No matter the ubiquitous COVID-19 pandemic.
Once again, the world is in an uproar over Israel.
This time as concerns the newly elected Israeli government’s plan to “annex” what most of the world labels as “Palestinian territory” that is “occupied” by “Jewish settlers.”
Which is also allegedly in “violation of international law.”
Whether this “annexation” will take place on or shortly after July 1st, as Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends; or is delayed pending a more detailed mapping of the affected areas in the Judea/Samaria region; and/or is subject to further scrutiny by the United States—remains to be seen.
Either way, it is imperative that some of the crucial terms—annexation, territory, occupation—be defined as they apply (or more accurately … do not apply) to the Sovereign State of Israel.
Why is that necessary?
Because these words are frequently used by Israel’s enemies and (non-enemy) critics in either a deliberate or uninformed denial regarding the ongoing (3,800 years and counting) connection of the Jews to the Promised Land of Israel.
To that end, the expressions are carelessly and callously exploited with a reverse (negative) connotation to denounce the right of Israeli Jews to live wherever they choose in the Jewish Nation-State of Israel—even though only 30% of Judea/Samaria is potentially affected. With the underlying motive of discrediting Jewish sovereignty throughout Israel that includes but is not limited to allegations that some or all of Israel (depending on how much animosity the person or nation harbors) is illegitimately inhabited by Israeli Jews.
In an article posted June 15th in online news source Jewish News Syndicate, author Jerold Auerbach begins with:
“The New York Times recently devoted an entire page to a decision by the Palestinian Authority to sever relations with Israel. It represented a ‘desperate’ attempt ‘to deter Israel from annexing occupied territory,’ also known, but unacknowledged, as the biblical homeland of the Jewish people.”
His article is one of dozens of recent op-ed articles from multiple authors (for, against, or neutral) regarding this sovereignty issue in Judea/Samaria … also referred to as the West Bank. This region is literally and figuratively the heartland of Israel, in which about 8% of the Jewish population resides (some 500,000 of 6.7 million Jews in Israel).
The strongly biased (anti-Israel) New York Times is but one of many sources in a frenzy over reelected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposal to declare official sovereignty over a portion of Area C … 30% of Judea/Samaria. Or, (to begin with) perhaps only the strategic Jewish communities of Ma’ale Adumim (between Jericho and Jerusalem … 40,000 population); Ariel (between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem … 20,000); Gush Etzion (south of Jerusalem … 24,000).
Also, Kiryat Arba (7,400 population) close to Hebron; location of the Tomb of the Patriarchs (Cave of Machpelah) where Abraham and Sarah; Isaac and Rebekah; Jacob and Leah are buried.
(Tomb of the Patriarchs … Hebron, Israel)
Many Jews, especially the observant, consider Hebron as the 2nd holiest city in Israel. Despite the current condition in which Hebron is more heavily populated by Arab Palestinians than by Israeli Jews.
If you know anything about the glory years of Israel from the time of King David (1010 B.C. to 970 B.C.) to the Babylonian conquest of 586 B.C, then again from 515 B.C. to 70 AD, Hebron is also where King David began his reign in Israel before unifying the twelve tribes and moving to God’s appointed eternal capital of Israel … Jerusalem.
“On the holy mountain stands the city founded by the Lord. He loves the city of Jerusalem more than any other city in Israel. O city of God, what glorious things are said of you!” (Psalm 87:1-3).
If God loves Jerusalem above all Israeli cities, then rest assured he loves Jerusalem more than all the cities of the world. Jerusalem is the heart and soul of Israel, and Israel is the heart of the world—literally and figuratively. It is in promised perpetuity: THE PROMISED LAND. That promise is just as authentic and binding and consequential in our time as it was when the Lord bequeathed the Holy Land to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants.
Notice, that the following promise extends to Jacob directly through his grandfather Abraham’s son (Jacob’s father) Isaac, not through Ishmael—the progenitor of the Arab race:
Speaking to Jacob whose name God changed to Israel. “… I am El Shaddai—’God Almighty.’ Be fruitful and multiply. You will become a great nation, even many nations. Kings will be among your descendants! And I will give you the land I once gave to Abraham and Isaac. Yes, I will give it to you and your descendants after you’” (Genesis 35:11-12).
The Promised Land of Israel
The rebirth of the State of Israel on May 14th, 1948 and Jewish victory over five Arab nations/armies that attacked the fledging state the very next day did not result in Israeli sovereignty over nearly as much of Israel as it could/should have.
However, Israel’s stunning defeat of the Arab armies poised to strike the Jews in the Six-Day War of 1967 enabled Israeli control over the Golan Heights, Judea/Samaria, all of Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, and the Sinai Peninsula. Unfortunately (bowing to international pressure), Israel relinquished functional jurisdiction of most of the Judea/Samaria region (to even include Temple Mount), the Gaza Strip, and the Sinai back to Jordan and Egypt respectively and later in stages to the Palestinians.
Truce lines were agreed to between the Israelis and Jordanians around and through Judea Samaria, which includes the Jordan Valley. However, these armistice lines were not internal borders. To repeat for emphasis: These lines drawn on the map are NOT national boundary lines (borders) between two nations. Because there is no such autonomous entity as Palestine or a Palestinian State.
Although I (and a few others) have repeatedly written about Israel’s right of sovereignty over the entire expanse of Israel where it borders with Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt, it bears repeating. Particularly considering the latest wave of harsh criticism and unwarranted condemnation leveled against Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the planned “annexation” of the 30% of Judea/Samaria inhabited mostly by Israeli Jews.
As a reminder, the Palestinians (Palestinian Authority created in 1993) have rejected two astoundingly generous but unwise offers by Israeli Prime Ministers Ehud Barak (2000) and Ehud Olmert (2008) that would have given the Palestinians over 95% of Judea/Samaria. Which could/would have led to the creation of a Palestinian State.
Before there was such a thing as a Palestinian Arab (Arabs began calling themselves Palestinians after their defeat in the Six-Day War of 1967) or the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO … 1964) or the Palestinian Authority, the Arabs rigidly rejected the opportunity to create a state of their own alongside Israel in 1947-1948. What most of the world also doesn’t know or has conveniently forgotten: The entire country of Jordan (east of the Jordan River … initially called Transjordan) was supposed to be the actual Palestinian State—not land west of the Jordan River.
Shortly, we will examine a significant conference of (some) nations held in 1920, in follow-up to the more well-known Balfour Declaration of November 1917. Then the League of Nations ratification of 1922.
Although aware of this conference, I (like other Middle East historians) had given more attention to the Balfour Declaration, having written about it several times. Including two articles with that name: The Balfour Declaration … Beginning of the Omega Generation (Part I & II). Posted May 2017.
In acknowledgment of its 100th anniversary, several authors recently posted articles about this conference. While reading many of them, it was evident (as indicated, a reminder) that this forum contributed substantially to realization of Jewish rights to their ancient homeland; the land and the (Jewish) people that is the focus of hundreds of Old Testament prophecies concerning the rebirth of Israel and return of the Jews from world-wide exile. All leading to the final restoration of God’s chosen people—physically and spiritually.
Through God’s divine sovereignty, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (through King David’s lineage) brought to Jew, and Gentile alike, the crucified and risen Messiah … Jesus of Nazareth.
God the Father, speaking through the prophet Isaiah of the Messiah who Daniel later said would come before the 2nd Temple was destroyed (Jesus of Nazareth fits that requirement along with dozens of other O.T. prophecies) declared:
[Note: Concerning an in-depth analysis of who has ultimate sovereignty and jurisdictional control over the “disputed areas” within Israel proper, please refer to Eye of Prophecy articles including but not limited to: United Nations Downsizing of Israel (Resolution 2334) (Published 1-7-17); What is Palestine & Who Is A Palestinian? (Posted 12-2-17); Israel’s Controversial Nation-State Law (8-11-18); Does Israel Belong to the State of Israel? (5-4-19); Jewish Settlements in Judea/Samaria … Are They Illegal? (11-23-19); Palestine or Israel? Which Is It? Your Answer May Be in Jeopardy! (1-18-20)]
The Deal of the Century
Before we consider that conference and its remarkable repercussions in more detail, let’s briefly revisit what has been called, The Deal of the Century. Which has been rejected out-of-hand by the Palestinian Authority in Judea/Samaria and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The following is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article posted 2-8-20: Israel is Again the Head, Not the Tail (The Deal of the Century), in italics:
Though there were other factors, each of these peace plans of the past had two basic things in common: (1) Demand for Israel’s return to pre-1967 Six Day War armistice lines (not borders). (2) Israel’s exchange (relinquishing) of land for peace. A peace that the Palestinians don’t want in the first place because they want the entire state of Israel as their own. Preferably all at once but would settle for one piece of Israel at a time, and because they still refuse to recognize the sovereign Jewish State of Israel….
ALL OF ISRAEL!
Including Judea and Samaria!!
I then referenced an article written by journalist/author Caroline Glick.
In the article, she contrasted Israel’s heretofore foreign policy “beggar” paradigm (status) which was a direct result of several Israeli leaders succumbing to world opinion that Israel was a “pariah state.” That Israel must make whatever concessions necessary to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians. This mindset was due to the United States and most European nations endorsing the Palestinian assertions that Israelis were “occupying Palestinian territories” which has no basis whatsoever in reality. I have written about this extensively, with much documentation to demonstrate that there is no such thing as “Palestine” or “Palestinian territories” or Israeli “occupation” of land that has belonged to the Jews for over 3,000 years.
In keeping with the main theme/emphasis of today’s article, we will define terms that the entire world uses in a derogatory (negative connotation) way against Israel. Whereas, the accurate facts on the ground demonstrate that neither Israeli Jews nor Israel’s government are doing anything “illegal” or contrary to “international law.”
One more excerpt from the Deal of the Century article:
Since Donald Trump’s time in office, he has made some dramatic decisions that have profoundly impacted the Middle East and Israel. Each of them generated predictable reactions both for and against, depending on whether you’re an Arab or a Jew; your point of view concerning Israeli sovereignty over all or just part of Israel; and your knowledge of Israel’s real history, both ancient and contemporary.
He reaffirmed the obvious: Jerusalem always has been and still is the eternal capital of the nation-state of Israel. Then he ordered the U.S. Embassy moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He officially supported Israel’s autonomous rights to the Golan Heights as a matter of national security, having several times been attacked from that region by her enemies. Likewise, that the Israelis have ultimate sovereign rights in Judea and Samaria—the very heartland of Israel—with the understanding that Arab Palestinians also have jurisdiction over designated areas (A & B) of that region.
Each of these official declarations by President Trump on behalf of the United States of America is hugely significant. They meet standards set forth by God himself regarding Israel’s position in the family of nations. With a composite conclusion that Israel is (as she was in King David’s time) once again the head and not the tail. It is a Biblical principle that when individuals, groups, and nations bless Israel (support, promote, befriend, defend), they, too, will be blessed (acknowledged, rewarded) by the true and living God (Genesis 12:1-3).
And now, we have the Deal of the Century, which provides proposals that can benefit Israelis and Palestinians alike. Although it’s highly unlikely that the Palestinians will agree to even one, let alone all the points of this deal, the plan itself is prophetically pertinent and powerful.
In the greater context of God’s two-fold plan for humanity (first, the Promised Land of Israel as a perpetual possession of his chosen people; second, the New Covenant of Redemptive Grace through the Messiah—the very Son of God), the Jewish Apostle Paul writes under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:
“Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves. Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation (by nationally rejecting their Messiah, Jesus, although many in the first century and many more in the 20th & 21st century have accepted him), think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it” (Romans 11:11-12, parenthesis mine).
Although there are more, in that previous article I listed nine specific proposals (points) of The Deal of the Century. As pertaining to today’s post, just the first of the nine will be revisited.
Although all Judea and Samaria (aka West Bank) belong to Israel, the proposal recognizes Israel’s prerogative to officially annex about 30% of this region, which comprises about 50% of Area C where most of the nearly 500,000 Jews already reside.
Reactions to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Intentions to Formally Apply Israeli Sovereignty Over the Jewish Portion of Judea/Samaria
Although Benjamin Netanyahu has, on behalf of Israel’s new unity government, announced in general terms Israel’s intentions to declare official governmental sovereignty over all or part of the aforementioned 30% of Judea/Samaria, more precise details won’t be provided until at least July 1, 2020.
(Current Areas of Judea Samaria, with Palestinians exclusively in Areas A & B; mostly Israelis in Area C)
But that has not deterred massive complaints from multiple sources against the very idea of Israel assuming or presuming ultimate sovereignty over (any) part of the Judea/Samaria region. The diehard critics … “the usual suspects” are: The Palestinians (Arab non-citizens within the sovereign state of Israel); Muslim nations; several European Union heads of state (such as Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom); many United States Democrats in Congress; a segment of liberal Jews in America; and ultra-liberal media such as The New York Times.
When Secretary General Antonio Guterres of the United Nations issued scathing criticism of Israel’s plans, he also displayed his ignorance of international law and Israeli sovereignty when he said: “The Security Council will assume its responsibilities and will ask the Israeli government to suspend all activities … in the occupied Palestinian territories” (emphasis added).
In expressing his (uniformed) anti-Israel opinion, what Guterres meant by “activities” was an illegal or at the very least illegitimate action of annexation. As we shall soon see: if, indeed, Israel proceeds with official administrative sovereignty over part or all of the 30% land mass (Area C) of Judea/Samaria currently inhabited by Israeli Jews, it will NOT be unlawful. And it will NOT be annexation, as such. Nor will it be over or in “occupied Palestinian territories.”
Even if it did affect Areas A & B (which it does not), these are NOT Palestinian territories; in the classic sense of holding supreme dominion over a specific region … a domain.
The pragmatic results of what the watching world is (erroneously) labeling as “illegal annexation” and “contrary to international law” is accurately assessed by author Caroline Glick in an op-ed article posted on 6-16-20 in the on-line news source of Israel Hayom.
She writes: “…The immediate implication of applying Israeli law to these areas is that the military government and its civil administration, under which they have been governed for the past 53 years (since the Six Day War of 1967), will be replaced by government ministries and officials. Unlike the military government and its civil administration, those ministries and bureaucrats are accountable to Israel’s elected leaders who govern under the liberal Israeli legal code…. (parenthesis mine)
“…The Trump vision, which the sovereignty plan embodies is geared towards normalizing the status of the half-million Israelis who live under the unelected military government and the civil administration in Judea and Samaria.”
As expected, several PA officials, including President Mahmoud Abbas, have issued “warnings” of Palestinian upheaval, i.e. retaliation. These warnings are simply self-fulfilling extortion-type threats: give us what we want, and we’ll try not to let anything bad happen (such as lone wolf terrorist attacks and intifadas).
What the Palestinians really want is all Israel (the land) and no Israel (the nation-state).
(Weizmann was one of the founding fathers of the reborn State of Israel in 1948. Palestinian Authority President Abbas has also said that if there is a Palestinian State, not one Jew will be allowed to live there)
For over seventy years, the Arabs have been in denial over the existence of the Jewish Nation of Israel (UN Resolution of 1947 granting a Jewish State, then Statehood declared in May 1948).
For over a hundred years (Balfour Declaration) they have been in denial that a Jewish State even has the right to exist.
It is one thing for the Palestinians to be in denial, as the Arab/Jewish conflict goes back thousands of years (Isaac vs. Ishmael). But it is quite another matter for so many all over the planet, including heads of state, to question (let alone denounce) Israel’s right of sovereignty over ALL Israel. Particularly when they do not know nor appear to want to know the historical facts that have produced the contemporary reality in the Promised Land.
In the context of terminology bandied about by Israel’s critics (occupation, annexation, contrary to international law, etc.), of even more significance is an event that took place in 1920, which extended recognition of the Balfour Declaration and more precisely defined its goal, i.e. Jewish right of return to and reestablishment of their own country/state.
I had read about this event, but failed to fully realize the magnitude of it, having placed more weight on the Balfour Declaration. What brought this mostly forgotten event to my attention (recall) were a few articles posted in various online sources this past April and May. Its historic significance is especially applicable in the context of current world consternation over Israel’s potential “annexation” of “territory” that allegedly does not belong to the Israelis, which supposedly constitutes a “breach of international law.”
San Remo Conference of 1920
It was held during the last week of April 1920 in San Remo Italy with four of the nations that fought against the German and Ottoman empires of World War I participating … France, Britain, Italy, and Japan. Their primary purpose was to restructure Allied conquered regions of the Middle East, particularly land of the defeated and now defunct Ottoman Empire.
The San Remo Resolution of April 25, 1920 was to the Balfour Declaration of November 1917 as Israel’s statehood rebirth of May 1948 was to the UN Resolution of November 1947 which afforded nation-state rights to the Jews. Subsequently, the San Remo decisions were ratified by the League of Nations in 1922, as was the British Mandate for Palestine. Great Britain was given regulation of the Palestine region until the Jews were ready for self-determination. The Arabs would get (what is now modern day) Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.
In an April 26, 2020 article published in Jewish News Syndicate, author Yishai Fleisher begins by saying, “One hundred years ago this week, the British Balfour Declaration—which recognized the Jewish rights to the land of Israel—became international law.”
The title of that article: San Remo: The original ‘deal of the century’
As significant as the UN Resolution of 1947 was—followed by Israel’s declaration of statehood the following year—Fleisher (correctly) confers more significance to the San Remo summit. He went on to say:
“…The San Remo Accords were binding law, ratified by member states, which took quick effect. Even the United States, which was not a member of the League of Nations, took measures to recognize the accords.”
The United Nations General Assembly (non-binding) vote in 1947 to partition Israel was the stuff that high drama is made of; one that led directly to the rebirth of Israel in May 1948. Yet, it did not carry (as argued by Yishai Fleisher) the legal weight nor the international precedent established by the trifecta of the Balfour Declaration, San Remo Conference, then League of Nations support of the British Mandate of Palestine; reserved for Jewish return and sovereign reclamation of their ancient land.
Fleisher then writes: “The text of the Mandate for Palestine (the 1922 document that put the resolution of San Remo into practice) is straightforward: ‘Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.’
“At the San Remo conference, delegates never contemplated giving ‘Palestine’ to the Arabs—the absurd idea of taking Judea away from the Jews and creating an Arab state there. For the delegates, giving Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq to the Arabs (which they did and later the land that now comprises Jordan) and giving the Jews their historic and biblical land was equitable enough. This was in line with the Wilsonian (referring to US President Woodrow Wilson) ‘self-determination’ doctrine—indigenous peoples would gain independence from former empires and govern themselves….” (parenthesis mine).
In another April 2020 article, author Jonathan Feldstein also provides compelling historical evidence that the San Remo declaration carries (to this day) a time-tested international legal precedent for Israeli sovereignty over any/all of Israel.
He summarizes: “In short, San Remo affirmed Jewish rights to the Land of Israel and established the legal foundation and borders of Israel under international law. It was so significant that British Lord Curzon is said to have called it Israel’s Magna Carta.”
The “borders” referred to are Israel’s external geographical borders with Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. They are NOT internal borders with Palestinian communities of Judea/Samaria or the Gaza Strip. Those are nothing more than “armistice lines.” Thus, Israel has sovereign rights over ALL land within her national borders. That certainly includes Judea/Samaria.
(Some of the leaders of the San Remo Conference)
*Note: Since the San Remo Conference and League of Nations ratification of its resolutions, there has been NO international legal changes to this “Magna Carta”-like declaration.
Jonathan Feldstein continues:
“It’s understandable why Balfour and the 1947 UN partition plan are celebrated as significant milestones. They are. But San Remo was an inextricable link between the two. The resolution adopted represented the first time in 2000 years, since the Roman conquering of Israel, the destruction of the Second Temple, and the ensuing exile, that the international community called for the establishment and restoration of a Jewish homeland in the historic Land of Israel.”
Time/space in today’s article does not allow more details of the San Remo Conference, which has become little more than a footnote in the history books.
Except to say: We must not dismiss or even marginalize both the international and national (as applied to Israel) legal repercussions of this agreement just because it happens to be 100-years old. At the very least, the (still applicable) impact of that moment in history refutes the notion that Israel’s sovereignty, officially declared or not, over Judea Samaria is a contradiction of international law.
Consequently, Israeli Jews never have and are not now illegally occupying any part of Israel whatsoever.
Those Arabs (Palestinians) who have refused Israeli citizenship are the actual occupiers of Judea/Samaria and the Gaza Strip—in the negative connotation of “occupied.” Even, then, Israel has extended privileges (not the least of which is a large measure of self-governing autonomy) to the Palestinians that most nations on earth would not think of granting to non-citizens. Especially to those who deny the very existence of the host nation, and who constantly commit acts of terror (maiming and murder) of its citizens.
Which is why certain terms used by those who (falsely) accuse Israel of wanting to “annex Palestinian territory in violation of international law” need to be defined so as not to rewrite Israel’s history as it relates to world history.
Definition of The Terms
Palestinian Territories: At the very most, this often-used phrase would geographically apply only to Areas A & B of Judea/Samaria and the Gaza Strip which are inhabited exclusively by Arab non-citizens of Israel … Palestinians. As a reminder: Israel will not be incorporating (declaring official sovereignty) over any part of Areas A & B, or even all of Area C; nor, of course, the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinians and those who blindly support their agenda with little regard to/for the League of Nations and United Nations original endorsement of the existence of the Sovereign State of Israel, would have us believe that their territory is being (illegally) usurped (annexed) by the Israeli government; based on the (false) presupposition that the Palestinians have complete (sovereign) control over those regions. They do not. Israel has that (final) sovereignty. Moreover, this deceptive and distorted premise contradicts the very definition of territory or territories in general and specifically as relates to the Oslo Agreements of 1993.
The following definitions are from Webster’s Dictionary and accurately reflect the relationship between Israel’s Jewish / Arab citizens and the non-citizen Palestinians, pertaining to Judea Samaria and the Gaza Strip.
Territory: “a geographical area belonging to or under the jurisdiction of a government authority; an administrative subdivision of a country; a geographical area … dependent upon an external government but having some degree of autonomy.”
Despite victory in four wars in which the Arabs were clearly the aggressor (1948, 1956 and especially 1967 and 1973) Israel relinquished functional jurisdiction to Jordan, then to the PLO and later the Palestinian Authority of most of the West Bank and all the Gaza Strip, with that coastal area taken over by an even more militant organization … Hamas. All this despite ancient Jewish claims to and presence in the land that far exceed in time and antiquity any Arab or Islamic presence.
But ultimate authority (sovereignty) still belongs to Israel.
Any reference to or use of the term “Palestinian territories” does not state or even imply that the Palestinians have final sovereignty over these areas of Israel. However, much of the world does not (either deliberately or inadvertently) get that. Rather the world at large prefers to call Judea Samaria by its Johnny-come-lately name of West Bank. With the mistaken impression that there are established (nation-like) “borders” within Israel and the Arabs of that region (plus Gaza) have “territorial rights” completely free of any Israeli sovereignty. With Jewish Israelis allegedly infringing on those rights by wanting to “annex” land that they are (illegally) “occupying.”
To further propagandize and, thereby, confuse even heads of state, PA President Mahmoud Abbas frequently refers to the West Bank as the “State of Palestine.” Even those smart enough to know there is no Palestinian State, eventually concede (capitulate) to the misleading presumption that the West Bank and Gaza Strip are sovereign Palestinian territories.
Occupy: “to fill up (an extent in space or time); to take or hold possession of; to reside in as an owner or tenant.”
Israeli citizens (settlers) living in these so-called Palestinian territories are, indeed, “occupying” the land. But in the matter-of-fact positive connotation of the concept. Not in the adverse overtone which is one of the component definitions of occupation: “the holding and control of an area by a foreign military force. Military force occupying a country…”
Newsflash: Although the non-citizen Palestinians comprise all the Gaza Strip population and approximately 80% of Judea/Samaria’s population, neither of these regions have ever been or are now countries (states or nations). One reason is because they are already part of a country … Israel. Nor do they qualify as sovereign territories such as large swaths of the United States were designated, e.g. Wyoming territory, before they achieved statehood. Yet, each state is subject to the ultimate federal sovereignty of the United States of America.
(Map of Montana Territory approved by President Lincoln in 1864. Montana later became a state in 1889)
Israel is no less a sovereign nation than the USA.
The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is not (repeat for emphasis, NOT) a “foreign military force” in its own country. A country that sovereignly includes the regions of Judea/Samaria and the Gaza Strip. The IDF has the same power, authority, and responsibility as the military force of any nation; to defend and maintain the domestic security of ALL land within the recognized national borders adjacent to other countries.
Thus, neither Israel’s military nor its civilian citizenry are “occupying (negative connotation implying “illegally” or “illegitimately”) Area C of Judea/Samaria. Or, for that matter, any land within Israel’s national boundaries.
Annex: It carries both a general and specific meaning. “to bind to; to attach as a quality, consequence, or condition. As applied specifically to countries, Webster’s defines annex: “to incorporate a country within the domain of a state.”
As already noted: in much of the world’s criticism of Israel’s intentions to officially incorporate all or part of the Jewish 30% residency of Judea/Samaria into Israeli governmental jurisdiction (rather than under the direct or even indirect administration by the IDF), the term “annex” or “annexation” is used. Which is wrong. That is not what Israel is doing. Even if some of the proponents for this official declaration of Israeli law and jurisdiction (sovereignty) over the lawful Jewish settlements within Area C of Judea/Samaria also use the terminology of annexation.
Wrote Eugene Kontorovich, astute scholar on international law: “Annexation in international law specifically means taking the territory of a foreign sovereign country” Neither the Jordan Valley nor the West Bank belong to, “a foreign sovereign country.”
The International Committee of the Red Cross defines annexation as a unilateral act of a state through which it proclaims its sovereignty over the territory of another state. Moreover, international law declares any such annexation as illegal only IF, in fact, it takes place after one country initiates a war or forceful takeover (unjustly), i.e. unprovoked aggression against another country.
On the other hand, any country that is victorious in fighting a defensive war has every right to take possession (occupy, annex, or whatever concept is involved) of land that was used by their enemy to launch an attack. Which is exactly what happened in Israel’s stunning Six-Day War victory.
Frankly, it is inconceivable to me that well educated professors, politicians, and pundits of all things legal, deliberately distort and misapply Israeli legal rights to ALL Israel. When, in fact, there are multiple factors why Israeli Jews are lawfully occupying land that belongs to them … no matter where they live in Israel. With liberation (reclamation) of those lands in the Six-Day War of 1967 just one of those reasons. With the other reasons identified in the earlier portion of today’s article.
Just a brief summation in the form of an excerpt from an article posted in the on-line news source of Israel Hayom (June 9, 2020) co-authored by Richard Kemp and Arsen Ostrovsky:
“Much of the international community, NGO world and foreign press, even some in the Jewish community, have been referring to this aspect of the plan (referring to President Trump’s Peace to Prosperity plan or The Deal of the Century) as ‘annexation.’
“…In essence, annexation means one state imposing legal authority over the territory of another state acquired by force or aggression, normally during war. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court defines ‘annexation by the use of force of the territory of another State or part thereof’ as ‘constituting the grave Crime of Aggression.’ Russia’s annexation of Crimea and Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus are prime examples of such cases” (parenthesis mine).
Later in that article, the authors mentioned the San Remo resolutions that conferred the right of Jewish return to and reclamation rebirth of the State of Israel.
They wrote: “One may ask, then, how you can annex territory to which you are legally entitled and that which already has been assigned to you? Indeed, it is factually incorrect to assert that Israel intends to ‘annex’ parts of Judea and Samaria—a territory to which it has legitimate claim and that never has been part of a ‘state of Palestine.’ More accurate would be to say that Israel is ‘extending Israeli sovereignty’ or ‘applying Israeli law’ to parts of Judea and Samaria.”
Things to Ponder
In principal, I support the United States Peace Plan for Israel and the Palestinians, for reasons given in Eye of Prophecy article: Israel is Again the Head, Not the Tail (The Deal of the Century).
Yet, all parties, including Israelis themselves, who seek to carve up any part of the Promised Land and hand it over as a sovereign state to peoples other than the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, need to take heed of what the true and living God says about the land as applied to the last days of the end times … in which we are living.
“I will bring my exiled people of Israel back from distant lands, and they will rebuild their ruined cities and live in them again (taking place in our generation) …. I will firmly plant them there in their own land. They will never be uprooted from the land I have given them, says the Lord your God” (Amos 9:14-15, emphasis added, parenthesis mine).
Addressing those nations/peoples who have (in the past) and those who are attempting in today’s world to denigrate, divide, or destroy Israel, God issues his verdict:
“The day is near when I, the Lord, will judge all godless nations! As you have done to Israel, so it will be done to you. All your evil deeds will fall back on your own heads. Just as you swallowed up my people on my holy mountain (referring to Jerusalem and Judea/Samaria), so you and the surrounding nations (complicit in “swallowing up” any part of Israel by other than the Jews) will swallow the punishment I pour out on you. Yes, all you nations will drink and stagger and disappear from history” (Obadiah 1:15-16, parenthesis mine).
Then the last three verses of Obadiah describe much (but not all) of Israel’s original land mass.
In parenthesis, the modern-day portion of Israel will be inserted to match the Biblical names, some of which are still the same. Notice that the passage uses the word “occupy.” And does so with a matter-of-fact positive connotation. Not the negative occupation accusation by Israel’s enemies (and even some of her “friends”) that is patently false … Biblically, historically, and currently.
“Then my people living in the Negev (still called the Negev … southern part of Israel next to the Sinai Peninsula which is part of ancient Israel that bordered Egypt and Arabia) will occupy the mountains of Edom (southern Jordan and western part of Saudi Arabia). Those living in the foothills of Judah (land and cities south of Jerusalem, including Hebron) will possess the Philistine plains (Gaza Strip) and take over the fields of Ephraim and Samaria (the West Bank). And the people of Benjamin will occupy the land of Gilead (portion of northwestern Jordan and southwestern Syria).
“The exiles of Israel will return to their land and occupy the Phoenician coast as far north as Zarephath (ancient Tyre and Sidon … the coast of Lebanon). The captives from Jerusalem exiled in the north will return home and resettle the towns of the Negev. Those who have been rescued will go up to Mount Zion in Jerusalem (Temple Mount which has belonged to the Jews in perpetuity but currently under administrative control of Jordan and the Palestinians) to rule over the mountains of Edom” (Obadiah 1:19-21a, emphasis added, parenthesis mine).
The Balfour Declaration, the San Remo Conference followed by League of Nations affirmation of those resolutions paved the way for the return of the Jews to their ancient God-given land; the land occupied by God’s chosen people long before the Arabs were there. Even the United Nations Charter (Article 80) published in 1945 (before the 1947 UN Resolution to “partition” the land) fully acknowledges the rights that various peoples acquired via the post WW I mandates, from which several contemporary nation-states were formed.
Not the least of which is the stunning rebirth of Israel in a single day (prophecy found in Isaiah Chapter 66) facilitated by the British Mandate (1922) confirming the inherent rights of the Jews to settle in the Land of Palestine. Once again called by its original, God-given name of Israel.
(The original British Mandate did not include any such thing as a “West Bank” or Gaza Strip. Transjordan, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon were intended for Arabs and “Palestine” for the Jews. Israel reclaimed ALL its land in the Six-Day War)
As God repeatedly said would happen through his Old Testament prophets, the Jews have returned to reclaim their inheritance.
Never again, “to be uprooted from the land…”
“At the time of those events, says the Lord, when I restore the prosperity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather the armies of the world into the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will judge them for harming my people, my special possession, for scattering my people among the nations, and for dividing up my land” (Joel 3:1-2).
Personally I’m pondering: If nations, including those in Israel who oppose Israeli sovereignty and/or want to “divide up the land” were to cease and desist from doing so (thereby, blessing Israel); would the Lord providentially reduce or even lift the curse of the COVID-19 pandemic?