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by Boris Shusteff


Speaking to the Jewish Agency Assembly in Jerusalem on June 28th Israeli Prime-Minister Ariel Sharon said, "I am very wary of attempts by a small minority of law-breakers - who wish to use force against the IDF and other security forces." Meeting later on the same day with leaders of Chabad he brought up the issue of the lawbreaking again when said that, "There is a small group of extremists here that is trying to force its will on the nation."

It appears that the counterposition of law-abiding and law-breaking citizens has become the leitmotif of current Israeli life. Those who support Sharon's efforts to make Gaza Judenrein, are convinced that since the Israeli government passed the Jewish transfer law, it is every citizen's duty to follow it. The supporters of the national camp, on the other hand, claim that this law was forced upon the Knesset and the country through lies, arm-twisting, and anti-democratic methods. Therefore, every conscientious citizen should oppose the implementation of this injustice.

In short, the main controversy in Israeli society today revolves around the importance of obeying the law, in particular the Jewish expulsion law. Honestly speaking, this shady law is completely incompatible with the fundamental laws on whose basis the Jews restored their national life in Eretz Yisrael. One should expect these laws to be obeyed much more religiously. However, it is exactly in contradiction to these laws that Sharon's efforts to turn Gaza into a Jew-free enclave stand. Ironically, the Israeli Penal Code defines such efforts to be treason, with all the consequences deriving from it.

Howard Grief, a prominent Israeli lawyer, writes in the March issue of Nativ (by-monthly periodical of the Ariel Center for Policy Research) that Sharon's actions fall into the category of actions "that constitute the crime of treason under Section 97(a) of the Penal Code. In fact, the mere intention to withdraw from any area under the sovereignty of the State of Israel is enough to constitute the crime of treason under sections 97(b) and 100 of the Penal Code"(1).

In order to preempt so-called "experts" and skeptics who are perhaps starting to feel sorry for the poor ignorant Israeli nationalists, who are not aware that the lands of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza were never officially annexed by Israel and cannot be considered to be under Israel's sovereignty, let us go directly to the primary source.

Article 1 of the Jewish State Law #29, titled "Area of Jurisdiction and Power Ordinance," passed in the Knesset on September 22, 1948, states:

"Any law applying to the whole of the State of Israel shall be deemed to apply to the whole of the area including both the area of the State of Israel and any part of Palestine which the Minister of Defense has defined by proclamation as being held by the Defense Army of Israel." (2).

Article 3 of the Law makes it retroactive and effective from the day of the reestablishment of the Jewish state - the 6th of Iyar, 5708 (15th May, 1948).

In plain language, according to this law any part of Palestine that falls under the control of the IDF (Israel Defense Force) by default becomes an inalienable part of the Jewish State, and the sovereignty of the state automatically extends to this territory. Meaning that it must be treated exactly as any other part of Israel, and that Israel's Penal Code, including articles 97(a), 97(b), and 100, applies to it as it applies to any other part of Israel.

The mention of Palestine in the "Area of Jurisdiction and Power Ordinance" Law was not accidental, because the terms "Palestine" and "Eretz Yisrael" were always equivalent for both Jews and non-Jews. This is why, until the middle of the last century, it is the Jews in Palestine who were routinely referred to as Palestinians, and vice versa when speaking of Palestinians, one always meant Palestinian Jews.

In sports terminology, one might say that this Israeli jurisdiction law received the relay baton from the preceding law enforcing document, which was the League of Nations resolution of April 25th 1920 at the San Remo Conference. Article 6 of the British Mandate for Palestine declared the right of the Jews to settle anywhere in Palestine, including, of course, Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.

Despite the fact that the British mandate to Palestine was terminated in 1948 the rights that it gave to the Jews to build settlements in Palestine remain intact. Howard Grief explains:

"Under the principle of acquired legal rights, though the international instrument upon which those rights were founded did indeed expire, the rights themselves conferred on the Jewish People remained in force. This principle of international law is now codified in Article 70(1)(b) of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties"(1)

It must be crystal clear that the decision of the Israeli government to automatically extend its sovereignty to any patch and parcel of Palestine as soon as it falls under the IDF's controls was absolutely intentional. The Israeli Declaration of Independence explicitly mentions the entirety of Eretz Yisrael as the Homeland of the Jewish people. Therefore it is not surprising that the most important law of the Jewish state - The Law of Return - gives to the Jews the opportunity to exercise their right of return to any place in Eretz Yisrael.

Howard Grief brilliantly notes that the Law of Return speaks not about the return of the Jews to the State of Israel but about the return to the Land of Israel, i.e., Eretz Yisrael, not Medinat Yisrael. He emphasizes the point that instead of using the word medina (the state) it uses the word artza that has one and only one meaning in Hebrew. It is derived from the word Aretz, which means the Land of Israel - Eretz Yisrael.

It is interesting to compare the text of the Law in its original Hebrew (3) with its English translation (4). Anyone who is fluent in both languages can easily notice the substantial discrepancy between the original and the translation. While the First paragraph of the Law of Return states: "Any Jew has a right to perform aliyah to Eretz Yisrael", the English version lacks a proper translation of the word artza. It uses instead of the correct wording Eretz Yisrael the term for this country.

The Fourth paragraph of the Law of Return makes it abundantly clear that the word artza was used deliberately. The paragraph explains that any Jew who lives or was born in Eretz Yisrael before the emergence of this Law is considered to have made aliyah. (We stress again that it is in Eretz Yisrael and not only in the territory that became the State of Israel).

In summary, there are three major laws that are the three pillars that are holding the reinstated Jewish statehood. These are the international law regarding Jewish settlement rights, accepted in San Remo and still enforceable, Israeli Law #29, the "Area of Jurisdiction and Power Ordinance," and the Law of Return. All of them unequivocally confirm the inalienable rights of Jews to settle in any part of Eretz Yisrael. That means that with his actions directed towards expelling the Jews from Gaza and northern Samaria, Sharon blatantly violates the fundamental laws of the Jewish state.

Thus, it becomes clear that Sharon pronounced his words about lawbreakers in reference to "a small group of extremists - trying to force its will on the nation," while looking into the mirror. It is exactly he and the ruling Israeli political and judicial elite who constitute the small group of extremists. It is they who want to force their will on the nation. They are striving to deprive the Jewish people of its eternal inheritance - the lands of Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Evil should not be allowed to prevail. Every time we hear somebody accusing patriotic Jews of violating the law of the state, we must loudly speak up. It is not the patriotic Jews but Sharon who twists the most fundamental laws of Israel. It is Sharon who is the lawbreaker. It is Sharon who violates the Law and the Israeli Judicial system classifies this kind of law breaking as treason.

Sharon can boast that the expulsion of Jews will happen on schedule, but he should know that there is nothing new under the sun. When the patience of a long-suffering and stiff-necked people runs out, he will have to answer for the breaking of the law. And then he will be remembered not as a hero but as a traitor.


1. Howard Grief, ACPR Policy Paper No.157;

2. Area of Jurisdiction and Powers Ordinance, No.29 of 5708-1948.



Boris Shusteff is an engineer. He is also a research associate with the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies. This article appeared July 17. 2005 on the Center's Maccabean Online ( It is archived at


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