The discussion of sovereignty is now also heard on the other side of the ocean, but in order for it to take on real momentum we need Israeli statesmen to speak clearly about it. Jeff Daube, ZOA Israel Director and co-chair of “Legal Grounds” is working to provide legal and other tools to Israeli politicians so that they will finally say things with clarity.
In the halls of Israeli politics there are many who understand that Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria is a policy that is ethical, historic, Zionist and indispensable for security, but amazingly, despite the fact that they have been swimming for some time in the political ocean, they do not have the necessary public relations tools and facts to stand up to media attacks and present their positions in various sorts of venues. The result for many of them is that they do not take a stand and they keep waiting for something to happen and for the reality of sovereignty to rise to the surface from some other place.
To prevent precisely such a sterile and emasculated situation the Legal Grounds organization was born, which seeks to equip our politicians with data and factual and historical documents that they will be able to use during public battles against dividing the Land and establishing a terror state in its heart and in favor of promoting the vision of sovereignty, and it turns out there is quite a bit of such data.
Jeff Daube, co-chair of the Legal Grounds organization and who also serves as director of the ZOA, divides his time between the US and Israel. Both here and there he holds innumerable meetings with parliamentarians, statesmen and diplomats and presents them with the historical and political truth, which until recently was silenced and hidden.
“My objective in establishing Legal Grounds is to convince our leaders and encourage them to begin speaking aloud, and not in a whisper, about our rights in Judea and Samaria,” he says, and explains that quite a bit of his organization’s legal and historical arguments and evidence is based on the Levy Report, but not on it alone.
“We are not a political organization. We think it is correct to first explain and educate our leaders. It has already been 22 years since the era of Begin and Shamir; there is a need to educate the Israeli leadership to understand how deeply our rights our rooted in Judea and Samaria, so that they will understand and internalize the reality that there is no occupation, but rather, it is the realization and implementation of our rights; rights that were given to us legally, by international law. It is our right to live and build there.”
Daube supports his resolute position with historical data that has been suppressed including, among other things, the actual meaning of the clause that is brandished by those who oppose sovereignty; the clause that was decreed by the Fourth Geneva convention, which states that a population of citizens may not be transferred to an occupied territory. “This clause is not relevant to our presence in Judea and Samaria,” he states, and further clarifies that the purpose of the clause was to reverse the aftermath of the German occupation in the Second World War, and that it actually relates to forcible transfer of populations from the occupier’s territory to the occupied territory.
Daube also mentions the document of the British Mandate for the Land of Israel as dramatic historical data as well as what was discussed at the San Remo Conference. These, and the decisions that stemmed from them, together with other international documents are the anchors for the legal Israeli hold in Judea and Samaria on the foundations of international law.
“There are people, even on the Right, who say that they treat these subjects in the spirit of the Report of Edmund Levy, but they think that it is necessary to promote matters under the table, under the radar and not to talk about it openly and aloud. This idea makes us seem like thieves in the night,” says Daube, who mentions a survey that was taken in October 2013 in which, in answer to the question of whether to withdraw from Judea and Samaria and uproot communities, only one third answered in the positive. Another question, asked to that same third, was: what would be their answer to the first question if it became clear that Israeli presence in the territory is justified, according to international law. Only a third of that third continued to hold their opinion. “The Israeli public is ready to hear the arguments for our rights in Judea and Samaria, it understands that our rights are anchored in international law and when these things become inculcated in the people’s consciousness, those who support our continued holdings in Judea and Samaria with have their say.”
This article was published by Women in Green and may be found here.