Professor Higgs and Judge Levy

Judge Levy and his committee pointed out that the generally accepted theory that Israel was an occupying power in Judea and Samaria was false and that Jewish settlement there was not contrary to international law.

Moshe_Arens_cropped-150x150By Moshe Arens

(A version of this column appeared in Haaretz on October 23, 2012.)

Are Jewish settlements beyond the 1949 armistice lines contrary to international law? You would think that would be easy to determine. But just compare the theories that have been proposed on this issue to the decades-long search for the elusive Higgs boson. The first seems to be in the realm of speculation; the other finally has been nailed down after painstaking research.

Now experiments conducted at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva have confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson. Scientists had searched for this elementary particle for years – it was the missing particle in the Standard Model of particle physics. First predicted based on theoretical considerations by Professor Peter Higgs and other physicists in 1964, its existence has now been confirmed. The Standard Model seems to be in good shape for the time being.

As for the right of Jews to settle in Judea and Samaria, the conventional wisdom for many years has been that this is contrary to international law. However, the theoretical model that postulated that Israel is an occupying power in Judea and Samaria – and therefore obligated to behave there in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention – received a body blow with the release of the report drafted by the committee headed by Judge Edmond Levy, which stated the contrary.

Almost universally accepted in recent years, this model of Israeli “conquest” and “occupation” was based on an implicit assumption that was, at first view, invalid – namely, that Judea and Samaria, prior to 1967, had been territory under Palestinian sovereignty and had come under Israeli control as a result of Israeli aggression.

Now here is the difference between the exact sciences and the “soft” social sciences. One requires painstaking research and proof beyond a shadow of a doubt before a proposition can be accepted as valid; the other often involves jumping to conclusions that have more to do with wishful thinking than logical deductions.

The missing part in the “occupied territory” model is the Palestinian state. The proponents of the two-state solution believe so fervently in the need to establish this state and thus “solve” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that they have in effect conjured this state into existence prior to 1967, thus turning Israeli control over Judea and Samaria into occupation of Palestinian sovereign territory.

Conveniently forgotten is the fact that, prior to 1967, Judea and Samaria was territory that had been occupied by the Jordanian army in 1948 in Jordan’s war of aggression against Israel, and that Jordan lost control of this territory due to its renewed aggression against Israel in 1967.

The legal rights, by international law, of the Jewish people in all of Palestine were defined in 1922 by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, which recognized “the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.” Furthermore, it called on the Mandatory power to “encourage close settlement by Jews on the land.” The Mandate for Palestine was also endorsed that same year by a resolution passed unanimously in both Houses of the U.S. Congress.

Those who claim that the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine of 1922 has in the intervening years been superseded by events and by the UN Partition Resolution of November 1947 ignore the United Nations Charter (Chapter XII, article 80 ) which states that “nothing in this Chapter shall be construed in or of itself to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be partners.” This clearly precludes arbitrary changes to the rights of the Jewish people in Palestine as defined in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, and confirms the legality of Jewish settlements in all of Palestine in accordance with international law.

Judge Levy and his committee pointed out that the generally accepted theory that Israel was an occupying power in Judea and Samaria was false and that Jewish settlement there was not contrary to international law.

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