Palestine: Abbas, Attitude and Annexation

January 10, 2013 by David Singer
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Annexation of large areas of the West Bank by Israel has now become a distinct possibility with the unilateral decision this week to scrap any trace of the existence of the Palestinian Authority by its President Mahmoud Abbas…writes David Singer.
In a “Presidential decree” Abbas has called for all official documents – including passports, drivers’ licenses, postage stamps and car number plates – to now bear the name ‘State of Palestine’, instead of the generally used ‘Palestinian National Authority’.

Abbas has also ordered foreign ministries and embassies around the world to start using the title.

Abbas’s decree comes just a few days after he had reportedly told an Israeli politician that if there was no progress in the peace talks:

“I will take the phone and call Netanyahu and tell him: ‘Sit in the chair instead of me; take the keys and you will be responsible for the Palestinian Authority.”

His remark prompted this angry response from senior Hamas official Abu Marzouk, in a posting on Facebook:

“Why does Abbas want to hand the keys over to Netanyahu? Why not hand it over to Hamas?”

Abu Marzouk – who turned 62 on January 9 and is slated to replace Khaled Mashaal as head of Hamas – said it would have been:

“better and more effective had Abbas threatened to hand the West Bank to Hamas.”

In a fearless riposte – Jamal Muheisen, a member of the Fatah Central Council, said the Palestinians should first hold presidential and legislative elections to choose their leaders

“Whoever wins in the elections will be handed the keys of the entire Palestinian Authority, be it Hamas or Fatah or any other Palestinian faction,”

Now it seems the keys to control of the entire Palestinian Authority have been thrown down the drain by its own President just days later – as have any hopes of negotiating a two-state solution as prescribed by the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap.

This solution has simply vanished into thin air after being flavour of the month for the last twenty years – with one of the two principal negotiating parties having gone missing in action.

We are now being subjected to the following delusional garbage being spouted on Al – Jazzera on 8 January by the now defunct chief negotiator of the now defunct Palestinian Authority – Saeb Erekat:

“Palestine is a country under occupation. What was Norway, Finland, Holland, France, Korea, Philippines between 1939 and 1945 – nation states under occupation. Today, the state of Palestine is officially a state under occupation. It has 192 member countries that recognise this and a nation state, Israel, which is the occupying power; these are the new realities.”

The comparison is totally fictitious and Erekat’s arrogance is unbounded.

Comparing States that had existed for centuries to a State that has never existed in recorded history whilst claiming statehood in an area it has never controlled is mind blowing.

Certainly 192 “member countries” – presumably in the United Nations – do not recognise Erekat’s outrageous statement.

Purporting to draw many of these countries into what is increasingly appearing to be a continuation of the Fatah-Hamas rivalry for control of the hearts and minds of the long suffering Palestinian Arabs is political madness.

Certainly 50 of those countries did nothing of the sort – 9 rejecting and 41 abstaining from supporting the General Assembly resolution on 29 November last granting Palestine the status of a non-member observer State at its meetings.

Abbas and Erekat should have heeded the explanations given by Singapore and Germany for abstaining – before embarking on their new flight into unreality

A summary of these two countries views was issued in a release from the United Nations Department of  Public Information News and Media Division (http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2012/ga11317.doc.htm)

Germany’s vote against the Resolution was summarised as follows:

“The delegate of Germany said his nation firmed believed in “two States for two peoples” and shared the goal of a Palestinian State.  However, such status must be achieved only through direct negotiations.  There was doubt that today’s action would be helpful for the peace process at this point in time.  “It might lead to further hardening of positions instead of improving chances of a two-State solution through direct negotiations,” he said.  He explicitly welcomed that today’s resolution called for a two-State solution and, hence, recognized the right of Israel to exist in peace.  However, Israel’s legitimate security concern had to be addressed in a credible manner.”

To say Germany was spot on in its predictions would be an understatement.

Singapore was even more circumspect in its sober assessment made against the baying cries from those 138 states who could not see the wood for the trees.

“The representative of Singapore said that his delegation supported the right of the Palestinian people to a homeland and had, in the past, supported relevant Assembly resolutions.  However, his country had abstained from today’s vote because only a negotiated settlement, consistent with Security Council resolution 242 (1967), could provide the basis for a viable, long-term solution.  Both sides had legitimate rights and shared responsibilities and must be prepared to make compromises to achieve the larger good of a lasting peace.  Because of those interlinked rights and responsibilities, no unilateral move could result in a just and durable outcome.”

The preparadness of especially the democratic states to vote for the General Assembly Resolution on 29 November and abandon Security Council Resolution 242 – the only internationally accepted United Nations resolution binding both Jews and Arabs to ending their conflict – was shameful.

Those democracies must now rue the day that their votes could be interpreted as giving aid and comfort to the state of utter confusion that now exists following Abbas’s Presidential decree and Erekat’s involvement of them in his latest statement.

Israel will hold elections on 22 January.

A new political party – Bayit Hayehudi – the Jewish homeland party – could possibly end up exercising a controlling vote in the next Parliament.

It’s leader Naftali Bennett has already made clear that he will be calling for Israel to annex at least 60% of the West Bank – adding in an interview in Haaretz on 28 December:

“And in the end, Jordan will be Palestine. There is no chance that, between the river and the sea, a Palestinian state will arise. The two-state solution is dead. There is no need to bury the two-state solution because it is already buried.”

Abbas has helped advance this possible outcome because of his inane Presidential decree consigning the Palestinian Authority to the dustbin of history.

Ave atque vale – Palestinian Authority.

Others less charitable might say – “good riddance”.

Comments

27 Responses to “Palestine: Abbas, Attitude and Annexation”
  1. Ben Eleijah says:

    Hello Mr Singer

    Historical ancestral biblical homeland. even a cursory reading of the bible shows that the Hebrew tribes invaded cannan and colonised it. They were supposed to have come from Ur in babylon. And “historical homeland of all Jews” is mere fiction – the Jewish population has ranged from Morooco to China. And includeds population as widely apart as Berbers, Shanivar teli and Cochinites, Yemenis, Libyans, Iraqis, Ethiopians, Iranians, Hungarians Germans, Poles and Russians.
    It is a fiction to say that all of them have a common homeland and that is Palestine.

    • Paul Winter says:

      Very interesting point: how long does a people need to reside in a place before they can call it their homeland? After a bit over two centuries are non-Aboriginal people Australian. And what of the people whom the KGB brand-named “Palestinians”? They speak Arabic, have the same religion as most other Arabs, regard themselves as part of the Arab nation – remember pan-Arabism – and have the same social structures. And where did they come from? Arabia in the 7th century. Please don’t spout the Arab line of Jews having no connection with the land of Israel. Jews have a history, language, religion, culture, constant living in the land by some of our kin and recen tly gentics that places the Jewish people in that part of the world. Israel is the ancestral home of the Jewish people. Judea and Samaria are not the home of the Arabs, particularly not those who became “refugees” by virtue of having lived in the Britisn Mandate between June 1946 and May 1948. The only fiction is the one that you and those of your ilk are trying to peddle. And I hope that Bennett gets his way and the Israel annexes Area C and gets rid of those Arabs who are not loyal to the Jewish state, after all if the Saudis justified the expulsion of “Palestinians” from Kuwait saying that no country can tolerate a fifth column, Israel should get rid of its ffth column as well.

  2. Ben Eleijah says:

    Hello Mr Singer

    I had posted a reply. The censors deleted it.

  3. Ben says:

    David,

    1. The messianic nationalism, as defined by you, does not cover “every spectrum of the Jewish religion”. It only applies to those who cannot see the contradiction between Jewish notions of fairness, righteousness and justice and a form of nationalism which subordinates the rights of an indigenous population to those of Jews.

    2. Art 80 deals with the transfer of pre-existing rights so it is a transitional provision. Rights transferred under Article 80 can be phased out or terminated and nothing in Article 80 says otherwise. To be clear, it says: “nothing in this Chapter shall be construed in or of itself to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples …or the terms of existing international instruments “. If you deleted the words “in this Chapter” you might have a point but clearly this would be absurd. If the underlying instrument in question is terminated, that is the end of the right and Article 80 is simply irrelevant. The 1922 Mandate terminated at midnight on 14 May 1948, and so too the underlying rights. Julius Stone and Rostow attempted over the years to come up with ways to overcome this difficulty but experts have found the explanations unconvincing – see Saul’s paper see bottom of page 7 to middle of page 9. I have ventured other reasons in paragraph 1 of my email of 21 December why I believe the substantial underpinning of the Mandate collapsed over time. The Mandate is of value to historians, not lawyers.

    3. GA 181 although repudiated by the Arabs (the Arabs never consented to the Mandate either) it is evidence of the consensus of international opinion that replaced the mandate concept with a 2 state outcome.

    4. SC242 required Israel to withdraw from the WB (“territories”) and did not permit the establishment of the settlements built after 1967 – this would violate the peremptory norm again the acquisition of territory by war. A continuing and unfettered right to settle in the WB under the Mandate would be inconsistent with the withdrawal obligations in SC242.

    5. Legal authority: On the website I attached to last my last reply, Professor Scobbie (SOAS University of London) states: “Commentators have relied on [Article 6 of the Mandate] as the basis for a right of Jewish settlement in all areas west of the Jordan, but it is difficult to see what contemporary relevance this has, as the Mandate terminated at midnight on 14 May 1948” (you have to scroll down a bit to the comments section where he responds to another lawyer arguing your position). Because you haven’t considered the underlying right – as opposed to Art 80 – you probably also skipped over the discussion in Saul’s paper at the bottom of page 7 to middle of page 9. The reason the ICJ Opinion didn’t deal with this issue was because Israel did not see fit to raise it.

    6. Your denial that Palestinians are “a people” for the purposes of the right to self determination casts doubt on your objectivity, and I might add your humanity. It’s similar to the “invented people” slur. The League of Nations did not need to refer to them as “a people” – their civil and religious rights were protected under the 1922 Mandate. The fact that Arabs were not organised into a nationalist movement like the Zionists in 1922 does not diminish their right to self determination. Read Andrew Dahdal’s paper – “A Reflection on the Views of Julius Stone and the Applicability of International Law to the Middle East” [2008] UNDAULawRw 4.

    7. Leibler: You obviously haven’t read his article. See the following: “Those of us with traditional religious Zionist inclinations yearn for Bayit Yehudi to distance itself from demagogic populist policies and the messianic commitment to retaining land at any cost. Whilst this alliance may attract support from extremists, Bennett himself must surely be aware that such policies would incur disastrous repercussions on Israel’s global status”.

    8. I didn’t put words in your mouth – you did. You are relying on a statement by the German and Singapore Governments no less as evidence that they and other nations would not accept Erekat’s suggestion that the WB is occupied, i.e. the settlements are illegal under international law (they may not accept everything he says but this is not one of them). I am sure those governments would be interested in your observation but those statements plainly do not support your assertion. As I said previously, anyone can see they were made in opposition to the application for statehood regardless of the question of illegality. There isn’t a single word that endorses settlement building. In fact, the German government recently criticised Israel over plans to build in E1 which it would hardly do if it considered the settlements legal. Singapore is likely to follow the UK position which, although abstaining, most certainly considers the settlements illegal (along with Australia, US and Canada). In the circumstances I stand by what I have said previously.

    Anyway, this has been an enjoyable discussion (for the most part) but thats all I have to say.

    Ben

  4. Ben Eleijah says:

    You do not mention that the inter imperial mandate on Palestine was imposed on the Palestinians and enforced by force with the help of the Jewish Agency, which helped the imperial British power in supressing the Palestinian struggle for freedom. Even the Balfour declaration was made ovr the heads of the Palestinian people after betraying them by promising freedom to Arabs. As for non-existant people, nation etc, Israel and the zionist colonisers had to kill a lot of them to colonise the land.

    • Robert says:

      There never was an Arab state called Palestine.!
      They did NOT call themselves Palestinians till recently, they were Arab from all over the area often moving after increased economic activity parallel to Jewish increased activity.As Hamas recently said “half are Egyptians half are Saudis”.
      Their last life President was Arafat the Egyptian, their hero Al Qassam was Syrian.
      The PA covenant makes it clear, they are “part of the Arab race” and they call it “Arab lands”.
      The Arabs got the vast majority of the original mandate of Palestine up front- something their apology industry avoids even more than the PA/Hamas avoids a negotiated peace and borders

  5. Ben says:

    David

    Will let Ben Eleijah respond himself but the Mandate argument is a total non starter. Wasn’t covered in the ICJ opinion because Israel didn’t raise it. But its been addressed countless times and I am not going to go into this here. However, see for example this international law blog (both sides get a fair airing of views):

    http://www.ejiltalk.org/justice-levys-legal-tinsel-the-recent-israeli-report-on-the-status-of-the-west-bank-and-legality-of-the-settlements/#more-authors

    Also see this article:

    http://forward.com/articles/159768/no-occupation-report-negates-israels-legitimacy/

    The short answer is that the rights you rely on under the Mandate that carried over in 1945 under Art 80 of the UN Charter, came to an end in 1948 when the Mandate expired. Those rights were in any event superseded by UN 181 and Israel’s Decl of Independence. Your interpretation leads to an outcome so counterintuitive and unfair to the Pals that no right thinking tribunal would ever countenance it – and I think you know it.

    Circling back then to where we started, it was still wrong to assert that 192 countries do not support the view that the WB is occupied. You haven’t identified one. It’s ok to express your own opinion but you shouldn’t misrepresent the opinion of others.

    As you said in your last post “see you in court”. Hope for Isr’s sake that Bergenthal isn’t one of the judges.

    Ben

  6. Liat Nagar says:

    Hear, hear, David: I join you in in your vale Palestinian Authority – Ave atque vale – P.A. What more can there possibly be to say under the circumstances.

  7. david says:

    Ben

    I did not respond to your post because it was the last in a series of posts that had begun with your following statement;

    “As far as the settlers are concerned, the world has very little sympathy for many of them, given the widely accepted view that they are illegally occupying the WB. I note that you take no issue with the ICJ opinions and those of other scholars on the issue of legality. The Palestinians accept that some settlement will have to stay, even though, as a matter of law, they are not obliged to accept anything built after 1967.”

    Since you gratuitously and misleadingly suggested I took no issue with the ICJ opinions or the claim that the settlements were illegal – I gave you a response and this was continued with further exchanges until your last response.

    What I believe that series of posts reveals is that:

    1. I clearly take issue with the ICJ opinions since they were based on an incomplete examination of the international law dealing with the right of the Jewish people to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in Palestine

    2. I dispute the claim often made by you and others that “the settlements are illegal in international law” and I maintain that the legal situation is not as open and shut as such a statement implies.

    It is an opinion only – not a statement based on any definitive legal judgement to back it up.

    As they say in the classics – “See you in Court mate”

  8. Ben says:

    David,

    Ben No 2 here. You have misunderstood what Erekat meant by “occupation”. Whether Palestinians in the WB (and he was referring to the WB) are “under occupation” is determined by considering whether Isr is an Occupying Power for the purposes of Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention.

    I have covered this before in a previous post to you, but not even the US and Canadian governments have disputed that Isr is such an Occupying Power and the ICJ Opinion and many legal authorities referred to in earlier support this.

    So to the extent that Erekat is referring to this issue, he is correct when he says that 192 member countries would consider Palestine (ie the WB) to be “under occupation”. The reason Singapore and Germany, as well as Australia abstained was not because they rejected this position – in fact, they most assuredly accept it, but because they did not feel inclined to support an application they did not think was condusive to peace – these are two separate issues that you have conflated. If Bennett comes to power, the abstainers will quickly change their tune since a just peace with a Bennett-coalition government is clearly impossible.

    You cannot blame Abbas for the rise of Bennett. A bit like blaming the Jews for Hitler. Bennett’s views have come out of a racist ideology that would apply regardless of how moderate Abbas may or may not be. If Israelis are foolish enough to vote in a Bennett coalition, they will have themselves to blame for the consequences, and rest assured those consequences will not be pleasant – see the astute observations in the article by Isi Leibler (Bayit Yehudi: Don’t Blow this Opportunity).

    My reading of Abbas’ “give back the keys” remark was that they were born out of a frustration with the refusal by Isr to stop building settlement as a precondition for negotiations, a frustration shared by the entire international community.

    The reality is that the Palestinians will never let him hand back the keys. Better to have 8.8% (ie 40% of 22%) of your house than nothing at all.

    Ben (No2)

    • david says:

      Ben (no.2)

      1.There was no Fourth Geneva Convention during the second World War. It only saw the light of day on 12 August 1949. Both you and Erekat are apparently birds of a feather hallucinating together.

      2. The Geneva Convention was never raised once to my knowledge at any time between 1950-1967 after Jordan occupied the West Bank and purported to annex it against the wishes of the international community with the exception of Great Britain and Pakistan.

      If you can find one instance of this Convention being raised against the Jordanian occupation of the West Bank in any resolution at the UN – please let me know.

      The Jordanians built in the West Bank for 17 years with nary a whimper from anyone. Is it because no Jews remained there after they had all been driven out in the 1948 War?

      Why wasn’t a Palestinian State created in the West Bank with its capital in Jerusalem during those 17 years?

      Why is this state so sought after now – but was never even raised then – when it could have happened with one handshake and the stoke of an Arab League pen – not a handshake and a negotiating process that has gone nowhere in the last 20 years?

      Is there perhaps one law for Jews and one for Arabs – one set of General Assembly Resolutions for Jews and none for Arabs?

      3. You are entitled to speculate as to Bennett’s meteoric rise – and so will I.

      Bennett’s views are soundly based on the legal right of the Jewish people to reconstitute the Jewish National home in the West Bank as set out in article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the UN Charter.

      Your claim that his rise is based on “a racist ideology” is empty air and nothing else.

      The racist ideology is being espoused by Abbas who has stated he will not tolerate one Jew living in any Palestinian state. Embrace him with your love and undying support Ben No 2. I think you somehow both deserve each other.

      4. A 10 month settlement freeze was imposed to get Abbas back to the negotiating table during 2009. He waited about nine months before deigning to turn up. Just another missed opportunity as so many that have gone before. Israel won’t be made a fool of again.

      5. Abbas hasn’t held on to the keys. He has thrown the keys down the drain by disbanding the Palestinian Authority and replacing it with the State of Palestine.. Yet another opportunity thrown to the wind.

      6. Abbas has now left a void in the negotiating process and Bennett seems to be the man on the spot ready to take advantage of it. Either he or Jordan are going to take up where Abbas has left off wrapped up in the cocoon of his “State of Palestine”. That was his unilateral decision to do so. He must suffer the consequences. Pity his constituency weren’t first consulted.

      7. As Israel prepares to vote in a new Government on 22 January, it is well worth remembering that Abbas is now an unconstitutional, expired and unelected head of a non-existent defunct Palestinian Authority and an unelected self styled President of a self styled state without a constitution. O what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive.

      8. BTW the West Bank is only 5% of Palestine – not 22% as you claim. You have overlooked the fact that Jordan is 78% of Palestine and that Abbas covets that area as much as he still covets the remaining 17% – Israel.

      9. Can you please post your full name and identify yourself. Using the description “No. 2” has unfortunate connotations with bowel movements and can be used to describe some of the ludicrous comments you continue to make.

      • Ben says:

        David,

        We have already been round the houses on this argument. On 21 December and in response to your article titled “Palestine: Democracies In Diplomatic Disarray” I explained why the Article 80 argument does not disable the Fourth Geneva Convention. Having checked back I see you never replied but if you disagree with what I’ve said you may respond (have pasted it below for you).

        In the mean time I will respond to a few points in your last reply:

        1. The obvious reason why the Fourth Geneva Convention was not raised against the Jordanians by the Palestinians (the only relevant complainants) was because Jordan only retained control for 17 years and never built permanent settlements that disrupted the lives of Palestinians. The Palestinians had no cause to raise any complaint. Your analogy is therefore completely irrelevant. Anyway, as any 9 year old can tell you: Two wrongs don’t make a right.

        2. Bennett: Isr will have zero support internationally if he comes into power. Continued isolation, EU sanctions, ICC arrest warrants and wavering US support are not good for Isr at a time when faces many other threats.

        3. It would have cost Isr nothing to extend the settlement freeze or to invoke it now. The inference is that it chose not to because it had no (and still has no) intention of bringing about a 2 state solution. If Isr elects Bennett, this will be confirmed and international reaction will be harsh.

        Your various ad hominem remarks do not add anything to your argument.

        Ben

        ++++++++++++++++

        Ben says:

        December 21, 2012 3:57 pm at 3:57 pm

        David,

        Adopting your numbering I can respond to your points as follows:

        1. The argument in the Levy Report is tenuous. More concerning is the logical conclusion of Levy that the Palestinian’s never had and, so long as Isr determines, never will have rights to land – not even in the WB. You will know that this flies in the face of world opinion. You are fighting an uphill battle with an overly legalistic and complicated argument that is based on outdated international agreements. Some brief observations on Levy:

        a. The Levy report seeks, through Art 80, to revive various 90 year old agreements that do not in and of themselves confer any sovereign rights.

        b. The San Remo Convention and Treaty of Sevres which lead to the 1922 Mandate, spoke only of the need for “a national home” for the Jewish people in Palestine which is not the same as conferring sovereignty.

        c. The agreements need to be seen in context. They were aspirational at best. They did not say where in Palestine the “home” would be or that the home would be in “all” of Palestine.

        d. The Mandate was temporary and, like all class A mandates were intended to be in place until the inhabitants could stand on their own. For Palestine, the 1922 Mandate contemplated, naively, a nation where both Jews and Arabs could live together (“nothing should be done to prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”). That intent of the Mandate failed (spectacularly) and so too a substantial underpinning for it.

        f. The Mandate expired, partition became necessary and Israel declared independence. It is doubtful that the rights that Levy seeks to dredge up (whatever those rights might be) to the whole of the WB could have survived these momentous events – notwithstanding Art 80.

        g. Even if it could be said that they do survive, the agreements have to be interpreted in good faith and in the context in which they were drafted (Vienna Convention). Under these rules of interpretation, a tribunal is unlikely to construe the instruments in a way that would give a windfall to Isr merely because of a decision by the Arabs to reject partition – which as a matter of law they were entitled to do no matter how foolhardly. A tribunal is even less likely to come to the conclusion in Levy when the Palestinians were never represented by any of the signatories to these documents and therefore not parties to them: pacta sunt servanda.

        2. I don’t see what your point 2 has to do with whether Isr is “occupying” the WB for the purposes of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

        3. Yes, the Palestinians in the West Bank cannot vote in elections for the Knesset because they are not citizens of Israel. And this is why it is so absurd to suggest that Isr has sovereignty over the WB; unless of course you’re advocating Apartheid.

        4. Justice Burgenthal: (Paragraph 9, pg 244) “Paragraph 6 of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention also does not admit for exceptions on grounds of military or security exigencies. It provides that “the Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”. I agree that this provision applies to the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and that their existence violates Article 49, paragraph 6.”

        You can assume that he was familiar with the views in Levy which have around for some time as well as writings of Julius Stone and Eugene Rostow, as well as Art 80, San Remo, Treaty of Sevres and the 1922 Mandate. You are also aware that in 1967, Theodor Meron, legal counsel to the Israeli Foreign Ministry considered the settlements illegal and in 2007 as a Judge in Isr reiterated this view.

        Many of Isr’s staunchest supporters reject the Levy view. I have already referred you to Dershowitz.

        5. The argument that Arab rejection of partition revives San Remo, the Treaty of Sevres and the 1922 Mandate is addressed above.

        6. I did not say that the ICJ opinion directly binds Isr but advisory opinions, particularly when made by distinguished and respected judges, are often regarded as an authoritative statement of the law, more so when a point is accepted by a large majority – as it was with the ICJ in the application of the Geneva Convention (unanimous in fact).

        7. Israel made submissions on jurisdiction which traversed the merits. On jurisdiction, it could have argued that the question framed by the ICJ failed to take into account the argument now put by Levy.

        8. Bias by a tribunal is a perfectly valid ground for questioning its composition or the validity of a decision – Isr raises this frequently, although I agree that it is at times unseemly. However in this case, it is extraordinary that Judges nominated had such close connections to the settlements. No different to a judge having an interest in property over which it is adjudicating.

        9. There is no basis for saying the GA gave the PA 100%.

        10. Please refrain from calling my assertions meaningless when you have not read the papers that I’ve referred you to. You can find Saul’s article on line. There is this thing called Google….nevertheless, here is the reference – Saul, B, ‘Julius Stone and the Question of Palestine in International Law’ in H Irving, J Mowbray & K Walton (eds), Julius Stone: A Study in Influence, Federation Press: Sydney (2010) 238-261

        11. Israel could have made these points in its submissions but elected not to. If the remit of the ICJ was deficient this was an obvious jurisdictional point for Isr to raise. In any event, you are also assuming that that the Judges of the ICJ do not know the law. This is not the same as factual evidence which may have to be brought to their attention.

        12. The fact that I may or may not be a lawyer is neither here nor there. You can check the law and the sources yourself and don’t need legal credentials from me to be satisfied.
        As for your point about my dismissive comments, I’m only dismissive of arguments when there appears to be no basis for them. There is some pejorative material on this site about Carr that you may want to apply your high standards to.

        Ben

        • Everett says:

          The League of Nations, basing itself on the commitment expressed by Britain in the Balfour Declaration of 1917 to further the establishment of a “Jewish homeland,” and the San Remo Conference which specified actually establishing a Jewish state in the former Ottoman provinces of the land of Israel, created British Mandate Palestine. The U.N. confirmed these structures, and in 1947 voted for partition of the already much-reduced area of Mandate Palestine into two states. The Jews accepted this and created Israel. The Arabs, both local and surrounding governments, did not accept the statehood option presented to them, and invaded, giving the land that was conquered to the Arab states that occupied them. There was no attempt to create a “Palestine” state then, and no push for it by Arabs.

          All that is in the past, however; it is a fact that the State of Israel now exists, that it was and is explicitly established as a Jewish state, that this was recognized internationally from the start and it is entirely legitimate in international law, and that the Palestinians and Arabs and Muslims more generally will have eventually to come to terms with both its existence and its Jewish nature, notwithstanding their constant antisemitic hate-incitement against it and outright aggression and terrorism.

          Turning to the territories won in the 6-Day War of June 1967, it is often claimed by Palestinian partisans and others that this land is “illegally occupied.” But this illegality has not been shown in any court of international law, and it is hard to see how it could be.

          Was it illegal for Israel to fight and win in 1967? Certainly not. She responded in self-defence as international law allows to other states’ aggression, including from the Jordanian-held West Bank and Egyptian-held Gaza.

          Is it illegal to hold land won in self-defence until a final peace treaty is concluded that takes account of adjustments to borders needed for Israel’s security and vital interests? No, in logic, in law, and also in the explicit terms set by UN resolution 242. Therefore the terms “illegal occupation” do not apply. That is really all one needs to know about the subject of the alleged “illegality” of Israel’s current possession of the Disputed Territories.

          However, historical excuses for the “occupied Palestine” label for the Disputed Territories are equally fallacious. E.g., there never has been a State of Palestine, so it cannot presently be “occupied.” Its future borders cannot be determined, according to UN Security Council Resolution 242, until final peace negotiations with Israel settle them. That is what Resolution 242 says, explicitly. So some portion of the 67-conquered territories will always remain part of Israel. They would then never have been part of “occupied Palestine.” Applying the terminology indiscriminately to all the conquered territory, as Palestinians do, is unjustified even within their own definitions of international law, since they constantly claim to base themselves on Resolution 242.

          Neither is “Palestinian” title grounded in earlier treaties or covenants. These have been discussed by David Singer and I do not need to repeat his points. But they have the consequence that, notwithstanding the recent UN General Assembly resolution (which only has the status of recommendation, not of law, and cannot by itself create a functioning state), Israel is still the only actual state with legal title both to its pre-67 territory and to the West Bank and Gaza; borders of a future “Palestine” must be agreed to with it, and the Geneva Conventions relating to “occupation” do not apply.

          Why are these false accusations against Israel so widespread? Perhaps the fact that there are 56 nations in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, representing a sizeable portion of the world’s population with whom European states seek to curry favour, and against it only one small Jewish state representing 0.002% of the world’s population, has something to do with it.

          • Everett says:

            I do want to emphasize that no court of international law, to my knowledge, has actually addressed and proven the claim that Israel “Illegally occupies” the post-67 territories. The International Court of Justice is included. Some years back, in a highly tendentious and partisan consideration of the security barrier (whose founding bias is already shown in the fact that the court took up the Palestinian appeal case at all, since it required direct contravention of its own governing rules and principles relating to what cases it could deal with, and under what conditions), the ICJ made free use of the “illegal occupation” terminologies, but it explicitly refused in the judgment it issued to take up the accuracy of those terms, saying that this was not its brief. Moreover, it must be kept in mind that the ICJ in any case is not a neutral authority. It is made up of judges nominated by UN member states (judges whose 8-year terms would be their last one not only on the court, but also their last employment in their home countries, and whose very residence in their home countries would be very risky for them and their families if they deviated from their state’s emphatically stated policies).  This is the same UN that singles Israel out for alleged human rights abuses far more often than all other states in the UN combined, while allowing Iran, Sudan, Zimbabwe, North Korea, Kampuchea, Communist China, the Soviet Union and now Russia, Syria, Saudi Arabia, et al., free passes for their actual genocidal and other atrocities. The countries that appoint their selected judges to the ICJ are overwhelmingly biased themselves. So even if the ICJ were some day to rule on this matter, it could not be taken as laying down international law on the matter.

  9. Ben Eleijah says:

    Palestine is not undr occupation! Curious denial of history from the Balfour delclaration to herzels plans for colonisation of Palestine to the collaboration with the british empire in suppressing the Palestinian struggle to massacres and expulsion of Palestinians preceding and following the unilateral declaration of Israel and the continued expansion of settlements, exclusive roads and the barrier in the West Bank and the system of civilain rule over Israeli Jews in the West Bank and military rule over Palestinians.

    • Shirlee says:

      What has happened to the dear lovely Ben we all “know and love” around here.(Take that with a huge amount of sarcasm) That comment hasn’t come from him. It also makes no sense.

      • Ben Eleijah says:

        Hello Shirlee

        Speaking without sarcam, You are welcome to challenge me to prove my statements. I look forward to your challenge.

        • Shirlee says:

          I wouldn’t bother Ben, you are a lost cause. I spend my life doing just that and once in a while I get a good result. Though I am unable to comprehend what you posted and I have doubts as to whether or not it was you anyway.

    • david says:

      Ben Eleijah

      You leave out any mention or consideration of seven important documents that have till now legally sanctioned the right of the Jewish people to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in Palestine including what is today called Gaza and the West Bank :
      1.the San Remo Conference,
      2.the Treaty of Sevres,
      3.the Mandate for Palestine,
      4.the UN Charter
      5.Security Council Resolution 242.
      6. The Oslo Accords
      7. The Bush Roadmap

      Ignoring these documents leads you into making comments and conclusions that are not worth the time and effort you spent in typing them – nor my time in answering them..

      • Ben Eleijah says:

        Hello WInter

        We are covering old ground here again. i had qouted from these documents and questioned their relevance to the legitmisation of the colonisation of Palestine several times in the past year. I have not had a clear answer yet. Could you please tell how , the San remo Convention for instance, makes it legitimate for Israel to colonise and settle the West Bank.

        • david says:

          To Ben Eleijah

          My name is david – not Winter.

          If you can’t get that right – what hope is there of you getting anything else right?

          One of the resolutions of the San Remo Conference was the following:

          ‘The High Contracting Parties agree to entrust, by application of the provisions of Article 22, the administration of Palestine, within such boundaries as may be determined by the Principal Allied Powers, to a Mandatory, to be selected by the said Powers. The Mandatory will be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 8, 1917, by the British Government, and adopted by the other Allied Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

          The Mandate for Palestine – unananimously endorsed by all 51 members of the League of Nations – encapsulated the terms of this Resolution – and article 6 of the Mandate provided:

          “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.”

          The West Bank was part of the area called Palestine covered by the Mandate.

          In those days the West Bank was called “Judea and Samaria” – geographical names that had existed for two thousand years until Arab propagandists in 1950 tried to wipe out any Jewish connection with these lands by using the term “West Bank”

          Now we see another Arab attempt to get rid of both the terms “Judea and Samaria” and “the West Bank” by renaming the area “the State of Palestine”.

          This usage over time will no doubt fool a lot of people into believing that Jews have no legal right to settle there. You are obviously one of those who have come to that view.

          However the overwhelming majority of Jews and others of goodwill (called “Zionists”) support the right of the Jews to have their own country in their biblical, ancient and legally sanctioned homeland as formulated at the San Remo Conference.

          That includes “Judea and Samaria” aka “the West Bank” aka “the State of Palestine”

          Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.

          The Arabs continue to live in a dreamland that has no basis in reality. That is their entitlement. It does not help resolve a conflict that has gone on between Jews and Arabs for 130 years.

          • Ben says:

            David

            Will let Eleijah respond for himself but if your response to my comments above is going to rely on the same reference to the Mandate, then your readers should be aware that this is simply wrong and is not supported by a single country other than Israel, nor by any credible legal commentators.

            I am not going to go into this but if people care to really understand this complex legal argument they should refer to serious debates by serious legal academics who, unlike you, present both sides of the story and don’t descend into into ad hominem, tendentious and scatological remarks. See for example this international law blog (both sides get a fair airing of views although there are the unavoidable ad homs from the right wingers):

            http://www.ejiltalk.org/justice-levys-legal-tinsel-the-recent-israeli-report-on-the-status-of-the-west-bank-and-legality-of-the-settlements/#more-authors

            The short answer to your point about the rights conferred under Mandate is that having carried over in 1945 under Art 80 of the UN Charter, these rights, which say nothing of statehood or sovereignty, died a quick death in 1948 when the Mandate expired and was superseded by Partition and Israel’s Decl of Independence. Your argument therefore rests on sand, or as another writer on this topic has said (paraphrasing Jeremy Bentham): it is pure nonsense upon stilts.

            Even if you beg to differ, this is the international consensus, Circling back then to where we started, it is false then to assert that 192 countries do not support the view that the WB is occupied. You should qualify or withdraw that statement.

            Ben

          • Ben says:

            David,

            I will let Ben Eleijah respond for himself but for my part I have the following to say.

            The overwhelming majority of Jews to not espouse the messianic nationalism you support. US Jews, who are, on the whole educated and liberal, understand that the Mandate argument is untenable. Even a cursory reading of Article 80 shows that it was a transitional provision aimed only at preserving rights, such as they were prior to 1945. However those pre-1945 rights were not cast in stone for eternity; they could be altered or rendered irrelevant by agreement and circumstances. The overwhelming international consensus is that the expiry of the Mandate in 1948, Resolution 181 and 242 have all but eroded those rights to nothing. If people care to learn more there are plenty of international law resources that cover this:

            http://www.ejiltalk.org/justice-levys-legal-tinsel-the-recent-israeli-report-on-the-status-of-the-west-bank-and-legality-of-the-settlements/

            The logical conclusion of your position would be to favour settler’s interests at the expense of rights of self determination for a people who lived in the WB for centuries. . The ICC will not endorse this.

            I am sure it is easy to be cavalier from the comfort of Australia and say things to me like “see you in court” (as you did in response to my 21 Dec reply) but realists and those actually living in Israel such as Isi Leibler must know that ordinary Israelis are going to suffer isolation and sanctions like never before if this becomes official policy, and for what: a half baked legal argument, reverse engineered to fit a messianic nationalist ideology ? Liberal Jews in the US and in the diaspora have had it to the back teeth with these ideologues toying with the lives and security of Jews both in Israel and worldwide.

            Circling back to where we started, you are, in any event, still wrong to say that 192 countries do not consider the WB to be occupied territory. You haven’t identified one such government and your statement is a misrepresentation. You are entitled to your own opinion but not to misquote others.

            Ben

          • david says:

            Ben

            Your comments are utter nonsense (as usual)

            1. What you call “messianic nationalism” is no more than the right of Jews to live in their biblical, ancestral and legally sanctioned homeland. They cover every spectrum of the Jewish religion.

            2. Article 80 is not a transitional provision, It is an article in the UN Charter that all member states are required to observe until its provisions have been fulfilled or it is erased from the Charter. It was inserted for a reason and that reason still remains unfulfilled in 2013 in the 6% of the Mandate where sovereignty is yet to be allocated between Jews and Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza.

            3. General Assembly Resolution 181 has no binding effect. It was shredded by the Arabs a long time ago. Resurrecting it is a waste of time.

            4. Security Council Resolution 242 has not eroded the rights vested in the Jewish people under Article 80. Indeed it recognizes that Israel is entitled to demand secure and recognized boundaries and not have to withdraw to the armistice lines existing at 5 June 1967.

            5. The legal authority you quoted did not mention Article 80 once in his opinion. Neither did the International Court of Justice – because the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan did not mention Article 80 in the brief he submitted to the Court. The Levy Report did deal with Article 80 in its decision. This deception demeans those who attempt to present half the case and raises doubt as to the objectivity of their opinions.

            6. Your claim that “a people lived in the WB for centuries” is nonsense. If this were true
            how come this “people” chose to unify the WB with Jordan in 1950 until 1967? If it were true why did all 51 Nations in the League of Nations not recognize the existence of this “people” in the Mandate for Palestine?

            7. Please refer me to anything Isi Leibler has ever said remotely bearing on what you are alleging.

            8. Don’t put words in my mouth I never said.

            I quoted Saeb Erekat who said:
            “Today, the state of Palestine is officially a state under occupation. It has 192 member countries that recognise this”

            My comment was:
            “Certainly 192 “member countries” – presumably in the United Nations – do not recognise Erekat’s outrageous statement.”

            138 states may have come to this conclusion on 28 November 2012, Many of them now realise how foolish they were and must be aghast at what has happened subsequently.

            The other 54 members did not so vote.

            Countries like Singapore and Germany realised the foolhardiness of such a vote – as I was at pains to point out.

            In the circumstances I would ask you to withdraw the following comment:
            “Circling back to where we started, you are, in any event, still wrong to say that 192 countries do not consider the WB to be occupied territory. You haven’t identified one such government and your statement is a misrepresentation. You are entitled to your own opinion but not to misquote others.”

            If you can’t comprehend my articles – then you really should refrain from posting at all.

            Apology please.

    • Everett says:

      Ben Eleijah, I refer you to the excellent book by Joan Peters, From Time Immemorial (1983). She disproves the Palestinian claim of prior Palestinian residence from time immemorial, in full detail and over the centuries. Naturally, blind advocates of the Palestinian position claim shrilly that her book is a “hoax,” because it so very resoundingly and embarrassingly for them disproves all their propaganda claims. However, independent studies of the whole range of topics she covers confirm her. For example, Aryeh Avneri, The Claim of Dispossession (1982) and Saul Friedman, Land of Dust (1982) each separately arrive at the same result, since the historical sources that all must consult agree and are consistent on this: the “Palestinians” were not in the land from time immemorial, but migrated there (and in many cases were forcibly moved there by the Egyptian and Ottoman governments in the 19th century to repopulate a constantly declining and desolate region) from around the Muslim world. The 1931 British Mandate Census, for example, showed that some 24 different languages were spoken in the Jerusalem district by the Muslims and Christians there who are now claimed to have been there from time immemorial. These were non-Arabic languages, such as Afghani, Urdu, Turkish, Berber, Uzbeki, etc., to which could be added those speaking various Arab dialects, from north Africa through to Iraq. From the late 19th century onwards in particular, reflecting the renewal of economic life brought by Jews, both those long resident (from medieval and even Biblical times) and those newly arriving, Muslim immigrants moved to the Holy Land, just as at present Muslims are moving into Europe in search of economic and social betterment.

      If you are so concerned with massacres and expulsions, how about condemning the very many Palestinian attempts, including outright war and terrorist atrocities, of which the PA and Hamas openly boast and even make a public matter of sacred and holy principle? Tsk, tsk.

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