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ICEJ Statement on Annexation

Extending Israeli Sovereignty in Judea & Samaria

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Posted on: 
5 Jun 2020
ICEJ Statement on Annexation

With a new Israeli government finally in place, the debate is now fully engaged – at home and abroad –as to whether Israel should “annex” portions of Judea/Samaria under the terms of the Trump peace plan.

As this debate unfolds, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem will remain respectful of Israeli democracy and the right of its citizens to decide these matters of great national concern. Yet we also realise not everyone will afford Israel the same respect, and thus we will stand with Israel’s historic claim to the lands under consideration and its right to make these decisions free of undue interference, pressure and threats.

The term “annexation” is actually a misnomer in this instance, as it commonly denotes the forcible taking of the territory of another. But here, Israel already held a legitimate historic right and claim to Judea/Samaria even before it came into possession of these areas in an act of self-defense in 1967. The question now facing Israel is whether to fully assert its sovereign title to certain of these territories by simply extending its laws there.

The Jewish people’s claim to the historic Land of Israel was recognized by the international community at the San Remo Conference in 1920 and in the League of Nations’ mandate decisions in 1922. This was not the granting of a new right to the land, but recognition of the Jewish people’s pre-existing claim as an indigenous people seeking to reconstitute their national sovereignty in their ancestral homeland. Nothing since has abrogated or voided that right to sovereignty over the Land of Israel, including those areas now commonly referred to as the West Bank.

In fact, Israel’s title to Judea/Samaria under international law is just as valid today as the sovereign claims of Lebanon, Syria and Iraq to their own lands, since they all trace their title back to a common source. That is, the same decision-makers resolved in the same basic transactions to recognize the respective rights of each nation based on the same set of legal principles.

By its nature, sovereignty also includes the right to cede lands, and the Israeli people must now decide whether to fully assert their rights to certain portions of Judea/Samaria and to cede other areas to their rival Palestinian claimants for the sake of peace. Sadly, previous Israeli attempts to achieve peace by conceding disputed lands to the Palestinians were met by rejection, violence and bloodshed.

The Trump plan represents a clear departure from these failed peace efforts of the past. It dramatically reverses the trend of recent decades whereby the international community has slowly eroded away at Israel’s rights and positions without requiring any Palestinian concessions. It also truly tests, for the first time, the real intentions of the Palestinian leadership.

Meanwhile, the plan has many benefits for Israel, but it also would require painful concessions and involve huge security risks. There are a number of other factors which will need to be considered, such as the repercussions in the region and the re-election chances of President Trump. But these are decisions for the Israeli people to make, and the leadership and global following of the ICEJ will stand beside them in a responsible, constructive role as committed friends and supporters no matter the outcome.

Dr. Jürgen Bühler
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem


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