Peace Now has leaked an Israeli government report that claims that about 38% of settlement land in Judea and Samaria, AKA the West Bank, is privately owned by Palestinians. If true, and there seems to be some truth to the report even if ultimately the numbers are not as high as depicted here, this is a bombshell for a number of reasons.

First of all, it is entirely illegal to build outposts or settlements on somebody else’s privately owned land in a territory. Not only does this violate international law, but even if one subscribes to the Israeli government’s view that international laws such as the Geneva Convention don’t apply to the Territories, such construction is a violation of Israeli law. Peace Now claims it is a violation of a Basic Law and there is a High Court ruling from the ’70s that agrees with this view.

Second, not only are many outposts and settlements built on private Palestinian lands according to this report, but large sections of towns and settlements that most Israelis consider part of Israel, such as Giv’at Ze’ev (a Jerusalem suburb) are built on private Palestinian land. Giv’at Ze’ev’s area is built over land that is 44% private Palestinian land. In the NY Times article that came out tonight about this story, they describe a legal victory by a Palestinian over Giv’at Ze’ev over a building that was built on his land. The ruling, in his favor, has not been enforced in 7 years. A Giv’at Ze’ev town council member claims that the building is actually outside the town and its jurisdiction, although this seems to be a convenient fiction. The building is a synagogue.

Third, it turns out that over 40% of the area West of the Security Fence is privately owned by Palestinians including an incredible 86% of Ma’aleh Edumim, the huge town a few minutes away from the Jerusalem city line. This is an area that Israel assumed it would keep in any peace negotiation, just as it assumes that ultimately some parts of the West Bank will remain in its possession.

Fourth, while the claims do ring true that land has been purchased by Jews from Palestinians but the Palestinians wish to keep quiet about it, it is hard to believe that 40% of the land has been purchased. Another question mark is how this land came into private ownership and when it came into the possession of the Palestinians. Obviously, the past century has been a very active one in this area and there was no concept of private land ownership until the mid-1800s.

The definitions of private and state land are complicated, given different administrations of the West Bank going back to the Ottoman Empire, the British mandate, Jordan and now Israel. During the Ottoman Empire, only small areas of the West Bank were registered to specific owners, and often villagers would hold land in common to avoid taxes. The British began a more formal land registry based on land use, taxation or house ownership that continued through the Jordanian period.

Large areas of agricultural land are registered as state land; other areas were requisitioned or seized by the Israeli military after 1967 for security purposes, but such requisitions are meant to be temporary and must be renewed, and do not change the legal ownership of the land, Mr. Dror, the Civil Administration spokesman, said.

But the issue of property is one that Israeli officials are familiar with, even if the percentages here may come as a surprise and may be challenged after the publication of the report.

It may be that both of these issues minimize the 38% number somewhat, but will probably not come close to where it should be according to Israeli law which is 0%.

Fifth, while this is news that many will not wish to hear, it cannot be ignored. As long as Israel doesn’t annex Judea and Samaria, it is simply not permitted to build or have its citizens built communities and homes on private land. Needless to say, it also raises painful moral issues and it is not enough to brush them away by claiming that God gave Jews this land or that the state of Israel knew what was going on here. Ultimately, in case anybody hadn’t noticed yet, the Palestinians cannot be ignored and legitimate grievances must be addressed in a manner that is equitable to both sides.

This is not the end of the world, however (sorry, Evangelical Christians who are waiting for it), since there may be mechanisms to rectify this problem. Unfortunately for Israel’s current government, these solutions involve peace negotiations, eventual reparations and probably a serious land swap (Lieberman fans are probably salivating at the sound of that). In fact, it seems Olmert has given this some thought already:

Asked about Israeli seizure of private Palestinian land in an interview with The Times last summer, before these figures were available, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said: “Now I don’t deny anything, I don’t ignore anything. I’m just ready to sit down and talk. And resolve it. And resolve it in a generous manner for all sides.”

He said the 1967 war was a one of self-defense. Later, he said: “Many things happened. Life is not frozen. Things occur. So many things happened, and as a result of this many innocent individuals on both sides suffered, were killed, lost their lives, became crippled for life, lost their family members, their loved ones, thousands of them. And also private property suffered. By the way, on all sides.”

Mr. Olmert says Israel will keep some 10 percent of the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, possibly in a swap for land elsewhere. The area Israel intends to keep is roughly marked by the route of the unfinished separation barrier, which cuts through the West Bank…

About the author



  • …. so after reading through some grandstanding and puffery, we come to this:

    The “privately owned land” to which this report refers is:
    A. Land that was registered and recognized as private property before 1968, at a time when the process of land registration was still open and available to Palestinians, or
    B. Cultivated land which is recognized by Israel as private land according to the Ottoman law.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    A careful reading of the report shows that they are counting CURRENTLY cultivated land – even though dozens of aerial photographs and surveys show Arabs have expanded those cultivated areas – in an attempt to claim land not theirs through the back-door of old Ottoman land.

    Peace Now is abetting this by making it sound like these modern squatters are people with longstanding title to the land they now are farming.

    Not so.

    It’s also clear to anyone who knows a bit about this topic that the report makes up its own classifications of land ownership – grossly oversimplifying the distinctions between privately owned land, locally owned land, and public lands under the Ottoman system.

    This conveniently lets them imply that Israel stole privately owned land.

    To recap: shortly after 1967 representatives of Israel’s Right and Left went through West Bank land claims in detail. All settlements have been planned based on the map that was produced – it’s generally called “P’lia Albeck’s map” because she was a major figure in the review process.

    All settlements (except for the more recent “outposts”) were planned and executed on lands classified as “state owned public lands” even during Ottoman times, or from the large tracts of land owned by Syrian and Iraqi Arabs that were made State lands in 1967.

    Now the descendents of the sharecroppers who never owned the land they worked are trying to claim this land as their own – and Peace Now is helping them frame their lies.

  • Today’s NYT article (the lead news story on page one) suggests that a conservative approach to defining Palestinian lands was taken, excluding “public lands” and lands the title to which was disputed.

    Meanwhile, how about the 1999 Israeli court ruling vindicating the claim of the Palestianian couple to land which is now synagogue?

    The eventual price in shekels for buying out the Right of Return just went way up.

  • Tom, you are right.

    BD, you may be right but if so, why was the Israeli government sitting on this for 2 years? Peace Now certainly has their own motivation and I don’t buy the numbers outright, but Israel has to make a forceful case that these claims are false. Otherwise, they may not be false. I have an idea, you know how well mobilized Yesha council can get many of the supporters of the settlements? How about they mobilize their brainpower and legalpower and provide evidence and ammunition against this report?

  • This is all bullshit. I don’t give a shit if ALL of that is land actually IS owned by “Palestinians”.

    They started a war. They lost and ran away. That, as they say, is all she wrote. When you try to kill people, destroy their country, and steal everything they own just because you think you have the right to do so because they’re, you know, you don’t get to complain afterwards when things don’t go your way.

    “He stole my land!”

    “You tried to kill him and take his land first, though, right?”

    “What the fuck does that have to do with anything?”

    I mean, please. Why should anyone take shit like this seriously?

    Ask the Sudeten Germans if they’re going to get their “ancestral lands” back any time soon.

  • I have to agree with Ephraim on this one.

    Who can take these claims seriously?

    Especially coming from Peace Now.

    Middle, I usually find your posts insightful, even if I don’t agree with what you have to say but this one seems so ignorant and one sided that I am really surprised.

  • I take what peacenow says about as seriously as what 5 year old nephew says. Except my 5 year old nephew is cute and adorable and not a bunch of pissy wailing banshees

  • I don’t think it’s a good idea to dismiss intelligent people for any reason, but especially not because what they have to say is not what we want to hear. The NY Times checked this story and its source, according to their article, and deemed them solid enough to publish. That’s not to say the information is correct or unbiased. On the contrary, we can allow for bias and still end up with a very challenging equation here because they aren’t claiming that 10 or 20 percent is Palestinian owned. They are claiming 40 percent.

    How about this: instead of telling me that I’m wrong to have even considered this information published by NY Times, Ha’aretz and JPost as posting-worthy, and instead of saying “Peace Now is not to be believed,” somebody provide serious information to the contrary. So far, I think Ben David has come closest and his points are relevant. They were also addressed in my post when I say that the manner in which ownership was acquired or deemed to be acquired is relevant to this discussion.

    Come on guys, it’s weak debating to say “They’re evil” when the data is right there for you to see. To win a debate, you have to offer some evidence and counter-claims to theirs.

  • Life would be much simpler, Ephraim, if the Israelis had done precisely what the Czechs did to the Sudeten Germans in 1945. But the Israelis didn’t, and if the Times if to be believed (a big ‘if’, to be sure), they face a host of legal headaches; for example, having agreed to observe int’l. law governing occupations while denying an occupation exists, they’re potentially liable to a host of former Palestinian landowners, since the law of occupation proscribes expropriating land.

    If the P’s were clever enough (a collosal ‘if’), they’d see a potential means of undermining the occupation from within.

    All in all, this is either a Peace Now canard, or a bona fide fiasco.

  • Tom, they don’t need to be clever enough, there are plenty of attorneys inside Israel who represent the Palestinians and do so effectively.

    If this information is true and this report is correct, one of the key problematic issues legally is that Israel and the settlements may have violated Israeli law. What happens when a state consistently violates its own laws? I’m not sure about the legal position regarding Israel and occupation law since Israel had consistently stated that there is no occupation. They only agree to consider the Geneva Convention, not to accept that its provisions determine the governing law.

    In any case, the real problem for Israel is the land to the west of the Fence because this is land they assumed they would eventually keep. If this report is correct, it will complicate this issue greatly. As an example, does the PA have the power of eminent domain to acquire these lands from their Palestinian owners and negotiate a land for peace deal with Israel? If not, do they have to be bought out? If you operate from the premise that Israel cannot remain in the West Bank indefinitely because of demographic concerns, answers will need to be forthcoming.

    What a mess.

  • Nothing to worry about:

    Palestinians are leaving the territories due to the harsh security and economic situation there, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday….

    Ahmed Suboh, a Palestinian Foreign Ministry official, said at a Ramallah press conference that over the last four months, foreign and Arab diplomats in the territories have authorized 10,000 Palestinians to enter their countries.

    Suboh said that some 45,000 additional emigration requests were currently being evaluated by various foreign representatives.

    The Foreign Ministry official noted that Palestinian emigration was likely to continue with the deterioration of the security situation.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    There have been several reports like this over the past few months. The vast majority of those leaving are people under 30. Surveys show that around 50 percent of Palis in their 20s would leave if they could.

    No doubt they were traumatized by having to dress up as suicide bombers every Halloween…

  • That report was from the Jerusalem Post, BTW.

    There has been net emigration of Palis since the PA took control several years ago. In contrast, Israel is currently receiving a rising tide of French, British, and North/South American Jews. The French are coming in especially large numbers.

    Combine Pali emigration with the recent, more honest recalculation of Pali population, and we have nothing to worry about.

    … except Olmert, Halutz, Lebanon, and Egypt.

    But besides that…

  • Oh, since the New York fucking Times published this I’m suposed to care?

    Middle: “But, Ephraim it was in the Times!”. Kiss my ass. The Times is just as bad as Al-Reuters now. Like I said, I don’t care even if it is true, which it is almost assuredly not. I refuse to put any store in NY Times-style agenda journalism. They kotow to the Arabs and shit on the Jews. Enough.

    Israel should tell the Arabs to take a long walk off a short pier. Every time the Jews act as though the claims of their enemies have any merit, we encourage people to pile on. We should look down our noses at them and damn their eyes.

    I repeat: the “Palestinians” are an ENEMY POPULATION. Israel owes them NOTHING. Acting like we think we do owe them something is tantamount to admitting guilt. It must not be done under any circumstances.

    Tom: yeah. The Israelis should have done to the Arabs what the Czechs did to the Sudenten Germans. But we’re too soft. And we pay for it all the time.

    Israel should do everything it possibly can to make life miserable for the Arabs in the territories so that they continue to leave. Everything possible should be done to encourage Arab emigration. Under no circumstances shoud Israel undertake any “humanitarian” actions. Hamas and the PA are rolling in Euros. Let them deal with it.

  • Israel has to make a forceful case that these claims are false. Otherwise, they may not be false.

    Which Israeli government are you talking about? The one that thinks Israel won in Lebanon? The one that thinks UNIFIL is working?

  • Ephraim, you gotta chill on the language just a little bit. Take a pill or something, man.

    Ben David, you don’t give any figures but I can see how the situation in France would cause increased emigration to Israel. But it would be interesting to see some numbers.

    Middle, I’m not a pro-settlement guy by any means. They create more economic and political problems than their worth. But Israel tried to give that land back at Sharm Al Sheik and Arafat royally screwed Barak and Clinton. Arafat wanted all that and a right of return (which Israeli policymakers agreed to in limited, hardship cases). Dan Gitterman, one of the few honorable (I think) men in Israeli politics today, when asked by Charlie Rose if the Palestinians would ever be offered that good a deal again, sadly said no.

    The occupation occured as a result of war. Land was captured. Part of war. But in this fairly nascent nation-building of Israel, land taken in war also serves the purpose of a bargaining chip for security and peace. The occupation may be stupid but it’s not criminal. What’s criminal was a government that encouraged settlement expansion, encouraged people to believe they’re going to be a permanent fixture in what’s really a fluid situation. What’s going to happen if enough pressure is put on Hamas to recognize Israel, if there’s a cessation of violence, which compel Israel back to the bargaining table? What happens if a deal is struck? Settlements will have to be disbanded. Even if not as many as Barak offered, but some. Then what’s going to happen is a lot of Gush Katif’s. And the Palestinians will watch settlers and the IDF going at it drooling with glee. Or maybe just with a smile on their faces.

    Or there’s always Ephraim’s ideas, his “Czech-Sudenten German” vision of Israel’s future in the Middle East.

  • Ramon, I know the history well. I know what the plan is for some and what it is for others.

    It doesn’t matter if the land is legitimately privately owned Palestinian land because Israeli law forbids its taking. Forget international law and what Barak did or didn’t offer or even the state of war for a moment and simply consider that Israel has no legal right, by its own law, to allow the taking of private Palestinian land for the purpose of building Jewish homes on it. This is cold and hard but it’s the law of the land.

    If you look at my post again you’ll see that I quote Olmert essentially saying that there’s a war, a lot of pain on both sides and that this is an issue that will need to be resolved. That’s not different than what you’re saying, just less detailed.

  • how the fudge is this privately owned palestinian land? it was given to the jews over 4000 years ago???!!! who cares that it was taken away from us by the arabs? we are taking it back. they didnt receive the land because it inherently belongs to them, rather because they ripped it off of us, and we’ve never given hope on it. every “settlement” is only reclaiming stolen land.

  • My point is that after Germany’s defeat the Czechs drove out the Sudeten Germans, who had been a Nazi 5th column, and took their land. By allying themselves with the Nazis, the Sudeten Germans forefeited any rights they may once have had as Czech citizens.

    This is how wars have always been decided, and no one objects or considers it immoral. People may be sad; they may shrug and say “C’est la guerre”, but nobody is agitating for the “return” of the “ancestral lands” of the Sudeten Germans to their “rightful owners”.

    The situation with the “Palestinians” is exactly the same. But when it comes to the Jews, all of a sudden the world comes down with a bad case of Morality. Nothing but hypocrites, all of them.

  • middle – I didn’t mean to come across as a condescending know-it-all. I assume you know the history as well if not better than i (and i’m sure most here do). I was just reiterating it for the purpose of organizing my own thought process. I did read your post and the Olmert comments. I don’t think we’re disagreeing on anything. I was just putting the argument into a context other than legal. Settlement building and annexation is not only wrong from from a legal standpoint but also a practical one. Anyways suspending laws for the sake of homeland security is nothing new these days.

    I was also pointing out that, when it was offered, this (almost) 0% of Jewish building on privately-owned Palestinian land could have been a reality, the Palestinians wanted to make it minus 0%. I don’t think the intention in ’67 was to annex or build anything on that land, only to swap it back for a peace treaty. When that could have happened it was rejected. The Palestinians do bear some responsibilty for their situation.

  • When did a Palestinian country actually exist? When did the Arabs from Syria become “Palestinian”?

  • Goldie, there were a couple of occasions where possession of portions of the land in this area shifted to some individuals, even if the overall numbers are small relative to the overall total land available. The first is when the Ottomans gave up land rights to individuals in the mid-1800s and the next was under the British when they also began to distribute land. People began to pay taxes on their land and thereby laid claim to their deeds. It doesn’t matter if they are native born or Syrian Arabs who moved to the region. That is beside the point. The law may not recognize some of these owners, but it definitely recognizes others. The question before us is how much land and who really owns it. Once that is known, we can discuss this subject more knowledgeably.

    On another note, people can scream until they are blue in the face about the Palestinians not being Palestinians. Today, they are Palestinians. Period.

  • Folks, Most of this has not been known for 2 years, but more than 20. And Not because the damn incompetent NYT tells us either. The central question has always been ‘the state of war’ and/or ‘open hostilities’. If they exist, there can be a legitimate claim from the government that certain ‘necessary measures’ were needed to either prosecute that war or to keep the population safe. It rarely matters if this is truly a ruse to play for time, it usually works in most courts. That means interminable delays for any litigants, and nothing much moves for decades. Until the next ‘intrepid reporter’ rediscovers the same old news.

    So war Does mean something in law and for the law. And any day before lunch the PA & Hamas could have declared themselves as ‘non combatants’ (and Actually Mean it), sign any Peace treaty they could swallow, and simultaneously cause untold true legal terror in the Israeli courts. They still can. And a generation later this is no closer to being a reality because they simply love their wars & their leadership hates Jews more than they love their own people. It’s as simple as that.

    Cheers, ‘VJ’

  • Shy Guy, I had seen that information about Louise Arbour but was thinking about a bigger post so I was saving it.

  • themiddle Says:
    November 22nd, 2006 at 1:36 am

    On another note, people can scream until they are blue in the face about the Palestinians not being Palestinians. Today, they are Palestinians. Period.

    “With hindsight, even the artful invention of the hitherto unknown ethnicity of “Palestinian” can be seen as the need to demonstrate that where there is a Jew there is the Jew’s victim.”
    – Mark Steyn, The state as a rootless transient (a very sad and frightening read)

  • Perhaps I can explain why such attitudes as “themiddle” exist. Antisemitism has created an fictional chimera that has no connection to either Jews or Judaism. So to impress on our enemies that they really have all wrong; that us Jews are really swell guys, we will seek accomodation under the most absurd circumstances. So even with genocidal Arabs–we’ll even buy into their fraudulent claim of being “palestinians”–we are willing to show, beyond all reason and logic that were not the monsters they firmly believe we are; a religious belief of theirs that isn’t going to change.

    At best, we can make them fear us; they will always hate us. The war in the Lebanon greatest failure is that these genocidal killers fear the IDF considerably less.

  • If you visit the capital of the Sudetenland today (Karlovy Vary, f/k/a Karlsbad), you’ll find its hotels and spas overrun by…. Germans. It’s a pretty cool place, actually.

    Ephraim, I’ve never understood why the Israelis didn’t simply annex all or part of the West Bank/Gaza outright. But Begin, Netanyahu and Shamir, to mention just the conservatives, all had their chance. The horse has left the barn on this option.

    (Middle, I thought the Israeli position was to deny that an occupation existed, but to formally assent nonetheless to the applicability of int’l. law governing administration of occupied territories. Of course, that’s to rely on the Times….)

  • Annexation would have been the easiest logical choice, if it had been any other state in history. But we all know that somehow this never works for the Jews. Cheers, ‘VJ’

  • Tom, I may be wrong and need to look into it. I believe the Israeli position is essentially to respect international law but to withhold obligation to this law because they don’t believe it applies. I’m not exactly sure whether anything changed when Sharon famously said to the Likud, prior to the Disengagement, that Israel was engaged in occupation. I know the government lawyers took a fit.

    I don’t believe the issue of annexation was ever seriously on the table in ’67. As I understand it, initially the Israelis thought they could trade this land for peace with the Arabs. The Arabs rejected any such deal with the famous 3 Nos in Khartoum in 1967, but Israeli governments still held out hope. In the meantime, some Gush Emunim folks (I don’t recall if they called their movement that yet), both by request and by putting down roots and then asking permission, began to filter into the Territories. However, when UNSC Resolution 242 came into being, it essentially ordered Israel not to annex because “territory” would have to be “returned” when certain provisions were met by the Arabs (and still haven’t been to date).

  • I’ll ignore themiddle’s insults, but the punctuation and diction errors in my comment hereinabove demand correction:

    Perhaps I can explain why such attitudes as “themiddle” exist. Antisemitism has created a fictional chimera that has no connection to either Jews or Judaism. So, to impress on our enemies that they really have us all wrong; namely, that us Jews are really swell guys, we will seek accomodation under the most absurd circumstances. So even with genocidal Arabs––we’ll even buy into their fraudulent claim of being “palestinians”––we are willing to show, beyond all reason and logic, that we’re not the monsters they firmly believe us to be; a religious belief of theirs that’s never going to change.

    At best, we can make them fear us; since they will always hate us. The war in the Lebanon’s greatest failure was that these genocidal killers now fear the IDF considerably less.

    And, I would add, that some Jews have so internalized antisemitism that they themselves attack Jews.

  • Lance, you’re clearly a savvy and brilliant individual when it comes to assessing people. Just be sure not to give up your day job for a career in politics, psychology, history or as an editor.

  • I’d say “the artful invention of the hitherto unknown ethnicity of “Palestinian”” is not new, nor previously unknown.

    The origins of the “hitherto unknown ethnicity” can be traced even further than the year 1175 BCE when the sea-faring Philistine people migrated to the Canaan, settling there and eventually giving that region a name after themselves. The region has been populated ever since, and therefore the ancestors of the people living in that area could be called Palestinian (which is derived from Philistine), or am I mistaken?

  • Yes Finnish, you are mistaken.

    The Philistines were likely Greek or Asiatic “sea people,” not Arabs. The Land of Israel, however, was re-named Palestine–long after the Philistines had disappeared from history–by the Romans who destroyed Jerusalem–that has never since been the capital of any non-Jewish state–they also destroyed The Second Temple, and murdered perhaps more than a million Jews; and exiled almost all of the remainder. But, many Jews still clung to their Homeland. “Palestine” came back into history after the Ottoman Empire was broken up subsequent to WWI by the British occupying power; at which time all these phoney Arab countries surrounding Israel were created. Prior to the Jews returning en masse to the Land of Israel in the 19th century, the Land was mostly barren and empty; Arabs were, however, attracted to the Land by the nation building activities of the Jews returning to their Land. Prior to 1948, only Jews were identified as Palestinians; not Arabs. “Palestine” and “Palestinians” are artificial constructs used by the enemy to undermine the development of Israel.

  • You are very, very mistaken.

    The first time Eretz Israel was called anything resembling “Palestine” was only when the Roman emperor Hadrian finally conquered Israel after the Bar Kochva revolt of 135. He renamed the land of Israel “Syria Palestina,” combining the names of two great traditional enemies of the Jews (Syria and Philistia) in a colossal historical insult. (Other place names were systematically changed: Sepphoris to “Diocaesarea,” Beth Guvrin to “Eleutheropolis,” and Jerusalem to “Aelia Capitolina.”) This was done specifically to destroy the Jewish character of the land, which everyone up to that time had known as “Judea”.

    “Palestina” was simply the Latin way of pronouncing “Philistia”. In any case, Philistines proper only occupied what is now Gaza and the adjacent coastal areas.

    Not only that, the Philistines are clearly identitifed as “sea people”, that is, foreigners from across the sea, probably from Greece/Crete. The “Palestinians” cannot claim to be Arabs and descendents of the Philistines at the same time.

    Annexation wasn’t on the table in ’67 because the Jews act like losers even when we win. No matter how much the Arabs try to kill us, all we can think about is trying to get them to like us. That is why they despise us.

  • There will always be more Jews whom emphasize more with Palestinians than there are will ever be Arabs/Muslims that emphasize with Jews. The 2 main reasons for that are because Jews live in open societies and taught to be skeptical thinkers. Dissent is encouraged. On the other hand, most Muslims/Arabs are brainwashed from an early age to hate Jews and if they disagree they are killed, offed, or re-educated.

    In fact, there seem to be so many Jews defending the terrorist death cult of the Palestinians that I am forced to forgo all objectivity and throw 200% of my support behind Jews (no matter what they do, and trust me, I’m not worried), in order to try to help balance the situation. Together we stand, divided we fall. The Arabs and Europeans taught us this lesson on numerous occasions.

    Please, Peace Now Jews, Btselem Jews, Jewschool Jews, Jews Sans Frontier Jews, Tikkun Olam Jews, realize, you do nothing to help your people’s cause and you do everything to damage your own future.

  • Finnish, Ephraim and yes, Lance, are correct. Lance is only partly correct about the final part of his statement. While there was a great deal of migration in the area and there were probably many Arabs who moved into the area that is now Israel and the territories, in part because of British and Jewish presence and development of the area, there were also many Arabs who were long-established in the area.

    The idea that the Palestinians are an “artificial construct” isn’t entirely valid. While their numbers were small, there was a tiny, nascent Palestinian national movement in the early 20th Century. It didn’t get much traction. Again, in the late 1930s you see some movement in that direction but there is also conflict because many local Arabs see themselves as part of a greater Syria or Arab population. The idea of Palestinians as a nation really begins to pick up steam after 1948 and truly finds itself in the ’60s after the the Arab nations sponsor the precursor to the PLO and particularly after they lose in 1967. If you look at UNSCR 242, it does not even address the notion of a Palestinian people or a Palestine. One of the reasonse Golda Meir is famously quoted in the early ’70s as saying that there are no Palestinian people is that they were still in early stages of developing that identity.

    Having said all of that, the notion of a Palestinian nation has become firmly entrenched among the Palestinians and the world. Lance can scream all day long that they’re phoneys, but at the end of the day Lance doesn’t decide, the Palestinians do. They’ve decided they’re a nation. Their identity may be part and parcel of their animosity toward Israel, but that does not make them less of a nation.

  • Ephraim and Lance, thanks for the replies.

    Just in case someone understood it wrong, let it be known that in my comment with regard to the origins of Philistine/Palestine, the word “region” obviously did not refer to the entire lands of what is modern-day Israel, but instead to the original areas of the Philistine people (the small coastal strip with Ashkelon, Ashdod and Gaza).

  • And thanks to Themiddle for the reply too, he was much quicker than my typing and I missed the response until the comment was submitted.

  • TM brings up an interesting point about how other Arab countries viewed the notion of a Palestinian state, nation, people or whatever you want to call identity. If anyone’s interested in the post-Mandate era and how Arab countries viewed the notion of Palestinian statehood, you may want to take a look at “The Arab Predicament” by Fouad Ajami (if some of you refuse to read Ajami that’s cool too).

  • All you have to know is that in 19 years of occupation neither the Egyptian or Jordanian governments gave the Palestinians under their occupations a state and there was no discussion of such a thing. They also didn’t build universities, sponsor hospitals or provide jobs. Israel did all of the above and even offered a state in 2000.

  • Really, that’s all I need to know? All those wasted years of reading and thinking… 🙂

  • Middle:

    That you call proof? All your post proves is that the “Palestinian nation” actually is a phony construct just like Lance and I have said.

    The fact that they jump up and down and scream “we are TOO a nation!” doesn’t mean they are one. They’re not.

    Let’s parse this, shall we?

    While their numbers were small, there was a tiny, nascent Palestinian national movement in the early 20th Century.

    OK, a few people say “I know. Let’s call ourselves ‘Palestinian'”.

    So what happened?

    It didn’t get much traction.

    Ah. You mean none of the “Palestinians” or the other Arabs bought it, right? Got it.

    Again, in the late 1930s you see some movement in that direction but there is also conflict because many local Arabs see themselves as part of a greater Syria or Arab population.

    Ah. So, you mean most of the “Palestinians” didn’t see themselves as “Palestinians”, even in the ’30s, right? Got it.

    The idea of Palestinians as a nation really begins to pick up steam after 1948

    Wow. Such an ancient honorable history, stretching all the way back to the Canaanites yet!

    and truly finds itself in the ’60s after the the Arab nations sponsor the precursor to the PLO and particularly after they lose in 1967.

    Ah. So the whole thing really is a blatant political ploy, cooked up as a response to a failed war, right? And the “Palestinians” didn’t create the PLO themselves, the Arab League did it for them, right? Got it.

    If you look at UNSCR 242, it does not even address the notion of a Palestinian people or a Palestine.

    Gee, I wonder why that is? I thought the “Palestinians” were an ancient nation. I guess nobody noticed. Could it be that nobody thought of a “Palestinian nation” because, you know, there wasn’t one?

    And in spite of all of that you say we have to accept the “Palestinians” as a “nation” just because everybody else has signed on to this monstrous fraud? You mean, sort of like how the US government has to accept any bunch of people who want a tax-free casino as a Native American “nation” just because they say they’re really Native Americans?

    Badges? Badges? I don’t gotta show you no steenkin’ badges!

    The last part is the best, though:

    Their identity may be part and parcel of their animosity toward Israel, but that does not make them less of a nation.

    What a great idea. Anti-semitism as a national identity. Nothing artifical about that, right? A real, organic, solid foundation for a national identity that is.

    I know. Let’s get all the Jew-haters together and call them a “nation” We could name it “Deathtothejewsistan”. Or maybe “Judenrausland”.

    Of course, their national language would have to be a member of the Anti-Semitic family of languages.

  • Ephraim, did you really need to waste all that time typing? You and I and even Lance AGREE on a great deal of the history. Where we disagree is that YOU don’t get to choose who is a nation. If I wanted to start the Nation of The Middles tomorrow, I would form my own dialect of English or Hebrew, I would seek others with a similar cultural background, similar history and background and then I would establish a mythos that tells our story, find commom elements among us and play them up, and probably seek an enemy or have one find us in order to strengthen our bonds and sense of national consciousness.

    The Palestinians have their own dialect, share a common background and history, share a common culture that has become unique in the Arab world because of its ongoing interaction with Israel, have their own mythology in the Naqba, have their mythical heroes like Arafat and share a collective consciousness that may be focused on Israel as an enemy but is also focused on gaininig land they believe was stolen from their fathers.

    From a sociological perspective, the above qualifies them as a nation. Sometimes nations are only 20 years old, just as you would argue that the Jewish nation during their slavery in Egypt was only 100 years old at one point.

    Focus on yourself and the Jewish people. Focusing on denying others their right to call themselves a nation seems politically self-serving and nothing more. Nobody will listen to you anyway – right now the world is focused on taking your state away while giving the Palestinians a state because they perceive the opposite of what you do.

  • It’s sad to see so many Jews believe Plo propaganda. I thought Jewlicious would be different but I’m wrong. Some people here are more suited to write for Al-Jizeera. There’s nothing more to say.

  • Oh, Goldie… life would be so easy if I did believe in propaganda. I wouldn’t have wasted my time actually studying, reading, thinking…

    By the way, how much does Al-Jazzera pay?

  • The Muddled One wrote:

    YOU don’t get to choose who is a nation. If I wanted to start the Nation of The Middles tomorrow, I would form my own dialect of English or Hebrew, I would seek others with a similar cultural background, similar history and background and then I would establish a mythos that tells our story, find commom elements among us and play them up, and probably seek an enemy or have one find us in order to strengthen our bonds and sense of national consciousness.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    … none of which means that the rest of us – including the enemy you find (and presumably attack) have to go along with any of this malarkey.

    Or surrender any of our hard-won land because “Middles have been living here for generations”. Especially not if that land was taken by us in war because Middles attacked us.

    Not even if you stamp your collective Muddled feet and say, “I wanna! I wanna! Nyah nyah nyah!”

    Still, it’s an interesting example of the post-modern “everything’s a narrative” approach, taken to self-satirizing, sophomoric extremis.

    The Palestinian propaganda claims rest on similarly shaky, flaky notions – it was Ed Said who first applied the techniques of literary deconstruction to political science, which used to be fact-based.

    Further Muddling of reality:
    The Palestinians have their own dialect, share a common background and history, share a common culture that has become unique in the Arab world because of its ongoing interaction with Israel, have their own mythology in the Naqba, have their mythical heroes like Arafat and share a collective consciousness that may be focused on Israel as an enemy but is also focused on gaininig land they believe was stolen from their fathers.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Every marker of ethnic and clan identity – the tradition sociological markers of Arab society – indicates that the “Palestinian” identity is a sham of recent invention, despite your bald misrepresentations. In particular:

    – West Bank Arabs speak a DIFFERENT dialect than Gazans. Biographers of Arafat noted that he had initial difficulty winning over the West Bank grass roots because he spoke Egyptian Arabic, like the Gazans.

    To this day, the divides between the various militias include this most fundamental divide – Gazans and West Bankers are not the same ethnic group! Which stands to reason since what is now Israel was divided into different satrapies over 400 years of Ottoman rule.

    – At the clan level, most West Bank Arabs relate back to larger dynasties/clans in what are now Jordan and Syria. The last numbers I saw – for the late 1990s – indicated that 50 percent of the traffic through Israel’s checkpoints at the Jordanian border consisted of West Bankers attending clan festivities or visiting relatives in Jordan.

    The same relations exist in Gaza – it’s well documented in British records that the population of Gaza swelled as the railroad from Lebanon to Alexandria was completed and early Zionist settlement created jobs.

    Til this day, the most popular last name in Gaza is “al-Masri” which means “the Egyptian”.

    Regarding the folderola about “shared experiences” – a heck of a lot of Jordanians, Syrians, Lebanese, and Egyptians experienced war with Israel, and humiliating defeat – including loss of territory.

    Does this mean we should we give back the Galilee if those Arabs hire a PR firm and rebrand themselves? And let’s not kid ourselves – there is already a strong fifth column of restive, disloyal Israeli Arabs in the Galilee, emboldened by the legitimacy the “Palestinians” have won for themselves.

    Many of them already call themselves Palestinians – even though they belong to different clans and speak a Lebanese dialect.

    Where does this charade end?

    More Muddling:
    Focus on yourself and the Jewish people. Focusing on denying others their right to call themselves a nation seems politically self-serving and nothing more.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Yes that’s right – because the Pali identity was created specifically to undercut the Jewish identity and connection to this land – including planting the notion (parroted here by Finnish) that these Arab migrants are actually descendants of the Canaanites.

    Words are important in diplomacy. It’s no accident that every pre-Oslo Israeli leader steadfastly denied the existence of the Palestinians as a people.

    It’s also no accident that Palestinian nationhood gained legitimacy primarily through the agency of self-hating left-wing Israelis who could not justify their own national identity – abetted by Jew-haters appalled at the Jewish renaissance, and Arab enemies like Jordan or Egypt who never noticed any “Palestinian people” until it was politically expedient to do so.

    Accepting this false claim will allow the charge that Jews are thieves in their homeland to be leveled again and again – not just from the pages of newspapers, but from the pages of history books. We are already seeing this.

    So: there’s not really any way for Jews to “worry about their own identity” without challenging the false Palestinian one, which was conceived entirely as a challenge to Jewish/Israeli authenticity.

    It’s typically Muddled thinking to suggest we can just move forward without redressing this falsehood – in our own minds, and before the world.

  • The CAMERA report:

    “…what Peace Now refers to as ‘private property’…” which it defines as “state land which has been cultivated for 10 years, is not at all private. For the rights in such land…are in no way equivalent to what would be commonly called private property.”

    Contrary to Peace Now’s central claim that much of the West Bank settlement land is “private Palestinian property”, according to both Israeli and international law such land is not private property at all: “It is rather land in which a person is granted by the state a limited right of use. And contrary to Peace Now, the land remains the property of the state, and therefore in no way does it revert to the state only if there is a failure to cultivate. Miri land — the land of the Emir, or equivalently, of the sovereign — is state land, period.”

    The CAMERA report goes on to point out a number of other distortions and false claims, including misconstruals regarding the status of wasteland and the use of Ottoman law, which led the report’s writers to their conclusions.

    Read the full CAMERA report:

  • Congratulations Ben-David on a cogent piece of writing. One important element, however, is lacking, so perhaps I can add something to your aforementioned comments. The missing element is the religious factor.

    It is too often overlooked that Zionism was an aggressively secular movement—its greatest weakness in my opinion, (and yes, I am fully aware of religious Zionism, but it is a fact that religion never had much impact on the Labor party)—this explains Israel’s failure to destroy the Islamic-idolatry, that now desecrates the Temple Mount, in June 1967.

    This symbol of, (to), the Muslim moon-god, Hubal, (that’s why there are crescents on mosques), on the holiest site in Israel, emboldened the genocidal jihadi menace that is now threatening Israel (and world Jewry: remember Hezbollah threatens all Jews not just those in Israel).

    “Palestine,” it must be understood, is a term of Christian theology; and, in particular, ROMAN Catholic theology. The Catholic church describes itself as the “true”-Israel. The Vatican therefore, claims all of the blessings that the G-d of Israel endowed His Chosen People (this is called “replacement theology”). Historically, the Catholic church prevented a total genocide of Jews in Europe—isolated murder, abuse, humiliation, torture, and theft (as long as the church got its share), was acceptable—so as to preserve “the Jews” as a “witness” to the purported “truth” of their Christianity. “The Jews,” however, were, according to this theology that is even post Vatican II still operative, cursed “god killers”; that were, as a result, forever homeless because they had killed the Christian “god.” (Note that I put “the Jews” in quotes because the “Jew” of Christian theology is not Jewish.) So, in 1947, the Vatican supported the evil U.N. Resolution 181 that called for Jerusalem to be an “international city”; not a Jewish city, because it contradicted its hateful theology.

    The Muslims have an even more repugnant “replacement theology” wherefrom it is asserted that the Patriarchs and Prophets of Israel are not Jewish, but bow to the moon-god of Mecca (that is, they’re Muslim).

    Christian Zionists reject “replacement theology” because they understand that if the Jews and Judaism can be replaced then so too can the Christians. It even appears that Vatican II was a response not to the immorality of Catholic history towards the Jewish people but a theological response to the miraculous event that is Israel.

    So when I hear a “Christian” say “Palestine,” or “Palestinian,” (I have even heard “saint” David), I cringe, because I properly understand that what is actually being expressed is that the Israel should cease to exist.

    “Palestine” and “Palestinian” are terms of Christian theology that have been adopted by the Muslims to destroy Israel pure and simple.

    So themiddle’s assertion: “Focus on yourself and the Jewish people,” is patent nonsense.

  • Lance, no matter whether the Arabs that Mohamed converted were previously moon worshippers or not, the Islamic religion itself has always been monotheistic and views worship of anything physical as idolatry, pretty much mimicking Judaism on that point to a tee.

  • Finnish I was referring to David, King of Israel, that Catholics call a “saint.”

  • Ben David:

    Does this mean we should we give back the Galilee if those Arabs hire a PR firm and rebrand themselves? And let’s not kid ourselves – there is already a strong fifth column of restive, disloyal Israeli Arabs in the Galilee, emboldened by the legitimacy the “Palestinians” have won for themselves.

    Many of them already call themselves Palestinians – even though they belong to different clans and speak a Lebanese dialect.

    So let me understand your argument. The West Bank Palestinians have a different dialect (Jordanian, let’s call it) and therefore are not the same as the Gazans. The Galilee Arabs have a Lebanese dialect and therefore are different from the West Bankers and Gazans. However, the nefarious Arabs inside Israel – the ones with the Lebanese dialect – are just as muddled as the rest of us and have been duped into considering themselves part of that fictional non-nation, the Palestinians.

    Boy, they must be really dumb. If they would only read your assertions, they’d know right away that it’s all a sham.

    Or perhaps…they view their identity as no different than that of the Gazan and West Bank Arabs, perceive their shared history to be a bond, consider their shared religion, Naqba, current conflict with Jewish Israelis and struggle for regaining of the land from Israeli Jews to be all part and parcel of their identity?

    As I said, you are dreaming in a self-serving manner. You think that somehow the world will buy your rejection of the Palestinian narrative and current identity. You think the Palestinians will throw away the narrative that has been inculcated into them for decades (remember all those textbooks and tv programs we justifiably complain about? You think those don’t educate their young to see themselves as part of a people and nation with common history and culture?). You think the UN – which gave the Palestinians something even deserving nations like the Kurds don’t have – full observer status, believe you are right or that what people with your opinion believe matters?

    I know, I know, who cares what the world or the UN thinks. You say they aren’t a nation, so they aren’t a nation. Right…

  • Middle –

    Like many who lean even further left than you – you’ve wound up appealing to the largely imaginary, electronic “everybody” – and assuming that they believe as you do.

    1) Most people in the world really couldn’t care less about the Palestinians – or the Israelis. As Islamic terror strikes closer to these folks’ personal comfort zones, their sympathy will only decrease. It’s quite telling that Barak Obama sought to meet Ethiopian Jews rather than Palestinians in his recent visit to Israel – more savvy PR like this can tip the balance of many minds.

    In addition, many have grown weary and suspicious of the techniques of victimology politics on which the Pali PR machine is based.

    So there is a lot more up in the air in terms of world opinion. The idea that “the world won’t let us” or “the world knows better” or “the world won’t wait” are typically deployed by liberals in desparate attempts to avoid a more nuanced reality that isn’t necessarily going their way.

    2) The one thing the world DOES give weight to in trying to gauge the truth is what the Israelis themselves say – and the Pali’s ability to point to Israeli spokespeople who parrot their line has been a major factor in giving their lies legitimacy.

    It is therefore imperative that Israel and its supporters not accept the lies of Palestinian nationhood and victimhood – including the attendant vocabulary of “Palestinians” instead of “Arabs”, “occupied territories” instead of “disputed territories”, and “militants” instead of “terrorists”.

  • Ben David, I don’t care who believes what I do, and I am not trying to appeal to anybody. Sorry. What you’re getting is my point of view. If you’d like to convince yourself that the world will be convinced by your position, more power to you. I will simply point out to you that these days people of all stripes but especially lots and lots of politicians and diplomats in the West say “Palestine” when discussing this conflict and what they mean is “Palestine” as if it already exists.

  • Ben David, fact-straightning time. Besides the fact that Obama did meet with Palestinian officials (from his official website):

    …he also toured Israeli Christian Arab villages. His meetings with Ethiopian leaders was a part of an effort of UJC and JUF to better help assimilate Ethiopian Jews. Now for me there’s something telling about that – maybe a message that Israel needs to look at it’s own class system? That’s stretching it – it is probably more of a personal interest. Nevertheless he met with Abbas (this was before Hamas won the election) and apparently retiterated the U.S. will never recognize a Hamas that doesn’t recognize Israel.

    What’s telling here is that these same issues will arise when Keith Ellison visits Israel along with some Midwestern Jewish leaders (he did promise!). Notice U.S. congresspeople are not visting the Abbas or any Arab countries accompanied byCAIR. The Dems are trying to rebuild their traditional power base by wooing back Jews of every economic, professional level and degree of Zionism. Hamas’ intransigence has made it easier for U.S. politicians to ignore the Palestinian issue for now. But BD, Obama did meet w/the Palestinians, did express hope for a better life for them. Which is basically a recognition of a “Palestinian people”. Ellison’s trip will be more self-serving that Obama’s. He’s going to make amends for his time in land of Farakhan.

  • Where can we all pick up a copy of the Protocols of the Elders of Lance? What sewer did you climb out of, dude?

    King David isn’t a “saint,” dillweed. You’re wrong about Vatican II, and wrong about what you (inappositely) term “replacement theology.”

    A couple of quick correctives from CCC:

    “As the Church declared at the Second Vatican Council: ‘. . . [N]either all Jews indiscriminately at that time, nor Jews today, can be charged with the crimes committed during [Christ’s] Passion. . .
    [T]he Jews should not be spoken of as rejected or accursed as if this followed from holy Scripture.'”


    “The relationship of the Church with the Jewish People.

    “[T]he Jewish People [were] ‘the first to hear the Word of God.’ The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God’s revelation in the Old Covenant. To the Jews ‘belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ’, ‘for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.'”

  • I propose the elimination of “Palestine” as an artifical construct lacking any basis in history.

    And with Palestine– Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kazakhstan, Kirgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Iraq, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, FYR Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Montenegro.

  • Hmm, sorry– but upon further review, Mali deserves to be a country.

  • And we shouldn’t acquiesce in Bismarck’s breach of the Treaty of Westphalia. Germany’s not a country.

  • Tom,

    I just gotta say; I really enjoy it when the needle on your bullshit meter finally goes to “overload.” Well said.

  • Besides, you have to remember it was Lance who pointed out that anti-Semitism has created a fictional chimera that has no connection to either Jews or Judaism. So to impress on our enemies that they really have [us] all wrong . . . some Jews have so internalized anti-Semitism that they themselves attack Jews.

    Accordingly, it must have been one of those rare factual chimeras that inspired Lance’s rather, uh . . .unorthodox understanding of Catholic theology.

  • Now Jon C, who I vote for, just as what goes on with who or whom in my bedroom, is a private matter 🙂 Let’s just say in most cases I tend to caucus with the Democrats. When there’s a committee chairmanship I want.

    In any case, thank g-d for Ellison if only for making years of perpetually boring races in the Fifth finally worth watching. Also nice to see the fear factor campaigning tactic fail miserably. Fun group we got here. I was just imagining Ellison and Bachman getting stuck in the same row on the flight to D.C.. In coach. And Klobuchar sipping mimosas in first class.

  • David, thanks. Maybe the pope will make it up to our pal Lance by saying something characteristically blunt about Islam during his trip to Turkey.

  • The Middle wrote:
    I will simply point out to you that these days people of all stripes but especially lots and lots of politicians and diplomats in the West say “Palestine” when discussing this conflict and what they mean is “Palestine” as if it already exists.
    – – – – – – – – – – – –
    or more precisely – as if it previously existed.

    I am well aware of this – and of how every attempt to justify Israeli self-defence gets snuffed out by a final assertion along the lines of “what can you expect – should the Palestinians just let you steal their land?”

    The notion tha the Palis are nobly resisting oppressive colonialist invaders flows direcly from the myth of a Palestinian people – and perfectly fits with left-wing romanticising of third-world revolutionaries and Euro-guilt over colonialism.

    Yes, I’ve had these discussions that treat Palestine as a valid entity.

    So tell us, Oh Muddled One: exactly how *does* one go about defending Israel’s right not only to defend itself, but to exist – without challenging the myth of Palestinian nationhood?

  • What do you mean? We do it all the time on Jewlicious and discussions in other places in and out of the Internet. What is the connection?

    There are two nations competing for the same parcel of land here. The existence of one does not negate the other – even if you cannot resolve the question of division of land, which is the most pressing issue. I don’t suggest this is easy or that Israel has a partner who would share, but to say there are two nations does not take away from the possibility of ending up with two separate states that share the land.

    I recognize that what I’m saying entails leaving Gaza (which we did) and the majority of the West Bank. There will also have to be a compromise on Jerusalem. None of this is simple or easy to do and I’m not suggesting the Palestinians are even up to it.

    What I’m saying also isn’t new or earth-shattering. The Jews of Mandatory Palestine agreed in 1937 and 1947 to divide the land, presumably with the understanding that beyond the Jewish state’s borders there would be an Arab state comprised of the Arab inhabitants of the land who move there and already live there.

    We know that the wars of 1948 and 1967 are not of Israel’s doing and their consequences to the Arab world and the Palestinians are clear. Israel is a viable, vibrant state and will continue to be. The question now is how does one meet the Palestinian national goals without allowing them to continue to try to undermine Israel’s existence.

  • Middle boiled it down fine much earlier. A nation is a nation when it’s inhabitants view themselves as such. Recognized international borders or not. It’s a self-defined construct. I live in a country constructed by English expatriots and defined by nations of immimgrants. On the ruins of another nation’s teepees. The principles were British but the purpose was not to base the nation on ethnic or historic commonality. Add it to Tom’s list. Anyone can use a self-serving view of history and say a Palestinian identity is a sham in much the same way the U.S. isn’t.

    Regardless of whether or not “Palestine” was a Roman or British construct, regardless of whether they are Jordanian, they’re now a people with an identity who fought Jews and Arabs alike to assert that identity. They forced Jordan’s hand for the right to define their own borders and the right to do what Israel and the U.S. did – unilaterally declare statehood. What the Quebecois aim to do. What Manhattan should do.

    What difference does it make what you call yourself? Would calling modern-day Israel Eretz Tzion or Eretz Canaan or Eretz Judea-Sumeria make it less of a Jewish Zionist nation? So call Habash’s construct Syria Palestine or Mandateland or the Transjordan Express. Let’s go by Tom’s proposal and say Sao Tome is available. In any case, what can Israel gain by denying Palestinians exist? Does the rest of the world really care if it’s Palestinian or “Palestinian”? If Israel goes by BD’s argument and legitimizes annexing the West Bank and Gaza by claiming there is was Palestinian people in the first place, Israel is going to be the loneliest country in the world. You gotta come up with a much better rationale than that.

  • People really ought to read “The Palestinian National Covenant and its Meaning” by Yehosaphat Harkabi (sp?) to see what a sham “Palestinian” “nationalism” really is. Even the people who fabricated the “Palestinian” “nation” knew it was a sham.

    Jordan didn’t give up its claims to Judea and Samaria out of deference to the “Plaestinian” “nation”. He gave in to PLO and Syrian threats.

    There will never be a “Palestinian” state for a very simple reason: even if we accept the fiction that a majority of the “Palestinians” want a peace that would leave Israel intact, the people who are driving the “Palestinian” agenda do not want that. They only want a “state” to use as a base for attacking israel. Everything they have done since Oslo makes this clear. Giving them a state will not ameliorate this problem, it will make it worse.

    And even if, G-d forbid, the “Palestinians” should succeed in their goals, Syria, Egypt and Jordan would invade so fast to take “Palestine” for themselves it would make your head spin. The Arabs have less respect for the “Palestinian” “nation” than Israel does.

  • The Palestinian entity was created to undermine the Jewish claim to Israel. Anyone who believes this fraud shares part of the mentality of the Plo and Hamas.
    How some people, especially Jews, can be so ignorant and naive is something I will never understand.

  • Damn, I just knew it; I only wish I’d said so at the time. Three days ago, Goldie said, “It’s sad to see so many Jews believe PLO propaganda. I thought Jewlicious would be different but I’m wrong. Some people here are more suited to write for Al-Jizeera. There’s nothing more to say.” Well, even though there was “nothing more to say,” I just knew that Goldele would manage to come up with something. And lo and behold, it’s exactly the same brilliant observation she imparted before! I just wonder how many more times we’ll have the same delightful opportunity before the discussion is over.

    As Middle points out, the fact of Palestinian nationhood has been irrefutably established throughout the entire non-delusional world, among which the dispute about Palestinian identity ranks right up there with such “controversies” as global warming and the causal relationship between smoking and lung cancer. That ship sailed a long time ago, and no amount of historical, sociological, or other clever – or, for that matter, comically stupid – talmudic parsing will change that state of affairs. Still, there is something especially obnoxious about the phenomenon of Jews contemptuously dismissing the notion of Palestinian nationhood. What is it that makes the Palestinians a nation? Well, for a start, precisely the same things that made the far-flung residents of Jewland – Spanish-speaking Argentineans, pasty-white Galicians, and dark-skinned Yemenites – all eligible for “Israeli” citizenship in 1948. Quite simply, if the linguistic criteria and other relevant indicia of ethnicity don’t make the Palestinians a nation, they sure as hell don’t do so for the Jews.

    As a number of those commenting have pointed out, the Palestinians, as always, are their own worst enemies, their hatred, duplicity and greed seemingly inexhaustible. Alas, it appears to be sickeningly true that they hate Jews more than they love their own children, most dramatically seen in Arafat’s self-immolating rejection of the offer that would have resulted in precisely the contiguous, viable state they claim they want. And they may, indeed, want that; just not as much as they want to deny the right of the Jews to live in Israel. That is the objective that always seems to trump all others.

    I thought Ramon Marcos offered an insightful analysis of the situation, with one objection. Specifically, Ramon stated that The occupation may be stupid but it’s not criminal.

    That may well have been true; for one year, or five years, or ten years, or twenty. Then, sometime around the twenty-year mark, it is clear that the Occupation became both stupid and criminal. That’s not to say Israel should have withdrawn from the Territories absent a negotiated settlement, or permitted the Palestinians to establish a state in the absence of the same. But the notion that Israel could, or should, have simply annexed the Territories is an empty fantasy. First, such a step would rather dramatically belie the claim that the Six Day War was a defensive action forced upon Israel, not a deliberately provoked war of conquest. Moreover, not a single sane Israeli wanted a goddamn thing to do with the Territories. They recognized that the inevitable consequence of an ongoing occupation would be to rot Israel’s democracy from within.

    What they may well not have anticipated was the emergence of a group that was not only unconcerned with the threat to Israeli democracy, but has been largely enthusiastic about it: the Jewish Squatters, who jumped at the chance to expropriate Palestinian land and further their imperialistic fantasy of establishing a Torah empire in the West Bank. Of course, this state of affairs could not have come about without the active complicity of the Israeli government, which, in a shortsighted and tragic Faustian bargain, nourished the imperial fantasies of the Squatters for their own self-serving purposes.

    In his generally incisive observations, Middle notes, If you operate from the premise that Israel cannot remain in the West Bank indefinitely because of demographic concerns, answers will need to be forthcoming. Alas, that is the problem precisely, for the Squatters most definitely do not accept the premise that Palestinian demographic superiority precludes permanent Israeli retention of the West Bank. Their strategy for doing so consists of two separate components. First, with the invitation to Lieberman to join the cabinet, the inchoate aspirations of the extreme Right have now been explicitly embraced by one member of the governing coalition. There is exactly one term that accurately describes that policy. And yup, it’s the Big “A.” Apartheid. There is simply no other word that fully conveys the policy of effecting mass expulsions of a country’s citizenry on racial grounds. Indeed, the Squatters would be far better off discontinuing their denial of the Apartheid-like system of which they dream, and turning to a full-throated defense of Apartheid itself. After all, the system in place in the West Bank is becoming virtually indistinguishable from that in South Africa, where “the blacks” had an entire continent in which to settle, and the overwhelmingly outnumbered whites just wanted a teensy weensy little piece of the country they could call their own. Was that really so wrong?

    Given the fact that, as Middle notes, Israel has no legal right, by its own law, to allow the taking of private Palestinian land for the purpose of building Jewish homes on it, the second component of the strategy for overcoming that circumstance is the time-honored approach of rightwing extremists everywhere: brute force. As suggested by the queer-hunting mobs loosed in response to the planned gay pride parade, the far Right is positively giddy about the prospect of undermining the rule of law in Israel, and overthrowing the democracy for which they have nothing but contempt. That attitude is reflected in the following utterly typical comments about the recent riots:

    Violent rioting is, by definition, an unjustifiable action IN A FAIR AND WORKING DEMOCRACY . . . . Rioting in a banana republic is a positive thing. It’s the first step in clearing out the rot and installing a better system. . . . Tyranny is overcome by people taking to the streets and saying “I’m not going to take this anymore.” That is what is happening here. . . . People have taken to the streets – just like in the Ukraine, just like in Berlin, just like in Yugoslavia.

    But of course: Israel is a corrupt Communist dictatorship, where the citizenry is forced into the streets in order to demand an end to an oppressive tyranny. Ahh, yes, and “clearing out the rot and installing a better system?” Does that remind anybody of anything? Bring any historical parallels to mind?

    Here’s the second example. In response to the question, “Do you oppose rioting and stabbing?” the answer is,

    I’ve got to confess to you that the ongoing campaign to de-Judaize the land of Israel (and it is a campaign – sinister, well oiled and funded) will, at some point, force me to stand with the Macabees against the Helenists. I believe that the boiling point is very close.

    Simply stated, Israel ignores these existential threats to its political institutions, and to Zionism itself, at its own peril. No democracy can permit gangs of violent thugs to take over its streets with impunity. Now, I’m in no way suggesting that the government should respond to these threats with brutality, or excessive force, or by indiscriminately cracking heads. By no means. No; I’m simply suggesting that the government should treat these vicious rightwing thugs with every ounce of the delicacy and restraint they display in dealing with rock-throwing, 11-year-old Palestinian girls.

  • Patent nonsense from david smith. The Jews are a nation because the Torah says so. The “palestinians” are semi-human garbage, if even that, that are being used by the enemy to murder Jews and deny them a safe home with the security they deserve. Jews must spend mental energy and scarce resources on defense instead of developing to their potential. This Arab/Muslim crime against the Jewish people will never be forgiven; it constitutes the Muslim war against the Jews by other means; because the Arab is a mendacious, murderous, weak, and cowardly pestilence.

    Jews living in the historic heart of ancient Israel—called by some the “West Bank” to de-Judaize it—are not “Jewish Squatters,” as david smith despairingly asserts. Jews are an aboriginal people indigenous to the Land of Israel: both the West and East banks of the Jordan River. The enemy’s propaganda term “settlers” is to deny the rights of the Jewish people to their National Home; it is attempt to falsely assert that they don’t belong.

    The war against the Jews is multifaceted. There is violence, murder, and terrorism. There is the denial of the Jewish people’s religious, legal, moral, and historical ties to the Land. There is the mendacity that there exists a legitimate non-Jewish interest in the Land. The enemy will use the most absurd arguments; even employing antisemitism, Christian theology, and Mohammedan nonsense. And who buys into this absurd nonsense? Antsemites; and some Jews, who have absorbed the poisons of antisemitism to such an extent, and are so lacking in personal dignity, that they debase themselves by echoing the enemy’s propaganda (even adopting the Mohammedan nonsense that “it’s all about the occupation”).

    The only occupiers are the alien Arab element that has no legitimate claim to Eretz Yisrael, or any part thereof. If this Arab refuse wanted a state, and peace therein, they have had their chance; that’s not what they’re about though. No more Oslo death processes; only a fool would continue to take these phony Arabs seriously. And it’s not just the phony “palestinians” that are illegitimate but the equally illegitimate territories: Syria, the lebanon, Jordan, “Saudi”-Arabia, Iraq, and “Arabic” Egypt, Iran (that means Aryan in Persian), and all the other Mohammedan dictatorships and tyrannies that are a constant threat to Jewish life both in Israel and elsewhere.

  • Re: Ramon Marcos and: “What the Quebecois aim to do.”

    The “quebecois” are an invention of an antisemitic catholic cleric named Lionel Groulx. Being defined by antisemitism makes them as obnoxious as the phoney “palestinians.” In the case of Quebec, they don’t want a state, it’s just a shakedown for money and attention from Canada.

  • Wow, I was going to post a lengthy comment strongly disputing some of David Smith’s remarks, particularly the apartheid remarks, but then I saw Lance’s remarks calling the Arabs “pestilence” and decided that this can wait.

    Lance, either you are a troll or, if you’re for real, you’re dirt. I reject your remarks generalizing all Arabs with utter contempt and disgust.

  • TM – I’d still like to read your response to David Smith’s comments…

    David Smith – I stand by what I said. Granted it’s a semantic thing. Maybe I should’ve said not illegal instead of not criminal. TM’s post exposed this. Those opposed to the occupation are trying to find ways to stop it, settlement expansion and The Wall (not Pink Floyd’s – that was unstoppable) through the courts. They’re trying to expose settlements as illegal land appropriations in the eyes of Israeli law. Which to me implies there hasn’t (yet) been a clear-cut decision in Israeli or international law that a military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is illegal. Just as it was never stated that Israeli control of the Sinai was illegal.

    I also stand by the fact that the present-day use of settlements to create facts on the ground for a future border, or the idea that annexation as a viable option, is stupid. Maybe politically and morally criminal. It’s how I see the Iraq war – the only thing criminal about it is how stupid, illogical and self-destructive our leaders were/are. I can see the original point of occupation, make the West Bank and Gaza temporary buffer zones, build a few settlements to create a de jure border. But it was always meant to be a bargaining tools for a comprehensive Mideast peace accord no matter what Dayan said. But it’s obvious the rationale for the original Labor party-planned settlements after ’67 to draw more secure borders than the UN partition plan called for has been lost. IMHO, in today’s world settlement expansion and/or every threat of annexation reduces the power of the bargaining chip for a comprehensive peace. Which now seem to be light years away.

    Lance – I dare you to go to a bar in the old section of Quebec City, sit at table, order a drink, and repeat your take on French Canada to anyone who will listen. Make sure you do it in English. They love English speakers there.

    Ephraim – I think we agree that the PLO forced Hussein to cede the land. And I agree that, for various reasons, that the Palestinian agenda right now isn’t amenable to a two-state deal. And I can see your point of the danger of a Palestinian state becoming a kind of Lebanon. But again I ask you and some others who dispute the legitimacy of a Palestinian nation. Do you really think annexation is the best solution in the long term? And do you think it’s going to help Israel in the long term to tell the rest of the world it’s only legitimate reason to annex is because there is no Palestinian state in the first place? Because this whole discussion on whether or not there’s really a Palestinian state is a veiled call for annexation.

    At least Lance’s racism is obvious. He wants to kill all the Arabs and take over their land. He’s simply the dirt he presents himself as. Not hiding behind semantics or spinning his view in a self-serving manner.

  • Middle,

    Well, yes, I recognize what you would find objectionable about my views, and particularly the asserted applicability of Apartheid. Until, say, six months or so ago, I felt exactly that way myself; specifically, I regarded the attribution of Apartheid to Israel as per se evidence of anti-Semitic intent, and a rhetorical device meant to deny the legitimacy of Zionism itself.

    Then the Israeli government denied citizenship to the Palestinian spouses of Israeli Arabs. Though they cited the ubiquitous and ever-handy “security” excuse, that was a transparent lie. The widely recognized reason was the undeclared “demographic war” being waged by the Israeli government. That was the very first time it occurred to me that Israel was embracing a policy denying its citizens formal equality under the law. It was also the first time I realized it was no longer possible to reject the Apartheid label out of hand.

    Then came the execrable Lieberman, no longer an outsize figure of the lunatic fringe, but an invited participant in the Israeli government. Can you seriously dispute the use of Apartheid describing to describe Lieberman’s policies? If so, I’d genuinely like to hear the explanation, because, frankly, I find such a claim truly unfathomable.

    Finally, there’s the twisted racist hatred of Lance and the propaganda of his fellow cult members, as reflected in this thread. Regarding the same, the question at issue is one we’ve discussed many times, i.e., the degree to which such fanaticism is marginal, or is consequential and representative of a meaningful portion of Israel’s population. It seems to me some kind of critical mass has been achieved. Mobs of vicious rioting thugs in the streets of Jerusalem; inclusion of a avowed racist in the government; formal government policies abrogating equality before the law. The evidence strikes me as compelling, and the question no longer seems to me to be a close one. That impression was reinforced by the response to an October 31st op-ed piece in the Jerusalem Post by Debra DeLee, criticizing Lieberman. Yes, I understand that it was the Jerusalem Post, that the writer is American, and that this was hardly a representative sample of the Israeli population. Still, of 88 people commenting on the article, 69 were strongly in favor of Lieberman, many of whom expressed their views in Lance-like screeds. Only nine expressed any reservations about the proposed mass expulsions of Israels Arab citizens. The bottom line? There ain’t nothing marginal about the Israeli racists, and I’m done with hairsplitting analyses as to their precise numbers.

  • I take much joy in being insulted by Hamas followers. David wrote hundreds of words but they mean absolutely nothing unless you believe propaganda created by terrorists.
    The middle’s mind is rotted to the core. I will never be an apologist for the people who want to finish what Hilter started.

  • guess what? every settlement is illegal according to international law, including the ones in E. Jerusalem:
    Especially conspicuous is the Israel’s manipulative use of the law to create a semblance of legality for the settlement enterprise. So long as the Jordanian law assisted Israel in advancing its goals, it seized the argument that international law requires that an occupying state apply the law in effect in the territory prior to occupation, construing international law in a cynical and tendentious way. When Jordanian law was unfavorable for Israel, it did not hesitate to revoke it though military legislation and develop new rules to meet its ends. In doing so, Israel tramples on international agreements to which it is party that are intended to reduce human rights violations and protect people under occupation.

    In that the very establishment of the settlements is illegal, and in light of the human rights violations resulting from the existence of the settlements, B’Tselem demands that Israel evacuate the settlements. The action must be done in a way that respects the settlers’ human rights, including the payment of compensation.

  • The ‘Israeli racists’ David Smith is jabbering about accept that Israel is a Jewish state, not a state that happens to have a Jewish majority. Preventing members of the most antisemitic, radicalised, supremacist group on earth (‘palestinian’ Muslims) from becoming Israelis would seem like a good way to maintain that majority.

  • And how Lieberman’s notion of expelling the non-Jews that are already Israeli citizens, eh Matt? That would be an even better way to maintain that majority, wouldn’t it? No doubt. But let’s not be all shy about calling it what it is; Apartheid. Or acknowledging the racism of the Jew supremacists who embrace it. Feel free to acknowledge your heritage, Matt.

  • Xisnotx (how do you prounounce that?) – settlements may or may not be illegal under international law but the occupation itself wasn’t. In any case the first thing we were taught in international law classes was how esoteric, muddled and unenforcible international law is. Which is one of the reasons it holds so much fascination for some. International law has about as much real practical power as a UN peacekeeping force. Otherwise there’d be no Rwanda or Darfur. If you want to put a lot of stock into it, you also have to also include the 1996 codification of anti-terrorism laws against rocket attacks and suicide bombings coming from the territories. In most, but not all cases, international law is usually enforcible when the culprit is of the Milosevic ilk. Suing in an international court is almost laughable and usually for show.

    That’s why the B’tselem page referred to falls on deaf ears compared to what Peace Now was trying to do. The court of international law is the court of international public opinion. To enact real change Peace Now is trying to bring the issue into the context of Israeli law. Much more practical. Invoking international law to evacuate settlements makes as much sense as using the “myth of “Palestine” as an excuse for annexation.

  • I just want to say that I find Lance’s comments way beyond the pale and I do not support them in any way.

    I do not hate Arabs in any racial sense. That being said, however, I think a pretty strong case can be made that they are the enemies of the Jews and Israel. I believe that the “Palestinian” “nation” is a fiction created to undermine Jewish rights in Eretz Israel. It has succeeded brilliantly. The conflict has come to be perceived, even by some Jews, not as as what it actually is, which is a Muslim Arab jihad against the Jews the aim of which is the destruction of Israel, but as a Jewish war against the “Palestinian” “nation”. In such a situation, how could one not feel sympathy for the poor “Palestinian David” against the “Israeli Goliath”? The Arab hasbara has been an unqualified success.

    Israel is intended to be a state of, by, and for Jews. I used to be bothered by this, but I’m not anymore. Ethnic nationalism is normal. Do the people who excoriate Israeli “apartheid” have the same visceral opposition to the obvious racist implications of the “Palestinian” national program? If they do, then they certainly cannot, in good conscience, support “Palestinian” ethnic nationalism any more than they can support Jewish ethnic nationalism.

    I suppose the idea is that once the situation is normalized, and the “Palestinians” have their state and no longer have any reason to murder Jews at every opportunity, that people can be nice to each other and Arabs living in Israel will no longer be enemies and so Israeli “apartheid” can be dismantled.

    Dream on. The Arabs believe that the “occupation” includes everything. Giving the “Palestinians” a state will not change that. The supposed Israeli “apartheid” a la Lieverman is the Jewish reaction to Arab racism and anti-Semitism, not its cause. Lieberman may have always been a racist. But it is the PLO, Hamas, Hizb’allah and the Israeli Arab traitors in the Knesset, who undoubtedly represent the true feelings of the “Israeli” Arabs, that have given room to people like Lieberman. Jews are like everyone else. When it is clear, as it is now, that every single “Palestinian” organization is wedded to the idea of a Judenrein “Palestine” and that there is pretty much nothing Israel can do to change that, people like Liberman are going to get an audience.

  • RM– the occupation may not have been illegal — but it’s supposed to be limited. Settling occupied territory with 450,000 of your own citizens in contravention of international law does not show good faith in trying to put an end to the occupation. Hence, “illegal” occupation. You may say whatever you want about how the occupation began — no one compelled Israel to colonize the territories. As for Peace Now’s report, the Yesha council retorted that there’s plenty of Jewish housing built on Palestinian private property INSIDE the Green Line.

    It doesn’t sound to me like US Justice Thomas Buergenthal, of the International Court of Justice at the Hague, and a Holocaust survivor, found international law inchoate and muddled:

    In a separate declaration, Judge Buergenthal stated: “I share the Court’s conclusion that international humanitarian law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, and international human rights law are applicable to the Occupied Palestinian Territory and must there be faithfully complied with by Israel. I accept that the wall is causing deplorable suffering to many Palestinians living in that territory. In this connection, I agree that the means used to defend against terrorism must conform to all applicable rules of international law and that a State which is the victim of terrorism may not defend itself against this scourge by resorting to measures international law prohibits.” (Para. 2.)

  • Oh, I get it: the Arabs get to do anything they want to Israel and Jews and nobody complains, but G-d forbid Israel does anythng that goes against world opinion…oh, sorry, I mean “international law”.

    This is all bullshit. All they are saying is that Israel has to bend over and grab its ankles while the Arabs lube up. Scew that.

    When “international law” and the people who champion it start condemning the terrorists instead of making excuses for them, I’ll start paying attention to them and not before.

    And, no, defending yourself from terrorists by killing them does not make you “just as bad as the terrorists”.

    I repeat: the Arabs started this by flouting the UN. They are in the wrong and always have been. Egypt and Jordan have peace treaties with israel and relations are correct, if not warm. All of the other Arabs ares still in a state of self-declared war with Israel. Until they correct that, everything Israel does against them is legitimate national self-defense.

  • I agree with David (Plo apologist). The Jews in Israel should take their cues from the Arab countries surrounding them.
    Arab societies are a beacon of human rights. Women, gays, and religious minorities all have equal rights and the freedom to choose.
    Arabs are the most progressive, open-minded, tolerant, peaceful people in this world.
    There wouldn’t be any terrorism if it weren’t for the damn Jews. They are free to live in any Arab country with all their freedoms but they choose to live on their ancient homeland. Damn them.
    Arabs have more rights to live in the Jewish homeland because Arafat, an Egyptian, said so.
    If Israel, a four-thousand years-old ancient country, is an illegal settlement than America is the biggest illegal settlement of all. We should all leave now. I’ll ask my American Indian friends if I can stay but the rest of you are on your own.

  • xisnotx is quoting what suits him/her. Here’s some other stuff the Judge says in the same opinion.

    3. It may well be, and I am prepared to assume it, that on a thorough analysis of all relevant facts, a finding could well be made that some or even all segments of the wall being constructed by Israel on the Occupied Palestinian Territory violate international law (see para. 10 below). But to reach that conclusion with regard to the wall as a whole without having before it or seeking to ascertain all relevant facts bearing directly on issues of Israel’s legitimate right of self‑defence, military necessity and security needs, given the repeated deadly terrorist attacks in and upon Israel proper coming from the Occupied Palestinian Territory to which Israel has been and continues to be subjected, cannot be justified as a matter of law. The nature of these cross‑Green Line attacks and their impact on Israel and its population are never really seriously examined by the Court, and the dossier provided the Court by the United Nations on which the Court to a large extent bases its findings barely touches on that subject. I am not suggesting that such an examination would relieve Israel of the charge that the wall it is building violates international law, either in whole or in part, only that without this examination the findings made are not legally well founded. In my view, the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people would have been better served had the Court taken these considerations into account, for that would have given the Opinion the credibility I believe it lacks.

    4. This is true with regard to the Court’s sweeping conclusion that the wall as a whole, to the extent that it is constructed on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, violates international humanitarian law and international human rights law. It is equally true with regard to the finding that the construction of the wall “severely impedes the exercise by the Palestinian people of its right to self‑determination, and is therefore a breach of Israel’s obligation to respect that right” (para. 122). I accept that the Palestinian people have the right to self‑determination and that it is entitled to be fully protected. But assuming without necessarily agreeing that this right is relevant to the case before us and that it is being violated, Israel’s right to self‑defence, if applicable and legitimately invoked, would nevertheless have to preclude any wrongfulness in this regard. See Article 21 of the International Law Commission’s Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts, which declares: “The wrongfulness of an act of a State is precluded if the act constitutes a lawful measure of self‑defence taken in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.”

    5. Whether Israel’s right of self‑defence is in play in the instant case depends, in my opinion, on an examination of the nature and scope of the deadly terrorist attacks to which Israel proper is being subjected from across the Green Line and the extent to which the construction of the wall, in whole or in part, is a necessary and proportionate response to these attacks. As a matter of law, it is not inconceivable to me that some segments of the wall being constructed on Palestinian territory meet that test and that others do not. But to reach a conclusion either way, one has to examine the facts bearing on that issue with regard to the specific segments of the wall, their defensive needs and related topographical considerations.

    Since these facts are not before the Court, it is compelled to adopt the to me legally dubious conclusion that the right of legitimate or inherent self‑defence is not applicable in the present case. The Court puts the matter as follows:

    “Article 51 of the Charter . . . recognizes the existence of an inherent right of self‑defence in the case of armed attack by one State against another State. However, Israel does not claim that the attacks against it are imputable to a foreign State.

    The Court also notes that Israel exercises control in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and that, as Israel itself states, the threat which it regards as justifying the construction of the wall originates within, and not outside, that territory. The situation is thus different from that contemplated by Security Council resolutions 1368 (2001) and 1373 (2001), and therefore Israel could not in any event invoke those resolutions in support of its claim to be exercising a right of self‑defence.

    Consequently, the Court concludes that Article 51 of the Charter has no relevance in this case.” (Para. 139.)

    6. There are two principal problems with this conclusion. The first is that the United Nations Charter, in affirming the inherent right of self‑defence, does not make its exercise dependent upon an armed attack by another State, leaving aside for the moment the question whether Palestine, for purposes of this case, should not be and is not in fact being assimilated by the Court to a State. Article 51 of the Charter provides that “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self‑defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations . . .” Moreover, in the resolutions cited by the Court, the Security Council has made clear that “international terrorism constitutes a threat to international peace and security” while “reaffirming the inherent right of individual or collective self‑defence as recognized by the Charter of the United Nations as reiterated in resolution 1368 (2001)” (Security Council resolution 1373 (2001)). In its resolution 1368 (2001), adopted only one day after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, the Security Council invokes the right of self‑defence in calling on the international community to combat terrorism. In neither of these resolutions did the Security Council limit their application to terrorist attacks by State actors only, nor was an assumption to that effect implicit in these resolutions. In fact, the contrary appears to have been the case. (See Thomas Franck, “Terrorism and the Right of Self‑Defense”, American Journal of International Law, Vol. 95, 2001, pp. 839-840.)

    Second, Israel claims that it has a right to defend itself against terrorist attacks to which it is subjected on its territory from across the Green Line and that in doing so it is exercising its inherent right of self‑defence. In assessing the legitimacy of this claim, it is irrelevant that Israel is alleged to exercise control in the Occupied Palestinian Territory ¾ whatever the concept of “control” means given the attacks Israel is subjected from that territory ¾ or that the attacks do not originate from outside the territory. For to the extent that the Green Line is accepted by the Court as delimiting the dividing line between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, to that extent the territory from which the attacks originate is not part of Israel proper. Attacks on Israel coming from across that line must therefore permit Israel to exercise its right of self‑defence against such attacks, provided the measures it takes are otherwise consistent with the legitimate exercise of that right. To make that judgment, that is, to determine whether or not the construction of the wall, in whole or in part, by Israel meets that test, all relevant facts bearing on issues of necessity and proportionality must be analysed. The Court’s formalistic approach to the right of self‑defence enables it to avoid addressing the very issues that are at the heart of this case.

    Also, your figure of 450,000 is wrong. East Jerusalem is annexed to Israel.

    Furthermore, this discussion is not about whether Israel may or may not be in Judea and Samaria or whether an “occupation” is permitted or not. This discussion is about the permissibility of building settlements on private Palestinian land and what criteria Peace Now has used to determine what constitutes private land.

  • Xisnotx – Great comments and I think we agree more than not. Except on the point of clarity and enforcibility of international law in general. I’m not that familiar with Judge Buergenthal (he’s pretty recent) but he seems like the perfect choice to be the American representative on the court. Still, there are reasons why the World Court doesn’t have the power to affect great change. It has to enforce the rulings of the International Law Commision and UN resolutions. And that’s tricky. Here’s a very recent example of why…,7340,L-3333344,00.html

    Is there a huge outcry when the UN constantly passes resolutions demanding Israel leave the Golan Heights? No one considers Syria to be non-agressive. UN resolutions tend to be one-sided, especially these days regarding Israel (amazing that 338 didn’t condemn the agressors in the ’73 war). That’s another discussion. My point was that if B’tselem wants to enact real change from within the system, they should follow the lead of Peace Now and bring the issue into the Israeli system of law rather then international law. (Which I applaud them for doing as opposed to violent protest or rioting.) International law is only as binding and enforcible as the number of countries that ascribe to it. The court of world opinion.

    I think there was a compelling reason for the original post-’67 Labor settlement plan: Justifiable self-defense. The ’47 UN partition plan made Israel extremely vulnerable, it’s survival very reliant on Arab non-agression. The irony is the majority of Jews accepted the partition but the Arabs immediately shot themselves in the foot. The Jews were even willing to allow Jerusalem to be UN controlled – an idea that never fully died until Teddy Kollek did. The ’48 the borders were just as untenable. As kids we were always being reminded that at Israel’s narrowest point it was only ten miles between the Arabs and the sea. Of course the Arabs drooled when they saw how easy it was to cut Israel in two between Tel Aviv and Haifa. So no matter what the UN may have said, back then in the court of world opinion Israel was David and justified in launching a pre-emptive strike against Goliath.

    Now I think we agree that the original purpose of the occupation has run it’s course and the original purpose of settlements as proposed by Meir ’67 has been perverted by the “greater Israel” factions. The situation’s reversed and instead of the problem being untenable borders, it’s an untenable occupation. And possibly under Israeli law an illegal one.

  • Hey Middle – thanks for posting the full declaration. I think it is a good idea to reread your original post, especially in light of Olmert’s recent statements and overtures.

  • If justifiable self-defense was the rationale for the post-’67 settlements, how has this rationale changed? Dismantling the settlements and withdrawing to the pre-June ’67 lines will put Israel back in precisely the same predicament it was before the Six Day War. This guarantees another war.

    If Israel was justified in building settlements for purposes of self-defense then, that is still true today, and it only stands to reason that those settlements will have to remain in Israel’s hands in any agreement. The Arabs have already indicated that they will not be satisfied with anything less than full withdrawal to the pre-June ’67 lines, including eastern Jerusalem, a complete dismantling of ALL of the settlements and a removal of ALL the settlers, and the “right of return” to pre-’67 Israel by the “Palestinians”. They have never wavered on this, and Israel has never wavered on its refusal. Faced with this, people can only suggest that Israel compromise and hope, in the face of all the evidence to the contrary, that one day the Arabs will wake up and say “OK”. This is delusional.

    I don’t see that the original purpose of the “occupation” has run its course at all. Considering the Arab position, I don’t see how or why you think any kind of withdrawal by Israel will bring peace. It just means Israel will have to fight the next war from an extremely disadvantageous position, which probably means they will have to stage another pre-emptive strike.

    And don’t tell me that by withdrawing Israel will get world opinion on its side. Just ask the people in Darfur what that’s worth.

  • Ephraim, some good points but a little spin doctor-ish. The rationale changes when there is a chance for peace. You don’t give up settlements unless you get something in return. If the Palestinians are as intransigent as you say (and they have proven that), unwilling to take the step Sadat did, for example then Israel has no choice. There’s always the option of redrawing the borders then putting up a big wall – but no one really wants that.

    No one’s arguing for a Palestinian right of return, although a limited one had been discussed under the rationale of “hardship cases.” And no one’s thinking that they’ll ever get the same deal Barak offered. But Israel has to show the world that it’s purpose is to secure secure and legitimate borders and a rightfull access to Jerusalem instead of pursuing obvious religious and economic imperialism. If you think that annexation and Gush Emuniming satisfies the former we’ll continue to disagree.

  • Hmm, so pulling back to the ’67 borders places Israel in mortal danger and guarantees another war. Just like the pullback from the Sinai, right?

    It’s absurd to play the game of pretending that the Squatter’s imperial aspirations have a damn thing to do with advancing Israel’s strategic military interests. They don’t. As everyone knows, the goal is a West Bank empire that is part of a Greater Israel, and that has nothing whatever to do with the Palestinians’ intentions.

    So, there are no Palestinians, only Arabs, and Israel can make no territorial concessions because the Arabs have never stopped insisting upon their right of return. Had Egypt repudiated this claim when Israel agreed to the aforementioned return of the Sinai? Had the Arabs repudiated this claim when Israel agreed to an end of its occupation of Lebanon? Had the Arabs repudiated this claim when Israel agreed to peace terms with Jordan? Of course not. What’s the difference? Simple; Egypt and Jordan and Lebanon aren’t a part of Greater Israel. Palestine is.

    No, pulling back to the ’67 borders won’t convert world opinion to Israel’s cause. What it will do is prevent Israel from becoming a international pariah, with the same status as North Korea. That is exactly what will happen if Lieberman’s racist policies are ever enacted into law. Of course, the Squatters and their apologists on the far Right are have no concern whatever with that prospect. They couldn’t care less about preserving the democratic character of Israel, and feed off the kind of paranoia that results from diplomatic isolation.

  • Wait a minute. Pulling back to ’67 borders does place Israel in mortal danger.

    The only exception to this rule is a comprehensive peace plan that can somehow be verified and maintained, particularly on the Palestinian side since we saw what happened after the Gaza disengagement and we saw what happened with the Islamic movement called Hizbullah in Lebanon after Israel left that area.

    Additionally, Israel does have strategic interests, some of them military and some of them related to Jewish identity and history in Jerusalem. Many of the “settlements” that will be kept by Israel assist in maintaining some sort of hegemony there. In other part of the West Bank, they add some depth in areas where Israel is very narrow. That doesn’t mean that you go out halfway into the West Bank, but certainly some distance. In Taba, that was quantified at about 2.5% of the West Bank by Barak.

    Additionally, despite the ongoing attempts to redefine UNSCR 242, Israel is supposed to be allowed to keep territory in the territories to settle that parcel of land.

    As for Lieberman, I keep telling people that he is not the originator of his idea to take a section of Israel and its inhabitants and marry it to the Palestinian Authority or eventual state. That idea came first from Robert Malley and Hussein Agha and was proposed as a solution to the vexing problem of the so-called right to return as well as Palestinian aspirations to gain Israeli land because they lost land in ’48.

    Additionally, one has to consider carefully why there are movements to divest from Israel or to isolate Israel and put them into perspective. If Israel evacuates Gaza entirely and then suffers 1000 rocket attacks, surely it has a right to defend itself. If West Bank Arabs send suicide bombers into Israel, surely it has a right to defend itself. The wish these groups have that Israel leave the territories is nice to imagine but doesn’t square with the reality the Palestinians have established. Gaza was a test and the Palestinians have failed terribly.

  • David Smith, it’s absurd to assume all settlement proposals, which are not limited to post-’67, are imperialistic. If only it were that historically and strategically simple. If you don’t accept a Jewish state of Israel, then I can understand where you’re coming from. If you do accept it, accept that there are no easy answers.

  • The only squatters in Israel are the Arabs. Just shut up already David or is your name really Ahmed? You are an idiot and are only repeating Plo, Hamas propaganda.
    I’m not surprised that the middle reads Haaretz a newspaper that Nazis and Arab terrorists love.

  • I’ve been following this intense and upsetting thread from the start. The only thing that keeps me coming back is the intermittent comedy relief from Goldie.

    Except she’s not kidding. Which just makes her something of a racist dumbass…

    Which is the funniest part of all to a cynical Jew like me!

    My friends, based on what I’ve read here about “the Arabs” (and thank you all for explaining that 300 million people in this world can be generalized so easily), I will start avoiding many of my friends here in New York. I had no idea they wanted to kill me. It seems so clear now.

  • The Sinai is not Yehuda and Shomron. It was evacuated on the stipulation that it remain demilitarized. It is also very far away from Israel’s population centers. And, yes, it is not part of Eretz Israel.

    For people who are familiar with my views, they will know that I have said on numerous occasions that if I really thought the “Palestinians” were interested in a real peace settlement I would support an Israeli withdrawal and the establishment of a “Palestinian” state.

    However, it was obvious from the beginning of Oslo that Arafat was lying through his teeth and that the whole thing was a trick to get Israel to let down its guard. Everything that has happened since has proven this to be true. If one assumes that the “Palestinians” want peace, nothing they have done makes any sense whatsoever and the only conclusion to be drawn is that they are incredibly stupid.

    I don’t believe that. I think they are quite smart and that they are adhering to a well thought out plan, as horrifying as it may be to our Western sensibilities and as quixotic as it may seem. “Palestinian” actions only make sense if one assumes that they are operating on the basis of their “Strategy of Stages” for the eventual destruction of Israel. The “Palestinians” have proven to be tactically flexible yet strategically consistent. In addition, their hasbara has been brilliant. In comparison, the Israelis look like incompetent fools.

    The reason is quite simple: Israel really wants peace and the “Palestinians” don’t. People are always looking around wondering why this or that set of negotiations failed, searching for answers and assuming Israel must have done something wrong.

    People need to wake up. The “peace process” has failed because the “Palestinians” don’t want peace. It really is just that simple. They want to destroy Israel and so they must leave their options open. They cannot sign a peace treaty that leaves Israel intact, since once they do the world might, you know, actually hold them to it. So they make up all sorts of excuses. And since Israel and the world have battle fatigue, and since above all Jews want the goyim to see us as “reasonable”, we fall all over ourselves taking responsibility when things go wrong. This works because people cannot face the conclusions they must draw if they accept the truth about the “Palestinians”. So in desperation they decieve themselves into thinking that the “Palestinians” want peace (since that is what they would want) and that if Israel just made this or that concession things would be OK.

    It’s time to stop this grovelling. The fact that Israel won Yehuda and Shomron in a defensive war does not change simply because 40 years have passed. What was true 40 years ago is still true today. Israel and the Jews need to stop apologizing every time they defeat enemies who are sworn to their destruction.

  • Balaam’s Donkey – Although I’m sure you’re being ironic and meant this as a comment on some of the more extreme commenters, it’s funny how you attacked a generalization with another one. And be confident your Arab friends don’t really want to really kill you. The just want you to pick up the check every once in a while. 🙂

    Speaking of generalizations, Ephraim’s comment that “Israel really wants peace and the “Palestinians” don’t” could be one. I’ll agree that may be accurate describing both sides “leadership”, but it’s not totally accurate describing general public opinion. But for the sake of presenting both sides, here’s a couple things to chew on. First the optimists…

    And here’s the pessimests.

    Of course, wanting a peace accord and wanting to dictate a peace accord are two different things.

  • Ramon, dude, that’s pretty weak.

    Khalid Shikaki? You must be kidding me. He’s the bozo that fooled almost everybody into thinking that Hamas had no chance in the PA elections. He’s either an incredible idiot or a Hamas plant. Besides, that data is more than 5 years old. And questions like “do you believe in peace?” are meaningless. That’s like asking “do you love your mother?” And citing “Palestinian” support for the Saudi “peace plan” as proof the “Palestinains” want peace is just a joke. That’s like saying Israel would welcome a peace treaty that requires all of the Arabs West of the Jordan to pack up and leave. Get serious, would you? A complete return to the pre-June ’67 borders is not going to happen, nor is it moral to insist that Israel do this. That so many people think it is is proof of their malign intentions towards Israel.

    Not only did a pluarlity of “Palestinians” vote for Hamas, but to the best of my knowledge, the majority still insists on the “right of return”. Peace with Israel and the “right of return” are incompatible. It’s like saying “I believe in marriage but while my wife must remain faithful to me, I get to sleep with whomever I want”. If one says he wants peace with Israel but insists on the “right of return” he is just a liar.

    On the Israeli side, being pessimistic about the actual, realistic prospects for peace and not desiring peace are not mutually exclusive. I may want desperately to sleep with Salma Hayek, but I’m also pretty sure its never going to happen.

    When you show me hard numbers that show a majority of the “Palestinians” are ready to lay down their weapons, forfeit the bogus “right of return” and negotiate with Israel without threatening to start shooting the second they don’t get everything they want, I might be willing to believe they want peace, but not before.

  • Hey Ephraim, I wasn’t taking Shikaki’s piece as Talmud. I also thought it was kind of weak that he didn’t back it up w/numbers. The ZOA piece was the same – rhetoric and opinion but no polling numbers. Nor was I taking either’s side. When I meant optimist and pessimist I meant as far as how Israel should view the Palestinian people’s wants and hopes as more amenable to Israel their leadership’s. The reason I linked both those was because they contained incompatible discussion-raising opinions. Which you managed to start addressing after you got your self-superior insults out of the way.

    And if you read my last line, you might find we don’t always disagree. Or I could spell it out for you (re: Arafat, Sharm Al Sheik, your last paragraph).

    If you want hard numbers for you you’ll have to pay me for them. 🙂

  • I don’t care if Shikaki is “resepcted”, Middle. I mean, respected by whom? Idiots like Condasleeza Rice who, when asked if she “thinks or knows” the “Palestinians” want peace can only say “I think I know”? And I don’t care if he has a position at Brandeis either. Just more Jewish self-abasement.

    He got the PA elections completely wrong. And people not only in the US government but in the Israeli government as well were taken in by him and people like him who predicted a Fatah victory and were relying on his predictions to develop policy. I mean, if I can predict a Hamas victory, why couldn’t he? So, even if he’s a nice guy, he clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing.

    I can find the numbers myself, Ramon, I don’t need to pay for them. But if Shikaki’s stuff is so weak, why put it up?

  • Ephraim, read my comments. They clearly explain why I put both Shikaki and the ZOA piece up. Okay, one more time. The Shikaki piece was weak in that it didn’t provide numbers. But it clearly expressed a widely held position. Whether you think those who hold it are idiots or delusional or whatever.

    Now go get those numbers, son.

  • Son? I’m not your son.

    I’ll get the numbers in my own sweet time. You’re the one who put up Shikaki’s “polls” which have no hard data about anything, so I think it’s reasonable to ask you for the numbers to back up his assertions. But, as you say, there aren’t any.

    The “widely held position” you talk about is meaningless. I’m sure that a majority of “Palestinians” want the bullets to stop flying. So what? That’s like saying the polls showed that most people think ice cream tastes good and like to eat it. The question is what they are willing to do to get the bullets to stop flying. On those issues Shikaki’s “data” are silent. The kind of questions and answers Shikaki deals with can mean anything to anyone. As a result, they are worthless.

    The delusional idiots to whom I am referring are not the “Palestinians” in Shikaki’s polls, they are the people like Condosleeza Lice who, as Middle says, respect Shikaki in spite of the fact that he was exactly wrong about his supposed field of expertise, “Palestinian” public opinion.

  • Along with many media agencies, diplomats and politicians, I know at least one very respected poli sci academic in Israel who will swear by Shikaki’s professionalism. If you knew this man’s name, it would force you to at least listen to Shikaki. Sometimes pollsters in the US call elections wrong as well. Sometimes they get exit polls wrong. Sometimes Israeli pollsters get numbers wrong, as they did in the last election when Kadima lost a bunch of seats at the end. But he is respected.

    By the way, you know those published numbers about support of suicide bombings that we have quoted on this site and in many discussions (as high as 73% of all Palestinians support suicide bombings, circa 2002)? Those are Shikaki numbers.

  • From the Jerusalem Post:

    A few months after my family and I moved to Shiloh in 1981, I witnessed a microcosm of the land problem between Jews and Arabs. A section of land was to be put aside for security purposes and, as the legal procedure dictated, the mukhtars of nearby villages were informed and asked to make sure that any resident claiming private ownership rights should show up on a certain day to stake his claim.

    Sure enough, at the appointed hour, seven Arabs walked onto the area and then were asked to stand on what each claimed as his private plot. Within minutes a difficult situation developed when two villagers stood on the same fertile section, insisting that each owned it. A minute later and they were throwing stones at each other.

    We, the residents of Shiloh, the IDF officers and legal officials all stood around amazed. In the end, with no documents, no tax receipts, no maps nor any other reliable proof of ownership, the land was confirmed as “state land” and assigned to its new use.

    The new Peace Now report, “Breaking the Law in the West Bank,” besides making the front page of The New York Times, has generated local headlines as well. Claiming access to leaked “precise” information regarding the legal status of the land upon which Jewish revenant communities have been established, the group asserts that a “direct violation of Israeli law” has been done by “the state itself.”

    It’s not too difficult to point to several shortcomings and misleading information.

    In the first instance, Hebron doesn’t appear as a “settlement.” Not at all. One could presume that the purchase of the Machpela Cave by Abraham some 3,000 years before a so-called Palestinian people came into being would indicate that perhaps Jews do have a place in the territory disputed between Jews and Arabs.

    For what the Peace Now report does is, in sleight-of-word fashion, ignore the issue of state lands. The three sole classifications of “land area” in the report are private land, survey land and land owned by Jews.

    UNTIL 1979, the State of Israel regularly appropriated private land. Karmiel was built this way and even the Ein Kerem neighborhood of Jerusalem benefited from such classifications.

    Since, then, however, no Arab private land has been used for the Jewish communities. State (mirie) land is a different matter and, therefore, ignored in the report’s charts. To include it would injure the Peace Now case. The report, it appears, also resurrects the concept of ardh as-sahil – the lands of the fields – which were somehow termed as collectively owned.

    As the League of Nations Mandate makes clear, in Article 6, “the Administration of Palestine… shall encourage, in cooperation with the Jewish Agency… close settlement by Jews on the land, including state lands and waste lands not acquired for public purposes.”

    State lands make up the vast majority of the area in Judea and Samaria. Land disputes began with the Turkish Ottoman administration and continued throughout the British Mandate period. At the base of the Peace Now approach is the rehashing of many Arab propaganda claims, now being given legitimization by sympathetic Jews.

    THERE ARE other concerns, such as questionable data. For example, at Karnei Shomron, only 1.47% of the land is noted as Jewish-owned. In fact, almost all the area of the community is Jewish-owned and the same for the Etz Efraim community.

    Peace Now doesn’t recognize, it would seem, Jewish land purchases. It would be interesting to learn whether the concern of Peace Now for private land extends to Jews who own property in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, either from pre-state days or afterward, and cannot realize the land’s potential due to Israeli government policy or Arab terrorism, such as at Havat Gilad.

    There is also the matter of Arabs who have sold land but then claim otherwise in fear of extra-legal punishment – in other words, they don’t want to be murdered for selling land to Jews.

    In addition, the pictures of the land supposedly owned by “West Bank” Jewish communities on the Peace Now Web site are misleading. There is a vast difference between the area displayed and the actual area zoned at various government ministries and civilian administration offices. The boundaries are arbitrary, usually delineated by patrol roads which do not reflect on the actual property definitions.

    THERE IS, it need be admitted, a very fundamental chasm between Peace Now and the reality on the ground.

    But we should not lose sight of the major issue and that is that this conflict is not about private property but one between two nations claiming the same land.

    Even if 51% of the land in question was owned by Jews as private property, Peace Now would oppose a Jewish presence in the area. Shiloh, Hebron and Beit El are place names that simply do not resonate with these concessionists. Their goal is simple: to get the Jews out of the territory they want for a future Palestinian state. To this end, even a juggling of terms and data is permissible.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    The writer, a volunteer spokesman for the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, comments on political, cultural and media affairs at