Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922

Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922
Jordan is 77% of former Palestine - Israel, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza comprise 23%.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Israel, Apartheid and the Minister for Unintelligence

[Published May 2007]

Mr. Ronnie Kasrils is South Africa’s Intelligence Minister.

He has chosen to make many unintelligent remarks in an op-ed piece written by him for the Mail and Guardian on 18 May titled “Israel 2007 : worse than apartheid” which can be located at:

Such remarks require rebuttal, especially as they have been uttered by a person of his prestige and stature.

Let me deal with some of these remarks that mouth so many similarly wild and unsubstantiated claims being uttered with growing frequency in the media by others under the guise of free speech.

1. “The West Bank and Gaza have become hermetically sealed prisons”

Freedom of movement between Gaza and Egypt is available through the Rafah border crossing and between the West Bank and Jordan through the Allenby Bridge.

Movement between Gaza and Israel and the West Bank and Israel is permitted but is more limited and subject to frequent closure during terrorist attacks or terror alerts.

How does this inflammatory and misleading statement serve any purpose?

2. “Its [the security barrier] route cuts huge swathes into the West Bank to incorporate into Israel the illegal Jewish settlements - some of which are huge towns - and annexes more and more Palestinian territory.”

The Israeli settlements are permitted in international law under article 6 of the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter provided that nothing is done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities.

Where prejudice has been proved to have occurred in construction of the security barrier, Israel’s High Court of Justice has intervened and ordered relief and will continue to do so.

The West Bank is the only territory of the Mandate for Palestine remaining unallocated between Jews and Arabs, both of whom maintain claims that are still to be resolved.

3. “The West Bank, once 22% of historic Palestine,..…”

The West Bank is only 5% of historic Palestine.

Gaza is 1% of historic Palestine ,Israel is 17% of historic Palestine and Jordan is 77% of historic Palestine .

4. “It is shocking to discover that certain roads are barred to Palestinians and reserved for Jewish settlers. I try in vain to recall anything quite obscene in apartheid South Africa”

Really, is Mr Kasrils’ memory that short ? - no blacks in restaurants or on “whites only” buses, no rights for the black majority to vote or control their own futures, separate toilets at the airports and all other public places, the banning of sex between the races - to name but a few.

Mr Kasrils was in the forefront in fighting apartheid in South Africa. What on earth did he think he was fighting?

Mr Kasrils is really insulting our intelligence with this kind of fatuous remark.

Mr Kasrils’ concern for the Palestinians is obviously sincere and well intended .

However his inane remarks leads one to conclude that his views have been formulated as a result of some fairly basic misunderstandings of the conflict that has been going on since the 1880’s in what was once called Palestine.

The ongoing refusal of the Arabs to countenance the right of Jews to have their own State in their biblical and ancestral homeland comprising 0.001% of the territory freed from Ottoman occupation by Britain and France in 1917 as part of a package deal that handed the Arabs the remaining 99.999% - eventually leading to the creation of such states as Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan - still remains the sticking point in the throats of the Arabs to this very day.

Looking at Palestine only in isolation is the trap into which many well meaning persons stumble.

The Arabs now have 22 States in which hardly a Jew lives and in which selling land to Jews is punishable by death . Arabs involved in selling land to Jews in Jerusalem have been hunted down and murdered. Try and enter Saudi Arabia if you are a Jew.

The Jews have one state - Israel - in which over 20% of the population - or more than one million - are Arab citizens. They eat in the same restaurants, travel on the same buses, use the same toilets and yes, vote in elections and even intermarry with Jews.

Who is practising apartheid?

Yes, the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza are doing it tough - but they have no one but themselves and their intransigent brethren to blame for the sorry position they find themselves in.

There was a time between 1948-1967 when Statehood in the West Bank and Gaza and even part of what is now Israel could have been achieved with the stroke of a pen. What is yearned for now was rejected then. What was available then is not available now.

This reality still eludes the Arabs as they call for 400000 Jews to pack up and vacate every square inch of the West Bank. This is cuckoo land thinking and is bound to ensure the conflict will continue.

Whilst persons like Mr Kasrils continue to make their judgements based on facts that are demonstrably wrong, they will continue to give fuel to Arab demands that are impossible for Israel to accept.

Let the influential Mr Kasrils support handing over sovereignty of the Arab occupied areas of the West Bank to Jordan as a means of ending the indignities he witnessed on his recent wanderings.

That would be an intelligent contribution to resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict. His article certainly isn’t.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Gaza's Growing Graveyard

[Published May 2007]

Gaza’s slow slide into the network of weapons smuggling tunnels built under its foundations has now turned into a headlong rush into hell.

Heavily armed factions now battle each other in a deadly civil war for political power and control of the billions of dollars in humanitarian aid and reconstruction funds flowing into the territory by courtesy of the European Union and the United Nations.

200 people have been killed and almost 2000 injured so far this year as a result of this rapidly escalating internecine violence that now has sucked Israel in once again, as scores of Kassam rockets continue to be fired indiscriminately into civilian centres in Israel from a well stocked arsenal smuggled into Gaza through Egypt.

Israel’s unilateral evacuation from Gaza in August 2005 was intended to signal Israel’s readiness to find a peaceful solution to competing claims by Jews and Arabs to sovereignty in Gaza and the West Bank.

Instead we are now witnesses to scenes of death and violence in Gaza that no one could have predicted when the world’s broadcasting networks showed their images of thousands of distressed and anguished Israeli soldiers and police removing 7000 crying and in some cases defiant Jews from their homes and livelihoods after a presence of almost forty years.

Certainly the trashing and eradication of the Jewish presence in Gaza, the continued violence against the Jewish State and the hatred and incitement of Gaza’s civilian population against Jews were foreseen by many, as Israel was roundly criticised in many quarters for acting unilaterally as it did.

But no one could have reasonably expected to see Arab killing Arab in Gaza in an unending cycle of violence over the past twelve months.

It is pointless to assign blame for Gaza’s failure to grasp the baton handed to the Palestinian Authority by Israel. Others can and will no doubt do so as the situation continues to worsen.

However, having dropped the baton and allowed Gaza to reach the stage of lawlessness it now has, the Authority has shown itself to be a lame duck without any power or authority to conclude any kind of agreement with Israel on Gaza and the West Bank.

The late Abba Eban, Israel’s first Ambassador to the United Nations, famously said in 1973:

“The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity”

The Palestinian Authority has become the latest example of that most apposite statement.

As the carnage continues, those supporters of the Palestinian Authority and its President Mahmoud Abbas - the 22 Arab League States, America, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations - look on and, as usual, wring their hands, say a lot, but as usual do nothing to stop it.

They continue to promote and cling to the two state solution formulated by them in 2002 and 2003 that remain unimplemented in even the slightest detail and have no prospects of ever being successfully concluded - as if nothing has happened in the meantime.

They place their faith in Abbas being able to deliver the Palestinians on those completely flawed plans - totally ignoring the shift in power caused by the ascension of Hamas in Gaza that calls for Israel’s total destruction.

They still fail to understand that the only negotiating address in Gaza today is Prime Minister Haniyeh of Hamas. No amount of fiction or make believe by the Arab League, the Quartet or Israel for that matter can possibly change that current reality.

Abbas does not have enough power to fill his fountain pen let alone put his signature on any agreement with Israel that he can enforce.

Perhaps as they ponder their next step the Arab League and the Quartet should carefully heed the less quoted words of Abba Eban which appeared in Newsweek on 2 December 1974:

“But in addition to warnings about the futility of war should we not reflect together on the availability of peace? Palestine comes into modern history as a region extending on both sides of the Jordan, comprising the present sovereign territories of Israel and Jordan and the administered areas of the West Bank and Gaza. Of this original Palestine, 80 per cent became an exclusively Arab domain through the separation of Transjordan from Palestine.”

Jordan has always been and still continues to be the only negotiating address for anyone interested in seeking a solution to the West Bank and Gaza between Israel and the Arabs.

Division of the West Bank and Gaza between Jordan and Israel is the only possible outcome that has any reasonable prospect of success.

In an interview published in the Khaleej Times on 11 October 2006, King Abdullah of Jordan declared:

“I really think that by the first half of 2007 we might wake up to reality and realise that the two-state solution is no longer attainable, and then what?”

Until the Arab League and the Quartet understand and act on this reality, the graveyard will continue to grow in Gaza and ultimately and unfortunately extend to the graveyards in the West Bank and Israel.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Jordan and Israel - Singing the same song?

[Published 4 May 2007]

Jordan and Israel have reportedly embarked on secret negotiations to end the impasse in the West Bank and Gaza according to Matthew Guttman of ABC News (3 May 2007).

If true, such negotiations might successfully conclude 17 years of failed diplomacy that has included;
(i) the Oslo fiasco conceived by Shimon Peres and Yossi Beilin and reluctantly adopted by Yitzchak Rabin,
(ii) Ehud Barak’s unprecedented concessions, supported by US President Bill Clinton but rejected by Yasser Arafat ,
(iii) Ariel Sharon’s evacuation of 8000 Jews from Gaza and parts of the West Bank,
(iv) Ehud Olmert’s stillborn plan to remove another 70000 Jews out of the West Bank at a cost of US$10 billion,
(v) the Saudi Peace Plan designed to remove all 400000 Jews from the West Bank and allow millions of Arabs to live in Israel,
(vi) The Geneva Peace Initiative and
(vii) US President George Bush’s Road Map promoting the creation of a second Arab State within the boundaries of former Palestine - backed by the United Nations, the European Union and Russia dubbed the Quartet

All of these initiatives have not brought peace and now have no value other than learning tools to instruct future negotiators on how not to commence or handle negotiations in the Middle East.

Jordan was the common denominator excluded from all of these failed processes. It was left out at its own insistence but the Quartet and Israeli negotiators must share the blame for allowing this to occur - virtually by default - and for the pathetic results that inevitably followed.

Any negotiations without Jordan were doomed to failure from the outset.

Jordan, after all, is the Arab State created, built on and occupying 77% of Palestine whose exclusively Arab population is no different in ethnicity, religion, language or cultural beliefs to the Arabs living in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel.

Hundreds of thousands are related by familial and clan ties stretching across the Jordan River which runs between Jordan and the West Bank. All live within an easy one to two hours drive of each other.

Jordan is the country that occupied the West Bank from 1948-1967. It only ceded its claims to sovereignty in the West Bank in 1988 after being pressured by the Arab League and the Palestine Liberation Organisation to do so.

Jordan annexed the West Bank in 1950 which was recognised by Britain and Pakistan at that time.

Jordan’s rulers, not the PLO, have successfully preserved almost four fifths of Palestine as an exclusively Arab State. Not one Jew lives there today and the death penalty awaits any one found selling land to Jews. This is no mean feat given that Jordan was originally designated by the League of Nations in 1922 to be part of the territory in which the national home for the Jews was to be reconstituted under the Mandate for Palestine granted to Great Britain.

Contrast this to the remaining 23% of Palestine where 17% - today called Israel - has a population that is 80% Jewish and 20% Arab whilst the remaining 6% - today called the West Bank - has a population that is 80% Arab and 20% Jewish .

Yet the fiction has been created that the Arabs of Palestine lack a State and have been stripped of any rights to self determination in Palestine.

The fact is that Jordan and Israel are the successor sovereign States in former Palestine together exercising sovereignty in 94% of Palestine whilst sovereignty in the remaining 6% still remains unresolved and unallocated after 59 years.

Commonsense rejects the idea of creating a second Arab or, for that matter, a second Jewish State in this remaining 6% of Palestine - an area about the size of Delaware or just two thirds of Cyprus.

The obvious solution is to redraw the boundary between Jordan and Israel so that the heavily populated Jewish areas of the West Bank become part of Israel and the heavily populated Arab areas of the West Bank (together possibly with Gaza) become part of Jordan.

This is certainly attainable as Jordan and Israel are parties to a peace treaty signed in 1994, which they both have observed in good faith, with mutual dignity and respect despite some strains in their relationship over the years.

Jordan and Israel could be confidently expected to realign the border to ensure that very few Jews or Arabs would be faced with deciding whether to move from their existing residences or stay put as part of a minority population. Compensation would be paid if they decided to move and become part of the majority population on the other side of the new border.

Guidelines to deal with controversial issues such as water, refugees and Jerusalem are already set out in the Jordan - Israel Peace Treaty.

Unceasing and unsuccessful efforts to sign a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinian Authority have led nowhere in the last 17 years and threaten to continue to do so ad infinitum whilst the fiction writers continue to believe that a new State between Jordan and Israel is the answer to the conflict between Jews and Arabs.

How many more Jews and Arabs need to be killed and maimed in the pursuit of a solution that has not got even the slightest chance of success?

Perhaps the following words from American composer Cole Porter’s song - “I’ve got you under my skin” - should resonate in the ears of Jordanian and Israeli negotiators as their secret talks proceed :

“Don’t you know you fool, you never can win
Use your mentality, wake up to reality”

That reality is that two peoples, the Jews and the Arabs, need two States, not three States, in Palestine.

At last Jordan and Israel may finally be singing the same song. Everyone interested in ending the 130 years conflict between the Jews and Arabs - including the Quartet -should join in.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Israel - Fresh elections,not musical chairs

[Published May 2007]

The severity of the criticism heaped on Israel's Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, and the Defence Minister Amir Peretz by the Winograd Commission demands the immediate calling of fresh elections to allow the Israeli electorate to have its say on whether the Government still retains the public's confidence.

The Government's culpability did not start and end with the Second Lebanon War.

The writing was on the wall long before the Winograd Commission delivered its' scathing interim Report.

Any idea of playing musical chairs by simply replacing Mr. Olmert and Mr Peretz must be resisted .

Every member of the Government must accept responsibility for the precarious position in which Israel finds itself today.

Mr Olmert's unqualified support for two States between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean has not got off the ground despite the active involvement of America, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.

The Government seems incapable of formulating an alternative policy to break the deadlock such as proposing negotiations for the division of the West Bank between Jordan and Israel within the context of their present peace treaty. The best it has managed to do is express interest in discussing the 2002 Arab League Peace Initiative, which had already been comprehensively rejected by previous Governments.

Gross errors of judgement in pursuing its policy of unilateral withdrawal such as the abandonment of the physical control of the Philadelphi corridor between Gaza and Egypt and the failure to stop the indiscriminate rocketing of Israeli civilian population centres from Gaza have resulted in Israel's national and security interests being placed in great danger.

The Government has witnessed the rise of a Hamas dominated Government in Gaza, the unrestrained arming of myriad terrorist groups and the entry of Al Qaida into the conflict in the region. It has sat on its haunches and done little of any consequence in any of these areas.

Israel's Arab enemies now believe that further unilateral withdrawals by Israel can be achieved by the continued use of violence, forcing Israel to retreat to more vulnerable borders.

The Government's attempt to negotiate with Palestinian Authority President Abbas to the exclusion of Prime Minister Haniyeh has failed miserably. Photo opportunities at bi-weekly meetings are a waste of time and will not bring tangible results.

Contemplating the release of 1400 prisoners, many of them murderers, for the return of one soldier, indicates the sense of hopelessness in Government circles. Waiting in the background are the decisions that will then have to be taken to procure the release of two more soldiers captured by Hezbollah.

Surrounded by countries that do not recognise its' existence and threatened to be nuked by Iran and attacked by Syria, Israel's Government appears to be bankrupt of any effective policies to counter all the threats facing the country at this time.

Add to this a number of corruption scandals alleged against Government members and one gets a very depressing picture about this Government's ability to govern at one of the most critical stages in Israel's 59 year history.

The Government needs to come clean, clearly articulate its policies in all of these areas and go to the polls to obtain a mandate to implement them from the Israeli electorate.

Clearly the resignation of Mr Olmert and Mr Peretz will solve nothing. Clinging to power at any cost without facing up to the electorate is the last thing Israel needs at this critical juncture.

Only fresh elections can reverse the downhill slide into which Israel is rapidly descending. Surely any other course of action at this time is a sell-out and a subversion of the democratic process.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Quartet Crumbles, Arab League Rumbles, Israel Fumbles

[Published 15-03-2007]

America, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations - the Quartet - have now apparently decided that their shared vision of creating a second Arab State in former Palestine -in addition to Jordan - is unrealistic and unattainable.

It has taken the Quartet four years of fruitless endeavour to finally understand that this vision has turned into a nightmare, that its' negotiating skills have been found wanting, totally inept and ineffective, and that its' inability to exercise any persuasive leadership or control over the negotiations has made it the laughing stock of the Arab world.

Competent negotiators know that you don't start negotiations unless you can reasonably be assured of a successful outcome. The Quartet has stumbled badly and its' reputation has been shot to pieces.

You would think that in these circumstances the Quartet would understand the need to go back to the drawing board and formulate a new policy that did not have the creation of another Arab State in former Palestine as its' centrepiece.

Instead the Quartet has decided to create a symphony orchestra by joining with the 22 members of the Arab League in pursuing the League's outdated and totally flawed 2002 Peace Initiative - which calls for precisely the same second Arab State to be created in former Palestine.

By what stretch of the imagination does the Quartet believe the Arab Plan will succeed when its' own plan has so spectacularly failed to be implemented in even the smallest detail?

Does the Arab plan have any more desirable features than the Quartet's Plan to enable this new Arab state - the 23rd in the world - to be created?

Definitely not for the following reasons:

(i) It demands the right of return to Israel of all Arabs (and their descendants) who have not lived there for the last 60 years , which even our intrepid Quartet found to be totally unrealistic.

The Quartet's view on this outrageous proposal is set out in the letter George Bush gave to Israel's then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the White House on 14 April 2004 (the Bush Pledge) which explicitly stated:

"It seems clear that an agreed, just, fair and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement will need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in Israel."

(ii) It demands the right of expulsion of 400000 Jews living in the West Bank for the last 40 years - ethnic cleansing at its' cruellest and most primeval level , a gross abuse of international humanitarian law and as racist as you can get.

The Bush Pledge said of this pernicious proposal :

"In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities."

(iii) It demands the return of every single inch of the West Bank to Arab rule. No ifs and buts- every single inch.

This makes a mockery of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 which made it clear to the Arabs that more than a few inches of the West Bank would remain in Israel's hands.

Again the Bush Pledge was firm and uncompromising stating:

"As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338."

It is critical to understand that the Arab League Plan is not something that is open to bargaining of the kind one usually indulges in on a visit to an Arab bazaar where the end result usually involves the shopkeeper running down the street after the departing customer, frantically prepared at that stage to do any deal he can conclude.

The Arab leadership has made it crystal clear that its' plan is an "all or nothing proposal".

Israel and the Quartet must somehow think otherwise as both suddenly find something of value in an overture that has been ignored for the last five years.

What could possibly lead them to that conclusion is the real mystery.

What is also crystal clear is that the symphony orchestra will not play a note of this score and that it will be consigned to the dustbin of history like the many plans that have preceded it. Anyone buying tickets to this performance will be bitterly disappointed .

The creation of a second Arab State in former Palestine on the terms demanded by the Arab League is dead in the water.

There is only one piece left to be performed- the division of the West Bank between Jordan and Israel.

Who in the orchestra will have the guts to grab the baton, get on the podium and bring this program to a successful finale?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Jordan's King Abdullah - The Ham In The Sandwich

[Published March 2007]

Jordan's King Abdullah is a desperate man judging by his historic speech to the United States Congress on 7 March 2007 - and with good reason.

The Road Map - designed to create a second Arab state in former Palestine, in addition to Jordan -has unfolded in total disarray.

The Road Map had begun as a vision of President George Bush on 24 June 2002. It was an answer to, and a rejection of, the Arab Peace Initiative endorsed by the Arab League in Beirut just three months earlier.

The detailed provisions of the Road Map were finally endorsed and launched in a blaze of publicity in April 2003 by the strongest negotiating team ever assembled in world history -America, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations - affectionately dubbed the Quartet.

The Quartet's newly created State was to be born by 2005. But as of today, it is still only a twinkle in the eyes of its' sponsors and any prospects of conception, let alone its' birth, passed long ago.

On the face of it the Road Map was a sure fire winner. However its' failure to predict intransigent Arab negotiating positions was to prove its' downfall.

Only 6000 square kilometres of land known as the West Bank and Gaza was involved - an area about the size of Tokyo or Chicago.

Israel had already agreed to forego its' claims to at least 4000 square kilometres and possibly even more - depending on whose version you accept - in negotiations at Camp David presided over by President Clinton in 2000.

Surely all that was needed was a push and a shove, a tweak here and a tweak there, to divide the remaining 2000 square kilometres between the disputants thus ending what the Quartet seriously claimed to be the most intractable problem facing the world.

This has not occurred for two reasons - the Arabs wanted it all and they demanded that the 400000 Jews living there be thrown out.

Now King Abdullah has appeared before the US Congress to promote the Arab Peace Initiative as the way forward out of the Quartet's dilemma. But this Initiative demands precisely these very same unacceptable outcomes.

One must feel sorry for the predicament of King Abdullah being caught up as the unwilling filling in the Road Map - Arab Peace Initiative sandwich.

Arab unity demands he stand by the Arab Initiative and be seen to be one of its' major sponsors as the Arab world tries to rally international support for this totally flawed and outdated plan.

History and his heart should tell him something else - he needs to give the hapless Quartet the opportunity to re-route its' Road Map by announcing his readiness to negotiate the division of sovereignty of the West Bank between Jordan and Israel.

The reasons for this are compelling:

(i) Jordan was the last sovereign Arab occupier of the West Bank from 1948 -1967 during which time its' Arab residents were Jordanian citizens and subject to Jordanian law.

(ii) Such negotiations would conclude the division of the land contained in the Mandate for Palestine between the two successor States to the Mandate - Jordan and Israel.

(iii) The negotiations would take place within the parameters of the existing peace treaty signed by Israel and Jordan in 1994, where "deal breakers" such as refugees, Jerusalem and water have already been identified and solutions prescribed.

(iv) The negotiations could be concluded within a relatively short period of time based on the general principle that the heavily populated Arab areas would become part of Jordan whilst the heavily populated Jewish areas would become part of Israel

(v) No Arabs or Jews would be forced to leave their present homes. Where Jews or Arabs found themselves on the wrong side of the new border, they could be given the option of staying as citizens or being compensated if they wanted to move.

Jordan clearly does not have the strength to announce and enter into these negotiations of its own volition.

It needs the political, financial, and military support of the Quartet and the endorsement of the Arab League.

King Abdullah's plea to the Congress for "America's leadership in a peace process that delivers results not next year, not in five years, but this year" must be understood in the light of the choices now facing the Quartet, Jordan and the Arab League.

Following the Road Map in the direction of the Arab Peace Initiative can only lead to a dead end and guarantee many more years of death and suffering for the Jewish and Arab inhabitants in the region.

Dividing the West Bank between Jordan and Israel can open a new page in the Road Map that will answer His Majesty's emotional plea before the Congress for all people in the region to be allowed to live in peace and harmony.

Let us hope that the ingredients for the new peace sandwich will include lashings of encouragement and support by the Quartet and the Arab League for Jordan's central role in resolving the conflict.

If it doesn't, who will eat the stale sandwiches and who will be left to pick up the crumbs?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Arab League, Apple Pie and Indigestion

[Published March 2007}

Jordan's King Abdullah is at it again repeating the mantra of the Arab League of which Jordan is a foundation member:

"The principal problem in the region is the Palestinian issue and, if it is not solved, it will be impossible to solve other problems." [Jerusalem Post 2 March 2007]

Palestine comprised an area of about 120000 square kilometres, which has now been divided into two sovereign States - Israel (22000 square kilometres) and Jordan (92000 square kilometres) - plus an area of 6000 square kilometres called the West Bank and Gaza in which statehood still remains undeclared.

The Arab League has called for full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and the West Bank and Israel's acceptance of an independent Arab State there with East Jerusalem as its capitol.

This means

(i) the expulsion of some 400000 Jews presently living in the West Bank who have lived there for all or part of the last 40 years.

(ii) the perpetual abandonment by Jews of all claims to reconstitute their national home in the West Bank and Gaza as conferred on them by the League of Nations and confirmed by the United Nations.

(iii) The severance of the Jews from their biblical heartland where they lived as an independent nation long before any Arabs came to the area as foreign conquerors and occupiers seven centuries after the birth of Jesus.

The Arab League has shown no indication of any readiness to abandon this "all or nothing approach" by agreeing to the Jews retaining and living in a portion of this disputed territory whilst the remainder and its Arab residents becomes part of Jordan as it was between 1948 and 1967.

A second Arab State in Palestine, which has been propounded for the last 20 years, is as ridiculous as suggesting a second Jewish State in Palestine.

Two peoples - the Jews and the Arabs - need two States in former Palestine not three.

Whilst the Arab League persists with this intransigent attitude there is indeed a problem, but one solely of the Arab League's choosing.

The Arab League presently is made up of 22 member States covering almost 14 million square kilometres in which almost 320 million Arabs reside.

It is incredulous and completely false to continually advocate that a dispute over 6000 square kilometres housing 3 million Arabs must first be settled before all the other problems in the region can be resolved.

Yet this is precisely what the Arab League has sold to the Quartet - America, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union. - and they have swallowed it hook line and sinker

Besotted by this tale that could have come from the Arabian Nights, the Quartet has thrown billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of hours in aid and diplomatic manoeuvring in trying to solve this problem. They have not got the disputants to even move off the starting blocks.

Meanwhile the Arab League has allowed far more serious bushfires to rage out of control in some of its' own member States, that threaten to eventually consume the Arab League itself.

In fact some League members such as Syria are actively helping to fan the fires by providing arms, money and safe transit for terrorists to bring down the Governments of other member States where life is anything but pleasant.

The League's biggest problem involves a non Arab state - Iran - as it seeks leadership of the Islamic world through the supremacy of Shia Islam as the dominant Islamic religion over Sunni Islam , the religion of the majority of the Arabs.

This is the clash of ideologies that must first take place before militant Islam can hope to achieve its aim of making Islam the world's dominant religion.

Islam can only have one leader not two to achieve this objective. Will that leader be Shia or Sunni?

The Arab League's failure to prevent Iran interfering in the affairs of Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority and Iraq has given Iran and the Shiites easy entrée into the Arab World and put the Arab League's very future existence under serious threat.

The white ants are on the march and the Arab edifice is in danger of total collapse.

Perhaps it is time for the Quartet to tell the Arab League to start solving the problems affecting their own member States such as Lebanon, Iraq, Algeria, Somalia and Sudan where the lives of 100 million people are at risk every day and where the sight of Moslem blowing up Moslem and mosque after mosque being bombed is unbelievable

The Quartet should also put the Palestinian question on the backburner and focus their attention, effort and political clout (if any is left) on the real and pressing issues outlined above.

Creating another Arab State on 6000 square kilometres of land when you already have 22 Arab States on 14 million square kilometres of land reminds me of the glutton who was given 99.5% of the apple pie but still was not satisfied and demanded the rest.

He ended up with severe indigestion.

[The writer acknowledges Wikipedia as the source for the statistics appearing in this article]

Friday, October 5, 2007

Going Gaga over Gaza

[Published February 2007]

Gaza has all the trappings of a State except declared Statehood.

The Quartet - America, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union - and the 22 members of the Arab League have allowed this farce to continue for the last 18 months.

Gaza, larger in area than Malta, has a President, a Parliament, a Prime Minister, a full complement of Ministers, a burgeoning bureaucracy, observers to every United Nations Committee you can think of, delegations to countries all around the world, a flag and an anthem and most importantly of all - not one Jew.

It is as racially pure as you could imagine, making South Africa’s apartheid regime pale in comparison.

The 7000 Jews living in Gaza were forcibly removed from their homes and businesses 18 months ago. That they were so evicted by other Jews, supposedly for their safety, is shameful. However given half a chance the Gazan Arabs would have willingly expelled the Jews. They even boasted that it was their campaign of terror and violence that finally forced the Jews to leave. Ethnic cleansing is apparently acceptable where Jews are the victims.

The violence against Jews has been replaced by the killing and intimidation of Gaza’s now exclusively Arab citizenry, as Hamas and Fatah each battle to assert their authority over the other in an internecine struggle that shows no signs of abating.

The people without a land who had been yearning for a land for the last 40 years suddenly found itself in full possession and control of part of that land but just couldn’t bring itself to utter the magic words of independence. Figuratively speaking the jilted bride was left waiting at the mosque.

The occupation had ended, the occupiers had gone but the population acted as though nothing had changed.

There was no rejoicing and dancing in the streets, no hugs embraces and tears among the populace who now found themselves in full control of their destiny and self-determination. Instead the liberated population could not quickly enough destroy, burn and gut, synagogues, schools, houses and infrastructure left behind by the Jews and then turn around and try to destroy each other.

There have been no exciting nation building programs implemented to give new direction and vision to Gaza’s population. Destruction, not creation, has become the buzzword in Gaza.

Sadly statehood is the last thing that Gaza wanted because it would put an end to the claim of statelessness, terminate the claim to refugee status by a large proportion of its population and signal the end of the perpetual financial support received from UNWRA.

Furthermore statehood might be taken to be an abandonment of further claims to any land that formerly comprised the Mandate of Palestine.

The reticence of the Arab League in these circumstances was misplaced. True, Statehood for Gaza would pull the rug from under the feet of this cartel and put pressure on it to end its refusal to recognise or negotiate with the State of Israel. But the League’s policy of silence and its’ failure to intervene has seen Gaza’s population become a killing field of ever growing proportions.

The Quartet however need not have been so coy. It had a different agenda aimed at solving “the Palestinian question” which it considered to be the most intractable problem in the Middle East.

The removal of all Jews from Gaza presented the Quartet with the opening it had been desperately seeking to take a giant step forward in solving this problem. Yet the Quartet faltered dismally in failing to demand that the Parliament in Gaza declare statehood within the boundaries that separate it from Israel and Egypt.

This single act could have been the circuit breaker towards ending 130 years of conflict between Jews and Arabs over the same land.

Instead the Quartet misguidedly focused its efforts on attempting to achieve an overall rather than a partial solution to Arab claims in the West Bank and Gaza in fulfilment of its‘ misconceived Road Map aimed at creating a third State in Mandatory Palestine.

It has now paid the price for its’ folly.

The Quartet’s failure to insist on Gaza declaring its independence has created a void into which Hamas has stepped making it impossible now to achieve statehood in Gaza.

The frantic shuttle diplomacy and endless meetings that seem to never have any outcome other than the accumulation of frequent flyer points for their participants will continue to be held, and the killing and mayhem in Gaza will continue to head the news bulletins.

It is time to call on Jordan and Egypt to play a constructive role in cleaning up the mess in Gaza, which is quickly sinking into the arms smuggling tunnels it has been so busily excavating under its very foundations.

The time for playing semantic word games, holding joint press conferences and grabbing photo opportunities is surely over.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Israel's next President?

[Published October 2006]

Elie Wiesel's decision to turn down the offer to become Israel's next President is to be deeply regretted.

Mr Wiesel, 77, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. The Norwegian Nobel Committee called him a
"messenger to mankind,"
noting that through his struggle to come to terms with
"his own personal experience of total humiliation and of the utter contempt for humanity shown in Hitler's death camps,"
as well as his
"practical work in the cause of peace,"
he had delivered a powerful message
"of peace, atonement and human dignity"
to humanity.

Mr. Wiesel lives in America where he teaches at Boston University. He became an American citizen in 1963. He has recently received an honorary knighthood from the Queen of England.

Hopefully it is not too late to have Mr Wiesel rethink his decision.

The position of President is ceremonial only and carries no political power. However it offers the holder the opportunity to come into contact with all sectors of Israeli society and Jews worldwide and to represent Israel on State visits to other countries.

The President is the public persona of Israel and the Jewish people.

It was an inspired decision that led Israel's Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, to offer the Presidency to a non-Israeli at this time.

It recognised that 9 million of the world's Jewish population of 14 million do not live in Israel yet could still aspire to be appointed to the most prestigious and honourable position in the country.

Such an appointment would acknowledge the close relationship and mutual dependency between Jews in Israel and outside Israel and emphasise that the fate of each is bound up with and affects the fate of the other.

Many Jews living outside Israel have children and grandchildren who have migrated to and settled, in Israel. Others have business interests that lead to them spending extensive periods of time in Israel. A large number make frequent visits particularly at times of high religious significance.

Programs for young people attract tens of thousands annually to spend many weeks, months and even years in Israel reinforcing their Jewish identity resulting, in many cases, in their migrating to Israel permanently. All Jewish educational programs outside Israel involve the teaching of the history and geography of Israel from biblical times to the present day.

The appointment of a non-Israeli Jew as President would give renewed meaning to the Mandate for Palestine created by the League of Nations in 1922.

The Mandate endorsed
"the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people"
thereby giving recognition
"to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country"
without prejudice to
"the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country".

The international community confirmed this commitment in 1946 by inserting Article 80 into the United Nations Charter giving Jews living anywhere in the World at that time or future generations the entitlement in international law to take up residence there at any time of their own choosing.

Israel is going through one of the most difficult periods since its establishment in 1948 as it now faces

(i) internal political scandals involving its current President, Moshe Katsav, Prime Minister Olmert, other politicians and military leaders,

(ii) calls for its total destruction by Iranian President Ahmadinijad and the Hamas led Government in Gaza

(iii) demands from the European Union and the 22 Arab States making up the Arab League that Israel withdraw to insecure and indefensible boundaries notwithstanding the provisions of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242.

A non-Israeli President could well serve as the rallying point for Jews in Israel and elsewhere to overcome the malaise that appears to have settled upon the Jewish people. This is encouraging Arab enemies of the Jewish State to believe that the time is fast coming for another all out attack to eliminate this thriving democratic State from among the nations of the world.

Israel desperately needs to stir the World's conscience and memory of its decisions to allow the Jews to return to the tiny country from whence they were expelled more than 2000 years ago, to ensure they will never be driven out again, and to guarantee that Israel will have sufficient space to absorb future generations of Jews who may wish to migrate and settle there.

Appointing an eminent and distinguished non-Israeli as the next President of the State of Israel could indeed be the catalyst that will help achieve these objectives.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Jordan's Justified Jitters

[ Published October 2006]

King Abdullah of Jordan is nervous and for good reason.

He has publicly expressed his growing concern at the continuing power struggles, internal fighting and economic disaster occurring in Gaza and the implications this will have for the "two-state solution" sponsored almost four years ago by America, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations -- the so called Quartet.

The Quartet's proposal called for the creation of a 23rd independent Arab State within Gaza and the West Bank - the remaining 6% of the former League of Nations Mandate for Palestine unallocated between Israel (17%) and Jordan (77%).

The Quartet has suffered acute embarrassment and loss of face as the plan still remains unimplemented in even one small detail, whilst Arab intransigence continues to deny any claim by Israel to even one square kilometre of this territory.

Even worse, the Quartet's diplomatic failure to get the process up and running has exposed it as a toothless tiger in the face of resurgent Arab nationalism and mounting Islamic terrorism worldwide.

Seeking to create yet another Arab State within all or part of the West Bank and Gaza - an area of just 6200 square kilometres -- rather than dividing this territory between the 90,000 square kilometres of Jordan and the 22,000 square kilometres of Israel has proved to be an error of disastrous proportions.

The Quartet endorsed the claim that the Arabs living in the West Bank and Gaza were entitled to a separate State of their own even though they were no different in religion, language or culture to their brethren and families living less than one hour's drive away.

Additional Arab League demands for the transfer of 400,000 Jews back to Israel, as well as the return of millions of Arabs or their descendants to Israel displaced as a result of the War in 1948 effectively ended any possibility of the Quartet's plan ever succeeding.

Now King Abdullah has had enough and has firmly spoken out against these failed Arab policies.

In an interview published in the Khaleej Times on 11 October 2006, King Abdullah declared:

"I really think that by the first half of 2007 we might wake up to reality and realise that the two-state solution is no longer attainable, and then what?"

He gave further vent to his frustration by saying:

"I think we are really running out of time. Physically, on the ground and geographically, I think there is less and less of a West Bank and Jerusalem to talk about"

He warned:

"We want to go back to the 1967 borders. We are talking about that today. Are we going to talk about that tomorrow though? This is the danger."

King Abdullah recognises that compromise with Israel to achieve the Quartet's two-state solution will involve the return of something less than the entire West Bank and Gaza.

His view will not resonate well with the Arab League, which is in no mood to moderate its extreme and totally unrealistic demands.

If the two-state solution falls by the wayside as a result, King Abdullah is clearly fearful that another war might break out that could involve Jordan and even possibly lead to an attempt to overthrow his rule in Jordan as radical terrorist groups seek another springboard for their assault on Israel.

The rapidly deteriorating conditions in Gaza and the threat of civil war there spilling over into the West Bank could well see Jordan and possibly Egypt intervening with Israel's support to oust the Hamas Government in Gaza, restore law and order and regain international financial support to assist and rehabilitate the Arab populations of the West Bank and Gaza to live in peace among themselves and with their neighbours.

This could ultimately involve what should have been the Quartet's objective in the first place --the division of sovereignty in the West Bank and Gaza between Israel, Jordan and possibly Egypt.

This is and has always been the only possible solution for the West Bank and Gaza.

It is a pity that international and Arab diplomacy for the last 13 years has totally focused its efforts on imposing another Arab State between Israel, Jordan and Egypt.

King Abdullah now fears this diplomacy will come to naught by the first half of 2007.

If this indeed happens, then the opportunity must be taken by Israel, Jordan and Egypt, with the assistance of the Quartet, to restore some sanity and reality by creatively resolving a conflict that has defied everyone's best efforts for the last 125 years.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Pouring aid down drains and tunnels

[Published September 2006]

Lebanon and Gaza's five million population continue to enjoy international largesse on a scale not offered to hundreds of millions racked by AIDS, hunger, starvation or conflict in many of the world's numerous trouble spots.

$30 billion in reconstruction and humanitarian aid has already been given to Lebanon and Gaza. This is in addition to the $20 billion shelled out to the Palestinians by UNWRA over the last 58 years.

A further $1.7 billion in international aid has now been promised to repair the latest damage and destruction there following two unprovoked attacks into Israel by terrorist elements operating freely, openly and without Government constraint in both Lebanon and Gaza.

The donors have sent a clear signal to Lebanon and Gaza that they will continue to be compensated for, rather than suffer the consequences of, aggression against Israel emanating from their territory.

One shudders to think what the 15,000 United Nations peacekeepers will also be costing during their sojourn in Lebanon and how that money could have been more wisely spent if the current conflict had not erupted.

The world's donations to Lebanon and Gaza have been an unmitigated disaster.

Given freely and generously and with the best of intentions, donors have never sought to attach any strings or demand full and open accountability.

This has allowed a climate of corruption and nepotism to flourish and to create a cargo cult mentality that has done nothing to help the man in the street to make a better life for himself and his family. It has helped prolong conflict in the region rather than resolving it.

Mohammed Dahlan, the former Palestinian Authority Interior Minister aptly summed up the situation when he said that the funds given to the Palestinians "have gone down the drain and we don't know to where." [Guardian 2 August 2004]

It is a safe bet that this latest infusion of money will also end up being either unaccounted for or spent on reconstruction that will yet once more come crashing to the ground in a pile of rubble when the next clash inevitably occurs between Israel and its' two frontline enemies.

It is now time for the world to reflect on the futility of continuing such unprecedented generosity at the expense of others equally, if not far more, deserving.

Donors need to direct their aid funds to other parts of the world where the money may have a lasting and more beneficial effect assisting people crying out for help who are continuously ignored or receive a mere pittance in aid that often arrives too late.

International donors pouring billions of dollars into the Middle East to repair the consequences of conflict is a complete waste of money whilst the region remains in a state of ongoing belligerence.

This is guaranteed to continue as the Arab League presses its demands for

(i) the return of every square centimetre of land lost by Jordan and Egypt to Israel in 1967 and

(ii) the right of return to Israel - the 22% of former Palestine not now under exclusive Arab control - by former Arab residents of that area.

These non-negotiable demands make any international attempts to end the conflict not worth the effort as President Clinton painfully discovered at Camp David in 2000.

These demands have destroyed the Oslo Peace Process and the Quartet's Road Map. They have completely nullified United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 which recognised that Israel's boundaries would never again be those defined by the armistice lines existing prior to 1967.

The world's four most powerful men - Messrs Bush, Putin ,Chirac and Annan - have been exposed as diplomatic eunuchs in the face of the Arab League's uncompromising stance on these two issues.

Until this intransigent mind set is changed, the continued granting of financial aid will only end up being poured down the network of tunnels that have been so assiduously and painstakingly excavated in both Lebanon and Gaza for the purposes of making war not peace.

The Arab League must be told in no uncertain terms that no further international financial aid will be given to any of its members to repair the consequences of conflict until these demands are dropped and steps are taken to restore sovereignty over each members' territory to the Government of that territory.

Perhaps the withholding of international financial support will bring the breakthrough to peace that has remained so elusive for the past 125 years. If not, at least it will lead to the money being spent where it will be put to better use.

If the Arab League fails to respond then let it answer for and provide the aid to repair the damage and destruction that will inevitably continue to occur if these demands are not abandoned.

There is no light at the end of the tunnels in Lebanon and Gaza, only the promise of ongoing conflict and suffering.

Those who fail to recognize the folly of continuing financial aid for reconstruction in such a region are truly suffering from tunnel vision.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Lemmings or Lions?

[Published August 2006]

The ceasefire brokered by the United Nations in Lebanon offers possibly the last chance for political stability to be restored in Lebanon and for Lebanon to rid itself forever of forces over which it has no control.

Will the United Nations and the Lebanese Government seize this opportunity and finally act like lions or will they, like lemmings, continue to rush towards the edge of the abyss into which both have already started to slide and from which both may never get out?

Judging by what is happening, it appears that the lemmings will again prevail over the lions.

Woe betide Lebanon if this is allowed to happen.

The United Nations appears to be balking at giving its 15,000 strong force being sent into Lebanon clear rules of engagement to disarm and disband Hezbollah as Security Council Resolution 1559 demands.

Failure to do so will confirm that the United Nations is not prepared to translate its Security Council resolutions into concrete action.

It will send a clear message to terrorist groups world wide and their sponsoring States that Security Council resolutions are not worth the paper they are written on and that terrorists can continue to operate with impunity from any member's sovereign territory free of international intervention to forcibly remove them.

The United Nations force must be given the right to search for and destroy all armaments not under the control of the Lebanese Government, to stop the delivery of armaments into Lebanon unless expressly approved by the Lebanese Government and to take all steps including armed intervention to disband the structure and organization of Hezbollah's military arm.

Anything less will be a waste of time and lead to Israel intervening once again with even more devastating force to defend its own sovereign territorial integrity.

Hezbollah has justified its continuing occupation of 2400 square kilometres of Lebanon -- one quarter of the country -- as necessary to drive Israel from, and gain Lebanese sovereignty over, 25 square kilometres of desolate land called the Shebaa Farms.

Lebanon condoned this situation by continuing to dispute a ruling by the United Nations in 2000 that this small piece of land belonged to Syria, from whom it was captured by Israel in 1967.

Trading sovereignty over 2400 square kilometres in order to gain sovereignty over 25 square kilometres must surely be the most bizarre decisions ever made by any Arab nation in their ongoing conflict with Israel.

This abdication of its national security and foreign policy has cost Lebanon dearly and has become the catalyst for the abject position in which Lebanon finds itself today.

15000 Lebanese homes have now been totally destroyed, a large section of Lebanon's roads, bridges and other vital infrastructure has been reduced to rubble, its economy set back for 20 years and its environment devastated by an oil spill that threatens the rich marine life in its territorial waters.

A thousand deaths, many more thousands injured and maimed, and countless others traumatised by constant and incessant bombing raids testifies to Hezbollah's foolhardy action in entering Israel to abduct two soldiers, kill three others and then fire a barrage of 3000 rockets into Israel.

It appears Lebanon has not learnt the lesson of the Sheba Farms folly and is still obsessed with gaining sovereignty of the area.

It was deemed so important an issue that it was included in the seven point plan prepared by Lebanon as it urgently sought the current ceasefire, calling on the United Nations to place the area under United Nations jurisdiction until the Lebanese claim to sovereignty was fully settled.

Instead of rejecting that call, the United Nations has stood its decision in 2000 on its head by agreeing to once more deal with Lebanon's claim to the Shebaa Farms within 30 days of the ceasefire resolution.

What will happen if the United Nations reverses its decision? What does this say about the competency of the organization? Will Syria accept such a reversal? Will Israel withdraw? Why did Lebanon have to wait six years and subject itself to such destruction and humiliation before asking the United Nations to review its earlier decision?

Lebanon needs to let go of this issue. It has and will continue to bring Lebanon to its knees if it persists. A loss of face is far preferable to further loss of life and limb.

Lebanon or Lezbollaland?

That is the question that both Lebanon and the United Nations need to answer without delay if Lebanon is to end the suffering and bloodshed inflicted on it for the last 30 years because of its loss of control over its sovereign territory to others with different agendas.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Israel's Illusion, the Arabs' Abyss

[Published July 2006]

Israel's belief that unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon and Gaza would end Arab intransigence and bring about a resolution of the Arab-Israel conflict has turned out to be an illusion.

Instead it has opened up an abyss, which threatens to swallow up Lebanon and Gaza in its wake and set back the development of their societies and economies by at least 20 years.

Syria is struggling to cope with hundreds of thousands of Lebanese Shiites seeking refuge as Israel continues its determined assault to end Hezbollah's reign of terror in Lebanon.

Emboldened by what was perceived as Israeli weakness and exhaustion, Hezbollah and Hamas quickly asserted their authority within the areas vacated by Israel, claiming this was the first step in the ultimate destruction of the Jewish State.

The Governments of Lebanon and Gaza chose to tolerate rather than confront and root out these terrorist entities.

Both Governments were strongly supported by their civilian populations.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah openly held court in Beirut. Its headquarters were well known to Lebanese authorities and the media had no trouble in locating their leaders for frequent interviews as they took every opportunity to applaud the targeted murder of hundreds of Israeli citizens and foreign nationals.

They lived openly within Lebanese society and were elected to Government and held cabinet portfolios. This could not have happened without popular support.

Large shipments of missiles and weaponry were routinely unloaded at Lebanese ports in full view of customs, military and police authorities and transhipped through Lebanon to launching sites and military depots in South Lebanon for ultimate use against Israel.

In Gaza frequent demonstrations by tens of thousands of men, women and children marching behind hooded and well armed terrorists burning Israeli and American flags and effigies of Sharon and Bush, clearly indicated Hamas was held in awe, not disgust, by the civilian population among whom was hidden the military stockpile of rockets and explosives.

Hamas was elected to power in Gaza by the overwhelming majority of Gazans whilst Hezbollah established an autonomous State within a State in Lebanon, both clearly expressing their continuing refusal to recognise the sovereign existence of Israel.

Hezbollah leader Nasrallah and Hamas Prime Minister Haniyeh believed the time was now ripe to flex their muscles to procure the release of hundreds of convicted terrorists held in Israeli prisons in exchange for a few Israeli soldiers. This had worked very well before with thousands of prisoners being released by Israel in return for the remains of a few dead soldiers and the release of one businessman of dubious reputation.

What better way for Hezbollah and Hamas to retain the support and hopes of their civilian populations than securing the release of husbands and children who could then be enlisted once again to repeat the missions that had led to their imprisonment in the first place.

However kidnapping three Israeli soldiers by incursions into sovereign Israeli territory proved the downfall for these terrorist groups. Such brazenness was the breaking point -- the red line -- that these terrorist groups had not expected their actions would provoke.

Rather than getting expected negotiations by intermediaries to procure the exchange of prisoners, Hezbollah and Hamas unleashed Israel's military might as it entered Lebanon and Gaza in hot pursuit to free its soldiers with the full authority of international law firmly behind it.

Again completely misreading Israel's intentions, both Hezbollah and Hamas started firing rockets into Israel leading to Israel's re-entry into Gaza in force and massive retaliation on Lebanon's infrastructure -- roads, bridges, airports and ports -- which had served as the supply lines for Hezbollah from Syria and Iran

This time international criticism of Israel's right to defend itself has been muted and even Arab countries have been critical of Hezbollah and Hamas.

Israel now carries the world on its shoulders as it alone seeks to implement Resolution 1559 of the United Nations Security Council calling for the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias. This will result in the loss of Israeli lives and many casualties as an impotent United Nations does nothing to assert and enforce its own resolutions.

The civilian populations of Lebanon and Gaza have now paid and will continue to pay a huge price for the trust and belief they placed in their would be Saladdins to remove the Jewish State once and for all.

Some have suggested these civilians are innocent victims who did not have the strength to overthrow their oppressors. If true, one would imagine Israel's actions would have brought forward at least some expressions of support from within Lebanon and Gaza. Not a single word has been heard.

The Arab League has now finally pronounced the Road Map proposed by Bush, Putin, Chirac and Annan as "dead". The League is three years behind the times but at least it now recognises the futility of a plan that never had the slightest chance of getting off the drawing board.

So where does the Middle East go from here?

There is but one avenue now -- the removal of Hezbollah and Hamas followed by trilateral negotiations between Israel, Jordan and Egypt on the future sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza.

Perhaps the Arab League will at long last realise the folly of trying to wipe Israel off the map and take these positive steps to end the ongoing 120 year conflict that is now bringing suffering on a scale to their constituency that even they could never have contemplated.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Olmert's Unilateralism Undermines Unity

[Published April 2006]

"Convergence" is the buzzword used by Ehud Olmert and his slick Public Relations team to gift-wrap his policy on Israel's intended unilateral withdrawal from large areas of the West Bank to a defensive line behind the security barrier being presently constructed by Israel.

365,000 Jews today live in the West Bank -- roughly the size of Delaware -- among 2.3 million Arabs.

"Convergence" has already become entrenched in the international lexicon of the Middle East and in the media although no one had heard of the word just two months ago.

Yet the use of this word masks a multi faceted approach to singling out and victimising Jews on a scale not seen since the 1930's and 1940's.

"Convergence" is defined in the Chambers 20th century dictionary to mean, "coming nearer together, tending towards or meeting in one point or value"

"Convergence" as espoused by Mr Olmert will actually result in Jews being alienated from each other -- precisely the opposite of what he is suggesting -- since his policy will have the following consequences:

1. The forced removal of up to 70,000 Jews from their homes and businesses in the West Bank in breach of international humanitarian law embodied in the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to both of which treaties Israel is a signatory.

2. The abrogation of the right of present and future generations of Jews anywhere in the world to return and settle in the West Bank for the purpose of reconstituting the Jewish National Home in that area as was specifically conferred on them by the San Remo Conference and the Treaty of Sevres 1920, the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine 1922 and article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

How such outcomes can possibly be described as bringing people nearer together remains unexplained by Mr Olmert.

"Convergence" is in fact a repackaged version of Ariel Sharon's policy of "Disengagement" or "Evacuation" carried out last year in the Gaza Strip where 8000 Jews and the international Jewish community saw their legal and humanitarian rights trampled on in exactly the same manner.

Far from bringing Jews nearer together such "Disengagement" has created areas of resentment and frustration as well as breakdowns in family and societal relationships that are ongoing and serious.

The failure of the Israeli Government to meet its obligations to those it forcibly removed and whose livelihoods it destroyed could well lead to continuing tragedies on an unprecedented scale.

Ariel Sharon promised the Israeli public and the international Jewish community that no further "painful concessions" of this kind would be undertaken at least until a peace agreement was reached with Israel's neighbours in accordance with the Road Map compiled by the Quartet -- the US, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.

His Deputy Ehud Olmert has repudiated this assurance and now claims to have received a mandate to introduce more of the same medicine under the supposed guise of bringing Jews closer together within more defensible lines.

In fact, such policy will serve to further exacerbate the frictions and divisions in Israeli society caused by the Gaza withdrawal at a time when unity is needed more than ever to face the enemies that surround Israel.

Mr. Olmert's "Convergence" policy will have a harder time getting off the ground in the West Bank than Mr.Sharon 's "Disengagement" policy from Gaza for the following reasons:

1. 70,000 people will be affected this time, not 8000, and they will be fully aware of the manner in which those 8000 people in Gaza were left to fend for themselves.

2. Another 295,000 people living within a 30 minutes drive of those being tossed out of their homes and businesses will see this as the thin edge of the wedge. Failure by them to protest and prevent such "convergence" could well see them next in the firing line to be removed. Gaza was not in their backyard, but the areas to be vacated in the West Bank certainly are. They should not rely on their living inside the security barrier to guarantee they will not also be forcibly removed at some later date.

3. Those Jews allowed to remain in the West Bank will be subjected to ever increasing terror attacks as the recently elected Hamas Government and other Arab terrorist militias quickly move in to take control of and operate from the areas vacated by Jews.

4. Any Government promises of no such further unilateral withdrawals being undertaken will not be believed and with good reason.

Mr Olmert needs to stop and think long and hard before embarking on an expedition that threatens to destroy what little unity still exists in Israel.

He needs to ponder on the effect his policy will have on the strong and supportive relationship Israel enjoys with Jewish communities throughout the world who will have no say in his unilateral abandonment of their rights and those of future generations to live in the vacated areas of the West Bank -- the biblical heartland of the Jewish people

Mr Olmert can still unilaterally separate from the Arab residents living in the West Bank by withdrawing to defensible lines that will incorporate the overwhelming majority of those 70000 Jews without the necessity of moving them. This will allow Israel to retain those areas until a final peace treaty is achieved.

Sugarcoating a policy that can have catastrophic effects for the Jewish people with the imprimatur of "convergence" is doublespeak of the worst possible kind.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What Sharon Should Have Told The United Nations

[Published September 2005]

Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon missed a golden opportunity to address the future of the West Bank before the 170 world leaders who had gathered at the United Nations last week to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the founding of that organization.

Instead the words he uttered were sweet music to the ears of most of those leaders justifying the vitriolic War of Words waged by their countries against the Jewish State in complete betrayal of the promises given to the Jewish people by the United Nations and its predecessor the League of Nations.

Standing at the podium, Mr. Sharon meekly repeated the mantra continually preached by these countries:

"The Palestinians are also entitled to freedom, and to a national, sovereign existence in a state of their own."

This was a far cry from the defiant words uttered by Mr Sharon in Time on 17 April 1989:

"Jordan is Palestine! The capital of Palestine is Amman. If Palestinian Arabs want to find their political expression, they will have to do it in Amman."

No attempt was made in Mr Sharon's speech to retrace the history of Palestine, a territory created with defined boundaries for the first time ever by the Treaty of Sevres in 1920 and the League of Nations in 1922 after the defeat of Turkey and Germany in World War I.

He could well have quoted Israel's former ambassador to the United Nations, the late Abba Eban, who had eloquently summarised that history when he said in Newsweek on 2 December 1974:

"Palestine comes into modern history as a region extending on both sides of the Jordan, comprising the present sovereign territories of Israel and Jordan and the administered areas of the West Bank and Gaza. Of this original Palestine, 80 per cent became an exclusively Arab domain through the separation of Trans-Jordan from Palestine."

A modicum of research could have enabled Mr Sharon to also remind the gathered world leaders, particularly King Abdullah of Jordan, of the statement made to the United Nations by Israeli Ambassador Yehuda Blum on 3 December, 1979:

"Let me remind the Jordanian representatives of the record. Between 1922 and 1946, Trans-Jordan remained an integral part of Mandated Palestine. In 1946 it became the independent Palestinian Arab State in that area. When King Abdullah came to the Jericho Conference in December 1948, which was attended by Palestinian Arabs west of the Jordan River, he was crowned "King of Palestine". Abdullah, in fact, wanted to rename his country "The Kingdom of Palestine". King Hussein, in his memoirs, indicates clearly that Trans-Jordan was arbitrarily siphoned off from the rest of Mandated Palestine. Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan, in the Jordanian National Assembly on 2 February 1970, stated unambiguously:
'Palestine is Jordan and Jordan is Palestine. The nation is one and the land is one'"

Given the current leadership tensions between Mr. Sharon and Mr. Netanyahu, Mr Sharon would probably have found it difficult to quote what Mr. Netanyahu told the United Nations on 11 December 1984, although the national interest certainly dictated that Mr. Sharon should do so:

"Clearly, in Eastern and Western Palestine, there are only two peoples, the Arabs and the Jews. Just as clearly, there are only two States in that area, Jordan and Israel. The Arab State of Jordan, containing some 3 million Arabs, does not allow a single Jew to live there. It also contains 4/5th of the territory originally allocated by this body's predecessor, the League of Nations, for the Jewish National Home. The other State, Israel, has a population of over 4 million of which one sixth is Arab. It contains less than 1/5th of the territory originally allocated to the Jews under the Mandate?. It cannot be said, therefore, that the Arabs of Palestine are lacking a state of their own. The demand for a second Palestinian Arab State in Western Palestine, and a 22nd Arab State in the world, is merely the latest attempt to push Israel back into the hopelessly vulnerable armistice lines of 1949 "

Having reminded the world leaders present of these past statements, Mr Sharon should then have told them:

"The League of Nations and the United Nations promised the Jews that they would be entitled to resettle and reconstitute the Jewish National Home on land from which they had been dispossessed 2000 years earlier by Roman invaders, provided nothing was done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of the "existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine". No political rights were conferred or intended to be conferred on those communities then or in the future.

This promise to the Jews extended to the West Bank, which you now obscenely call "occupied Palestinian territory" and from where you wish to see all Jews removed to create a State solely for the Arab residents contrary to the terms of the Mandate and article 80 of the United Nations Charter, which the United Nations has consistently ignored but which it must now confront and acknowledge.

The Road Map calling for the creation of a sovereign Arab State between Jordan and Israel in the whole of the West Bank and Gaza, now supported by the United Nations, the United States, Russia and the European Union, is the very opposite of what the United Nations has pledged to fulfill in accordance with its own Charter.

Israel now enjoys peace treaties with its neighbors Jordan and Egypt.

The path to peace in the West Bank and Gaza must involve the division of sovereignty in the West Bank and Gaza between these three nations in trilateral negotiations chaired by the Secretary General of the United Nations.

Israel stands ready to enter into such negotiations to cede sovereignty of the heavily populated Arab areas of the West Bank to Jordan. Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza indicates its willingness to cede sovereignty in Gaza to Egypt or Jordan and not rule over its neighbors.

I urge you all to abandon the idea that Jews have no legal right to settle in the West Bank and reconstitute their national home in that area. If international law is to have any meaning in regulating the conduct of the international community, then you must give legal effect to the Mandate and Article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

Seize the day, because the time is short."

If the 170 dignitaries present were not prepared to listen, at least the 15 million Jews all over the World would be applauding Israel's Prime Minister for his principled stand instead of recoiling at his abject acceptance of Jewish rights being trampled on in their own homeland by a United Nations acting in breach of its own Charter.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Evacuation or Expulsion?

[Published August 2005]

Amidst the turmoil enveloping Israel as the proposed disengagement date approaches, one question remains unanswered: are the Jewish communities living in Gaza and Northern Samaria being expelled or evacuated?

This is not a semantic question only, but has a vital bearing on the future of the sovereignty of those areas from which Israel proposes to disengage.

"Evacuation" indicates a temporary uprooting with the intention of returning when the emergency giving rise to the evacuation has subsided.

Thus large population centres were evacuated during the terrible tsunami earlier this year or Londoners were evacuated during the wartime blitz by the Germans in World War 2.

No one ever suggested they would not be allowed to return to their homes after the crisis had ended.

"Expulsion" on the other hand indicates something far more permanent. A child expelled from a school has no chance of returning to that school. A diplomat expelled from a country will never be accepted back in that country.

Strangely, the language used by Israel's Government speaks of "evacuation", while the language used by the Opposition to disengagement speaks of "expulsion".

Ariel Sharon needs to urgently explain whether Israel still maintains its claim to sovereignty in those areas from which it is currently removing Jewish communities or whether its disengagement amounts to a ceding of all claims of sovereignty to those areas which it is leaving.

Based on the use of the word "evacuation", it would appear that Israel is not ceding its claims, which are well grounded in international law arising from the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

Israel can certainly cede those claims, but to my knowledge Ariel Sharon has not mentioned this "c" word.

One can envisage an Israeli return to Gaza and Northern Samaria, should the Palestinians carry out their threats to continue the armed struggle all the way to Jerusalem. Israel's response could be disastrous for the Palestinians and wipe out whatever political or territorial gains they may make as a result of Israel's initial withdrawal.

If these circumstances arose would Sharon then be able to claim sovereignty or was the initial disengagement a ceding of all claims to any parts of the areas from which withdrawal took place?

Sharon could do well to clarify what this forthcoming disengagement means, because it could have an important bearing on the Road Map so earnestly espoused by the USA, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.

By continuing to use the word "evacuation" to describe its actions, Israel seems to be making it very clear that if the Palestinians don't embark on the Road Map and instead continue to use violence and incitement to achieve their goal of an independent State, the removal of the Jewish communities will be only temporary, Israel will return in force and claim sovereignty of such parts of the areas vacated as it deems in its national interest.

Sharon continues to play his cards close to the chest.

Israelis, and indeed the whole world, should be taken into Sharon's confidence on this very vital issue.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Uprooting Jews Violates International Treaties

[Published June 2005]

Plans by the Israeli Government to forcibly remove Jews from their homes in the West Bank and Gaza breach the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 [Covenant] as well as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 [Convention], to both of which Israel is a signatory.

Article 17 of the Covenant provides that:

1. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation.

2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 16 of the Convention expressly protects children and is a mirror image of Article 17.

The International Court of Justice determined last year that both the Covenant and the Convention are applicable in the West Bank and Gaza, which Israel had disputed.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan however also advised the International Court that Israel recognises that the Convention is intended to protect its citizens from their own Government in times of peace.

Israel's High Court of Justice acknowledged in its recent judgement on the disengagement law, that the forced evacuation of Israelis would undermine their human dignity.

The High Court nevertheless asserted that the disengagement law passed all constitutional tests because it "corresponds with the Zionist values of the State and is intended for a worthy purpose -- the political, national and security purposes on which the disengagement is based are designed to realize a vital and substantial need."

This viewpoint could not be successfully raised to negate article 17 since Article 4.1 of the Covenant states:

"In time of public emergency which threatens the life of the nation and the existence of which is officially proclaimed, the States Parties to the present Covenant may take measures derogating from their obligations under the present Covenant to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that such measures are not inconsistent with their other obligations under international law and do not involve discrimination solely on the ground of race, colour, sex, language, religion or social origin."

Israel's forced removal of Jewish residents of Gaza and the West Bank obviously involves discrimination solely on the ground of race and/or religion and so could not be relied on by Israel to escape its international obligations under the Covenant or the Convention.

Jews living in the West Bank and Gaza are legally entitled to reside there pursuant to the provisions of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter in order to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in those areas as specifically stated in the Mandate document.

Many returned there after 1967 to reclaim land from which other Jews had been driven out in 1948 by six invading Arab armies.

Any attempt now to forcibly uproot Jews from their homes against their expressed will is therefore in breach of the inalienable rights conferred on them by the Covenant, the Convention, the Mandate and the United Nations Charter.

Choosing to stay will not be palatable to all 8000 Jews affected by the withdrawal of Israel's army and they will have the option of accepting the compensation packages that are being offered by the Israeli Government to those who voluntarily leave.

But one thing is certain -- the forced removal of Jews from the West Bank and Gaza is not permitted or authorised under international law and is in breach of international agreements in force since 1920 authorising Jews to live in those areas.

President Bush, President Putin, the European Union and the United Nations have publicly welcomed the forced uprooting, whilst Human Rights organisations are deafening in their silence toward such expulsions.

Would they all act differently if the Arabs residing in the West Bank and Gaza were subjected to such proposed action against their will?

Ariel Sharon needs to revise his thinking on this aspect of his proposed disengagement.

He should urgently seek the opinion of the High Court of Justice on this issue before embarking on a course of action that has the capacity to lead to the outbreak of civil insubordination and threatens to seriously undermine the ability of Israel to resist those who seek its' total annihilation.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

City of Maaleh Adumim blurs Bush's blueprint

[Published April 2005]

Israel is indeed unique.

It is constantly singled out for special treatment that no other country would accept or tolerate.

Take the case of Maaleh Adumim, which is situated in the West Bank (called Judea until 1950, as those who followed Pope John's funeral service were reminded).

The West Bank is an area of land just 5,860 square kilometres in size -- about the size of Delaware.

President Bush calls Maaleh Adumim a "settlement", a code word indicating that Jews are not welcome residents in any part of this territory where neither Jews nor Arabs have yet established the internationally recognised right to be its sovereign ruler.

In fact Maaleh Adumim is a thriving metropolis of 32,000 people, containing 9 schools , 39 kindergartens, 7 medical centres and two family centres.

There is no hospital, but 5 major hospitals are located just 7 kilometres up the road in Jerusalem.

President Bush reminded Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon during their recent meeting at the President's Crawford Ranch that under the Road Map Israel had to refrain from any new settlement activity.

The President was particularly concerned that Israel was planning to build another 3500 housing units in the Maale Adumim "settlement".

Has a city of 32,000 people ever been told they must refrain from having children, getting married or enjoying family reunification?

President Bush is worried that the fundamental basic human rights of 32,000 Jews to copulate and populate might cut off Palestinian access to East Jerusalem frustrating his two State vision of Israel and a Palestinian democratic State living side by side.

The President really needs to exercise tunnel vision to overcome this basic moral flaw in his plan to succeed where others have so dismally failed.

The Palestinians have proved themselves very adept at building tunnels through which they have smuggled all kinds of weapons and explosives in their unremitting terrorist campaign against their Jewish neighbours.

No doubt a system of tunnels could be constructed and used for peaceful purposes to allow any such access under or around Maaleh Adumim.

The President is supposedly said to have given Mr. Sharon a commitment that Israel would be able to hold on to "major population centres" such as Maaleh Adumim.

Why doesn't he have the guts to come out and publicly say so right now rather than try to put a hold on the lives and hopes of 32,000 people and create false expectations for the Palestinians whose cause he apparently is championing?

Maaleh Adumim just happens to be located in an area slated for the reconstitution and establishment of the Jewish National Home by "close settlement on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes" as was proclaimed by the League of Nations Mandate, which still is alive and operative today by virtue of Article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

President Bush's moral and legal blindness also extends to his three partners in the Road Map -- the European Union, Russia and the United Nations -- none of which cares a hoot what history, the United Nations Charter or international law says or prescribes.

We see how absurd this Road Map really has become when the President of the world's only superpower backed up by his three powerful enforcers has to tell 32,000 people that they have to live and behave in ways that would not be acceptable in any other part of the World.

Intent on creating a second Arab State in Palestine in addition to Jordan, which already occupies almost 80% of the former Mandated Territory, the President seems to have lost the plot and appears to be totally lacking in conceiving any sort of creative resolution to what could be easily overcome with a little imagination.

Underground railways and road tunnels are a part of every modern society.

What is the problem doing the same thing in the West Bank and Gaza?

Neither Jews nor Arabs need become the scapegoats for each other's continued residence in the areas claimed by them. Contiguity can be achieved just as easily underground as at ground level.

Whilst the idea is promulgated that Jews will not be allowed to live where they currently do in accordance with international law, the failure of the Road Map will be assured.

One President's vision is surely 32,000 other people's nightmare.

If the President doesn't wake up soon and review this irrational racist and discriminatory policy, it will also turn out to be the worst nightmare for millions of other Jews and Arabs in the region as well.

Monday, July 2, 2007

United Nations Vote Presages State Sponsored Global Anti-Semitism

[Published September 2004]

The United Nations has embarked on a dangerous path that could unleash an unprecedented campaign of state-sponsored global antisemitism which needs to be swiftly denounced and halted in its tracks.

This threatening prospect follows member States voting by 150-6 to endorse the opinion of the International Court of Justice [ICJ] requiring the immediate demolition of Israel’s Security Fence in Judea and Samaria and declaring Israeli settlements there (including East Jerusalem) to be in breach of international law.

The ICJ has effectively branded 300,000 Jews living in Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem as land robbers illegally occupying someone else’s land.

150 out of the 191 member States of the U.N. have unquestioningly accepted that opinion in the knowledge that it was given by 15 Judges drawn from 15 countries, all supposedly appointed for their outstanding legal qualifications as pre-eminent jurists and experts in international law.

U.N. Resolutions based on this ICJ opinion will now come thick and fast calling for the demolition of the Security Fence, the forced removal of all Jews from Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem and reparations followed by sanctions on Israel if these demands are not carried out.

The Observer for Palestine at the U.N. has already stated it was time now for implementation, compliance and, at a later stage, additional measures, which ominously he failed to specify.

Not only Israel will suffer the fall-out from this barrage of righteous condemnation at future meetings of the U.N.

Jews living in many of those 150 member States endorsing the ICJ opinion such as France, United Kingdom, Argentina, Italy, Russia, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Holland will be exposed to far greater dangers to their personal safety and their institutions than they experienced prior to the ICJ opinion.

Even the large Jewish populations of the United States and Australia, whose countries both courageously voted to reject the ICJ opinion, or Canada who abstained, will not be immune from the forthcoming campaign of vilification of Jews designed to capitalize on this ICJ opinion.

The groundwork for this heinous campaign has been carefully planned over a number of years. Countless resolutions declaring Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem to be “Occupied Palestinian Territory” and Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem to be “illegal in international law” have been passed by automatic majorities of Arab and Third World countries in the General Assembly and various Committees of the United Nations.

Now these Arab and Third World countries have had their resolutions anointed with judicial respectability.

But that ICJ opinion is fundamentally flawed and no reliance can be placed on it.

The ICJ incredibly failed to consider a comprehensive body of international law that specifically establishes that Jews have every right to live in Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem and to protect themselves from the murderous attacks of their Arab neighbors.

The only obstacle now standing between the anticipated diplomatic onslaught at the U.N. based on this flawed opinion and the projected threat to Jews worldwide is Article 80 of the United Nations Charter, which binds all member States.

Article 80 was completely ignored by the United Nations in all resolutions passed on Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem in the build-up to the ICJ case. It was not mentioned by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan in the voluminous dossier of documents furnished by him to the ICJ. It was never discussed or considered in the 64-page judgment of the ICJ or the separate decisions issued by the judges.

Article 80 preserves the right of the Jewish people to live in Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem pursuant to rights first vested in them in international law in 1920 and codified in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine in 1922.

Jews indeed had lived in Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem until 1948 when they were driven out by invading Arab armies. Jews returned to live there again after those same Arab armies were defeated in the Six-Day War in 1967.

United Nations records attest to the critical importance of Article 80.

On 8 May 1947, Rabbi Abba Silver representing the Jewish Agency addressed the First (Political) Committee of the United Nations and he had this to say about Article 80:

“The Balfour Declaration, which was issued by His Majesty’s Government as a ‘declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations’, declares: ‘His Majesty’s Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.’ The mandate, in its preamble, recognizes ‘the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine’ and ‘the grounds for reconstituting’ - I call your attention to the word ‘reconstituting’ –‘their national home in that country’.”

“These international commitments of a quarter of a century ago, which flowed from the recognition of historic rights and present needs, and upon which so much has already been built in Palestine by the Jewish people, cannot now be erased. You cannot turn back the hands of the clock of history.”

“Certainly, the United Nations, guided by the great principle proclaimed in its Charter, ‘to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained’, can never sanction the violation of treaties and of international law.”

“With this situation and similar situations in mind, a specific provision, you will recall, was written into the chapter of the Charter of the United Nations which deals with territories which might become trusteeship territories, and which is therefore especially applicable to territories now under mandate. This is Article 80 of the Charter …”

In evidence given to the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine on 7 July 1947, David Ben-Gurion as a representative of the Jewish Agency said of Article 80:

“This is the special Article of the Charter which applies to Palestine. It was introduced only because of Palestine.”

There you have it in black and white - a specific article dealing with Palestine inserted in the United Nations Charter having a crucial bearing on the Court’s opinion is not given the light of day by the U.N. or the ICJ. This could not possibly be due to ignorance or oversight. Answers need to be given to explain this scandalous behavior.

For this reason the ICJ opinion should not be granted any further recognition or credibility and should be condemned for what it really is – a decision of a biased and politicized court that deliberately failed to look at a critical area of law legitimizing Jewish rights to settle in Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem.

The failure of the ICJ to consider Article 80 has now set the stage for a possible outburst of antisemitism worldwide.

Jews were denied their right to live in 77% of Palestine in 1923. This area is today called Jordan and not one Jew lives there.

Jews also offered to surrender their right to live in the whole or parts of Judea and Samaria [5% of Palestine] in return for peace and an end to violence in 1937, 1948, 1967, 1979, 1993 and 2000 and still hold out hope that this might be possible. Until now there has been outright Arab rejection of any proposal. This Arab mindset will only harden in the light of the ICJ decision and the votes of those 150 member States.

Some soul searching is urgently required by the large number of those 150 States who believe justice must be dispensed in a fair and impartial manner and without fear or favor. They need to urgently review their initial endorsement of the ICJ opinion and repudiate it rather than give it any further credence.

They cannot possibly continue to endorse the ICJ opinion in future votes at the U.N. knowing it is so fatally flawed and then claim to have been unaware of what they were unleashing in their own countries and worldwide by adopting such a voting pattern.

Let them evaluate Article 80 and the words of David Ben-Gurion and Rabbi Silver and then make up their minds on their future voting intentions. Let their representatives demand that the ICJ and Mr. Annan explain why they ignored the ramifications of Article 80. Let those nations whose agenda is demonizing Jews stand alone in further support of the ICJ decision and be exposed for what they truly represent.

Those 150 countries must have the decency and humanity to have a second think about their earlier decision and not continue to be a partner in the ongoing attempt to use the discredited ICJ opinion as a battering ram against Jewish people wherever they happen to live.