For the first time since 1967, Israel’s Foreign Ministry has distributed worldwide the document “The legality of settlement,” which declares that the Geneva Convention does not apply to Judea and Samaria and that “at no point in history was Judea and Samaria subject to Palestinian sovereignty.”
Most of the Israeli embassies around the world have recently completed the distribution of the document, which details the legal arguments for the claim of Israel’s connection to Judea and Samaria, including citations from former US Undersecretary of State Eugene V. Rostov, who supported Israel’s right to settle in the liberated territories in “‘Palestinian Self-Determination’: Possible Futuresfor the Unallocated Territories of the Palestine Mandate” (Yale Journal of International Law, 1980).
“Jewish rights of close settlement in the West Bank are derived from the Mandate. Therefore they exist; it is impossible seriously to contend, as the United States government does, that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal,” wrote Rostov.
“It is true that since the Six Day War in 1967 the United States government has taken the nominal position that Israel held the Sinai, the Golan Heights, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip only as the military occupant under international law,” he continued, noting that “The State Department has maintained that under Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, a state administering the territory of another state as military occupant cannot in the absence of military necessity or governmental need displace the inhabitants of the territory and establish its own citizens in their place.”
A survey conducted this week by Matot Arim revealed that the document is finally being presented by all of Israel’s missions abroad, including the embassies in the United States, the European Union, Australia, and Canada.
The legal section states that the Geneva Convention does not apply in Judea and Samaria.
The document’s conclusion is that Israel “has valid property claims in relation to said areas, not only because of the Jewish historical affinity and long-standing presence in the country, the designation of the land as part of the Jewish National Home under the mandate of the League of Nations, and Israel’s recognized right to defensible borders – but also since the area has not been under the legitimate sovereignty of any state and fell under Israeli control as a result of a defensive war.”