USA No Longer Considers Israel's Settlements As Illegal

Nov 22, 2019

"For you shall expand to the right and to the left, and your descendants will inherit the nations, and make the desolate cities inhabited." Isa. 54:3

USA NO LONGER CONSIDERS ISRAEL’S SETTLEMENTS AS ILLEGAL: Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo in an announcement on Mon.18 Nov. 2019 said that the Trump administration no longer views Israeli settlements in the West Bank [Judea & Samaria] as illegal. He explained that "USA public statements on Israeli settlement activities in Judea and Samaria have been inconsistent over decades. In 1978, the Carter administration categorically concluded that Israel's establishment of civilian settlements was inconsistent with international law. However, in 1981, President Reagan disagreed with that conclusion and stated that he didn't believe that the settlements were inherently illegal. After carefully studying all sides of the legal debate, this administration agrees with President Reagan. The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank [Judea & Samaria) is not inconsistent with international law. The conclusion is based on the unique facts, history, and circumstances presented by the establishment of civilian settlements in the West Bank [Judea & Samaria]. Calling the establishment of civilian settlements inconsistent with international law hasn't worked. It hasn't advanced the cause of peace. The hard truth is there will never be a judicial resolution to the conflict, and arguments about who is right and wrong as a matter of international law will not bring peace. This is a complex political problem that can only be solved by negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians." (JNN)

ISRAEL’S  RIGHTS IN JUDEA & SAMARIA ACCORDING TO INTERNATIONAL LAW: Israel's rights in the West Bank [Judea & Samaria] did not originate with the 1967 Six-Day War. The Balfour Declaration issued by the British government in 1917 acknowledged the indigenous presence and historic aspirations of the Jewish people to re-establish their historic national home in Palestine. The Balfour Declaration received international legal acknowledgment and validity in a series of instruments, commencing with the 1920 San Remo Conference and was subsequently approved by the Council of the League of Nations on 24 July 1922. Following the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel attained control of Judea and Samaria from Jordan. However, Jordan was not considered by the international community as having attained legitimate sovereign rights there following its 1950 unrecognized annexation of the areas. From the legal point of view, since there existed no legitimate sovereign power, the classic laws of occupation were not legally applicable. The Oslo Accords created a legal regime that overrides any other previously applicable legal framework. The parties agreed that this arrangement would remain valid pending the outcome of negotiations between them. Despite attempts by the international community, through nonbinding political statements and resolutions in the UN, to prejudge the outcome of the negotiations by claiming that the territories are "occupied Palestinian territories," there exists no such legally accepted determination. The writer, former legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, participated in the negotiation and drafting of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians, as well as agreements and peace treaties with Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon. (Tablet)

UNDERSTANDING ISRAEL’S SETTLEMENT ISSUES: Approximately 200,000 Israelis live in eastern Jerusalem. Located just outside of Jerusalem, Ma’aleh Adumim has a population of 37,817 and is the third-largest Jewish city in the West Bank, [Judea & Samaria] after Modi’in Illit, with 70,081 and Betar Illit, with a population of 54,557. Ariel, the fourth-largest settlement has a population of 19,626, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics’ 2017 database. On the Golan Heights, where Israel borders Syria, approximately 22,000 Israelis live alongside 26,000 Druze. In March 2019 President Donald Trump recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan, the first country to officially do so. There are approximately 130 settlements in Judea & Samaria, ranging from small villages of 100 people near Arab towns to the college town of Ariel with a population of 19,000 to the Haredi Orthodox enclave of Modiin Illit, located just across the boundary from Israel proper, which has 70,000 inhabitants. On the Golan Heights, where Israel borders Syria, approximately 22,000 Israelis live alongside 26,000 Druze. 

These Jewish communities include homes, schools, government buildings, shopping centers, and thriving businesses. Israel has long endured pressure from foes, and also from misinformed allies, who have insisted the Jewish state forgo even natural-growth construction towards meeting the need for additional schools, medical facilities, apartments, and shops in these populated areas. A complete construction halt has repeatedly been a public, or hidden, Palestinian Authority prerequisite for returning to peace negotiations with the Jewish state. The Palestinian hope behind this settlement-freeze demand is that Israelis will eventually agree to walk away from these thriving towns and neighborhoods and turn them over to their enemies in return for false peace. The Gaza Strip is an outstanding example of what happens when Israel and others fall for the lie of attaining peace with terrorist entities, who hate Israel and the West. The bad fruit resulting from the Gaza's “land for peace” deal has been unceasing Hamas terrorist rocket attacks, all manner of violence against Israel’s southern communities and years of Jewish work on homes and businesses obliterated. After the decision by the State Department to declare that Israeli settlements in the disputed territories of Judea & Samaria are not inherently illegal, the New York Times declared that this might "doom any peace efforts with Palestinians," as though there are any peace efforts with the Palestinians to doom right now or in the foreseeable future. For the past decade, the Palestinians have withdrawn from any realistic effort to forge a future for themselves in a land they might take as a state, and torpedoed negotiations when and if they ever got anywhere near a resolution. (JNN) Pray that Israel will be free to provide much-needed housing for its citizens and peruse its rights to expand long-standing, well established and thriving Jewish communities – despite international unmerited and lopsided disapproval

NETANYAHU: USA DECISION ON ISRAEL’S SETTLEMENTS CORRECTS HISTORICAL WRONGS: PM. Netanyahu on Mon. 18 Nov. 2019 lauded the USA's decision on Israel’s settlements: "The United States adopted an important policy that rights a historical wrong when the Trump administration clearly rejected the false claim that Israeli settlements in Judea & Samaria are inherently illegal under international law. This policy reflects a historical truth - that the Jewish people are not foreign colonialists in Judea & Samaria. In fact, we are called Jews because we are the people of Judea." Israel remains ready and willing to conduct peace negotiations with the Palestinians regarding all final status issues in an effort to achieve a durable peace but will continue to reject all arguments regarding the illegality of the settlements. Israel calls upon all responsible countries who hope to advance peace to adopt a similar position." Opposition Blue and White party chairman Benny Gantz likewise praised the USA's decision on settlements. "The fate of the settlements and the residents of Judea and Samaria should be determined by agreements that meet security requirements and that can promote a peace that will serve both sides while reflecting the reality on the ground."  (JNN)

TAKING THE “ILLEGAL” OUT OF “SETTLEMENTS” ALTERS THE PARAMETERS OF THE CONVERSATION:  Almost any time you read an article in the international media about the settlements, somewhere the term "illegal settlement" will appear. On Mon. 18 Nov. 2019 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that this is not the case, that the USA does not believe that the settlements are illegal. This alters the parameters of the conversation because the USA is a significant member of the international community and does not share that view. Decoupling the words "illegal" from "Israeli settlements" is now formal USA policy. (J. Post)

SUMMARY OF ISRAEL'S HISTORICAL RIGHTS TO THE LAND: Palestinian claims to sovereignty over portions of Israel, and particularly over Jerusalem, are illegitimate not only in light of biblical history but in light of centuries of history. Jewish identification with the land of Israel goes back almost 4,000 years to the time when God told Abraham to leave his homeland of Ur and go "to the land that I will show you" (Gen 12:1). Israel became a nation 2,000 years before the rise of Islam in the seventh century BC  and has had a continual presence in the Holy Land for many centuries. The on-going, undercurrent of insistence that Jerusalem must be the capital of an independent Palestinian state, even in light of USA Donald Trump's recent recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is especially ludicrous. Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital since the time of King David. Even when Jordan occupied Jerusalem, it never sought to make it their capital. Jerusalem is mentioned hundreds of times in the Hebrew Scriptures, but not once in the Koran. Mohammed never visited Jerusalem. The holy city is the rightful capital of the Jewish State. (JNN) “All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.” Gen. 13:15

ISRAEL CAN NEVER ABANDON ITS SETTLEMENTS -  NEVER RETURN TO THE PRE-1967 BORDERS: In spite of decades of false Palestinian hopes and demands that Israel will return to its pre-1967 borders which would include a divided Jerusalem and giving up its flourishing settlements for a false peace, Israel can never enter into that kind of agreement. It would leave the center of the country a mere nine miles wide and its borders indefensible. The Jewish State could be cut in two by an Arab tank charge in just minutes. Arab forces would be positioned all along Israel’s eastern border, including the areas that contain the greatest concentration of Israel’s population, including Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa. Israel would be stripped of its protective Judea-Samaria mountain ranges. USA Lieut.-General Thomas Kelly, director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Gulf War pointed out that Israel would be virtually indefensible without those mountainous areas.  An Israeli retreat to the pre-1967 borders would also include the re-division of Jerusalem. The Arabs would gain control of the Old City section of Jerusalem (known as “East Jerusalem”), which includes the holiest sites in Judaism, the Temple Mount, and the Western Wall. That area also includes the historic Jewish Quarter and the Mount of Olives cemetery, which is the oldest Jewish cemetery in the world. An Israeli retreat to the indefensible pre-1967 borders would encourage further Arab attacks and lead to an all-out war. (JNN) “Never again will an oppressor overrun my people, for now I am keeping watch.” Zech. 9:8

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The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made by JNN writers and editors are based on the best information received.

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Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff 

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