Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop’s Stance on the Legality of Israeli Settlements Might Be Right – Daniel Mandel
Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop broke ranks from the normally unexamined international consensus that, by permitting Jewish residence in the West Bank, Israel is violating international law. Asked if she agrees Jewish communities located beyond the Arab-Israeli 1949 armistice lines are illegal, Bishop replied: “I would like to see which international law has declared them illegal.”
Palestinian spokesmen cite Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. But what does Article 49 actually say? Drafted to outlaw the horrors of Nazi mass deportations, Article 49 prohibits “individual or mass forcible transfers.” It ordains that “the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
”Transfer” has an accepted meaning in international law: it entails some form of compulsion. Yet Palestinians are not being deported from the West Bank. Nor are Jews being deported from Israel to the West Bank; they are moving of their own free will.
The original international decision at the 1920 San Remo Conference earmarking this territory for Jewish settlement has never been superseded by an internationally binding agreement. The 1993 Oslo Accords contain no prohibition on the existence and growth of these Jewish communities. (Canberra Times-Australia)