Saturday, February 02, 2013

Arlene Kushner Debunks UN Findings On Israeli Settlements

From Arlene Kushner:
Motzei Shabbat (After Shabbat)

February 2, 2013: Oom Shmoom

I believe I've explained this term before: Oom refers to the UN, in Hebrew.  "Oom Shmoom" was the contemptuous way that David Ben Gurion referred to the UN. 
But the United Nations was benign then, compared to what it has become today.  What would he call it now?
In my last posting, I alluded to a ridiculous statement made by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, and said I'd be dealing further with the UN next time I wrote.
Well, no sooner had that posting gone out, then I saw news about another Ban statement. This one was not simply ridiculous, it angered me. 
Ban said that he was "greatly concerned" about the fact that Israel allegedly breached Syrian air space,  He was referring to the sorties by Israel late Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, in which a convoy carrying weapons to Hezbollah and a Syrian chemical factory were apparently hit (I'll come back to this).
Please understand.  Assad has murdered more than 60,000 of his own people. He has a huge cache of weapons of mass destruction that are a threat to the world and continues to manufacture them, and he supplies weapons to the terrorist Hezbollah.  But what is Ban "concerned" about?  An Israel action that was pre-emptive, and thus defensive.  Because we violated Syrian air space.
Such is the insanity of the world today.
And this is merely preface to what I wanted to write:
There is no agency of the UN more blatantly anti-Jewish/anti-Israel then the UN Human Right Council (UNHCR).  Israel, in fact, is the only country out all the UN's member-states to be the target of a dedicated permanent item on the UNHRC agenda.  One other item on the permanent agenda -- “Human rights situations that require the council’s attention” -- refers to all of the other 192 countries in the UN.  There have been more special sessions devoted to Israel than any other country.
For some time now, Israel has refused to cooperate with this severely biased Council. For one important instance of Israel not going along, see this by Anne Bayefsky:
And note, please, the pressure on Israel by the US to play the game.
The most recent issue involving Israel to be visited by the UNHRC has to do with the "settlements" in Judea and Samaria.  Here, too, anticipating all too well what the outcome would be, the Israeli government declined to cooperate.
Now the "findings" -- referred to as the "Report of the independent international fact-finding mission to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem" --have been released. 
We should not be surprised that it says:
"Article 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention also prohibits an occupying Power from transferring parts of its own civilian population into the territory that it occupies. This prohibition has attained the status of customary international law. The Mission notes that the Israeli settlements in the OPT, including East Jerusalem, violate this provision and are, thus, illegal under international law...

"Israel must, in compliance with article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, cease all settlement activities without preconditions. In addition it must immediately initiate a process of withdrawal of all settlers from the OPT..."
I cite this here in order to refute it, because that refutation remains important.  While the findings are in no way legally binding, they will be used against Israel in a host of situations.
First, there is constant reference to the "Occupied Palestinian Territories," but there is absolutely no basis in law for assuming that everything past the Green Line belongs to the Palestinian Arabs. 
On the contrary. The Mandate for Palestine, going back to 1922, and based upon the earlier legal decisions of the San Remo Conference, determined that all of the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea was to be established as a Jewish Homeland and close Jewish settlement was to be encouraged. 
This was a matter of international law, and has never been superseded.
The Mandate explicitly recognized the prior presence of the Jews on the land.  And in point of fact, Judea and Samaria are the sites of ancient Jewish heritage: the Temple Mount, Hevron and the Machpela, Shilo where the Tabernacle rested, etc. etc. were all past what is known today as the Green Line.
In 1948, when Israel declared independence, the State was established on less than all of Palestine.  This was in accordance with the non-binding recommendation of the UN General Assembly the year prior, that Palestinian be partitioned.  Had the Arabs agreed to establish a state in the other part of Palestine, and had Israel and that Arab state signed a treaty agreeing to a mutual border, then the part of Palestine on which Israel was not established would have belonged legally to the Arabs.
But the Arabs refused to cooperate.  They have no claim to the land now. That land remained unclaimed Mandate land.
Not only did the Arabs refuse to cooperate, they attacked Israel immediately after independence was declared.  The Green Line was no more than an armistice line -- a ceasefire line, not a border.  When Jordan signed the armistice agreement with Israel, it included a clarification that the current armistice line would in no way prejudice determination of a final border, which would be determined via negotiations.
The UNHRC has simply adopted the PLO line in its entirety, with regard to Judea and Samaria being "Palestinian."  But this is without historical foundation.
Additionally, in 1967, when Israel took all of Judea and Samaria, it was in the course of a defensive war.  There is solid legal precedent for saying that land acquired in defensive wars may be retained
After the war, the Security Council passed Resolution 242, which declared that Israel, as all states, had a right to secure borders. Recognizing that the Green Line would not provide a secure border,it did not demand that Israel return behind that line.  What it said was negotiations would determine the final border. To this day, this has not happened.
The Levy Committee, mandated last year by Prime Minister Netanyahu to consider the status of the "settlements," determined in its final Report that the situation is sui generis -- that is, a unique, one-time situation.  Because of the legal and historical precedents here, Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria cannot be considered to be a "belligerent occupation."  And the settlements are not illegal.
It is the fact, as well, that "occupation" occurs when one nation moves into the land of another nation. But there was no legal sovereign in Judea and Samaria before Israel took control. This was still unclaimed Mandate land that Jordan had seized illegally in the course of a offensive war. 
As to the Fourth Geneva Convention, it does not apply to Israel's situation.  What was intended was that a belligerent occupying government not move its people into the land of another sovereign nation.  But there was no sovereign state, and there is no belligerent occupation. Besides which, the Israeli government does not move parts of its population.  Individual Israelis voluntarily choose to live in these areas.  And it's time we began to look at Jewish rights.
Referring very briefly to the action in Syria this past week:  I reported that an arms convoy and a chemical weapons factory were both hit, because that is the information that came to me. And, indeed that may be the case. Some sources continue to say this.
But there are other sources that say that it was only the convoy that was hit, or only the chemical factory.  Maddening, because in each instance there are intelligence sources cited as verifying what is being said.  Which does lead one to believe it may well have been both that were hit, does it not?
And so, I am not withdrawing or amending my original report, so much as informing you, my readers, that information coming out of Syria -- with the Israeli government of course not talking -- is less than a certainty.  I can only say that this is reportedly what has happened, this appears to be the case.

© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.

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1 comment:

Shirl in Oz said...

Thank you for this report. It's excellent

It is nothing I didn't already know, but it as set it all out clearly in reusable form, in all or part.