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Israel’s right to build homes is settled … under international law

Conservative Review

Here we go again with the U.N. peddling the biggest geo-political hoax of all time — that Israel’s control over Judea and Samaria is illegal, that it belongs to a distinct Arab people called “Palestinians,” and that the source of Islamist mayhem across the globe is a smattering of Jewish homes being built in their ancestral land. Land which, by the way, is virtually invisible on a map compared to the mass of land controlled by Islam.

While Islamic jihadists are blowing up every corner of the world, what is “the international community” focused on? Yup, those pesky little Jewish homes built in their ancestral home on a parcel of land not even visible on the map. The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution before the Christmas weekend that “reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”

Obama instructed the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations to abstain from vetoing that resolution, an unprecedented step given our history of vetoing anti-Israel resolutions. Worse, it appears that Obama was likely the ringleader behind the resolution because, according to Israeli sources, Vice President Joe Biden convinced Ukraine to support the resolution, a move that shocked Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Actually, Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria is enshrined in international law

The notion that there is any moral equivalence between Jews building homes in their homeland that they won back in a defensive war (after it was illegally occupied by Jordan) and brutal terrorists illegally occupying land that was never given to them is reprehensible. But first, a brief history lesson.

The only binding resolution of international law, a resolution which has never been countermanded to this very day, is the July 1922 Mandate for Palestine. Adopted by the League of Nations, that resolution recognized the “historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.” It called for the creation of a Jewish national homeland anywhere west of the Jordan River.

Once the League of Nations was disbanded and the United Nations formed in its stead, the international community agreed to maintain all agreements and not “alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties” (Article 80, U.N. Charter, emphasis added) This provision wasn’t inserted by accident; it was known as “the Jewish People’s clause” at the time it was adopted in 1945 in order to enshrine the 1922 Mandate into international law.

The Mandate for Palestine adopted by the League of Nations was the last legally binding document delineating regional borders. Article 5 of the Mandate explicitly states, “The Mandatory shall be responsible for seeing that no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of the Government of any foreign Power.”

The Palestine Mandate (and Iraq) were given to Britain to serve as a temporary trustee based on the resolution between the four principle Allied Powers in April 1920 at the San Remo Conference in Italy, which was signed by 51 nations. It was at that conference where the world powers adopted the 1917 Balfour Declaration (which originally allocated the eastern part of the Mandate for a Jewish state as well) creating a Jewish state. This same conference that created the Jewish state west of the Jordan River also created Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Iraq as Arab states.

The legality of the 1922 Mandate was adopted that same year by the U.S. Congress in H.J. Res. 360 and signed by President Warren Harding. The newly created Arab country of Jordan attacked Israel in 1948 seeking to annihilate its inhabitants and illegally occupied Judea and Samaria until 1967. That year, Israel won back the territory originally allocated for a Jewish state as part of the 1922 League of Nations agreement.

There is no such thing as “pre-67 borders.” They were merely 1949 armistice lines between Israel and neighboring countries after they launched an illegal war of extermination. It has nothing to do with the notion of a unique Arab “Palestinian” entity west of the Jordan River. There was never any internationally recognized legal sovereign occupying Judea and Samaria from the time the British Empire fell until 1967. Jordan’s occupation of the area west of the Jordan River was never recognized. To the extent there is an Arab Palestinian, state it is the modern state of Jordan, which already sucked up 77 percent of the original Mandate of Palestine allocated for a Jewish state under the first plan of the Balfour Declaration.

Although the U.N. has bloviated time and again about Israel “withdrawing” from the region, those are merely recommendations and political arguments. They are not legal arguments, because once that land was allocated for the Jewish state by the binding charter of the U.N., it cannot be rescinded without Israel’s consent any more than Florida can be taken away from the U.S. and be returned to Spain without our consent.

Until fairly recently, even the Left was forced to admit this legal and historical reality. During an interview with Matt Lauer on October 1, 1997, then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright reluctantly admitted that although she was unhappy about recent construction in Judea, it was indeed legal:

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I wasn't happy. We had had a conversation, and I felt that going forward with those kinds of buildings was not helpful. It is not in any way not part of what they can do, but they shouldn't do it.

MR. LAUER: It's legal.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: It's legal. But I think that, in this kind of an atmosphere, it's very important not to take actions that are viewed by the other side as creating more difficulties.

Unfortunately, over the past generation, the geo-political elites and the media have repeated the lie about an Arab “Palestinian state” and “illegal Israeli settlements” so many times that it has become true in the minds of many people. It’s a classic strategy domestic liberals employ when they conflate political arguments with legal arguments. In many respects, this is the biggest global fake news story of our time.

The reality is that Arab squatters living in that region have no legal right to a state in that land, much less a right to murder Jews who build homes in the rightful territory of their state duly adopted by international law. But even those who subscribed to this nonsense over the past few decades must wake up and smell the jihad. The fact that jihad has spread to every corner of the world, including in the West itself, should demonstrate incontrovertibly that the source of the problem is not a few homes built in the Samarian hills by Jews. The problem is global Islamic supremacism.

It was heartening to see Donald Trump release a statement opposing the U.N. resolution and threaten U.N. funding. But he needs to take it a step further and end the entire policy of promoting a second Palestinian state (the first being Jordan) altogether. Pursuit of an Arab “Palestinian” state has been one of the most wrong-headed failed policies in modern history, and it’s time for the Republican Party to formally abandon it forever.

Editors' note: This article has been updated to correct the spelling of former Secretary of State Albright's first name. CR apologizes for the error.

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