Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:
ZOA strongly praises US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman’s request to the U.S. State Department to stop inaccurately and wrongly referring to the historic Jewish areas of Judea/Samaria as “occupied” in the State Department’s official communications. (See “Ambassador Friedman: Stop Using the Word ‘Occupation’: US Ambassador to Israel Calls On State Department To Stop Calling Judea And Samaria ‘Occupied,‘” by Garry Willig, Israel Nat’l News, Dec. 26, 2017.)
ZOA urges the U.S. State Department and President Trump to adopt Ambassador Friedman’s important and appropriate request that’s long overdue. Using the inaccurate term “occupied” is highly prejudicial, historically and politically wrong and gives the false impression that Jews have no right to key areas of the Jewish homeland, of great Jewish historic and religious Jewish significance. These areas are also essential for Israel’s security. Israel is legally entitled to these areas under international law – and thus cannot be considered to be an “occupier” of Judea/Samaria.
Jews have lived in Judea/Samaria for thousands of years. For instance, the Maccabees’ base was in Beit El, in the Judean hills.
Jews are entitled to live and reconstitute their homeland in Judea/Samaria under binding international law. Article 22 of the League of Nations Covenant, the Mandate for Palestine (1922), San Remo Resolution (1920), Feisal-Weitzman Treaty (1919) (an Arab-Jewish treaty, signed by the Emir of the Kingdom of Hejaz, now part of Saudi Arabia), and the 1924 Anglo-American Convention [Treaty] (ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1925, making it a binding U.S. treaty obligation), designated the area that is now Israel including Jerusalem and Judea/Samaria and present-day Jordan as a “sacred trust” for reconstituting the Jewish homeland.
Further, UN Charter Article 80 (1945) preserved the Jewish people’s rights under the Mandate (even after the Mandate’s expiration) to reconstitute the Jewish homeland and closely settle the Palestine Mandate, which included Judea/Samaria.
In 1948, Jordan attacked Israel and illegally occupied Judea/Samaria for the next 19 years, and renamed the area the “West Bank” to try to de-Judaize it. After Jordan attacked Israel again in 1967, Israel liberated Judea/Samaria in the ensuing defensive war. UN Security Council Resolution 242 entitles Israel to the “right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force” and does not require Israel to withdraw from Judea/Samaria – only some territory, which Israel did when Israel withdrew from all of Sinai (which constituted over 90% of the area Israel recaptured and captured in 1967).
Moreover, there is no foreign sovereign that Israel is “occupying.” Jordan relinquished its rights to Judea/Samaria in 1988 and in the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty (1994). There has never been a “Palestinian”- Arab state in Judea/Samaria.
Yet despite the Jewish people’s rights to live and reconstitute their homeland throughout the area, as Ambassador Friedman has noted, Jewish communities only comprise less than 2% of Judea/Samaria today. 98% of “West Bank” Palestinian Arabs live in areas under the Palestinian Authority’s control, with their own schools, courts, police, businesses, legislature, television stations, radio stations, newspapers and other governing institutions. That is certainly not an Israeli “occupation.”
(See also “Mort Klein – There Is No Israeli ‘Occupation’: It’s Not Arab Land and 98 Percent of Palestinian-Arabs Live Under Arab Rule,” by Morton A. Klein, Breitbart, Sept. 29, 2017.)