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%.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

West Bank - Jews Worldwide Have Legal Rights

[Published January 2010]

Catherine Ashton - High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission - was merely parroting European Union policy when she told the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 30 December 2009:
"East Jerusalem is occupied territory, together with the rest of the West Bank.”

It was justification enough however for Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon to pen an article in the Wall Street Journal on 30 December 2009 pointing out that Israel considers these territories to be “disputed territories” rather than “occupied territories” - the nomenclature adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and the International Court of Justice.

Mr Ayalon stated the reasons for Israel‘s position as follows:
“That’s because the land now known as the West Bank cannot be considered "occupied" in the legal sense of the word as it had not attained recognized sovereignty before Israel’s conquest. Contrary to some beliefs there has never been a Palestinian state, and no other nation has ever established Jerusalem as its capital despite it being under Islamic control for hundreds of years.”

Mr Ayalon criticised the perception that:
“... Israel is occupying stolen land and that the Palestinians are the only party with national, legal and historic rights to it. Not only is this morally and factually incorrect, but the more this narrative is being accepted,the less likely the Palestinians feel the need to come to the negotiating table.”

Mr Ayalon was affirming that the West Bank was at present “no man’s land” in which no recognized State - including Israel - had yet attained sovereignty.

The current claimants - Israel on behalf of the Jewish people and the Palestinian Authority (PA) on behalf of the Palestinian Arabs - are yet to finally negotiate on and conclude the allocation of sovereignty between them based on their competing claims.

It was therefore particularly pleasing that Ms Ashton stated:
“ Negotiations should be based on international law and respect previous agreements.”

This should be seen as a welcome statement from the European Union since the international law dealing with the legal status of the West Bank and Jewish rights to claim sovereignty there has been consistently and studiously - perhaps even deliberately - overlooked since Israel‘s capture of the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is a prime example of such oversight.

In its 2004 advisory opinion on the legality of the security barrier constructed by Israel - the ICJ omitted to even mention - let alone consider - the international law applicable to the entitlement of the Jewish people to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in the West Bank by close settlement on West Bank land - including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.

These rights were vested in the Jewish people pursuant to Articles 94 and 95 of the 1920 Treaty of Sevres, the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine 1920 and Article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

The failure of the ICJ to consider these Jewish rights is exacerbated by the fact that one of the Judges who heard the security barrier case - Judge Elaraby - gave this warning to his fellow 14 judges sitting on that case:
"... the international legal status of the Palestinian Territory merits more comprehensive treatment" .

Judge Elaraby identified the need for such a review saying:
"A historical survey is relevant to the question posed by the General Assembly, for it serves as the background to understanding the legal status of the Palestinian Territory on the one hand and underlines the special and continuing responsibility of the General Assembly on the other. This may appear as academic, without relevance to the present events. The present is however determined by the accumulation of past events and no reasonable and fair concern for the future can possibly disregard a firm grasp of past events. In particular, when on one or more than one occasion, the rule of law was consistently sidestepped."

The failure of the ICJ to consider the legal status of the West Bank was therefore inexplicable.

Judge Elaraby continued:
"The point of departure, or one can say in legal jargon, the critical date,is the League of Nations Mandate which was entrusted to Great Britain"

True the Arab League has never accepted the Mandate in which inalienable Jewish rights to closely settle the West Bank were created. But they were created by the unanimous vote of the then members of the League of Nations, still do exist for the benefit of the Jewish people today and are entitled to be taken into consideration in negotiations on the future sovereignty of the West Bank.

The Jerusalem Post reported on 25 September 2008 that there were 13.3 million people around the world who define themselves as Jewish and who do not belong to any other faith according to a survey conducted by Prof.Sergio Della Pergola from the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute and the Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University.

5.55 million Jews live in Israel and 7.75 million live outside Israel, meaning 58.7 percent of World Jewry now resides outside the Jewish state.

The reconstitution of the Jewish National Home in the West Bank is as much a concern for a large number of those Jews living outside Israel as those who live within Israel - if not for themselves going to live there then for their children and future generations who might want to do so.

Ms Ashton is therefore to be commended on drawing attention to the need to base any resumed negotiations on international law.

Ms Ashton further stated:
“The EU will continue to support and work closely with the US via the Quartet [America, Russia, EU and the United Nations - author]. The Quartet needs reinvigoration. The current stalemate in the peace process demands it. The Quartet can provide the careful yet dynamic mediation that is required.”

The first steps in that invigoration should involve the Quartet gaining a full understanding of:
1. The current legal status of the West Bank and
2. Jewish rights to claim sovereignty in the West Bank under international law.

Ms Ashton said she will be travelling to the region shortly adding:
“ My main objective will be to meet the main actors and see first hand how the EU can be a force for change. I think we all share the overall and overriding priority of a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Not negotiations for negotiations sake but negotiations to achieve a peace deal and turn the page. We cannot, and nor, I doubt can the region tolerate another round of fruitless negotiations. Negotiations have taken place on and off for several years starting with the Oslo Declaration of Principles signed in September 1993.”

Negotiations to achieve that peace deal can only realistically take place within the context of the European Union recognizing Jewish rights to sovereignty in the West Bank and comprehending the current legal status of the West Bank.

Otherwise her visit to the region will end up in total failure like the hundreds - if not thousands - of earlier attempts at peace making by well intended but totally misinformed envoys.

Headhunt Hamas or Heil Haniyeh

[Published January 2010]

What is Israel - and the World - to conclude when Gaza’s Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh addresses 100000 cheering Gazan Arabs on 14 December 2009 to mark 22 years since the formation of Hamas and tells them:
“We will never give up on Palestine from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea.

It is not enough for Hamas to liberate Gaza, nor to establish an emirate in Gaza, nor a state, nor an independent entity… Hamas strives to liberate all of Palestine.”

Is this the rant of a madman or a leader on a deadly - but seemingly hopeless - mission to get rid of 6.5 million Jews who live in what was formerly 22% of the British Mandate for Palestine - today called Israel and the West Bank?

When Haniyeh talks of liberating “all of Palestine“ does he also include the remaining 78% that is today called Jordan?

Is his territorial conquest only related to “all of Palestine” or does it extend far beyond Palestine’s former boundaries?

One can draw an analogy in Haniyeh’s message with a disbelieving world which blithely ignored Hitler’s warnings in his book “Mein Kampf” - written in 1923 - calling for territorial conquest and a war on the Jews. 16 years later and because of such complacency World War 2 resulted.

Hitler was in 1923 the failed leader of a coup, possibly a future potential leader but without power, land or an army and languishing in prison. His writings in 1923 could have been regarded as no more than expressed fantasies incapable of fulfillment.

Hamas- formed in 1987 - had its own constitution which clearly set out its quest for the identical goals as Hitler wrote about in 1923 - territorial conquest and a war on the Jews - but in addition contained provisions calling for the subjugation of Christianity and Judaism to Islam, the defeat of secularism and the overthrow of secular Arab regimes making peace with Israel.

The major difference from 1923 was that the Jews now had their own country - Israel - and an army to defend them. Israel represented the major obstacle to Hamas achieving all its stated goals.

This made the Hamas fantasy far more difficult to believe as its sights were directed towards the improbable destruction of Israel as the first step in achieving its international ambitions.

Hamas in 1987 - like Hitler in 1923 - was a dream without any foundation of power, land or an army.

Yet today Hamas exercises power and rules over territory which contains 1.5 million citizens. Gaza is home to a large number of terrorist groups many of whom swear allegiance to Hamas and others who are allowed to operate from Gaza with impunity.

Hamas has an army of well trained and disciplined fighters and is steadily building up a huge supply of rockets and armaments in pursuit of its goal to liberate all of Palestine.

The acquisition of nuclear weapons by Hamas cannot be discounted.

Haniyeh’s coup in ousting the Palestinian Authority from political control of Gaza in 2007 did not fail as Hitler did in 1923 - but was achieved in a matter of days with spectacular success.

Whilst the governments of Canada, the European Union, Israel, Japan, Australia, and the United States classify Hamas as a terrorist organization - Haniyeh basks in the international limelight with such persons as Iran’s Ahmadinejad, Syria’s Assad, Britain’s George Galloway and former American President Jimmy Carter beating a path to his door.

Haniyeh hides behind the findings of the Goldstone Report believing Israel’s hands are tied in the actions it can take in future to uproot Hamas from Gaza following its unsuccessful attempt to do so one year ago.

Haniyeh basks in the international opprobrium following Israel’s invasion that sees well meaning but ill informed organizations and members of the public focusing their anger on Israel for seeking to protect its citizens from threats like that being uttered by Haniyeh - instead calling for boycotts of - and divestment from - anything that has to do with Israel.

These sympathisers ignore the provisions of the Hamas Covenant which provide that:
1. Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences are in contradiction of the principles of Hamas… These conferences are only ways of setting the infidels in the land of the Moslems as arbitrators.
2. There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavours.
3. Liberation of Palestine is an individual duty for every Moslem wherever he may be. It is necessary to instill in the minds of the Moslem generations that the Palestinian problem is a religious problem, and should be dealt with on this basis.
4. Freemasons, Rotary Clubs and Lions Clubs, are nothing more than cells of subversion and saboteurs… These organizations operate in the absence of Islam …. The Islamic peoples should perform their role in confronting the conspiracies of these saboteurs. The day Islam is in control of guiding the affairs of life, these organizations, hostile to humanity and Islam, will be obliterated.
5. Jews were behind World War I, when they were able to destroy the Islamic Caliphate,making financial gains and controlling resources. They obtained the Balfour Declaration,formed the League of Nations through which they could rule the world. They were behind World War II, through which they made huge financial gains by trading in armaments, and paved the way for the establishment of their state. It was they who instigated the replacement of the League of Nations with the United Nations and the Security Council to enable them to rule the world through them. There is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it.
6. Leaving the circle of conflict with Israel is a major act of treason and it will bring curse on its perpetrators. Egypt has already been cast out of the conflict, to a very great extent through the treacherous Camp David Accords, and she has been trying to drag other countries into similar agreements in order to push them out of the circle of conflict. [Jordan has since signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994 - author]
7. Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Moslem people.
8. Under the wing of Islam, it is possible for the followers of the three religions - Islam,Christianity and Judaism - to coexist in peace and quiet with each other. Peace and quiet would not be possible except under the wing of Islam.
9. Secular thought is diametrically opposed to religious thought.

These are no longer expressed fantasies being dreamt up by someone powerless to execute them - nor are they limited to hatred of Jews only. Christians, secularists,and Arab States making peace with Israel are also targets.

From the Hamas perspective the time for achieving these goals is rapidly approaching - particularly as consistent efforts are made by many in the international community to delegitimize the State of Israel.

There is no longer any room for complacency - as might have existed in 1987. Appeasement is not an option.

The defeat of Hamas and its hatred filled agenda, its removal from Gaza and the freeing of Gaza’s citizens fed up with the devastation wreaked by Hamas control must be confronted and dealt with before Hamas sucks the world into another unwanted war.

Palestine - Two-State Option Stymied

[ Published December 2009]

Any hope of creating a new Arab state between Israel, Egypt and Jordan has been stymied after the following statement was made by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on December 28:
“Today, 8 months after our government was formed, we have formulated a broad national consensus on the principles to approach the negotiations with the Palestinians in order to achieve peace and security. The two principles are clear, there are others - the recognition of the state of Israel as a Jewish state, and of course, security measures that guarantee effective demilitarization and other principles that I have already expressed.”

These two principles -
1.recognizing Israel as a Jewish State and
2.demilitarization of a future Palestinian State

- were first stipulated by Israel as two of fourteen reservations made by Israel at the time of its acceptance of the Road Map issued by President Bush in April 2003.

They have been consistently maintained by all Israeli Governments since then.

Reservation 5 made by Israel to President Bush stated :
“The character of the provisional Palestinian state will be determined through negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. The provisional state will have provisional borders and certain aspects of sovereignty, be fully demilitarized with no military forces, but only with police and internal security forces of limited scope and armaments, be without the authority to undertake defense alliances or military cooperation, and Israeli control over the entry and exit of all persons and cargo, as well as of its air space and electromagnetic spectrum.”

Reservation 6 stated:
“ In connection to both the introductory statements and the final settlement, declared references must be made to Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and to the waiver of any right of return for Palestinian refugees to the State of Israel.”

On 23 May 2003, then Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice made the following statement from the White House:
"The roadmap was presented to the Government of Israel with a request from the President that it respond with contributions to this document to advance true peace. The United States Government received a response from the Government of Israel, explaining its significant concerns about the roadmap.

The United States shares the view of the Government of Israel that these are real concerns, and will address them fully and seriously in the implementation of the roadmap to fulfil the President’s vision of June 24, 2002.”

On 25 May 2003, the Israeli Cabinet met and by a majority resolved:
“Based on the 23 May 2003 statement of the United States Government, in which the United States committed to fully and seriously address Israel’s comments to the Roadmap during the implementation phase, the Prime Minister announced on 23 May 2003 that Israel has agreed to accept the steps set out in the Roadmap.

The Government of Israel affirms the Prime Minister’s announcement, and resolves that all of Israel’s comments, as addressed in the Administration’s statement, will be implemented in full during the implementation phase of the Roadmap.”

Palestinian Authority President - Mahmoud Abbas - told Haaretz on 28 May 2003 that the 14 reservations made by Israel had nothing to do with him. He said:
“They don’t interest me,”

Haaretz reported that as far as Abbas was concerned, the only document that mattered was the road map that was finalized in December 2002 and handed over to the parties at the end of April 2003. Nothing more, nothing less. Abbas continued:
“We do not accept each side picking and choosing only those specific elements that are convenient for them in the road map.

The map was prepared last December and we accepted it, despite our own comments and reservations. We wanted to give this initiative a chance, but it’s impossible to continue inventing comments and reservations after it was submitted.”

This was a very intransigent - indeed foolish and naïve - attitude to adopt in the face of President Bush having specifically invited both sides to comment on the Road Map.

The response from President Bush to Israel’s reservations acknowledged that Israel’s concerns were real and they would be fully and seriously addressed during the implementation phase.

It is inconceivable that President Obama would repudiate the Bush assurances given to Israel.

Both principles have been rejected by the Palestinian Authority on numerous occasions in the past and no doubt will be met by further adverse comment after Mr Netanyahu’s announcement this week.

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat commented on 16 June 2009 in Haaretz on the issue of demilitarization:
“He (Netanyahu) will have to wait 1,000 years before he finds one Palestinian who will go along with him with this feeble state.”

President Abbas told Reuters on 27 April 2009 on recognizing Israel as the Jewish State:
“I do not accept it. It is not my job to give a description of the state. Name yourself the Hebrew Socialist Republic—it is none of my business.”

Israel’s reservation went far beyond an issue of terminology - and Abbas knew it. It was resisted by Abbas because it was seen as denying millions of Arabs the right to emigrate to Israel thereby changing the demographics of Israel to seriously dilute or even overtake the Jewish majority.

Rejection by the Palestinian Authority of demilitarization and the recognition of Israel as the Jewish State coupled with rejection by Israel of the Palestinian Authority’s demands that Israel cede sovereignty over every square metre of the West Bank and remove 500000 Jews presently living there amount to a joint public declaration by both sides that any further negotiations between them - if ever resumed - are going to be a complete waste of time and will achieve no result.

The Palestinian Authority has shown no interest in resuming negotiations with Israel since it announced a ten months moratorium on housing construction in the West Bank on 25 November.

The announcement now made by Mr Netanyahu will only act as a further excuse for the Palestinian Authority to continue to refuse to negotiate.

The Palestinian Authority’s use by date as a negotiating partner with Israel to determine the allocation of sovereignty in the West Bank and Gaza has surely now been reached.