The Bush letter nine years on

April 14, 2013

(Carl) Rick Richman reminds us that Sunday is the 9th anniversary of the famous Bush letter that effectively promised Israel the ‘settlement blocs.’ At the time, the letter was overwhelmingly endorsed by both Houses of Congress, but in 2009, President Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, tried to pretend that it didn’t exist, and Obama has continued to behave as if the letter did not exist.
US Secretary of State John FN Kerry is unable to pretend the letter didn’t exist. But that doesn’t mean he’s going to back Israel’s position. Rick Richman explains.

At an April 9 press conference in Tel Aviv, Bow Shapira from Israeli TV (Channel 1) told Kerry he wanted to ask about “a guarantee from the past”–the 2004 Bush letter, which he described as “telling that blocs of settlements can stay, cannot [be] removed from the territory.” His question about the guarantee was straightforward: “well, does it exist?” Kerry responded in part as follows:

I remember that commitment very well because I was running for president then, and I personally have supported the notion that the situation on the ground has changed, and obviously, we’re talking about blocs that are in a very different status. I’m not going to get into telling you what ought to happen with respect to any particular piece of geography today because that’s for the parties to decide in their negotiation. But I have certainly supported the notion publicly myself that we need to deal with the ’67 lines, plus the swaps that reflect some of the changes that have taken place since then.

It is not surprising that Kerry remembered the commitment so well. He appeared on “Meet the Press” on April 18, 2004–four days after the Bush letter was issued–and was asked directly about it by Tim Russert:

MR. RUSSERT: On Thursday, President Bush … said that Israel can keep part of the land seized in the 1967 Middle East War and asserted the Palestinian refugees cannot go back to their particular homes. Do you support President Bush?
SEN. KERRY: Yes.
MR. RUSSERT: Completely?
SEN. KERRY: Yes.

Kerry’s response to the Israeli reporter last week is significant, because he recognized: (1) that the Bush letter was in fact a commitment, subsequently endorsed by both the Senate (95-3) and the House (407-9) in concurrent resolutions; and (2) that he supported it at the time, in unambiguous terms.

But it is indicative of the continuing problem President Obama created with his refusal in 2009 to endorse the Bush letter that an Israeli reporter felt it necessary to ask whether the U.S. commitment exists. The president has been attempting to assure Israelis with his have-your-back, all-options-on-the-table rhetorical commitments, but they remember that in the past he did not feel constrained to respect even a written commitment to Israel.

Given that Obama doesn’t live up to his commitments, why should Israel give up real assets to appease him?

unbelievable!


Legalise the settlements says Israeli judge

July 9, 2012
Map of Mandate era Palestine

(Anne) Map of Mandate era Palestine, showing Israeli sovereignty over the area that was never legally superseded
Justice Edmond Levy, who was appointed by PM Netanyahu to head a committee to review the legal status of the settlements, has issued an extremely important statement (my emphases):

Israel must legalize the majority of illegal West Bank outposts, a committee appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to review the legal status of such communities recommended, Ynet learned Monday.
The panel, headed by Supreme Court Justice (Ret.) Edmond Levy, also ruled that the State must devise ways to “ease land acquisition and zoning protocols for Jews residing in Judea and Samaria.”
The Levy Committee, formed in January and comprised of Levy, Tel Aviv District Court Judge (Ret.) Tehiya Shapira and Dr. Alan Baker an international law expert, who was part of the team that devised the Oslo Accords, met harsh criticism from the Left, which claimed it was biased.

That’s rich coming from the Left, since the esteemed Talia Sasson joined the extreme-left Meretz party at the time she issued her damning report. It seems that what is sauce for the goose is not saucy enough for the gander – as we see below.

The committee’s findings stand to significantly change the legal reality in the West Bank, especially when compared to the 2005 Sasson Report on construction in the West Bank, which deemed 120 outposts as illegal.
Tackling the issue of sovereignty, the Levy Committee ruled that in its operations in the West Bank, “Israel does not meet the criteria of ‘military occupation’ as defined under international law.”
The ruling is based on the fact that “no other legal entity has ever had its sovereignty over the area cemented under international law,” the committee said, adding that the latter included Jordan, which ruled the area prior to the Six Day War.
West Bank settlements are legal since that is no provision in the international law that deems that having Jewish population in the area is illegal, the report added.
[…]
As for the matter of Israeli construction in the West Bank – and especially the question of illegal outpost – the committee ruled that the State must find a way to legalize and regulate the construction.
West Bank settlements and outposts were created as the State’s bidding, the report said, and the settlement movement was encouraged to continue its mission.
The report further urges the government to regulate the outposts’ municipal status, enable natural growth, accelerate the regulation of zoning and planning and refrain from executing any demolition orders pending further legal review.
[…]
Justice Levy criticized the “lack of clear government direction and policy” in regards to West Bank settlements.
“The conduct we discovered vis-à-vis the Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria is unbecoming of a nation that has made the rule of law one of its primary objectives,” he wrote.

Sadly there is a fly in this ointment:

Still, the committee’s recommendations are not mandating. Netanyahu is likely to ask the Ministerial Committee on Settlements to review the report.

I don’t trust Netanyahu and his advisers as far as I can throw them. I suspect these findings will end up buried in committee.
In complete contradiction to the findings of the Levy Committee, James Crawford, an”international law expert”, has provided his legal opinion that a trade ban on Israeli settlements is fully permissible.

European governments, including Britain’s, have received legal opinion from a leading international counsel who argues they would be fully within their rights to ban trade with Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
The formal opinion from James Crawford, professor of international law at Cambridge University, is likely to inject fresh momentum into campaigns in the United Kingdom and elsewhere for a ban, at a time when some EU member states are examining ways of hardening their position on the imports of settlement produce.
Israeli settlements in the West Bank are considered illegal under international law, a position upheld by all EU member states.

These EU members states need to read Justice Edmond Levy’s opinion above, read the San Remo Conference resolutions and take a look at the maps of Palestine from the San Remo conference rather urgently. They are talking out of their hat. Further, they need to read Judge Eugene Rostow’s opinion (he helped to formulate UN resolution 242) of the legality of Israel’s capture of the territories in 1967.
Back to the Independent article:

In particular the opinion will be seen as challenging received wisdom in official circles that for a state such as Britain to ban imports of settlement produce, or prohibit banks from financing settlement activity, would contravene European or global trade law. Professor Crawford says in his 60-page opinion, shown to senior officials of EU member states in the past few months and seen by The Independent, that “there do not appear to be any EC laws which could be breached by a member state taking the decision to ban the import of settlement produce on public policy grounds.”
He argues that member states wishing to block the import of produce from settlements could “have recourse” to the EU’s Association Agreement with Israel, which stipulates that the agreement “shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles.” He argues that, by executing such a ban on trade with settlements, the EU would not be in breach of its World Trade Organisation obligations since, “as a matter of international law, the West Bank and Gaza cannot be considered to be Israel’s territory”.
The opinion will be published this week by the Trades Union Congress, which has mounted a sustained campaign for a ban on settlement trade – as distinct from a boycott of Israel itself, which the TUC does not support.

Read it all if your blood pressure will allow it.
You might be interested, however, in the background of this international law expert James Crawford.
In the 2004 International Court of Justice ruling about Israel’s defensive separation wall, dubbed the “apartheid wall” by Israel’s opponents, Crawford was one of the lawyers for “Palestine”.
He is as neutral as Talia Sasson and even more prejudiced against Israel. Watch the British media lionise him

If Only the Left Would Abandon Israel

May 27, 2012

(Ted Belman) Shaul Magid, professor of Jewish Studies at Indiana U, asks, “What if the Left Abandonned Israel?” and suggests that Israel would go to hell in a handbasket.  “Be careful what you wish for,” he warns.

For him, the left are “basically liberal-minded and believers in civil rights and the rights of the oppressed — at least in the abstract.”  He suggests that the “messianics and revisionists” of the right, on the other hand, aren’t.  Everyone believes in civil rights in the abstract.  It’s when you deal with reality other considerations and values come into place.

I also believe in the “rights of the oppressed,” but I differ with the left in that I see the Jews in Israel as the oppressed ones, not the Palestinians (at least, the Palestinians are not oppressed by the Jews).
We Israelis are oppressed by everyone, including the U.N., the State Department, the EU, and the Muslims, including the Palestinians.  We are oppressed by 60,000-plus rockets aimed at us by our immediate neighbors and by threats of annihilation.  And for what?  It’s either because we exist, which the left and the Arabs think is a crime, or because we are “occupiers,” which much of the world finds unconscionable.  They forget that UNSC Res. 242 authorized Israel to remain in occupation until she had recognized and secure borders.  They argue that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies, even though Israel is not occupying the land of another signatory to the treaty as provided therein.
But even if the Fourth Geneva Convention does apply, Israel’s primarily obligation is to treat the people occupied humanely.  In this regard, 95% of the Palestinians are totally governed by the Palestinian Authority.  Nowhere in the treaty does it say that the occupier must end the occupation.  In any event, the relationship between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is fully set out in the Oslo Accords or 1995.  There is no suggestion in it that Israel must end the occupation without a negotiated agreement.  So spare me the crocodile tears about the “occupation.”
The condemnation of Israel is based on the belief that the disputed territories are Palestinian.  How so?  They have never exercised sovereignty over said lands
The Arabs rejected the Partition Plan in 1948 that would have led to their sovereignty and invaded Israel instead.  For the next nineteen years the West Bank was under Jordanian control, and no one ever called for a Palestinian state.  In 1967, the Arabs were utterly defeated in a war they began.  As a result, the UNSC passed Res. 242, which does not require Israel to withdraw from all the territories. At the Khartoum Conference, the Arabs rejected Res. 242 and agreed on the three nos: no recognition, no negotiations, and no peace.  Arafat accepted Res. 242 because such acceptance was a precondition to entering the Oslo Accords, but he never agreed to its terms.  And now they reject negotiations.
Israel, on the other hand, can claim sovereignty over these lands, pursuant to the San Remo Resolution of 1919 and the Palestine Mandate of 1922 which granted the Jews  the right to reconstitute their homeland in Palestine and the right to close settlement of the land.  She can also claim sovereignty over these lands by virtue of a continuous presence in the land for 3,000 years, by virtue of 1,000 years of sovereignty, by virtue of acquiring the land in a defensive war, or by insisting that only the Jordan River would constitute secure borders.
Magid quotes Zachary Braiterman with approval:

I used to think that American Jews had the right and obligation to stake ideological claims in Israeli politics. I was wrong. I don’t have anything to say. Legalize outposts? Go ahead. Beat the hell out of Hamas or Hezbullah? I won’t object. Hit the Iranians? I hope you all know what you’re doing, because the mess is yours if you make it, and there is not a lot that the American Jewish community will be (able) to do if things go south. Desecrate mosques, uproot olive trees, beat up a Danish demonstrator, pass racist legislation, muzzle criticism, harass people at the airport?

Each one of these complaints shows a profound ignorance of the law or the context. Each one can be rebutted to the satisfaction of a fair minded person.

Historically, the Zionism of Braiterman was the norm. Even given the less-than-charitable things Ben-Gurion had to say about the Arabs and the ways in which Israel treated its Arab population during times of conflict, the Zionist mainstream was committed to a humanistic and liberal ethos, even as it failed in significant ways.

This is true, but why did it fail?  Because the Arabs would have none of it.  And that’s the point: why it is no longer the norm.  The Jewish left prefer to ignore the reality.  The Arabs are dedicated to destroying the Jewish state, in phases if necessary.  The charters of both Hamas and Fatah say so.  Sharia says so.  The incessant preaching of hatred says so.  The support for terrorism says so.  The unwillingness to compromise their maximalist demands says so.  Yet the left blame Israel for the lack of peace.

Megid complains:

The unspoken merger of the messianic and neo-revisionist right, coupled with the politicization of the haredi has given rise to an increasingly uncompromising ethnocentrism and, arguably, a redefined Zionism.

True enough.  But by characterizing the new Zionism as “ethnocentric,” Megid is opening up a can of worms.  He is embracing the canard that Zionism is racism.  He is arguing against the Jewish particular in favor of universalism or multiculturalism.  Those values might be appropriate for America, though I prefer the melting pot to multiculturalism.  In fact, so do most Americans and Europeans.  Multiculturalism has proven a failure, and its bitter fruits have yet to be realized in full.
Megid regrets that Israel was not able to “attain a balance necessary for its rightful place as a society among the nations of the free world.”  But why must Israel be like everyone else?  Why can’t it remain a pumpernickel in a store of white bread?  Besides, Israel is in the Middle East, which is not part of the free world.  The Arabs are barring Jews and Christians from Arab countries.  In Egypt and Nigeria and elsewhere, they are killing Christians and burning churches.  No multiculturalism for them.  No universalism for them, except when Islam dominates the world.
While the Jewish left embraces the Muslim Brotherhood at home and abroad — and, I believe to America’s detriment — Israel prefers to keep her distance from the forces which are bent on destroying her.  In order to defend herself, she must embrace her ethnicity, not eschew it.
I accept that many Jews who embraced the Zionism of their youth “understand quite well and are deeply informed — not only about the political realities but about the underlying history of the conflict.”  But so are the Jews who embrace the new Zionism.  The difference being that the former want Israel to be a state of all its citizens rather than a Jewish state.
The latter apparently is too Jewish for them.
In the end, it’s not about old and new Zionism, but rather about survival.  The left wants Israel to give in to the demands of the Arabs and the international community in order to survive, though history does not support this belief.  The right believes that doing so would lead to Israel’s destruction.  The right prefers peace through strength.

Anyone left in the left who isn’t dealing with these issues is in denial.


Sarkozy is closer to Israel’s position than Obama

August 1, 2011

At a press conference in Madrid last week, [French] Foreign Minister Alain Juppe publicly declared that “there will be no solution to the conflict in the Middle East without recognition of two nation-states for two peoples. The nation-state of Israel for the Jewish people, and the nation-state of Palestine for the Palestinian people.” Then, lest anyone overlook the statement’s significance or think it a mere slip of the tongue, his ministry yesterday circulated copies of it.
This is truly groundbreaking. Until now, no EU country has been willing to state publicly that an Israeli-Palestinian agreement must recognize Israel as the Jews’ nation-state, though the EU routinely details the concessions it expects Israel to make…Sarkozy realized since Israel won’t sign a deal without such provisions, Europe does need to start publicly demanding these concessions of the Palestinians. Otherwise, they will keep deluding themselves the world will eventually force a complete Israeli capitulation. images via radioislam.orgEvelyn Gordon, Commentary via calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com


JEWISH LEGAL RIGHTS TO JUDEA AND SAMARIA

July 4, 2011
Media_httpuniosilorgw_ozgaiCatering to international support for Palestinian victimization claims, the International Criminal Court, established by the UN General Assembly in 1998, made Jewish settlement a “war crime.” But Israel (like the United States) “unsigned” from the statute of authorization for the Court; furthermore, as international legal scholar Jeremy Rabkin indicates, the Court lacks jurisdiction over “crimes” committed before 2002. By then, virtually all the currently existing Jewish settlements had already been established. That renders any designation of settlements as “war crimes” meaningless ex post facto rhetoric – although not without power to elicit ever more anti-Israel venom.

The problem with ‘agreed swaps’

June 24, 2011

The Palestinians argued that when Israel signed a peace agreement with Egypt, it agreed to withdraw from 100 percent of the Sinai Peninsula. So they asked how could PLO chairman Yasser Arafat be given less than what Egyptian president Anwar Sadat received.

Media_http2bpblogspot_kevcg
Two men facing each other. On the left a man in military uniform with sunglasses and a gun on his right side. On the right a man wearing casual clothes, with a white shirt and gray trousers. In the background another man in casual clothing looking at the camera.
Nasser with Arafat (left)
at the emergency Arab League summit,
1970 via thefullwiki.org

Leave a Comment » | 1967 borders, Abbas, Abu Mazen, Anwar Sadat, Arafat, Arafat Myth, Egypt, Judea and Samaria, Palestinians, PLO, Resolution 242, Sinai | Permalink
Posted by Noah Simon


What kind of line the US ambassador to Israel Dan Kurtzer would of drawn in a Warsaw Ghetto?

June 23, 2011
Abu Mazen Agrees!
Media_http2bpblogspot_iskea

the 67 lines were quite defensible and the 73 expanded lines were far less defensible?

Leave a Comment » | 1949 Armistice, 1967 borders, Dan Kurtzer, Resolution 242 | Permalink
Posted by Noah Simon