Friday, April 02, 2010

Jerusalem Belongs to Jews, by International Law

From, 27/1/08, by Hillel Fendel:

Jacques Gauthier, a non-Jewish Canadian lawyer who spent 20 years researching the legal status of Jerusalem, has concluded: "Jerusalem belongs to the Jews, by international law."

Gauthier has written a doctoral dissertation on the topic of Jerusalem and its legal history, based on international treaties and resolutions of the past 90 years. The dissertation runs some 1,300 pages, with 3,000 footnotes. Gauthier had to present his thesis to a world-famous Jewish historian and two leading international lawyers - the Jewish one of whom has represented the Palestinian Authority on numerous occasions.

Gauthier's main point, as summarized by Israpundit editor Ted Belman, is that a non-broken series of treaties and resolutions, as laid out by the San Remo Resolution, the League of Nations and the United Nations, gives the Jewish People title to the city of Jerusalem. The process began at San Remo, Italy, when the four Principal Allied Powers of World War I - Great Britain, France, Italy and Japan - agreed to create a Jewish national home in what is now the Land of Israel.

San Remo
The relevant resolution reads as follows: "The High Contracting Parties agree to entrust... the administration of Palestine, within such boundaries as may be determined by the Principal Allied Powers, to a Mandatory [authority that] will be responsible for putting into effect the [Balfour] declaration... in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."

Gauthier notes that the San Remo treaty specifically notes that "nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine" - but says nothing about any "political" rights of the Arabs living there.

The San Remo Resolution also bases itself on Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, which declares that it is a "a sacred trust of civilization" to provide for the well-being and development of colonies and territories whose inhabitants are "not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world." Specifically, a resolution was formulated to create a Mandate to form a Jewish national home in Palestine.

League of Nations
The League of Nations' resolution creating the Palestine Mandate, included the following significant clause: “Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country." No such recognition of Arab rights in Palestine was granted.

In 1945, the United Nations took over from the failed League of Nations - and assumed the latter's obligations. Article 80 of the UN Charter states: "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 to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties."

UN Partition Plan
However, in 1947, the General Assembly of the UN passed Resolution 181, known as the Partition Plan. It violated the League of Nations' Mandate for Palestine in that it granted political rights to the Arabs in western Palestine - yet, ironically, the Arabs worked to thwart the plan's passage, while the Jews applauded it.

Resolution 181 also provided for a Special regime for Jerusalem, with borders delineated in all four directions: The then-extant municipality of Jerusalem plus the surrounding villages and towns up to Abu Dis in the east, Bethlehem in the south, Ein Karem and Motza in the west, and Shuafat in the north.

Referendum Scheduled for Jerusalem
The UN resolved that the City of Jerusalem shall be established as a separate entity under a special international regime and shall be administered by the United Nations. The regime was to come into effect by October 1948, and was to remain in force for a period of ten years, unless the UN's Trusteeship Council decided otherwise. After the ten years, the residents of Jerusalem "shall be then free to express by means of a referendum their wishes as to possible modifications of regime of the City."

The resolution never took effect, because Jordan controlled eastern Jerusalem after the 1948 War of Independence and did not follow its provisions.

After 1967
After the Six Day War in 1967, Israel regained Jerusalem and other land west of Jordan. Gauthier notes that the UN Security Council then passed Resolution 242 authorizing Israel to remain in possession of all the land until it had “secure and recognized boundaries.” The resolution was notably silent on Jerusalem, and also referred to the "necessity for achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem,” with no distinction made between Jewish and Arab refugees.

Given Jerusalem's strong Jewish majority, Gauthier concludes, Israel should be demanding that the long-delayed city referendum on the city's future be held as soon as possible. Not only should Israel be demanding that the referendum be held now, Jerusalem should be the first order of business. "Olmert is sloughing us off by saying [as he did before the Annapolis Conference two months ago], 'Jerusalem is not on the table yet,'" Gauthier concludes. "He should demand that the referendum take place before the balance of the land is negotiated. If the Arabs won’t agree to the referendum, there is nothing to talk about."

Obama - the First Anti-Israeli President

From, 1/4/10, by Hillel Fendel:

Lt.-Col. (ret.) Ralph Peters, military analyst and author of a book on Middle East politics, says Obama apparently has a chip on his shoulder against Israel – and it’s not “helpful to our civilization.”

Peters, who wrote “Endless War: Middle Eastern Islam vs. Western Civilization,” was asked to explain why he felt American-Israeli friendship appears to have been derailed so dramatically. “The answer is two words,” he said. “President Obama.”

“Obama’s treatment of [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu [during their recent meeting in Washington] was disgraceful and shameful,” Peters told FoxNews. “We treat our enemies with greater courtesy! In addition, it was counter-productive – because this vendetta on the part of the White House against Israel - all it does is encourage the Palestinians and their Arab backers to make ever wilder demands that Israel cannot possibly fulfill. This is not a peace process; this is something about a chip on the President’s shoulder.”

Peters says that Obama’s approach is “absolutely” a departure from past American policy. “It all started with Obama’s Cairo speech,” he said, “where Obama attempted to appease radical Muslims in the Middle East, cold-shouldered Israel, and raised Palestinian expectations that he’d take care of Israel and that the Palestinians would get their revenge. Secondly, in the past, under Presidents Clinton and Bush, there were face-to-face negotiations; the Palestinians were offered one deal after another, and it was always – always! - the Palestinians who walked away.”

Obama Refuses to Recognize the Basic Equation
The American animosity towards Israel “is not about housing in Jerusalem or anything else,” Peters emphasized. “We need to back up and get a little wide-angle picture and recognize the fundamental issue in play here: Israel wants to live in peace with its neighbors, and its neighbors want Israel destroyed. The President refuses to understand that.”

“It’s become a credo of the left-wing that Israel is always the oppressor,” Peters continued, “and that the Palestinian terrorists are freedom fighters, etc. … Obama’s mother is extremely left, his university chums are on the left, he spent 20 years with the Rev. Wright – all of their doctrines say that the Palestinians are wonderful and that the Israelis are basically Nazis... I think that the President has gotten that by osmosis… This is our first anti-Israeli President; it’s bewildering and astonishing.”

Peters said that Israel is not perfect: “This is not a question of giving in to everything that Israel wants; Israel screws up too. But [American policy must] be a balanced approach that takes into account that Israel, for all its many faults is the only rule of law, democracy and respecter of human rights in the entire Middle East; they are part of our civilization. To turn away from Israel as we are doing is not going to help our diplomacy; it is going to hurt our civilization.”

Monday, March 29, 2010

Arab-Jewish Population Swap?

Eugene Rogan, director of the Middle East Centre at St Antony’s College, Oxford university makes an interesting point in, Published: March 28 2010:

...The international community is agreed that a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict lies in a two-state land-for-peace settlement on the basis of the pre-1967 boundaries. Yet a fallacy persists, that somehow these two states should be ethnically pure: that Israel should be uniquely Jewish, and Palestine uniquely Arab.

The truth is that the population of Israel and the Palestinian territories is highly intermixed. There are 1.2m Palestinians of Israeli citizenship [actually closer to 1.5 million - SL] – nearly 20 per cent of the population of Israel. And there are nearly 400,000 Israeli citizens living in settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. When at some future date Israel and the Palestinian Authority agree to a peace deal, there is no reason to expect this trend to reverse.

Peace should accelerate exchanges of goods and people in the region. [hear, hear!! - SL]

Nor should peace be attempted through the expulsion of Israelis or Palestinians from each other’s territories. The history of Israel and Palestine has been stained by forced displacement in the past. The exile of Palestinians in 1948 and 1967 engendered the refugee crisis and more than 60 years of misery. The removal of settlements from Sinai in 1982 and the Gaza Strip in 2005 were deeply traumatic for Israelis – and would pale in comparison with any attempt to evacuate settlements in East Jerusalem or the West Bank.

[Here Rogan forgets, as many do, the "forgotten refugees": the 850,000 Jews who were expelled from the 22 Arab nations surrounding Israel, since 1948. As a result the calculus in his proposed solution is wrong. Here's what he suggests. I'll give you my version below. - SL]

...One way would be a right of return of Palestinians in refugee camps in Syria and Lebanon to offset Israeli settlements.

According to Central Intelligence Agency figures, there are about 177,000 Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem and 187,000 in the West Bank. The United Nations agency responsible for Palestinian refugees says there are about 224,000 in camps in Lebanon, and another 126,000 in camps in Syria. The number of Palestinian camp refugees is nearly as large as the number of Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Imagine that the settlers were to be allowed to remain as Israeli citizens in the state of Palestine after a peace deal, in exchange for an equal number of Palestinians in refugee camps being allowed to return to their native lands inside Israel. ...

[In fact, the 600,000 Arab refugees of the 1948 War of Independence were more than offset by the 850,000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands. To truly "balance the scales" under this proposal, Israel should be allowed to settle the same number of Jews in prospective "Palestinian" territory, as the 1.5million Arabs who live in Israel.

However even this is wrong, because in 1922, referring to the entire area west of the Jordan River, the League of Nations recognised "the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.” The “Mandate for Palestine,” thus recognised the Jewish legal right to settle anywhere in western Palestine, a 10,000- square-miles area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. The legality of the League of Nations’ “Mandate for Palestine” [i.e., The Trust] was not terminated with the end of the British Mandate. Rather, the Trust was transferred over to the United Nations.

Article 80 of the UN Charter implicitly recognizes the “Mandate for Palestine” of the League of Nations.

This Mandate granted Jews the irrevocable right to settle anywhere in Palestine, the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, a right unaltered in international law and valid to this day. Jewish settlements in the West Bank, Gaza and the whole of Jerusalem are legal.

All of western Palestine, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, including the West Bank and Gaza, and most certainly any part of Jerusalem, remains open to Jewish settlement under international law.]

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Obama's anti-Israeli hysteria is dangerous and destructive

From: The Australian March 27, 2010, by Greg Sheridan, Foreign editor:

BARACK Obama's anti-Israel jihad is one of the most irresponsible policy lurches by any modern American president. It rightly earns Obama the epithet of the US president least sympathetic to Israel in Israel's history. Jimmy Carter became a great hater of Israel, but only after he left office.

Obama's dangerous new lurch into anti-Israel populism changes global politics in extremely dangerous ways, and poses a challenge for [Australian Prime Minister] Kevin Rudd.

Perhaps Obama's most distinctive contribution to the foreign policy debate in the lead-up to the US presidential election was his avowed determination to talk to and engage the US's enemies if he became president. He was happy in principle to talk to Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but did not know for sure that the Iranian president wielded real power. But he sent all manner of felicitations and greetings to Iran and its government. When that government stole an election on Ahmadinejad's behalf and viciously brutalised its citizens, Obama refrained from speaking too much or too forcefully, as, he said, he didn't want to be seen to be interfering in Iranian internal affairs.

When Obama met the king of Saudi Arabia, a nation in which no one votes, women are subject to severe and demeaning restrictions and it is against the law to have a Christian church, Obama bowed in deep respect.

When Obama ran into Venezuela's murderous despot, Hugo Chavez, at a summit, there was a friendly greeting observed by all.

But there is one leader whom Obama draws the line at. He will not be seen in public with Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Astonishingly, when Netanyahu saw Obama at the White House this week, all photographers and all TV cameras were banned, a level of humiliation almost completely unique in modern White House practice.

You might even conclude that Obama is trying to interfere in internal Israeli politics and bring down a government. This is something post-colonial, post-multicultural Obama would never do with Iran, but with Israel, the US's longstanding ally, it's fine.

And what was Netanyahu's crime, this act of infamy that Obama's senior staff described as an "affront" to America? It was that the relevant housing authority passed another stage of approval for 1600 Israeli housing units to be built in East Jerusalem in about three years' time.  ...the US reaction went into overdrive.

Impeccable American sources tell me this reaction was driven by Obama, and to a lesser extent the Chicago mafia around him.

We must ask why this is so, but first let's get Netanyahu's infamous crime into perspective.

Last November Netanyahu announced a 10-month moratorium on all building activity in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Israel has already promised not to take any more land for settlements but there is the question of renovating existing buildings and constructing new ones in existing settlements.

As Hillary Clinton acknowledged in her speech this week to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, East Jerusalem was never part of this agreement. The two main peace offers Israel has made to the Palestinians in recent years were the Camp David/Taba proposals and the accompanying Clinton parameters in 2000, and Ehud Olmert's offer to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in 2008. Both plans offered essentially the same formula. The Palestinians get all of the Gaza Strip, about 95 per cent of the West Bank and a compensating parcel of territory from Israel proper to make up for the small amount of territory in the West Bank that Israel would keep which houses the main Jewish population blocks. The Palestinians also get some parts of East Jerusalem as their capital. This principle of territorial swaps was accepted by Yasser Arafat and Abbas.

East Jerusalem has always had a different status from the West Bank and some Israelis certainly don't want to give any of it to a new Palestinian state. But everyone accepts that some Jewish neighbourhoods would remain part of Israel. These are mostly neighbourhoods, as Netanyahu pointed out this week, which are five minutes from the Knesset and a couple of blocks beyond the 1949 armistice line. The administration of George W. Bush had formally agreed with the Israelis that these areas would be permanently part of Israel. Bill Clinton had negotiated an offer to the Palestinians in 2000 which accepted this.

It would be a radical change of policy for an Israeli government to decree that no building would ever take place in Jewish areas of Jerusalem. It would also be a change of American policy.

Moreover, no serious analyst could believe that such building is a roadblock to peace. Peace negotiations have gone on with such building taking place in the past.

And all the things that truly make peace impossible
  • Arab and Palestinian refusal to accept the legitimacy of any Jewish state,
  • Palestinian insistence on certain deal breakers such as the right of return of all Palestinian refugees and their descendants to Israel proper,
  • the insistent and violent anti-Semitism of Palestinian and Arab propaganda and the regional ambitions of players such as Iran and Syria
- will be completely unaffected by any decision to build apartments in a Jewish neighbourhood in East Jerusalem in three years time.

So why has Obama gone into full jihad mode against Israel?

Three explanations suggest themselves.

Obama has had a terrible year in foreign policy. He has achieved nothing on Iran or China or anything else of consequence. He is too smart to believe this intimidation of Israel will advance peace, but it might get peace talks going again. The Palestinians only made settlements a roadblock after Obama did. They are refusing to join Israel in peace talks, which Netanyahu would be happy to participate in. They have said they might engage in proximity talks - which means not talking to the Israelis directly but to mediators who will shuttle back and forth carrying messages between them and the Israelis. This is primitive and ridiculous stuff, but if such talks get going Obama could claim some kind of victory, or at least progress.

And Obama is showing that his personal popularity, not America's standing, still less matters of substance such as Iran's nuclear program, is what motivates him.

This leads to the second explanation of his behaviour, and that is to make himself personally popular in the Muslim world. Beating up on Israel is the cheapest trick in the book on that score and it can earn him easy, worthless and no doubt temporary plaudits in some parts of the Muslim world.

And thirdly, Obama is the first post-multicultural president of America. In his autobiography he talks of seeking out the most radical political theorists he could at university. For these people Israel is an exercise in Western neo-imperialism. Obama makes their hearts sing with this anti-Israel jihad.

Accompanying Obama's own actions has been some of the most dangerous rhetoric ever to come out of a US administration, to the effect that Israeli intransigence endangers US troops by inflaming extremists in the Islamic world.

No serious analyst anywhere believes that Israel is an important source of the conflicts in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Using this type of argument comes dangerously close to the administration licensing a mutant strain of anti-Semitism - it's all the Jews' fault.

Why is all this a challenge for [Australian Prime Minister] Rudd?

The anti-Israel hysteria is totally disproportionate and wildly over the top. The British decision to expel an Israeli diplomat because Israel is alleged to have used forged British passports in a Mossad operation is a case in point.

The British precedent pressures Rudd to do the same. Rudd should resist this pressure, as Opposition leader Tony Abbott has urged him to. 2010 is a critical year for the Middle East. Israel's friends now should rally round it, or the spectre of wild and hysterical anti-Israel sentiment will be unleashed with all manner of destructive consequences.

Now is the time for anyone who cares about Middle East peace, or who claims as Rudd does to care about Israel, to stick close to Jerusalem. The Australian Federal Police inquiry will not be conclusive about whether Israel used Australian passports or not. Obama wants to be popular. Gordon Brown wants Muslim votes and to distract attention from the latest scandals of his government. Rudd could be tempted to bash Israel as a way of courting Arab League votes at the UN. But the path of statesmanship here does not lie in apeing these foolish American and British moves.

There would also be a gruesome comparison in the way Australia responds to big as to small nations. China imprisons one of our citizens, denies consular access to most of the trial and treats Canberra with contempt. In return Rudd changes policy and declines to see the Dalai Lama and similarly declines to send an Australian minister to Taiwan in the entire course of the government's parliamentary term.

Yet Israel, our close friend, is alleged to misuse a passport and then gets the very big diplomatic penalty of having a diplomat expelled. It would be disproportionate and foolish and cowardly.

The Americans and Brits don't always get things right. There are times when Canberra should definitely not follow their lead.

Obama: lawbreaker, fraud, and bully?

From The Boston Globe, March 21, 2010, by Jeff Jacoby:
LAST NOVEMBER the government of Israel agreed to a 10-month moratorium on new Jewish housing in the West Bank. The moratorium did not apply eastern Jerusalem, which is home to around 180,000 Israelis — more than a third of Jerusalem’s Jewish population. Even with those caveats it was an unprecedented concession, intended, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, to “encourage resumption of peace talks with our Palestinian neighbors.’’

At the time, the Obama administration applauded Israel’s announcement. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hailed it as a “move forward.’’ George Mitchell, the president’s special envoy to the Middle East, praised it as “a positive development’’ and acknowledged that “it is more than any Israeli government has done before.’’

So when Israel’s Interior Ministry recently announced its interim approval for the construction of 1,600 new apartments in Jerusalem’s Ramat Shlomo neighborhood, it was not reneging on any commitment. If anyone was guilty of bad faith in the diplomatic crisis that ensued, it was the Obama administration, which had explicitly accepted the terms of Netanyahu’s building freeze in November, yet was now going back on its word.

...the State Department spokesman then demanded that Israel demonstrate "through specific actions" its commitment to peace. Forgotten, apparently, was Netanyahu’s unprecedented moratorium of November, to say nothing of the innumerable Israeli goodwill gestures, concessions, prisoner releases, and peace offers to the Palestinians that preceded it — all of them unrequited.

...If the president’s goal was to bring Israel and the Palestinians to the negotiating table and thereby revive the so-called "peace process," he couldn’t have chosen a more counterproductive tactic. The Palestinian Authority promptly seized the opportunity to back out of the indirect talks it had agreed to — why negotiate for Israeli concessions if Washington can force Israel to deliver them on a silver platter?

...Israel will generally bend over backward to accommodate Washington, but there are some things no Israeli government can relinquish. One of them is the right of Jews to live in Jerusalem — in all of Jerusalem, including the parts of the city conquered by Jordan in 1948 and kept judenrein until 1967. Israelis quarrel over many things, but the vast majority of them agree that Jerusalem must never again be divided. Americans agree as well. Indeed, as a matter of federal law — the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995* — it is US policy that “Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected.’’

As a candidate for president in 2008, Barack Obama said** that was his position too. Millions of pro-Israel American voters believed him, just as they believed his pledge of "unwavering friendship with Israel." The recent unpleasantness suggests it may be time for second thoughts.

*From US Public Law 104-45, by the 104th Congress of the United States: Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 [does this make Obama a lawbreaker?]:
(2) Since 1950, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel.
(4) The city of Jerusalem is the spiritual center of Judaism, and is also considered a holy city by the members of other religious faiths.
(5) From 1948-1967, Jerusalem was a divided city and Israeli citizens of all faiths as well as Jewish citizens of all states were denied access to holy sites in the area controlled by Jordan.
(6) In 1967, the city of Jerusalem was reunited during the conflict known as the Six Day War.
(7) Since 1967, Jerusalem has been a united city administered by Israel, and persons of all religious faiths have been guaranteed full access to holy sites within the city.
(8) This year [1995] marks the 28th consecutive year that Jerusalem has been administered as a unified city in which the rights of all faiths have been respected and protected.
(9) In 1990, the congress unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 106, which declares that the Congress ‘‘strongly believes that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected’’.
(10) In 1992, the United States Senate and House of Representatives unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 113 of the One Hundred Second Congress to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, and reaffirming congressional sentiment that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city....

**From the remarks of Senator Barack Obama: AIPAC Policy Conference, Washington, DC, June 04, 2008 [does this make him fraud?]:

Let me be clear. Israel's security is sacrosanct. It is non-negotiable. The Palestinians need a state that is contiguous and cohesive, and that allows them to prosper – but any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel's identity as a Jewish state, with secure, recognized and defensible borders. Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.

From Daniel Pipes Blog, March 22, 2010:
Netanyahu has meets Obama (on a previous occasion).
[Does Obama look like a bully?]