Palestine – Kerry Destined for Political Scrapheap

November 11, 2013 by David Singer
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US Secretary of State – John Kerry – has again succeeded in muddying the waters with the following headline-grabbing sentence uttered by him after meeting PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem this week: “Let me emphasise that the position of the United States is that we consider now, and have always considered, the settlements to be illegitimate”…writes David Singer.

 Abbas would have been squirming at Kerry’s use of the word “illegitimate” – rather than the word “illegal” – the term used by Abbas to deny Jews their claimed legal right to live in the West Bank.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – on the other hand – would have been shaking his head in disbelief at Kerry’s claim that the United States has “always” considered the settlements to be illegitimate.

The word  “illegitimate”  has several meanings in most dictionaries including – “illegal, unlawful, forbidden by law” –  or  alternatively – “incorrect, contrary to logic, unsound”.

Only Kerry himself can explain which meaning he intended to convey.

Jewish settlement in the West Bank is not illegal, unlawful or forbidden by law – having been legally sanctioned and expressly enshrined in international law under article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter

The PLO in 1964 considered the Balfour Declaration, Mandate for Palestine and everything based on them to be “fraud”.  In 1968 the PLO deemed these documents to be “null and void”.

Kerry in my view was not flagging America’s opinion on these Jewish and PLO claims.

He was emphasising that Israel’s settlements policy in the West Bank was incorrect, contrary to logic, unsound – notwithstanding any claimed legal entitlement to so act.

Israel obviously does not agree with Kerry’s viewpoint – and continues to build and plan  new houses in the West Bank in the belief these programs should not provide any justified excuse for Abbas to abandon the current negotiations.

A unilateral ten month building freeze by Israel in 2010-2011 brought no end to the conflict. Another similar freeze now could reasonably be expected to have very little impact – if any – in achieving a successful breakthrough

The parties reportedly still remain apart on many substantive and sensitive issues far more serious than building houses over the next six months within heavily populated and decades-long established Jewish cities, villages and towns.

More alarming than trying to interpret Kerry’s ambiguous use of the word  “illegitimate” – is his unambiguous claim that America has “always” considered the settlements to be illegitimate

Kerry’s  predecessor Hillary Clinton would be the first to disagree with Kerry – telling

Christiane Armanpour on ABC in February 2011:

“I think it is absolutely clear to say, number one, that it’s been American policy for many years that settlements were illegitimate and it is the continuing goal and highest priority of the Obama administration to keep working toward a two-state solution with both Israelis and Palestinians,”

 “Many years” is clearly not “always”.

History also incontrovertibly denies Kerry’s claim.

President Woodrow Wilson said on 3 March 1919:

“I am persuaded that the Allied nations, with the fullest concurrence of our own Government and people, are agreed that in Palestine shall be laid the foundation of a Jewish Commonwealth.”

 On  30 June 1922 – both Houses of Congress of the United States – then not a member of the League of Nations – unanimously endorsed the following joint resolution – which was signed by President Warren Harding on 21 September 1922:

“Favoring the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.

 Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled – That the United States of America favors the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which should prejudice the civil and religious rights of Christian and all other non-Jewish communities in Palestine, and that the holy places and religious buildings and sites in Palestine shall be adequately protected.”

 The first Report of the High Commissioner on the Administration of Palestine (1920-1925)  acknowledged America’s invaluable support for reconstituting the Jewish National Home in Palestine:

 “The [Balfour] Declaration was endorsed at the time by several of the Allied Governments; it was reaffirmed by the Conference of the Principal Allied Powers at San Remo in 1920; it was subsequently endorsed by unanimous resolutions of both Houses of the Congress of the United States; it was embodied in the Mandate for Palestine approved by the League of Nations in 1922; it was declared, in a formal statement of policy issued by the Colonial Secretary in the same year, ‘not to be susceptible of change’. … The policy was fixed and internationally guaranteed”

 Jewish settlement in the West Bank between 1927 -1948 was never declared  “illegitimate” or “illegal” by America.

President Bush acknowledged in his 14 April 2004 letter to Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that it would be unrealistic to expect that all Jewish settlements built in the West Bank after 1967 would have to be uprooted

Historical amnesia – Kerry-style – has been – and apparently still is – a potent factor in failed American attempts to resolve the Arab-Jewish conflict.

Such ignorance has clouded the thinking of many former well – intentioned Secretaries of State – who became ticking time bombs destined to end up on the political scrap heap because they tried to undo what was internationally guaranteed in former Palestine ninety years ago.

Kerry seems destined to join his failed predecessors.

 

David Singer is a Sydney Lawyer and Foundation Member of the International Analysts Network

Comments

6 Responses to “Palestine – Kerry Destined for Political Scrapheap”
  1. Gil Solomon says:

    David,

    Let me state from the outset that I am certainly not as diplomatic as Paul who tried to enlighten you but obviously to no avail (“The US’s motives as well as its stance is not based in law”).

    You tend to quibble over every word uttered by this Administration but fail to understand Paul’s point that the Obama Administration’s hostility to Israel has nothing to do with law but more to do with bringing Israel down one way or another. The law and who said what to whom and when which you constantly quote mean squat to THIS ADMINISTRATION. The current occupier of the oval Office couldn’t care less about what was “internationally guaranteed in former Palestine ninety years ago.”

    It is ludicrous for you to state that Abbas would be squirming that Kerry used the term “Illegitimate” rather than “illegal.”

    Your postings are so tied up in legal mumbo jumbo looking for hidden meanings as to what this and that person may be implying that you lose the big picture. You fail to comprehend the reality of the Obama Administration and its clear and present danger to Israel.

    Allow me the audacity of trying to enlighten you as Paul didn’t seem to make great headway in his endeavour to do so.

    As I said in a recent post in J-Wire, Obama’s Muslim upbringing in Indonesia (which is an undeniable historical fact), is the catalyst for his deep and abiding hatred of Israel and he will do everything in his power to bring the Jewish nation to its knees. Look at the useless concessions he has, up to now, forced upon Israel. Hopefully the days of Israel doing this man’s bidding are over.

    While you worry about the law, I am more interested in what he said to Putin prior to his second term election victory, words to the effect: “Wait till I am re-elected and see what I will do to Israel.” Does this sound like a man who cares less about the legalistic writings of David Singer?

    David, it’s time to face reality. Your endless quotes of the law and who said what to whom and when mean squat to this President. This man ignores laws if they don’t suit his agenda, ignores past understandings by former Presidents and rides roughshod over historical facts.

    In short, the man does not have Israel’s interests at heart and it is time Israel and the Jewish world (especially those Obama worshipping American Jews) wake up to this reality.

    • david says:

      Gil

      You obviously do not like legal mumbo jumbo and looking for hidden meanings as to what this and that person may be implying – yet you then supposedly quote what Obama “in effect” said:

      “Wait till I am re-elected and see what I will do to Israel.”

      When did Obama say this and what were the actual words he used?

      Lawyers trade in cold hard facts and usually don’t misquote what others say.One particular lawyer has been caught out on J Wire doing just that recently.

      So give me the exact quote Obama used and the context within which he said it – and the link to support your claim.

      If you are correct than it is very significant.

      You never know I might even write another legal mumbo jumbo article based on Obama’s comment – if you can substantiate it.

      • Gil Solomon says:

        David,

        The clip in question that I saw was aired on Fox News Channel about 6 months prior to Obama’s re-election in November 2012. I am not going to waste my time indulging your pedantic nonsense – “when did he say this, give me his EXACT words, context, link.”
        I suggest you go look up the exact words yourself.

        Sadly, your comments indicate that you have no fundamental grasp of the reality that is going on in these so called “negotiations” and oblivious to the fact that Obama and his team are preparing to throw Israel under a bus.

        • David says:

          Gil

          You are playing the same game as denigrators of Israel who make vague and unsubstantiated allegations and cannot back them up when challenged.

          As they say in the classics – put up or shut up.

          Lest you labour under the misapprehension that I am somehow seeking to diminish the threat Obama poses to Israel – you might care to read the following article I wrote that was published in J Wire in May 2011 – long before your unsubstantiated “quote” by Obama.

          http://www.jwire.com.au/news/palestine-obama-continues-to-fudge-on-americas-commitment-to-israel/16456

          I rely on actual statements made by Obama and anyone else I choose to write about – and so should you if you want to have any credibility

  2. Paul Winter says:

    Thanks for the history and legal aspects relating to Kerry. But you miss the point David.

    Kerry and the US, acting on the State Dept’s hate for the Jewish national home established contrary to its advice, terms Israeli nation building in Judea and Samaria (which the local Arabs want sliced off from Israel) as illegitimate intending to convey to the ordinary non-legal person and to Israel’s enemies that the pioneers are acting against the law.

    It cannot be established that Israel is acting illegally, but it can be implied and then acted upon as though it were. That word magic also ingratiates the US with the mohammedans.

    The US’s motives as well as its stance not based in law also need to be exposed and denounced.

    • David says:

      Paul

      The State Department has long been a driver with an anti-Israel bias as you correctly point out.

      When the Department is full of scores of ex Arab diplomats and only a few Israeli ones then the imbalance becomes very pronounced – especially when you add the word OIL.

      Many Presidents have put the State Department in its place on so many occasions and on many issues but it doesn’t give up easily.

      No Secretary of State has been able to end the Arab-Jewish conflict which says heaps for the advice they were getting from the State Department.

      Kerry will join his predecessors on the political scrapheap unless he stands by America’s long standing commitment and support for the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home in Judea and Samaria.

      Will US Secretaries of State ever learn?

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