Posted on: February 11, 2007 Posted by: Mitchell Plitnick Comments: 24

The primary purpose of the Palestinian unity agreement this week was internal Palestinian unity. But Palestinian security also depends on the lifting of the economic blockade they have been under since the election of the Hamas government. renovations-gaza.jpg

In the short term, this agreement is not going to change the stances of the main actors in that blockade, the US and Israel. In fact, it may well harden their stances. Israel has already made some allusions to this agreement “tainting” Mahmoud Abbas. In their view, the unity arrangement is to be seen as bringing Abbas under Hamas’ umbrella rather than modifying any of Hamas’ stances. That they’re well aware this is not the case is not likely to change the political posturing.

In the long term, however, there could be some impact. Saudi Arabia has obviously given the agreement its blessing. That will mean some Arab money coming into the Occupied Territories. Saudi Arabia also enjoys the added benefit of largely blocking increased Iranian influence among the Palestinians. Neither Fatah nor Hamas is particularly interested in Iranian help if they have any choice in the matter. Up until now, they didn’t.

Russia has clearly opened a door with this agreement, suggesting that it should be sufficient to lift the siege on the Palestinians. The UN and EU have been silent, while the US, the last member of the Quartet which set the three conditions on the Hamas government, will surely reject the agreement as the basis to end the economic blockade.

But we can be sure that significant forces in both the EU and the UN will push for the end of this siege. How hard they will push remains to be seen. But this is an opening that the Palestinians should do their utmost to exploit.

The Israeli and American rejection of this agreement as the basis for lifting the blockade is based on the three conditions that the Quartet set for that lifting. We should examine these three conditions.

One condition is that Hamas abide by all past agreements entered into by the Palestinian government. This is a very reasonable condition. It is expected of any governmental or representative body (and we should be careful not to overstate the resemblance of the Palestinian Authority to an actual government) that it abides by the agreements its predecessors entered into. This is a basic principle of diplomacy.

Hamas has recognized the necessity of agreeing to this and has worked to find a way to do so without overly compromising their principles and undermining their support. They’ve agreed to “respect” the previous agreements. In the past, they have also agreed to allow Mahmoud Abbas handle negotiations with Israel. The PLO remains the recognized international representative of the Palestinian people. This all should be sufficient to satisfy this condition. There is an aspect of this that has to do with another condition, that of recognizing Israel. We’ll deal with that below.

A second condition is that Hamas must “renounce violence.” Everyone seems to have this requirement except Israel. As much as I might push Israel to end its occupation, I certainly don’t expect it to renounce violence while the conflict continues. Nor is it reasonable to demand this of the Palestinians. International law allows for resistance, including violent resistance, to occupation.

It is, on the other hand, reasonable to hold both sides accountable for both attacks on civilians and wanton disregard for the safety of civilians. The Prisoners’ Agreement held that Palestinian resistance should be confined to the Occupied Territories. But there was never official acceptance of this document by any party. It should be. Yet Israel has only increased its own disregard for civilian casualties. The destruction of the civilian infrastructure in gaza, much of which remains in ruins, causes severe health problems which are exacerbated by food and water shortages in the Strip. Meanwhile, the recent suicide bombing in Eilat and ongoing Qassam missile fire are clear examples of targeting civilians. Both sides need to stop their various methods of harming civilians.

This condition is simply foolish. It cannot be met as long as it applies only to one side. But a public acceptance by Hamas of the Prisoners’ Agreement’s formulation of restricting resistance to the Occupied Territories (and for those who might believe that the reference is to all of historic Palestine, the document specifies those areas occupied in 1967) would still be wise. It would help them gain support diplomatically, and frankly they lose nothing. It’s not like an attack behind the Green Line gains them anything. Targeting civilians is always wrong even if the other side does it. Both Israel and the Palestinians are guilty of this and arguments that “they did it first” are meaningless.

Finally the last condition to discuss is “recognition of Israel.” This is a deal-breaker for Hamas, as it runs explicitly counter to their ideology. Yet, the PLO and the PA have both recognized Israel’s right to exist as a sovereign state in secure borders. They have not, nor could they possibly, recognize its right to exist as a Jewish state. In essence, that would mean accepting that the Zionist movement had the right to establish a Jewish state in their homeland, a state which would privilege Jews over the Arab natives of the land. No Palestinian would ever accept that statement.

But many Palestinians recognize the reality that Israel exists and will continue to exist and that the Palestinian future is dependent on finding a way to live with that reality. That should be enough. That Hamas as a party does not make this statement is irrelevant. The PA has, and with a unity government in place, a particular party not doing so carries no weight. The PA has a method of working with Israel, and it has the mechanism to execute and honor agreements with Israel. That should be all that matters.

But if the recognition issue is the stumbling block, then the only response is “a pox on both their houses.” Israel gains nothing but humiliating Hamas by insisting on a declaration of recognition. Israel is a fact. Hamas’ recognition or lack of it does not change that one iota. Abba Eban once said that Israel’s legitimacy does not depend on the approval of others. Fine. Then who cares if Hamas recognizes its right to exist?

What state exists by right? Governments, borders, all the trappings of state exist by a combination of might and the will of the governed (in different measures depending on the level of democracy vs. dictatorship and other circumstances unique to every country). The Saudi Plan of 2002 offers full normal relations with Israel. The very offer implies recognition of Israeli sovereignty behind the Green Line. The entire issue is much ado about nothing for Israel.

For Hamas’ part, I understand how they are trapped between necessity and their ideology. But they have navigated this issue very poorly. One of their first responses to this question was “which Israel are we expected to recognize?” The meaning was that Israel’s borders are not defined. OK, then recognize Israel only behind the Green Line. Just the same as the case made above, Israel is a fact. There is no realistic scenario in the foreseeable future where there is no Israel, where Israel is not a state based on the tenets of Zionism. Hamas knows this very well; their election platform and many of their public statements show this to be true.

If, as can reasonably be assumed, Israel and the US would lift the blockade in exchange for Hamas’ recognition of Israeli sovereignty behind the Green Line, it is unconscionable for them to continue to refuse to recognize. People are starving to death and dying for lack of health care because of this blockade. Recognition is a formality. It will change nothing as far as Israel’s existence, the Palestinians’ position nor even Hamas’ place. they can work it out in such a way as to continue to condemn the occupation and to uphold the Palestinian right of return. Fatah walked the same line. True, recognition never gained much for Fatah. But if it will help end the siege, then it will gain far more Hamas.

In all, the whole issue of the Three Conditions is smoke covering the Israeli and American intention to punish the Palestinians for electing Hamas in the first place. But the response from the Palestinians has not been clever and has, in fact, been quite futile. With the unity agreement, there will be at least some diplomatic push to end the siege. If there is to be any hope for peace, Americans, Britons and Israelis of conscience must scream out loud that the siege must end.

24 People reacted on this

  1. “International law allows for resistance, including violent resistance, to occupation.”
    I have heard this sound-bite before but no one has yet quoted any such statutes. Would you be kind enough, Mr. Plitnic, to post chapter-and-verse? Maybe you can also tell your audience wherein it is written that such “violence” can be directed at civilian targets, that reside outside of such alleged “Occupied” zones? And lastly, we are back to the underlying question of who is “occupying” whom. The original international treaties that ended WW1 and established Arab independence throughout the region also called for the establishment of a Jewish National Homeland measuring approximately 45,000 sq-miles. Modern Israel (including Jerusalem) is actually 8,000 sq-miles and is a homeland to at least three separate (major) ethnic groups, including an Arab residency of over 1-million. It took a holocaust and the loss of almost 40% of the worldwide Jewish population, to even gain the sympathy to implement this modest footprint. Approximately 450,000 Jews were forced to flee from all corners of the Mid East, where some of those families had gone back to 600-BC. In Iraq, for example, it was a capitol crime, punishable by summary hanging, to CONSPIRE TO LEAVE FOR ISRAEL.
    As I have already mentioned on another topic, it is not clear who is occupying whom. Therefore, the “violent resistance” you speak of is a phantasm at best and legally backwards–more probably.
    “Abba Eban once said that Israel’s legitimacy does not depend on the approval of others. Fine”
    “ . . . where Israel is not a state based on the tenets of Zionism.”
    “Israel” versus “The Zionist State”
    Only practical difference: Israel is expected by many, including President Ahmedinejad to accept some 6+ million new Muslim citizens and thereby become a Jewish MINORITY, as is exactly the case every other place in the world. Then (and only then) would it be acceptable to him. Whereas the alleged “Zionist State” is clearly not poised to be the recipient of these oceans of humanity, which is why most vocal Muslims (and some peacenik Hebrews) will not tolerate it. I personally do not believe that “Zionism” even exists in reality and so the word (and concept) rings to me the same as when someone says: “Spiderman”. Fit for comic books and not for serious debates. Zionism (I believe) ended with the physical creation of the Jewish National Homeland in 1947, much the same way that abolitionism (anti-slavery) ended with the emancipation of the slaves–in the mid 1800’s. However, those who still deny the very existence of the “Jewish National Homeland” have an equally imperative stake in insisting that Jews (still today) struggle to create it, much like the ‘ex-husband’ may deny the existence of the new fiancé (to his ex-wife), referring to this man as a ‘friend’, or (in extreme denial), a ‘visiting relative’, even after the two marry. Hence, the “Zionist” phantasm. Zionist = “boogie-man”. Do we still call women’s rights activists “Suffragettes”? Half of em wouldn’t know what the word meant.
    Mr. Plitnic, you have now officially come out and taken a position to the “left” of the Saudi Royal Family. Congratulations.

  2. Here, by the way is a link to a very informative web site that smartly describes how, when and why the Jewish people took LEGAL possession of their “National homeland”.
    “The objective of this paper is to set down in a brief, yet clear and precise manner the legal rights and title of sovereignty of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and Palestine under international law.”
    Since everyone with an opinion about the Mid-East seems to be an “international law scholar”, this linked essay is very helpful in the unraveling of common myths. Also, for further clarification, Jerusalem became a majority Jewish city in the 1860’s, according to the historical archives of the British government. (8,000 Jews + 7,000 others). This took place in spite of the fact that it had been illegal for Jews (and only for Jews) to move their, under longstanding Turkish-Ottoman regulations, for 300 years by that stage. These events also directly coincided with the publishing of the “Alkalai Rabbinical Papers” in ~1865~, which sought to reverse longstanding religious objections to the ending of the worldwide “Diaspora”. Rabbi Judas Alkalai was a ‘reformed’ (left-leaning, semi-secular) head Rabbi of the Balkans. His religious pleadings were somewhat weak, just as today, Carter’s basis and logic for his conclusions only make sense to those who already have their minds made up in his direction. Rationalize as he tried, there was no meaningful way around the Hebrew Scriptures forbidding the return to Israel without the Messiah. Accordingly, these papers failed to convince any other Rabbinicals. Nonetheless, this event marked the actual beginning of the modern wave of immigration of Jews into “Palestine” and the point-in-time when Jerusalem became a majority Jewish town. In 1906, it was further reported in the “Travel Guide to Syria and Palestine”, by Karl Badaker, that 7,000 total Muslims lived in Jerusalem, versus 40,000 Jews. However, those who point towards Herzel (in Germany 1890’s) or the “Lord Balfore Papers” in 1922, entirely miss both the practical or the legal basis whereby “Palestine” became a homeland and sanctuary for Jews.
    Lastly, if anyone likes, try to find a U.S. university that claims to have a course study in “International Law”. Last time I looked, there were none. This curriculum is called “treaty law” and for a good reason. By its very nature, its not intended to be universal. The task of a treaty lawyer is to craft language which is, at the same time, both grossly ambiguous and satisfactorily so, in order to satisfy the specific government being represented. So, if possession is 90% of “common-law” it is at least 99% of “treaty law”. And so it has always been.

  3. In answer to the silly question, the Preamble to the UDHR provides, ‘Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law…’

    More importantly, Hamas is not responsible for the unprecedented blockade of an occupied people. It’s ‘the international community’, and more particularly, the Quartet that pretends to be some kind of dispassionate arbiter between Israel and the colonised Palestinians.

    The kind of recognition that Israel and the Quarter are demanding is not just a formality. It is precisely the kind of recognition of the Jewish state’s mythical ‘right to exist’ that would undermine any Palestinian claim whatsoever. More importantly, it would undermine Hamas’s principled stance that has distinguished them from Fatah and in part won them the election in the first place.

    Furthermore, it is very far indeed from reasonable to assume that any easing of the blockade would occur even if Hamas complied fully with all demands. You appear to have forgotten that the original ‘Road map’ foundered mainly because Israel refused to consider even starting to comply with the Roadmap’s provisions until the impotent PA fully disarmed all armed factions. In other words, until it instigated a civil war. It is easy to envisage a comparable scenario now. You are unlikely to go far wrong by overestimating the duplicity and petty vindictiveness of the US and Israel.

  4. Ernie Halfdram:
    You wrote of my oh so “silly question”
    “ . . . the Preamble to the UDHR provides, ‘Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law…’”
    That’s the best you got? This same declaration (which by the way was the result of the United States as sponsors—under the Truman administration) also guarantees each and every human resident of the entire world: Food, Clothing, Housing and basic medical care. Today, about 60 years later, we in the United States still don’t have these things for our citizens. When is the last time you paid for a heart transplant for a minority youth? Didn’t think so.
    Moreover, this language does not say “VIOLENT” rebellion and it certainly does not say “violent rebellion directed towards civilians”. Heck, I ‘rebel’ all the time. Did it twice today alone. Cutting against the ‘tide’ on this blog may amount to a third act of “rebellion”. Most important, we are back to the underlying dispute of who is committing ‘tyranny’ against whom. For example, while I acknowledge that several million Arabs of presumed Palestinian origin are still considered “refugees”, I contend that it is their host countries, not the Israelis, who have ‘tyrannized’ them by unjustly keeping these people nation-less, and living in squalor for over ½ a century. The former high commissioner for U.N. refugees Ruud Lubbers
    personally told me that all efforts of that office to re-settle these people have been politically blocked by among others, their own host countries. Which of course makes perfect sense when one considers that during the past 20 years, over 12 million Arabs have been immigrated from various places in the Mid East, into comphey surroundings in Europe and seemingly, none of these 12-M included any Palestinian Arabs from the “refugee camps”. Guys like you just don’t want to know about such events because it tends to detract the spotlight off the real ‘culprits’, the Hebrews.
    You asserted:
    “ . . colonized Palestinians. . . “
    Again, this is a factual dispute. To listen to your position, you would have us believe that the Israelis are merely interlopers, without rights of their own, similar to the British in India. Of course, any scholarly review of history reveals otherwise and in some reasonable people’s eyes, the opposite conclusion. The new “fad” by the way among the angry “intellectual” revisionists is the notion that the Western Wall in Jerusalem is a new construction and in fact that no Jewish temple ever existed there before. Included in the list of proponents of Temple denial is Mr. Abbas. This temple, by the way, is not just one of 5,000 holy places and not even the alleged 3rd most holy place in Judaism but the single and most holy place in the Jewish history.
    You continued:
    “ . . it would undermine Hamas’s principled stance that has distinguished them from Fatah and in part won them the election in the first place.”
    Whether Fatah lost on their own or Hamas won on its own merits is also debatable. Carter won the White House in large part because of the disgraceful Vietnam war and Regan came in soon thereafter, because Carter sucked so bad that Americans would have gladly voted-in the dead corpse of General George Armstrong Custer — at that point. One thing is for certain, if I was subjected to the endless barrage of false propaganda and disinformation that the average Palestinian grows up on, I might have voted for Mr. Haniyeh myself. Which is why I am here.
    Israel is not going to willingly allow the division of Jerusalem.
    Israel is not going to permit itself to become a minority Jewish nation. And that, in my most humble conclusion is exactly the way it should be, based on documented history, basic equity and my best understanding of international “treaty law.” Changing history is not going to improve anyone’s lives. Not the Arabs and not the Hebrews. It would only create a further division between people’s beliefs and reality. Such a duplicity of varied dimensions of alleged reality will only raise the flames, not extinguish them. You write beautifully but your substance is neither logical or factual. If you could only read as proficiently as you write.

  5. Isidor, I’m glad you like my writing and I’m delighted that there are unmoderated comments venues where you can vent your spleen. But in all honesty, I don’t have time to refute your interpretation of historical fact. You appear to proceed, as does much Zionist discourse, from the principle, ‘There is no god, and he gave us this land,’ as Ilan Pappe puts it. There is also an assumption that European antisemitism justifies virtually anything Jews may do in the Middle East. We could argue about whether the principles enunciated in the 1951 Refugee Convention technically applied in 1948, but ultimately, we have very different conceptions of what justice entails and I’ll stick with mine, thanks very much.

    I will take up one issue, however. The Zionist settlers were indeed interlopers with the explicit intention of creating an ethnically exclusivist state at the expense of the indigenous population. At least that’s what Herzl said in his diary in 1895, remained an explicit objective, and ultimately came to pass. But of course the Zionists were not precisely equivalent to the British in India. There was no metropolis and their objective was not to exploit the ‘natives’ and their land, but to remove them entirely and take the land for their own use.

    As a matter of fact, this is where the analogy with apartheid fails – apartheid was in some ways less malevolent, as many of apartheid’s own victims have attested. I hasten to add that Carter’s distinction – that apartheid was motivated by racism and the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza by land greed – is mistaken. In both cases, land greed provides the material basis for the racist ideology.

  6. Ernie Halfdram:
    You wrote:
    “ . . . you can vent your spleen. . . “
    Or, I can be entitled to my well read and reasoned opinions. We all are born with spleens but not everyone maintains the same level of intellectual honesty.
    You explained:
    “I don’t have time to refute your interpretation of historical fact.”
    Of course not. You only have time to lodge your unsubstantiated allegations, though you do so with a vast abundance of time for that.
    There is a very good reason why Air America Radio recently filed for Chapter 11. Because the “intellectual left” only needs enough air time to accuse. Having the added air-time to SUBSTANTIATE only creates an impediment for them. Sound-bites there were many though facts there were few.
    You accused:
    “You appear to proceed, as does much Zionist discourse, from the principle, ‘There is no god, and he gave us this land,’”.
    Please find one posting on this site or any other blog, wherein I stated that God gave any land to any Jews. You won’t, because their aren’t any. But, who needs quotes when one has their mind set already? In point of fact, I have said on a well known Muslim blog that I DO NOT believe that God gave any land to any Jews and further, I have long stated that I think the entire argument is counter productive because the legal and moral basis for the Jewish National Homeland stands well enough on its own without dragging in the very arbitrary “Biblical laws” to the discussion. I have also stated that Hebrew Scripture FORBIDS the return from of Jews exile, while Muslim Scripture (17:104) gives both sovereignty and residency of the “Promised Land” to the “Children of Israel”. This is an odd twist of fate for both groups. However, it makes clearer sense when one considers that during the past 2,000 years, there were numerous times when Jewish towns around the world were captured by evading forces and cleared of their inhabitants. So this Sura 17 reference begins to ring in the same context of those who today, will for example, tell Mexicans to “go back where you came from” or during the 1960’s, assert that Blacks should simply “go back to Africa”. Essentially, in between the times when Jews were being evicted from Jerusalem, they were being ordered to go back.
    You insisted:
    “The Zionist settlers were indeed interlopers with the explicit intention of creating an ethnically exclusivist state at the expense of the indigenous population. At least that’s what Herzl said in his diary in 1895, remained an explicit objective, and ultimately came to pass.”
    I don’t frankly care what one Berliner Jew had to say on the subject and once again, you omit exact references or quotes anyway. Contrary to popular belief, Herzl DID NOT invent “Zionism”, nor was he mainly responsible for its implementation. “Zionism” (though not called that) was a religious contrivance of a semi-secular head rabbi in the Balkans in the mid 1860’s. It was first implemented between the years of 1919 and 1924, when:
    a) The 400 year old legal ban on Jews returning to Jerusalem was broken with the defeat of the Turkish-Ottoman Empire in WW1.
    b) The various international treaties in play provided the various Arab tribes their own independence.
    There was an abundance of land to go around and even leading Arab heads of state were on board with the “Jewish National Homeland” program. In fact, as members of the League of Nations, Iraq, Persia (Iran) and Egypt had legally agreed to the Balfore language because this Declaration was integrated into the charter of the League of Nations.
    The resistance came forth from a group known as the “Muslim Brotherhood”, who would not tolerate a Jewish re-birth in their midst because it was contrary to their long term plan of an Islamic revolution and a Pan-Arab state, from the Sudan to Spain.
    You slandered:
    “But of course the Zionists were not precisely equivalent to the British in India. There was no metropolis and their objective was not to exploit the ‘natives’ and their land, but to remove them entirely and take the land for their own use.”
    If that were true, there would not today be over 1-million Arab Israeli citizens who vote and hold seats in Parliament. Under “apartheid” South Africa, Blacks were bared from voting at all and were treated slightly better than domesticated animals. Your obvious bias is quite apparent from this statement because this point is not a mater of debate over any historical facts in controversy. Your thinking quite departs from basic logic and the only explanation I can assume is that it is due to a prejudice against Jews and Hebrews. Sometimes (as Sir Winston Churchill famously stated), a cigar is just a cigar.

  7. post chapter-and-verse?

    Aside from the fundamental right of a people to defend themselves specified in Article 51 of the UN Charter, various UN General Assembly Resolutions, including 1514, 2621, and 3481 have contained language similar to this:

    “REAFFIRMS the inalienable rights of colonial peoples to struggle by all necessary means at their disposal against colonial powers, which suppress their aspiration for freedom and independence.”

    In 1965 the UN General Assembly recognized “the legitimacy of struggle by the people under colonial rules to exercise their rights to self-determination and independence.” The General Assembly also urged “all States to provide material and moral assistance to the national liberation movements in colonial territories.”

    Lest you think the above does not apply for some reason to the Palestinian people, Resolution 3236, passed by the General Assembly in its 29th session in 1974 explicitly gave full recognition to the collective rights of the Palestinian people and recognized their right to self-determination in accordance with the United Nations Charter (giving them the same right of self-defence of sovereign states). In addition, it granted them the right of national independence, sovereignty and right of return to their homes, etc., etc.

    Israel, of course, holds itself above internationl law unless it suits its purposes. How many of these resolutions have they ignored / violated? About 175 is it now?

  8. This curriculum is called “treaty law”

    No, you are mistaken. There is public, private, and supranational international law. Treaty law is only one aspect of international law. There is also a large body of principles and agreements which have been built up since WW I through the League of Nations and United Nations, such as the Geneva Conventions, which are not treaties per se. The GC in fact are pledges as to the conduct of war which the signatories made to themselves without regard to reciprocity. Of course the International Court of Justice in the Hague is the UN’s criminal judicial branch. The Hague also houses an academy of international law.

  9. John Baker:
    “colonial peoples”
    OK Einstein: Which “colonial powers” are the “powers” who have “colonialized” “Palestine”? Let’s see . . . the “Power” of Brooklyn, NY? The Grand Duchy of Auschwitz?
    The only remotely logical answer to this, which might (even rhetorically) answer the question is:
    ALL THE WORLDS “POWERS” BECAUSE THAT’S WHERE THOSE JEWS CAME FROM – THOSE JEWS WHO WERE NOT ALREADY LIVING IN THE MID-EAST. Which raises another interesting question. Why disqualify the Mid East nations as “The “Colonializers”? Jews came from all of them, including at least three who had agreed to the Balfore Language, through their membership in the League of Nations (Egypt, Persia and Iraq).
    Maybe this finally explains why the Arabs have commenced a war against everyone else, including, themselves and each other.
    More on your ‘double-speaking’ claims a bit later.
    Have a nice breakfast.

  10. John Baker:
    Re: U.N. Res. 3236:
    The first point that you should have mentioned, is that a General Assembly Resolution is NOT binding on those nations who do not agree to it. Only a Security Council Resolution has the weight of “international law.” I Think you already know that john, which is part of the reason why its difficult and time consuming to debate with you. Before one can even address the core of your various arguments, one first needs to cut through the thick layers of fog.
    Secondly: The United Nations did not originally create the Jewish National Homeland and it is therefore questionable, if even the U.N. Security Council has the privilege to commence an “abortion” of a legally pre-existing nation. As I said, 3236 is not a Security Council Resolution.
    Overall, the U.N. has been a total failure at almost everything it does. Even when its work is worthy (from a humanitarian standpoint), such as helping poverty stricken nations and peoples, it is not certain if those same resources would not be more efficiently and equitably distributed, directly from the donor countries to the recipients. The U.N. is also, after all, a giant (and wasteful) bureaucracy.
    Plus, the U.N. does not always even follow its own charter or rules, such as the distribution of aid to warlords, in the guise of “Refugee Relief”. Since a “refugee” is defined as someone who is outside the country of their nationality, the U.N. has ignored this requirement by sending resources into the middle of battle zones to people who do not technically qualify as “refugees,” thereby taking sides and in some instances, aiding and abetting in terror campaigns, such as the events in Somalia in the early 1990’s.
    Lets talk equity:
    Africa consists of 89 countries, about 850,000,000 inhabitants and almost a 50% voting block in the General Assembly. The U.S. has 50 states, 5 or so territories, 300,000,000 people, contributes 40% of the total U.N. budget and gets 1/189 vote in the General Assembly.
    5 Nations alone: USA, India, Russia, China and Indonesia have about ½ the world’s total population and guess how many General Assembly votes? Exactly 5 (out of 189), or, about 3%. The E.U., after merging into a common “union” still retains separate voting rights. And, the WHOPPER of all inadequacies, India, the largest democracy in the world, with about 1/7 the total world’s population is NOT a permanent member of the Security Council, while insignificant (and anti-Semitic) France is.
    The U.N. stops no wars. Ends no poverty and basically solves no problems.
    With respect to their actions re: Israel, ‘one-sided’ would be the understatement of both the 20th and 21st centuries. Plus, the majority of the people being represented by the World Body, don’t get to vote anyway (many don’t even have free speech or a free press). If you continue to defend this practice, some day you may attain the privilege of not being able to vote.
    Once again, national borders are NOT the same as say, a whaling treaty or a ‘global warming’ initiative, which can be phased in and out and modified, as time passes, regional politics change, overall conditions change and new science develops.
    Israel has always gotten the short end of the stick from the U.N. The 1974 language you quote (for example) says:
    “Having heard the statement of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian people,
    Having also heard other statements made during the debate”
    Notedly absent is any reference to the Nation of Israel or their feelings on the subject.
    It also says:
    “Reaffirms also the inalienable right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted, and calls for their return;”
    But where was the original “affirmation” in the first place? One has to go back to 1947 language and S.C. 242 language, to unravel this answer. S.C. 242 simply speaks of:
    “For achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem”.
    If 242 intended to say:
    “Palestinians to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted, and calls for their return;”
    Why didn’t it just say that?
    Because, like most matters in the world history involving Jews, time-travel IS definitely permitted, if not encouraged.
    More to follow.
    PS> Yet, in spite of your statements, you could find no U.S. college that offers a curriculum called “International Law”. Neither could I.

  11. OK Einstein: Which “colonial powers”

    Thank you, but it doesn’t take an Einstein to understand that the principle of 793 (et alia) – which was concerned with African peoples – is applicable by analogy to the situation of the Palestinian people. A 40-year (plus?) military occupation is, if anything, worse than colonization. (For the purposes of discussion, you may understand “occupation” and “occupied territory” in the common sense terms of 242.)

    So, it says what it says, unless you can cite some Security Council resolution which states that an occupied people may not defend themselves by force of arms if necessary against an occupying military. That would be in violation of the UN Charter, Article 51, re: self-defense, so I wouldn’t waste much time looking.

    It’s clear that the intent of the international community is, “by all necessary means at their disposal.” It is equally clear, judging from annual reaffirmations, that the UN GA understands that the conflict should be settled by complete Israeli withdrawal from the WB and Gaza, recognition of Israel within pre-1967 borders, and formation of a separate Palestinian state.

  12. John:
    You don’t answer questions. I answer questions. Why don’t you? Since I don’t expect you to answer this question either, I shall answer for you as a ‘surrogate’:
    Because you either have no reasonable answers or more likely, your technique involves ignoring the subjects and issues raised by other parties and devoting attention only to your own.
    While you may be a nice person, my instinct is to say that you have become quite proficient at sounding knowledgeable. That does not mean that you necessarily are knowledgeable and more importantly, I think you may be aware of the limitations of some of your arguments but like any successful lawyer, you have to spit-up something fancy.
    You wrote:
    “For the purposes of discussion, you may understand “occupation” and “occupied territory” in the common sense terms of 242.”
    I have gone through this at least twice and you have not debated any nuts and bolts, only providing conclusions and assumptions, thereby skipping over the details. There is an old saying that the ‘devil’ is in the details but I think that in reality, the ‘devil’ is in the bull-jive. The details only reveal the bull-jive. You job is to cover it up again with compound-clauses and arbitrary, often misleading para-quotes.
    For simplicity, if 242 was intended to restore pre 1967 borders, it would have been extraordinarily simple for it to have simply said:
    “Israel to return to pre-1967 borders”.
    Seven words and no more debates. It doesn’t say that. It talks instead of demilitarized zones and withdrawal of the IDF (not the Nation of Israel, per-se) from an unspecified amount of ground. So I ask you now, where are these “demilitarized” zones? Of course, there are none.
    The 242 language also insists on an end to all belligerency:
    “Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;”
    Why is this not a topic of your conversation? Unlike the earlier (ambiguous) language, this second clause is quite specific and has no “shadow” meanings and while rejected on its face by various Arab factions, its quite clear meaning has not been per-se disputed, only rejected outright.
    So I do not debate UN Charter, Article 51 because for one thing, it is NOT necessary to get that far. Your argument fails because you have not made the case that the standard meaning of “occupied” even applies in this discussion, or if so, where exactly does it apply?
    Everyone knows that Jerusalem has always been the core of the Jewish identity and nation, which is PRECISELY why the Jews were expelled and legally denied reentry for many centuries. The world wouldn’t permit it, simply because the Jews desired it so deeply. And that’s exactly what it means to be a Hebrew my friend. It doesn’t matter what one of us wants, or how modest is the goal. We have grown accustomed to having our desires rejected by reflex-action, as if to remind us, over and over that we are, in reality, God’s rejects.

  13. I’m sorry what was your question? Oh yes, about “colonial powers.” I did answer that. You were so busy obfuscating and speaking to everything but my point that you apparently missed it. Israel is not literally a colonial power. My point (did you really miss this?) was that the principle was applicable to the case of the Palestinians and Israel. I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t know the Latin term, but laws may be judged applicable to cases other than those literally described. For example, the very first child abuse cases in this country were prosecuted using statutes on the books for animal cruelty because there were none for child abuse specifically. Anyway, all that seems obvious to me. I’m sorry if you missed it. If I may say so, you seem the type person if I ask you what time it is you tell me how to build a watch. My point about 242 is that the Israelis are making a point of being intentionally obtuse, when it is quite clear to the rest of the world what needs to be done to resolve the conflict.

  14. John Baker:
    You wrote:
    “you seem the type person if I ask you what time it is you tell me how to build a watch.”
    As it turns out, my profession is a designer of complex mechanical watches, plus, I don’t wear a watch (personally hate um). So, for once (I suppose twice), I agree with you. Congratulations. Sadly, this does not further the subject or the ultimate goal of a lasting peace.
    You wrote:
    “My point about 242 is that the Israelis are making a point of being intentionally obtuse, when it is quite clear to the rest of the world what needs to be done to resolve the conflict.”
    This same world understood what was needed to resolve their problems in the late 1930’s. It just did not solve any Jewish problems.
    But let me address the core of your statement:
    The USA does not believe that a surrender of Jerusalem as a solution is either fair, warranted or would be effective. Of course, people who believe that the “Zionist” underworld vicariously controls the USA, have a retort for that. Those who have a very large Arab or Muslim population would, of course seek to maintain calm and harmony within their own spheres. Who is left? Chavez?
    “”Some minorities, descendants of the same ones who crucified Christ … took all the world’s wealth for themselves,” Chavez said in the Dec. 24 speech.”
    One should also never discount the effect that believing Israel is safe has on the way that certain countries react. Why expose themselves to ridicule or harm if the USA is willing to take watch of Israel’s back?
    Lastly, it is my instinct that Israel’s true identity is that of a “canary in the coal mine”.
    If the “Canary dies”, the miners (us) aren’t far behind. But if those same minors should get hungry, they might well eat the canary for lunch.
    All the Jews ever wanted was a small little country, including their eternal capitol, Jerusalem, where they could be left alone to live in peace. They realized that it would not be possible for them to be left alone. After many years more, they realized that they would probably not be allowed to live in peace either. In 2000, they went to the edge and beyond, by offering to bifurcate Jerusalem. Soon thereafter they realized that nothing they have will ever be enough to give, short of the complete dismantling of the Jewish National Homeland. What have the Arabs offered to give in return for peace? Not a speck of dust.

  15. Iador wrote “. . . short of the complete dismantling of the Jewish National Homeland. What have the Arabs offered to give in return for peace?”

    Quite simply not a shred if truth is in this statement. For example The Arab League offered peace, and full diplomatic recognition in return for a fully sovereign Palestinian state on all the lands Occupied since 1967. This offer was ignored by Israel.

  16. Everything can be worked out to the mutual satisfaction of both parties, Jerusalem included, as long as there is the will.

  17. Fred Schlomka:
    You wrote:
    “The Arab League offered peace, and full diplomatic recognition in return for a fully sovereign Palestinian state on all the lands Occupied since 1967. This offer was ignored by Israel.”
    Where? When?? References???

    “After the 1967 war, Israel refused to negotiate a settlement with the Arabs.”
    After its victory in the Six-Day War, Israel hoped the Arab states would enter peace negotiations. Israel signaled to the Arab states its willingness to relinquish virtually all the territories it acquired in exchange for peace. As Moshe Dayan put it, Jerusalem was waiting only for a telephone call from Arab leaders to start negotiations.
    But these hopes were dashed in August 1967 when Arab leaders meeting in Khartoum adopted a formula of three noes: “no peace with Israel, no negotiations with Israel, no recognition of Israel….”
    As former Israeli President Chaim Herzog wrote: “Israel’s belief that the war had come to an end and that peace would now reign along the borders was soon dispelled. Three weeks after the conclusion of hostilities, the first major incident occurred on the Suez Canal.”

    I personally remember hearing Mr. Arafat address the Arab League (I think in 2002) wherein he stated that he intended to represent the claims of ALL the Arab StateS in his dealings with Israel. He then repeated this verbatim (for emphasis). What did he mean “StateS” (plural). We are aware that Syria maintained a claim for the Golan but which other Arab states was Mr. Arafat referring to? Lebanon is not even an “Arab” state. Why did his not simply mention those states who’s claims he intended to prosecute? Because, in my view, Mr. Arafat intended to fight this war until “judgment day” if not longer.
    By the way, Israel had already offered to open settlement negotiations with Syria, only to be told to give the Golan first and then, after, they will discuss peace. This Syrian reply statement is also not compatible with your assertion. When in the history of the world does the victor in a conflict offer to negotiate with the looser (who attacked them in the first place) and then be expected to give up their position in order to qualify for the negotiations?

  18. Both sides need to find the will to make peace at the same time. Both people are very much in favor of making peace. It’s the politicians with their private agendas that are the problem. Here’s a snippet from one of Uri Avnery’s recent columns:

    “WHEN I was young, Jewish people in Palestine used to talk about our secret weapon: the Arab refusal. Every time somebody proposed some peace plan, we relied on the Arab side to say “no”. True, the Zionist leadership was against any compromise that would have frozen the existing situation and halted the momentum of the Zionist enterprise of expansion and settlement. But the Zionist leaders used to say “yes” and “we extend our hand for peace” – and rely on the Arabs to scuttle the proposal.

    That was successful for a hundred years, until Yasser Arafat changed the rules, recognized Israel and signed the Oslo Accords, which stipulated that the negotiations for the final borders between Israel and Palestine must be concluded not later than 1999. To this very day, those negotiations have not even started. Successive Israeli governments have prevented it because they were not ready under any circumstances to fix final borders.,,”

    You can find rest at Gush Shalom’s website.

  19. Where? When?? References???

    The Saudi Peace Initiative 2002, adopted by the Arab League:

    From the same column quoted above from Avnery:

    “Hamas has announced its support for the establishment of a Palestinian state bounded by the June 1967 borders – meaning: next to Israel and not in place of Israel. (This week, ex-minister Kadura Fares repeated that Hamas leader Khaled Mashal has confirmed this.) Hamas has given Mahmoud Abbas a power of attorney to conduct the negotiations with Israel and has undertaken in advance to accept any agreement ratified in a referendum. Abbas, of course, clearly advocates the setting up of a Palestinian state next to Israel, across the Green Line. There is no doubt whatsoever that if such an agreement is achieved, the huge majority of the Palestinian population will vote for it…Now the King of Saudi Arabia comes and disturbs Olmert’s plans even more…In an impressive event [The Mecca Accord], facing the holiest site of Islam, the king put an end to the bloody strife between the Palestinian security organs and prepared the ground for a Palestinian government of national unity. Hamas undertook to respect the agreements signed by the PLO, including the Oslo agreement, which is based on the mutual recognition of the State of Israel and the PLO as representative of the Palestinian people.”

  20. John:
    Let’s please simplify.
    What is the actual difference in acreage between Mr. Barak’s offer of 2,000 and the purported Arab land demands? Do you know? I don’t know specifically, so I am not being cute. It is my understanding however that in acres, we are not speaking about a large difference. Anyone know??
    I mean if the issue centers around pre-1967, this should be an easy answer to ascertain.
    But no matter what the exact number turns out to be, whether it be 10 acres, 10 Sq. miles or 10 linier miles, certainly, the future peace of the entire world can not pivot on such a minuscule parcel of turf. And it doesn’t.
    Your reply specifically neglects to mention that the Saudi Plan was also conditioned on the resettlement of millions of Arabs as Israeli citizens. As was also Chairman Arafat’s demand in 2,000 and recently repeated by the leader of Iran.
    To the average Israeli, having one more Arab state as their neighbor is not objectionable. I mean . . think about it. There are already hundreds of millions of Arabs surrounding Israel on all sides. Mr. Barak also made it clear that Israel would not object to a few million more Arab neighbors, residing directly across the border. What Israel objects to is for one LESS Jewish state, NOT one more Arab state.
    For a visual perspective:
    (Power Point Slideshow)

  21. Your answer as usual neglects the point, answers nothing, and introduces more red herrings.

    the Saudi Plan was also conditioned on the resettlement of millions of Arabs as Israeli citizens

    No it wasn’t. It mentions “forms of Palestinan patriation” which implies that that will be the subject of negotiations. Where there is the will to negotiate, everything can be negotiated to mutual satisfaction. Without the will, nothing will change. Putting words in the mouth of the other side is not the way.

    “. . . short of the complete dismantling of the Jewish National Homeland. What have the Arabs offered to give in return for peace?”

    Your question has been answered and your point shown to be mistaken. The Arabs, including Hamas, are committed to a two-state solution. Jerusalem, repatriation, land, water, all such things will have to be negotiated. In time, they will be. It only requires the will.

  22. John Baker:
    I think you are wrong on the Saudi plan. I know you are wrong regarding Mr. Arafat’s position in 2000. Very recently Mahmoud Ahmadinejad not only reiterated this demand but specified the number of 5-million persons.
    After 60 years wherein these same Arab nations actively (diplomatically) blocked re-settlement of these Palestinian-Arabs by the U.N.H.C.R., what makes you think they would simply forego this issue in favor of a peace settlement with Israel?

  23. I think you are wrong on the Saudi plan.

    I’ve given you the text of the plan which is (intentionally?) vague on the subject (item #4)presumably because the right of return is something which must be negotiated. Arafat is dead, and Ahmadinejad does not even speak for the whole of Iran, so what they said is of no matter. Through the Mecca Accord, the king of Saudi Arabia effectively removed the conflict from the Iranian ambit. In saying the plan “calls for…” you are beyond the language of the Saudi Plan. When diplomats speak, what is left unsaid is often more important than what is said and can contain important signals.The Arabs have historically blocked re-settlement because it implied recognition of Israel, which is now agreed upon even by Hamas. This is a matter which will involve intense, difficult, and complex negotiations. But “a will finds a way.” The right of return was dealt with in Geneva, for example. There are no intractable problems. An agreement can be worked out.

  24. John Baker:
    You wrote:
    “There are no intractable problems. An agreement can be worked out.”
    OK. Lets hope so.

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