On What Legal Basis Did Australia Drop The “O” Word From Their Discourse About Israel?


Photo Credit: Leslie-Ann Stoffel

Ynet News has reported, that Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s government has decided to drop the word “occupied” when describing Israel’s settlements in East Jerusalem, Australian Associated Press reported Thursday.

And this is for good reason because the term “occupied” is inflammatory and wrong when describing the Jewish presence within Judea and Samaria, otherwise known as the West Bank when it was illegally occupied by Jordan from 1948 – 1967.

Eugene Kontorovich wrote an excellent article in Commentary, Crimea, International Law, and the West Bank, where he gives a brief history lesson on the region as follows:

“The League of Nations, acting pursuant to powers in its charter, established the territory of Mandatory Palestine in 1922, much as the Mandate system established the borders of most other Middle Eastern states. The UN General Assembly did not have the power to modify that territory with its 1947 Partition proposal. Nor did the pan-Arab aggression of 1948–49 and its subsequent reception by the international community.

To be sure, international sentiment has turned sharply against Israel’s control over much of this territory. But international law is not a popularity contest; if it were, Israel would have long ago been voted off the island.”

Read The Article Here:

The Mandate for Palestine was constructed on the basis of the San Remo Resolution and was given over to Britain on the condition that Britain facilitate the implementation of the Balfour Declaration. That is, to bring into existence the formation of a Jewish State. Furthermore in 1922 The League of Nations enshrined into International Law the principle of Palestine being the National Home of the Jewish people and this was reconfirmed when the United Nations replaced the League of Nations. This law still stands today.

Knesset Oct 2011 007
Photo Credit: Leslie-Ann Stoffel

The Levy Report: The Basis for LEGAL GROUNDS – Campaign To Promote Israel’s Rights

The LEGAL GROUNDS Website states:

Back in January 2012, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu appointed a committee to examine the status of Israeli building in Judea and Samaria. Edmund Levy, former Justice of the High Court, headed the committee; its other members were Alan Baker, international lawyer and former adviser for the Foreign Ministry, and Tehiya Shapira, retired Tel Aviv District Court Judge.Their Report “The Status of Building in Judea and Samaria” – was released on July 8, 2012.

Conclusions Taken From The Report:

“After having considered the terms of reference set out in the Commission’s mandate, and in light of what we have heard, as well as the considerable amount of material that has been presented to us by a wide range of bodies, our conclusions and recommendations are as follows:

Our basic conclusion is that from the point of view of international law, the classical laws of “occupation” as set out in the relevant international conventions cannot be considered applicable to the unique and sui generis historic and legal circumstances of Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria spanning over decades.

In addition, the provisions of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, regarding transfer of populations, cannot be considered to be applicable and were never intended to apply to the type of settlement activity carried out by Israel in Judea and Samaria.”

Sui Generis: What is it? Israel’s situation can be described as sui generis; a one of a kind unique situation.

The conclusions from the The Levy Report and explained by Dr. Harel Arnon when he spoke at the Knesset hearing.

Dr. Harel Arnon Explain LEGAL GROUNDS At The Knesset Hearing Two points when analyzing the situation are:

  1. A country can only occupy land from another country.
  2. That the occupying country controls a population that does not have citizenship of the occupying country.

When Jordan invaded the newly formed State of Israel and began to occupy the territory of Judea and Samaria, they did so illegally.  Israel seized this land from Jordan in the 1967 defensive war and since Jordan was an illegal occupier of a region and not a sovereign country, the legal definition of occupation does not apply in this case.

Therefore, according to International law, Israelis have the legal right to settle in Judea and Samaria and the establishment of settlements cannot, in and of itself, be considered to be illegal. So as we can see from this evidence, Australia is right to drop the “O” word from their discourse about Israel.

If you would like to contribute financially to LEGAL GROUNDS please do so on their web page at:

For further information and to watch the video of Dr. Harel Arnon and Jeff Daube please go here:

About the Author
Leslie-Ann Stoffel is a Canadian pro-Israel advocate and blogger. She is very active in this capacity on Facebook and Twitter with over 21,000 followers. She also writes for The Jewish Press, has reported for Israel National News and has a blog on the CIJA - Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs Blog - The Exchange.