Netanyahu ok's settlement expansion despite US displeasure

Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister, has approved the construction of hundreds of new homes in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem despite statements by the U.S. government, including many by President Obama, that settlements are an obstacle to peace.

This BBC News video with Paul Wood aired on the BBC September 7th gives a good summary of situation.

There are approximately 500,000 Israelis living on settlements in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem.  All settlements are illegal according to international law and no country, with the exception of Micronesia and Israel itself, view it otherwise.  

Israel does not recognize the West Bank and east J’lem as occupied, but the majority of the international community, including the United States continue to hold both the territories as occupied and should be afforded the protections under the Geneva Conventions and other international bodies of law.

Under international law, an occupying power cannot transfer it’s population into territory it is occupying or change the demography unless it is for the benefit of the population being temporarily occupied. Some say that the Israeli gov’t (GOI) is not transferring it’s population; the population is voluntarily moving there so this argument is mute.  This is disingenuous though as east J’lem and the West Bank are considered occupied territory and the GOI provides infrastructure and military support for the settlements to exist.  Without government subsidies, support and encouragement, the settlements would not exist, nor would the growth continue at such a rate.

This McClatchy created graphic shows the expansion of settlements since the 1960's.

This McClatchy created graphic shows the expansion of settlements since the 1960

Although the current U.S. position supported by President Obama calling for a freeze on settlement expansion including so-called ‘natural growth’ is considered ‘unreasonable’ by some, it actually doesn’t go far enough.

The GOI has been changing the demography and encouraging settlement of east J’lem and the West Bank for over 40 years against international law.  Obama is simply asking Israel to cease illegal activity.  The GOI should not only halt construction, but begin implementing removal of all illegal settlers from occupied territory since all settlements and outposts are illegal, including those in east J’lem and compensate those Palestinians displaced or forced from their homes due to home demolitions or evictions.

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14 thoughts on “Netanyahu ok's settlement expansion despite US displeasure

  1. http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp?D

    "U.S. Policy on Israeli Settlements"
    Dr. Dore Gold, (Israel's ambassador to the UN in 1997-99)

    "Israel's entry into the West Bank, in particular, created a number of legal dilemmas that would ultimately impinge on how the legal question of settlements was examined. Israel entered the West Bank in a war of self-defense, so that the UN Security Council did not call on Israel to withdraw from all the territory that it captured, when it adopted UN Security Council Resolution 242 in November 1967. The previous occupant in the West Bank from 1949 to 1967 had been the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, whose sovereignty in the territory the entire international community refused to recognize – except for Britain and Pakistan. Prior to 1949, the governing document for legal rights in the West Bank was the 1922 Palestine Mandate, which gave international recognition to Jewish legal rights.

    U.S. officials were cognizant of these considerations. Eugene Rostow, a former dean of Yale Law School who was also Undersecretary of State in the Johnson years, would write years later that "Israel has an unassailable legal right to establish settlements in the West Bank." He argued that Israel's claims to the territory were "at least as good as those of Jordan." Prof. Stephen Schwebel, who would become the State Department legal advisor and subsequently the President of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, went a step further when he wrote in 1970 that "Israel has better title in the territory of what was Palestine, including the whole of Jerusalem, than do Jordan and Egypt." On July 29, 1977, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance stated that "it is an open question as to who has legal right to the West Bank."

    In the late 1960s, the Johnson administration was critical of Israeli settlement activity, but did not characterize the settlements as illegal. It was not until the Carter administration that the State Department Legal Advisor, Herbert Hansell, expressed the view that the settlements violated international law. The Carter policy was reversed by all of his sucssessors. Thus, President Ronald Reagan declared on February 2, 1981, that the settlements were "not illegal." He criticized them on policy grounds, calling them "ill-advised" and "proactive."

    The question about the legality of settlements came from how various legal authorities interpret the applicability of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention relative to civilian persons in times of war. Article 49 of the convention clearly prohibits "mass forcible transfers" of protected persons from occupied territories. Later in the article, it states that "the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies." American interpretations of this article maintained that it referred to forcible deportations that were practiced by the Nazis and not to Israeli settlement activity. During the Bush (41) administration, the U.S. ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Morris Abram, explained that he had been on the U.S. staff during the Nuremberg trials and was hence familiar with the "legislative intent" behind the Fourth Geneva Convention. He stated on February 1, 1990, that it applied to forcible transfers and not to the case of Israeli settlements.

    It should be added that in the Israeli legal community, charging that settlement activity could be comparable to the forcible evictions by the Nazis during the Second World War was regarded as extremely offensive. When Israel had to vote on whether it accepted the Rome Statute creating the International Criminal Court, the head of its delegation, Judge Eli Natan, explained that while it gave him great pain to vote against the creation of the court, Israel could not vote for a politicized statute that defined settlement activity among the "most heinous and serious war crimes." For Natan, who was himself a Holocaust survivor, as well as for his team, this was a vulgar charge. The U.S. stood with Israel against these abuses in the founding document of the International Criminal Court, which implied that the State of Israel, a country made up partly by survivors of the Holocaust, was guilty of crimes on the same order of magnitude as what its perpetrators had committed. "

  2. http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp?D

    "U.S. Policy on Israeli Settlements"
    Dr. Dore Gold, (Israel's ambassador to the UN in 1997-99)

    "Israel's entry into the West Bank, in particular, created a number of legal dilemmas that would ultimately impinge on how the legal question of settlements was examined. Israel entered the West Bank in a war of self-defense, so that the UN Security Council did not call on Israel to withdraw from all the territory that it captured, when it adopted UN Security Council Resolution 242 in November 1967. The previous occupant in the West Bank from 1949 to 1967 had been the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, whose sovereignty in the territory the entire international community refused to recognize – except for Britain and Pakistan. Prior to 1949, the governing document for legal rights in the West Bank was the 1922 Palestine Mandate, which gave international recognition to Jewish legal rights.

    U.S. officials were cognizant of these considerations. Eugene Rostow, a former dean of Yale Law School who was also Undersecretary of State in the Johnson years, would write years later that "Israel has an unassailable legal right to establish settlements in the West Bank." He argued that Israel's claims to the territory were "at least as good as those of Jordan." Prof. Stephen Schwebel, who would become the State Department legal advisor and subsequently the President of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, went a step further when he wrote in 1970 that "Israel has better title in the territory of what was Palestine, including the whole of Jerusalem, than do Jordan and Egypt." On July 29, 1977, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance stated that "it is an open question as to who has legal right to the West Bank."

    In the late 1960s, the Johnson administration was critical of Israeli settlement activity, but did not characterize the settlements as illegal. It was not until the Carter administration that the State Department Legal Advisor, Herbert Hansell, expressed the view that the settlements violated international law. The Carter policy was reversed by all of his sucssessors. Thus, President Ronald Reagan declared on February 2, 1981, that the settlements were "not illegal." He criticized them on policy grounds, calling them "ill-advised" and "proactive."

    The question about the legality of settlements came from how various legal authorities interpret the applicability of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention relative to civilian persons in times of war. Article 49 of the convention clearly prohibits "mass forcible transfers" of protected persons from occupied territories. Later in the article, it states that "the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies." American interpretations of this article maintained that it referred to forcible deportations that were practiced by the Nazis and not to Israeli settlement activity. During the Bush (41) administration, the U.S. ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Morris Abram, explained that he had been on the U.S. staff during the Nuremberg trials and was hence familiar with the "legislative intent" behind the Fourth Geneva Convention. He stated on February 1, 1990, that it applied to forcible transfers and not to the case of Israeli settlements.

    It should be added that in the Israeli legal community, charging that settlement activity could be comparable to the forcible evictions by the Nazis during the Second World War was regarded as extremely offensive. When Israel had to vote on whether it accepted the Rome Statute creating the International Criminal Court, the head of its delegation, Judge Eli Natan, explained that while it gave him great pain to vote against the creation of the court, Israel could not vote for a politicized statute that defined settlement activity among the "most heinous and serious war crimes." For Natan, who was himself a Holocaust survivor, as well as for his team, this was a vulgar charge. The U.S. stood with Israel against these abuses in the founding document of the International Criminal Court, which implied that the State of Israel, a country made up partly by survivors of the Holocaust, was guilty of crimes on the same order of magnitude as what its perpetrators had committed. "

  3. http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp?D

    "U.S. Policy on Israeli Settlements"
    Dr. Dore Gold, (Israel's ambassador to the UN in 1997-99)

    "Israel's entry into the West Bank, in particular, created a number of legal dilemmas that would ultimately impinge on how the legal question of settlements was examined. Israel entered the West Bank in a war of self-defense, so that the UN Security Council did not call on Israel to withdraw from all the territory that it captured, when it adopted UN Security Council Resolution 242 in November 1967. The previous occupant in the West Bank from 1949 to 1967 had been the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, whose sovereignty in the territory the entire international community refused to recognize – except for Britain and Pakistan. Prior to 1949, the governing document for legal rights in the West Bank was the 1922 Palestine Mandate, which gave international recognition to Jewish legal rights.

    U.S. officials were cognizant of these considerations. Eugene Rostow, a former dean of Yale Law School who was also Undersecretary of State in the Johnson years, would write years later that "Israel has an unassailable legal right to establish settlements in the West Bank." He argued that Israel's claims to the territory were "at least as good as those of Jordan." Prof. Stephen Schwebel, who would become the State Department legal advisor and subsequently the President of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, went a step further when he wrote in 1970 that "Israel has better title in the territory of what was Palestine, including the whole of Jerusalem, than do Jordan and Egypt." On July 29, 1977, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance stated that "it is an open question as to who has legal right to the West Bank."

    In the late 1960s, the Johnson administration was critical of Israeli settlement activity, but did not characterize the settlements as illegal. It was not until the Carter administration that the State Department Legal Advisor, Herbert Hansell, expressed the view that the settlements violated international law. The Carter policy was reversed by all of his sucssessors. Thus, President Ronald Reagan declared on February 2, 1981, that the settlements were "not illegal." He criticized them on policy grounds, calling them "ill-advised" and "proactive."

    The question about the legality of settlements came from how various legal authorities interpret the applicability of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention relative to civilian persons in times of war. Article 49 of the convention clearly prohibits "mass forcible transfers" of protected persons from occupied territories. Later in the article, it states that "the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies." American interpretations of this article maintained that it referred to forcible deportations that were practiced by the Nazis and not to Israeli settlement activity. During the Bush (41) administration, the U.S. ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Morris Abram, explained that he had been on the U.S. staff during the Nuremberg trials and was hence familiar with the "legislative intent" behind the Fourth Geneva Convention. He stated on February 1, 1990, that it applied to forcible transfers and not to the case of Israeli settlements.

    It should be added that in the Israeli legal community, charging that settlement activity could be comparable to the forcible evictions by the Nazis during the Second World War was regarded as extremely offensive. When Israel had to vote on whether it accepted the Rome Statute creating the International Criminal Court, the head of its delegation, Judge Eli Natan, explained that while it gave him great pain to vote against the creation of the court, Israel could not vote for a politicized statute that defined settlement activity among the "most heinous and serious war crimes." For Natan, who was himself a Holocaust survivor, as well as for his team, this was a vulgar charge. The U.S. stood with Israel against these abuses in the founding document of the International Criminal Court, which implied that the State of Israel, a country made up partly by survivors of the Holocaust, was guilty of crimes on the same order of magnitude as what its perpetrators had committed. "

  4. http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp?DRIT=1&DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=111&FID=442&PID=0&IID=2995&TTL=U.S._Policy_on_Israeli_Settlements

    “U.S. Policy on Israeli Settlements”
    Dr. Dore Gold, (Israel’s ambassador to the UN in 1997-99)

    “Israel’s entry into the West Bank, in particular, created a number of legal dilemmas that would ultimately impinge on how the legal question of settlements was examined. Israel entered the West Bank in a war of self-defense, so that the UN Security Council did not call on Israel to withdraw from all the territory that it captured, when it adopted UN Security Council Resolution 242 in November 1967. The previous occupant in the West Bank from 1949 to 1967 had been the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, whose sovereignty in the territory the entire international community refused to recognize – except for Britain and Pakistan. Prior to 1949, the governing document for legal rights in the West Bank was the 1922 Palestine Mandate, which gave international recognition to Jewish legal rights.

    U.S. officials were cognizant of these considerations. Eugene Rostow, a former dean of Yale Law School who was also Undersecretary of State in the Johnson years, would write years later that “Israel has an unassailable legal right to establish settlements in the West Bank.” He argued that Israel’s claims to the territory were “at least as good as those of Jordan.” Prof. Stephen Schwebel, who would become the State Department legal advisor and subsequently the President of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, went a step further when he wrote in 1970 that “Israel has better title in the territory of what was Palestine, including the whole of Jerusalem, than do Jordan and Egypt.” On July 29, 1977, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance stated that “it is an open question as to who has legal right to the West Bank.”

    In the late 1960s, the Johnson administration was critical of Israeli settlement activity, but did not characterize the settlements as illegal. It was not until the Carter administration that the State Department Legal Advisor, Herbert Hansell, expressed the view that the settlements violated international law. The Carter policy was reversed by all of his sucssessors. Thus, President Ronald Reagan declared on February 2, 1981, that the settlements were “not illegal.” He criticized them on policy grounds, calling them “ill-advised” and “proactive.”

    The question about the legality of settlements came from how various legal authorities interpret the applicability of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention relative to civilian persons in times of war. Article 49 of the convention clearly prohibits “mass forcible transfers” of protected persons from occupied territories. Later in the article, it states that “the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” American interpretations of this article maintained that it referred to forcible deportations that were practiced by the Nazis and not to Israeli settlement activity. During the Bush (41) administration, the U.S. ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Morris Abram, explained that he had been on the U.S. staff during the Nuremberg trials and was hence familiar with the “legislative intent” behind the Fourth Geneva Convention. He stated on February 1, 1990, that it applied to forcible transfers and not to the case of Israeli settlements.

    It should be added that in the Israeli legal community, charging that settlement activity could be comparable to the forcible evictions by the Nazis during the Second World War was regarded as extremely offensive. When Israel had to vote on whether it accepted the Rome Statute creating the International Criminal Court, the head of its delegation, Judge Eli Natan, explained that while it gave him great pain to vote against the creation of the court, Israel could not vote for a politicized statute that defined settlement activity among the “most heinous and serious war crimes.” For Natan, who was himself a Holocaust survivor, as well as for his team, this was a vulgar charge. The U.S. stood with Israel against these abuses in the founding document of the International Criminal Court, which implied that the State of Israel, a country made up partly by survivors of the Holocaust, was guilty of crimes on the same order of magnitude as what its perpetrators had committed. “

  5. Thank you Judo for providing this Israeli legal interpretation. I was looking for an article written by Eugene Rostow to use as hyperlink in post that I had read earlier, but couldn't find it so let statement stand alone without link.

    - The international community rejects this interpretation and continues to view east J'lem and the West Bank as occupied.

    - When Israel became a member of the United Nations they became obligated to abide by the charter which states that territory cannot be obtained through force. Although Israel says the 1967 war was 'defensive', this does not negate the charter and it should be noted that Israel committed the first strike although Israel contends it was 'pre-emptive'. The US went to war against Iraq in 1991 based on the 'no land through force' principle.

    - The above interpretation of article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Conventions concerning the transfer of the population into an occupied territory is not widely accepted, but more important, the illegality of settlements should not solely be based on article 49, but also the Hague Regulations of 1907 that speak to the fact that an occupying power cannot change the demography of an occupied territory except for the benefit of the occupied people. An occupying power cannot confiscate land, destroy property, etc …

    Again, I'm glad you provided it. I think it helps people understand where Israel is coming from when dealing with the issue of settlements.

  6. Thank you Judo for providing this Israeli legal interpretation. I was looking for an article written by Eugene Rostow to use as hyperlink in post that I had read earlier, but couldn’t find it so let statement stand alone without link.

    - The international community rejects this interpretation and continues to view east J’lem and the West Bank as occupied.

    - When Israel became a member of the United Nations they became obligated to abide by the charter which states that territory cannot be obtained through force. Although Israel says the 1967 war was ‘defensive’, this does not negate the charter and it should be noted that Israel committed the first strike although Israel contends it was ‘pre-emptive’. The US went to war against Iraq in 1991 based on the ‘no land through force’ principle.

    - The above interpretation of article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Conventions concerning the transfer of the population into an occupied territory is not widely accepted, but more important, the illegality of settlements should not solely be based on article 49, but also the Hague Regulations of 1907 that speak to the fact that an occupying power cannot change the demography of an occupied territory except for the benefit of the occupied people. An occupying power cannot confiscate land, destroy property, etc …

    Again, I’m glad you provided it. I think it helps people understand where Israel is coming from when dealing with the issue of settlements.

  7. "The US went to war against Iraq in 1991 based on the ‘no land through force’ principle."

    I am sure the American Indians, Inuit in Alaska, and native Hawaiians will be very happy to hear about this new American policy.

    So when exactly can they expect you all to pack up and leave and return thier land to them ?

  8. “The US went to war against Iraq in 1991 based on the ‘no land through force’ principle.”

    I am sure the American Indians, Inuit in Alaska, and native Hawaiians will be very happy to hear about this new American policy.

    So when exactly can they expect you all to pack up and leave and return thier land to them ?

  9. Genocide practitioners everywhere today always use this very argument, pointing at SOMEBODY ELSE — THEY did it, so why shouldn't WE, & who are THEY to tell us WE are wrong ?

    This is the Rightwing's level of "discourse" & "logic", the very lowest one to occupy.

    The Sinhalese point the finger at america's Iraq or AfPak war in defense of their own Tamil genocide, — see the blogs on sri lanka here, they have their exact Sinhalese "logical" equivalent of this Zionist land theft whitewash, because these elements CAN'T EVER DRAW THEIR ARGUMENT FROM SOURCES PURER THAN THIS —- they have to DIRTY THE WATER TO MAKE IT LOOK THE SAME ALL OVER.

    Since when do we have to cite the US to fight & bring down settler imperialism anywhere?

    And are we really trying to ARGUE the obvious truth that his VIOLENCE won't give the invader ANY RIGHTS TO ANYWHERE ???

    And whyever do we talk to settler Earth thieves about East Jerusalem or the West Bank, when the ENTIRETY OF PALESTINE is STOLEN BY AN INVASION POSING AS A RELIGION POSING IN TURN AS A RACE, & the true INDIGENOUS People are on hand with their INALIENABLE RIGHT OF RETURN ?

  10. Genocide practitioners everywhere today always use this very argument, pointing at SOMEBODY ELSE — THEY did it, so why shouldn’t WE, & who are THEY to tell us WE are wrong ?

    This is the Rightwing’s level of “discourse” & “logic”, the very lowest one to occupy.

    The Sinhalese point the finger at america’s Iraq or AfPak war in defense of their own Tamil genocide, — see the blogs on sri lanka here, they have their exact Sinhalese “logical” equivalent of this Zionist land theft whitewash, because these elements CAN’T EVER DRAW THEIR ARGUMENT FROM SOURCES PURER THAN THIS —- they have to DIRTY THE WATER TO MAKE IT LOOK THE SAME ALL OVER.

    Since when do we have to cite the US to fight & bring down settler imperialism anywhere?

    And are we really trying to ARGUE the obvious truth that his VIOLENCE won’t give the invader ANY RIGHTS TO ANYWHERE ???

    And whyever do we talk to settler Earth thieves about East Jerusalem or the West Bank, when the ENTIRETY OF PALESTINE is STOLEN BY AN INVASION POSING AS A RELIGION POSING IN TURN AS A RACE, & the true INDIGENOUS People are on hand with their INALIENABLE RIGHT OF RETURN ?

  11. And the million Jews stripped of all thier property and driven out of Arab lands ?

    And the 10 million Germans driven out of Poland after the end of the war after being there 1000 years ?

    And the 50 million Hindus and Muslims driven out of Pakistan and India in 1948?

    And the 100s of millions others, from American Indians to the Hawaiians to the Ainu of Japan, to Australian Aboriginals, the Maori of New Zeeland, every tribe in Africa, every Indian group in South America, etc. etc. all of whom can all easily make far, far, better claims than the Palestinians can that someone stole their ancestors land ?

    What a great idea you have “a, savage” . Lets follow you nutty logic here and have a nice massive world wide bloodbath in every country on earth with millions and millions of deaths where not just the Palestinians but also every other ethnic group on Earth with some claim or another just as good or better than the Palestinian claim will start fighting to the death against the supposed stealer of its land to get every centimeter it's supposed land back.

    Or, just a crazy idea here, but what about if everyone just found some way to compromise, made peace with their former enemies, accepted the past and moved on, and focused instead of on war and violence over ancient grievances, trying to build good lives for themselves and their children.

    But no, this idea of accepting the past, making peace and moving on is okay for every other ethnic group on Earth, but not the Palestinians, who are, according to you, the only people on earth with a God given right to turn back 100 years of history, ethnicly cleanse 5 million Jews from thier homes they have lived in for generations, and possibly provoke a nuclear war rather than accept any form of comprimise solution whatsoever with only the maximalist solution of the complete destruction of the State of Israel and the expulsion or death of millions of Jews being acceptable.

    I think you will find that the majority of the world is sick and tired of your attitude and if the Israelis and Palestinians do not make a comprimise peace soon it will be forced apon them.

  12. And the million Jews stripped of all thier property and driven out of Arab lands ?

    And the 10 million Germans driven out of Poland after the end of the war after being there 1000 years ?

    And the 50 million Hindus and Muslims driven out of Pakistan and India in 1948?

    And the 100s of millions others, from American Indians to the Hawaiians to the Ainu of Japan, to Australian Aboriginals, the Maori of New Zeeland, every tribe in Africa, every Indian group in South America, etc. etc. all of whom can all easily make far, far, better claims than the Palestinians can that someone stole their ancestors land ?

    What a great idea you have “a, savage” . Lets follow you nutty logic here and have a nice massive world wide bloodbath in every country on earth with millions and millions of deaths where not just the Palestinians but also every other ethnic group on Earth with some claim or another just as good or better than the Palestinian claim will start fighting to the death against the supposed stealer of its land to get every centimeter it’s supposed land back.

    Or, just a crazy idea here, but what about if everyone just found some way to compromise, made peace with their former enemies, accepted the past and moved on, and focused instead of on war and violence over ancient grievances, trying to build good lives for themselves and their children.

    But no, this idea of accepting the past, making peace and moving on is okay for every other ethnic group on Earth, but not the Palestinians, who are, according to you, the only people on earth with a God given right to turn back 100 years of history, ethnicly cleanse 5 million Jews from thier homes they have lived in for generations, and possibly provoke a nuclear war rather than accept any form of comprimise solution whatsoever with only the maximalist solution of the complete destruction of the State of Israel and the expulsion or death of millions of Jews being acceptable.

    I think you will find that the majority of the world is sick and tired of your attitude and if the Israelis and Palestinians do not make a comprimise peace soon it will be forced apon them.