Category Archives: occupied territory

Shalom Dublin?? – viewing Irish anti-Israeli sentiment through the lens of the IRA’s former Nazi collaboration

I write this blog to layout for myself, the antecedents to what many puzzled Israelis and Jews see as an uncalled-for Irish antipathy to the Jewish state, and to say again that peace will only come when the current pro-Palestinian orthodoxy and exhortation to violence and martyrdom is challenged everywhere and always. I hope you find it of interest.                   (h/t: @clairefinn54)

Israel has been demonized by an Irish media slavishly dancing to the Palestinian drumbeat for decades… – [yet] Israel has a far better and more progressive record on human rights than any of its neighbors…The truth must be told.” Fine Gael chairman Charlie Flanagan., 2014.

In his article “Why Are the Irish Increasingly Siding With Palestine Over Israel?” written for the New Republic in May 2014, Jason Walsh recounts the time he wrote a feature article for the Irish Times on Ireland’s Jewry. He interviewed retired Belfast businessman Adrian Levey, who is Jewish. Levey was “…keen to point out that anti-Semitism as such is not a problem, even on the divided streets of Belfast.
“Northern Protestants support Israel and Catholics support Palestine, it doesn’t really play out on the streets,” he said.
When you understand that Protestant and Catholic are not actually religious terms, but stand-ins for pro-British unionists and pro-Irish republicans the statement makes perfect sense. For Irish republicans have long felt they were, as much as Palestinians, living in occupied territory. Hearing Northern Ireland described as the “Occupied Six Counties” was not uncommon in my youth during the 1990s. “

What Walsh is saying is embedded in an Irish take on the colonial antecedents of Ireland, Israel, and a would-be “Palestinian” Muslim state.

He explains that Israel’s struggle against the British during the Mandate years resonated with an Irish (Roman Catholic) public subjugated for centuries by brutal British domination of their national aspirations and what they called “colonisation” and “occupation” of the six Counties which make up (Protestant) Northern Ireland today.

But as Israel became more successful, the Irish psyche projected its experience of (essentially Protestant) Britain onto Israel’s failure to decide the “Palestinian” question definitively, and the narrative of a “dispossessed” and “disenfranchised” “Palestinian” struggle for “freedom” blossomed. Israel thus began to function as a surrogate for Britain because it was too “imperial, imperious and, above all, modern.” This view, together with Brian Hanley’s exploration of the IRA’s collaboration with Nazi Germany in the Republic’s struggles against Britain form the core of this piece.

The ongoing support and collaboration between Hamas and Sinn Fein, Irish Republic politicians and the Palestinian Authority, and historical ideological and notional links between the PLO, Arafat and the Republic of Ireland are well documented, if not always in the public eye.

Certainly the links between the IRA and Arafat’s PLO have been well documented. This connection is due to historic circumstance, where the British were wrongly perceived as pro-Jewish. And this affinity went north of the border with Northern Ireland and infused the culture and politics of both the Republic of Ireland and the positions held by the IRA in Northern Ireland and its political wing Sinn Fein.

Sinn Fein, the IRA’s political wing, which has elected representatives in the Irish and British parliaments and shares power in Northern Ireland, has continued to be a virulent critic of Israel. In 2006, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, then the party’s international affairs and human rights spokesperson in the Dublin parliament, described Israel as “one of the most abhorrent and despicable regimes on the planet.” In May 2014, he was one of three Irish politicians prevented by authorities from leaving Cyprus to join the Gaza-bound flotilla headed by the Mavi Marmara….

Arthur Griffith, who founded the original Sinn Fein movement in 1905, used the pages of his newspaper to rail against “Jew Swindledom” (9/10ths of all Jews were, he proclaimed, “usurers and parasites“) and the Dreyfusards.

There were similar prejudices commonplace in all the political parties which broke off from his organization, but only the eponymous rump which remained after the splits of 1921 and 1926 habitually preached Jew-hatred, culminating in a demand for an Irish-German alliance in 1939.

The newly formed “new” IRA, itself soaked in anti-Semitism, took a similar view and attempted to forge, as we will see, a working relationship with the Germans.

As noted in the republican newspaper The United Irishman of October 1951, Seán Russell, the then IRA chief of staff and a registered representative of the Irish Republic, spent the summer of 1940 in a ‘very large’ villa in the leafy Grunewald, near Berlin, surrounded by extensive grounds and parks, enjoying all the privileges of a diplomat with regard to access to food, petrol and other rationed goods.

Russell met leading Nazis such as Nazi Foreign Minister Ribbentrop. Following the fall of France, Russell urged that the German high command make use of the IRA to strike at British forces in Northern Ireland as part of a general attack on Britain. His plans were accepted and incorporated into Operation Sealion (the plan for the invasion of Britain) as a mark of the ‘respect and esteem’ in which Russell was held by the German military leadership.

The IRA’s main publication, War News, became increasingly pro-Nazi in tone, but more worryingly, it began to ape anti-Semitic arguments. The paper expressed satisfaction that the ‘cleansing fire’ of the German armies was driving the Jews from Europe. British war minister Hore Belisha was described as a ‘wealthy Jew’ only interested in ‘profits’. War News condemned the arrival in Ireland of ‘so-called Jewish refugees’.

Even though pre-war Ireland was united in its dislike of the British, there were at least four discernible factions in the IRA.

The majority leadership grouping was sympathetic to social radicalism but primarily concerned with developing the IRA as a military force. An important section of the leadership was socialist, while a third section—of which Russell was probably the best example—were committed entirely to armed force and uninterested in political debate.

A fourth smaller group was attracted to Sinn Féin’s espousal of right-wing ‘Christian social’ policies even as further differences existed over the relationship between the IRA in Northern Ireland and its much larger and more influential southern counterpart.

Much of the northern IRA together with Sinn Fein, their political arm, were attracted to Russell’s position, because they felt marginalised and ignored by their southern comrades, even as Russell’s own isolation in, and disillusionment with, the Republic led him to forge now-embarrassing ties with the Nazis.

Putting the efforts of IRA leaders like Russell into context, Brian Hanley notes that “…the IRA in 1940 was under severe pressure and in decline. Hundreds of its members were jailed or interned in the Curragh camp. Undoubtedly a measure of desperation contributed to its thinking. Similarly, …much of what was written in the [War News] was fantasy, especially the claims that the IRA was playing a major role in the German war effort….Furthermore, War News was illegal and therefore written and distributed surreptitiously. [Only a] small number of people were responsible for its content and only a few IRA members could have had any input into it. Despite the violence of some of the anti-Jewish rhetoric in War News the IRA did not attempt to physically attack Irish Jews.”

Even so, with the partition of Ireland by the British into the (Catholic) Republic of Ireland and (largely Protestant Ulster ‘Loyalist’) Northern Ireland in 1921, the Provisional IRA and Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland imported a deep hostility towards partition as a solution to territorial conflict.

This in turn led to consistent support for the Palestinian cause some fifty years later. The “Provos” received weapons and training from Arafat’s PLO around the early 1970s; today, the IRA allegedly provides sophisticated bomb-making materials and know-how to terror group Hamas in war-ravaged Gaza.

And so, because the Irish Republican Army and Sinn Fein made common anti-colonialist cause with the Palestinian Liberation Organization, with the PLO allegedly providing arms and training for the IRA as early as the 1970s, Irish Protestant leaders, for their part, allied themselves with the Israelis and their struggle against a genocidal Muslim enemy.

Ironically, in March 1945, a correspondent for The Bell, a leading Irish magazine, raged about current events in Mandated Palestine: “Never let it be forgotten that the Irish people … have experienced all that the Jewish people in Palestine are suffering from the trained ‘thugs’ ‘gunning tarzans’ and British ‘terrorists’ that the Mandatory power have imposed upon the country.

But once the Zionist movement accepted the partition of Palestine, the Irish began to draw unflattering parallels between Israeli policies and their own divided existence.

To many, the Jewish state now looked less like a besieged religious-national community struggling valiantly for its natural rights and more like a colony illegitimately established by British force of arms and intent on imposing itself on an “indigenous” population.

As a result, Ireland only extended de jure recognition to Israel in 1963, 15 years after its declaration of independence.

After Ireland joined the European Union in 1973, successive governments in Dublin took the lead in championing the Palestinian cause within Europe.

In February 1980, Ireland was the first EU member to call for the establishment of a Palestinian state. It was also the last to allow Israel to open a residential embassy, in December 1993.

Throughout the Oslo Accords era and the post-Oslo era a decade later, Irish governments continued to provide the Palestinian cause with valuable, if not unlimited, support.

Thus, in June 2003, Brian Cowen, then Ireland’s foreign minister, visited Yasir Arafat during the height of the Second Intifada.

It was during the Second Intifada that 887 (78%) of the 1,137 Israelis killed in Arab terrorist attacks from September 2000 – 2005 were civilian casualties. Another 8,341 Israelis were wounded during this period, of which 5,676 were civilians while 2,665 were security forces.

The majority of Jewish casualties during Cowen’s visit and lauding of Arafat were caused by suicide bombings, bombs, shootings, stonings, stabbings, lynchings, rockets on civilian population centres, and other methods of attack.

And, inexplicably, Cowen spoke for many in Ireland when he described Arafat as “the symbol of the hope of self-determination of the Palestinian people” and praised him for his “outstanding work … tenacity, and persistence.”

This feting and legitimising of terror and destruction still continues in an unbroken line and the words of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams who, in 1983, laid down a blueprint which remains the playbook for the PA and Hamas in the international arena.

Back in a May 1983 interview with Britain’s Sunday Times, Adams’ stated aim was “…to confront the British with an ongoing armed struggle which is enjoying popular support and a principled political party which refuses to compromise on the basic issue of British involvement in Northern Ireland.”

The aim of such a policy of confrontation, he added, was so that the British “…would be unable to govern.”

Thus, as Adams put it, the political role of Sinn Fein was merely to “broaden and popularise the struggle. For in the end the movement will have to depend on whatever armed pressure the IRA can bring.

If that sounds eerily familiar today, it is only because, if Hamas/PA is substituted for IRA, we have a copybook re-enactment of Sinn Fein strategy being perniciously played out by Hamas against Israel forty years later.

The parallels with the actions of Hamas are too striking to be ignored: continued confrontation, no negotiations, active endangering of civilian populations, an internationally supported political wing in Ramallah and no compromise on borders or choice of capital.

This ongoing tacit Irish apologism for Palestinian wrongdoing, together with a disdainful disregard of the Jews’ unbroken connection with the country going back to one thousand years before the Arab conquest of an indigenous Jewish peoples and land, is an inversion of Orwellian proportions, the scale of which the British author himself did not envision.

It is, therefore, this peculiar Irish post-colonialist pathology which continues to nurture to a recurrent Arab psychology of intransigence, intolerance and a refusal to take responsibility for actions, which lethally endanger a new generation of Jew and Arab alike.

And, as with all dictatorships of the mind, distrust and fear of other feed periodic outbursts of pointless, near gratuitous, violence.

In Belfast in 2014, upon his arrest for alleged involvement in the grisly 1972 IRA murder of widowed mother of ten, Jean McConville, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said “….I have never disassociated myself from the IRA and I never will…”

In Israel in 2014, Jews today continue to pay the price, through murder and wanton destruction, for a frightening foreign ideology of hate and segregation whose time we thought had long passed.

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Nakba as National Narcotic

Nakba as National Narcotic

“From 1948 to 1967, there is no historical record whatsoever of any effort to create a separate “Palestinian” state. The PLO’s purpose during that time, was not to create a “Palestinian” state, but rather to exterminate a Jewish one. That effort continues today.”

Speak to any supporter of “Palestinian” Arab ‘rights’ to a ‘national’ home in Judea and Samaria today, and you will quickly come to the nub of the conflict as they see it: the loss of “Palestinian” land must be avenged and the rights of the “Palestinian” nation restored….. Most would have you believe that the Nakba of 1948 was the central incident which defines the Israeli-“Palestinian” conflict today.

Nothing could be further from the truth/facts.

The movement of Arab Muslims out of the territory of the new state of Israel was as unnecessary as it was a strategic mistake by the Muslim Arab leadership of the time.
They have spent the past 66 years trying to correct it at the expense of other….

Hiding behind a narrative of Jewish depravity and barbarity as they would like to portray it, Muslim Arabs use the narrative of the Nakba as a way to assuage shame and guilt at leaving lands which they were quite welcome to in the first place. In international law.

Over the years, the “Nakba” became a catch-cry which acted as an ideological narcotic on the political will of Muslims Arabs in Judea and Samaria and their backers, irrespective of facts codified in international law.

In other words, using the “Nakba” to press claims of a “Palestinian” homeland for a “Palestinian” people and “nation” merely highlights the fact that the very concept of a stateless Palestinian people is a fabrication.

The “Nakba” is essentially an error of the Arabs own making and it galls the Arab psyche that they cannot turn the clock back on a tiny non-muslim Jewish state amidst a sea of Islamic countries.

In international law, the legally binding Mandate for Palestine document, was conferred on April 24 1920, at the San Remo Conference and its terms outlined in the Treaty of Sevres on August 10 1920. The Mandate’s terms were finalized on July 24 1922, and became operational in 1923.

While Arabs accepted the international community’s creation of the Muslim entities of Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon and Iraq as legal creations of the League of Nations and the Mandated Powers, they refused to accept that same body’s co-decision to create a Jewish state for a people who had been there some 1,700 years before the birth of Islam.

In fact, made clear through Jamal Husseini, the Arab Higher Committee’s spokesman that they would go to war to prevent the establishment of a Jewish state.

After the UN adopted the partition resolution on November 29, 1947, the Arabs declared a protest strike and instigated riots that claimed the lives of 62 Jews and 32 Arabs.
From November 29, 1947, until April 1, 1948, the Palestinian Arabs took the offensive, with help from volunteers from neighbouring countries of Transjordan, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. The Arabs inflicted severe casualties on the Jews, in breach of international law and UN rulings.

The UN blamed the Arabs for the violence.

The UN Palestine Commission, which was never permitted by the Arabs or British to go to Palestine to implement the resolution, reported to the Security Council on February 16, 1948, that “powerful Arab interests, both inside and outside Palestine, are defying the resolution of the General Assembly and are engaged in a deliberate effort to alter by force the settlement envisaged therein.

The Arabs were blunt in taking responsibility for the aggression and the breach of international law. Jamal Husseini told the Security Council on April 16, 1948:
“The representative of the Jewish Agency told us yesterday that they were not the attackers, that the Arabs had begun the fighting. We did not deny this. We told the whole world that we were going to fight.”

Even the British commander of Jordan’s Arab Legion, John Bagot Glubb admitted: “Early in January, the first detachments of the Arab Liberation Army began to infiltrate into Palestine from Syria. Some came through Jordan and even through Amman . . . They were in reality to strike the first blow in the ruin of the Arabs of Palestine.”

It is this pain and shame that the Nakba as narcotic is meant to deaden: Arab responsibility for their own failures to accept international law and the consequences of trying to take land through a strategy of aggression in direct violation of the 1907 Hague Convention and the draft of the Geneva Convention which was finally published in 1949……

Again, in international law, the partition resolution was never suspended or rescinded.

Thus, Israel, the Jewish State in Palestine, was born on May 14, as the British finally left the country.

Five Arab armies (Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon and Iraq) immediately invaded Israel.

Their intentions were declared by Abd Al-Rahman Azzam Pasha, Secretary-General of the Arab League: “It will be a war of annihilation. It will be a momentous massacre in history that will be talked about like the massacres of the Mongols or the Crusades.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Nakba as narcotic is a deadly attraction to those who have a propensity to addiction; flawed intellects who need props to cope.

The rest of us who are able to resist political addictions and its consequences will know that the United States urged a resolution charging the Arabs with breach of the peace.

Joining the USA, the Soviet delegate Andrei Gromyko famously told the Security Council on May 29, 1948, 15 days after the creation of the State of Israel:
“This is not the first time that the Arab states, which organized the invasion of Palestine, have ignored a decision of the Security Council or of the General Assembly. The USSR delegation deems it essential that the council should state its opinion more clearly and more firmly with regard to this attitude of the Arab states toward decisions of the Security Council.

In fact, on July 15, the Security Council threatened to cite the Arab governments for aggression under the UN Charter!!

By this time, however, the Israeli Defense Force had succeeded in stopping the Arab offensive and the initial phase of the fighting ended.

What a difference a few decades of “doublethink” make!

Not for nothing are George Orwell’s words as sinister today as when he first wrote them: “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”

The continued use of “Nakba” as narcotic inures those who continue to wage war as destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour (Orwell).

And, like all addictions, it is ultimately fruitless.

Xenophon and Selective Xenophobia

It is hard to accept that a politician paid from the public purse, can abuse his political leverage to condemn a country he has visited briefly only once (May 2014), as a guest of the Adelaide Friends of Palestine interest group.

This post will show that independent senator Nick Xenophon understanding about international law regarding the Israel-Arab conflict, the disputed territories in Judea and Samaria, and the status of Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, is redolent of a Year 10 student research essay.

And because it is not a mature understanding, it needs to be challenged.

Mr Xenophon’s twitter feed directs the reader to his June 25 speech in Parliament where he submitted an item of “public importance” to the Senate that “…the term “occupied” in relation to the occupied “Palestinian” territories is an objective legal description of the status of those territories.” (emphasis mine) (http://youtu.be/9W7ZhGFwz6g #auspol)

Mr Xenophon then states: “Mr Deputy President, I will now demonstrate, conclusively, why that claim is false and most unhelpful to the process of achieving a lasting peace in the Israel-Palestine conflict.” He also purports to mention that “The statement made by the Australian government on 5 June this year is not only wrong; it is factually untrue, legally ignorant and most unhelpful” (emphasis mine).

Mr Xenophon starts by acknowledging invisible others in the gallery who have come to hear his speech as evidence of great “international” interest in his speech. Mr Xenophon then reads from a pre-prepared text in front of him:
“The term “occupied” is an objective legal description of the status of the occupied Palestinian territories. According to the 1949 Geneva Convention and 1907 Hague Regulations, territories are considered occupied when it comes under the actual authority of the invading military. There are certain objective tests…

One – has the occupying power substituted its own authority for that of the occupied authorities? Yes. It is a matter of fact that Israel’s authority prevails in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Two – Have the enemy forces been defeated, regardless of whether sporadic local resistance continues? Yes. It is a matter of fact that Israel defeated its military adversaries in the June 1967 war. (Xenophon fails to elaborate whether this was a defensive war or not)

Three – Does the occupying power have a sufficient force present to make its authority felt? Yes. It is a fact that Israel has sufficient force to make its authority felt.

Four – Has an administration been established over the territory? Yes. It is a fact — a poignant fact — that even the Palestinian leaders who wish to enter or leave the occupied Palestinian territories cannot do so without permission from Israel. Even the Palestinian president cannot go to the United Nations in New York, or indeed to anywhere else in the world, without permission from Israel.

Five – Has the occupying power issued and enforced directions to the civilian population? Yes. It is a fact that Israel has issued and enforced such directions.

“Indeed, Mr Acting Deputy President, Israel’s highest court — the High Court of Justice — stated in paragraph 23 of its verdict in the case of Beit Sourik Village Council v The Government of Israel on 30 June 2004 that ‘Israel holds the area in belligerent occupation’.

Let me say that again. Israel’s own highest court stated in 2004 that ‘Israel holds the area in belligerent occupation’

Note: Perhaps because he did not have enough time, Mr Xenophon omits to mention that the Israeli High Court of Justice decision in the Sourik decision described at length both the all-pervasive and insidious character of Palestinian terrorism (in breach of UN Charter???) and the injury to Palestinian civilians caused by the security barrier. In Paragraph 28 it concludes:

“We examined petitioners’ arguments and have come to the conclusion, based upon the facts before us, that the Fence is motivated by security concerns. As we have seen in the government decisions concerning the construction of the Fence, the government has emphasized, numerous times, that ‘the Fence, like the additional obstacles, is a security measure. Its construction does not express a political border, or any other border.’ (Decision of June 23 2002).”

Mr Xenophon continues:  “I concede that here the word ‘occupied’ is ‘freighted with implications’, but to say they are pejorative is factually untrue and legally ignorant.” … So, what are these implications in fact and in law? (emphasis mine).

Here I turn to the landmark 2004 International Court of Justice’s advisory opinion (emphasis mine) on, and I quote, “ the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying power, in the occupied Palestinian territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. Note the words “occupying” and occupied” used by the International Court of Justice…. Let’s say what the ICJ said in its advisory opinion (emphasis mine).

First, Article 2 paragraph 4 of the United Nations Charter: “All members shall refrain…from the threat or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state (emphases mine)….

Second, no territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force shall be recognised as legal.

Third, the principle of self-determination of peoples has been enshrined by the …Charter and reaffirmed by the General Assembly (emphasis mine).

The court (ICJ) observed that the existence of a Palestinian people is no longer an issue. (Xenophon does not inform the audience that creating nations is beyond the clear UN Charter remit of the ICJ as we shall see….) The court stated that the wall’s sinuous route had been traced …to include…the great majority of the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, including (and here Mr Xenophon adds vocal emphasis) East Jerusalem.

It noted that Article 9, paragraph 6 of the Fourth Geneva Convention provides the occupying power to not deport or transfer the parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies….

The (Mr Xenophon here spells out each word emphatically) International Court of Justice stated unambiguously that, and I quote, “The Court concludes that the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories including East Jerusalem had been established in breach of international law….[and even as Israel] has the right, and indeed the duty, to respond in order to protect the life of its citizens,… the [measure of building the wall is] bound nonetheless, to remain in conformity with applicable international law (emphasis mine).

In conclusion, the court (the ICJ) considers that Israel cannot rely on a right of self defense…to build the wall.

…Not one judge…dissented from its findings. [And it is worth remembering that] …[US Judge] Thomas Buergenthal…described his conclusion as a declaration, not a dissent.

As we shall further see, Mr Xenophon is being exceedingly coy.

Mr Xenophon then refers to Judge Buergenthal as a “…remarkable individual and jurist…” whose words we should all heed, as he quotes verbatim Judge Buergenthal’s declaration from paragraph 2 of his declaration onwards where the judge says that the wall is causing suffering:
“ I share the Court’s conclusion that international humanitarian law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, and international human rights law are applicable to the Occupied Palestinian Territory and must there be faithfully complied with by Israel. I accept that the wall is causing deplorable suffering to many Palestinians living in that territory….”

However, Mr Xenophon, a lawyer by training, omits to inform his audience of Judge Buergenthal’s opening paragraph.

Paragraph 1, which prefaced the remainder of his 10 paragraph declaration, and through which lens the remainder of his stated dissent was clearly to be viewed, opened thus:
“Since I believe that the Court should have exercised its discretion and declined to render the requested advisory opinion, I dissent from its decision to hear the case. My negative votes with regard to the remaining items of the dispositif should not be
seen as reflecting my view that the construction of the wall by Israel on the Occupied Palestinian Territory does not raise serious questions as a matter of international law. I believe it does, and there is much in the Opinion with which I agree (emphasis mine).

However, I am compelled to vote against the Court’s findings on the merits because the Court did not have before it the requisite factual bases for its sweeping findings; it should therefore have declined to hear the case… In my view… [this] vitiates the Court’s findings on the merits” (emphasis mine).

Nor does Mr Xenophon refer to Buergentahl’s paragraph 3 which possibly queers Mr Xenophon’s narrative even further. This could be because the eminent jurist states:
“… to reach that conclusion [of the ICJ] with regard to the wall as a whole without having before it, or seeking to ascertain all relevant facts bearing directly on issues of Israel’s legitimate right of self-defence, military necessity and security needs, given the repeated deadly terrorist attacks in and upon Israel proper coming from the Occupied Palestinian Territory to which Israel has been and continues to be subjected, cannot be justified as a matter of law …” (emphasis mine).

Mr Xenophon, a lawyer by training, continues his extraordinary sleight of hand by disregarding paragraph 4 too.

Here Judge Buergenthal says: “ ….I accept that the Palestinian people have the right to self-determination and that it is entitled to be fully protected. But assuming without necessarily agreeing that this right is relevant to the case before us and that it is being violated, Israel’s right to self-defence, if applicable and legitimately invoked, would nevertheless have to preclude any wrongfulness in this regard. See Article 21 of the International Law Commission’s Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts, which declares: “The wrongfulness of an act of a State is precluded if the act constitutes a lawful measure of self-defence taken in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.”(emphasis mine)

We now have to decide whether either Justice Buergenthal or Senator Xenophon is correct in their interpretation of international law..

But Mr Xenophon, who continually refers to the ICJ as an arbiter in the case of whether East Jerusalem is legally or illegally occupied, continues his extraordinary display of high-school debating skills by omitting reference to paragraph 5 where Judge Buergenthal says:
“…Since these facts are not before the Court, it is compelled to adopt the…legally dubious conclusion that the right of legitimate or inherent self-defence is not applicable in the present case. The Court puts the matter as follows:
“Article 51 of the Charter . . . recognizes the existence of an inherent right of self-defence in the case of armed attack by one State against another State. However, Israel does not claim that the attacks against it are imputable to a foreign State……Consequently, the Court concludes that Article 51 of the Charter has no relevance in this case.” (Para. 139.)

So Mr Xenophon’s legal training suggests that, in this instance, he is happy to accept that “Palestine” is not a State and because of this, the ICJ, which makes copious reference to the “Occupied Palestinian Territories” is within its rights to maintain that Israel “…cannot rely on a right of self defense…to build the wall” because Israel is not protecting/defending itself against a “foreign State”. (specifically, “Palestine”).

So, no State, no debate, as far as Israel is concerned, seems to be the line.

Yet, confusingly, only moments before, Mr Xenophon has quoted Article 2, Paragraph 4 of the United Nations Charter which says: “All members shall refrain…from the threat or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state (emphases mine) where he implies that Israel is in breach of international law because of its aggression against a member “state”…..

In quoting this, Mr Xenophon can only mean that, in the instance immediately above, there is, in fact, a state of “Palestine”, something not yet determined in any mutually recognised international court, or internationally recognised treaty, nor even of a legal, binding directive from the United Nations Security Council which is the legal arbiter and enforcer of decisions such as these in the international arena. Under UN Charter….

But if there is a state of “Palestine” and not just an occupied territory in the geographical location of historically Mandtaed Palestine as Mr Xenophon now seems to imply, and not merely an occupied territory of an entity not recognised under UN charter, then Israel is within its rights to defend itself and its citizens under Article 2 of the Geneva Convention.

But not if a non-state entity attacks its civilian population or kidnaps non-combatant teenagers.

This international law stuff can be a confusing thing.

For some.

For others, it is clear that Mr Xenophon’s assertion that “The statement made by the Australian government on 5 June this year…is factually untrue, (and) legally ignorant”… is predicated on whether there is a state called “Palestine”. He, however, consistently refers to it in his speech as an occupied Territory, thus making it difficult to follow his line of legal reasoning…………

If there is a legal entity/state called “Palestine”, then the government could conceivably be accused of being legally ignorant.

If there is no state called “Palestine” then the ignorance might well belong only to the Senator making the speech….

But if Mr Xenophon is keen on quoting Article 2 of the UN Charter, he remains coy on Article 3 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which states: “Persons protected by the Convention are those who, at a given moment and in any manner whatsoever, find themselves, in case of a conflict or occupation, in the hands of a Party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which they are not nationals.”

This raises the possibility that, for Mr Xenophon, the “Palestinians” are nationals of a legal identity and he alone amongst international jurists, confers on them the status of citizens of a state.

Article 2 continues: “Nationals of a State which is not bound by the Convention are not protected by it…and nationals of a co-belligerent State, shall not be regarded as protected persons while the State of which they are nationals has normal diplomatic representation in the State in whose hands they are.”

The “State of Palestine” has not signed on to the Geneva convention, simply because there has never been such a political entity.

Unfazed by the facts, for Mr Xenophon, who condemns Israel by implication and continually asserts in his speech that he refers to an “Occupied Palestinian Territory”, ICJ terminology he favours, and not the State of Palestine, Article 2 which is unambiguously specific in its terminology, cannot be referring to nationals of a state which does not exist. Particularly since Xenophon repeatedly calls it a Territory.

This is doubly ironic, for prior to this, the ICJ decided in the Order of its docket, Resolution 2 (December 19 2003), that it was fitting and proper for the ICJ to permit ‘Palestine’ – which does not represent a country – to “submit [to the Court] a written statement supporting its claim that Israel illegally occupies territory in Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem…..

Mr Xenophon also refrains from quoting Article 2 of the Convention which says that “Where in occupied territory an individual protected person is detained as a spy or saboteur, or as a person under definite suspicion of activity hostile to the security of the Occupying Power, such person shall, in those cases where absolute military security so requires, be regarded as having forfeited rights of communication under the present Convention.”

It is becoming increasingly difficult, in the arena of international law, to trust the legal opinion of Mr Xenophon because he seems to cherry-pick whatever he fancies from the ICJ rulings to bolster his new-found altruism.

It is true that It is unclear whether international conventions are even admissible as evidence in an Advisory Opinion such as the ICJ is mandated to provide the United Nations General Assembly, as per Article 38 of the ICJ’s own Mandate.

The wording of Article 38 of their Mandate views as admissible only “international conventions, whether general or particular … expressly recognized by the contesting states” (emphasis mine).

To the average reader, this would seem to indicate that in terms of fair use, the ICJ is mandated to use general conventions such as the Hague and Geneva Conventions and the human rights conventions cited by the ICJ (as well as equally relevant ones the ICJ chose not to cite) only in cases where the ICJ is sitting in the capacity of an arbitrator between two sides where both sides have accepted its jurisdiction.

Therefore, use of general conventions might not apply when the ICJ has been asked for an advisory opinion – all the more so because Israel, the only “state” in the case (Mr Xenophon referring repeatedly to Occupied Palestinian Territories is mystifying…), clarified in its brief to the ICJ that it did not accept the court’s jurisdiction.

Mr Xenophon’s speech is all the more astonishing because Judge Buergenthal, a jurist and human of avowedly unimpeachable character in the Minster’s own words, opens his declaration on the ICJ ruling to which Xenophon refers time and again by saying “…the Court should have exercised its discretion and declined to render the requested advisory opinion…” (emphasis mine).

This is taken from the first sentence of Judge Buergenthal’s declaration………………

It is equally astonishing that Mr Xenophon also omits to mention in the House that the ICJ cannot consider declarations and resolutions of the UN General Assembly as customary international law.

But even further, the International Court of Justice lacks the authority to issue a directive to Member States, a function reserved solely for the Security Council.

This is encoded in the1974 rejected attempt to over- empower the ICJ at the 1492d meeting of the General Assembly’s Sixth Committee because of the subversive threat, already seen by international jurists 40 years ago in the immediate aftermath of the 1973 war and Arab fury at losing a second genocidal campaign. The thwarting of the ICJ’s 1974 attempts to over-empower itself arose because of the entry of scores of new states into the United Nations who promote resolutions in the General Assembly reflecting political, economic, or sociological aspirations rather than a responsible assessment of the relevant legal issues and considerations.

Mr Xenophon does not tell the House that in the ruling he refers to again and again in Parliament, the ICJ invited a series of anti-Israeli terrorist organizations and states which openly champion and justify use of force and terrorism as a means of achieving their stated objectives of the delegitimization and eventual removal of the Jewish State.

Thus, in 2003, the ICJ heard testimony from the PLO, the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), and the League Arab States (still officially in a state of war with Israel), while refusing to hear any input from Israeli victims of terrorism.

Mr Xenophon will confirm that the ICJ also heard from 26 states on how Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem was illegal and that it was an occupying power.

These states were: Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Comoros, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Namibia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and ‘Palestine’ – mostly majority Muslim countires; all of whom submitted scathing ‘finger pointing’ affidavits regarding Israel’s conduct.

What Mr Xenophon will not say is that nearly one-half of the briefs were from entities that do not even recognize Israel’s right to exist or have no diplomatic relations with Israel.

Nor does he tell Parliament that 23 out of the 26 states mentioned above who were invited by the ICJ to present affidavits, are categorized as “Not Free” by the human rights monitoring organization, Freedom House.

This is because some of these states are rated as the worst offenders of human rights for whose citizens political rights are absent or virtually non-existent as a result of the extremely oppressive nature of the regime or severe oppression in combination with civil war.
Mr Xenophon is relying on the ignorance of the House of the minutiae of the proceedings to pay back his Australian Friends of Palestine invitation to Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem……

But perhaps most incongruous of all is Mr Xenophon’s repeated support for the rulings of the the ICJ, where its own mandate repeats time and again the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” (or armed jihad) but sees nothing wrong with accepting testimony from the PLO, Fateh, the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic States, entities which refuse to recognize Israel, oppose compromise, justify support for terrorism, blow-up civilians, kidnap teenagers, promote Jewish hate on children’s TV, champion the use of violence and defy in words and deeds, ‘the in-admissability of use of violence’  for political ends.

Thus the behaviour of the ICJ is in direct breach of the basic canon of the very organisation it was created to supply an advisory opinion to, and Mr Xenophon either forgot or cannot comprehend, that the ICJ is in specific breach of that same Article 2, paragraph 4 of the UN Charter that he visited on the Australian parliament not five minutes earlier……

It is clear to current international jurists, that the rules of war enshrined in the Hague (1907) and Geneva Conventions (1949) which Mr Xenophon invokes, did not envision terrorism, a worldwide curse, as a major form of warfare.

America, which respects the rule of law, has taken the lead to fill the void of the gap between 1907 and 2014 by defining a new category for such terrorists – ‘illegal combatants.’

This category recognizes that one cannot abridge all the rules of warfare by targeting civilians and then expect to enjoy the privileges of POWs under the same conventions.

Mr Xenophon doesn’t appear to consider the possibility that the ICJ prefers to adhere rigidly to the 1907 and 1949 conventions written for a far-off time which does not now exist; outdated definitions that hardly reflect current realities, because it chooses to support a favoured narrative.

It is as well to remember the writings of the former president of the International Court of Justice, Judge Schwebel, who wrote that international law was largely the creation of governments and that those who advise governments on what international law is and should be were merely a product of their times.

For this reason, when Mr Xenophon repeatedly refers to the ICJ which makes rulings on evidence tendered by the 26 nations above, as an example, then one has to question Mr Xenophon’s motives in his sudden outpouring of altruistic fervour for “Palestine” in Parliament.

Mr Xenophon has been in state politics in South Australia  since 1997 and  on the national stage since 2007. Before he moved into Federal politics, Mr Xenophon also founded and ran a successful law practice in South Australia.

In February 2013, he was deported from Malaysia by the government because he was identified as a “threat to national security…” and as an Australian Senator “with an agenda” under Section 81 of the Immigration Act of that country.

In Australia, then Labor Foreign Minister Bob Carr said in 2013 that Australia needed to be “robust” in its support of Mr Xenophon and condemnation of Malaysia.

On a happier note for Mr Xenophon, in the September 7 2013 Federal elections,  he garnered a record 24.9 percent of the vote. As an independent in closely contested Houses, Mr Xenophon became eminently woo-able property because he represented a significant voting bloc. He also became attractive to anti-Israel NGOs.

On 1st May 2014, former Xenophon supporter Bob Carr, published his memoirs where he caused a media sensation when he publicly made claims about the impact of the “the Israel lobby” in Canberra.

In the second week of May 2014 (or thereabouts), Mr Xenophon visited Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem with the NGO  Adelaide Friends of Palestine as well as a popular Adelaide-based tabloid journalist of the only state daily and radio talk show host.

On May 17th 2014, the journo initiated a public campaign of pro-Palestinian Israel bashing.

On 25th June 2014, Senator Xenophon felt the altruistic urge to support the ‘underdog’ “Palestinians”, condemn Israel in Parliament and upload his efforts to YouTube.

On 26th June 2014, a small, niche leftist newspaper crowed that in Parliament, Mr Xenophon “Smashe[d] [Abbott Liberal government] spin on Occupied Territories”. Nobody much noticed.

Since his graduation from law school, Mr Xenophon built up a law practice which today deals with representing those injured, whether by motor vehicle, work related, medical negligence or public liability.

For this reason, I can safely surmise that as a lawyer in the sphere of workplace accident  and personal injury law, Mr Xenophon has built a flourishing and respected practice because, until his fulltime immersion in politics, he appeared to know what he was doing in this area.

In the arena of international law, not so much.

Mr Xenophon’s motives not only remain open to interpretation, but his demonstrated grasp of international law seems to be carefully tailored to support forgone conclusions.

But what of xenophobia? Xenophobia is defined as fear of foreigners or strangers or of their politics or culture.

In electing to push the myth of a “Palestinian” people and government both of which are today still on the record as stating that they wish the destruction and removal of the Jewish state, Nick Xenophon, together with long-standing Australian communist party member Lee Rhianon in the Senate, arguably subscribes to that same Arab Muslim xenophobia, particularly if they are Jewish.

Or Christian. Or Hindu. Or Buddhist. Or Bahai.

It is a legal argument that, Mr Xenophon, as someone who enjoys the benefits of a multicultural Australia, can never hope to win.

Under international law.