Dean of the Shaarei Mishpat Law College, Professor Emeritus Eliav Schochetman, said in a lecture on Friday that any Israeli government decision to expel people from their homes, even in the context of a diplomatic move, would represent a wanton violation of basic human rights and civil liberties protected under Israeli and international human rights law. The lecture, reported on by journalist David Bedein, focused on the legality of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan to expel Israelis from their homes in Gush Katif.
Prof. Schochetman noted that the 1921 San Remo legislation of the League of Nations, reaffirmed by the United Nations in 1945, affirmed the right of Jews to purchase land anywhere west of the Jordan River including the Gaza coast region. The professor further added that the legal briefs of Dr. Eugene Rostow, the author of UN Resolution #242, confirm that no peace arrangement based on law curtails the right of Jews to settle anywhere in the borders controlled by the state of Israel.
Therefore, regardless of what happens in the Likud referendum, Prof. Shochetman stated that no expulsion of landowners in Gush Katif or Samaria could take place without a decision of Israel’s Knesset. Such a decision, furthermore, would have to conform with international human rights law and Israel civil liberties statutes. However, a unilateral decision to expel Jews – and only Jews – from Gaza, the professor said, would violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that it is illegal for sovereign governments to expel their own citizens from their homes, their private properties or from their farms.
Prof. Shochetman delivered the lecture at the Beit Agron International Press Center in Jerusalem; it was sponsored by the Center for Near East Policy in Wellesley, Massachusetts.