INTERNATIONAL LAW AND THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
What is the REAL international legal status of Yehuda and Shomron? Is or is not Israel's occupation of the West Bank illegal by international law !? Judea and Shomron were taken from Jordan in the 1967 war, after it attacked Israel, together with Syria and Egypt , and since occupied by Israel (today partly). The basic precept of international law concerning the right of a state victim of aggression, which has lawfully occupied the attacking state's territory in the course of self defense, is clear. And it is still international law after the Charter, which gave to the UN General Assembly no power to amend this law. This precept is that a lawful occupant such as Israel in 1967 is entitled to remain in control of the territory involved pending negotiation of a treaty of peace. These territories were never the land of Palestinians neither were they legally ruled by Jordan ( only two states in the whole world recognized Jordan's right). So the right status of Judea and Shomron is "disputed territories" and not Palestinian territories, until arrangements acceptable to Israel, which was the state victim of Arab aggression, are reached in a peace treaty .
More on this subject can be found at here
Letter to Ha'aretz newspaper on the Territories and International Law:
Letter for publication
Sub: Settlements and International Law (Moshe Gorali: "Legality is in the Eye of the Beholder" - 7 October)
Moshe Gorali's article "Legality is in the Eye of the Beholder" (7 October) buries the straightforward international law relating to the settlements in unnecessary complexity.
As Gorali notes, the current assertion that the settlements are illegal is based on the paragraph (6) of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which provides that "The occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into territory it occupies." However under Article 2, the Convention applies only "to cases of . occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party, by another such Party". The result is that, since the Territories do not belong to any other sovereign state, Israel is not an occupying Power within the meaning of the Convention, which simply does not apply.
It is also significant that the aim of the Fourth Geneva Convention is to provide humanitarian protection in occupied territory. Article 49 contributes to this aim by outlawing the forceful deportation or transfer of unwilling populations. This does not apply to the settlements, and no other serious humanitarian consideration of the type contemplated by the Convention arises.
It follows that charges of illegality, inflated to "war crimes", levied against the settlements, are mere propaganda.
None of this implies any judgment about the advisability of the existing settlements, the future of which is in any case reserved for the final status negotiations under the Oslo Accords. Meanwhile future settlement activity is arguably governed by the interim power-sharing agreements under the Accords, which is another question altogether.
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