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Sunday, June 28, 2009

An historical defense of Jewish 'settlements' in Judea and Samaria

At the outset, I must say that we need another word for 'settlements.' My problem is that the word 'settlements' has a connotation of being temporary and not permanent. It's the same problem I have with the word 'settler,' which I almost never use at all (and even then generally I don't use it without scare quotes). Instead of 'settler,' I use the word "revenant," which means one who has returned to his former land. This op-ed comes from the guy who taught me the word "revenant."
Some have questioned why Jews should be allowed to resettle areas in which they didn't live in the years preceding the 1967 war, areas that were almost empty of Jews before 1948 as well. But why didn't Jews live in the area at that time? Quite simple: They had been the victims of a three-decades-long ethnic cleansing project that started in 1920, when an Arab attack wiped out a small Jewish farm at Tel Hai in Upper Galilee and was followed by attacks in Jerusalem and, in 1921, in Jaffa and Jerusalem.

In 1929, Hebron's centuries-old Jewish population was expelled as a result of an Arab pogrom that killed almost 70 Jews. Jews that year removed themselves from Gaza, Nablus and Jenin. The return of my family to Shiloh -- and of other Jews to more than 150 other communities over the Green Line since 1967 -- is not solely a throwback to claimed biblical rights. Nor is it solely to assert our right to return to areas that were Jewish-populated in the 20th century until Arab violence drove them away. We have returned under a clear fulfillment of international law. There can be no doubt as to the legality of the act of my residency in Shiloh.

I am a revenant -- one who has returned after a long absence to ancestral lands. The Supreme Council of the League of Nations adopted principles following the 1920 San Remo Conference aimed at bringing about the "reconstitution" of a Jewish National Home. Article 6 of those principles reads: "The administration of Palestine ... shall encourage ... close settlement by Jews on the land, including state lands and waste lands." That "land" was originally delineated to include all of what is today Jordan as well as all the territory west of the Jordan River.

In 1923, Britain created a new political entity, Transjordan, and suspended the right of Jews to live east of the Jordan River. But the region in which I now live was intended to be part of the Jewish National Home. Then, in a historical irony, a Saudi Arabian refugee, Abdallah, fleeing the Wahabis, was afforded the opportunity to establish an Arab kingdom where none had existed previously -- only Jews. As a result, in an area where prophets and priests fashioned the most humanist and moral religion and culture on Earth, Jews are now termed "illegals."

Many people insist that settlements are illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention. But that convention does not apply to Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza district. Its second clause makes it clear that it deals with the occupation of "the territory of a high contracting party." Judea and Samaria and Gaza, which Israel gained control of in 1967, were not territories of a "high contracting party." Jewish historical rights that the mandate had recognized were not canceled, and no new sovereign ever took over in Judea and Samaria or in Gaza.
Read the whole thing.


At 10:56 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The same Left that attacks Jews for living in Yesha is the same Left that has no problems with Arabs living in pre-67 Israel. So the real issue isn't that Arabs can live among Jews - the real issue is that Jews can't live among Arabs. Not one critic of Israel has ever shown how a single Jew living in Yesha has ever harmed a single Arab. There is no basis for the claim the existence of the revanants are illegal.

At 6:16 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

look at the subcontinent for example.
10% of India is muslim. Pakistan is Hindurein

At 6:16 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

look at the subcontinent for example.
10% of India is muslim. Pakistan is Hindurein

At 9:02 PM, Blogger YMedad said...

A term for "settlements" is less of a problem than finding a substitute for the term "settling".

One can use "communities", "residential locations", "towns and villages" and a May 1 NYTimes editorial I found used "developments" instead of east Jerusalem neighborhoods.

But the act of__________ instead of "settling" has me stumped.


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