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Member since: Sat Oct 8, 2011, 05:28 PM
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The rest of my answer:

Let me insert this for reference before going on: Art 49, para 6: The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.

At this point, I think this is my position:

There are two kinds of evidence available to discover what the cryptic words of paragraph 6 mean, or were intended to mean. What the authors did say about it and what they did not say. Let's start with what they did not say, but easily could have.

They did not say: The Occupying Power shall not deport, transfer or allow civilian members of their population to establish permanent residence in the territory it occupies.

I think a good argument could be made that if that's what the authors intended, that's what they would have said - or something very close to that. If they had there would be no need for this discussion today and there be no need for a Levy Report.

As for what they did say, have you read the official commentary? On that article the paragraph that applies to our discussion is this:


This clause was adopted after some hesitation, by the XVIIth International Red Cross Conference (13). It is intended to prevent a practice adopted during the Second World War by certain Powers, which transferred portions of their own population to occupied territory for political and racial reasons or in order, as they claimed, to colonize those territories. Such transfers worsened the economic situation of the native population and endangered their separate existence as a race.

So it is reasonable IMO to ask if the purpose of Israeli immigration into the "occupied" territory (assuming for sake of argument that it is actually occupied) - was for the purpose of politically or racially oppressing the native population, of worsening their economic situation and endangered their separate existence as a race. Also, to ask if the occupiers intended to colonize the territory.

First, regarding colonization: I realize some pro-Palestinians have adopted "colonize" to mean any immigration of people of one ethnicity into an area where there is a different majority ethnicity. On its face that's an absurd definition since it would preclude the rightful citizenship of 90% or more of the populations of all democratic states. Would those using this definition - like Kayecy - insist that Mexicans or Vietnamese should not be allowed to immigrate to the US? I am certain that the authors of 4GC meant colonization in the classic sense where an occupying power economically enslaves the indigenous population in order to extract resources at the lowest cost. Nothing like that has happened in the territories. In fact, civilian immigration is almost never a part of classic colonialism where some civilians come temporarily as bureaucrats and business operators -but almost never settling permanently with their families (which fits better with the exceptions you are comfortable with.)

Since Israel has the resources and military might to easily cause such "worsening of the Palestinian economic situation" and "endangering their separate existence as a race" it is reasonable to ask if there is any evidence available from the 45 year long period of "occupation" that this was Israel's purpose or goal in "inducing" the settlement project. Since, under Israeli control, the Palestinian standard of living, mortality index, education level, etc. has far outstripped every one of their Arab neighbor states I think it would be hard to make that case. Also, their population has grown vigorously. Even Palestinians killed in armed confrontations with the IDF are minuscule compared to their natural population growth and with with almost any similar situation in history.

OTOH there is tons of evidence that Israel is allowing immigration into a territory that they control mainly because that population had legally settled there previously and was illegally ethnically cleansed from those territories in 1948. Israel is correcting the effects of a crime against humanity that was perpetrated against the Jews who had lived in the area for centuries in small numbers as well as the larger numbers who had legally immigrated in the 20th century. Israel is responding democratically to the demands of their population to correct that wrong. To tell the Palestinians that if they can not come to terms with living in peace with Israel then they will have to accept Jews returning to the land they once lived in and share it with them under Israeli rules. I realize that's a hard pill to swallow for the Palestinians - but so are never-ending attacks against Israeli citizens for Israelis. The Palestinians have had it in their power to end the attacks and make peace for 45 years.

Since the commentary on 4GC-Art 49 emphasizes the humanitarian effect on the population of civilians as the over-riding consideration of the 4GC, if it comes down to a decision between supporting the wishes of those civilians who hate a particular ethnicity and want to expell or kill them to retain an ethnic / religious "purity" in their own environment - or those civilians who want to allow all ethnicities to have the same opportunities to settle and live in a stateless territory where both groups have historic roots and a legal claim to do so - I'd go with the latter and say that Israeli civilian immigration and settlement in the territories does not violate Article 49.
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