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    Friday
    Dec112009

    Israeli Settlements Are More than Legitimate - Eric Rozenman

    President Obama asserts, seconded by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, that "America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements" in the West Bank. But history shows that Israeli settlements not only are legitimate under international law but positively encouraged. The League of Nations' 1922 British Mandate for Palestine, Article 6, encourages "close settlement by Jews on the land, including state lands and waste lands not required for public use." Most Israeli settlements in the West Bank have been built on land that was state land under the Ottomans, British, Jordanians and Israelis, or on property that has been privately purchased.
        Eugene Rostow, U.S. Undersecretary of State for President Lyndon Johnson, said in 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." One can argue, as Obama does, that Israel's establishing towns in the disputed territories after 1967 obstructs diplomacy, but one cannot accurately declare the settlements illegal. The writer is Washington director of CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. (Los Angeles Times)