When Israel announces that it will build settlements, people throughout the world exclaim that this is a horrible affront to the Palestinians. It is time to explain what settlements are and that this is a reasonable action.
Settlements are Israeli communities in formerly Palestinian and Syrian territories. In 1967, several Arab countries waged war against Israel and lost. Israel picked up land in these territories. To better defend that land, Israel wants its people to settle there. The Palestinians want to get that land back and recognize that settlements make this much less likely. The Palestinians complain to the rest of the world and most of the world believes them. If the Palestinians did not want to lose their land, they should not have tried to kill the Jews in 1967.
Does Israel have the legal right to build settlements on these territories? According to the International Court of Justice in 2005, Israel does not have the right to annex land while acting in self defense. In other words, a country does not have the right to expand its land by conquest, even if the other side is the aggressor. This means that if a country wins a war and conquers all of the land of the other country, it must give the land back, so that the other country can try to kill the winners later on. For example, after we conquered the Nazis, we should have given them their land back. This interpretation appears to reward the aggressor and encourage future wars.
The origin of the 2005 ruling is General Assembly Resolution 3314. It states “No territorial acquisition or special advantage resulting from aggression is or shall be recognized as lawful.” In 1967, Israel was not the aggressor, so this resolution should not apply, but the international community thinks that it does.
Israel never signed a treaty with Syria or the Palestinians, so technically they are still at war. Israel should be able to move its people around to defend the land that it has captured. Syria and the Palestinians could end this status by signing a peace treaty with Israel, but that is against their religion.
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Israel should continue to build settlements. It has the right to defend itself. The United Nations can be expected to rail against this. The UN has consistently sided with the Palestinians against Israel. For example, it gives the Palestinians money and the status of “non-member observer state.” In contrast, in 2016, the UN had 20 resolutions against Israel and only 6 against the rest of the world combined. In a world in which North Korea and Iran are gearing up to nuke the United States and slavery exists in Sudan, Mauritania, and Saudi Arabia, the UN finds fault with Israel. In the whole settlement discussion, why is the term antisemite never used?
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