The Israeli government categorically denies the Palestinian right to self-determination and asserts its control of the West Bank is legal

In response to a letter from Adalah, Israel's Cabinet Secretary stated, "Israel has the right to impose its sovereignty over these areas, as they hold significant historical importance for the Jewish people and are an integral part of the land of Israel."

In response to a letter from Adalah, denouncing Israel's illegal settlement ‘regularization’, Israel's Cabinet Secretary, representing the government, categorically denied the Palestinian right to self-determination. The Secretary claimed that Israel's control over the West Bank is in line with international law, is legal, and is not considered an occupation.


The letter claimed that Israel is not an occupying power in the West Bank and has the legal right to impose its sovereignty, on the basis of a 1920 treaty. It further stated that while Israel is not obligated to comply with the laws of occupation, it has chosen to do so as a “matter of policy”, despite the fact that mountains of evidence demonstrate the opposite.


    CLICK HERE to read the English translated Cabinet Secretary's letter


    CLICK HERE to read the original Hebrew letter 


The Secretary's letter was sent in response to a letter sent by Adalah's Legal Director, Dr. Suhad Bishara, in March 2023, objecting to the decision made by the Political-Security Cabinet on 12 February 2023 to approve the “regularization” of ten settlements in the occupied West Bank. In the letter, Adalah argued that this decision is contrary to international humanitarian law and international criminal law, which applies to the West Bank as an occupied territory.


    CLICK HERE to read English translation of Adalah’s letter 


According to the Secretary, “Israel has a right to impose its sovereignty over these areas as they comprise the cradle of the history of the Jewish people and are an inseparable part of the land of Israel.” The letter claims that the legal basis for this assertion comes from  the mandate approved by the League of Nations at the San Remo Conference in 1920, based on the Balfour Declaration. 


Emphasizing Israel's stance, the Secretary concluded, “Israel is not an occupying power in Judea and Samaria but holds these areas legally, and the decision in question does not alter the law applicable in Judea and Samaria, in keeping with international law.”


This recent statement follows a previous letter sent by the Cabinet Secretary to Adalah in February 2023, where it was stated that “Judea and Samaria are the cradle of the history for the Jewish people and were liberated in 1967 in a defensive war against the aggression of the Jordanian occupation, which illegally held these areas since 1948.” 


These statements exemplify Israel's persistent efforts to entrench de facto annexation in the occupied West Bank, with the clear intention to formally annex the territory, while completely denying the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people. The fundamental guidelines principles of the current far-right government, published in December 2022,  also emphasized this position, asserting that “the Jewish people have an exclusive and inalienable right to all areas of the Land of Israel. The government will promote and develop settlement in all parts of the 'Land of Israel,' in the Galilee, the Negev, the Golan, Judea, and Samaria.” In line with these guidelines, the government has pledged to lead the formulation and promotion of a policy for implementing sovereignty throughout the West Bank, whenever Israel's "national and international interests" allow.


CLICK HERE to learn more about Adalah's recent position paper on the annexation measures advanced by the current far-right Israeli government


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