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Israel's Ambassador to Dublin claims settlements aren't illegal and there is no occupation


Gary Spedding

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Mar 15, 2012
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In a recent article published by the Israeli Embassy in Dublin Boaz Modai asked the Question: What's the problem with Israel's Settlements.

There are 32,711 apartments and 22,997 private homes, 187 shopping centres and 321 sports facilities, 127 synagogues, 344 kindergartens and 211 schools... at first sight, humdrum civilian infrastructure, but, in the eyes of some, as big a threat to world peace as Syria's civil war or Iran's nuclear weapons programme.

At least, some seem convinced that these structures – the sum total of the Jewish towns and villages built between 1975 and 1998 in Judea and Samaria – are 'illegal under international law'. In case readers were in any doubt, they were told this no less than nine times in a six-page spread in last Sunday's Business Post.

The 350,000 Jewish inhabitants of Judea and Samaria make up 12 per cent of its population; their communities occupy about 2 per cent of its area. They are all located in Area C, the otherwise largely uninhabited part of the region which, under the Oslo Accords, remains under Israeli control and which also contains 4 per cent of its Palestinian Arab population. The case against them boils down to three arguments: firstly, that it violates international law for Jews to live in Judea and Samaria; secondly, that their presence disrupts and impoverishes the lives of their Palestinian Arab neighbours; thirdly, that their presence prevents the emergence of an independent Palestinian state living alongside Israel.

History and current reality contradict these assertions. After World War 1, the League of Nations stipulated the right of the Jewish people to settle in their ancestral homeland, the lands of Palestine taken from the Turkish Empire and entrusted to Great Britain in the San Remo Treaty. In 1922, the British revoked this right in the area that later became Jordan, but the right of Jews to live anywhere west of the Jordan river has never been revoked. Only between 1948 and 1967, after Jordanian forces had occupied the territory and expelled all its Jewish inhabitants, were Jews prevented from live in Judea and Samaria.

So whence the allegation of 'illegality'? Its chief support is a certain interpretation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the World War 2 practice of forcible transfer of people of one state to the territory of another state that it has occupied as a result of a war. This interpretation fails on two grounds. Firstly, Jews moving to Judea and Samaria do so voluntarily – often moving back to pre-1948 Jewish community sites such as Neve Yaakov, Gush Etzion, Hebron and Kfar Darom destroyed by massacre or expulsion. Neither are Arab Palestinians being displaced to make way for Jews – the majority of the 'settlements' are in otherwise uninhabited areas. Secondly, the lands occupied in the 1967 war of self-defence forced upon Israel were not part of another state: they were taken from Jordan and Egypt, neither of which had ever been recognised by the international community as the sovereign authority there.

True, the UN has branded the Jewish communities illegal. But the 'UN' in this case means the General Assembly, with its notoriously automatic anti-Israel majority of Islamic and 'non-aligned' states, or the UN Human Rights Commission, dominated by states with poor human rights records (it elected Gaddafi's Libya to membership in 2010), 48 per cent of whose human rights resolutions between 2006 and 2010 singled out Israel, alone in the world, for condemnation.

Does the existence of the Jewish communities disimprove the lives of the Palestinian Arab inhabitants? On the contrary, latest figures show 24,660 Arab employees working in these communities (still short of the numbers seen before the Second Intifada). According to Palestinian data, their average daily wage is double the average for the area as a whole. The potential damage of a boycott campaign to the Palestinian economy should be obvious.

It is true that the security needs of the Jewish communities result in disruption of normal civilian life, though the number of ro******************************************s and checkpoints has been reduced dramatically. Unfortunately, the presence of terrorists who wish to kill Jews – as happened at Itamar in 2011 when two parents and three of their young children were slaughtered with knives – makes them necessary.

It should be borne in mind that, since 1967, the Israeli 'occupation' of this disputed land has brought with it enormous improvements in the life quality of the Arab population. Life expectancy rose from 48 to 75.24 years, infant mortality fell from 60 to 14.47 per 1,000 births (compare Turkey with 24.8 and Egypt with 26.2) and the number of universities rose from 1 to 7.

Finally, it cannot be emphasized enough that the real obstacle to a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians is not the existence of the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria but the continued refusal of the Palestinian leadership to engage in negotiations in which the future of these communities – whether they will be part of the Jewish state of Israel or will be a Jewish minority in a new independent Palestinian Arab state (as Arabs make up a 20 per cent minority in Israel) – can be decided along with other final status issues.

BOAZ MODAI is Israel's ambassador to Ireland
'Settlements': the Ambassador replies
 

NewGoldDream

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The Zionist policy of Anschluss is despicable.
The need for some posters to associate Israels actions with the Nazis is despicable.

One can criticise Israel and not have this pressing urge to dig up Hitler.
 

former wesleyan

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The need for some posters to associate Israels actions with the Nazis is despicable.

One can criticise Israel and not have this pressing urge to dig up Hitler.
Correct. This particular piece of nastiness was insinuated into the debate by a couple of Cold War era Soviet writers after it became clear that the military prowess of their client states in the Middle East wasn't what they'd hope it'd be and they decided to wage a propagada war instead.
 

TheMushyStuff

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No surprise there except everyone is calling the settlements illegal including the USA.
 

drummed

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Gary alert!!!!!!!! 24 similar threads looming in the next 24 hours.
 

louis bernard

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The need for some posters to associate Israels actions with the Nazis is despicable.

One can criticise Israel and not have this pressing urge to dig up Hitler.
I agree, as much as I despise the way that the cowardly state of Israel maltreats Palestinians, ignores UN resolutions and touts itself as the “0nly democracy in the Middle East” (democracy for some). To equate them to Nazis is just plain silly. If the Nazis had prevailed there would be no state of Israel because there would have been no Jews to populate it. the Nazi aim was to eliminate world Jewry.
 

mary_queen_of_the_gael

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Israel tramples on Irish neutrality just as it tramples on the Palestinians. I see these savages bombed Sudan a few days ago.

This despicable ambassador (whose embassy has no respect for diplomatic protocol) calls the the Occupied Territories by their Biblical names. He justifies theft, ethnic cleansing and the other crimes of the rogue state he represents.
 

Andy4571

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Israel tramples on Irish neutrality just as it tramples on the Palestinians. I see these savages bombed Sudan a few days ago.

This despicable ambassador (whose embassy has no respect for diplomatic protocol) calls the the Occupied Territories by their Biblical names. He justifies theft, ethnic cleansing and the other crimes of the rogue state he represents.
You talking about the war criminal Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir?
 

devnull

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... If the Nazis had prevailed there would be no state of Israel because there would have been no Jews to populate it. the Nazi aim was to eliminate world Jewry.
Maybe and maybe not.
Extermination was only adopted as a policy by the Nazis in the 1940s. In the 1930s, their plan was to eventually deport Germany's Jews out of Europe - it's well known that Madagascar was seriously considered as a destination, but less well-known that modern day Israel also was.
Adolf Eichmann was sent to Palestine in 1937 to investigate the possibility and there were even some discussions between the Nazis and Haganah on the subject.
 

Levellers

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The need for some posters to associate Israels actions with the Nazis is despicable.

One can criticise Israel and not have this pressing urge to dig up Hitler.
Let’s have a look at the similarities.

Land grabbing; collective punishment; racism; state murder; torture; attacking neighbouring countries; the big lie; etcetera.
 

Clanrickard

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louis bernard

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Maybe and maybe not.
Extermination was only adopted as a policy by the Nazis in the 1940s. In the 1930s, their plan was to eventually deport Germany's Jews out of Europe - it's well known that Madagascar was seriously considered as a destination, but less well-known that modern day Israel also was.
Adolf Eichmann was sent to Palestine in 1937 to investigate the possibility and there were even some discussions between the Nazis and Haganah on the subject.
‘nuff said, anyway the rest is academic at this stage.
 

NewGoldDream

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Land grabbing; collective punishment; racism; state murder; torture; attacking neighbouring countries; the big lie; etcetera.
Ah.

Trying to think of the country or nation that cannot be labelled Nazis for some incident in their history.

So we have the British, they were Nazis. And the Belgians. Nazis in the Congo. France. A country of Nazis. Italy. Well they were in with the Nazis, but Nazis in their own right. America? The land of the Nazis. And so on and so forth. I might give Canada and Iceland a break.

It makes a mockery of the Nazi tag. "They lie, they are belligerent and they are racists"
 

poochiem

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It's been a tough couple of weeks for the ambassador. The poll which showed his countrymen and women are happy to have Israel labelled apartheid and wish for more stringent apartheid laws then the ANC leader explaining that Israeli apartheid is far worse than anything that happened in South Africa. There's a rumour his infamous wife is going to appear on TV3, which will also have them sweating back in Tel Aviv.
 

dent

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How can they hope to change public opinion with an ambassador spouting complete and utter lies ? They're doing themselves absolutely no favours.
 

brughahaha

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What a devious little liar the ambassador is

"1.8 Million of the Palestinians are forced to live on a mere 18% of the West Bank whilst 500,000 settlers have almost free reign of up to 60% (Area C) of the territory."

Not quite the 2% the ambassador claims and tells you all you need to know about the 'lebensraum' nature of the occupation
 
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