UKLFI: Supporting Israel with legal skills

Israel’s Justice Minister asserts rights of the indigenous Jewish people in Judea and Samaria

Gideon Sa’ar, Israel’s Justice Minister, made an important statement on Facebook on 24 November 2022, reminding us of the rights of the indigenous Jewish people in Judea and Samaria, preserved by Article 80 of the UN Charter.

The statement reads:
“On 12 November 2022 the UN voted to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the illegality of Israel’s “occupation” of Palestinian territories, and whether Israel has annexed those territories de factor. This decision is scheduled for approval by the UN General Assembly this December.

This is a regrettable decision which will result in nothing but a deepening of the conflict and undermining the judicial integrity of the ICJ.

The Palestinians, unwilling to compromise as always, aim to gain 100% of the disputed territory as if Israel bears no claim or right whatsoever over these territories.

This is a distortion of historical facts and a contradiction of the founding charter of the UN.

In 1945 the UN Charter explicitly included Article 80(1) preserving the indigenous rights of the Jewish people on the entire land controlled by the British that was to become a national home for the Jewish nation, in accordance with the Mandate adopted by the League of Nations of July 24th 1922.

This article was advanced precisely by those supporting the establishment of a Jewish national home and was met with strong Arab opposition.

The Charter still prevails to this day.

The territory of the historic ancestral Land of Israel is the cradle of the Jewish nation. Judea and Samaria are rich in Jewish heritage.

Historically these areas were never an Arab Palestinian state. More so, such a state never existed at all.
Therefore, stating these regions as “Occupied Palestinian Territories” is a distortion of historical facts. The same facts that were the basis for Article 80(1) and for the support by the League of Nations of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people 100 years ago.

When the UN voted on the proposed Partition of the land into a Jewish State and an Arab State in resolution 181 of 29 November 1947, the representatives of the Jewish “Yishuv” reluctantly accepted the partition. The Arabs completely rejected this resolution, leading to the war that lasted until 1949.

The war ended in a series of armistice agreements between Israel and its neighbours. Yet sovereignty over Judea and Samaria remained in abeyance.

In June 1967, acting in self-defence, Israel gained control over Judea and Samaria.

Any argument that these territories are since then “occupied” affects neither Israel’s longstanding historic connection and right to these territories, nor the fact that the sovereignty over the remains in abeyance.

Lawfare and other unilateral acts by the Palestinians contradict the bilateral agreements they signed with Israel, beginning in 1993. Such acts show that they are unwilling to pay the price of any compromise and are ultimately unwilling to end the conflict.

Recognising these facts is necessary. And denying them will not bring a solution any closer. We will continue to uphold these historical truths and recognise our rights to our ancestral homeland.”

UKLFI chief executive Jonathan Turner commented:
“We welcome this significant statement drawing attention to the rights of the Jewish people under international law which are so often overlooked these days. Recognising these rights would not prevent a permanent settlement relinquishing certain territorial rights of Israel as the State of the Jewish people. However, it would help to ensure that these rights form a starting point for negotiations, and that relinquishing some of them would constitute a concession. This dynamic is precisely what may make negotiations more likely to succeed.”