Israeli Gov’t Argues It Can Annex Any Land, Defy Any International Law It Chooses

With its government openly admitting Israel’s rogue-state status and its intention to act without regard to international norms or basic human decency, Israel has indicated that it is hell-bent on ethnically cleansing Palestine and eliminating the “demographic threat” once and for all.

By Whitney Webb. Published 9-21-2018 by MintPress News

Beit Hanoun region of Gaza, August 2014, after Israeli bombardments. Photo: btselem [CC BY 4.0] via Wikimedia Commons

During an ongoing court case regarding the legality of Israel’s controversial Settlement Regularization Law, the Israeli government has argued that the Israeli Knesset can “legislate anywhere in the world” and is “allowed to ignore the directive of international law in any field it desires.” The statements, delivered to Israel’s Supreme Court last month, show clear proof that the Israeli government is openly defying international law with the full approval of its top officials in its bid to annex occupied Palestine and wipe out any hope of a future Palestinian state.

Following the passage of the Settlement Regularization Law last year, several Palestinian rights groups led by Adalah — The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel — filed a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court arguing that the Knesset is not legally permitted to enact or impose laws on territory occupied by the State of Israel that is not officially Israeli territory. As a consequence, according to the petition, the Knesset cannot pass laws that annex the West Bank or violate the rights of Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank.

The Settlement Regularization Law, passed last year, retroactively legalizes the theft of Palestinian private land in the occupied West Bank by illegal Jewish settlers. The law is so extreme that some members of Israel’s right-wing Likud party have opposed it, with even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declining to throw his full support behind the bill because of his concerns that it could result in Israeli officials being prosecuted by the International Criminal Court. When Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit refused to defend the law in court for its clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked vowed to hire a private lawyer to do so, which is ultimately what transpired.

Subsequently, in response to Adalah’s petition challenging the law, the Israeli government’s private attorney Arnon Harel argued last month that Israel’s legislature is permitted “to impose all of the powers of the military commander of the [West Bank] region as it sees fit; … and to define the authorities of the [West Bank] military commander as it sees fit;” and that the Israeli government has the authority “to annex any territory” it so chooses. Furthermore, the Israeli government also asserted it had the right to “ignore the directives of international law in any field it desires.”

In response, the lawyers of Adalah and the other rights groups issued a statement that pointed out that the Israeli government’s “extremist response has no parallel anywhere in the world,” adding that its statements stand “in gross violation of international law and of the United Nations Charter which obligates member states to refrain from threatening or using force against the territorial integrity of other states — including occupied territories.”

They further noted that “the Israeli government’s extremist position is, in fact, a declaration of its intention to proceed with its annexation of the West Bank.”

Indeed, it is an open secret that Israel is set to completely annex the occupied West Bank. In July, UN official Michael Lynk warned:

After years of creeping Israeli de facto annexation of large swathes of the West Bank through settlement expansion, the creation of closed military zones and other measures, Israel appears to be getting closer to enacting legislation that will formally annex parts of the West Bank.”

Since Lynk’s warning, several bills seeking to essentially annex the West Bank have been introduced in the Israeli Knesset, such as a controversial bill that would allow Israeli Jewish citizens to purchase Palestinian land in “Area C” of the occupied West Bank, paving the way for its eventual incorporation into Israeli territory. Area C accounts for more than 60 percent of the West Bank’s total territory.

Those legal measures have also been coupled with a dramatic surge in the construction of illegal West Bank settlements, which — thanks in part to the Settlement Regularization Law — are the chief means by which Israel is set to illegally seize what remains of occupied Palestine.

Now, with its government openly admitting Israel’s rogue-state status and its intention to act without regard to international norms or basic human decency, Israel has indicated that it is hell-bent on ethnically cleansing Palestine and eliminating the “demographic threat” once and for all.

This article is republished under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

 

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