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%.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Palestine - Unleashing The Self-Determination Genie

[Published 17 June 2011]

It is hard to believe that the possibility of the Palestinians successfully approaching the UN in September and obtaining “a license to statehood“ is even being seriously contemplated.

The Palestinians have never comprised a separate and unique group in recorded history.

Their defining Constitution - the PLO Charter - which only came into operation in 1964 makes this quite clear in Article 1 which states:
“Palestine is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people; it is an indivisible part of the Arab homeland, and the Palestinian people are an integral part of the Arab nation.“

Palestinians are Arabs - part of the Arab nation currently comprising 21 independent States. The vast majority of Arabs only came to live in Palestine in the 20th century at the same time as the country was being opened up and developed by the return of the Jews.

Article 5 again confirms the Arab identity of the Palestinians by declaring:
“The Palestinians are those Arab nationals who, until 1947, normally resided in Palestine regardless of whether they were evicted from it or have stayed there. Anyone born, after that date, of a Palestinian father - whether inside Palestine or outside it - is also a Palestinian."

Jews and non-Arab Christians residing in Palestine in or after 1947 are excluded. This smacks of apartheid and racism at its worst - which the international community accepts without a whimper.

Any approach to the UN in September will seek to have the UN recognize a Palestinian State in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza - which runs counter to the provisions of Article 2 of the PLO Charter which affirms:
“Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit.”

British Mandatory Palestine comprised:
1. Jordan - almost 77% of Palestine
2. Israel - about 17% of Palestine and
3. Gaza and the West Bank - the remaining 6% of Palestine

Would the Palestinian Authority be prepared to forgo its claim to Jordan and Israel as a quid pro quo for UN recognition? I doubt it.

The fiction that constitutes the Palestinian identity is revealed in Article 4 of the PLO Charter:
“The Palestinian identity is a genuine, essential, and inherent characteristic; it is transmitted from parents to children.”

Certainly at the time the Mandate for Palestine was created in 1922 by the 51 nations comprising the League of Nations - no Palestinian identity rated a mention. The Preamble to the Mandate document spoke of :
“ … the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine .."

The censuses undertaken by the Turkish and English authorities in Palestine had always been based on counting the numbers of Jews, Moslems and Christians. The idea of a separate Palestinian identity never arose.

In 1946 Transjordan (now Jordan) was granted its independence by Great Britain. No attempt was made to define its Arab residents as Palestinians. They were called Trans-Jordanians and later Jordanians - even though that territory comprised almost four fifths of Palestine and the entire population comprised Arab nationals residing in Palestine at the time.

In 1947 the UN Partition Plan proposed for Palestine spoke of dividing the remaining 23% of the territory of the Mandate into a Jewish State and an Arab State - not a Palestinian State.

After the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza had been occupied by the invading armies of Jordan and Egypt from 1948-1967 - the Palestinian Arabs chose to unify the West Bank and East Jerusalem with Jordan in 1950. West Bank and East Jerusalem Arabs became Jordanian citizens. Any claim to a separate Palestinian identity was still well and truly hidden from sight. The State they now demand could have been created at any time during those 19 years when not one Jew lived there after all had been driven out during the 1948 War.

1964 really marked the starting point for a claimed Palestinian identity as defined in the PLO Charter. A very successful campaign undertaken during the last 47 years has seen this identity internationally deserving of recognition as a distinct separate and national group.

But what does this say for long standing authentic national and secessionist movements such as the Kurds, the Tibetans, the Chechens, and the Basques?

If the road to self-determination can be successfully pursued through the UN by the Palestinian Arabs on what is at best a contrived and artificial identity - then how can the UN possibly refuse to grant similar recognition to these other far more credentialed and long standing peoples with their own history, culture and language going back centuries and even into antiquity?

If the Palestinian Arabs can have a state recognized by the UN - what arguments can possibly justify the UN refusing to accord the same status and recognition to these other groups ?

In the case of Palestine the legal conditions required for the declaration of a Palestinian State - as laid down in the Montevideo Convention 1933 - are not capable of being met unless first agreed in direct face to face negotiations with Israel.

A similar obstacle impedes the many other nationalist and secessionist movements around the world and makes their independence or breakaway conditional on agreements being successfully negotiated with their host states.

The large number of these movements looking on with keen interest from the sidelines can be gauged from the following survey [
“There are 37 recognized and recognizable secessionist movements in Africa. There are 65 in Asia, including 13 in Burma, five in China (Uighurs, Tibetans and Mongolians among them). Russia straddles continents and faces five secessionist movements in Asian Russia and 13 more in European Russia, including Chechens. The rest of Europe has more than 50, including 18 in Italy and nine in Spain. France has four irredentist movements, four secessionist movements, five autonomist movements and several movements to change the borders of Departments. There is one each in Poland, the Netherlands, Romania and Switzerland. Parties in Greenland want to secede from Denmark and in Puerto Rico they want to secede from the United States - which also has American Indian, Southern and Texan movements to secede, as well as one in Manhattan and one in New York State. The Miskito Indians want to secede from Nicaragua and Chiapas from Mexico. French and British colonies in the Caribbean and Oceania have separatist movements.”

The UN needs to tread carefully to avoid unleashing the genie of self-determination by ignoring the well established principles of international law. This genie will have the capacity to wreak havoc in the conduct of the affairs of a large number of UN member states who will have their flanks exposed to similar demands.

As you sow - so shall you reap.

Palestine - An Arab West Bank Is A Lost Cause

[Published 10 June 2011]

The 44th Anniversary of the Six Day War occurred this week on 5 June 1967.

It is therefore opportune to recall some of the significant events that led to Jordan’s loss of the West Bank in that War ending 19 years of uninterrupted occupation - and to understand why all of the West Bank - or its equivalent area - will never again return to Arab control.

I am indebted to the Six Day War Comprehensive Timeline for much of the material that follows. This website should be required reading for all who wish to understand why international pressure to return all of the West Bank to the Arabs must fail.

Jordan’s path down the road to its disastrous loss of the West Bank began on 30 May 1967 - 6 days before the start of the Six Day War. This was the fatal day that Jordan signed a five year mutual defence treaty with Egypt, thereby joining the military alliance already in place between Egypt and Syria. Jordanian forces were given to the command of an Egyptian General.

Jordan’s King Hussein had been caught up in the Arab euphoria and vitriol emanating from Egypt’s President Nasser who had declared on 28 May 1967:
“We will not accept any…coexistence with Israel.…Today the issue is not the establishment of peace between the Arab states and Israel….The war with Israel is in effect since 1948”.

Such was the mood of Jordan’s population that Jordan’s Army Commander-in-Chief General Sharif Zaid Ben Shaker warned in a press conference that :
“If Jordan does not join the war a civil war will erupt in Jordan”.

The West Bank had been unified with Transjordan in 1950 and the country renamed Jordan after unanimous ratification by a Parliament comprised equally of representatives from the West Bank and Transjordan. No demand was made in the next 17 years for the creation of a separate Palestinian Arab State - even though all the Jews living there had been driven out by six invading Arab armies in 1948.

On 31 May 1967 President Aref of Iraq declared:
“The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear - to wipe Israel off the map”

Al Akhbar - Cairo’s daily newspaper correctly summed up Jordan’s involvement on the same day:
“Under the terms of the military agreement signed with Jordan, Jordanian artillery, coordinated with the forces of Egypt and Syria, is in a position to cut Israel in two at Qalqilya, where Israeli territory between the Jordan armistice line and the Mediterranean Sea is only 12 kilometres wide”.

What was true in 1967 remains as valid in 2011. Israel’s vulnerable waistline of only 12 kilometers would return again with all of the West Bank under Arab control.

On 5 June Israel made its pre-emptive strike against Egypt. That same morning, Israel sent a message to Jordan’s leader King Hussein via the US State Department, the UN and the British Foreign Office, saying that, despite the outbreak of war, it would not attack the West Bank if Jordan maintained quiet on that front.

Jordan ignored Israel’s appeal to avoid conflict and launched immediate multiple attacks on Israel:
1. civilian suburbs of Tel-Aviv were shelled by artillery;
2. Israel’s largest military airfield, Ramat David, was shelled;
3. Jordanian warplanes attacked the central Israeli towns of Netanya and Kfar Sava;
4. thousands of mortar shells rained down on West Jerusalem hitting civilian locations indiscriminately, including the Hadassah Hospital and the Mount Zion Church;
5. Israel’s parliament building (the Knesset) and the Prime Minister’s office, each in Israeli-controlled West Jerusalem, were targeted;
6. 20 Israelis died in these attacks; 1000 were wounded. 900 buildings in West Jerusalem were damaged.

All this happened before Israel reacted militarily against Jordan, or moved at all into the West Bank.

The Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 242 on 22 November 1967 recognizing that secure and recognized boundaries needed to be drawn between Israel and its neighbours to ensure the Arabs would not be tempted to again try and cut Israel in two in the future as the first step in any attempt to wipe Israel off the map.

Egypt and Jordan eventually came to realise the folly of their action. Both entered into peace treaties with Israel in 1979 and 1994 respectively. Syria refused to join them. But the current upheaval in Egypt, Jordan and Syria now put the continued operation of these two treaties at real risk.

Jordan withdrew all its claims to the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1988. The Palestinian Authority (PA) was created in 1993 as a result of the Oslo Accords - stepping into the void left by Jordan.

The PA has since then sought to undo the 1950 reunification and substitute the creation of a Palestinian Arab State in all of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza for the first time in recorded history

The PA is now threatening to approach the United Nations in September to achieve this outcome. The UN’S abject surrender to an Egyptian diktat was the catalyst that led to the Six Day War.

UN Secretary General U Thant had of his own volition agreed to Nasser’s demand that the United Nations Emergency Force be withdrawn on 18 May 1967 - just seven hours after Egyptian ambassador Kony had informed U Thant:
“Egypt has decided to terminate the presence of the United Nations Emergency Force from the territory of the United Arab Republic and Gaza Strip. Therefore I request that the necessary steps be taken for the withdrawal of the Force as soon as possible.”

Britain made its position very clear when its Foreign Secretary George Brown stated:
“UNEF was established with the full concurrence of the United Nations…any decision to withdraw the force should be taken in the United Nations after full consultation with all the countries involved – it should not be taken as the result of some unilateral decision.”

It is unthinkable and immoral that Jordan’s heinous conduct should be rewarded by the United Nations now ignoring Security Council Resolution 242 and returning Israel to the vulnerable 1967 armistice lines.

That the UN might seek to do so in clear contravention of its own resolution and international law - specifically the Montevideo Convention 1933 - would certainly not surprise. Treachery knows no bounds when it comes to double standards by the UN in dealing with Israel.

Jordan paid a high price for joining in an alliance with Egypt and Syria - the loss of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Those pre-June 1967 halcyon days are not going to return in 2011 - either for Jordan or the PA.

Palestine - FIFA Relents But Rules Are Still Bent

[Published 3 June 2011]

FIFA has been in the media spotlight this week as its practices and procedures have come under increasing scrutiny and its conduct has become of great concern to many of its member countries.

Symptomatic of its questionable practices was a complaint I made to FIFA last year concerning the information posted on its official web site concerning one of FIFA’s members - “Palestine” - which then appeared as a country with
1. defined borders
2. a stated area comprising the West Bank , East Jerusalem and Gaza,
3. a population whose numbers excluded the 500000 Jews who lived there and
4. a currency that did not exist.

Following my complaint FIFA has since taken some welcome action to revamp its website.

FIFA has now amended its country information for every member state by deleting all information relating to:
1. Main cities
2. Population
3. Currency
4. Neighbouring countries

The general and geographic information for Palestine now reads as follows:

General Information
FIFA Trigramme: PLE
Country: Palestine
Country (official name): Palestine
Continent: Asia
Capital: None

Geographic Information
Surface area: 6,326 km2
Highest point: Tail Asur 1,016 m.
Neighbouring seas and oceans: Mediterranean Sea

The continued designation of Palestine as a country and the retention of the surface area of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza which defines its borders - is misleading and deceptive.

There is no state of Palestine that exists in international law today. It is a fictitious entity which has been created by FIFA to get around its own rules restricting admission of members to the world body.

The Palestinian Football Federation was admitted as a member of FIFA in 1988 in contravention of FIFA’s own governing articles.

Article 10.1 of FIFA’s constitution provides:
“Any Association which is responsible for organising and supervising football in its country may become a Member of FIFA. In this context, the expression “country” shall refer to an independent state recognised by the international Community. Subject to par. 5 and par. 6 below, only one Association shall be recognised in each country.”

Paragraph 6 provides:
“An Association in a region which has not yet gained independence may, with the authorisation of the Association in the country on which it is dependent, also apply for admission to FIFA.”

Whether Israel agreed to the Palestinian Football Association being admitted as a FIFA member is unknown. Certainly it would never have done so in the expectation that FIFA would recognize Palestine as an independent State.

There is threatened action by the Palestinian Authority to approach the United Nations in September to seek international recognition of a Palestinian State incorporating the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

However this action is doomed to failure because the conditions essential for the declaration and creation of a State as laid down by the Montevideo Convention 1933 do not exist.

Article 1 sets out the four following criteria for statehood
(a) a permanent population;
(b) a defined territory;
(c) government; and
(d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.

Furthermore, the first sentence of article 3 explicitly states that:
“The political existence of the state is independent of recognition by the other states.”

The West Bank and Gaza fall far short of meeting these requirements.

Countries joining the rush to the United Nations to play this fictitious game in September will do their credibility no good and will become active players in undermining international law.

FIFA has already allowed itself to be caught up in politics in its decision to admit Palestine as a FIFA member - taking the invention of political fiction to a new and dangerous level.

During a recent visit to the Palestinian Authority, FIFA President Sepp Blatter exclaimed:
“I feel at home in Palestine,”

Is Mr Blatter unaware that unsuccessful negotiations have been ongoing between Israel and the Palestinian Authority since 1993 to define where ”home” is? Should Mr Blatter separate sport from politics and not engage in trying to create facts on the ground where none exist?

Mr Blatter also issued this Presidential decree at the same time:
“We know that Palestine is an exceptional situation for FIFA. Therefore, we need to find exceptional solutions. We’ll do our best to help. Football has no borders,”

Sorry Mr Blatter - football has borders that end at the borders of the member states according to FIFA’s own constitution - unless Associations dependent on another country receive authorization to join FIFA - not as independent countries but as Associations.

Bending the rules by creating exceptional solutions seems to contravene the very essence of stringently playing by and enforcing the rules of Football which FIFA imposes on its members.

Corporate maladministration seems to be at the root of FIFA’s current problems. Its cavalier attitude to admitting Palestine as a FIFA member contrary to the clear wording of its Constitution indicates one example of such maladministration.

FIFA has clearly taken its eye off the ball in making such a decision and scored an own goal - earning scorn and derision as it lives in its own dream world of make believe and fantasy.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Palestine - Obama Continues To Fudge On America's Commitment To Israel

[Published 23 May 2011]

President Obama in an address to the AIPAC Policy Conference on 22 May has failed to redress the enormous damage done by him to America’s integrity and reputation during his speech three days earlier at the State Department.

Addressing the State Department Obama then stated:
“We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.. “

This statement amounted to the repudiation of an American written commitment given by President George Bush (the Bush Letter) to Israel’s then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on 14 April 2004 which stated:
“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. 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.”

America’s commitment in the Bush Letter was clear and unambiguous.
1. America would support Israel’s refusal to withdraw from 100% of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem - as the Arabs had been demanding since 1967
2. The amount of such land to be retained by Israel would be determined by mutually agreed changes that reflected the realities existing at the time negotiations were completed

No mention was made that those mutually agreed changes would require Israel to make land swaps of Israeli sovereign territory in exchange for land retained by Israel in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

The importance of these American commitments to Israel was stressed in a speech given in the Knesset by Prime Minister Sharon on 22 April 2004 when he stated:
“The political support we received during my visit to the United States is an unprecedented accomplishment for Israel. Since the establishment of the State, we have not received such vast and staunch political support, as was expressed in the President’s letter.”

President Bush’s letter was subsequently approved by the US Senate and House of Representatives on 23 June and 24 June 2004.

Obama’s apparent attempt to abrogate this American commitment in his statement on 19 May resulted in trenchant criticism from Israel and many members of the American Congress forcing him to clarify his position on 22 May.

In doing so President Obama did not climb out of the diplomatic hole he had dug for himself and America three days earlier - but only managed to slide further down it taking America’s integrity and reputation even lower with him.

President Obama told the AIPAC delegates and many Congressmen present and keen to hear his explanation:
“And it was my reference to the 1967 lines—with mutually agreed swaps—that received the lion’s share of the attention, including just now. And since my position has been misrepresented several times, let me reaffirm what “1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps” means. By definition,it means that the parties themselves—Israelis and Palestinians—will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967. That’s what mutually agreed- upon swaps means. It is a well-known formula to all who have worked on this issue for a generation. It allows the parties themselves to account for the changes that have taken place over the last 44 years. It allows the parties themselves to take account of those changes, including the new demographic realities on the ground, and the needs of both sides. The ultimate goal is two states for two people: Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people and the State of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people—each state in joined self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace”

With the greatest respect the President is talking utter nonsense.

“Agreed upon swaps” surely means an agreed exchange of something for something else.

President Obama clearly was breaching the Bush Letter in stating that his Government’s belief:
”now was that Israeli sovereign territory would have to be swapped for territory retained by Israel in the West Bank or East Jerusalem.

President Obama’s belief in 2011 is totally irrelevant. President Obama is committed in 2011 to supporting whatever decision Israel makes on how much of the West Bank and East Jerusalem it will ultimately withdraw from - nothing more nothing less.

To continue to support the concept of
“mutually agreed swaps”
only makes matters even worse so far as restoring America’s integrity and reputation is concerned.

It is clear President Obama does not like the terms of the Bush Letter. But he - and America - are bound by it if America’s integrity and reputation is to be maintained.

Obama’s explanation smacks of a pathetic attempt to try and retrospectively substitute the words:
“mutually agreed changes” in the Bush Letter with the words “mutually agreed exchanges”.

Surely Congress will react with even greater fury at President Obama’s latest remarks to try and massage the meaning of the Bush Letter to give it a meaning that was never intended.

Israel made a historic - and highly controversial - political decision to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza as a condition of obtaining the Bush Letter. Israel paid dearly for that decision when tens of thousands of its civilian population were subsequently murdered, wounded or traumatized following that disengagement.

It is inconceivable that America should seek in any way to diminish or circumvent the commitments it made under the Bush Letter.

Words have meaning and in this case their meaning brooks only one interpretation.

Obama’s attempt to subvert their meaning must be resisted until he recants and states without qualification or ambiguity that he - as America’s President - and America still stands by what President Bush signed and its Congress ratified.

Palestine - Obama Sinks America's Integrity And Reputation

[Published 21 May 2011]

Remarks made by President Obama at the State Department in Washington on 19 May indicate he is prepared to honour some - but not all - commitments made to Israel by former American President George W Bush in his letter to Israeli Prime Minister Sharon on 14 April 2004 (the Bush Letter)

President Obama first stressed the following points:
"1. It is up to the Israelis and Palestinians to take action. No peace can be imposed upon them—not by the United States; not by anybody else.
2. What America and the international community can do is to state frankly what everyone knows—a lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples: Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people, each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace."

President Obama was indeed confirming America’s written commitment to Israel in the Bush Letter
“The United States is strongly committed to Israel’s security and well-being as a Jewish state.”

This commitment - made now by two American Presidents to Israel - has been repeatedly rejected by the Palestinian Authority, Fatah, the PLO, Hamas and the Arab League. But it is a commitment that America has no intention of abandoning.

However, President Obama ignored another commitment in the Bush Letter when he then told his State Department audience:
“We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.. “

This statement is contrary to the following statement appearing in the Bush Letter:
“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. 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.”

Bush had clearly committed to back Israel’s position that sovereignty in 100% of the land occupied in the Six Day War by Israel would not be ceded in any ultimate peace settlement.

Obama was obviously trying to wheedle his way out of this Bush commitment by some semantic toe stepping. - suggesting that
1. any loss of such territory to Israel could be compensated by an equivalent swap of existing Israeli sovereign territory and
2. this swap could still lead to the creation of secure borders for Israel.

Israel was certainly not prepared to let Obama back peddle from the terms of the Bush Letter

The Israeli rebuttal was swift and came just one day later when Israel’s Prime Minster told President Obama during a meeting at the White House:
“I think for there to be peace, the Palestinians will have to accept some basic realities. The first is that while Israel is prepared to make generous compromises for peace, it cannot go back to the 1967 lines—because these lines are indefensible; because they don’t take into account certain changes that have taken place on the ground, demographic changes that have taken place over the last 44 years.”

Those concerned to ensure that American Presidential commitments made to third parties are honored and upheld by their successors should be as equally worried as Israel at Obama’s apparent attempt to breach such a fundamental Presidential commitment.

The price Israel paid to secure the Bush Letter was its decision to unilaterally disengage from Gaza in 2005. This disengagement exposed Israel’s civilian population living in its southern region to the threat of continuing indiscriminate missile and terrorist attacks from Gaza without any Israeli military forces being retained in Gaza any more to prevent, defend and respond to any such attacks. 8000 Israeli citizens were forced to evacuate their homes and businesses established in Gaza over the preceding 38 years.

This is indeed what happened after Israel disengaged from Gaza in 2005 - with disastrous consequences for both civilian populations in Israel and Gaza and for those 8000 Israelis who had evacuated Gaza.

Jeopardizing its security on the entire Gaza front required Israel to be absolutely assured of American commitment to Israel’s security on the West Bank front. That assessment saw the refusal to cede sovereignty in 100% of the West Bank and East Jerusalem as being non-negotiable

America’s decision to stand by and support Israel on this fundamental territorial issue is critical.

Israel’s Government in 2008 had unsuccessfully explored the possibility of land swaps with the Palestinian Authority - but those negotiations ended inconclusively and are now in total lock down.

Exploring land swaps might again be considered by Israel in future negotiations. The current Israeli Government shows no intention to do so. But that will have to be Israel’s decision - not America’s.

America’s view - now or later - regarding land swaps is irrelevant under the Bush Letter.

President Obama’s statement will no doubt be seen by some to indicate a shift in America’s position - perhaps made in an attempt to induce the Palestinian Authority to resume the stalled negotiations with Israel.

Obama’s position will be viewed by Israel and its supporters as a shift that does no honor to America and badly damages its reputation and integrity.

The Bush commitment was made for an Israeli commitment that has resulted in the death, injury and traumatisation of tens of thousands of Israelis.

Obama’s attempt to minimize or modify that commitment in any way must be firmly and publicly resisted by Israel and its supporters in the American Congress - which had voted overwhelmingly in favor of President Bush signing the Bush Letter in the first place.

Doing so will certainly help restore America’s reputation for honesty and transparency in its dealings with third parties - and for standing by and remaining staunchly committed to the decisions of its Presidents.

Aren't these indeed cardinal democratic principles which Obama - as leader of the world’s leading democracy - is sworn to uphold?

Palestine - Bring Jordan Back Into The Equation

[Published 13 May 2011]

Any further negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are dead and buried.

This is the only conclusion to be drawn from the recent signing of a reconciliation agreement between rival Palestinian factions - Hamas and Fatah - intended to end their fratricidal conflict that has claimed the lives of hundreds of the West Bank and Gaza’s civilian Arab populations and wounded and traumatized thousands of others over the last four years.

Israel will refuse to accept any offer to negotiate or treat with any new Palestinian Government formed as a result of such reconciliation - at least whilst

1.Hamas continues to demand the destruction of the Jewish State of Israel and its replacement with an Islamic State of Palestine and
2.Fatah espouses
(i) Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.
(ii) Opposing any political solution offered as an alternative to demolishing the Zionist occupation in Palestine, as well as any project intended to liquidate the Palestinian case or impose any international mandate on its people.

Indeed violent confrontation between Hamas and Fatah can be anticipated as they each attempt to implement the terms of their very vague and open ended agreement for the purposes of advancing and entrenching their own power-seeking agendas at the expense of the other.

One would imagine that had reconciliation really been the goal:
1. the mutual release of political prisoners held by each faction would have already occurred together with
2. an easing of bans on political expression by members of each faction within the respective area the other faction currently controls.

That this has not already happened is perhaps the clearest indication that the will to reconcile is not sincerely held.

Meantime Israel’s Prime Minister - Benjamin Netanyahu - is shortly to embark on a visit to meet President Obama - when Netanyahu is expected to lay out his thoughts on the future direction to be taken to resolve the issue of sovereignty in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

These three areas comprise the remaining 5% of Palestine still unallocated between Jews and Arabs after 17 years of ineffective and ineffectual negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Hamas - or a reconciled Fatah-Hamas Government - could acquire sovereignty in Gaza tomorrow and constitute it as a 22rd independent Arab State by a simple declaration of independence - but any expectation of that happening is a forlorn hope. Neither entity would be prepared to pay the political price that the establishment of such an independent second Arab State in former Palestine - in addition to Jordan - might mean for
1. their jointly shared objective to eradicate the State of Israel and
2. their demand that Israel vacate all of the West Bank and East Jerusalem won from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War.

Any hope of returning Jordan to the status quo it enjoyed in 1967 as occupier of the West Bank and East Jerusalem or allocating it sovereignty in any part of those areas having regard to the demographic changes over the last 43 years - remain the only two possible negotiating avenues that can now be possibly explored.

Either would involve the introduction of Jordan to replace the Palestinian Authority as Israel’s negotiating partner to determine whether either outcome can be peacefully achieved.

Jordan will not readily acquiesce to being placed in this negotiating spotlight.

However the following circumstances now exist that might help bring these negotiations about - if sufficient American and European Union pressure is brought to bear on Jordan to do so:
1. The Hashemite regime in Jordan faces serious challenges to continuing its 90 year rule in Jordan - such as Mubarak in Egypt, Gadaffi in Libya and Assad in Syria have had to face.
2. Jordan’s economy continues to struggle to cope with the demands of its increasingly restless population. Jordan’s woes have been compounded by repeated interruptions in the pipeline delivering Egyptian natural gas, which has forced it to ration electricity and increase its import bill.

It is in the interest of America and the European Union to ensure the survival of a stable Hashemite regime in Jordan and the maintenance of the 1994 peace treaty signed between Israel and Jordan.

Providing guarantees to protect the monarchy and financial support to overcome Jordan’s economic woes could well prove to be the catalysts necessary to attract Jordan to take up where the Palestinian Authority has clearly failed.

It is ironic that the following statement made by Netanyahu at the United Nations in 1984 still resonates and is of particular relevance in 2011:
"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 three million Arabs, does not allow a single Jew to live there. It also contains 4/5 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 four million, of which one sixth is Arab. It contains less than 1/5 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."

The attempt to create that second Palestinian Arab State in Western Palestine has clearly failed and is not going to occur through direct negotiations between Israel and any Arab interlocutor. However expanding the boundaries of Jordan in direct negotiations with Israel has reasonable prospects of success

Netanyahu would do well to draw Obama’s attention to his 1984 prophetic statement when they meet next week. Certainly had the UN acted on this statement - the sorry saga of death, injury and trauma suffered by both Jews and Arabs over the last 27 years could have been avoided.

The only hope of avoiding further conflict and bloodshed is to bring Jordan to the negotiating table. The sooner this dawns on President Obama the sooner the prospect of resolving sovereignty in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is likely to be achieved.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Palestine - Hamas And Fatah Seal Unreal Deal

[Published 6 May 2011]

The announcement this week in Cairo of the long awaited reconciliation between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah has turned out to be to nothing more than an agreement to continue negotiating on a range of so far unresolved - and apparently irreconcilable - issues.

Two years of intense and fruitless mediation by Egypt to end the internecine conflict between the two warring factions over the last four years seems set to continue.

The lack of confidence in hoping to achieve a satisfactory outcome may have well motivated both Fatah Chairman - Mahmoud Abbas - and Hamas Chief - Khaled Meshaal - to appoint deputies to sign the agreement on their behalf whilst they merely looked on.

Certainly the claim by Abbas that they had turned forever the “black page of divisions” appeared to be very premature. Meshaal seeking to strike a historically resonant note, declared that Hamas’s bitter rift with Fatah was “behind us”.

In fact however the signed document comprises no more than heads of agreement calling for the parties to form an interim government by consensus, iron out a number of fundamental issues between them and set up the mechanism for the calling of elections to be held on 3 May 2012.

The fulfilment of the document’s stated objectives promises to be impossible to achieve - given the intense and long running hatred and acrimony between Hamas and Fatah - which has resulted in thousands of deaths and injuries sustained by the civilian Arab populations in Gaza and the West Bank caught up in this long running struggle for power and control over both suffering populations.

The first hurdle can be found in Article 3A of the signed agreement which states:
“Both Fatah and Hamas agree to form a Palestinian government and to appoint the Prime Minister and Ministers in consensus between them.”/i>

How this consensus is expected to be achieved is left unanswered. Given the peremptory dismissal of Hamas leader Ismail Haniya as democratically elected Prime Minister by Abbas in June 2007- one would imagine there is no way Haniya would agree to Abbas’s current unelected replacement - Salman Fayyad - still continuing to fill that role in the run up to the new elections.

The idea that Hamas would agree to a Fatah appointed Prime Minister being in control at the time of the proposed elections is fanciful thinking. The idea that Fatah would abandon Fayyad to the wind is equally unrealistic.

Fayyad and Abbas’s difference of opinion with Haniya regarding their perceptions of America and Islamic terrorism will no doubt create further problems in reaching any workable consensus.

Haniya was strident in his anger at the announcement that al Quaeda head Osama Bin Laden had been found and killed in Pakistan and his body consigned to the bottom of the ocean by an elite American strike force:
“We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior. We ask God to offer him mercy with the true believers and the martyrs. .. If the news is true, then we consider it a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and bloodshed against Arabs and Muslims,”

At the other end of the spectrum, Salam Fayyad - was saying exactly the opposite:
“The man killed in the operation engaged in terror and destruction his entire life. I hope his death is the beginning of the end for this dark era.”
Fayyad was backed up by Abbas’s spokesman - Ghassan Khatib - who commented:
“Getting rid of bin Laden is good for the cause of peace worldwide but what counts is to overcome the discourse and the methods—the violent methods—that were created and encouraged by bin Laden and others in the world,”

How any Government - no matter how temporary - can marry these views and hope to gain American and European Union support - remains a real mystery

Some of the other issues requiring to be resolved under the signed document include:

1. supervising and addressing the prevalent issues regarding the internal Palestinian reconciliation resulting from the state of division.
2. resolving the civil and administrative problems that resulted from the division
3. unification of the Palestinian National Authority institutions in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem.

It is sobering to realize that the resolution of these long running and festering core issues have not even got to first base. Believing these apparently irreconcilable differences can be resolved in the next few months is the stuff dreams are made of.

Throw into the mix that Hamas

1. has been declared a terrorist organization by both America and the European Union
2. will have won no friends in the American administration following Haniya’s denigration of Obama and America
3. will be keen to even scores with Abbas and cause him as the leader of the Palestinian Authority, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and its largest faction Fatah maximum loss of face, authority and power before the next elections

- then you have a recipe for ongoing disagreement and further conflict.

Hamas has always set itself apart from the PLO by seeking to create an Islamic state and not a secular state - and this surely will prove to be a major impediment to establishing even a temporary unity government between them.

Article 27 of the Hamas Charter explicitly declares:
“...the PLO has adopted the idea of a Secular State, and so we think of it. Secular thought is diametrically opposed to religious thought. Thought is the basis for positions, for modes of conduct and for resolutions. Therefore, in spite of our appreciation for the PLO and its possible transformation in the future, and despite the fact that we do not denigrate its role in the Arab-Israeli conflict, we cannot substitute it for the Islamic nature of Palestine by adopting secular thought. For the Islamic nature of Palestine is part of our religion, and anyone who neglects his religion is bound to lose.”

Given the violent Jihadist philosophy of Hamas and its call for the destruction of Israel - one can predict that the PLO and Fatah will be the losers in this latest attempt at reconciliation - as will be the hope of ever creating a Palestinian Arab State by peaceful negotiations.

Palestine - Abbas Negates Further Negotiations With Israel

[Published 30 April 2011]

The Palestinian Authority (PA) announcement abdicating to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) the conduct of any future political negotiations with Israel - effectively sinks any further hope of direct negotiations being resumed with Israel over the future sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza.

The PA has consigned itself - and 17 years of on and off negotiations - to the scrapheap of history to join previously failed negotiators and negotiations attempting to achieve a peaceful resolution of the 130 years conflict between Jews and Arabs in former Palestine.

This latest demise was made abundantly clear by PA President Mahmoud Abbas - who told the Palestinian News and Information Agency (WAFA) that political negotiations will become the responsibility of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and not of any unity government that Fatah and Hamas might form as a result of their decision to effect a reconciliation after three years of bitter internecine conflict.

Abbas has sought to limit the tasks of any such newly formed government to concentrate on rebuilding Gaza and preparing for national elections in 2012 - although it is most unlikely that Hamas will ever agree with Abbas on these limited objectives.

Abbas has reportedly confirmed to Australia’s visiting Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd that the PLO is the party responsible for the political issues and therefore negotiations will be conducted by the PLO and not the Palestinian government.

This WAFA report - if accurate - is a stunning turnabout and abdication by the PA of its negotiating role with Israel in favour of the PLO. Israel would be reckless in pursuing its national interest if it were to countenance any such change of direction.

The difficulty inherent in dealing with the PLO was foreseen 17 years ago and led to the birth of a new entity - the PA - under the terms of the Oslo Accords.

The PLO was rejected as the appropriate party to negotiate with Israel - because of its virulent and hate-filled Charter. It was at that time but one of many organizations claiming to represent the Palestinian Arabs. Its main constituent member was Fatah - but its rival Hamas had never been a member of the PLO.

The appointment of a new independent democratically elected body by the West Bank and Gazan Arabs - whilst right in theory - went horribly wrong in practice following Hamas‘s surprise win in the 2006 elections over Fatah. The West Bank and Gaza split into two separately administered Hamas and PA fiefdoms - each vying for the allegiance of those not under the political control of the other - but with disastrous results for both populations over the last four years.

Now as a result of the promised reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas - Abbas finds himself terribly conflicted in four pivotal roles as:
1. President of the PA
2. Chairman of the PLO
3. Chairman of Fatah
4. Putative head of a Fatah-Hamas government of reconciliation.

As President of the PA - Abbas is committed to concluding the “two state solution” accepted both by himself and his predecessor the late Yasser Arafat. Such a a solution - in accordance with the American backed initiative proposed by former US President George Bush in his 2003 Roadmap - still remains unimplemented in any of its details - save for Israel‘s unilateral evacuation from Gaza in 2005.

As Chairman of the PLO - Abbas is obligated to observing the provisions of Article 20 of the PLO Covenant which states:
“The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine and everything that has been based on them, are deemed null and void. Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood. Judaism being a divine religion is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own: they are citizens of the states to which they belong”

As Chairman of Fatah - Abbas is sworn to uphold Article 22 of Fatah’s own separate Charter:
“Opposing any political solution offered as an alternative to demolishing the Zionist occupation in Palestine”

Abbas therefore still continues to head two organizations - the PLO and Fatah - that are hell bent on consigning the six and a quarter million Jews now living in Israel into national oblivion while heading another organisation - the PA - that supposedly seeks to live side by side with the Jews in their own independent state.

Abbas is now talking of heading a Hamas-Fatah government of reconciliation and assigning the conduct of any political negotiations to the PLO - the very antithesis of what was agreed with Israel under the Oslo Accords.

Abbas - while he wears these four hats - is powerless to distance or disassociate himself from various Palestinian Arab factions’ plans designed to eliminate Israel as the designated Jewish National Home for all present - and future - generations of Jews no matter where they might happen to be born or now be residing.

Abbas is certainly frank as to where his loyalties reside.

On April 27, 2009 he told a preliminary conference of the Palestinian Youth Conference at Ramallah:
“A Jewish State, what is that supposed to mean? You can call yourselves as you like, but I don’t accept it and I say so publicly. All I know is that there is the state of Israel, in the borders of 1967, not one centimeter less. Anything else I don’t accept”

Abbas - after this outburst - had no compunction or embarrassment in accepting a large framed map of “Palestine” covering the entire area of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. This picture later appeared on the front page of both daily publications of the Palestinian Authority.

Continuing to deal with Abbas while he wore three hats proved to be more than sufficient a recipe - as anyone could reasonably predict - for utter political disaster.

As he now threatens to don yet a fourth hat - any hopes of achieving the peaceful creation of a new Arab state between Israel, Jordan and Egypt for the first time ever in recorded history has become a pure figment of the imagination for those who still think it can ever occur.

The sooner this reality is faced and alternative solutions are explored - such as negotiations between Israel and Jordan - the more chance there is of averting another conflict of massive proportions between Arabs and Jews.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Israel - A Boycott Without A Buoy

[Published 22 April 2011]

The recent attempt by the Marrickville Council in Sydney to impose a boycott on its purchase of Israeli goods and products spectacularly collapsed after the Council was advised by its Chief Officer that enforcing the boycott would cost its ratepayers four million dollars.

When people have to put their money where their mouth is - an idea that seems attractive in the first place suddenly becomes very much less desirable. So it proved to be with Marrickville Council.

What is of more concern however is that a boycott should never have been entertained by the Council in the first place - given the nature of the campaign as articulated by its originators.

In July 2005 “Palestinian civil society” called for a “global citizens response” under the following manifesto:
“The call urges various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law by:
1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall;
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.”

The following inaccuracies and misrepresentations are immediately apparent in this manifesto:

1. Those calling for the boycott have themselves been breaching their obligations under international law for the last 90 years by declaring in Article 20 of the PLO Covenant:
“The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void.”

2. “Everything that has been based on” the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate for Palestine” includes:
(i) The Versailles Peace Conference 1919
(ii) The San Remo Conference 1920
(iii) The Treaty of Sevres 1920
(iv) The exclusion from 1923 of 77% of the Mandate area in which the Jewish National Home was to be reconstituted and its subsequent creation as the Arab State of Transjordan in 1946
(v) Article 80 of the United Nations Charter
(vi) The creation of the State of Israel in 1948
(vii) The Armistice Lines established by the UN in 1949
(viii)The joint decision of West Bank and Jordanian Arabs to unify the West Bank and Jordan in 1950
(ix) UN Security Council Resolution 242

Surely those being asked to boycott Israel should be first demanding Palestinian excision of Article 20 from their Charter and observance by Palestinians of the above body of international law as the price for supporting any boycott.

Supporting law-breakers who continue to willfully ignore the law should certainly not be countenanced.

3. With the exception of the Golan Heights - none of the land occupied by Israel in the 1967 War can be designated as “Arab lands” - since sovereignty in such lands remains undetermined.

Jordan’s attempt to annex the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1950 was only recognized by Great Britain and Pakistan. Jordan relinquished whatever claims it had in 1988.

These lands are presently “no man’s land” over which both Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) are making sovereign claims that can only be resolved in direct face to face negotiations - which have now stalled because the PA refuses to resume such negotiations with Israel.

Supporting the boycott encourages the continuation of this negotiating gridlock and is contrary to what the international community is demanding.

4. Calling for Jews to stop settling in the West Bank and East Jerusalem - (termed “colonization” under the manifesto) contravenes article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

Seeking to exclude anyone but Palestinians from living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is racist, discriminatory and constitutes apartheid - and brands those who support a boycott on this ground as supporters of such an outrageous and offensive policy.

5. Israel has already made it clear that the Wall - where built on “no-man’s land” - will be dismantled when secure and recognized borders between Israel and a Palestinian State are established in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 242.

Boycotting Israel for not demolishing the wall whilst these legal requirements remain unresolved - yet again indicates support for those who have scant regard for international law.

6. Full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens in Israel already exists.

Those being asked to boycott Israel should seek clarification as to what fundamental rights are being denied to Arabs in Israel that are enjoyed by Arab residents in the West Bank and Gaza.

7. UN General Assembly Resolution 194 has never been binding on Israel.

Professor Julius Stone states in his book “Israel and Palestine - Assault on the Law of Nations"
“General Assembly Resolution 194 (III) of December 11,1948 … did not even purport to be in in mandatory terms, but was merely parts of the terms of reference of the Palestinian Conciliation Commission. A recital in Resolution 273 (III) of May 11, 1949, admitting Israel to the United Nations “recalled” that Resolution 194 (III) provided an option for refugees to return to their homes, and compensation if they opted not to return, but it immediately in the same recital “noted” the declarations and explanations made by Israel before the ad hoc committee in respect of the implementation of that resolution. Since Israel’s declarations and explanations did not unquailifiedly accept the resolution, this can in no way be regarded as creating a legal obligation.” (p.68)

Then of course there is the hypocrisy inherent in seeking to selectively decide what to boycott - such as cosmetics, foodstuffs, sweets, supermarket shelves and other soft targets - but not life-saving cures, medical breakthroughs, high-tech components used in IT systems, water technologies and electric cars.

The boycott was initiated in 2005 on the basis of a manifesto that was both false and misleading.

Those silly enough to be drawn into its net without fully understanding that law-breaking and racism permeate its manifesto - only have themselves to blame for being duped and labelled naïve and foolish.

Had Marrickville Council taken the time to properly understand what the Council was being exposed to - the fiasco that followed their initial decision would not have occurred. Others being similarly minded to embark on such a mindless and irrelevant journey hopefully won’t now fall into the same trap.

This is a boycott full of holes that is slowly sinking to the bottom of the sea of deception that created it.

Palestine Recognized - United Nations Delegitimized

[Published 14 April 2011]

Any decision by the United Nations General Assembly to recognize a Palestinian State next September could signal the beginning of the end for the United Nations as a credible organization pledged to uphold the rule of international law in dealings with - and between - member states.

Its current reputation for doing so is under real threat even now - as calls for it to withdraw further consideration of the flawed Goldstone Report are being made following Justice Goldstone’s recent admission that the Report wrongly alleged that Israel had deliberately targeted Gaza’s civilian population during its invasion of Gaza in December 2008.

Goldstone’s Report had been tainted and compromised from the outset because all four Commissioners appointed by the UN Human Rights Council were biased - and in accordance with well established legal principles should have recused themselves from taking part in the Inquiry.

Failing to initially reject any consideration of this biased Report has now landed the General Assembly in its present predicament. Continuing to consider the Goldstone Report will indicate the General Assembly is prepared to ignore the law where it conflicts with a particular political objective. This is a recipe for disaster and inevitably must lead to the total loss of any credibility.

Should the United Nations actively attempt to do another “Goldstone” - by acting in defiance of a well established body of international law - then it could well end up imploding like its predecessor - the League of Nations.

Israel’s President - Shimon Peres - warned this week that whilst Israel believes in a two-state solution - it must be negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians, not imposed by the international community.

Failure of the General Assembly to heed this message - by ignoring international law - can only lay the groundwork for another war

Vesting Arab sovereignty for the first time ever in recorded history in the whole or any part of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza - can realistically only happen in direct negotiations to which Israel is a party. Other alternatives to the creation of a new Arab State may have to be considered and negotiated if this currently preferred option cannot be realised.

The UN Documentation Search Guide sets out the following UN objective:
“International law is a primary concern of the United Nations. The mandate for the activities in this field emanates from the Charter of the United Nations which, in its Preamble, sets the goal “to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained”.

International law specifically dealing with Palestine that must be respected and upheld by the United Nations includes:

1. The Versailles Peace Conference 1919
2. The San Remo Conference 1920
3. The Treaty of Sevres 1920
4. The Mandate for Palestine 1922
5. Article 80 of the UN Charter 1945
6. Security Council Resolution 242 (1967)

This body of law conclusively establishes that:
1. the Jewish National Home is to be reconstituted in Palestine within secure and recognized boundaries - without prejudice to the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities
2. close settlement by Jews is to be encouraged on the land within such determined boundaries including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes

Any attempt to now deny the Jewish people these vested legal rights - without Israel’s agreement - will indeed be an exercise in futility.

Additionally the provisions of customary international law embodied in the Montevideo Convention 1933 sets out in Article 1 four criteria for statehood :
1. a permanent population;
2. defined territory;
3. government; and
4. capacity to enter into relations with the other states.

Short of a miracle occurring before September - there will not be:
1. any single Arab Government in control of all of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza - reputedly the territory designated to be the subject of the proposed General Assembly resolution
2. any permanent population in the designated territory over which any Arab declarant could claim to exercise control
3. any ability by any Arab government in those areas to enter into relations with other states and honour commitments made with those states.

As it did in 1947 - the General Assembly could examine the current situation and make its own recommendations to the parties. But these would be recommendations only - requiring the consent of both parties before they could be implemented.

Entertaining any other attempt to bring the matter to the General Assembly would undermine and could lead to the repudiation of:
1. the Oslo Accords - whose status even now is very questionable and
2. the Roadmap - to which the United Nations is committed to implementing as part of the four member Quartet comprising itself, the United States, the European Union and Russia
3. Changed circumstances on the ground since such a State was first proposed by the Peel Commission in 1937 and by the United Nations in 1947 make the possibility of the creation of such a State now only possible to achieve in direct negotiations with Israel.

The opportunity that existed between 1948-1967 to unilaterally create such a State with the stroke of an Arab League pen - when all Jews living in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza had been expelled by seven invading Arab Armies - is no longer available.

The reputation and integrity of the United Nations is at stake if efforts continue to procure the passage of a resolution to recognize a Palestinian State by the General Assembly in September.

America has already issued a precautionary warning against such action.

White House Middle East advisor Dennis Ross said this week:
“We have consistently made it clear that the way to produce a Palestinian state is through negotiations, not through unilateral declarations, not through going to the UN. Our position on that has been consistent in opposition.”

UN Secretary General Ban-Ki moon - and the General Assembly - would do well to heed this warning before embarking on this pointless journey to nowhere.

Goldstone Gazumped On Gaza

[Published 5 April 2011]

Richard Goldstone now faces bitter condemnation from Israel following his belated admission that his infamous Report was wrong in finding that Israel had intentionally targeted civilians during its invasion of Gaza in December 2008.

Goldstone has now attempted to lay the blame for this gross and defamatory libel at Israel’s feet for refusing to give evidence before his Inquiry - a kangaroo court and a UN sanctioned set-up in every sense. This claim is as outrageous as his earlier flawed findings.

Goldstone has belatedly confessed that the initial mandate given to him by the UN Human Rights Commission was “skewed” and was changed at his insistence. He goes even further in now stating:
“ I had hoped that our inquiry into all aspects of the Gaza conflict would begin a new era of evenhandedness at the U.N. Human Rights Council, whose history of bias against Israel cannot be doubted.”

But Goldstone still remains silent on his own bias and that of the other three members of his Tribunal - Hila Jalani, Desmond Travers and Christine Chinkin

The Hon. Sir Gerard Brennan AC KBE in evidence given to the Australian Senate on 10 August 2007 best sums up the role judges must assume and be seen to assume:
“There are qualities of character and disposition to be desired in all judges. The supreme judicial virtue is impartiality. Both partiality and the appearance of partiality are incompatible with the proper exercise of judicial authority. The one poisons the stream of justice at its source; the other dries it up”

Before their appointment as Commissioners by the President of the UN Human Rights Council on 3 April 2009 - Richard Goldstone, Hila Jalani and Desmond Travers were among 16 signatories who had signed an open letter to the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and the Security Council Ambassadors on 16 March 2009 in which they stated:
“As individuals with direct experience of international justice and reconciliation of conflict, we believe there is an important case to be made for an international investigation of gross violations of the laws of war, committed by all parties to the Gaza conflict.

Without setting the record straight in a credible and impartial manner, it will be difficult for those communities that have borne the heavy cost of violence to move beyond the terrible aftermath of conflict and help build a better peace.

A prompt, independent and impartial investigation would provide a public record of gross violations of international humanitarian law committed and provide recommendations on how those responsible for crimes should be held to account.”

The words “credible”, “impartial“, and “independent” feature prominently in this part of the statement.

Not content however with stressing the nature of the investigation they desired - the signatories went on to declare:
“We urge world leaders to send an unfaltering signal that the targeting of civilians during conflict is unacceptable by any party on any count. We call on them to support the establishment of a United Nations commission of inquiry into the Gaza conflict. The commission should have the greatest possible expertise and authority and: a mandate to carry out a prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigation of all allegations of serious violations of international humanitarian law committed by all parties to the conflict”

Again the signatories stressed the commission of inquiry was to be “impartial” - yet they had already concluded there had been targeting of civilians.

The letter continued :
“The events in Gaza have shocked us to the core.”

Surely given the public display of their feelings - and the conclusions they had already publicly drawn - the appointment of these three signatories to the Commission should never have been made.

But there is more that can be gleaned when one looks at their qualifications as set out in that letter.

Desmond Travers disclosed he was currently a Director at the Institute for International Criminal Investigations (IICI). Hila Jalani failed to mention she was also a director at the same Institute. Richard Goldstone did not mention that he was on the Council of Advisors of the same Institute.

Perhaps this failure of disclosure of association could be explained as an oversight by one or other of them in failing to reveal their close professional and working relationship, their ability to influence each other or even have a common mindset devoid of any of them exercising their own independent judgement.

However when one looks at the United Nations Press Release dated 3 April 2009, more detailed curricula vitae of these three Commissioners are given - but again their common identification with the IICI is not disclosed.

Additionally Richard Goldstone is disclosed as having been a Governor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Surely he should have disqualified himself on that fact alone. But he didn’t. He said he was ‘‘shocked, as a Jew,’’ to be invited to head the mission.
‘‘It adds an additional dimension .I’ve taken a deep interest in what happens in Israel. I’m associated with organizations that have worked in Israel. And I believe I can approach the daunting task that I have accepted in an even handed and impartial manner.’‘

Goldstone apparently believed he could be even handed and impartial, But that is not the test. Any semblance of partiality should have resulted in his disqualification.

Chinkin had similarly placed herself in a position of conflict by signing a letter which appeared in The Times on 11 January 2009 stating:
“Israel’s bombardment of Gaza is not self-defence - it’s a war crime.”

In addition, the letter continued:
“The rocket attacks on Israel by Hamas deplorable as they are, do not, in terms of scale and effect amount to an armed attack entitling Israel to rely on self-defence…Israel’s actions amount to aggression, not self-defence”.

All four Commissioners should have recused themselves from sitting. They all share responsibility for the enormous harm suffered by Israel as a result of their refusal to do so.

The decent and fair thing for them all to do now would be to formally advise the Human Rights Council to tear up their Report and for all UN proceedings discussing the Report to be expunged from the UN records.

Gaza And Libya - UN Speaks With Forked Tongue

[Published 23 March 2011]

The double standards employed by the United Nations when it comes to dealing with Israel were thrown into sharp focus with the Security Council’s passing of Resolution 1973 on 19 March 2011.

The resolution legalized the creation of a “no-fly zone” over Libya and was supplemented by a host of other provisions including an arms embargo authorizing the inspection on the high seas of vessels and aircraft bound to or from Libya.

The Resolution was designed to stop both the murder and inadvertent killing of Libya’s civilian population caught up in the conflict between their own Government and a defiant - and sometimes armed - civilian rebellion attempting to end the 42 year rule of Muammar Gadaffi.

The wording of resolution 1973 was particularly enlightening - especially these provisions:
“4. Authorizes Member States that have notified the Secretary-General, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, and acting in cooperation with the Secretary-General, to take all necessary measures, notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011), to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory, and requests the Member States concerned to inform the Secretary-General immediately of the measures they take pursuant to the authorization conferred by this paragraph which shall be immediately reported to the Security Council;

“6. Decides to establish a ban on all flights in the airspace of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in order to help protect civilians;”

The Resolution’s attempt to deny Libya is being occupied pursuant to any action taken under Resolution 1973 indicates that the UN view on Gaza - as being occupied by Israel - must now be revised.

The justification for such claim in relation to Gaza can be found in the following explanation afforded by Amnesty International :
“Israel is the occupying power in the Gaza Strip. In 2005, as part of what it termed “disengagement” from Gaza, Israel removed its settlements and settlers. Yet despite the redeployment of its troops in 2005, the Israeli army has retained effective control over the Gaza Strip. Israel maintains sole control of Gaza’s airspace and territorial waters and does not allow any movement of people or goods in or out of Gaza via air or sea. Israel also continues to exercise a degree of control over Gaza’s border with Egypt and Israeli officials have repeatedly made it clear that this border can only be reopened within the framework of a joint agreement with the Palestinian Authority and Egypt.”

So according to the United Nations and its agencies - control of Gaza’s airspace and territorial waters by Israel amounts to “occupation” - whilst control of Libya’s airspace and territorial waters by America, France, Great Britain and the Arab League does not amount to a “foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory”

The United Nations makes itself a laughing stock when it attempts to define Gaza as being occupied and Libya as not.

They are both occupied - or both are not.

Will the Secretary General please indicate which is correct?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Obama - Confronting The Killing Culture In Palestine

[Published 17 March 2011]

The brutal murder of five members of the Fogel family including three children aged 11, 4 and 3 months - whilst asleep in their house - could only elicit the following pathetic response from President Obama:
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the murder of five Israelis in a terrorist attack in the northern West Bank, and we offer our condolences to their loved ones and to the Israeli people. There is no possible justification for the killing of parents and children in their home. We call on the Palestinian Authority to unequivocally condemn this terrorist attack and for the perpetrators of this heinous crime to be held accountable.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas - in answer to Obama‘s statement - countered by stating:
“They [Israel] are now investigating and there’s no news about who perpetrated this crime. I don’t know why they are insisting on accusing the Palestinian people.”
Not a word of condemnation was uttered by Abbas against Palestinians who celebrated the Fogel family slaughter by handing out candies and sweets to a joyful crowd in Rafah after the news of the massacre became public. They are his people and Abbas should have been appalled at such behavior.

Obama’s call for the Palestinian Authority to unequivocally condemn the murders also received short shrift from Abbas - who reportedly told the Jerusalem Post that the international community must know that settlers are targeting villages, mosques, houses and olive trees every day - and was then quoted as saying:
“The international community and Israeli society need to know about these crimes because this is a crime and that is a crime too,”

There you have it - the slit throats of innocent men, women and children equated to vandalism of olive trees.

For Abbas there is no difference between murder and vandalism as he seeks international support for a Palestinian State within the 1949 armistice lines - without Israel‘s agreement. World leaders clamor in their droves to support him in this proposal that is contrary to international law as embodied in the Montevideo Convention.

There is a widespread culture calling for death to the Jews - and official support for that culture - rampant in Palestinian society as evidenced by the following:
1. Abbas - in January - allowed a presentation of $2000 to be awarded to the relatives of a Palestinian terrorist - reported as follows in Al-Hayat Al Jadida on 25 January:
“The governor of the Jenin district, Kadura Musa, has awarded a presidential grant to the family of the Shahid (Martyr), Khaldoun Najib Samoudy, during a visit that took place yesterday in the village of Al-Yamoun. The governor noted that the grant is financial aid in the amount of $2000 that the President [Mahmoud Abbas] is awarding to the relatives of the Shahid, who was recently killed as a Martyr at the Hamra checkpoint by the Israeli occupation forces”

2. Abbas was the President who did nothing to prevent the indiscriminate firing of thousands of rockets, shells and mortars into Israeli civilian population centres from Gaza and the smuggling of weapons into Gaza prior to being deposed there by Hamas in 2007. Hamas continues to maintain its threat to rid the Middle East of Israel - ostensibly as the democratically elected leader of the Palestinian people.

3. Both Abbas and Hamas leader - Ismail Haniyeh - head organizations whose Charters call for the elimination of the Jewish State and the denial of any right of statehood for Jews under the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

4. A Palestinian Authority TV tribute to “Martyrs” just three weeks ago included the terrorist who killed three Israelis in a 2002 terror attack in the same West Bank town of Itamar where the Fogel family was murdered.

The video was in honor of the anniversary of the founding of the DFLP (Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine), and was broadcast on PA TV several times daily for four days. It featured a collage with photographs labeled “Martyrs (Shahids) of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Nablus.” It included the picture of terrorist Habash Hanani, who in May 2002 entered Itamar and murdered three students in the local high school.

5. Abbas sanctioned the inauguration of a square in el-Bireh in March 2010 named after Dalal Maghreb - the Fatah woman who led the 1978 Coastal Road massacre in which 37 Israeli civilians and an American photographer were killed, and 71 were wounded,

Three days later the Palestinian Authority launched a four day seminar named after Maghreb - called the “Martyr Dalal Mughrabi Camp,” in Jericho under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority’s Military Science Academy. Its main goal was to discuss the legislative and local elections in the PA territories.

Obama must surely express his abhorrence of such official incitement and extolling of the murder of innocent Jewish civilians and condemn such conduct as being reprehensible, immoral and absolute anathema in any society.

Abbas’s attempt to justify some kind of moral equivalence between land disputes and the murder of Jewish civilians - or to excuse those murders because of the failure to resolve the 130 years old conflict between Jews and Arabs - must be categorically rejected by President Obama.

The President must make it clear that this grossly immoral and heinous conduct and the culture that espouses and encourages it be ended - by publicly demanding that:
1. Abbas return to the negotiating table with Israel within fourteen days or understand that his failure to do so will result in America taking no further part in seeking to implement the Roadmap

2.Any attempt by the Palestinian Authority to circumvent such negotiations will be met with an American veto in the Security Council

3.Any further murders of Jewish civilians in the West Bank by Palestinians will result in America withholding or possibly withdrawing all financial aid and other support to the Palestinian Authority

Hopefully other leaders would be principled enough to follow President Obama’s lead in doing something constructive to try to end the culture that resulted in the murder of the Fogels and countless thousands of Jews before them - other than issuing bland condolences that serve no real purpose.

Such demands might just wipe the smirk off the Palestinian Authority officials laughing all the way to the bank to collect the hundreds of millions of dollars in international aid that continues to come their way.

Palestine - Pontification, Prediction and Poppycock

[Published 12 March 2011]

The world has been agog this week at the news that Israel’s Prime Minister - Benjamin Netanyahu - is to announce a new peace plan in May - possibly in an address to the United States Congress - in an effort to end the conflict between Jews and Arabs in former Palestine.

This conflict still remains unresolved more than 90 years after the signing of Treaty of Sevres in 1920 and the unanimous decision of the League of Nations in 1922 - mandating
Great Britain to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in Palestine in recognition of the historical association of the Jewish people with Palestine - without prejudice to the civil and religious rights of “existing non- Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country”.

These decisions relating to Palestine -(which included what is today called Israel, Gaza, the West Bank and Jordan) - had been made in the context of recognizing Arab self determination in 99.999% of the lands of the Ottoman Empire captured by Great Britain and France in World War 1 - whilst the remaining 0.001% of those lands was to be set aside for Jewish self determination.

Speculation has been rife as to what Netanyahu’s May proposal will encompass.

One can state with reasonable confidence that any new Netanyahu initiative will receive short shrift from both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas and be totally unacceptable to them.

Ninety years of Arab rejectionism following the promulgation of the Mandate is not suddenly going to evaporate in May - unless Netanyahu’s proposal:
1. Accepts the right of return into Israel for those Arabs who became refugees in 1948 - and their descendants - who now supposedly number at least 7 million.
2. Agrees to hand over control of towns like Ariel, Maale Adumim and Har Homa to the Palestinian Authority and to evacuate the 70000 Jews who currently live there along with at least another 70000 Jews who live in a number of other towns and villages in the West Bank
3. Forgoes his demand that Israel be recognized as the Jewish National Home
4. Abandons the requirement for Israel to maintain a military presence along the Jordan River
5. Acknowledges that any Palestinian State can have its own armed forces and unfettered control of its air space and maritime coastline

These Arab demands have been - and continue to be - major stumbling blocks to achieving the “two-state solution” for the last 18 years.

Even worse - offering some of these concessions will never suffice. The above concessions are really an all or nothing scenario - and even then would still possibly be rejected by Hamas as it re-arms itself for another violent confrontation with Israel.

Zalman Shoval - the foreign policy chief of Netanyahu’s Likud party - is reported in the Los Angeles Times as having said this week:
“Is he [Netanyahu] running scared? I don’t think so.. But there is pressure. And it certainly makes it necessary for a lot of heart-searching and perhaps reappraisals.”

Any heart searching and reappraisals will be a total waste of time and effort unless all the above concessions are offered. That is not going to happen. Netanyahu is not yet ready to commit national suicide.

Israeli Defence Minister - Ehud Barak - wants to see Netanyahu release his proposals before May - telling Israel Radio:
“Such a decision must be taken in the coming weeks, not the coming months. A declaration before the Congress in May would be far too late,”
One could equally postulate that a decision in May would be far too early - indeed that no such decision should be made until:
1. Hamas and the Palestinian Authority bury their political differences
2. A single unitary governing body exists in the West Bank and Gaza that is capable of making,honouring and enforcing any agreements that might be signed with Israel
3. The political situation has been stabilized in Egypt and Jordan and the continued operation of the peace treaties signed by Israel with these countries is assured.
4. The newly elected governing body in the West Bank and Gaza resumes direct negotiations with Israel

Barak further stated:
“The world will not accept that we continue to rule over another people after 43 years,”

Barak is talking poppycock.

Under the Oslo Accords - negotiated in 1993:
1. 96% of the West Bank Arab population is ruled over by the Palestinian Authority - not Israel - so far as their civil rights and administrative control are concerned .
2. 55% of the West Bank Arab population is ruled over by the Palestinian Authority - not Israel - so far as their security protection is concerned.
3. 100% of the Gazan Arab population is already subject to the full administrative and civil control and security protection of Hamas following Israel’s unilateral evacuation from Gaza in 2005.

Perhaps Barak would serve Israel’s national interest better by asking why the world accepted Egypt and Jordan ruling over another people between 1948-1967 when a Palestinian State could have then been created in the entirety of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem with the stroke of an Arab League pen.

That solution - which the world now belatedly - and mistakenly - still thinks is possible more than 43 years later - has been proved to have been an illusion in 2011 - after the last 18 years of on and off negotiations have failed to bring it to fruition.

The world has egg on its face - as does its powerful negotiating team comprising the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations. They still have to learn that nothing will appease or be acceptable to the majority of those 21 Arab States other than the elimination of the Jewish National Home the world unanimously endorsed in 1922 in promulgating the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine - which was subsequently confirmed and preserved by article 80 of the United Nations Charter in 1945.

Perhaps Barak would do well to leave all the talking to his Prime Minister - not that anything Netanyahu says now or in May will have the remotest possibility of resonating with the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

“All or nothing at all” has been - and continues to be - the motto of the Palestinian Arab leaders. Their people meantime will continue to suffer as the current leadership continues to take them down the road to nowhere.

Palestine - Intellectual Ignorance Insults Israel

[Published 5 March 2011]

Novelist Ian McEwan displayed crass ignorance of the Arab-Jewish conflict when recently accepting the US$10000 Jerusalem Prize - awarded to a writer whose work best expresses and promotes the idea of the ‘‘freedom of the individual in society.’‘

The Prize was awarded to McEwan by Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat at a ceremony attended by Israel’s President Shimon Peres and Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat.

Mc Ewan was self-deprecating as he told the audience that he had resisted calls to boycott the ceremony understanding that in doing so he couldn’t escape the politics of his decision.

Those present may have felt heartened when he stated:
“Some of the previous recipients of this prize have spoken their thoughts in a gathering like this and have upset people. But everybody knows this simple fact: once you’ve instituted a prize for philosophers and creative writers, you have embraced freedom of thought and open discourse, and I take the continued existence of the Jerusalem prize as a tribute to the precious tradition of a democracy of ideas in Israel.”

McEwan then took the opportunity to express his thoughts and upset people - basing them on a series of factual inaccuracies that have become mainstream thinking among many intellectuals. His public embrace of these inaccuracies rendered his thoughts of no real credibility or value.

Ian McEwan - Factual Inaccuracies Distort Opinion

Consider the following:

1. McEwan equated the murderous policies of Hamas with the tragic - but accidental - death of four young girls in Gaza when stating:
“I’d like to say something about nihilism. Hamas, whose founding charter incorporates the toxic fakery of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, has embraced the nihilism of the suicide bomber, of rockets fired blindly into towns, and embraced the nihilism of an extinctionist policy towards Israel. But (to take just one example) it was also nihilism that fired a rocket at the undefended Gazan home of the Palestinian doctor, Izzeldin Abuelaish, in 2008, killing his three daughters and his niece.”

Was McEwan unaware of the following facts and would he have had a different opinion if he had known that:
(i) The Gaza incident took place in 2009 during Operation Cast Lead - not 2008 - when a rocket fired by Israel during that operation accidentally hit the doctor’s home located in a refugee camp from which rockets were being fired into Israel
(ii) Operation Cast Lead occurred only after a cease fire between Israel and Hamas had been breached between November 2008 - December 19, 2008 when 170 mortars, 255 Qassams, and 5 Grads had been indiscriminately fired upon Israel’s civilian population centres from Gaza.(

2. McEwan spoke of a
“tsunami of concrete across the occupied territories.”

If he was speaking of Jewish settlements was he cognizant of the fact that they are located on less than 5% of the West Bank?

Why did he choose to use the term “occupied territories” rather than the term “disputed territories”.

As a master of words McEwan would know the inference to be drawn from using such a term is to deny Israel has any legal or historical claim to any part of the West Bank.

3. McEwan decried
“the continued evictions and demolitions, and relentless purchases of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, the process of right of return granted to Jews but not Arabs.”

It was obviously irrelevant to McEwan that such evictions and demolitions followed court orders legally obtained by the owners of these properties against occupants who were found to be illegally trespassing or squatters.

Obviously he resents the purchase of Arab owned land by Jews in transactions freely agreed upon between willing vendors and purchasers. He was silent on expressing any view about the many murders perpetrated on Arab vendors found to have sold land to Jews.

In advocating an Arab right of return he was serving to inflame - and continuing to encourage - an Arab demand that has been rejected by every Israeli government of different political persuasions since 1948. This demand has been one of the principal obstacles to creating a Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza.

4. McEwan mused:
“Palestinians are split, their democratic institutions are weak or non existent, violent jihadism has proved self-defeating. They have been unlucky in their leaders. And yet many Palestinians are ready for a solution, the spirit is there.”

Fine and encouraging words indeed. But who are these Palestinians? Can he point to the writings of any such Palestinians to support his grand statement?

5. McEwan called for “an end to the settlements” - empty words - unless accompanied by what he thought should happen to the 500,000 Jews who would have to suffer the consequences of that decision. The freedom of these individuals to not be thrown out of their homes obviously was of no consequence to McEwan.

6. He claimed without specifying in any detail that the Palestine Papers had revealed that
“Israel casually brushed aside remarkable concessions from the Palestinian Authority?”

Surely the use of the words “casually brushed aside remarkable concessions” required some amplification. The inference that Israel has no say in accepting or rejecting Palestinian Authority concessions was clear.

Israel’s offer to cede its claims to more than 95% of the West Bank was obviously not remarkable enough for him to point out or highlight as having been refused by the Palestinian Authority.

McEwan’s acceptance speech was a farce and indicated that he had a closed mind on the conflict - rather disappointing, considering he had this to say:"
"the novel as a literary form was born out of curiosity about and respect for the individual. Its traditions impel it towards pluralism, openness, a sympathetic desire to inhabit the minds of others.”

Any attempt by him as a novelist to display these attributes was clearly missing in the biased and controversial viewpoints he expressed.

Mc Ewan is certainly entitled to express his opinion. Those listening to him are equally entitled to consider his reliance on factual inaccuracies in the formation of such opinion as sufficient reason to dismiss that opinion as irrelevant and of little value.

Mc Ewan is undoubtedly a novelist of great distinction. He should stick to fiction - which was clearly evident in his inaccurate representation of the realities of the Arab-Jewish conflict.

Come to think of it - given his inaccurate remarks - McEwan would probably have been better staying at home and receiving the award of the Jerusalem Prize in absentia.