Pondering the question, “Are West Bank Settlements Illegal? According to Rightwing Zionist Lawyers, No; According to Every Other Legal Expert In the World, Yes”, pseudonymous blogger “Jeremiah (Jerry) Haber”, an “orthodox Jewish studies professor who divides his time between Israel and the US”, points out in early January 2010 on his blog, The Magnes Zionist, that “In his dissenting opinion to the 2004 decision of the International Criminal Court against Israel’s “Separation Wall” Judge Thomas Buergenthal … did not even bother to argue that Israeli settlements are illegal. By 2004, no serious legal expert thought otherwise. Perhaps it is fitting that one year after the Gaza fiasco, the Israeli Hasbara crowd – those on the right wing of it, anyway – are resurrecting some very old chestnuts, like: the West Bank is not Occupied Territory, or that if it is, the Fourth Geneva Convention does not apply to it, or that if it does, Israel is not violating it through settlements, blah, blah, blah. These are pre-Intifada positions that date from the seventies and the eighties, and even then were advanced only by Israeli apologists, albeit some people who had distinguished themselves in other spheres, like Eugene Rostow and Julius Stone. In Israel, some of them may still be the official position, but no thinking person takes them seriously, certainly not in public discourse”.

This post continues: “The Israeli High Court, heck, even Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, considered the Palestinian population of the West Bank be under occupation. George W. Bush called upon Israel to end the occupation. Until Vladimir Avigdor Lieberman took over the Foreign Ministry, that particular chestnut weren’t even roasting on an open fire. No further evidence of the death of these positions is needed than the venue of their ‘resurrection’ (the Wall Street Journal and Commentary) and the right-wingers who are making them (deputy foreign minister of Israel, Danny Ayalon, and Northeastern law professor, David M. Philllips) Danny Ayalon, a member of the ultra-rightwing party Yisrael Beiteinu, claims that the territories are not occupied but rather disputed, using arguments that I have not heard in thirty years – in fact, since Gene Rostow and Julius Stone made them. In fact, I have no idea what is the Hebrew phrase for the ‘disputed territories’ – whoever refers to “territories” (as opposed to Judea and Samaria) uses the adjective kevushim ‘conquered’. And since Israel controls these territories as a result of military conquest and against the will of the inhabitants, they sure are conquered”. The full post can be read here

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