Vad säger §242

Är bosättningarna lagliga?

Av Eugene W. Rostow, Copyright 1991 New Republic Inc.
New Republic, 21 Oktober 1991
Engelskt original i slutet.
[Sök andra förekomster av artikeln genom att Googla på den raden exakt:
”Are Israeli Settlements Legal?” ”Eugene W. Rostow” 
]]
(Eugene W. Rostow amerikanska statssekreteraren med ansvar för politiska frågor mellan 1966 och 1969, spelade en ledande roll vid produktionen av den berömda resolution 242)

Om vi antar att Mellanösternkonferensen verkligen kommer att äga rum kommer dess officiella uppgift bli att åstadkomma fred mellan Israel och dess levantinska grannar enligt Säkerhetsrådets beslut §242 och 338. §242 antogs efter sexdagarskriget 1967 med kriterier för freden och §338 förstärkte denna, dock är de inte enligt enligt Kapitel VII vilket hade gjort dem tvingande, i likhet med resolutionerna mot Irak vid den tiden. Tyvärr råder stor förvirring om vad dessa beslut egentligen innebär.

I 24 år har arabstaterna låtsats att besluten är “tvetydiga” och kan tolkas som de har lust. Sovjet, några europeiska stater och även amerikanska tjänstemän har cyniskt låtit arabiska talesmän lura sig själva och deras medborgare – för att inte tala om västvärldens opinion – om vad beslutet säger. Även amerikanska journalister kan säga att §242 är “avsiktligt tvetydig” som om var och en kan tolka dem som de vill.

Inget kunde vara längre från sanningen. Beslutet 242 som jag, som statsundersekreterare 1966-69, hjälpte till att formulera, kräver att parterna sluter fred och tillåter Israel att administrera områdena de ockuperade 1967 tills en “rättvis och varaktig fred i Mellanöstern” uppnåtts. När detta uppnåtts kräver den att israels trupper dras tillbaka från en del områden, till vilka räknas Sinaiöknen, Västbanken, Golan, Östra Jerusalem och Gaza.

Det skrevs mycket tydligt “en del områden” och inte “alla områden” då talare efter talare sa att Israel inte skulle tvingas tillbaka till den tidigare bräckliga och oförsvarbara stilleståndslinjen, men skulle lämna områden när väl “säkra och erkända” gränser hade fastställts genom överenskommelse av båda sidorna. Under förhandlingarna skulle man ta hänsyn till olika faktorer som säkerhet, access till sjötransport och övriga lagliga krav.

Det påminns om att det 1949 hade sagts att stilleståndslinjerna “inte på något sätt skulle anses som politiska eller territoriella gränser” eller påverka sidornas slutgiltiga fredliga lösning på det palestinska problemet. Då Israel slöt fred med Egypten 1979 drog det sej helt och hållet tillbaka från hela Sinai. Som säkerhetskrav krävde Israel att Sinai förblev demilitariserat och patrullerades [av FN]. Därigenom har Israel återlämnat mer än 90% av området som ockuperades 1967, och att detta uppfyller kraven i §242 är en tolkning en del i Israel gör.

Uppdelningen av det ockuperade området Judéen/Samarien lämnar §242 helt åt de förhandlande parterna, enligt de principer som har satts upp. Man var medveten om att punkten “säker och erkänd” gräns skulle vara den svåraste punkten att lösa. USA har [detta skrevs alltså 1991] varit helt emot att en tredje palestinsk stat skapas i det som var det Palestinska Mandatet. Ett självständigt Jordanien eller ett Jordanien länkat i en ekonomisk union med Israel är den mest önskvärda lösningen för allas säkerhet och utveckling. Ett i huvudsak judiskt Israel är ett av grundmålen för israelisk politik. Det måste vara möjligt att uppnå dessa mål genom förhandlingar, speciellt om tanken på en ekonomisk union accepteras.

Araberna på Västbanken kan utgöra en autonom provins av Jordanien eller Israel beroende på resultatet av förhandlingarna. Underlättande av migration av araber är en möjlig lösning för araber på Västbanken som önskar bo någon annanstans. Vad som inte kan accepteras är ett syriskt övertagande av Jordanien eller Västbanken, som de försökte 1970.

De hetsiga diskussionerna om Israels bosättningar på Västbanken under ockupationsperioden ska ses med detta perspektiv. Det brittiska mandatet erkände det judiska folkets rätt att bosätta sig i hela det palestinska mandatet. Man sade att lokala förhållanden kunde kräva att England “uppsköt eller förhindrade” judisk bosättning i vad som blev Jordanien. Detta skedde 1922. Rättigheterna för judarna att bosätta sig var de ville väst om Jordanfloden, Västbanken, Jerusalem och Gaza gjordes oangripbar. Den rättigheten har aldrig någonsin avslutats och kan inte avslutas genom något annat än en erkänd fred mellan Israel och dess grannar. Kanske inte ens då, om man ser på artikel 80 i FN-stadgan, “Palestinakapitlet” som säger “Inget i stadgan skall tolkas – för att på något sätt ändra rättigheterna hos några stater eller folk eller grunderna i existerande internationella instrument”.

Vissa regeringar har fått uppfattningen att de judiska bosättningarna på Västbanken skulle vara illegala enligt Genèvekonventionen från 1949. Denna säger att den stat som ockuperar ett område inte får fylla detta med sina egna medborgare. Carter höll på denna tanken, men Reagan sade direkt emot honom, att bosättningarna är helt och hållet legala även om de kan utgöra ett psykologiskt hinder för fredsprocessen.

Den eventuellt kommande konferensen har ingen anledning at ta upp lagligheten i bosättningarna. Dess ändamål är att avsluta den militära ockupationen med en fred. När ockupationen avslutats är Genèvekonventionen irrelevant. Sker en uppdelning av Västbanken mellan Israel och Jordanien måste rättigheterna hos de judiska bosättningarna enligt mandatlagarna vara en del av fredsprocessen.

Denna förståelse av beslut §242 har alltid varit grundstenen för den amerikanska policyn. När president Reagan startade ett nytt fredsinitiativ 1982 sa han “Jag har konstant följt och supportat Israels heroiska kamp för sin överlevnad sedan staten Israel grundades för 34 år sedan: inom gränserna före 1967 var Israel 15 kilometer brett på sitt smalaste ställe. Större delen av Israels befolkning bodde inom det arabiska artilleriets räckvidd och jag tänker ingalunda tvinga Israel att leva så igen.”

Tyvärr vittnar en del uttalanden under Bushs administration och aktioner i denna frågan, och speciellt James Bakers katastrofala tal den 22 maj 1989 om att de har en stark impuls att fly från beslutet §242 som det förhandlades, diskuterades och antogs och ge araberna alla områden mellan 1967 års stilleståndslinjer och Jordanfloden inklusive östra Jerusalem. Det verkar som Bushadministrationen har fått för sig att Västbanken och Gaza är “främmande territorium” som Israel inte har några rättigheter till. Men faktum är att judarna har lika stora rättigheter att bosätta sig där som de har i Haifa. Västbanken och Gaza har aldrig någonsin varit en del av Jordanien och Jordaniens försök att annektera områdena accepterades aldrig och har nu övergivits. Dessa två bitar land är delar av mandatet som än inte har allokerats till någon stat och skall diskuteras.

Amerikanska positionen i de kommande förhandlingarna måste återvända till grunderna som har format den amerikanska policyn under 75 år. De ska följa lagen som det enda sättet att sluta en rättvis och varaktig fred.

Eugene V. Rostow är en framstående forskare vid amerikanska Institute of Peace....


‘Engelskt original från http://likud.nl/2001/05/israeli-settlements-and-international-law/

Are Israel’s Settlements Legal?

By the late Eugene W. Rostow

This article ran in “The New Republic”, on October 21, 1991

Assuming the Middle East conference actually does take place, its official task will be to achieve
peace between Israel and its Levantine neighbors in accordance with Security Council
Resolutions 242 and 338. Resolution 242, adopted after the Six-Day War in 1967, sets out
criteria for peace-making by the parties; Resolution 338, passed after the Yom Kippur War in
1973, makes resolution 242 legally binding and orders the parties to carry out its terms
forthwith.

Unfortunately, confusion reigns, even in high places, about what those resolutions require.

For twenty-four years Arab states have pretended that the two resolutions are “ambiguous” and
can be interpreted to suit their desires. And some European, Soviet and even American officials
have cynically allowed Arab spokesman to delude themselves and their people–to say nothing of
Western public opinion–about what the resolutions mean. It is common even for American
journalists to write that Resolution 242 is “deliberately ambiguous,” as though the parties are
equally free to rely on their own reading of its key provisions.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Resolution 242, which as undersecretary of state for
political affairs between 1966 and 1969 I helped produce, calls on the parties to make peace
and allows Israel to administer the territories it occupied in 1967 until “a just and lasting peace
in the Middle East” is achieved. When such a peace is made, Israel is required to withdraw its
armed forces “from territories” it occupied during the Six-Day War–not from “the” territories nor
from “all” the territories, but from some of the territories, which included the Sinai Desert, the
West Bank, the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

Five-and-a-half months of vehement public diplomacy in 1967 made it perfectly clear what the
missing definite article in Resolution 242 means. Ingeniously drafted resolutions calling for
withdrawals from “all” the territories were defeated in the Security Council and the General
Assembly. Speaker after speaker made it explicit that Israel was not to be forced back to the
“fragile” and “vulnerable” Armistice Demarcation Lines, but should retire once peace was made
to what Resolution 242 called “secure and recognized” boundaries, agreed to by the parties.

In negotiating such agreements, the parties should take into account, among other factors,
security considerations, access to the international waterways of the region, and, of course,
their respective legal claims.

Resolution 242 built on the text of the Armistice Agreements of 1949, which provided (except
in th case of Lebanon) that the Armistice Demarcation Lines separating the military forces were
“not to be construed in any sense” as political or territorial boundaries, and that “no provision”
of the Armistice Agreements “Shall in any way prejudice the right, claims, and positions” of the
parties “in the ultimate peaceful settlement of the Palestine problem.” In making peace with
Egypt in 1979, Israel withdrew from the entire Sinai, which had never been part of the British
Mandate.

For security it depended on patrolled demilitarization and the huge area of the desert rather than
on territorial change. As a result, more than 90 percent of the territories Israel occupied in 1967
are now under Arab sovereignty. It is hardly surprising that some Israelis take the view that
such a transfer fulfills the territorial requirements of Resolution 242, no matter how narrowly
they are construed.

Resolution 242 leaves the issue of dividing the occupied areas between Israel and its neighbors
entirely to the agreement of the parties in accordance with the principles it sets out. It was,
however, negotiated with full realization that the problem of establishing “a secure and
recognized” boundary between Israel and Jordan would be the thorniest issue of the
peace-making process.

The United States has remained firmly opposed to the creation of a third Palestinian state
on the territory of the Palestine Mandate. An independent Jordan or a Jordan linked in an
economic union with Israel is desirable from the point of view of everybody’s security and
prosperity. And a predominantly Jewish Israel is one of the fundamental goals of Israeli policy. It
should be possible to reconcile these goals by negotiation, especially if the idea of an economic
union is accepted.

The Arabs of the West Bank could constitute the population of an autonomous province of
Jordan or of Israel, depending on the course of the negotiations.

Provisions for a shift of populations or, better still, for individual self-determination are a possible
solution for those West Bank Arabs who would prefer to live elsewhere. All these approaches
were explored in 1967 and 1968. One should note, however, that Syria cannot be allowed to
take over Jordan and the West Bank, as it tried to do in 1970.

The heated question of Israel’s settlements in the West Bank during the occupation period
should be viewed in this perspective. The British Mandate recognized the right of the Jewish
people to “close settlement” in the whole of the Mandated territory. It was provided that local
conditions might require Great Britain to “postpone” or “withhold” Jewish settlement in what is
now Jordan. This was done in 1992.

But the Jewish right of settlement in Palestine west of the Jordan river, that is, in Israel,
the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, was made unassailable. That right has never
been terminated and cannot be terminated except by a recognized peace between Israel and its
neighbors.

And perhaps not even then, in view of Article 80 of the U.N. Charter, “the Palestine
article,” which provides that “nothing in the Charter shall be construed . . to alter in any manner
the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international
instruments . . .”

Some governments have taken the view that under the Geneva Convention of 1949, which
deals with the rights of civilians under military occupation, Jewish settlements in the West Bank
are illegal, on the ground that the Convention prohibits an occupying power from flooding the
occupied territory with its own citizens. President Carter supported this view, but President
Reagan reversed him, specifically saying that the settlements are legal but that further
settlements should be deferred since they pose a psychological obstacle to the peace process.

In any case, the issue of the legality of the settlements should not come up in the proposed
conference, the purpose of which is to end the military occupation by making peace. When the
occupation ends, the Geneva Convention becomes irrelevant. If there is to be any division of the
West Bank between Israel and Jordan, the Jewish right of settlement recognized by the Mandate
will have to be taken into account in the process of making peace.

This reading of Resolution 242 has always been the keystone of American policy. In launching a
major peace initiative on September 1, 1982, President Reagan said, “I have personally followed
and supported Israel’s heroic struggle for survival since the founding of the state of Israel
thirty-four years ago: in the pre-1967 borders, Israel was barely ten miles wide at its narrowest
point. The bulk of Israel’s population lived within artillery range of hostile Arab armies. I am not
about to ask Israel to live that way again.”

Yet some Bush administration statements and actions on the Arab-Israeli question, and
especially Secretary of State James Baker’s disastrous speech of May 22, 1989, betray a strong
impulse to escape from the resolutions as they were negotiated, debated, and adopted, and
award to the Arabs all the territories between the 1967 lines and the Jordan river, including East
Jerusalem. The Bush administration seems to consider the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to be
“foreign” territory to which Israel has no claim. Yet the Jews have the same right to settle there
as they have to settle in Haifa.

The West Bank and the Gaza Strip were never parts of Jordan, and Jordan’s attempt to annex
the West Bank was not generally recognized and has now been abandoned. The two parcels of
land are parts of the Mandate that have not yet been allocated to Jordan, to Israel, or to any
other state, and are a legitimate subject for discussion.

The American position in the coming negotiations should return to the fundamentals of policy
and principle that have shaped American policy towards the Middle East for three-quarters of a
century. Above all, rising above irritation and pique, it should stand as firmly for fidelity to law in
dealing with the Arab-Israeli dispute as President Bush did during the Gulf war. Fidelity to law is
the essence of peace, and the only practical rule for making a just and lasting peace.


 

Historical approach to the issue of legality of Jewish settlement activity

By the late Eugene W. Rostow

This article appeared in The New Republic on April 23, 1990

. . . The Jewish right of settlement in the West Bank is conferred by the same provisions of the
Mandate under which Jews settled in Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem before the State of Israel
was created. The Mandate for Palestine differs in one important respect from the other League
of Nations mandates, which were trusts for the benefit of the indigenous population.

The Palestine Mandate, recognizing “the historical connection of the Jewish people with
Palestine and the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country,” is dedicated to
“the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly
understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of
existing nonjewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in
any other country.”

The Mandate qualifies the Jewish right of settlement and political development in Palestine in
only one respect. Article 25 gave Great Britain and the League Council discretion to “postpone”
or “withhold” the Jewish people’s right of settlement in the TransJordanian province of
Palestine-now the Kingdom of Jordan-if they decided that local conditions made such action
desirable.

With the divided support of the council, the British took that step in 1922.

The Mandate does not, however, permit even a temporary suspension of the Jewish right of
settlement in the parts of the Mandate west of the Jordan River.

The Armistice Lines of 1949, which are part of the West Bank boundary, represent nothing but
the position of the contending armies when the final cease-fire was achieved in the War of
Independence. And the Armistice Agreements specifically provide, except in the case of
Lebanon, that the demarcation lines can be changed by agreement when the parties move from
armistice to peace. Resolution 242 is based on that provision of the Armistice Agreements and
states certain criteria that would justify changes in the demarcation lines when the parties make
peace.

Many believe that the Palestine Mandate was somehow terminated in 1947, when the British
government resigned as the mandatory power. This is incorrect. A trust never terminates when
a trustee dies, resigns, embezzles the trust property, or is dismissed. The authority responsible
for the trust appoints a new trustee, or otherwise arranges for the fulfillment of its purpose.

Thus in the case of the Mandate for German South West Africa, the International Court
of justice found the South African government to be derelict in its duties as the mandatory
power, and it was deemed to have resigned. Decades of struggle and diplomacy then resulted in
the creation of the new state of Namibia, which has just come into being.

In Palestine the British Mandate ceased to be operative as to the territories of Israel and
Jordan when those states were created and recognized by the international community. But its
rules apply still to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which have not yet been allocated either to
Israel or to Jordan or become an independent state.

Jordan attempted to annex the West Bank in 1951, but that annexation was never generally
recognized, even by the Arab states, and now Jordan has abandoned all its claims to the
territory.

The State Department has never denied that under the Mandate “the Jewish people” have the
right to settle in the area. Instead, it said that Jewish settlements in the West Bank violate
Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which deals with the protection of civilians
in wartime.

Where the territory of one contracting party is occupied by another contracting party, the
Convention prohibits many of the inhumane practices of the Nazis and the Soviets before and
during the Second World War-the mass transfer of people into or out of occupied territories for
purposes of extermination, slave labor, or colonization, for example.

Article 49 provides that the occupying power “shall not deport or transfer part of its own civilian
population into the territory it occupies.”

But the Jewish settlers in the West Bank are volunteers. They have not been “deported” or
“transferred” by the government of Israel, and their movement involves none of the atrocious
purposes or harmful effects on the existing population the Geneva Convention was designed to
prevent.

Furthermore, the Convention applies only to acts by one signatory “carried out on the territory
of another.” The West Bank is not the territory of a signatory power, but an unallocated part of
the British Mandate. It is hard, therefore, to see how even the most literal-minded reading of the
Convention could make it apply to Jewish settlement in territories of the British Mandate west of
the Jordan River.

Even if the Convention could be construed to prevent settlements during the period of
occupation, however, it could do no more than suspend, not terminate, the rights conferred by
the Mandate. Those rights can be ended only by the establishment and recognition of a new
state or the incorporation of the territories into an old one.

As claimants to the territory, the Israelis have denied that they are required to comply with the
Geneva Convention but announced that they will do so as a matter of grace. The Israeli courts
apply the Convention routinely, sometimes deciding against the Israeli government. Assuming
for the moment the general applicability of the Convention, it could well be considered a
violation if the Israelis deported convicts to the area or encouraged the settlement of people who
had no right to live there (Americans, for example).

But how can the Convention be deemed to apply to Jews who have a right to settle in the
territories under international law: a legal right assured by treaty and specifically protected by
Article 80 of the U.N. Charter, which provides that nothing in the Charter shall be construed “to
alter in any manner” rights conferred by existing international instruments” like the Mandate?
The Jewish right of settlement in the area is equivalent in every way to the right of the existing
Palestinian population to live there.

Another principle of international law may affect the problem of the Jewish settlements. Under
international law, an occupying power is supposed to apply the prevailing law of the occupied
territory at the municipal level unless it interferes with the necessities of security or
administration or is “repugnant to elementary conceptions of justice.”

From 1949 to 1967, when Jordan was the military occupant of the West Bank, it applied
its own laws to prevent any Jews from living in the territory. To suggest that Israel as occupant
is required to enforce such Jordanian laws-a necessary implication of applying the Convention-is
simply absurd. When the Allies occupied Germany after the Second World War, the abrogation
of the Nurenberg Laws was among their first acts.

The general expectation of international law is that military occupations last a short time, and
are succeeded by a state of peace established by treaty or otherwise. In the case of the West
Bank, the territory was occupied by Jordan between 1949 and 1967, and has been occupied by
Israel since 1967.

Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 rule that the Arab states and Israel must make peace,
and that when “a just and lasting peace” is reached in the Middle East, Israel should withdraw
from some but not all of the territory it occupied in the course of the 1967 war. The Resolutions
leave it to the parties to agree on the terms of peace.

The controversy about Jewish settlements in the West Bank is not, therefore, about legal rights
but about the political will to override legal rights. Is the United States prepared to use all its
influence in Israel to award the whole of the West Bank to Jordan or to a new Arab state, and
force Israel back to its 1967 borders? Throughout Israel’s occupation, the Arab countries,
helped by the United States, have pushed to keep Jews out of the territories, so that at a
convenient moment, or in a peace negotiation, the claim that the West Bank is “Arab” territory
could be made more plausible. Some in Israel favor the settlements for the obverse reason: to
reinforce Israel’s claim for the fulfillment of the Mandate and of Resolution 242 in a peace treaty
that would at least divide the territory.

For the international community, the issue is much deeper and more difficult: whether the
purposes of the Mandate can be considered satisfied if the Jews finally receive only the parts of
Palestine behind the Armistice Lines-less than 17.5 percent of the land promised them after the
First World War. The extraordinary recent changes in the international environment have brought
with them new diplomatic opportunities for the United States and its allies, not least in the
Middle East.

Soviet military aid apparently is no longer available to the Arabs for the purpose of making
another war against Israel. The intifada has failed, and the Arabs’ bargaining position is
weakening. It now may be possible to take long steps toward peace. But to do so, the
participants in the Middle East negotiations-the United States, Israel, Egypt, and the PLO-will
have to look beyond the territories.

 

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