Friday June 9 Magazine Section: “Law versus Reality“
The left in Israel, represented by lawyers such as Michael Sfard, regard the “occupation” of the West Bank as an original sin of colonial Israel and like most of Israel’s enemies in Europe and elsewhere wish for Israel to withdraw and give it “back” to the native inhabitants, the Arabs. This view argues that the Israeli settlements are illegal, consistent with the view of most other countries in the world and the UN.
The right, as represented by such international lawyers as Alan Baker, a former legal adviser to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, tend to take the view that Israel inherited sovereignty of the West Bank from the previous rulers Turkey and the British Mandate, and that Israel has unilaterally not “reabsorbed” the West Bank pending some kind of negotiated deal with the Palestinians. This view argues that the sovereignty of the area has not been changed since the treaties that ended WWI, and that Israel has a perfectly legitimate claim to the whole area and therefore that Israeli settlements are legal.
Of the two opposing views I favor the latter. It seems to me that international law trumps national law, even rulings by the Supreme Court, that in any case deal with mostly details of specific cases (such as the ownership of private land) and are also biased by the overwhelmingly liberal-leftist make-up of the majority of Supreme Court Justices. Incidentally, unlike the US or elsewhere, the Supreme Court Justices in Israel choose their own successors, which makes for a very unhealthy permanent bias. Of course, I am not a lawyer, but this article “Law versus Reality,” can be dismissed as a collection of opinions and Supreme Court decisions that add up to very little.
Who gets sovereignty of Judea and Samaria will depend on historical events, such as future potential negotiations. I hope that something happens that will help to determine this during the course of the current Trump Administration.
Jack S. Cohen, Netanya
Sunday June 12, “Hear hear“
Sir: I strongly support the PM’s call to disband UNRWA (Netanyahu calls to disband UNRWA… June 12, 2017). This organization perpetuates the Palestinian problem by giving the Palestinians a welfare state from cradle to grave, funded through the UN largely by US taxpayer money.
The fiction that the Palestinians are “refugees” is abetted by the definition used by UNRWA that is unique in the world that includes all descendants of refugees, that is contrary to accepted international law. Also, a refugee is one who has left his country, while most of the Palestinians still live within the borders of Mandatory Palestine (including the PA and Jordan) and consequently are NOT refugees.
In addition, over time, UNRWA has become an almost wholly owned subsidiary of various Palestinian organizations, including Hamas in Gaza. This was recently shown by the discovery of tunnels running from UNRWA-run schools, apart from the fact that UNRWA personnel include Hamas operatives.
There can be no “solution” to the current stalemate unless significant changes are made in the status quo, and one of these must be the disbanding of UNRWA, which is part of the institutional anti-Israel bias at the UN which has been criticized strongly by US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.
Yours, Ya’akov ben Meir (aka Jack S. Cohen) Netanya