Are Jews allowed to live in Judea and Samaria? A call to prayer

5 July 2024


Late last month, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich called for a series of measures to strengthen the Jewish state’s hold on Judea and Samaria in response to the Palestinians’ push for unilateral statehood and support for the International Criminal Court case against Israel.

Smotrich, who also has authority over civilian matters in Judea and Samaria, demanded the approval of 10,000 new housing units and the establishment of a new town for each country that recognizes “Palestine.” In order to build in Judea and Samaria it is necessary to have Israeli government approval. This week the Israeli government advanced the approval of 6,016 housing units in dozens of towns throughout Judea and Samaria.

“Judea and Samaria” are often referred to as “the West Bank”, and Jews who live there are often called “settlers”.

From Israel’s perspective, Israelis who will live in these housing units are simply exercising their right to live in territory administered by Israel and to which Israel has strong sovereignty claims. However, in the media and in international relations such housing units are often referred to as “settlements”, and people who live in the West Bank are called “settlers”. According to the United Nations and the International Court of Justice, Israel’s support for the establishment of Jewish “settlements” in The West Bank and East Jerusalem is illegal.

“Where does the word “settler” come from?
Why do people say “settlements are illegal”?”

Where does the word “settler” come from? Why do people say “settlements are illegal”?

The word “settlement” derives from article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine (1922), that gave the Jews a right of “close settlement” of the land of Palestine – including Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria:

ARTICLE 6.The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4,close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.

“Israel continues its campaign in Gaza to destroy Hamas’ military capabilities and recover the remaining hostages.”

In other words, the Mandate for Palestine did not prohibit settlements, it gave Jews the right to settle on the land! And that was because settlement of the land was necessary for the Jewish people to implement their self-determination as a people in their ancestral homeland..

Prior to 1948, the territories now often known as “occupied Palestinian territories” (ie. East Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza) were part of the territory of the Mandate for Palestine, where a national home for the Jewish people was to be established. On 15th May 1948, an aggressive attack by Jordan and other Arab states resulted in Jordan occupying East Jerusalem and the “West Bank” for 19 years. In June 1967 Israel reconquered these territories (and much more) in a defensive war fought against renewed Arab aggression in the June 1967 Six Day War.

The argument against settlements is twofold. First it is argued that the West Bank is Palestinian territory. Second, it is argued that these territories are “occupied” territories, and that the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits the occupying power from transferring or deporting its population into occupied territory.

Regarding the first argument, the fact is that East Jerusalem and the West Bank are contested territory. Israel and the Palestinians have competing claims. The Palestinians claim that they belong to the Palestinians and must become part of a Palestinian state. Israel disputes this, asserting that East Jerusalem is part of the sovereign territory of Israel, and that Israel has strong territorial sovereignty claims to the West Bank based on the Mandate for Palestine.

Regarding the second argument, opinions differ as to whether these territories are occupied since June 1967 under international law. But even if they technically qualify as “occupied territories”, that does not negate Israel’s sovereignty claims that existed prior to June 1967 (based on the Mandate for Palestine).

All of these issues are the subject of an Advisory Opinion that the UN General Assembly has asked the International Court of Justice to issue, on the “legal consequences” of Israel’s violation of Palestinian self-determination rights, and its “prolonged occupation” of these territories. The Palestinians, and many other states, demand that the Court rule that Israel’s occupation has become illegal, and that Israel should completely and unconditionally “withdraw” from East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

“It is expected that the Court will issue its Opinion in the coming weeks or months.”

It is expected that the Court will issue its Opinion in the coming weeks or months.

In all likelihood, the Court will issue an opinion that will (in large part) support the Palestinian claims.

All of this is in conflict with the fact that the God of Israel is bringing His people home, He is settling them in the land.

What we are witnessing is a huge clash of paradigms – between the God of Israel, and on the other hand the nations of the world who are determined to divide the land, based on a biased and twisted interpretation of international law.

It is vital in these coming weeks to pray for the judges of the ICJ – that they will exercise their duties with honesty, fairness and justice. That they will acknowledge that this land belongs to the God of Israel, and that it cannot be divided without incurring God’s judgment.

This week there was an amazing 2-day event in the Hague, concerning these issues. It was called The Trial 2024. It was attended by 1000 Christians from over 40 nations. A decree was delivered to the Court.

To help you pray, we encourage you to watch the livestream of this event on Youtube. The link is below.

The Editorial Team Israel & Christians Today

Israel to advance 6,000 housing units in Judea and Samaria
JNS reports: “The total number of approvals this year is expected to surpass that of 2023, when a record 12,349 units were advanced.”
> Read more..

The Trial
Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth – Psalm 2:10.
> Watch Here..


Psalm 2:7-12
7 I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have become your father.
8 Ask me,
and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You will break them with a rod of iron[b];
you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
10 Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear
and celebrate his rule with trembling.
12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry
and your way will lead to your destruction,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.