Helen Thomas leader of the BDS

April 17, 2011

A series of protests against Israeli policy and its support by AIPAC are planned in May to coincide with the AIPAC conference in the U.S. capital and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech there. The protests, under the heading “Move over AIPAC,” will include demonstrations opposite the building where Netanyahu will speak and Congress, and a series of lectures and meetings with critics of Israel, including veteran journalist Helen Thomas who lost her place in the White House press room after saying Jews should leave Palestine and go back to Poland, Germany and the United States. Thomas will give the keynote address at the Move Over AIPAC conference, and will receive an award from the women’s pacifist organization Code Pink, one of the hundred left-wing American organizations behind the conference.

On Friday night, a favorite cafe among progressives, Busboys and Poets, gathered letters to Gazans; the next aid flotilla in May will deliver the messages to the Gaza residents. A separate room in the cafe hosted a meeting of around 250 activists with Omar Barghouti, founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. Barghouti, who recently released a book on BDS, was winding up a book tour that included Columbia, Harvard, Brandeis and other universities.

Helen Thomas: I thought Obama was Liberal Because He Is Black….Israelis are Ruthless, Running an Open Prison & Brutal Oppression

I went to Susan Rice, who is our representative at the UN. And I said, “how could you, how could you raise your hand in a veto?” She said, “I would have lost my job.” You are not allowed to annex occupied land under the UN and under international law. The blockade of Gaza is an open prison. The Israelis are ruthless and not only have they been, they have been allowed to be the cause of support of America. American Presidents are afraid to say no to Israelis. It is political suicide. Especially if you are running again, which of course Obama is.
Only President Carter had been brave enough, courageous enough, to take them on; against their brutal oppression of the Palestinians. The bottom line is you can’t take what doesn’t belong to you.
For all the military might and all the nuclear arsenal, the Israelis live in fear, there is no question about that, and even more so now because of the Arab uprising all over. They hate that, I’m sure, because they have always false thought that they would be the only Democracy in the Middle East. What kind of democracy makes most of the citizens oppressed and not citizens, lower class, taking their land, taking their homes, killing their children? Now, I think I should lighten up, don’t you?
I’ve always assumed that President Obama would be liberal because he’s black. What a false assumption that was.
Question: Why do you think Obama hasn’t said anything to help the Palestinians get any of their land back? Why do you think Obama has done nothing to help the Palestinians get their land back?
Thomas: Politics – once you get elected, he has to have billions, not millions of dollars, and you can’t antagonize your big bankers. I don’t think he has ever been a real liberal, not like I am a liberal, the good old days. I don’t think he really cares that much, I am sorry to say that.
Question: Can you please explain your comments from last year that caused you to retire from the White House press?

INTERNATIONAL LAW REGARDING THE
LAND OF ISRAEL AND JERUSALEM

Thomas: I said the Israelis should go home, wherever it is. If it was Palestine, ok. But for everywhere else, to push people out of their homes, it is a horrible thing. Where is their conscience? I want to know. What right do they have to do that? To kill and to take someone else’s home and that is what they have done of the years. Even today they are bulldozing homes, killing children, killing the women, who are these people? How dare they? When is America going to stand up for the real international law? I mean absolutely, when we won WWII, we left, we didn’t occupy the other lands, we didn’t, but when the Israelis due with their military might, the US supports them, when they take what doesn’t belong them. And that is absolutely wrong. We provide them with the military money, we provide them with the money, they couldn’t exist one day without us. We are equally guilty.
Question: Do you think Jerusalem has become another settlement?
Thomas: I hope not. Jerusalem should be an international city. That was what was ordered for many years ago at the UN, except we abstained, I think. Of course Jerusalem is an international city. It should be owned by all religions and all the people.
Question: What solution do you offer for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict? Do you take a two-state solution or one-state?
Thomas: Well, I think we have to bow to the inevitable that they are there. But, I think we have to stop them from taking more and more land. And we also have to get them out of their illegitimate places: the West  Bank, Gaza, and so forth. They have blockaded Gaza, they treat them like… There will be more and more flotillas and they deserve it.
Question: What steps do you think need to be taken to get the Palestinians out of occupation?
Thomas: Passive resistance, I think because there is no way to fight the Israeli military might. But I do think a real stand down on the part of the whole Arab world will put them in their place. I believe that we can do it. It worked with Gandhi, it worked with Martin Luther King. Martin Luther King during the height of the civil rights movement went to a restaurant that he knew was making a sit down strike and he made everyone of his supporters put their guns in the bag. Passive resistance works and it saves life.
Question: Why do you think there is such a huge disconnect with US media and with what’s going on over there (Middle East)?
Thomas: I think the Israeli propaganda is so effective and you won’t have a job in this country if you go against them. You can’t say one thing about Israel. I can call the President anything in the book; I’ve said that many times. Nobody says anything.  I can call him anything. But, I cannot say one thing about Israel or you don’t have a job or you’re anti-Semitic even if you are Semite.
Question: Can you explain what the word anti-Semitism is and how it’s been missued in the media?

Are these Jews in Jerusalem in 1948 the occupier?

Thomas: That’s not what it is, but I sure know how it’s been missued. I think it dates back to Hitler and that’s the way they try to defame you, by saying you are anti-Semitic. I don’t hate anyone. But, I sure have had trouble not to in a lot cases. We are supposed to love each other, but how can you love people who hate?

Ben-Gurion, who was the first President Prime Minister of Israel said “show them no mercy.” Everything they did, village after village. The Israeli army was created by terrorist groups: Irgun,???, Haganah, who formed the Israeli army. They initiated terrorism, Begin bragged about it in his first book.
Question: How do you respond to a person’s claim that Palestine is their land since King David?
Thomas: Well Rabin said, “where’s the deed, where’s the deed?” G-d apparently doesn’t give deeds.
Question: What do you think of the rumors of the 3rd intifada? Do you think it will be successful?
Thomas: I’d like to see a stand down, throughout the whole Arab world. Passive resistance, resisting, blockading, stopping the whole ???. I think that’s the only solution. It’s the one that saves lives.
Question: Do you think it will happen?
Thomas: We need another Gandhi, or Tutu, or whatever.
Question: How do you feel about the popular demonization of pro-Palestinian events and supporters?
Thomas: That’s wonderful.
Question: The demonization of pro-Palestinian supporters.

Thomas: Dehumanization? How do I feel? Well, you’ve got a victim here.

Leave a Comment » | Apartheid, Apartheid Week, Blockades, Helen Thomas, international law, Jerusalem, Jerusalem Freezes, Judea and Samaria, MESA (Middle Eastern Students Association), MLK, Omar Barghouti | Permalink
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Netanyahu: Israel ‘deeply appreciates’ Obama’s veto on UN resolution condemning settlements

February 22, 2011

Settlements:

Is all this illegitimate? Of course not—not according to that earlier Security Council Resolution, 242 of 1967, which sets the basis for Arab-Israeli diplomatic processes and never mentions settlements; nor according to the 1993 Israeli-Palestinian Oslo accords, which leave settlements as an issue for final-status negotiations and in no way proscribe them.
Nor were settlements illegitimate according to Eugene V. Rostow, the late legal scholar who helped draft Resolution 242 and, in 1991, asserted in the New Republic that Israel’s right to settle the West Bank is “unassailable” and that “the Jews have the same right to settle there as they have to settle in Haifa.” Nor according to Stephen M. Schwebel, the international-law expert who wrote in 1970 that

As between Israel, acting defensively in 1948 and 1967, on the one hand, and her Arab neighbors, acting aggressively, in 1948 and 1967, on the other, Israel has the better title in the territory of what was Palestine, including the whole of Jerusalem….

And what of the implications of the U.S. secretary of state publicly branding communities comprising half a million people as “illegitimate”? They’re clearly very negative, at a time when Israel is subject to a worldwide delegitimization campaign that seeks to drum home big lies about it being a “rogue,” “apartheid” state that consistently flouts international law and deserves “BDS” (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) if not violent attack.

Israel said it was deeply grateful to the United States on Saturday after it vetoed a United Nations resolution put forward by the Palestinian leadership condemning Israeli settlement activity. “Israel deeply appreciates the decision by President Obama to veto the Security Council Resolution”, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.
“Israel deeply appreciates the decision by President Obama to veto the Security Council Resolution today.
Israel remains committed to pursuing comprehensive peace with all our neighbors, including the Palestinians.
We seek a solution that will reconcile the Palestinians’ legitimate aspirations for statehood with Israel’s need for security and recognition.
Today’s decision by the U.S. makes it clear that the only path to such a peace will come through direct negotiations and not through the decisions of international bodies.
We are prepared to pursue those peace negotiations vigorously and are eager to get on with the work of achieving a secure peace. We hope the Palestinians will join us in that effort as soon as possible”.
via bibireport.blogspot.com
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INTERNATIONAL LAW REGARDING THE LAND OF ISRAEL AND JERUSALEM

November 6, 2010

International law is often cited as a pretext for the policies of Western governments and human rights agencies toward Judea, Samaria, and Gaza in general and Jerusalem in particular. A certain assumption or presumption about the international law status of these areas is the premise for claims that they are “occupied territory,” that Israeli construction in formerly Jordanian-ruled parts of Jerusalem is “illegal,” etc.

Given the centrality of allegations about international law in the diplomatic and political assaults on Israel made by such bodies as the European Union, the UN General Assembly, and others, there is a need to know, to understand and to expound the true international law concerning the Land of Israel as a matter of sheer political self-defense. What indeed has been the status of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza under the law of nations?
International law has recognized Jewish rights to sovereignty over the Land of Israel and to settlement throughout the land. In April 1920, at the San Remo Conference (part of the post-World War I peace negotiations), the Principal Allied Powers, acting on behalf of the international community, recognized all the land between the Jordan River and the sea, including Jerusalem, as part of the Jewish National Home, based on the Jewish people’s historic rights. On the same grounds, the Golan[1] and Transjordan too were within the National Home (albeit the eastern border of the National Home, though clearly east of the Jordan, was not yet fixed).
The San Remo decision meant also the juridical creation of “Palestine” as a political entity as well as the introduction of that name as the official geographic designation for the new entity. During the centuries of Ottoman rule, the country was divided among larger administrative entities with their capitals outside the country, the vilayets of Beirut and Damascus, although in the mid-nineteenth century, as a consequence of increasing influence by Christian powers on the Ottoman Empire and Jerusalem’s political sensitivity due to the Christian powers’ interest in the city, the Jerusalem area was made into an independent sanjaq (district). It was called “independent” because its governor reported directly to the Ottoman capital, Istanbul (then called Constantinople in the West), not to a provincial (vilayet) governor.
Furthermore, Arab-Muslims traditionally saw the land as an undifferentiated part of Bilad al-Sham, usually translated as Syria or Greater Syria, which comprised the Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan of today, roughly speaking. Before the Crusades, the Arab-Muslim conquerors had designated the southern part of Israel (roughly speaking) as the military district of Filastin, corresponding to the Roman-Byzantine district of Palaestina Prima (one of three parts of Palaestina). The Crusaders ordinarily called the country Holy Land (Terra Sancta). Use of the name Filastin was not resumed by Muslim rulers after the Crusades. Under the Mamluks and Ottomans, Bilad al-Sham underwent several administrative reorganizations, changes of internal borders, etc. But there was never a Muslim governmental unit of any name that corresponded geographically to the Jewish concept of Land of Israel or the Greco-Roman Judea (= IUDAEA, which included Samaria, Galilee, Golan, the coastal plain, the Jordan’s eastern bank, etc., in addition to Judea in the narrow sense). Emperor Hadrian had renamed the Province of Judea (= Provincia Iudaea) “Palaestina” (ca. 135 CE) for imperialist reasons.
Hence, the Arab-Muslim geographic concept differed radically from that of Jews and Christians. Further, whereas both Jews and Christians saw the country as a distinct geographic concept, they tended to use different names for it. In Jewish tradition the land was long called the Land of Israel, while Christians, through the nineteenth century, were likely to call it Holy Land (according to their various languages, that is, Terre Sainte, etc.), with Palestine, Judea, Land of the Bible, etc., as alternate names.
The San Remo decision for the Jewish National Home was ratified by the the League of Nations in 1922 and endorsed by a joint resolution of the United States Congress that same year, with a more official US endorsement coming in the Anglo-American Convention on Palestine (proclaimed 1925).
This legal state of affairs was expounded in a legal memorandum drawn up in 1946 [2] by a group of distinguished American-Jewish jurists including Judge Simon Rifkind, Abraham Fortas (later appointed to the Supreme Court), and others.
To measure the extent of American commitment to the National Home at the beginning, we may quote from the terminology of the time: “RES. 52: Expressing satisfaction at the re-creation of Palestine as the national home of the Jewish race” (House Committee on Foreign Affairs). “Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that the United States of America favors the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people…” (1922).
Because the legal issue is once again very much alive, a brief survey of the matter is useful, with particular reference to Jerusalem.[3] By the time the League of Nations was replaced by the UN in 1945, Britain had illegally tried to revoke the Jewish National Home, violating the principles of the League’s mandate. This attempt was embodied in the Palestine White Paper of 1939, on the eve of the Holocaust, and in various subsequent ordinances enacted by the British mandatory government, which made it very difficult for Jewish refugees to enter the country and forbidding any Jews to buy real estate in most of the country. Nevertheless, this British attempt to change the country’s status was rejected as illegal by the League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission in June 1939.
When the UN was founded in 1945, it reaffirmed through its Charter the existing territorial rights of peoples as they had been before the war (Article 80). This applied of course to the Jewish National Home. However, many or most people today are either not aware that the whole country constituted the Jewish National Home, or believe that the UN had somehow eliminated this status and, in any case, had fixed legal boundaries for Israel through the 1947 Partition Resolution. Yet the 1947 resolution was passed by the General Assembly. And all General Assembly resolutions on political issues are merely recommendations.
The UN Charter states, defining the powers of the various UN bodies: “The General Assembly may discuss any questions relating to the maintenance of international peace and security… and… may make recommendations with regard to any such question” (Article 11; also see Arts. 10, 12, 13, 14). Only the Security Council can make binding resolutions, according to the Charter.
Now the Partition Plan, in a not uncommon display of political irrealism, recommended two states in the former mandatory Palestine west of the Jordan, one Jewish and one Arab, plus a special status for Jerusalem (The British had separated Transjordan unilaterally from the Jewish National Home in 1922, although not de jure). The Holy City was to be an internationally governed corpus separatum. While the Jewish leadership accepted the Plan, the Arab governments and local Arab leadership universally rejected it. After the war had begun the UN made no effort to prevent the invasion of the country by Arab states, to prevent Arab attacks on Jews within the country or to eliminate the Arab siege of the Jews in Jerusalem, a city where Jews had been the majority at least since 1870. Thus Israel did not feel bound by the Partition recommendation. Professor Eugene Rostow, an authority on international law, has pointed out that the Arab war on Israel of 1947-49, “made the Partition Plan irrelevant.”[4]
After the battles of the War of Independence had ended, Israel and four Arab states signed armistice agreements. The accord with Jordan (then called Transjordan) specifically stated that no political border with Israel was being recognized, merely an armistice line (the “green line”). And this at Arab insistence! Arab spokesmen repeated this on later occasions. For instance, the Jordanian delegate to the UN told the Security Council a few days before the Six Day War:
There is an Armistice Agreement. The Agreement did not fix boundaries; it fixed a demarcation line. The Agreement did not pass judgement on rights – political, military, or otherwise. Thus I know of no territory; I know of no boundary. (May 31, 1967)
Obviously, since no political border between Jordan and Israel was recognized, then the prior legal status prevailed – that is, the Jewish National Home recognized and constituted in 1920 at San Remo. Hence, the areas that Jordan called “West Bank,” as well as east Jerusalem (which had thousands of Jewish residents before 1948), remained part of the National Home even during Jordanian occupation. The Assembly’s repetitions of its Jerusalem recommendation (GA resolutions 194, 303, etc.) could not change this. Nor did the Security Council change the status of Jerusalem by its famous Resolution 242 after the Six Day War.
Although the Council’s resolutions are said by the UN Charter to be binding, this resolution did not specify what territories were “occupied.” Perhaps the Council was referring to the Sinai Peninsula, occupied by Israel in that just war of self-defense. Furthermore, the Council could not legislate ex post facto, after the fact, to take away the already existing rights of the Jewish people. According to Professor Rostow, “The withdrawal of Great Britain as administrator and trustee did not of course terminate the Mandate as a trust [for the Jewish people].”[5]
Jerusalem of course took a special place in the age-old yearning for a restored Jewish National Home. And in Jerusalem too this yearning ran into opposition not just from Arabs but from Western powers (and others following their lead). They have long refused to recognize any part of Jerusalem as part of Israel, nor do they recognize the Holy City as Israel’s capital. Their pretext is the separate status provided for Jerusalem in the Partition Plan. Yet this Plan was merely an Assembly recommendation, whereas the San Remo decision of 1920 was law. Thus, the refusal of the powers to transfer their embassies to Jerusalem, which means refusal to accept the city as Israel’s capital, has no foundation in law.
Obviously, the refusal has its reasons. It may stem from the same reasons that induced the British to allow Arab mobs in a series of pogroms (1920, 1929, 1936-38) to drive Jews away from the neighborhood of Jewish holy places, such as the Temple Mount and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. It may be related to Britain’s reasons for appointing Arab mayors for Jerusalem throughout the whole mandatory period, despite the Jewish majority since at least 1870. Now the Ottoman Empire did the same up to 1917, but then the Ottoman Empire was an avowed Muslim state, whereas the British had accepted an international commitment (the Mandate) to foster development of the country as the Jewish National Home.
It is clear that according to the San Remo decision of 1920 and the League of Nations vote of 1922 for the Jewish National Home, Israel’s extension of its jurisdiction over all Jerusalem since the Six Day War is legal and proper.
Nevertheless, self-serving interpretations of law are often made by interested parties. In the case of Israel, such interpretations provide pretexts for declarations by governments and groupings of governments – the Arab League, the European Union, the UN General Assembly – that are hostile to Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem (or indeed anywhere in the country). Such false and hostile interpretations remind us that we dare not place our trust in law or international accords. Yet, the outbursts in the form of declarations and resolutions based on these interpretations have more force and cause more damage than many friends of Israel seem to realize, although they may be less effective than their authors would like). And thus they need to be answered.
FOOTNOTES
1. The Golan was an original part of the Jewish National Home as decided at San Remo and had been populated and ruled by Jews in Second Temple times and afterwards. In 1923, the British authorities transferred the Golan to the French mandate of Syria without approval of the Zionist Organization.
2. Simon Rifkind, Abraham Fortas, et al., Basic Equities of the Palestine Problem: A Memorandum (1946) [reprinted New York: Arno Press, 1977].
3. We shall use the Rifkind-Fortas memorandum, our own study of the UN Charter and subsequent UN acts, writings of Prof. Julius Stone and Prof. Eugene Rostow, and various historical information. We have also benefited from conversations with Attorney Howard Grief of Jerusalem, a former advisor on international law to the Israeli Ministry of Energy, who has done research into the Balfour Declaration, the San Remo Decision, the League of Nations Mandate, etc., up to the series of agreements going by the name of the Oslo Accords. The conclusions are my own.
4. Eugene Rostow, “Resolution 242 at Twenty,” Jerusalem: Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, 1988, p 5.
5. Ibid.
The author is a researcher, writer and translator, living in Jerusalem.
This is a revised version of an article published in Midstream (New York) in February/March, 1999.
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Posted by Noah Simon


international law on blockades

June 1, 2010

Richard (I believe it is Richard Landes from the Augean Stables blog) points out more parts of the San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea that seem relevant, and that show that Israel has complied with international law to the letter.


Paragraph 47 lists ships that are exempt from attack. Presuambly, the flotilla organizers consider themselves to fit under sub-paragraph (c)(ii):

(c) vessels granted safe conduct by agreement between the belligerent parties including:
(ii) vessels engaged in humanitarian missions, including vessels carrying supplies indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, and vessels engaged in relief actions and rescue operations;

The flotilla does not meet the minimum requirement because it was not granted permission by the other party of the blockade, Israel.
Even if it had been, the next paragraph mentions a major exception:

48. Vessels listed in paragraph 47 are exempt from attack only if they: (a) are innocently employed in their normal role;
(b) submit to identification and inspection when required; and
(c) do not intentionally hamper the movement of combatants and obey orders to stop or move out of the way when required.

In addition, such actions in international waters are legal:

96. “The force maintaining the blockade may be stationed at a distance determined by military requirements.”

More relevant sections:

98. “Merchant vessels believed on reasonable grounds to be breaching a blockade may be captured. Merchant vessels which, after prior warning, clearly resist capture may be attacked.”

103. “If the civilian population of the blockaded territory is inadequately provided with food and other objects essential for its survival, the blockading party must provide for free passage of such foodstuffs and other essential supplies, subject to: (a) the right to prescribe the technical arrangements, including search, under which such passage is permitted; and (b) the condition that the distribution of such supplies shall be made under the local supervision of a Protecting Power or a humanitarian organization which offers guarantees of impartiality, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross.”

Israel does all of these things. Last week, Israel delivered more cement to Gaza than the flotilla wanted to provide – but Israel gave the cement to UNRWA under strict conditions and ensuring that they are used only for the purposes they are earmarked for.
Also, see Julian Ku, about the absurd claims of “piracy”:

Let’s go to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, Article 101:
Piracy consists of any of the following acts:
(a) any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed:
(i) on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft;
(ii) against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State;
(b) any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft;
(emphasis added). I don’t think even the Gaza flotilla defenders claim that the IDF raid was “committed for private ends.” (Just the opposite, actually). And, in general, piracy cannot be committed by a national ship, only by private ships or by national ships that have been taken over by their crews.
So can we drop the stupid piracy meme? There are some very hard legal issues here: Is Israel’s naval blockade legal? (Probably). If so, was the boarding in international waters legal? (Maybe). And even if so, did the IDF use disproportionate force? (I have no idea). This last question is really the key issue here, and it is also the one that is never going to be resolved with any certainty given that it is dependent on neutral factual determinations that will never happen here.

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Are these Jews in Jerusalem in 1948 the occupier?

November 30, 2009


Looting of the Jewish Jerusalem, John Phillips. Jume 1948Looting in burning Jerusalem, John Phillips. June 1948

An Israeli NGO has sent a letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton threatening a class action lawsuit if she continues to call Jewish cities and towns in Judea and Samaria ‘illegal settlements.’ The letter, which was also sent to Prime Minister Netanyahu, argues that the ‘settlement freeze’ is illegal under a 1924 treaty in which the United States recognized that Judea and Samaria were part of the British Mandate for ‘Palestine.’

The Office for Israeli Constitutional Law, a non-governmental legal action organization, sent a letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week, warning that by labeling Jewish settlements in the West Bank illegal, she is violating international law
via
israelmatzav.blogspot.com

“The little-known Anglo-American Convention, a treaty signed by the US and British governments in 1924, stipulated that the US fully accepted upon itself the Mandate for Palestine, which declared all of the West Bank within its borders.”
Jewish girl, Rachel Levy, 7, fleeing from street w. burning bldgs. as the Arabs sack Jerusalem after its surrender. May 28, 1948. John Phillips
Jewish girl, Rachel Levy, 7, fleeing from street w. burning bldgs. as the Arabs sack Jerusalem after its surrender. May 28, 1948. John Phillips
1948israel3
Jewish families leaving the old city through Zion’s Gate. June 1948. John Phillips
Jewish people attempting to leave portion of city surrendered to Arab forces. Jerusalem, Israel. June 1948. John Phillips
Jewish people attempting to leave portion of city surrendered to Arab forces. Jerusalem, Israel. June 1948. John Phillips

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Are these Jews in Jerusalem in 1948 the occupier?

November 30, 2009
Looting of the Jewish Jerusalem, John Phillips. Jume 1948
Looting in burning Jerusalem, John Phillips. June 1948
An Israeli NGO has sent a letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton threatening a class action lawsuit if she continues to call Jewish cities and towns in Judea and Samaria ‘illegal settlements.’ The letter, which was also sent to Prime Minister Netanyahu, argues that the ‘settlement freeze’ is illegal under a 1924 treaty in which the United States recognized that Judea and Samaria were part of the British Mandate for ‘Palestine.’ The Office for Israeli Constitutional Law, a non-governmental legal action organization, sent a letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week, warning that by labeling Jewish settlements in the West Bank illegal, she is violating international law via israelmatzav.blogspot.com“The little-known Anglo-American Convention, a treaty signed by the US and British governments in 1924, stipulated that the US fully accepted upon itself the Mandate for Palestine, which declared all of the West Bank within its borders.”

Jewish girl, Rachel Levy, 7, fleeing from street w. burning bldgs. as the Arabs sack Jerusalem after its surrender. May 28, 1948. John Phillips
Jewish girl, Rachel Levy, 7, fleeing from street w. burning bldgs. as the Arabs sack Jerusalem after its surrender. May 28, 1948. John Phillips
1948israel3
Jewish families leaving the old city through Zion’s Gate. June 1948. John Phillips
Jewish people attempting to leave portion of city surrendered to Arab forces. Jerusalem, Israel. June 1948. John Phillips
Jewish people attempting to leave portion of city surrendered to Arab forces. Jerusalem, Israel. June 1948. John Phillips http://xrl.us/1948jerusalem UPDATE Bibi has agreed to freeze housing building in Jerusalem and Samaria, but the agreement did not include Jerusalem. Obama and his administration are complaining anyway.

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Israel should build the tallest building in the world in Jerusalem

November 30, 2009

Israeli Settlements are legal and legitimate under US law

by JACOB KANTER , THE JERUSALEM POST

The Office for Israeli Constitutional Law, a non-governmental legal action organization, sent a letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week, warning that by labeling Jewish settlements in the West Bank illegal, she is violating international law.

The little-known Anglo-American Convention, a treaty signed by the US and British governments in 1924, stipulated that the US fully accepted upon itself the Mandate for Palestine, which declared all of the West Bank within its borders.

“The treaty has been hidden,” said OFICL director Mark Kaplan. “But if you look at the House [of Representatives] deliberations during World War I, people are saying, ‘Look, we’ve invested a lot of money in Palestine, and we expect that this treaty will be upheld.'”

Though the United Nations’ 1947 partition plan declared the West Bank an Arab territory, the mandate’s borders still hold today.

“The mandate expired in 1948 when Israel got its independence,” Kaplan said. “But the American-Anglo convention was a treaty that was connected to the mandate. Treaties themselves have no statute of limitations, so their rights go on ad infinitum.”

“The UN partition plan was just that-a plan,” said OFICL chairman Michael Snidecor in a statement. “The General Assembly has no authority to create countries or change borders.”

Clinton’s rhetoric, according to Kaplan, has become more and more troubling.

“Our letter was sent as a result of so many comments that have been made by the secretary of state,” he said. “It’s part of a process that we’ve been involved with for a number of months, but we’re speeding things up because of the acceleration of recent events.”

A few days after praising Israel for its “unprecedented” actions in freezing settlement activity, Clinton reemphasized the supposedly illegal status of the settlements.

“The United States believes that settlements are not legitimate,” she said. “That has been the policy of our government for 40 years. That is the policy of President [Barack] Obama today and going forward.”

According to Kaplan, the IDF presence in the West Bank has added to this misconception of illegal activity.

“Israel chose to adopt a policy of military rule in 1967, which makes it smell of occupation,” Kaplan said. “And the world says it is illegal occupation because of all the propaganda that’s been out there. Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria does not qualify as an occupation under international law because of the Anglo-American Convention, and if you look at the Hague and Geneva conventions.”

The OFICL letter also warned Clinton that if her office does not comply with the civil rights recognized in the Anglo-American convention, OFICL will file a class-action suit in a US district court.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared a 10-month settlement freeze last Wednesday, but the letter, which was also sent to Netanyahu’s office, states that under the legal principle of estoppel – which precludes someone from denying the truth of a fact which has been determined in an official proceeding or by an authoritative body – any demand on Israel to freeze construction within the mandated borders is illegal under US law.

According to one adviser, Netanyahu’s staff is reviewing the documents and will discuss the issues before replying to OFICL’s planned actions.

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