Obama should veto the SC resolution because the settlements are not illegal.

By Ted Belman

In anticipation of the Security Council vote coming up The Guardian published an article ay Ian Williams claiming Obama must call Israeli settlements illegal. The only problem is, they are not illegal. [See:The Truth about “the occupation” and “the settlements”]

Except for the Carter administration, all US administrations refused to call them illegal. A letter is circulating now in the US collecting signatures of prominent persons, asks Pres Obama to support UNSC resolution condemning settlements, and includes this paragraph,

    “The settlements are clearly illegal according to article 49 of the Fourth Geneva convention – a status recognized in an opinion issued by the State Department’s legal advisor on April 28, 1978, a position which has never since been revised.”

Dweller one of our esteemed commenters advises, and he is right,

    The 20th century’s foremost authority on Jus Gentium, the Law of Nations, Julius Stone, DEMOLISHED the Carter State Department’s ‘illegality’ opinion — calling it “a subversion…of basic international law principles” [Julius Stone, Israel and Palestine: Assault on the Law of Nations (Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, Washington, DC), p. 5], and denouncing any attempt to render the territories or any other part of the historic Land of Israel judenrein [“clean of Jews”] as tantamount to “turning international law on its head.” [Ibid., p. 181]

    What’s more, Carter’s legal advisor had written that 1978 opinion by citing (inappropriately) a 20-years-earlier-published book of Professor Stone’s – which is (partly) WHY Stone offerred his analysis! — and why he published his then-new [above-cited] 1981 book, to set the record straight.

    Furthermore, Stone’s findings were in the event sufficiently powerful to move then-President Ronald Reagan to soundly, unequivocally REVERSE the assertions of settlement “illegality” previously advanced by his predecessor’s transparently self-seeking State Dept.

    The Reagan administration thenceforth did occasionally characterize the “settlements” as “impediments to peace,” or some such Mickey Mouse language — but never EVER assigned any notion of ‘illegality’ to them.

    So the Letter’s assertion of “never since been revised” is absolutely false.

Even Obama at the height of his fight with Netanyahu over settlement construction, did not declare them “illegal”. He merely called them “illegitimate”.

Furthermore, the paragraph quoted that they were illegal pursuant to Art 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. But this convention does not apply, although the international community refuses to admit this, because it only applies if a Party to the treaty occupies land of another Party to the treaty. These lands were never the land of such a Party. Just as Carter’s lawyers misinterpreted the law to get a required result so did the ICJ in their opinion on the fence.

This lie has been repeated so many times by so many people that most of the world believes it to be so.

Williams writes,

    Every other member of the UN security council agrees that settlements are illegal, including Britain and France. The international court of justice has affirmed their illegality. The US once called them illegal, then termed them unhelpful, and currently regards them as “unhelpful” and “illegitimate”. [..]

    Washington’s line is to ignore UN decisions and international law and say that it is up to the parties to negotiate such “permanent-status issues”.

On the contrary, it is the international community which ignores international law or misinterprets it for self serving purposes

It also ignores that Res 242 and the Oslo Accords and the Roadmap require a negotiated settlement. That means that the attempt by the PA to get such a resolution passed is another breach of its obligations.

The US, properly is demanding negotiations.

    “We believe that continued settlement expansion is corrosive – not only to peace efforts and the two-state solution – but to Israel’s future itself. The fate of existing settlements is an issue that must be dealt with by the parties, along with the other permanent-status issues – but, like every US administration for decades, we do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity.”

    “Permanent-status issues can be resolved only through negotiations between the parties – and not by recourse to the security council. We therefore consistently oppose attempts to take these issues to this council and will continue to do so.”

Williams is wrong to say that the “resolution …, on the face of it, reflects US official policy.”

The truth of the matter is that the US administration has long attempted to limit such negotiations by pre-judging the outcome of negotiations. Complaining about settlements is a case in point. Nevertheless, it keeps repeating that permanent status issues must be resolved by negotiations.

The Guardian and the international community sanctimoniously proclaim that international law is on their side and the side of the palestinians whereas in reality, it is on the side of Israel

The San Remo Resolution and the Palestine Mandate both support the right of the Jews (Israel) to Judea and Samaria and such right exists to this day.

January 21, 2011 | 11 Comments »

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11 Comments / 11 Comments

  1. Israeli officials need to go to North Cyprus, to see how an “occupied territory” needs to be administered. The instructor should be a (majority) Greek Cypriot.

  2. Yes, we have truth and facts and logic and history on our side. If that was what it took to “win” the media/PR war, we’d have won long ago. We are LOSING.

    I guess truth doesn’t have anything on nihilistic anti-Western liberal delusions, the greed of those who sell out for petrodollars, and cowardice in the face of radical Islam.

    We need to continue to press our case as above, but above all else, we need to say ONE THING, we need to say it LOUDLY, and IN UNISON (the “we” I refer to here is anyone who supports Israel, Jew or Gentile, with access to anyplace they can make themselves heard, from a letter to the editor of the local paper, to a face-to-face with national-level policymakers).

    The enemy has done a very good job of drilling into the heads of the public three very simple, if wrongheaded,ideas, by dint of repetition.

    – Israel is an “occupying power”.

    – Israel can only get peace in exchange for land, as in “land for peace” (this is kind of open-ended…).

    – Israeli “settlement activity” in the “occupied territories” is the main obstacle to peace.

    In short, the bad guys keep repeating over and over again that “2+2=5”.

    Say that loud enough and long enough, unchallenged, and more and more people will believe it.

    Despite our comparative lack of $$$, bodies, and the ability to intimidate, we have one key advantage. We don’t have to convince people of nonsense (i.e., 2+2=5). We only have to remind people of something they already instinctively know, that 2+2=4.

    Our problems thus far in the media/PR war, even to the extent that we’ve had an organized response, is that:

    a) We spend too much time on the defensive, trying to disprove the notion that 2+2=5. We do this by delving into history, international precedents, and so on. This amounts to a counter-argument that is not as simple as merely saying that 2+2=4, but instead is kind of like the metaphorical equivalent of detailed mathematical proof. We lose the attention of a lot of people this way.

    and b) We really don’t have a simple, easily articulated and grasped message to counter the enemy’s “2+2=5” mantras listed above.

    The closest thing to this we’ve had is to say, in Israel’s defense, that she is “the only democracy in the Middle East”. In a broad, real-world sense that is true, but now it is not as “technically” true as it once was. Iraq may be corrupt and flawed, but they are a democracy (sort of). Other Arab and Moslem countries also have elections, so they have the trappings of democracy. Finally, many in the West take their own democracy for granted, the leftists who assault Israel are largely nihilists who have contempt for Western values – including democracy – anyway. Many such leftists now are part of the “establishment” in the media, academia, and even segments of political power (like the White House today), so this reply does not resonate as it once did.

    We need a new way of reminding people that “2+2=4” that is short, succinct, is readily grasped by the public, and will resonate accordingly.

    That way is to remind people, any time we have the chance, that the PA and the PLO before them refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

    To the participants in this forum, that is obvious, of course. That is sandbox level Israel advocacy. But as obvious as this is, it is amazing how little coverage this gets in the media. It gets mentioned once in a great while – a very great while – but is almost invisible in public commentary. That is how things stand today.

    But the implications of this basic fact, in terms of lending support to Israel in the public sphere, are enormous. It is a VERY powerful tool.

    It is so easy to rebut the standard Palestinian arguments against this. It is also easy to illustrate just how absurd this position of theirs is. It is also simplicity itself to demonstrate how fundamental recognition is to any kind of genuine peace. And the best part is, I submit there is no chance on G-d’s green earth that the PA would EVER call this bluff, so to speak.

    Netanyahu, and even Olmert before him, tried to stress this issue. Oslo never would have been signed if Arafat hadn’t promised to amend the PNC so as to formally recognize Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state (he reneged, of course). Rabin insisted on this.

    But an Israeli national leader, by himself – or herself – cannot bring this issue to the forefront of debate. That one source can easily be drowned out/ignored by a corrupt media and their puppetmasters. On numerous occasions in the past two years, I’ve been privy to actual speeches delivered by Bibi, where he stressed this issue, even as the media would not report on this at all.

    What this means is that we ALL have to pitch in. They can ignore one guy….THEY CAN’T IGNORE ALL OF US.

    It has to be a grassroots effort.

    What this means in practice, is that anyone anywhere who speaks on behalf of Israel in her defense, from talking to a neighbor or coworker, to writing a letter, to posting on the Internet, to talking to a member of Congress, and so on, cannot let the subject of Israel vs. the Palestinians be discussed without raising this issue.

    Who knows who came up with the Palestinian “mantras” I listed above? Whose ideas were those? Who cares? Their genius was in repeating them everywhere, ad nauseum, until they took on an aura of “assumed fact”.

    This is hard for us Jews. We all need to sound “original” and “brilliant”. We hate to be repetitive, we are afraid of being “boring”. WE NEED TO LOSE THESE FEARS. (I can already hear you now, Yamit, ‘Vinnie, you’ve clearly never had a problem with this’…ha ha ha).

    Yes, continue backing up what we say with facts, logic, history, and so on, for whomever may be willing to listen. BUT WE MUST ALWAYS LEAD WITH THE RECOGNITION ISSUE. NO ONE WHO TILTS AN EAR TO US SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO LEAVE OUR PRESENCE WITHOUT HAVING THAT ONE POINT DRIVEN HOME, ABOVE ALL ELSE.

    This post is already too long. Now, go write your congressman!

  3. Yeah Solomon and Dweller. Get the truth out. How about Jordan being the homeland of the Arabs of former (Jewish) Palestine. That and Syria.

  4. I expect no respect for law of any kind from the Obama Administration and/or his [in]Justice Department. In the eyes of this american president law is fungabile.
    Israel should care for the UN as much as much as the UN cares for Israel.

  5. To Rostow, the Jewish right to settle in all of former Palestine is “unchallengeable as a matter of law.”

    Yes. More from Rostow:

    “The controversy about Jewish settlements in the West Bank is not therefore about legal rights but about the political will to override legal rights…

    “The Jewish right of settlement in the area is equivalent in every way [at minimum—-dweller] to the right of the existing Palestinian [i.e., Palestinian Arab] population to live there… [and] is conferred by the same provisions of the Mandate under which Jews settled in Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem before the State of Israel was created.”

    [Eugene V. Rostow, “Bricks and Stones: Settling for leverage; Palestinian autonomy,” The New Republic, 23 Apr 90]

    And more yet:

    “[The] Jewish right of settlement in Palestine [everywhere to the] west of the Jordan river—-that is, in Israel, the West Bank, [any and all parts of] Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip-—was made unassailable. That right has never been terminated and cannot be terminated except by a recognized peace between Israel and its neighbors.

    “AND PERHAPS NOT EVEN THEN, in view of Article 80 of the UN Charter, ‘the Palestine article,’ which provides that ‘nothing in the Charter shall be construed… to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any [identified] peoples or the terms of existing international instruments [e.g. (among others), the Mandate, and the earlier, San Remo Resolution that ordered the Mandate—-dweller] to which members of the United Nations may respectively be parties’.”

    [Eugene V. Rostow, “Resolved: are the settlements legal? Israeli West Bank policies,” The New Republic, 21 Oct 91]

    For the 20 years preceding the construction of the first Jewish “settlement” in the liberated territories, there was no peace and Arab violence made the daily headlines.

    Quite so. What’s more, the Gaza evacuation of 2005 and the Lebanon withdrawal of five years earlier — each of them, quite predictably, followed by Arab violence — both bear eloquent witness to the truth of the observation that it is not the presence of Jews that brings war; quite the contrary, it’s the WITHDRAWAL of them that does that.

  6. The next effort of these lunatics, will be to declare gravity invalid and try to float into outer space.

    You would first have to explain and demonstrate for them what is gravity and space.

  7. In anticipation of the Security Council vote coming up The Guardian published an article by Ian Williams claiming Obama must call the earth “Mars”. The only problem is, it is not.

    The next effort of these lunatics, will be to declare gravity invalid and try to float into outer space.

  8. What is illegal is not the “settlements”; it is the UN Resolutions which repeat this falsehood that are actually illegal. Factual evidence on this issue should be restored quickly:

    a) The applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention (FGC) is highly questionable since those “Jewish settlements” are not located in “occupied territory.” The inapplicability of the FGC was noted by Eugene V. Rostow, the eminent international law scholar and former U.S. Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs: “How that Convention could apply to Jews who already had a legal right, protected by Article 80 of the United Nations Charter, to live in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, was never explained.” (emphasis added). To Rostow, the Jewish right to settle in all of former Palestine is “unchallengeable as a matter of law.”

    b) The very notion of “occupation”, peddled by the forged Palestinian Arab narrative, forms the shaky foundation upon which all the alleged Israeli illegalities are based. And the reason for keeping the notion of “occupation” alive is quite obvious: the legitimacy of the whole State of Israel becomes then questionable, since there is no distinction whatsoever between territories re-possessed by Israel in the wars of 1967 and 1948. The legitimacy of Israel over the whole land derives exclusively from international law.

    c) Israel never “forcibly transferred” (as Article 49 of the FGC prohibits) any Jews to the territories liberated from foreign occupation in the self-defense war of 1967.

    d) The FGC binds the Contracting Parties, in this case, Jordan, and not the non-state Palestinian entity. But Jordan or any other state never had a legal claim to the “West Bank” and actually relinquished its putative sovereignty in 1988.

    e) It is interesting to contrast the demand of the Palestinian Arabs to dismantle every Jewish settlement, which amounts to ethnic cleansing, in relation to the present Arab population of Israel who represent about 20% and benefit from equal rights.

    f) The almost universal chorus claiming that settlements are “an obstacle to peace” is as preposterous as it is mindlessly parroted. For the 20 years preceding the construction of the first Jewish “settlement” in the liberated territories, there was no peace and Arab violence made the daily headlines.

  9. The left worldwide palybook is the same over, and over again:

    Libel those whom you disagree; if that doesn’t work, accuse them of murder, illegaly occupying a country, violence etc…
    It has gotten old, as their power dwindles they become more destructive, dangerous, desparate, slipping into almost a mental breakdown.

    It would be sad, if they wouldn’t be so predictable, although I never knew that the ‘Alinski doctrine’ has been practised worldwide, knowing that the rules were dedicated to the universal hater, liar, slanderer of all – Satan or Lucipher.

  10. Under the terms of The Oslo Accords, the palestinians have agreed to the Israeli presence in Area B and Area C until a final status agreement is reached. To call it “illegal”, or even “occupation” is ridiculous.