Thursday, July 21, 2005

Is Gaza "captured" territory?

Believe it or not a misguided Jewish blogger brought up this old canard when discussing the disengagement. He writes Pointed questions for the orange olam

What does your morality say about the fact that those thriving communities we're about to abandon were built on stolen land with stolen water? When screaming about the raging injustice of the expulsion, do any of you pause to suffer guilt pangs about the origins of the community about to be expelled? Update: Some PC minded thugs, perhaps correctly, have objected to my use of the phrase "stolen land." I apologize, and reiterate that I have no wish to offend. Please suggest a substitute phrase, recalling that the land did not belong to Isarel before 1967, and that it was through the (justified) use of force that it entered Israel's control. "Stolen" is the wrong word, perhaps, but what is the right word?

This is completely and utterly wrong both based on Torah and international law.

In torah we don't have to go further then the first Rashi in Chumash. Also, there is a din of kibush milchama.

In international law it is also not stolen.

The San Remo conference in the early 1920's established the British mandate over Palestine. The British mandate of Palestine included what is now Jordan, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza (Note: the West Bank is the Jordanian term for Judea, I am using it because unfortunately that is the commonly used term). It stated the following:

The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.

Nowhere did it distinguish between any part of the mandate meaning that Jews had full right to settle in Gaza and the West Bank as well as the rest of the Palestine mandate.

The San Remo Conference has not been superseded. When in 1946 the United Nations was created in place of the League of Nations, its Charter included Article 80 specifically to allow the continuation of existing Mandates (including the British Mandate). Article 80 stated that nothing ... shall be construed in or of itself to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties.

Then in November 1947 came time for Resolution 181, which recommended the Partition of Palestine. Like all UN Resolutions pertaining to the Jewish-Arab conflict it was not enforceable. It was simply arecommendation, and the Arab countries rejected it. As the Syrian representative in the General Assembly stated:

In the first place the recommendations of the General Assembly are not imperative on those to whom they are addressed. The General Assembly only gives advice and the parties to whom advice is addressed accept it when it is rightful and just and when it does not impair their fundamental rights.

If the resolution had been implemented maybe it would be possible to argue that it replaced the San Remo Conference resolution, which had legitimized the rights of the Jews to settle in any place in Palestine. However, it was not only rejected by the Arabs, but in violation of the UN Charter they launched a military aggression against the newly reborn Jewish state thus invalidating the resolution. By the time of the cease-fire at the end of the War of Independence there was still no other enforceable document pertaining to the rights of the Jews to settle Eretz Yisrael - they remained intact.


Of course for someone in the US to talk about captured or occupied territory is quite hypocritical as most of the US is occupied or captured territory. Much of the Southwest was captured from Mexico in 1848 and of course much of the West was "stolen" from the Indians.

In conclusion both in Torah law and International law Jews have full rights to live in Gaza and the West Bank.


Anonymous said...

Good post. R' Gil should read this as well. He seems to feel removing the "settlers" is not immoral.

bluke said...

And of course no one answered me.

Noam S said...

strong work. have an excellent Shabbat

Anonymous said...

You may be right about the niceties of international law.

But gaza was eretz pilishtim and is not halachick eretz yisroel anyway.

The main point is that 18,000 people had the best of the arable land in Gaza. They either directly or indirectly controled about 25% of the Gaza strip. 1.37 million live in bad conditions on the rest. When about 1% of the people have 25% of the land and when 1% of the people have the best land it tends to tick off the rest - especially when they beleive its their land. And then we spend a fortune in $ and use thousands of soldiers to defned 18000 people. Thats impracticle.

Withdrawing from Gaza makes 100% sense. Israel originally at one time in the 70s offered it back to the Egyptions but they didnt want it. Staying there forments more and more hatred. Remember the Arabs living there think its "their land". They regard it as the one bit of land they have managed to keep a hold of. They are desperate to 'keep' it.

Thus pragmatically you have to understand how the other side sees things and figure out what CAN be done. Once Israel withdraws from Gaza it can effectively seal it off and spend its resources more effeciently. Then there will also be one less thing that enrages the Palastinians.

Anonymous said...


The Arabs see the rest of Israel as "their land" as well.

Anonymous said...


"Once Israel withdraws from Gaza it can effectively seal it off and spend its resources more efficiently."

Can you back that statement up with some facts? The former IDF general of the entire southern command seems to disagree with your expert military assessment.

bluke said...


According to most poskim Gaza is part of Eretz Yisrael, if you look at any of the descriptions of the borders of EY in Chumash or Navi it is included. There is a question whether it has kedushas eretz yisrael, however, even if it does not, you are certainly mekyem the mitzva of yishuv haaretz there.

Withdrawal from Gaza is appeasement of terror which never works.

Anonymous said...

bluke,It is amazing to me how some commenters can make statements about gaza and ey.At least ask it as a question!

Rebeljew said...

Your conclusion evinces one of the obvious points that is always ignored in this discussion.

"In conclusion both in Torah law and International law Jews have full rights to live in Gaza and the West Bank."

In the end, if the Palestinians are successful, they do not just want sovereignty. They want to be able to completely exclude Jews from rights to live their, based solely on being Jews. This would not be possible anywhere else in the world. They even have a word for it.

bluke said...

Your point is very well taken and should be emphasized.

Actually it is possible in a few places in the world like Saudia Arabia. In fact the new proposed Constitution of Iraq states the following:
3. Any individual with another nationality (except for Israel) may obtain Iraqi nationality after a period of residency inside the borders of Iraq of not less than ten years for an Arab or twenty years for any other nationality, as long as he has good character and behavior, has no criminal judgment against him from the Iraqi authorities during the time of his residency on the territory of the Iraqi republic.

4. An Iraqi may have more than one nationality as long as the nationality is not Israel.