Bob Carr, Australia’s former Minister for Foreign Affairs, writes: In 1967 Israel won control of the West Bank as a result of its success in the Six Day War. Its then prime minister Levi Eshkol wanted to consolidate control by planting settlements on the occupied territory. He asked Theodor Meron, his chief legal adviser, whether this would be legal.
No, said Meron. The Geneva Convention says no nation may settle its own population on land it wins in war.
Meron is alive today, an eminent international jurist. He says he was right then and is right now.
All those settlements, all illegal.
I recall a conversation about 12 years ago with an Australian business leader, just back from Israel. He held out some hope for a negotiated peace.
“But what about the settlements?” I asked. At the time I was premier and patron of Labor Friends of Israel.
“Bob, don’t worry. If the Israeli people get a peace deal they will withdraw the settlements.”
Next time I looked settlement population numbers had soared another 150,000, something which left me with the distinct impression of having been conned – no, having been lied to – by the Israel lobby. Sure we subscribe to a two-state solution, they insist, but while you’re looking the other way we’re spreading settlements as fast as possible to render it impossible. [Continue reading…]