Author Archives: Alan in Australia

About Alan in Australia

I am a secular Jew living in beautiful Australia who believes in the concept of a fair go. Israel today is slammed in the media by those with an axe to grind. Unsuspecting consumers of that media are being cynically played by those who we trust to get it right. This blog will try and redress that imbalance through unequivocal, but fair, support of Israel, while exposing the cynicism and double standards of those who seek to delegitimize a sovereign country and people.

Much Ado About Nothing

Much has been written and spoken about US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Even though the international community has, since 1948, held that Jerusalem is too important to be placed in the hands of the Jews it despised, Israel has always made access to all three so-named Abrahamic faiths (Islam isn’t…) available to everyone.  This is in strict adherence to the core principles of the Balfour Declaration which stated that “…nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine…”

However, the so-called “Trump Declaration”, like the Balfour Declaration before it which was an opinion of the majority of the British cabinet, was less an article of law than a statement of the opinion of a majority of Trump’s administration. However, both friends and enemies of the Jewish state understood, then and now, its significance. (after Abu Yehuda blog).

Learned tomes have been written on why Jerusalem is central to the cultural, spiritual, political and religious aspirations of the world’s only Jewish state. Statistics have been provided that show populations shifts this way and that under the Ottomans and during the time the Ottomans were actually pushed out of Palestine by the British (with Hejazi Arab help in the Arabian peninsular…). UN rulings have chronicled who is and who isn’t a refugee and what, in the international arena, should happen to Jerusalem as a focus for three major religions. The purpose of this piece is to pick apart some of the significant but lesser known developments that took place 100 years ago which show that the “Trump Declaration” was just one of a string of similar such moves, albeit from highly unlikely sources.

With regard to the Ottomans, on August 12, 1918, one year after the Balfour Declaration, Grand Vizier Talaat Pasha in Istanbul ordered the co-triumvir in Palestine to officially declare, in the name of the Ottoman government, abolition of the extremely repressive sanctions placed on Jews through the wars years 19414-1918 aimed at wiping out the Jews in the Levant. Further, the Grand Vizier expressed sympathy “for the establishment of a religious and national Jewish center in Palestine by well-organized immigration and colonization.”

Specifically, Talaat Pasha stated, “Regarding my invitation to several Jewish organizations, I declare once again, as I already did to the Jewish delegation, my sympathies for the establishment of a religious and national Jewish center in Palestine by well-organized immigration and settlement, for I am convinced of the importance and benefits of the settlement of Jews in Palestine for the Ottoman Empire.”

It is probable that Talaat knew full well that he would never have to implement the declaration given the outcome of the efforts of the Triple Alliance on the Eastern Front.

Nevertheless, the significance of the Turkish declaration cannot be overstated because, apart from ensuring the safety of Jewish communities in those parts of the empire still in Ottoman hands, it provided Istanbul with a potentially valuable card for the postwar peace talks. And, much like the bi-lateral Israeli-Saudi-Egyptian rapprochement and alignment in 2017, the 1918 Turkish Declaration flagged a significant break with Islamic and Ottoman taboos, by putting the Jews on a par with their Muslim counterparts and viewing them as a nation deserving of self-determination.

For their part, the Germans under Kaiser Wilhelm II were well disposed to Zionism. Wilhelm considered Zionism “a question of huge importance.” He favored its main goal—the revival of the Holy Land by the “capital mighty and industrious Israel”—and tried to impart his enthusiasm to Sultan Abdulhamid II during his visit to Istanbul in 1898 without much luck.

After the outbreak of WWI, the Kaiser had to strike a balance between this general sympathy  for Jews and Zionism and the need to avoid antagonizing the Ottoman leadership or the Triple Alliance,  even though the Ottomans treated its national minorities with outright repression.

Thus, for example, his order to the German consuls throughout the empire to protect the Yishuv, including the new Jewish immigrants arriving from enemy states (notably Russia), was presented as being in Istanbul’s best interest.

In December 1914 when the Jaffa governor ordered the deportation of all Jews who had not become Ottoman subjects, the German Ambassador Hans von Wangenheim approached Talaat Pasha himself with the request that the deportations be halted. The Ottoman leadership complied.

In April 1917 Djemal Pasha, the co-triumvir in the Levant, ordered the expulsion of the 9,000-strong Jewish community of Jaffa and Tel Aviv, as well as that of Jerusalem, for “military reasons,” chief of staff, Friedrich Kress von Kressenstein, persuaded Djemal to abandon the Jerusalem plan, but did not succeed in doing so for the Yafo deportees (after Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2018).

In a great historical irony, ninety-nine years after the Ottoman Empire, the then-temporal and religious leader of the world’s Muslim community and Palestine’s longtime imperial master, voiced support for “the establishment of a religious and national Jewish center in Palestine,” the Palestinian leadership  [in Ramallah. Parenthesis mine…] demanded an official apology from Britain for endorsing the same idea at about the same time.” (Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2018).

In 2017, the “Trump Declaration” is additionally criticised as being dismissive of “Palestinian” Arab refugee rights of return to Jerusalem (as well as the area between the river and the sea…). In line with international law though, the UN stated clearly that it viewed these refugees “…Persons whose normal place of residence was (British Mandate of) Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948 who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.”

Throughout the history of the world populations have transferred during times of war. In no other corner of the world, and in no other recorded conflict in history, have people been granted refugee status in perpetuity. Created in December 1949, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) after the stunning defeat of 5 Arab armies in the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, UNRWA has no parallel in any other conflict zone in the world. Not in Burma, not in Tibet, not in Cyprus, not in the Maghreb, not in the Ukraine, not in South Sudan, not in the Central African Republic to name but seven hotspots. And not even in Syria………

The implication is clear.

The “Trump Declaration” is political hay-making by an intransigent Arab voting bloc unable to defeat Israel in war, and a self-interested but miffed EU volubly supported by America’s Liberal Democrats who still cannot get over the win of a real estate tycoon over a well established political dynasty.

As I said, precedent has been established. The current howlings and swirling around are, indeed, much ado about nothing. Of substance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

BDS – coming full circle

As the European–funded BDS movement loses steam and becomes merely a university campus annoyance, it is worth reminding oneself what this essentially ethno-racist anti-semitic political movement stood for.

Supporters of BDS today state that the 2005 “Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS against Israel” was a movement tied to human rights and international law.

BDS, in actual fact, is far removed from either of those two laudable aspirations.

Officially founded in 2005, its real roots were embedded in the outcome of the anti-Semitic NGO Forum held in parallel to the UN World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa, in August and September 2001.

That Forum’s final declaration described Israel as a “racist, apartheid state” that was guilty of “racist crimes including war crimes, acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing.”

The resulting “Durban Strategy” promoted a policy of complete and total isolation of Israel as an apartheid state, the imposition of mandatory and comprehensive sanctions and embargoes and the full cessation of all links (diplomatic, economic, social, aid, military cooperation and training) between all states and Israel.

Consequently, the BDS campaigns were conceived as a form of political war to achieve Israel’s isolation where military Arab force in 1948–49, 1956, 1967, 1967-70, 1973 and 1982 failed to wipe out the Jewish state.

This does not take into account the 1987-93 first “intifada”, and additional major military engagements in 1993, 1996, 2002, the second Lebanon war in 2006, and large scale operations against Arab Muslim Hamas in 2012 and 2014.

Clearly, the BDS movement had little to do with “human rights and international law” than it did with ethnically cleansing Jews from the Levant and putting an end to the Jewish state.

Unable to defeat the IDF militarily or weaken the Israeli population through persistent terrorism, the extremist groups, Islamic terrorists and their European allies embarked upon a global effort to demonize and isolate Israel, casting it as a pariah state. Thus, the utilization of Lawfare, became the main component of the “Durban Strategy”.

With the use of Lawfare, the BDS boycott campaign unwittingly sowed the seeds of its future impotence and failure as we shall see further in this article.

Historically though, the boycott campaign actually predates the establishment of Israel. In December 1945, the newly formed Arab League formally declared that: “Jewish products and manufactured goods shall be considered undesirable to the Arab countries.” All Arab “institutions, organizations, merchants, commission agents and individuals” were called upon “to refuse to deal in, distribute, or consume Zionist products or manufactured goods.”

Seventy years ago, as today, the terms “Jewish” and “Zionist” were used synonymously where Arab strategy was always to isolate Israel from its neighbors and the international community, as well as to deny it trade that might be used to augment its military and economic strength.

Sixty years later, the call for the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) in Ramallah on April 6, 2004 was merely an old idea in new clothing. And just the 1945 initiative failed to cripple Jews and the (later) birth of the State of Israel, so too the 2005 BDS campaign has failed to quantitatively impact the Jewish State.

That the BDS movement was always destined to fail can be found in the words of its putative founder, Omar Barghouti who stated: “I am completely and categorically against binationalism because it assumes that there are two nations with equal moral claims to the land.” And if there was any doubt as to what Barghouti meant he further clarified that “The one state solution means a unitary state, where, by definition, Jews will be a minority.”

Lebanese Muslim supporters of BDS and Barghouti like Asad Abu Khalil put it even more baldly: “The real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel….That should be stated as an unambiguous goal. There should not be any equivocation on the subject. Justice and freedom for the Palestinians are incompatible with the existence of the state of Israel.”

The sentiments above have little or nothing to do with human rights and/or international law. This is because:

  1. Arab gays and battered women regularly flee to Israel from both Gaza and Judea and Samaria.
  2. No Jews are allowed to live in Gaza or Ramallah while Israel respects the rights of 1.8 million Israeli Arabs within its borders.
  3. Israel jails its security risks while the “Palestinians” shoot, hang and then drag mutilated bodies around the city chained to motorcycles.
  4. Jews have a legal basis for living east of the Green Line in international law. The 1920 San Remo Agreement and 1922 Mandate of Palestine clearly laid out the rights of Jews to live throughout There was no such thing as a “West Bank” which was a Jordanian invention during the 1948-9 Israel war of independence. The arbitrary line (which Israel and the Arab states all agreed was NOT a border) has no bearing on where Jews can and cannot live.
  5. There is no basis in law for “occupying” disputed territory. While the UN General Assembly voted to partition Palestine in 1947, the vote did not create the two states. This is because, in 1948, Jews declared the State of Israel. The Arabs declared war. Further, the Arabs rejected the partition, as they sought the entirety of the land. The land east of the Green Line (EGL) remains disputed and subject to various agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, including Oslo II (1995).
  6. International law uses the term “occupation” only in relation to a foreign force taking over another country, not disputed land.
  7. Lastly, international law forbids seizing additional territory in an offensive action, not as a matter of defense as was the case of Israel defending itself from Jordanian attack in 1967.

BDS has failed because it was created as a tool of hate and ethnic cleansing. It was founded on a lie which was always going to be exposed.

Consequently, both Muslim and non-Muslim nations realised that economic, cultural and academic boycotts deliver no political message and in no way influence political policy.

And so, in America, back in 2015, Barack Obama signed into law, landmark legislation combating the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in Europe.

In February 2015, Canada officially and formally condemned the BDS movement on the grounds it abrogated the rights of Jews to live safely within defensible borders in a Jewish state through the subterfuge of economic sanctions.

In early 2016, Spain denounced the BDS movement as discriminatory.

By mid 2016 in America more than half of the states were considering legislating aimed at countering the BDS movement.

On June 17, 2016, the Dutch Parliament passed a non-binding motion calling on the government to “end as soon as possible direct or indirect funding for organizations… [that] promote a boycott of Israel.”

In September 2016, EU President Frederica Mogherini stated: “The EU rejects the BDS campaign’s attempts to isolate Israel and is opposed to any boycott of Israel.

Significant Israeli trading partners India and China with a combined population of2.3 billion potential customers totally ignore and shun BDS as ever closer economic and cultural ties between them develop.

In 2017, Israel trades with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Jordan and Egypt.

In 2017, Israel has a strong economy, a large part of which is driven by a booming tech sector that houses a number of premier Western tech firms. It’s difficult to see how even a massive surge in BDS campaigns could destroy that dynamic. And so far, BDS’s successes haven’t prevented Israel from seeing a steep increase in foreign investment in recent years.

  • Overall, Israeli exports have grown from around $5 million in 1948, to more than $47 billion in 2014.
  • The total volume of trade with the U.S. in 2014 was $36 billion.
  • Israel’s trade with the EU exceeds that of the U.S.. Roughly one-third of Israel’s imports and exports are a result of trade with the EU. Moreover, total trade with the EU has grown from approximately $21 billion in 2003 to $37 billion in 2013.
  • Countries outside of the EU such as Denmark, Sweden, and Norway cotniue to enjoy a free trade agreement Israel and business with these nations remains robust.
  • While the central hub of the BDS movement is in England, total bilateral trade between the two countries amounted to a record $6 billion in 2014, an increase of more than 7 per cent from the previous year.
  • Israel’s trade with Asia, which overtook the U.S. as Israel’s second biggest export destination expanded exponentially in 2016.
  • China is already Israel’s third-largest trading partner where trade has increased 220% from $50 million in 1992 to $11 billion in 2014.
  • Total trade between Israel and Japan reached $2.3 billion in 2014.
  • Israel’s relations with India have been steadily improving, as evidenced by the 2015 visit of Narendra Modi, the first Indian prime minister to go to Israel. Bilateral trade has grown from $200 million in 1992 to $6 billion in 2013. Between Modi’s election in May 2014 and November 2014, Israel exported $662 million worth of Israeli weapons and defense items to India. This export number is greater than the total Israeli exports to India during the previous three years combined.
  • Israel’s discovery of a large reserve of natural gas off its Mediterranean coast has led to a $15 billion deal for Israeli natural gas with Jordan, and a $1.2 billion agreement with Egypt.

BDS failed for six reasons:

  1. BDS was never pro-“Palestine”; it was always anti-Israel
  2. BDS betrayed its anti-Semitic mandate because people finally recognized that BDS was modern-day anti-Semitism that sought the end of one state, at the expense of a 2-state solution
  3. BDS was consistently and effectively fought by the Israeli government and the international Jewish community
  4. BDS underestimated Israel’s desirability in the world’s eyes as a diplomatic and economic partner
  5. BDS leaders played into the Netanyahu government’s hands by blurring the Green Line for their own reasons, and by mounting a campaign against all Israeli entrepreneurs and scholars
  6. BDS finally came face to face with very same International and local Lawfare where legislation, resolutions and executive orders were (and continue to be) signed prohibiting state agencies from contracting with or investing in companies that boycott Israel

BDS unwittingly came full circle; it finally defeated itself.

And just to drive the point home on the economic (let alone cultural) front, here are only a very few instances of the failure of BDS in 2016 alone:

I-phone 8 hardware developed in Israel

Israeli scientists announce possible Alzheimer breakthrough

Bank of Ireland shuts down anti-Israel BDS accounts

Spanish High Court Rules against BDS

Samsung Open Branch in Tel Aviv

El Al Profits Doubled in 2nd Quarter.

It would, then, in the final analysis, be true to say that in the past 12 years, the BDS movement did have a profound impact on investment in Israel: it tripled.

Which is as it should be.

Kol Tuv.

Clarifying 100 Years of Balfour

In this centenary year of the seminal Balfour Declaration, myriad myths abound regarding the legality of the State of Israel and the illegality of building and living in Judea and Samaria, erroneously (but conveniently) labelled the West Bank.

On March 10, 2017, Miriam Elman pithily summarized the proceedings of a talk given by Professor Eugene Kontorovich at the Syracuse University’s Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT) on the 28th of February 2017.

Professor Kontorovich’s thesis is as clear as it is simple: Jews have a legal right to live and make their homes on Arab-infiltrated lands in Judea and Samaria, erroneously labelled the West Bank by Israel’s detractors.

The most common almost meme-like point of view of those who would detract from Israel is that Judea and Samaria are “occupied territory”. This viewpoint is supported, according to the detractors, by their interpretation of Article 42 of the 1907 Hague Regulations where representatives of the ICRC and other anti-Israel organisations interpret the Article to mean that “international humanitarian law does not require that the territory occupied by a foreign army must belong to a sovereign state.”

While Kontorovich does not address this point specifically in this lecture, others question that interpretation because Article 42 of the Regulation is filed under a category titled, “Military Authority Over the Territory of the Hostile State.”

There is little more that can be added to amplify that statement…………

On the other hand, Professor Kontorovich explicates clearly why others who use the much abused interpretation of Article 49, Clauses 1 and (especially) 6 of the Fourth Geneva Convention to delegitimize Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria are flogging a dead horse:

the Fourth Geneva Convention’s Article 49(6) [is]… a set of injunctions on the occupier, and was explicitly meant to prevent the kinds of deplorable forcible deportations and mass transfers of peoples perpetrated by Nazi Germany during World War II.

[Nowhere does] Article 49(6)…say that civilians can’t voluntarily move to live in occupied territory. Nor does it require occupying powers to make it difficult or burdensome for civilians to reside in these territories.

With regard to the West Bank, a sizeable portion of Jewish Israelis who live there today didn’t move into the area, much less were they transferred there by Israel—they were born there! And these settler babies and kids aren’t there illegally.

[Thus], Article 49(6) doesn’t create a “no-go zone” for the nationals of the occupying power who wish to migrate into the occupied territory. Israel has indicated a willingness to trade away some of this territory as part of a negotiated agreement—having rights and title to territory doesn’t mean a state can’t waive them. But until that day comes, nothing in the Geneva Conventions makes it unlawful for Israeli citizens to voluntarily settle in a territory with no other legal sovereign.

Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, states that “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

The terms “deport” and “transfer” are active, meaning that civilians are not acting on their own behest (Shamir, 2013).

Further, the decision to draft the Geneva Conventions of 1949 was spurred by the tragedy of World War II. The conventions were intended to fill the gaps in international humanitarian law exposed by that conflict.

Specifically, the article relevant to this discussion was drawn up in the wake of the Nazi policy of forcibly transferring parts of its own population into territories it occupied before and during the war. The most infamous of these forcible transfers or deportations was the masses of Jews who were sent to occupied territories to be murdered en masse in Poland and elsewhere.

Unsurprisingly, with regard to forced deportations and transfers, no mention is ever made by those same sjws about Israeli “occupation” of the 19-year illegal Jordanian invasion and occupation of the “West Bank”, where for the first time in 3000 years, Jews were ethnically cleansed from East Jerusalem adn herded out from Hebron, while Muslim Jordanian nationals were imported into the occupied territory of the State of Israel to create facts on the ground.

To conclude, perhaps the most major reason there is no state of  “Palestine” today is that there is no legal precedence justifying its re-creation.

By this I mean that documented Arab refusal to have an additional state (now three) out of what was one originally designated area for the reconconstituting of a national home for Jews in what is today Jordan, Judea and Samaria and the State of Israel was corrupted and hijacked both by Arab corruption of the brief and intention of the League of Nations in creating the British Mandate, and the greed of Britain which refused to reduce its influence from near the sources of oil in Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Empowered as it was by the League of Nations in 1922, it is Article 6 of the (lawful) British Mandate which encouraged “close settlement” by Jews in the area and the League of Nations’ Mandatory borders which are binding in international law (Kontorvich 2017).

By the end of 1947, opportunity was given by the vacating British to both Jew and Arab to initiate statehood. The Jews declared the State of Israel in May 1948. The Arabs declared war.

Thus, all else is merely subterfuge and frustration, economic blackmail and threat of violence, as well as a final resort to legal warfare because the Arab League failed, in three wars, to wipe out by force of arms, a tiny enclave of Jews who now had both moral AND legal claim to a Jewish state. In international law.

There is a reason there is no “Palestine” today.

The 100 year Arab-Israeli conflict is just that: Arab-Israeli. The red herring of “Palestine” is merely a red herring; a fiction pursued by Arabs and their funded western enablers to create an ethnically cleansed Middle East.

But that is a different story altogether.

‘Twixt Heaven and Earth

Iran must know its incredible run of political luck and fiscal fortune are very nearly at an end.

Per Caroline Glick:

[Trump’s Iran] plan…involves a multidimensional campaign that if successful will both neutralize Iran as a strategic threat and obliterate ISIS.

Regarding Iran specifically, Trump’s moves to date involve operations on three levels. First, there is the rhetorical campaign to distinguish the Trump administration from its successor.

Trump launched the campaign on Twitter on Wednesday writing, “Iran is rapidly taking over more and more of Iraq even after the US has squandered three trillion dollars there.”


Shortly before his post, Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider Abadi appointed Iranian proxy Qasim al Araji to serve as his interior minister.

At a minimum, Trump’s statement signaled an abandonment of Obama’s policy of cooperating with Iranian forces and Iranian-controlled Iraqi forces in the fight against ISIS in Iraq.

At around the same time Trump released his tweet about Iranian control of Iraq, his National Security Adviser Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Michael Flynn took a knife to Obama’s obsequious stand on Iran during a press briefing at the White House.

While Trump’s statement related to Iran’s growing power in Iraq, Flynn’s remarks were directed against its nonconventional threat and its regional aggression. Both were on display earlier this week.

On Sunday, Iran carried out its 12th ballistic missile test since concluding its nuclear deal with Obama, and its first since Trump took office.

 On Monday, Iranian-controlled Houthi forces in Yemen attacked a Saudi ship in the Bab al-Mandab choke point connecting the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean.

Flynn condemned both noting that they threatened the US and its allies and destabilized the Middle East. The missile test, he said, violated UN Security Council Resolution 2231 that anchored the nuclear deal.

Flynn then took a step further. He drew a sharp contrast between the Obama administration’s responses to Tehran’s behavior and the Trump administration’s views of Tehran’s provocative actions.

“The Obama administration failed to respond adequately to Tehran’s malign actions – including weapons transfers, support for terrorism, and other violations of international norms,” he noted.

“The Trump administration condemns such actions by Iran that undermine security, prosperity and stability throughout and beyond the Middle East and place American lives at risk.”

Flynn ended his remarks by threatening Iran directly.

“As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice,” he warned.

[But] Perhaps the most potent aspect of Trump’s emerging strategy for defeating the forces of jihad is the one that hasn’t been discussed but it was signaled, through a proxy, the day after Trump took office.

On January 21, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted a remarkable message to the Iranian people on his Facebook page. Netanyahu drew a sharp distinction between the “warm” Iranian people and the “repressive” regime.

Netanyahu opened his remarks by invoking the new administration.

“I plan to speak soon with President Trump about how to counter the threat of the Iranian regime, which calls for Israel’s destruction,” the prime minister explained.

“But it struck me recently that I’ve spoken a lot about the Iranian regime and not enough about the Iranian people, or for that matter, to the Iranian people. So I hope this message reaches every Iranian.”

Netanyahu paid homage to the Green Revolution of 2009 that was brutally repressed by the regime. In his words, “I’ll never forget the images of proud, young students eager for change gunned down in the streets of Tehran in 2009.”

Netanyahu’s statement was doubtlessly coordinated with the new administration. It signaled that destabilizing with the goal of overthrowing the regime in Tehran is a major component of Trump’s strategy.”

If Trump can do all this in 11 days (so far), does it necessarily mean that over 8 years, former president Barack Obama lied, inveigled and duped America into supporting a repressive Islamist regime, a state sponsor of terror in the Middle East by enabling its nuclear breakout capabilities and then providing it with billions of American dollars?

Barack Obama will have his legacy. Just not quite the one he hoped for.

The analyses of Obama’s time in office will make fascinating reading.

Joining the Jackals

In the wake of a political UNSC resolution on December 23rd 2016 which ruled the Western Wall and other Israeli sites and settlements legally invalid Israeli territory (FWIW, legally the UNSC hasn’t a leg to stand on…) and which exhorts other nations to boycott any and all commerce with Israeli products produced east of the 1949 Green Line, it is important for Israelis and their supporters to cut to the chase.

In the first instance it is important to recognize that though the U.N. Charter is considered a “law-making treaty”, the United Nations itself is not an international legislature that can make laws or pass legislations.

With that out of the way, and in relation to 2334’s ruling that Israeli settlements east of the green Line are legally invalid (they’re not…), legal scholars state: “Because of the ex iniuria principle [unjust acts cannot create law], Jordan never had nor now has any legal title in the West Bank, nor does any other state even claim such title.”

To this I add United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) Future Government of Palestine which aimed to establish two states within Mandate Palestine.

The Resolution designated the territory described as “the hill country of Samaria and Judea” (including what is now known as the “West Bank”) as part of the proposed ARAB state.

But, aware of Arabs’ past aggressions, Resolution 181, in paragraph C, calls on the Security Council to:

“Determine as a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression, in accordance with Article 39 of the Charter, any attempt to alter by force the settlement envisaged by this resolution.”

And so, the following progressions come into play:

  1. Clearly, with the Jordanian invasion and occupation of “Arab” Judea and Samaria in flagrant disregard of Article 39 of the UN Charter, the ones who sought to alter the settlement envisioned in Resolution 181 by force, were the Arabs who threatened bloodshed if the United Nations was to adopt the Resolution.
  2. Judea and Samaria were NEVER intended to be part of Jordan which invaded it in 1948.
  3. Until the second military defeat of Arab armies by a numerically inferior Israel in 1967, no Arab nation or group recognized or claimed the existence of an independent Palestinian nationality or ethnicity.
  4. Resolution 181 itself, which partitioned what was left of the mandate into an Arab and a Jewish state, was declared dead by the UN in July 30, 1949 when it stated that:

“The Arabs rejected the United Nations Partition Plan so that any comment of theirs did not specifically concern the status of the Arab  section of Palestine under partition but rather rejected the scheme in its entirety.”

By the time armistice agreements were reached in 1949 between Israel and its  immediate Arab neighbors (Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Trans-Jordan) Resolution 181 had become irrelevant, and the armistice agreements needed to address new realities created by the war.

  1. This meant that when, in the late 1990s, more than 50 years after Resolution 181 was rejected by the Arab world, Arab leaders suddenly recommended to the General Assembly that UN Resolution 181 be resurrected as the basis for a peace agreement, there was no foundation for such a notion because even the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) uses the term “unbalanced” in describing the reason for Arab rejectionism of Resolution 181. This despite the fact that 77% of the area of the original Mandate for the Jews was excised in 1922 to create a fourth (Lebanon, Syria, Iraq) Arab state –Trans-Jordan (today Jordan)….
  2. In stating, on 23rd December 2106, and in invoking Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, that Israeli settlement east of the Green Line was “legally invalid” the UNSC was in contradiction of that same Article which stated:

“Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive. Nevertheless, the Occupying Power may undertake total or partial evacuation of a given area if the security of the population or imperative military reasons so demand.”           [emphasis mine]

Article 49 is thus simply not applicable. Even if it were, it may be added that the facts of recent voluntary settlements seem not to be caught by the intent of Article 49, which was, rather, directed at the forced transfer of the belligerent’s inhabitants to the occupied territory, or the displacement of the local inhabitants for other than security reasons. This has implications for the legal challenge to UNSC if Bensouda of the ICJ decides to instigate a full investigation where Israel is charged with war crimes under the aegis of this Article.

Further, the UNSC Resolution 2334 ignores the fact that Israel and the Arabs agreed in the 1995 Interim Agreement, signed and witnessed by the U.S., the EU, Egypt, Jordan, Russia, and Norway, on a division of their respective jurisdictions in the West Bank into areas A and B (Palestinian jurisdiction) and area C (Israeli jurisdiction). They defined the respective powers and responsibilities of each side in the areas they control.

Israel’s powers and responsibilities in Area C include all aspects regarding its settlements – all this pending the outcome of the Permanent Status negotiations per 242.

This division was accepted and agreed upon by the Palestinians, who cannot now invoke the Geneva Convention regime in order to bypass their acceptance of the Interim Agreement or their and the international community’s acknowledgement of that agreement’s relevance and continued validity.

For what it’s worth, where the decision was taken (and agreed to by the “Palestinians”) to break west bank into areas A, B and C, the breakdown was effected thus:

92% of Palestinians live in PA administered Areas A and B. Less than 2% live in Israeli administered Area C. That is, Palestinians have communities on 40% of the west bank; while 60% of the west bank is virtually empty.

As the Washington Post put it at the time:

 “Following the 1993 Oslo accords, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government, like several before it, limited building almost entirely to areas that both sides expect Israel to annex through territorial swaps in an eventual settlement per Resolution 242. Almost all of the Jewish settlers live on only four percent of the West Bank,  the sector that Israel has been seeking to annex as part of a peace plan that was first presented twelve years ago.”

To return, there is only one International law concerning Israeli settlement that is binding and has never been superseded. The League of Nations, on July 24th, 1922, established the Mandate for Palestine, by unanimous vote, which included two Islamic states, Persia and Albania. Ratifying the 1922 agreement which has never been legally altered or abrogated, and which thus makes made it legally binding under international law it states:

‘Under this settlement, the whole of Palestine on both sides of the Jordan was reserved exclusively for the Jewish People as the Jewish National Home, in recognition of their historical connection with that country, dating from the Patriarchal Period … The Palestine aspect of the global settlement [is] recorded in three basic documents that led to the founding of the modern State of Israel: …’

In other words, recognition was “… given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country….”

That the British then unilaterally detached three fourths of the Palestine Mandate and created Trans Jordan, which was only for Arabs and banned to Jews is the subject of a whole different story.

In light of this, anyone who sees Israel as an occupier of foreign land has to argue either that the League of Nations Mandate was illegal or that Jewish settlement became illegal when Jordan invaded and occupied it. No one ever argued for the former, the illegality of the Mandate, and the latter is legally absurd and morally dubious.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 got it wrong historically, legally and morally.

The Land of Israel, in its entirety, is NOT, to my thinking, an eternal gift from this or that god.

The Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish Nation through historical reference to international law codified in the UN Charter and two international treaties.

Israel’s international “birth certificate” was validated through uninterrupted Jewish settlement from the time of Joshua onward in the Land of Israel in the area known as Judea (aka the West Bank of the River Jordan…).

It was validated by three ancient Biblical [historicoreligious] texts; by the Balfour Declaration of 1917; by the San Remo Resolution of 1920; by the League of Nations Mandate, which incorporated the Balfour Declaration; the United Nations partition resolution of 1947; Israel’s admission to the UN in 1949; the recognition of Israel by most other states; and, most of all, the society created by Israel’s people in decades of thriving, dynamic national existence.

UNSC Resolution 2334 is not the end-point of the deliberations of a peak peace-seeking body professing protection of human rights of a “disposessed” “people”.

Rather, it is just the beginning of a process which will now scrutinize the mandate of the United Nations and its legitimacy.

This because UNSC 2334 remains testament to an Islamic cartel, to anti-Israel NGO’s, a petulant, ill-educated American administration and a profoundly biased mainstream media.

The Green Line of 1949 was never an internationally recognised border, but rather a cease fire line.

The core principle of Resolution 242 of 1967 that state borders between the Jews and the Arabs were to be agreed upon thru negotiations, has never been abrogated.

Professor Julius Stone put it best when he stated:

“Israel’s legitimacy or the legal foundation for its birth does not reside with the United Nations’ Partition Plan, which as a consequence of Arab actions became a dead issue. The State of Israel rests (as do most other states in the world) on assertion of independence by its people and government, on the vindication of that independence by arms against assault by other states, and on the establishment of orderly government within territory under its stable control.”

History will record that President Obama’s risible abstention per UNSC Resolution 2334 will have counted, in the long run, for nothing.

After the Carter administration pulled a similar stunt against Israel at the Security Council in December 1980, the Washington Post published an editorial that does that paper honor today.

“It cannot be denied,” the editors wrote, “that there is a pack and that it hounds Israel shamelessly and that this makes it very serious when the United States joins it.”

That editorial was titled “Joining the Jackals.”

From Chicago to Turtle Bay – journey of a pro-Palestinian

As the dust begins to settle from the furore created by UNSC Resolution 2334, and as legal, less emotionally involved minds begin to look at the ramifications of the resolution, I print below, Elena Chachko’s take on the impact of 2334 on Israel.

After that, I will go back a little and show how Obama December 23, 2016 was but the culmination of Obama as lecturer at University of Chicago, his friendship with Rashid Khalidi and how, back in 2008, Martin Kramer predicted then exactly what Obama would do on finishing his term as President in 2016-17.

Chachko:

UNSC 2334 is the first Security Council resolution since 1980 (resolution 465) that focuses on settlements. It also demands an immediate cessation of all settlement activity.
However, the resolution does not invoke Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, which governs the Security Council’s authority to take enforcement measures in response to a “threat to the peace, breach of the peace or acts of aggression.”
Its operative paragraphs do not include binding language, for the most part using the non-binding “calls upon” formulation.
Resolution 2334 therefore does not have immediate and direct implications in the form of sanctions or other measures with practical significance.
This means that while 2334 does not provide, say, ICJ prosecutor Bensouda with new legal arguments, it could affect her decision-making if ever there was a full investigation into “Israeli war crimes”.
In sum, in and of itself, Resolution 2334’s immediate practical significance is limited.

But what of Obama himself? How did long-time adviser Power’s explanation gell with the Obama we don’t talk much about?

In December 2016, Stanley Kurtz statesd that despite arguments to and fro regarding Obama’s pro-Muslim/Palestinian proclivities and how “moderate” Obama was as President, Obama’s long-held pro-Palestinian sentiments were sincere, while his post-2004 pro-Israel stance was dictated by political necessity.

He added that Obama’s abstention on the December 23, 2016 U.N. resolution condemning Israel could have had no practical political motive. The only plausible remaining explanations were “accumulated frustration” over Israel’s settlement policy, pure personal pique at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for past differences.

Thus, Obama’s decision to abstain from yesterday’s U.N. condemnation of Israel was increasingly problematic for advocates of the “moderate Obama” hypothesis and was something that would taint any legacy he might leave behind.

To support this view, Kurtz identifies Obama’s long and still poorly-known history of support for the most radical and committed Palestinian activists in the United States. Years of committed activism, personal friendship and study courses under Edward Said were always going to be lot tougher to fake than the pro-Israel policy positioning Obama adopted after his breakthrough at the 2004 Democratic Convention gave him a shot at the presidency.

Back in May 26, 2011 Kurtz wrote:

“The continuing influence of Obama’s pro-Palestinian sentiments is the best way to make sense of the president’s recent tilt away from Israel. This is why supporters of Israel should fear Obama’s reelection. In 2013, with his political vulnerability a thing of the past, Obama’s pro-Palestinian sympathies would be released from hibernation, leaving Israel without support from its indispensable American defender.

“Obama’s heritage, his largely hidden history of leftist radicalism, and his close friendship with Rashid Khalidi, all bespeak sincerity, as Obama’s other Palestinian associates agree. This is not to mention Reverend Wright — whose rabidly anti-Israel sentiments…Obama had to know about — or Obama’s longtime foreign-policy adviser Samantha Power, who once apparently recommended imposing a two-state solution on Israel through American military action. Decades of intimate alliances in a hard-Left world are a great deal harder to fake than a few years of speeches at AIPAC conferences. The real Obama is the first Obama, and depending on how the next presidential election turns out, we’re going to meet him again in 2013.”

Prescient? Perhaps. But not as prescient as Martin Kramer’s address to the Shalem Center’s Manhattan Seminar on October 28, 2008.

I excerpt relevant selections below:

Regarding Iran:

The ultimate question isn’t whether Obama will unlearn what he learned at Columbia, Harvard, and Chicago. Should he actually initiate unconditional talks with Iran, it will dawn on him at some point that this was a mistake—that it legitimated the Iranian regime without receiving any concession in return, especially regarding Iranian conduct in Iraq and Lebanon; that it undermined the already fragile coalition of Arab states build so painstakingly by the Bush administration to contain Iran; and that it gave Iran an opportunity to continue its nuclear program under the cover of negotiations, perhaps buying enough time to bring it to completion.”
When Obama realizes this, he will face the very same narrow choice of options he wishes now to avoid: that is, either acquiescence in a nuclear Iran, or a military strike. Of course, when “engagement” fails, there will still be a sizable body of Muslim, European, and American opinion which will hold the United States to blame, for not going the extra mile. And even though Obama will have gone the extra mile, he’ll be criticized for not going yet another.
This is the relentless logic of appeasement.
But when “engagement” finally fails, Iran’s programs will be still further advanced, making the military option even less appealing than it is today. So “engagement” is not so much a third alternative between a nuclear Iran and a military strike, as it is a likely prelude to American acquiescence in a nuclear Iran. This would constitute one of the greatest failures of American foreign policy ever.”

Regarding Arab-Israeli conflict Kramer identifies Obama’s radicalization at Columbia through courses taken as a student and thru friendships forged at the University of Chicago in the early 90s, once he started to build a base in preparation for his 2008 election:

“But the University of Chicago is another story. His stay there, as a lecturer and senior lecturer, coincided with the meteoric rise of Rashid Khalidi. It’s here that Obama appeared in 1991, and for the first time we can link him to the Edward Said-Rashid Khalidi nexus. It would appear that Obama received his first primer on the Middle East from Rashid Khalidi.
…One can only hope that Obama realizes sooner rather than later that he too will not be able to draw the sword from the stone and bring about an Israeli-Palestinian peace in our time. But lots of time and energy will be wasted in this learning process, it will put tremendous strain on the triangular relationship among the United States, Israel, and America’s Arab allies, and it will distract everyone from what has to be done to address the other pressing problems in the Middle East, all of which will be neglected on the erroneous assumption that America can’t do anything productive until it creates some sort of Palestine.”

As December 23 2016 shows, Barak Hussein Obama never unlearned his first Middle East primer.

The Balfour Circus is Coming to Town – or why the Abbas legal initiative will fail

November 2nd 2017 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. 2017 is also slated to be the year when the PA President, Mahmoud Abbas intends to litigate against Britain and sue her for creating the State of Israel; an action he deems a “crime” against a “people”.

Abbas’ intended action is futile and a waste of time and resources, because threatening legal action over what will be a 100-year-old document is a stretch, attracting more ridicule than serious analysis. In any event, the Declaration has in any case long been superseded by other decisions including UN resolutions.

For example, the Palestinian claim that they have a right to establish a sovereign state in the territories of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza rests on two legs:

(1) UN Assembly Resolution 181, concerning the partition of the western Land of Israel and the establishment of an Arab state alongside a Jewish state; and

(2) Resolution 242, concerning Israel’s withdrawal to the 1967 borders.

Every single historical legal narrative will show that this claim can be dismissed outright, without considering it in detail, on the grounds that the “Palestinians” themselves rejected these resolutions at the time, and did all they could to foil them by force.

Not only that, but the Palestinian right to a state in addition to the one across the Jordan (which received indepen­dence in 1946), as recognized in UN Resolution 181, was controversial in itself, since it was bestowed on the Palestinians in contradiction to Article 5 of the original Mandate of 1922 (The Mandatory shall be responsible for seeing that no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of the Government of any foreign Power), which the UN had undertaken to fulfill in Article 80 of its Charter.

That is to say, from the moment that the “Palestinians” rejected Resolution 181 and chose to attack Israel, aided by Arab states, with the intent to destroy it, they lost this right — on the basis of the general principle of “Right cannot grow from injustice.”

Furthermore, Abbas’ intended initiative has ignored the fact that in 1921, Mandatory Palestine was already partitioned in two, and in its eastern part, what was called “the Emirate of Transjordan” was set up.

This was designed not only to fulfill the commit­ments Britain had made to Emir Abdullah during the First World War but also to allocate land for the Palestine Arabs across the Jordan River.

Likewise, the Palestinians tend to forget the fact that in 1949 Transjordan annexed the territories of Judea and Samaria, and even changed its name to “the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan” so as to emphasize that both banks of the Jordan were now included in its territory.

This gung-ho move proved to have long lasting legal implications which Israel has exploited to its fullest legal extent.

But, because I want to delineate some of the myriad reasons why Abbas’ efforts are a waste of time, I will look at discrete sections of the Mandate for Palestine, the 1939 White Paper, Abbas’ allegations of “illegality” and how, at every twist and turn, Abbas and the Palestinian Authority are in disrespect of international law, its organisations and the very core of the UN Charter; the right to peace.

Sir Vincent Fean, former British consul-general in Jerusalem [glibly] argued that “…there is a moral responsibility on our government to complete the work that it started when Britain was the world power,” and that “It should work to deliver an outcome which respects the rights both of Israelis and Palestinians. That is two states – and on the basis of the 1967 borders.

Everything Fean says is contra-indicated by Palestinian behavior from 1948 in flagrant contravention of the UN Charter. And this is not to point out to Fean’s unconcern that the 1967 borders would mean retreat from East Jerusalem, and would take away Jewish sovereignty in the very parts of Israel’s capital and Judea and Samaria that most define the re-constituted Jewish state.

One of the things central to the UN Charter is the right to peace, a right which is conferred by the fact of membership in the UN, and which is absolute and inviolate.

With the crimina­lization of war/violence between groups in international law, and in the UN Charter, and the criminalization of denial of right to peace, Abbas and the Palestinians are in flagrant disregard of the rules of the very international organisations they now want to intercede on their behalf in their favour.

This blatant disregard and delegitimisation of Jewish right to a homeland is witnessed in an embarrassment of quotes. I will table but three of them.

The PLO Charter for its part still states that “claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood. Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong.”

Mr. Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, said the following on Palestinian television on Sept. 16: “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. This is pure blood, clean blood, blood on its way to Allah.

In November 2014 Abbas stated in an emergency session of the Arab League with foreign ministers from around the Arab world in Cairo that “We will never recognize the Jewishness of the state of Israel,”

Abbas has also famously said in Ramallah, “We have frankly said, and always will say: If there is an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, we won’t agree to the presence of one Israeli in it.”

Thus, Abbas’ rather bizarre July 2016 statement of intent to sue Britain for the Balfour Declaration itself demonstrates yet again, not only disregard of the very UN Charter he now wants to grant him statehood, but verification of the continuing refusal of the Palestinian side to recognize the legitimate and indigenous connection of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland, alongside the recognition the Palestinians seek for their own rights.

Not only that, but Mr Abbas’ Palestinian Authority is even seeking international recognition for the “right” to kill Israelis. Itamar Marcus, founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch, reports that the PA asserts “it has the right to kill Israeli civilians, and they quote UN resolution 3236 of 1974 which ‘recognizes the right of the Palestinian people to regain its rights by all means.’ The PA interprets ‘all means’ as including violence and killing of civilians.”

Marcus points out the PA deliberately ignores the rest of the resolution that declares “the use of ‘all means’ should be ‘in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations…’ The UN Charter forbids targeting civilians, even in war.

Elon Yarden explains this Muslim Arab phenomenon best. He says that  Islamic law is monistic rather than pluralistic in essence, and only recognizes the legitimacy of a single all­-embracing state — the caliphate — that is based on a single, all-embracing religion — Islam.

International relations, according to this conception, are not relations of equality, but of subjugation between the caliphate and all other entities, to which a certain degree of autonomy is permitted, but not sovereignty.

Because of the lack of legitimacy in Islam for political pluralism and the between pluralism and monism, and the disparity between pluralism and monism, even today, after more than fifty years of political independence, the Arabs have trouble defining themselves in terms of bounded territorial nationalism, and prefer to think of themselves as part of the “great Arab nation” and even as part of the still greater Islamic nation.

Thus, Yarden continues, the crimina­lization of war in international law, by the UN Charter, is foreign to Arab understanding because it contradicts basic conceptions of Islamic law, first and foremost the institution of jihad. The Charter put an end to the older international law, in which war was legal so long as its purpose was “just”.

In the legal regime that the Charter has established, there is no longer any validity to the traditional distinction between a “just” war and an “unjust” war — instead, only a distinction between an “aggressive war”, which is prohibited by law, and a “defensive war”, which is permitted by it per the right to self-defense (Article 51) and in the authorization to enforce collective security.

Yarden posits that the Muslim Arab world has not succeeded in internalizing the revolution that the UN Charter has wrought, just as it has difficulty internalizing constitutional law and other Western norms.

Hence, despite the fact that the Arab states owe their independence to international law, it is difficult for them to adopt its principles, especially the more powerful states among them. That explains why the Arab states fail to recognize not only Israel’s legitimacy but even that of other Arab states; why the strong states among them seek to conquer the weak ones, with the goal of reestablishing the vanished caliphate.

The lack of peace between Israel and the Arab states does not stem, therefore, from the existence of conflicts between the sides, but from the Arab states’ refusal to recognize the legal regime that international law has established, since it runs counter to Muslim law. Hence their war against Israel is also perceived as normative, even if it contradicts their obligations according to the UN Charter. That is also why they ascribe no importance to the series of agreements they have signed with Israel since its establishment.

In legal terms, because, according to international law, the State of Israel is the legal sovereign over the entire territory of Mandatory Palestine west of the Jordan River, the Palestinians have no right except to autonomy, with the extent of its authority to be determined in negotia­tions between the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Abbas cannot even retreat into the Oslo accords in pursuit of his lawsuit. In light of the sweeping prohibi­tion of the use of force or even the threat of it in international law, the traditional peace arrangements for bringing an end to war, including peace treaties, are no longer valid because they result from the prior use of force.

This would make the Oslo agreements which tried to remediate what the Arabs vetoed in 1948, invalid because they were obtained as a result of the ongoing use of terrorism over many years, in Israel and outside of it, as well as the resort to “intifada when things didn’t go their way.

Any additional Abbas appeal to Oslo is also invalid because, according to the language of the Palestinian Covenant and other basic documents, the Palestinians have not relinquished the use of armed force as a means of destroying the State of Israel even subsequent to the signing of the Oslo agreements.

I have mentioned above that according to the UN Charter the right to peace, conferral of peace on a member state of the UN cannot be made dependent on any additional conditions.

Thus, after having vetoed Resolution 181, Resolu­tion 242, which makes Israel’s right to peace conditional on the handing over of territories to the Arabs, has no legal validity per the cornerstone of modern international law, whose constitution is the UN Charter.

This absolute right to peace poses the following conundrum for Abbas and the PLO: if the Arabs wish to belong to the international community that the Charter has established, they must clearly declare that they repudiate war unconditionally and unequivocally. They must declare that they recognize Israel’s right to exist in secure and recognized borders, without making this conditional on the handing over of any territories. And if Abbas refuses to do so, then he has clearly removed those he represents from the fold of the international community, and thus no longer entitled to any assistance that that community is authorized to provide.

Writing in HuffPo in 2013, Avi Ben Hur stated that in 1939 the British understood that they would not be able to resolve the conflict between the sides. On the eve of WWII, the British issued a “White Paper” – a declaration of policy — in which they claimed to have fulfilled their commitments undertaken in the Balfour Declaration.

This Paper put in writing the failure of Great Britain to further dance between the raindrops, having twice promised parts of the Mandate to Hussein of Mecca AND the Jews. To that end, tucked away in the middle of its three sections it stated its interpretation that

“His Majesty’s Government believe that the framers of the Mandate  in which the Balfour Declaration was embodied could not have intended that Palestine should be converted into a Jewish State against the will of the Arab population of the country.

And so, having done the colonial thing and secured Iraq’s oilfields for Britain after the carve-up of the Ottoman Empire, It was now leaving the mess it created to be sorted out between essentially westernized Jews who believed in a pluralistic international law with a body of Muslims who believed in monistic Islamic law. So, while the Levantine Arabs may in fact harbor some grievances about a nationalism, indigeneity, culture or history they had no concerns about till 1967, the illegality of Israel and the “criminal” nature of the 1917 Declaration has absolutely no legal bearing on legal creation of the State of Israel.

And it is not as if those who penned the 1939 White Paper were unaware of the impact of the words they were committing to paper.

Section III of that Paper (Land) puts it all front and centre [emphasis mine]:

The vagueness of the phrases employed in some instances to describe these obligations has led to controversy and has made the task of interpretation difficult. His Majesty’s Government cannot hope to satisfy the partisans of one party or the other in such controversy as the Mandate has aroused. Their purpose is to be just as between the two people in Palestine whose destinies in that country have been affected by the great events of recent years, and who, since they live side by side, must learn to practice mutual tolerance, goodwill and co-operation. In looking to the future, His Majesty’s Government are not blind to the fact that some events of the past make the task of creating these relations difficult; but they are encouraged by the knowledge that as many times and in many places in Palestine during recent years the Arab and Jewish inhabitants have lived in friendship together.

Now go sort it out…………….

In 2016, the existence of the modern State of Israel is a fact and the Balfour Declaration was one of the important milestones in enabling the Zionist movement to realize its dream of Jewish national independence in the Land of Israel.

As Avi Ben Hur puts it: “Despite all of the arguments surrounding the Balfour Declaration, Israel’s legitimacy does not rest on it or even on the 1947 UN Resolution 181 to partition the country to two states: one Jewish and the other Arab. It rests (legally) on the fact of its existence, the continuity of its existence, its assertion of independence by its people, its vindication of it independence by force of arms, its having an organized government within territory under its control and its recognition by the generality of nations.”

Seventy seven years ago, the 1939 White Paper recognized that groups of people need to “…live side by side…[and] practice mutual tolerance, goodwill and co-operation…”

Further, it stipulated that was essential to be known that Jews were entitled to be in Palestine “…as of right and not on sufferance. That is the reason why it is necessary that the existence of a Jewish National Home in Palestine should be internationally guaranteed, and that it should be formally recognised to rest upon ancient historic connection.”

Abbas will be wasting everybody’s time in 2017 with a frivolous lawsuit.

Indeed, the essence of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict (nee Arab-Israeli conflict) until today has been the systematic and total rejection by the Palestinian leadership of the Jewish people’s legitimate national rights in the Land of Israel.

Abbas’ attempt to undermine the Balfour Declaration is part and parcel of his “moderate” campaign to undermine the basic rights of Jewish peoplehood and the legitimacy of the State of Israel. As I have stated above, rejecting the Balfour Declaration is tantamount to rejecting the internationally-recognized natural rights of the Jewish people to a national home in the Land of Israel and runs counter to the very core of the UN Charter.

Abbas’ attempt proves yet again that he is less interested in establishing his own state alongside Israel than he is in forging it instead of Israel. And nowhere is this more apparent than in the recent historical denial of internationally-recognized Jewish rights by the Palestinian leadership, reflected in the recent attempts in UNESCO to erase the Jewish and Christian heritage of Jerusalem.

Amongst other firsts, Israel is the world’s first modern indigenous state: the creation and declaration of the sovereign nation of Israel marks the first time in history that an indigenous people has managed to legally regain control of its ancestral lands and re-constitute a nation state.

The importance of both the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations decision lays in the legal international recognition of preexisting natural, historical, and legal rights of the Jewish people to their homeland, in which there had been a continuous Jewish presence throughout the centuries.

This is further emphasized by the language used in the League’s Mandate decision. The Palestine/Land of Israel Mandate specifically calls to “reconstitute” the national home of the Jewish people, not to constitute anything new.

This was done. Israel exists.