Arab land, was preserved by section 80 of the UN Charter. Again the iCJ in 1971 stated:

            “When the League of Nations was dissolved, the raison d’etre [French: “reason for being”] and original object of these obligations remained. Since their fulfillment did not depend on the existence of the League, they could not be brought to an end merely because the supervisory organ had ceased to exist. … The International Court of Justice has consistently recognized that the Mandate survived the demise of the League [of Nations].”

            Reply to Comment
          • You are kidding, right?

            “Section 80 provides for rights to continue until a mandated territory becomes a UN trusteeship. Professor Eugene Rostow states:”

            Rostow was a spectacularly partisan Zionist, so it is no more of a surprise that he put that nonsensical spin on Article 80 than it is to see that you agree with him.

            Birds of a feather….

            But just think about what you have just said, Whiplash i.e. if a Mandated territory DOESN’T become a UN Trusteeship then There Is No Other Way In Which That Mandate Can Be Brought To An End.

            Except…. there were a number of Mandates that were brought to an end without first going through the hands of a UN Trustee.

            What you – and Rostow – are claiming for Article 80 is an authority that it can not possibly possess.

            Think about it: you are claiming that Article 80 tells you what happens when a Mandate **ISN’T** transferred to a Trustee, even though it is sitting inside the Chapter that deals with what happens when a Mandate **IS** turned over to a Trustee.

            Go on, dude, put away your Rostow-propaganda and actually read Chapter XII for yourself.

            Do that and you’ll see it is entirely self-referential i.e. it deals ENTIRELY with what happens when you hand territory to a UN Trustee, and so all that Article 80 is claiming to do is to protect rights and obligations WHEN that handover takes place.

            Nothing more.
            No less.

            Reply to Comment
    2. The settlements authorized or not are all illegal and an Israeli rape of Palestine and a dehumanization of the Palestinian peoples.
      If it is not terrorism to kick people off the land thus taking away their livelihood; to bulldoze their homes as if a termite mound then terrorism has no meaning.
      I line close to the CMHR and in there there is a permanent Jewish presentation (not wanted by myself and many looking at the actions today by Israel) that shows how Nazis took all what the Jews owned a sent them off with nothing and later to concentration camps and gas houses) We see the first steps in that direction by the Israelis in the past many years here. To do as the Nazis is criminal and Israel is criminal in this. There is no permanent presentation of Palestine. When I get to go later this month I will begin my protests of this there.

      Reply to Comment
      • Whiplash

        The settlements are authorized by the Mandate for Palestine as guaranteed in the United Nations Charter of Rights. Further, the Oslo Accords, an international agreement between the Palestinians and the Israelis, does not state or make the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria illegal nor do they prevent the Jewish people for exercising their rights of close settlement and development. The settlements are a final status issue to be agreed upon by Palestinians and Israelis. In every discussion and negotiation Israel will retain some but not all settlements.

        Reply to Comment
        • You are kidding, right?

          Whiplash: “The settlements are authorized by the Mandate for Palestine”….

          Quite untrue, actually.

          These “settlements” are Israeli colonies, and nothing in the Mandate for Palestine grants ISRAEL an exception from the unconditional prohibition on the colonization of an occupied territory by the occupying power.

          Your argument would have some weight if none of these “Jewish settlers” were “Israeli citizens”.

          But, so sorry, this occupying power insists that they first make Aliyah to Israel and ONLY THEN will Israel allow them to become a “Jewish settler” in “Judea and Samaria”.

          Think about that….
          Think about that….

          Because if you think about that you’ll see that it totally undercuts your argument.

          After all, ISRAEL ITSELF says that you can’t be “a Jewish settler” UNLESS you first become an “Israeli citizen”.

          How odd, hey?

          Reply to Comment
          • Whiplash

            Kidding, you make little sense. Listen to professor Eugene Rostow:

            “‘A trust’ – as in Article 80 of the UN Charter – does not end because the trustee dies … the Jewish right of settlement in the whole of western Palestine – the area west of the Jordan – survived the British withdrawal in 1948. …

            The settlement movement in Judea and Samaria was a peoples movement. The movement was spearheaded by Israeli Jews, and not the state, in re-establishing Jewish presence which was broken by Jordanian occupation and annexation of the territory. The sons and daughters of the Jews massacred by Palestinian Arabs in Kfar Etzion did not need the blessings of the state to re-establish their parents’ community. Those who went to Shiloh for an archeological dig and refused to leave defied the state of Israel. The Gush Emunim movement fought with the Israeli government to establish communities. It was a hard fought battle as the settlers only numbered 8,000 souls by the time of Egyptian peace treaty in 1979.

            The Palestinian rejection of the Egyptian and Israeli peace accords and the refusal to negotiate a solution to the conflict led the Begin and Shamir governments not to oppose their own peoples’ human and legal rights to reside in Judea and Samaria. Once these Jewish communities were established Israel was obligated to support them.

            Reply to Comment
          • You are kidding, right?

            Yes, I know, Rostow performed heroic duty on behalf of his tribe, working non-stop to spin silk purses out of sow’s ears.

            But his was still a hopeless brief, since it involved him conflating what he claimed to be a national right (i.e. “the Jews” can do *this*, or “the Jews” can do *that*) and pretending that this is the same thing as a sovereign right (i.e. therefore “Israel” can settle this territory).

            The argument is fundamentally flawed.

            That “the Jew” can “settle” does not mean that “Israel” can “colonize”.

            Those two are not synonyms, not by a long, long shot.

            These are Israeli colonies, whippie, and for as long as Israel remains the occupying power (like, you know, forever…) then those Israeli colonies are illegal.

            This is pretty simple, really: you need to demonstrate that EVERY aspect of this settlement enterprise is legal, but I only have to point to one illegality for it to be illegal.

            And I keep doing that: this is ISRAELI-OCCUPIED territory, and these are ISRAELI-COLONIES, and that’s illegal.

            Reply to Comment
    3. uber

      @ whiplash- Let me wipe the tears from my eyes from laughing so hard.

      If there were no illegal settlements in Palestine then there would be no reason for Palestinians to defend themselves against the illegal settler terrorist squats.

      Palestinians victims far outnumber Israelis.

      It is not acceptable that illegal settler terrorist squats attack, murder, and terrorize Palestinians in Palestine with impunity.

      And one more thing, for how long did you think that israel will be allowed to arrest and piss on Palestinian children, steal and destroy Palestinian land, enforce a barbaric siege against Gaza, murder peaceful protesters, look the other way while settlers murder Palestinians with impunity and just get away with it?

      The Palestinians are not the problem, israel, their failed policies, oppression of legitimite heirs to Palestine, apartheid and ethnic cleansing, their moldavian thug of an FM, the ragtag IDF, and the systematic effort to wipe out a culture and people who were there before them is the problem.

      Israel is the problem. And until you get it, israel will go on destroying itself, if not demographically, then morally. Is that clear enough for an obtuse person like you to understand? Good.

      Reply to Comment
      • Whiplash

        There is no legal law that says that the West Bank, Judea and Samaria, the Old City or any portion of what is referred to as East Jerusalem shall be Judenrein. Jewish people have both a legal and moral right to reside in any part of Jerusalem or Judea and Samaria. The Mandate for Palestine gave them the legal right to close settlement and development. The UN Charter guaranteed the rights of people administered under mandates not to have their rights taken away without their consent. The Armistice Agreements of 1949 preserved Israeli rights and claims to property. The Oslo Accords made settlements a final status issue and do not make the communities illegal nor do they prevent Jewish communities growing or new ones being established.

        Further Jews have lived in Judea and Samaria for 3000 years before the Jordanians ejected them from part of the territory of Mandate Palestine. The Jordanians had no legal sovereign right to any part of the West Bank and had right to eject or prevent Jewish people from living in or developing any part of what was Mandate Palestine.

        Building and developing land in Judea and Samaria is a human right of the Jewish people Jewish people who lived in all parts of Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria during Byzantine, Arab, Christian and Ottoman occupation and during British mandatory government up to 1948 when by force the Jordanians ejected them.

        By the way, settler killing of and attacks on Palestinians have been lower than Palestinian killings and attacks on settlers.

        Reply to Comment
        • You are kidding, right?

          Whiplash: “There is no legal law that says that the West Bank, Judea and Samaria, the Old City or any portion of what is referred to as East Jerusalem shall be Judenrein.”

          Ahem. There most definitely is a “legal law” that says that an Israeli-occupied territory must not be colonized by Israel i.e. No Israeli Colonists Are Allowed.

          Sooooo, with that in mind, how many of these “Jewish settlers” are also “Israeli colonists”?

          Answer: 100% of them.

          Which makes their presence inside this Israeli-occupied territory…?

          Answer: 100% illegal.

          Your claim to the contrary is akin to this flawed argument: there is no law that forbids females from driving a car, ergo, your five-year-old daughter can grab the keys and take the family-car on a joy-ride.

          Ahem, it isn’t her GENDER that makes that illegal, so it is pointless pointing to her girlie-bits.

          Equally, it isn’t the ETHNICITY of these colonists that makes this illegal, and so it is pointless pointing to the skull cap on the top of that dude’s head.

          Reply to Comment
          • Whiplash

            One cannot colonize territory which was set aside for one’s own close settlement and development and the reconstitution of the Jewish Home.

            The Mandate of Palestine was a sacred trust of civilization pursuant to section 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. The rights of the beneficiaries of the trust, the Jewish people, cannot be later revoked without the consent of them. The rights included the establishment of a Jewish agency to help direct “political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home”, Jewish immigration with the help of the Jewish agency, close settlement and development of the land, and the acquisition of citizenship for Jews who take up permanent residence in the mandated territory.

            The principal purpose of the Mandate was to reconstitute the Jewish home in Mandate Palestine. The Mandate for Palestine was different from the mandates for Syria or Iraq. Those mandates provided for Arab political rights for development of Arab states and self rule. Arabs were granted no political rights under the Mandate for Palestine because the area was established for the reconstitution of the Jewish home. This was affirmative action for the Jewish people. Jewish, not Arab rights, were entrenched for the settlement and development by the Jewish people. Arabs retained what civil and religious rights they had under Ottoman and British rule.

            Now you may argue that this affirmative rights international law of the 1920s was unfair to the Arab people living in the various parts of the Ottoman Empire which the British delineated as Mandate Palestine, but the Mandate was valid international law and the rights of the Jewish people can not be simply discarded because you do not like what the international community legally did nearly 100 years ago.

            Reply to Comment
          • You are kidding, right?

            Whiplash: “One cannot colonize territory which was set aside for one’s own close settlement and development and the reconstitution of the Jewish Home.”

            You miss (deliberately, I suspect) the important distinction: a “Jewish home” is for “Jews”, but the “occupying power” is…. “Israel”, not “the World Wide Jewry”.

            Get it?

            ISRAEL is the occupying power, ergo, ISRAEL is unconditionally prohibited from colonizing and ISRAELI-occupied territory.

            That you claim that “the Jews” can do *this*, or that nothing prevents “the Jews” from doing *that* is irrelevant to the above point.

            Israel is not “the Jews”.
            “the Jews” is not Israel.

            You can keep arguing that these are “Jewish close settlements” until you are blue in the face, and your argument falls to the ground every time I reply (correctly) that there are **also** “Israeli colonies”.

            Which they are, and which makes them illegal.

            Reply to Comment
          • Whiplash

            “Israel is not “the Jews”.
            “the Jews” is not Israel.”

            In matters of the lands of Mandate Palestine Israel speaks for the Jews. Article 4 of the Mandate of Palestine appointed a Jewish agency to speak and act for the Jews in the close settlement and development of the land and with respect to self governing institutions and participating in political, administrative and economic matters to secure the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home.

            The Jewish Agency became a shadow government to the British Administration and when the Jewish people declared independence the Jewish Agency became the government of Israel and exercised all functions which the Jewish Agency exercised including speaking for Jews in all matters concerning the lands belonging to the Jews.

            The state of Israel speaks for and governs the lands and communities of Ariel and Maale Adumim as much as for the communities of Netanya and Askhelon.

            In 1949 Israel signed an armistice agreement with preserved its rights (the rights of the people of the Jewish Nation) to advance its claims of ownership as sovereign of all of Mandate Palestine. At law Jordan having renounced its claims against the West Bank, Israel is the only sovereign power with a claim of ownership of the land.

            Israel can not colonize the land its claims as its own and the land which the international community itself set over to the Jewish community to settle and develop to reconstitute their national home.

            Reply to Comment
          • You are kidding, right?

            Whippie: “In matters of the lands of Mandate Palestine Israel speaks for the Jews.”

            No, that was the MANDATORY power, and upon independence Israel could “speak for” only the Israelis.

            No-one else, because like all sovereign states Israel can speak only for its own citizens.

            You know…. “Israelis”.

            Whippie: “Article 4 of the Mandate of Palestine appointed a Jewish agency to”…

            ….advise the Mandatory power, not to act in place of that Mandatory power.

            It said so in Article 4: “a public body for the purpose of advising and co-operating with the Administration of Palestine”

            Whippie: “The Jewish Agency became a shadow government to the British Administration and when the Jewish people declared independence the Jewish Agency became the government of Israel and exercised all functions which the Jewish Agency exercised”….

            ….which was nothing. Nothing at all.

            It said so, in Article 4: “subject always to the control of the Administration to assist and take part in the development of the country”

            Get it?

            The Jewish Agency HAD NO POWER under the Mandate, and so it is nonsense for you to claim – as you are – that upon independence Israel “exercised all functions which the Jewish Agency exercised”.

            The Jewish Agency Had No Function Under The Mandate Other Than To Advise The Mandatory.

            It said so, in black and white, in the very Article 4 that you claim made the Jewish Agency supreme.

            Honestly, you are talking utter nonsense.

            Reply to Comment
    4. Josh

      ” Jewish people have both a legal and moral right to reside in any part of Jerusalem or Judea and Samaria. ”

      No, they haven’t. Only in your fact resistant right winger occupation loving world.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Whiplash:

      You should make things simple both for you and us.

      You should state that according to you the Jewish People have the right to settle the entire area once referred to as ‘Mandate Palestine’ (and perhaps more besides that) and that no one else has that right, being the descendants of ‘occupiers’ of Jewish land. That is what you believe.

      No amount of legal wrangling, Peel commissions, distorted UN positions etc etc that you so love helps making that position clear.

      If we better understand your position with great clarity and minus the obfuscation, smoke screens and other distractions you constantly throw up, we’ll at last know 100 % were you come from.

      Since as you seem to love ‘legal’ argument, support or start a a Jewish Israeli political party that will ‘legally’ declare what I wrote in my second paragraph to be ‘legally’ true and be done with it. Pass that ‘Law’, period.

      Reply to Comment
      • Whiplash

        Let me make it clear that Israelis and Jews do not have the right to settle anywhere in what was Mandate Palestine. Jews do not have the right to settle and develop Arab occupied private land. If an Arab in Judea and Samaria has legal title and has not allowed the land to revert to public or waste land, then Israelis and Jews have no right to settle or develop the land. This was the law adopted from Ottoman law by both British and Israeli governments and upheld by the courts of Israel.

        My personal opinion is that even though the Jewish people have a legal and moral right of settlement, this does not mean that they should settle and develop every last bit of public or waste land in Judea and Samaria without in good faith attempting to find a compromise which would allow all Jews and Arabs to live in peace and share the land. No Jew and no Arab should be forced to leave his home in the West Bank or Judea and Samaria even if it means that some Jews would live in Jewish communities ceded to the Arab state in the West Bank under Arab rule and law and some Arabs would continue to live under Israeli rule and law. There would be two states for two people without either state being made void of Arabs or Jews.

        If a solution is not at hand then the Jews while continue to build, settle and develop Judea and Samaria according to their economic needs and natural growth. The Palestinians will still continue to build on lands in their areas under their administrative control in areas “A” and “B”.

        The longer the Palestinians avoid a pragmatic approach to the solution of the conflict, the longer they will do without a state of their own.

        Reply to Comment
        • David

          Whiplash – You spew forth nothing but bafflegab.

          To wit:

          (A) Security Council Resolution 446 (22 March 1979) “[Affirms] once more that the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 is applicable to the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem,

          “1. Determines that the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East;..”

          (B) Security Council Resolution 465 (1 March 1980) “determines that all measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, or any part thereof, have no legal validity…”

          (C) In accordance with the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, ratified by Israel, and further underscoring the illegality of the settlements, Part 2, Article 8, section B, paragraph viii of the Rome Statute of the International Court (1998) defines “the transfer directly or indirectly by the Occupying power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” as a War Crime, indictable by the International Criminal Court.

          (D) On 24 February 2004, the U.S. State Department reaffirmed its earlier position in a report entitled Israel and the Occupied Territories, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: “Israel occupied the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights after the 1967 War…. The international community does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over any part of the occupied territories.”

          (E) In its 2004 ruling, the International Court of Justice, the only international court with authority to do so, ruled that “No territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force shall be recognized as legal.” The World Court denoted this principle a “corollary” of the U.N. Charter and as such “customary international law” and a “customary rule” binding on all member States of the United Nations.

          Israel’s 1980 annexation of East Jerusalem was unanimously rejected by the UNSC in Resolutions 476 and 478.

          Israel’s 1981 annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights was unanimously declared “null and void” by the UNSC in Resolution 497.

          As an article published in the New York Times (10 March 2006) revealed, the government of Levi Eshkol knew from the very beginning that the establishment of settlements in lands Israel invaded and occupied during the 1967 war was illegal:

          “The legal counsel of the Foreign Ministry, Theodor Meron, was asked whether international law allowed settlement in the newly conquered land. In a memo marked ‘Top Secret,’ Meron wrote unequivocally: ‘My conclusion is that civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.’”

          Furthermore, the Gaza Strip is still belligerently and illegally occupied by Israel and has been since June, 1967:

          To quote the independent and respected human rights organization Human Rights Watch regarding Israel’s so called “withdrawal” from the Gaza Strip completed in 2005: “…Israel will continue to be an Occupying Power [of the Gaza Strip] under internatio­nal law and bound by the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention because it will retain effective control over the territory and over crucial aspects of civilian life. Israel will not be withdrawin­g and handing power over to a sovereign authority – indeed, the word ‘withdrawa­l’ does not appear in the [2005 disengagem­ent] document at all… The IDF will retain control over Gaza’s borders, coastline, and airspace, and will reserve the right to enter Gaza at will. According to the Hague Regulation­s, ‘A territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised’­. Internatio­nal jurisprude­nce has clarified that the mere reposition­ing of troops is not sufficient to relieve an occupier of its responsibilities if it retains its overall authority and the ability to reassert direct control at will.”

          In effect, by controlling its entrances, exits, air space and sea access, Israel has turned the Gaza Strip into the world’s largest outdoor prison. As Britain’s PM David Cameron put it: “[The Gaza Strip] is a prison camp.”

          Reply to Comment
          • Whiplash

            You could quote UN resolutions against Israel for days, there are hundreds of them produced by a grouping of hostile member states. These are political statements without meaning in international law.

            A reading of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 (section 49) and the 1958 commentaries on transfers of civilian populations tells us that the conventions apply to forcible transfers of civilian populations in and out of countries of high contracting parties. The Conventions do not apply to the Israeli situation.

            First of all the convention does not apply in the case where there are not two high contracting parties as is the case here.

            Second, Israel has not transferred by force or otherwise its civilian population into Gaza or the West Bank. Israeli Jews re-established Jewish communities in lands where Jews had lived for thousands of years. They voluntarily moved of their own desires and in the 1970s in defiance of the Israeli government.

            Adding the word “indirectly” to the Rome Statute does not change the intention of the Geneva Conventions on transfer of populations. The argument that offering a financial incentive to people who live in Judea and Samaria is the same as the forcible transfer of populations as exercised by the Germans in Japanese is ludicrous. Governments all over the world offer tax breaks and subsidies to its people without such breaks or subsidies constituting a forcible transfer of the population. For instance the governments of Canada and its provinces all offer northern living allowances, tax breaks, relocation and housing subsidies for living in Northern Canada. This does not mean that Canada and the provinces are colonizing or making a forcible transfer of population from the south to the North.

            As for the Kangaroo court in 2004, Israel did not acquire Judea and Samaria by force, Israel liberated the areas, Israel already claimed sovereignty over the area. Since 1967 Israel and Jews have exercised their rights granted to them under the Mandate for Palestine.

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          • You are kidding, right?

            Whippie: ” the conventions apply to forcible transfers of civilian populations in and out of countries of high contracting parties”

            Demonstrably untrue.

            Art49: “Individual or mass FORCIBLE TRANSFERS, as well as deportations of protected persons FROM occupied territory TO the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.”

            So you can’t FORCE the occupied out of an occupied territory.

            Art 49: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or TRANSFER parts of its own civilian population INTO the territory it occupies.”

            Oh, look, the word “forcible” isn’t there!!!!

            So Art 49 does not care if your colonization is happening “forcibly”, “voluntarily” or “oops, it just kinda’ happens by accident!”.

            All are “transfer”, and that’s what is prohibited (i.e. colonization is unconditionally prohibition).

            Which all makes sense in a light of a convention that is supposed to protect the civilians, not aid a rapacious occupier.

            After all, if the occupied **want** to leave an occupied territory then why would GCIV want to stop them?

            Answer: it wouldn’t, so it doesn’t.

            Equally, if the occupier **wants** to colonize an occupied territory then why would GCIV want to leave them a loophole?

            Answer: it wouldn’t, so it doesn’t.

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          • andrew r

            Second, Israel has not transferred by force or otherwise its civilian population into Gaza or the West Bank.

            Did you even read the 1958 commentary on this issue? The transfer of the occupying power’s civilian population into occupied territory is prohibited because of its effect on the protected persons.

            “It is intended to prevent a practice adopted during the Second World War by certain Powers, which transferred portions of their own population to occupied territory for political and racial reasons or in order, as they claimed, to colonize those territories. Such transfers worsened the economic situation of the native population and endangered their separate existence as a race.”

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    6. David:

      You’re wasting your time here with Whiplash. His views are entirely based on what he believes and what he wants. They have no basis in how things actually are or work.

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    7. You are kidding, right?

      Whiplash: “One might also note that International Court of Justice”…

      Oh, please, spare me.

      All the ICJ said was that a Mandate didn’t just automatically dissolve merely because the League of Nations dissolved.

      Quite right too; Mandates had to be brought to an end.

      But that has nothing to do with your argument, which is your precious “national rights” CAN NOT be extinguished; they are forever inviolate and eternal courtesy of Article 80 of the UN Charter.

      Except that Article 80 said no such thing.

      It said only what it said: there were no hidden Gotcha!’s in the transfer of a LoN Mandate to a UN Trustee.

      No h.i.d.d.e.n. stripping of rights, no s.e.c.r.e.t. handshakes between Mandatory and Trustee.

      If anyone is going to be disadvantaged by that transfer then that has to be out in the open (“Except as may be agreed upon in individual trusteeship agreements”), nothing must be done behind closed-doors.

      That’s ALL that Article 80 said, and so that ALL that Article 80 meant.

      Honestly, dude, read the damn Chapter XII for yourself, don’t just rent out your brain to a long-dead Zionist lawyer.

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    8. As we always suspected, the IDF is aiding and abetting illegal land theft by Zionist extremists. Its a US-made AR 15, which means this policy is approved by Obama.

      Exporters of weapons can choose to insist on end-user certificates or they can choose to allow their products to fall into the hands of non-state actors. If you do this you are a sponsor of terrorism. Both Obama and Netanyahu are in this category. We can say this. If you sponsor terrorism you can’t also be promoting peace – no one trusts you.

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