Alp Baker is Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and Head of the Global Law Forum. He is an expert in international law and participated in the negotiations and preparation of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians as well as agreements and peace agreements with Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. He has previously been Legal Adviser and Assistant Director of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Israeli Ambassador to Canada.
In the January 2013 article, he summarizes over 10 points he believes are the legal basis for Israel’s presence in the West Bank.
1.After Israel took control of the area in 1967, the 1907 Hague Convention on Land War and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 were not considered relevant to the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), as the Kingdom of Jordan before 1967 never had had legitimate authority over it. In any case, Jordan subsequently waived all claims to sovereignty over the territory.
2.As Israel, as the managing authority, pending a final clarification of the future of the region, has nevertheless chosen to implement the humanitarian provisions of the Geneva Convention and other norms of international humanitarian law. It was decided to give the local people their daily rights and to protect Israel’s right to protect its own forces, and to be able to use land that is not locally privately owned.
3.Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the mass relocation of the population in an occupied territory, as Germany did during World War II, was neither relevant nor ever intended to apply to Israelis who choose to live in Judea and Samaria.
4. It follows that claims by the UN, European leaders, organizations and individuals that Israeli settlement activity constitutes a violation of international law have no legal basis.
5. Similarly, the commonly used term “Occupied Palestinian Territories” is completely inaccurate and incorrect. The places are neither occupied nor Palestinian. No court has ever ruled that the Palestinians have sovereignty over the territory or that it belongs to them.
6.Judea and Samaria are still controversial areas between Israel and the Palestinians. Only the outcome of final status negotiations can change that.
7. The presence of the Israeli communities in the area is a legitimate consequence of the historical and legal rights of the Jewish people – as indigenous peoples – to settle in the area. The right is granted in accordance with valid and binding legal institutions recognized and accepted by the international community. These rights cannot be revoked or questioned.
8.The Palestinian leadership – according to the still valid 1995 Interim Agreement (Oslo 2) agreed to and accepted Israel’s continued presence in Judea and Samaria pending final status negotiations without any restrictions on either party in terms of planning, zoning or construction of home and community. It follows that the allegation that Israel’s presence in the area is illegal has no basis.
9. In the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian leadership undertook to resolve all outstanding issues, including borders, settlements, security, Jerusalem and refugees, only by negotiation and not by unilateral action. It is a violation of the agreements when the Palestinians demand a halt to settlement activities as a precondition for participating in negotiations.
Any attempt by the United Nations or similar institutions to unilaterally change the status of the area would be a violation of the Palestinians’ obligations under the Oslo Accords and would damage the integrity and validity of the various agreements.. Det kan åbne op for at Israel også gør tilsvarende ensidige tiltag.
I interviewet fra 2016 argumenterer Alan Baker for det samme som han skrev i artiklen i 2013.