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John Tinmouth

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Israel, The Illegitimate State: A Solution
« on: November 29, 2014, 04:19:54 PM »
    SOUTH TYNESIDE STOP THE WAR COALITION



    Springtime for Bibi
       
    (It is a conference of executives reviewing progress on the forthcoming film, tentatively titled “The New Producers”, now in production. The producer, Max, is talking)   

    Producer   “ … on that note, perhaps our production manager can fill us in. Moshe?”
       
    Production Manager   “Well, guess what, boys, we got all the production sets for the original film, The Producers, for a song! They were just rotting away on one of Embassy Pictures Corporation’s back lots. We got’em all for ten cents on the dollar, sweet deal, should do wonders for our production costs! And, speaking of songs, it turns out that the rights for the Springtime For Hitler song in the original film were easy to get too! So we’ve adapted it for our Springtime For Bibi number with no problems.”         
       
    Producer   “What about casting, Abe?”
       
    Casting Director   “There’s a problem on the Bibi role – I can’t understand it, the money’s good, but it seems that, for some reason, nobody wants to play him!”
       
    Producer   (Smacks his head – a stroke of genius has just occurred) “What about George W. Bush! - he’s ideal, psychologically, he’ll identify with the part, bought into the whole thing, didn’t he? And they tell me he hasn’t had a whole lot of employment opportunities lately.”
       
    Casting Director   “Great, Max, baby, what would we do without you!” (Smiles ingratiatingly) “I think that also solves another little difficulty. There’s a small-time part for one of Bibi’s cohorts, a two-bit politico with veracity problems, now fallen on tough times and finding it hard to cope with reality. I got thinking about … ”
       
    Producer   (Excitedly, beating him to the punch) “Tony Blair, you mean? Yes, yes, yes! And he’s used to small-time bit parts, especially in American productions!!” (Then, crestfallen.) “No, no, he’d never do it, I mean the guy is worth a fortune now, with all his connections.”
       
    Casting Director   “Listen, that guy will do anything for money!” (Hollers through to his secretary.) “IRMA! Get a Mister Tony Blair on the blower, will you? What, dear, no, he doesn’t live in New York city, everybody doesn’t live in New York city, Irma – though he is some kind of honorary American if you come to think of it. He’s English, darling, phone England.”

    “What do you mean, honey, where’s England? It’s a small place somewhere on the other side of the pond, dear. I don’t know precisely, what the f**k is this, am I the office boy?” (Roars down the phone.) “RING THE RESEARCH DEPARTMENT, DEAR, they ought to know, do I have to do everything around this f***ing place?
       
    Producer   Leave it, Abe, you can sort it later. I want to get down to the production lot, they’re just about to film what’s-his-name singing the Springtime For Bibi number.Come on, folks, this oughta be good!”
       
       (They leave the conference and walk down to the production lot. It is set up as a sizeable theatre stage, where a large cast of dancers in Israeli army uniforms mill around, waiting. The singer (what’s his name?) is about to break into song. The singers form up, male IDF soldiers, menacingly looking out from a raised platform at back, female IDF soldiers centre-stage.)    

    Whats-his-name   (Clears throat, orchestra starts up, he sings)

    Germany Israel was having trouble
    What a sad, sad story
    Needed a new leader
    To restore its former glory
    Where, oh where was he?
    Where could that man be?
    We looked around
    And then we found
    The man for you and me
    And now it's

    Springtime for Hitler Bibi and Germany Is-ra-el
    Deutschland Eretz Israel is happy and gay
    We're marching to a faster pace
    Look out
    Here comes the master race

    Springtime for Hitler Bibi and Germany Is-ra-el
    Winter for Poland Gaza and France West Bank
    Springtime for Hitler Bibi and Germany Is-ra-el
    Come on, Germans soldiers
    Go into your dance”
       
       (Three rows of attractive IDF female soldiers in short skirts zigzag across the stage, alternately high-kicking in one direction, then goose-stepping in the other. At the extremity of each leg they raise their Uzi machine guns, and spray “Gazans”  in the wings. The Gazans fall down.)
       
    Whats-his-name   (Continuing his song.)

    “I was born settled down in Dusseldorf Ariel
    And that is why they call me Rolf Gave those West Bankers bloody hell
    Don't be stupid, be a smarty
    Come and join the Nazi Likud party

    Springtime for Hitler Bibi and Germany Is-ra-el
    Goosestep's the new step today
    Bombs falling from the skies again
    Deutschland Eretz Israel is on the rise again

    Springtime for Hitler Bibi and Germany Is-ra-el
    Uboats F16s are sailing flying once more

    Springtime for Hitler Bibi and Germany Is-ra-el
    Means that soon we'll be going
    We've got to be going
    You know we'll be going to war”
       
       (The stage erupts in smoke and flame. Plastic F16s and Blackhawk helicopters “fly” overhead with a deafening roar. All is noise and chaos.)
       
    Director   “Cut. It’s a wrap, folks. Congratulations!”
       
       …
       
    Marketing Director   (Back at the studio offices, the newly-employed marketing director, Hymie, is on the telephone)
    (Highly agitated)

    “Whaddya mean, how do I think it’ll go down in Tel Aviv? Are you crazy? Like The Triumph Of The Will, you schmuck. Like a lead balloon, you f***ing dickhead! Oh, why did I get into the movies, I should have listened to my Jewish momma.”

    (Wails, bursts into tears, stares gloomily out of the window. Then, slowly, his gloom evaporates, as he begins to think it through.)

    “Wait a minute! Now, just wait a goddamn minute! What about how it’ll go down in Amman? Or Ramallah? Or Cairo, or Riyadh, or Damascus, or Beirut, or … … … “

    (He pauses in rapt concentration …)

    “Son, we just might have a hit on our hands. This one, I feel, could be, well, BIG!!!”
       
    Producer   (In a low voice, confidentially.) “Abe, old son, you don’t think it’s a little, well, OTT, do you? I mean, didn’t that Jewish professor guy, er, Michael Neumann, talk about the Israelis using American, rather than Hitlerian, levels of violence?”
       
    Marketing Director   “Over the top? Look, it’s a spoof, dearie, it’s a piss-take, they’re always a little over the top. Anyway, we can stick in a disclaimer at the end, you know the stuff – none of the events depicted, and so forth. We could get Mark Regev to do it – he tells beautiful lies with such great assurance, don’t you think? IRMA, get me a Mister … ”


    --------------------------------------




    Samih X was a Palestinian. Like me, he was an exile in this Middle East state, but there the similarity ended - whilst my own exile was self-imposed and voluntary, that of an expatriate, his separation was forced upon him by the Israeli occupiers of his homeland; his was that of a refugee. He spent this particular annual leave visiting the West Bank, with his brother. On the first day of his return, I noticed that he looked distraught, and asked if anything was wrong. He said that his brother had been shot dead by the Israeli army. I was shocked - though I did not know his brother, I knew Samih as a quiet, rather shy, man in his mid-twenties, and could not imagine him, them, doing anything more violent than chucking a few rocks at the Israeli Defence Force. Though my intuition, of course, could be wrong. They gave him two weeks compassionate leave.

    It was later that same year, or perhaps the following one, memory of dates is imprecise, that Mohammed Y also went on annual leave, also visited the West Bank. Mohammed was an assured individual approaching thirty. His English was excellent, unsurprisingly, since he had been educated in the UK at an English public school. He had traveled to his home town of Nablus. There, he had stood facing his family house, unable to enter, helpless, powerless to do anything, because his home had been taken over by Jews. I envisaged him there, under that hot Middle Eastern sun, standing, just standing; feeling futile and angry – very, very angry; with an acid anger, black and acrid and powerful. And then just having to walk away, to leave, to abandon. He explained that his family held all the necessary title deeds, but that these meant nothing to the Israelis. I surmised, because of his background, that the property was very probably quite substantial, though I did not ask him. He related all this calmly, almost dispassionately, though the emotion simmering under the surface was apparent..

    Because I knew Mohammed, and had never met Samih’s brother, it was Mohammed’s story which affected me most strongly. I imagined standing in front of my own house in the UK, unable to go in because it had been occupied by citizens of some foreign invader. The helplessness. And the dark welling up of a bitter rage which does not go away, that burns at the soul, that, at unguarded moments, colours and casts its bleak shadow over each passing day.

    Recollections of this writer, from his time in the Middle East.




    --------------------------------------




    ISRAEL, THE ILLEGITIMATE STATE: A SOLUTION


    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    PART I
    CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING ISRAEL’S LEGITIMACY AS A STATE



    Netanyahu: delegitimising the delegitimisers
    The meaning of “legitimate” in relation to a state
    The history of modern Palestine – a history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict


    PART II
    ISRAEL AS A ‘LEGITIMATE’ STATE IN THE LEGAL SENSE

    LEGITIMACY IN THE LEGAL SENSE
    Legitimacy in the legal sense
    A legalistic approach instead of a political approach

    THE BALFOUR DECLARATION AND THE BRITISH MANDATE
    The Balfour Declaration for a Jewish “national home” in Palestine
    The League and Palestine – no immediate independence - self-determination a legal right
    Britain’s mandate over Palestine – inclusion therein of the Balfour Declaration
    Britain announces leaving Palestine - requests UN solution – Assembly appoints Special Committee

    UN RECOMMENDATION OF PARTITION – SUBSEQUENT ABANDONMENT OF PARTITION
    Special Committee - ignores self-determination of Palestinians – majority proposes partition
    UN General Assembly constitutes an Ad Hoc Committee – request for ICJ opinion on Palestine rejected
    Subcommittee approves partition plan – Ad Hoc committee votes to recommend partition to Assembly
    Assembly approves partition plan as Resolution 181 after great US pressure – criticism of the Resolution
    The abandonment of the partition plan
    Resolution 181 for partition is only a recommendation – it is a dead letter conferring no territorial rights

    THE UN POWER OVER PALESTINE
    General Assembly can only make recommendations and has no capacity to convey territorial rights
    Argument that General Assembly has decision-making power over former Mandate territories
    The Namibia case
    Namibia – Difference between the Namibia case and the Palestine case
    Namibia – ICJ opinion that General Assembly has power to supervise former League mandates - rejected
    Argument - Even if Assembly had supervisory power, it cannot determine a mandate’s future status
    Namibia – ICJ did not decide whether Assembly can make a decision contrary to wishes of inhabitants
    Namibia again – Another difference between the Namibia case and Palestine case
    Resolution 181 would violate right of self-determination if binding – Palestinian rights under the Charter
    Argument – the Palestine Arabs forfeited their right of self-determination - rejected
    Argument - Resolution 181 was “re-affirmed” by the Security Council – rejected

    THE DE FACTO REALISATION OF THE ZIONIST DREAM
    Britain gives up authority in Palestine - Assembly relieves commission to supervise partition of its duties
    Israel declares statehood, ignoring the General Assembly’s abandonment of Resolution 181

    THE ZIONIST CLAIM OF ANCIENT TITLE TO PALESTINE
    Israel’s claim of ancient title/biblical title to Palestine - rejected
    THE 1948 WAR – A ZIONIST WAR OF AGGRESSION – ISRAEL AS A COLONIAL STATE
    Zionists did not have the right to take Palestine by force
    The Arab Higher Committee, though not a state, had a strong claim to sovereignty over Palestine
    An attack by the Zionists may lawfully be opposed by the Arab Higher Committee
    The Zionists’ 1947-48 war as the action of agents of a state – an armed attack warranting self-defence
    The Zionists imposition of statehood can be considered a forced colonisation of Palestine

    ISRAEL AS A DE FACTO STATE
    The initial Israeli application for UN membership is rejected
    Israeli resubmission for UN membership approved despite some members concerns
    Recognition of Israel does not imply its legitimacy
    The sovereignty-vacuum theory as a legitimisation of Israel – rejected
    Israel is the lawful successor to the Jewish Agency as the only authority remaining in place – rejected
    Israel is legitimate because it exists in fact – rejected
    The post-war armistice agreements do not affect Israel’s territorial sovereignty
    Israel’s factual existence does not make clear the extent of its territory
    The special situation concerning the status of Jerusalem
    The status of the Gaza Strip and West Bank after the 1948 war
    Israel called upon to withdraw unconditionally from the occupied territories
    UN Security Council and General Assembly declare Israeli annexation of east Jerusalem a nullity
    Illegality of Israel’s continued occupation of the occupied territories
    UN General Assembly rejects Camp David restrictions on Palestinian rights over the occupied territories

    CONCLUSION

    PART III
    ISRAEL AS A ‘LEGITIMATE’ STATE IN THE SENSE OF VALID/ACCEPTABLE


    ISRAEL’S LEGITIMACY IN THE SENSE OF VALIDITY/ACCEPTABILITY
    Legitimacy in the sense of validity/acceptability
    ISRAEL’S ABNORMALITY: THE RACIST STATE
    UN General Assembly’s condemnation of Israel as a racist regime, and of Zionism as racism
    Zionism
    Discussion of Zionism as racism
    Is The State Of Israel A Jewish State?
    Israeli Racism – Further evidence in recent legal measures
    Israeli Racism – Further evidence from recent events
    Israeli racism - ‘Judaisation’ of land, and expulsion of Palestinian Arabs.
    Israeli racism - discrimination against the Palestinian Arabs who remained within Israel
    Israeli racism - discrimination against Israel’s Mizrachi Jews
    Israeli racism - discrimination against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories

    ISRAEL’S ABNORMALITY: THE COLONIAL STATE
    The Israelis As Colonisers
    Foreigners take the land of another state by force against the resistance of the indigenous population
    The coloniser’s denial of the right of self-determination
    The coloniser’s discriminatory treatment in law of the colonised
    The coloniser’s physical (military and police) oppression of the colonised and their supporters

    • Israel’s actions are at the root of the violence
    • Reprisals against Palestinian cross-border raids
    • The occupation
    • Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories
    • Settler violence
    • Israeli repression of resistance prior to the intifadas (uprisings)
    • Israeli repression of resistance during the first intifada - The first intifada (‘shaking off’) erupted
    • Israeli repression of resistance during the second intifada
    • The Israeli response to Palestinian resistance from Southern Lebanon- the 1982 Lebanon war
    • The Israeli response to the resistance of Hezbollah – the 2006 Lebanon war
    • The Israeli response to the current situation in the West Bank
    • The Israeli response in Gaza – blockade, assault, continuing blockade (slightly eased)
    The coloniser’s economic oppression of the colonised
    • Dispossession and expulsion of Palestinians
    • Dispossession, expulsion, and Palestinian unemployment
    • Economic discrimination against the Palestinian minority in Israel – This involves:
    • Economic oppression in the Occupied Territories
    • Economic oppression amounting to colonial oppression

    The coloniser’s denial of the human rights of the colonised
    • Israel’s colonial, Zionist and apartheid nature involves a denial of human rights
    • The nature of Israel’s occupation is a fundamental violation of human rights
    • Israel and specific abuses of human rights in the occupied territories
    ISRAEL’S ABNORMALITY: THE APARTHEID STATE
    ISRAEL’S ABNORMALITY: ITS DISREGARD OF INTERNATIONAL LAW AND OPINION

    Israel disregard of international law concerning its legitimacy as a state
    The 1948 war in Palestine
    Israel’s Wars:

    • The 1956 Suez campaign
    • The 1967 6-day war – Israel’s war of expansion
    • The 1973 war
    • The 1982 invasion of Lebanon
    • The 2006 invasion of Lebanon
    Israeli racial discrimination against its Palestinian minority in Israel
    Illegality of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories
    Israel ignores international condemnation over settlements in and adjacent to Arab east Jerusalem
    Condemnations of Israel’s use of force against Palestinian resistance to occupation
    Israel’s illegal forcible expulsions from the occupied territories, property destruction, group penalties
    Israel’s confiscation of property in the occupied territories
    Israel’s exploitation of the natural wealth, resources and population of the occupied territories
    Israeli abuses in the first intifada
    Israeli abuses in the second intifada
    Condemnations of the Wall
    Condemnations of Israel’s recent attack on the flotilla attempting to break the blockade of Gaza
    Condemnations of Israel’s 2008 assault on Gaza

    CONCLUSION

    PART IV
    WHAT IS TO BE DONE?

    Israel’s illegitimacy reinforces the need for a solution to the conflict
    What kind of solution?
    How likely is a solution?
    What, then, of the Americans?
    What of the ‘Quartet’?
    What political stance should the European Union adopt?
    Reason for hope – a multipolar world
    Reason for hope – The Non-Western World
    Reason for hope  - uncompromising journalists and writers
    Reason for hope  - activists from around the world
    Consequences of a failure to achieve an equitable settlement to the conflict
    A final message of support for the Palestinians




    PART I
    CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING ISRAEL’S LEGITIMACY AS A STATE

    Netanyahu: delegitimising the delegitimisers
    A year ago, Benjamin Netanyahu, referring to Judge Goldstone’s devastating report to the UN Human Rights Council, principally concerning Israeli war crimes committed during its assault on Gaza in December 2008, said the report was being used to "delegitimise" Israel's right to self-defence. This so-called “self-defence” was in fact a brutal, murderous, and (in the eyes of the world) massively disproportionate attack on Gaza, ostensibly done to protect Israel from Hamas rocket attacks. The reality is that it was an attempt to punish Hamas and discredit it amongst the Palestinian people, because Israel sees Hamas as a more difficult and less compliant political opponent, in any peace negotiations, than Mahmoud Abbas. Continuing in the same mendacious vein, the Israeli Prime Minister asserted, "We must delegitimise the delegitimisers". His remarks perhaps reflected Israeli nervousness not only over international criticism of Israeli war crimes in the Gaza assault, and the continuing cruelty of the blockade, but international impatience with Israeli intransigence in refusing for more than 40 years to settle the conflict with the Palestinians in any way which is remotely equitable.

    Netanyahu’s call in effect to “delegitimise” Israel’s critics is through the (by now well-known) Zionist tactic, now wearing rather thin and ineffective, of attacking the messenger rather than the message, usually by charges of anti-Semitism, often additionally by smear tactics. Of course, what else can this Jewish racist/supremacist and his Zionist and other apologists do? :

    • Could they say, for example – see the history referred to below - that the initial Zionist project of Jewish (mainly European) foreigners inserting themselves into the land of Palestine, and progressively dispossessing the indigenous Palestine Arabs, was a humane venture?
    • Could they say – see the history again – that in the 1948 and 1967 wars, and the subsequent bloody expulsion and ethnic cleansing of so many Palestinians from their own homeland, that the Israelis acted towards the Palestinians with consideration and compassion?
    • Could they say – refer to the history – of the Palestine Arabs left within de facto Israel, that they have always treated them as equals, and not with racism and discrimination?
    • Could they say – look at the history again – that subsequent to the 1967 war, with Israel’s harsh and brutal occupation of the remaining one-fifth of Palestinian land that it had not already taken, and the brutal and colonial oppression that followed (including the recent assault and blockade of Gaza), that they have at all times treated the Palestinian people with tender, loving care?
                                                                                                                                           Of course they could not – historical truth-telling cannot be in the Zionists’ repertoire - so smear the critics and get all friendly media (especially the American media) to tell lies and half-truths for Israel.

    Regardless of Netanyahu’s misleading rhetoric, it is actually the legitimacy of Israel itself which is the real question.


    The meaning of “legitimate” in relation to a state
    The Oxford English Dictionary basically gives two different meanings to the adjective “legitimate” in the context of a “legitimate” state;
    • The first relates to legality – “Conformable to law or rule; sanctioned or authorized by law or right; lawful; proper”
    • The second relates to acceptability – “Normal, regular; conformable to a recognized standard type; valid or acceptable; justifiable, reasonable”

    Let us, then, consider the legitimacy of the Israeli state in each of these two basic senses – legality and acceptability.

    The history of modern Palestine – a history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
    When considering various aspects of Israel’s legitimacy, it is always necessary to know the historical background and context. This article in each case provides sufficient details of that history. However, for those interested in a fuller and more detailed historical account, we have already written and distributed articles on the history of Israel-Palestine. For those who do not have copies, these articles are available on South Tyneside STWC’s website, www.northeaststopwar.org.uk – at the site, just click on ‘Forum’, then select ‘South Tyneside Stop the War’, then select the relevant article.:

    • A Brief History Of Modern Palestine: A History Of Israel And The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The following sources were principally used to provide that history:
      • Ilan Pappe’s A History Of Modern Palestine (second edition)
      • John Quigley’s The Case For Palestine: An International Law Perspective
      • Michael Neumann’s The Case Against Israel
      • Khaled Hroub’s Hamas; A Beginner’s Guide.
    • A History Of Judaism In The Past, And Present-Day Orthodox Judaism: Its Social And Political Effects. The sole source for this history and social and political analysis was:
      • Israel Shahak’s Jewish History, Jewish Religion



    PART II
    ISRAEL AS A ‘LEGITIMATE’ STATE IN THE LEGAL SENSE


    LEGITIMACY IN THE LEGAL SENSE
    Legitimacy in the legal sense
    We first examine Israel’s legitimacy in the legal sense – “conformable to law or rule; sanctioned or authorized by law or right; lawful; proper”.

    A legalistic approach instead of a political approach
    The Brief History Of Modern Palestine: A History Of Israel And The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict referred to above takes a political approach to that history on the grounds that realpolitik, concerned with geopolitical power, has been the prime mover in that history, rather than legal issues. This article remedies that omission – we are concerned here with international law. The article quotes extensively from John Quigley’s The Case For Palestine: An International Law Perspective.

    Quigley teaches international law at Ohio State University. In the preface to his copiously referenced book, he elaborates on his approach: “The issue of legal entitlement is at the heart of the analysis presented in this book … I understand that most writers on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict find an emphasis on legal entitlement to be unrealistic, even counterproductive. They point out that politics has played a decisive part in shaping the conflict … I acknowledge the difficulty of bringing about a settlement based on legal entitlement … I remain convinced that a peace not based on justice may turn out to be no peace at all.”



    THE BALFOUR DECLARATION AND THE BRITISH MANDATE
    The Balfour Declaration for a Jewish “national home” in Palestine
    Quigley states that, “In 1917 [towards the end of the first world war] … at [British foreign secretary] Balfour’s request, [Zionist leader] Weizmann and Lord Rothschild, who headed the Zionist Federation in Britain, drafted the statement. Balfour convinced the cabinet to approve the statement, which Balfour then issued as a letter to Rothschild.” The letter, notes Quigley, said that Britain “viewed with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine … ” The letter became known as the Balfour Declaration.

    The League and Palestine – no immediate independence - self-determination a legal right
    “In an attempt to prevent wars like the one [the first world war] just ended the Versailles conference created an international organization of nations, called the League of Nations”, Quigley records. He continues:
    • “ …the Versailles conference did not opt for independence [for the peoples of former colonies of defeated Germany and Turkey, which included Palestine].” Instead, Quigley notes, in Article 22 of the League of Nations covenant adopted in 1919, it characterized the peoples of these former colonies as “not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world”. It said that the states administering them, he goes on, should promote “the well-being and development of such peoples”, bearing “a sacred trust of civilization. Administering states, which it referred to as mandatory powers, were to be accountable to the League of Nations.” [See also the History of Modern Palestine - a British census of Palestine in 1918 gave an estimate of the Palestinian population as 700,000 Arabs and 56,000 Jews. Thus, the population was more than 90% Arab. Given this population split, if Palestine had then been made an independent state, there would have been no question of its overwhelmingly Arab nature, and Israel would never have existed.]
    • “An assembly of delegates elected that year from Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon, called the General Syrian Congress, denounced Article 22.” The delegates, notes Quigley, said that Article 22 “relegates us to the standing of insufficiently developed races requiring the tutelage of a mandatory power.” “Fearing that Britain would try to implement the Balfour Declaration”, he continues, they also rejected “the claims of the Zionists for the establishment of a Jewish commonwealth.”
    • “Though Article 22 denied independence to the people of Palestine and other dependent territories, it did recognize them as having an international status.” Quigley goes on:
      • “In 1931 the Institute of International Law, a leading academic group, said that a mandate community was a subject of international law, meaning that it had the capacity to bear rights and responsibilities.”
      • “In 1947 the UN Special Committee on Palestine stated that the mandate system gave”, says Quigley, “international recognition” to self-determination.
      • “By prohibiting the states [Britain and France] that took territories from Germany and Turkey from holding them as colonies, the International Court of Justice would say in 1971 that the League rejected the legality of annexation.”
      • “The League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission, which oversaw mandate administration, said that mandatory powers had no right of sovereignty but that the people under the mandate held ultimate sovereignty.”
    • “Administering states”, states Quigley, “bore specific responsibilities.” He goes on:
      • “and the condition of tutelage was temporary.”
      • The “ultimate objective”, he notes that the International Court of Justice would later say, was “the self-determination and independence of the peoples concerned.”
      • “In determining the fate of the territory after the expiration of the mandate, the wishes of the population were to be the key factor.”
      • “The League divided the mandate territories into three classes, dependent on its assessment of how close the territory was to readiness for independence. Class ‘A’ mandates were the closest to independence, Class ‘C’ mandates were the farthest from independence.” “The League made Turkey’s former colonies, including Palestine, Class ‘A’ mandates, which it defined”, states Quigley, as those whose “existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized.”
    • “An opinion rendered in 1920 in a dispute that the League of Nations was handling indicated that self-determination was considered a legal right.” Quigley goes on:
      • “The dispute related to the Aaland Islands, which lie between Finland and Sweden. The inhabitants of the Aaland Islands were Swedish. In 1809 Sweden ceded the islands, along with Finland, to Russia. When Finland became independent of Russia in 1917 the islanders asked Finland to return the islands to Sweden. A committee of jurists appointed by the League to give an opinion on the matter said that self-determination did not apply to a people located in a state that, like Finland, is ‘definitively constituted’. The jurists thus concluded that the islanders had no right to separate from Finland.”
      • “But the jurists said that in a situation of unresolved sovereignty self-determination would apply.”
      • “They stated”, says Quigley, that if “ ‘territorial sovereignty’ is lacking”, then “the principle of self-determination may be called into play.”
      • “Referring to ‘the principle of recognizing the rights of peoples to determine their political fate’, they said that a people in a situation of unresolved sovereignty had a right to choose between ‘the formation of an independent State’ and merger with an existing state.”

    Britain’s mandate over Palestine – inclusion therein of the Balfour Declaration
    Quigley notes that, “In 1922, at Britain’s request, the League of Nations gave it a mandate to administer Palestine … the Mandate for Palestine, which was a treaty between the League and Britain.” He continues:
    • “The mandate included the words of the Balfour Declaration [see above], just as it was adopted by the British cabinet in 1917.”
    • “Objections were raised in Britain that to make the Balfour Declaration governing policy in Palestine would violate the self-determination right of the people of Palestine. In the House of Lords a group of members moved that Britain reject the mandate because of the inclusion of the Balfour Declaration. They put their motion to a vote and it carried by 60 votes to 29. But the British government ignored the Lords and accepted the mandate.”
    • “The League thus gave its endorsement to the concept of a Jewish national home in Palestine. The scope of that endorsement, however, remained unclear.” Quigley goes on:
      • “The Balfour Declaration referred to the ‘historical connection’ of the Jews to Palestine, and Weizmann construed this phrase to mean ‘that we have the right to establish our national home in Palestine.’ ”
      • “But it is not clear what ‘right’ was intended.”
      • “The World Zionist Organisation had asked the Versailles Conference to use the phrase ‘historical right’ instead of ‘historical connection’. The conference refused, precisely to avoid recognizing a right.”
      • [The History of Modern Palestine records that, thus, Britain was required under the terms of the mandate to administer Palestine for the benefit of the population as a whole, but the mandate also required it to execute the provisos of the Balfour Declaration - an impossible task given the near-absolute incompatibility of the two sets of requirements.]
    • “ … Britain, in 1922 [following anti-Zionist Arab rioting in Palestine] clarified that the Balfour Declaration did not mean a Jewish state, but rather a ‘national home’, and that the ‘national home’ would not encompass all of Palestine.”

    Britain announces leaving Palestine - requests UN solution – Assembly appoints Special Committee
    “In April 1947”, Quigley states, “Britain announced that it would leave Palestine … It was unable … to balance the competing Zionists and Arab interests, and so it asked the newly-established United Nations to propose a solution.” He goes on:
    • “ … When Britain asked the United Nations to make recommendations on the status of Palestine, five Arab states asked the UN General Assembly to take up the Palestine issue as a matter of ‘the termination of the Mandate over Palestine and the declaration of its independence’ [our italics].” Quigley continues:
      • “They were concerned that that Britain’s open-ended request for a recommendation on the future governance of Palestine invited the General Assembly to link the issue of Jewish refugees in Europe [after the war against Hitler] with that of Palestine’s status.”
      • “They feared that the question of legal entitlement would be forgotten.”
      • “But the General Assembly rejected the Arab approach and took up Britain’s request … ”
    • “[The General Assembly] appointed an eleven-nation Special Committee on Palestine. The General Assembly gave the Special Committee a broad mandate, which the committee construed as permitting it to consider Jewish refugees in Europe in formulating  a recommendation on Palestine.”

    UN RECOMMENDATION OF PARTITION – SUBSEQUENT ABANDONMENT OF PARTITION

    Special Committee - ignores self-determination of Palestinians – majority proposes partition
    “In September, 1947”, Quigley records, “the Special Committee reported back to the General Assembly” He says that:
    • “The committee acknowledged that the self-determination right of the Palestine Arabs had been violated by the inclusion of the Balfour Declaration in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine Arabs.”
    • “The committee further stated that the principle of self-determination, internationally recognized after World War I, was ‘adhered to with regard to other Arab territories’ but was ‘not applied to Palestine, obviously because of the intention to make possible the creation of the Jewish National Home there’.”
    • “The ‘Jewish National Home’ and the ‘sui generic Mandate for Palestine’, it said, ‘run counter’ to the principle of self-determination.”
    • “The Special Committee did not [further] question the validity of the League’s approach, even though a self-determination right had just been written into Article 1 of the UN Charter.” [our italics – the Special Committee’s disregard of a right of self-determination which had just been written into the Charter of the newly-formed United Nations cannot be over-emphasised.] Quigley continues:
      • “Three members of the Special Committee proposed a federal state with Jewish and Arab components”
      • “ … A majority of seven members suggested the partition of Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state with an economic union between them.”
      • “None favoured a single state in Palestine, the preferred solution of the Arab Higher Committee.”

    Quigley again: “[Aside from ignoring the question of self-determination] the decision of the majority to propose partition reflected a linkage of the [Jewish] refugee and Palestine questions. Weizmann correctly stated that the United Nations ‘was motivated pre-eminently by the purpose of solving once and for all the Jewish question in Europe, to get rid of the concentration camps and of the aftermath of Hitler’s holocaust.’ But others viewed this as a convenient solution for a problem that should have been handled otherwise.” Quigley continues:
    • “Morris Ernst, Roosevelt’s adviser, decried ‘the hypocrisy of closing our own doors while making sanctimonious demands on the Arabs’.”
    • “Pakistan’s UN delegate commented sarcastically: ‘Australia, an overpopulated small country with congested areas, says no, no, no; Canada, equally congested and overpopulated, says no; the United States, a great humanitarian country, a small area, with small resources, says no … they state: let them go to Palestine, where there are vast areas, a large economy, and no trouble; they can easily be taken in there.’ ”
    • “There was ‘neither merit nor justice’, said Toynbee, in ‘compensating victims at the expense of innocent third parties.’ The Palestine Arabs were ‘innocent of the crimes committed against the Jews by the Germans under the Nazi regime.’ Toynbee thought that if a state were to be created as compensation, it ‘should have been carved out of Central Europe.’ ”
    • “[Quoting Toynbee again] A ‘guilty Western people’s territory was held to be sacrosanct, because, though guilty, they were Westerners … An innocent non-Western people’s territory could, it was held, legitimately be given away to the Jews by the victorious Western powers. This amounts to a declaration of the inequality of the Western and non-Western sections of the human race. It is a claim that Westerners are privileged, however guilty they may be.’ ”
    • “A US diplomat found ‘no necessary connection between the humanitarian problem of succouring the displaced persons of Europe and the political problem of creating a new nationalist state in Palestine.’ ”
    UN General Assembly constitutes an Ad Hoc Committee – request for ICJ opinion on Palestine rejected
    “After receiving the Special Committee’s report”, notes Quigley, “the General Assembly constituted an Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestine Question to frame the Palestine issue for plenary debate, composed of all UN member states.” He goes on:
    • “The ad hoc committee set up a subcommittee 1 to draw up a detailed plan for partition, and a subcommittee 2 to draw up a plan for a single Palestinian state.”
    • “Subcommittee 2 asked the ad hoc committee to urge the General Assembly to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice before adopting any resolution on Palestine. It wanted the Court to determine whether the Balfour Declaration violated self-determination of the Palestine population, whether the indigenous population of Palestine had a right to determine the status of Palestine, and whether the General assembly had the power to suggest or to enforce a territorial settlement for Palestine. A Jewish Agency lawyer, Shabtai Rosenne, thought the question ‘one-sided.’ The ad hoc committee narrowly defeated the request of the subcommittee 2 for an advisory opinion. That led members of subcommittee 2 to castigate the majority for giving insufficient weight to the ‘juridical aspects of the Palestine question.’ ”

    Subcommittee approves partition plan – Ad Hoc committee votes to recommend partition to Assembly
    “Subcommittee 1”, notes Quigley, “approved the Special Committee’s partition plan, with some changes, and the ad hoc committee voted to recommend partition to the General Assembly.” He goes on:
    • “The resolution asked the Arab Higher Committee and the Jewish Agency to establish states with an economic union between them, including common rail transport, postal system, and currency.”
    • “A two-year phase-in period was envisaged to establish this infrastructure. Jerusalem was to be included in neither state but to be administered under an international regime.”
    • “The suggested boundary between the two states was long and intricate – not intended as a defensible international border.”
    • “The proposed boundaries of the Jewish state – according to Robert McLintock, a U.S. State Department official – were ‘predicated on the assumption that there would also be an Arab State in Palestine … ‘ He likened the partition map to ‘a portrait by Picasso.’ ”
    • “The proposed Jewish state would have had 56 per cent of Palestine [even though] Jews owned [only] 6 per cent of the land and made up [only] 30 per cent of the population, [and] most of them mandate-period immigrants [the Jewish population at the start of the mandate was well under 10 per cent of the total population]”
    • “Ernest Bevin, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, noted the difficulty of drawing boundaries because of the sparseness of the Jewish population. ‘It is impossible to find in all Palestine, apart from Tel Aviv and its environs … any sizeable area with a Jewish majority.’ ”
    • “In the envisaged Jewish state Jews would have been in a minority – 499,020 Jews to 509,780 Arabs. In the proposed Arab state there would have been only 9,520 Jews to 749,101 Arabs. The plan thus gave much Arab-populated territory to the Jewish state, but little Jewish-populated territory to the Arab state.”
    Assembly approves partition plan as Resolution 181 after great US pressure – criticism of the Resolution
    Quigley records that, “On November 25, 1947, the ad hoc committee approved the partition recommendation of subcommittee 1.” He continues:
    • “[The vote was] 25 to 13, with 17 abstentions. While sufficient to carry the plan in the subcommittee, this margin was short of the two-thirds majority that would be required for passage in the General assembly.”
    • “By this time the United States had emerged as the most aggressive proponent of partition. Most European countries, including the Soviet Union, supported it, but most Third World countries viewed it as an infringement of Arab rights.”
    • “The United States got the General Assembly to delay a vote ‘to gain time to bring certain Latin American republics into line with its own views.’ U.S. officials, ‘by direct order of the White House’, used ‘every form of pressure, direct and indirect’, to ‘make sure that the necessary majority’ would be gained, according to former Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles. Members of the U.S. Congress threatened curtailment of economic aid to several Third World countries.”
    • “ … the General Assembly proceeded to a vote on the partition plan. On November 29 it adopted a draft resolution embodying the partition plan as Resolution 181.” Quigley goes on:
      • “The resolution narrowly gained the required majority of two-thirds – 33 in favour, 13 opposed, and 10 abstaining.”
      • “Included in the countries that switched their votes from November 25 to November 29 to provide the two-thirds majority were Liberia, the Philippines, and Haiti. All heavily dependent on the United States financially, they had been lobbied to change their votes. Liberia’s ambassador to the United Nations complained that the U.S. delegation threatened aid cuts to several countries. Some delegates charged U.S. officials with ‘diplomatic intimidation.’ Without ‘terrific pressure’ from the United States on ‘governments which cannot afford to risk American reprisals’, said an anonymous editorial writer, the resolution ‘would never have passed.’ ”
      • “The fact such pressure had been exerted became public knowledge, to the extent a State Department policy group was concerned that ‘the prestige of the UN’ would suffer because of ‘the notoriety and resentment attendant upon the activities of U.S. pressure groups, including members of Congress, who sought to impose U.S. views as to partition on foreign delegations.’ ”
    • “Resolution 181”:
      • “was a political solution, a Zionist lawyer, Benjamin Akzin, wrote at the time, ‘not a verdict of a court of law.’ ”
      • “An Arab lawyer, Nabil Elaraby, chided the General assembly for having acted without examining the question of legal claims to Palestine.”
      • [Quigley notes that] “ … in subsequent self-determination disputes – over Namibia … and Western Sahara – the General assembly would seek advisory opinions from the International Court of Justice.” [This did not happen in the case of Palestine]
      • “ ‘The Arabs’, declared an Arab jurist of Resolution 181, ‘have had to pay for and expiate the outrage committed against mankind in Treblinka, Auschwitz, and elsewhere.’ ”
      • “A Yugoslav jurist objected that Resolution 181 reflected the view”, quotes Quigley, that “so-called ‘civilised’ people were still entitled to determine the fate of the ‘uncivilised’, and that the territories and interests of dependent nations were objects to be manipulated – in short the blindly obstinate arrogance which we call the ‘colonial spirit’. ”
      • “A U.S. military officer, Commander E. H. Hutchison, who later chaired the Israel-Jordan Armistice Commission, said that”, quotes Quigley, “in adopting Resolution 181 the major powers ‘overran the rights of the indigenous population of Palestine – the Arabs. Every step in the establishment of a Zionist state was ‘a challenge to justice’. ”

    The abandonment of the partition plan
    “On March 5, 1948”, Quigley records, “the UN Security Council adopted a resolution asking its five permanent members – Britain, France, China, the USSR and the United States – to make recommendations on how partition might be implemented. But the strongest supporter of partition, the United States, was having second thoughts. The State Department’s policy planning staff, in a report to the Secretary of State, noted the Palestine Arab’s rejection of partition. The staff expressed fear that, in the light of that rejection, US support for partition ran counter to the Palestine Arabs’ right of self-determination. The staff suggested the United States abandon the partition recommendation.” He goes on:
    • “On March 19 the United States suggested to the Security Council that partition be abandoned. It advised the Council to ask the General Assembly to set up a temporary trusteeship over Palestine until the two parties reached a settlement.”
    • “On April 1, at the urging of the United States, the Security Council asked the General Assembly to ‘consider further the question of the future government of Palestine’; in other words, to seek a solution other than partition.”
    • “The Council did not seriously consider the possibility of using UN troops to force partition on the Palestine Arabs.”
    • “Thus, the United Nations abandoned the partition idea scarcely four months after labouring long and hard to approve it. The abandonment of partition is not surprising, however, in the light of the Arab rejection of it.”

    Resolution 181 for partition is only a recommendation – it is a dead letter conferring no territorial rights
    Quigley demonstrates that resolution 181 is only a recommendation which was then abandoned. He says::
    • “When it posed the Palestine question to the General Assembly in 1947, Britain had asked the assembly to exercise its power of recommendation [our italics]. In its request it referred to the assembly’s powers under Charter Article 10, which gives the assembly the power to make recommendations [our italics].
    • “The General Assembly had approached the Palestine issue with the aim of making proposals that the parties might accept. In Resolution 181 it had recommended the adoption and implementation of the partition plan and asked the inhabitants of Palestine to take ‘such steps as may be necessary on their part to put this plan into effect.’ ”
    • “In Resolution 181 itself, the assembly had made reference to charter provisions giving it a power of recommendation [our italics] by stating that it ‘considers that the present situation in Palestine is one which is likely to impair the general welfare and friendly relations among nations.’ The phrases ‘general welfare’ and ‘friendly relations’ are drawn from Article 14, which gives the General Assembly the power of recommendation [our italics].”
    • “Member states viewed Resolution 181 as a recommendation. In the Security Council discussion that led to the abandonment of Resolution 181, the United States said that General Assembly recommendations [our italics] have only ‘moral force’. Britain told the Security Council that it would not implement partition so long as Arab or Jewish authorities objected. Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan, and Iraq told the council they did not consider the partition recommendation [our italics] binding on them.”
    • “Resolution 181 contemplated voluntary compliance in its mechanism for selecting provisional leaders of the two projected states. A UN commission, ‘after consultation with the democratic parties and other public organizations of the Arab and Jewish States’, was to ‘select and establish in each State as rapidly as possible a Provisional Council of Government.’ Since this cooperation did not materialize, resolution 181 remained a recommendation [our italics] only.”
    • “Resolution 181 also requested the Security Council ‘determine as a threat to the peace’ any attempt ‘to alter by force the settlement envisaged by this resolution.’ This provision was later cited as indicating that the General Assembly intended ‘a solution to be imposed by force’, and therefore ‘not a simple recommendation’. But this appeal was not more than a recommendation. The assembly used the term ‘request’, an indication it was aware of the limit of its power. The United States, commenting on the assembly’s request to the council, said that the charter ‘does not empower the Security Council to enforce a political settlement made pursuant to a recommendation of the General Assembly [our italics]’”
    • “Moreover, the General Assembly, when it asked the Security Council to deal with a possible attempt to alter by force the settlement envisaged in Resolution 181, contemplated a situation in which the two parties were creating the two states voluntarily but where an outside party might intervene militarily. U.S. representative Warren Austin said this provision referred to an attempt to frustrate partition ‘on the part of states or people outside Palestine’. ”
    • “Resolution 181 did not purport to convey title to territory, and since partition had not been accepted by the parties no territorial rights were created [our italics].”
    • “Resolution 181”, Quigley continues, “had failed; it was a ‘dead letter’. ”

    THE UN POWER OVER PALESTINE
    General Assembly can only make recommendations and has no capacity to convey territorial rights
    Quigley notes that, “Moshe Shertok (later Moshe Sharett), head of the Jewish Agency political department, said in the United Nations that the General Assembly was legally competent to determine the future status of Palestine and that its resolution 181 carried binding force.” “But”, Quigley states:

    • “The General assembly of the United Nations is not a legislature for the world.”
    • “The UN Charter, in Articles 10, 11, and 14, gives it only the power of recommendation. ”
    • “The assembly makes binding decisions only on internal UN matters, like setting the budget or electing members of the International Court of Justice.”
    • “Thus, even if the assembly had intended to impose partition, it is not clear it had the legal authority to do so.”
    “Leading early students of the UN Charter”, Quigley records, “said that in adopting Resolution 181 the General Assembly had only the power of recommendation. ” He quotes them:
    • “Hans Kelsen, citing Resolution 181, wrote that General Assembly recommendations ‘do not constitute a legal obligation to behave in conformity with them’.”
    • “Leland Goodrich and Edward Hambro, also citing Resolution 181, stated that ‘recommendations have no obligatory character’.”
    • “Clyde Eagleton said that ‘a resolution of the General Assembly, such as that for the partition of Palestine, is no more than a recommendation’ and ‘can have no legally binding effect upon any state whatsoever’.”
    • “The U.S. deputy representative to the Security Council said during the Palestine debate that the General Assembly had the power only to recommend a settlement.”

    Quigley continues: “A lawyer from the UN secretariat, E. Blaine Sloane, argued to the contrary, saying that Resolution 181 carried binding force. He stated that the General Assembly has the power to decide the status of territory whose sovereignty is unclear. In areas ‘where sovereignty is not vested in a member state’, the General Assembly, ‘acting as the agent of the international community’, may take ‘a binding decision’. On this view, Resolution 181 gives Israel a valid title to Palestine [that part referred to in Resolution 181]. ” Quigley notes, however:
    • “But few lawyers agreed with him.”
    • “By the UN Charter, the General Assembly is given no power over territory any broader than its general power of recommendation.”
    • “The assembly, according to Ian Brownlie, a later student of the Charter, has no ‘capacity to convey title’, since it ‘cannot assume the role of territorial sovereign’. Even as regards disposition of territory, Brownlie wrote, the assembly ‘only has a power of recommendation’.”
    • “The assembly, wrote Elihu Lauterpacht, another leading student of the charter, could not ‘give the Jews and the Arabs in Palestine any rights which either did not otherwise possess’.”
    Argument that General Assembly has decision-making power over former Mandate territories
    “It has been argued by some scholars, however”, Quigley notes, “that even if the General Assembly has no power over territory generally, it has decision-making power over territory that was under a League of Nations mandate.” He continues:
    • “Emile Geraud, a former legal officer of both the League of Nations and United Nations, said that the United Nations succeeded to the League’s power over mandate territory.”
    • “The Assembly, stated Allan Gerson, possesses an ‘adjudicative role’ to terminate a mandate that is ‘beyond its normal recommendatory role’.
    • “This argument relies largely on the International Court of Justice advisory opinions on Namibia (South-West Africa) of 1950 and 1971.” Quigley goes on:
      • “The court said in 1950 that the competence to determine and modify the international status of a League of Nations mandate territory rested with the mandatory, ‘acting with the consent of the United Nations’.”
      • “Nathan Feinberg, a legal scholar of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, argued that Resolution 181 was an agreement between Britain and the United Nations to change the status of Palestine.”
    The Namibia case
    “In 1971”, Quigley states, “the International Court of Justice discussed the legal significance of General Assembly Resolution 2145, which affirmed the right of the people of Namibia to independence and decided that South Africa’s mandate ‘is therefore terminated, that South Africa has no other right to administer the Territory and that henceforth South-West Africa comes under the direct responsibility of the United Nations’.” He goes on:
    • “The Court upheld the legality of that resolution, stating: ‘To deny to a political organ of the United Nations which is a successor to the League in this respect the right to act, on the argument that it lacks competence to render what is described as a judicial decision, would not only be inconsistent but would amount to a complete denial of the remedies available against fundamental breaches of an international undertaking’.”
    • “Gerson cited this language to argue that the General Assembly has the power to determine the status of a League of Nations mandate territory and that Resolution 181 was such a resolution and was binding.”
    • “What the court found, however, was that the General Assembly had supervisory power over the South-West Africa mandate. The court made it clear that this power ‘derived from’ Article 10 of the charter, ‘which authorizes the General Assembly to discuss any questions or any matters within the scope of the Charter and to make recommendations on these questions or matters to the Members of the United Nations’.”
    • “Thus”, Quigley says, “the power it found in the assembly to supervise former mandate territories is only a power to make recommendations.”
    Namibia – Difference between the Namibia case and the Palestine case
    Quigley notes that, “The issue in the two Namibia advisory opinions, moreover, was different from that raised by the situation in Palestine.” He continues:
    • “South Africa had declared an intent to incorporate the mandate territory. The court said that South Africa could not do so without consent of the General Assembly. “
    • “The court recognized the people of the territory as a ‘jural entity’, possessing rights under the mandate.”
    • “It could have found, as did dissenting Judge Fitzmaurice, that South Africa was precluded from incorporating the territory solely by virtue of terms of the mandate instrument, which forbade incorporation.”
    • “The instrument was a treaty between the League and South Africa, and it survived the League’s demise in the court’s view. That obligation flowed not to the United Nations or any of its organs, but rather to the other members of the League and to the people of South-West Africa, who were a third party beneficiary of the mandate instrument.”
    Namibia – ICJ opinion that General Assembly has power to supervise former League mandates - rejected
    “The court [the International Court of Justice]”, Quigley notes, “said that Resolution 2145 fell within what it found to be a power of the General assembly to supervise former League mandates.” He carries on:
    • “If the court had not found supervision to be within the assembly’s competence, South Africa would have had only an obligation to make reports on South-West Africa ‘for informational purposes’.”
    • “But the court found supervision to be an essential aspect of the mandate system: ‘The obligation incumbent upon a mandatory State to accept international supervision and to submit reports is an important part of the Mandates System’.”
    • “The court had not been asked by the General Assembly, however, whether the assembly had supervisory functions over the South-West Africa mandate.” Quigley continues:
      • “The assembly had asked only whether South Africa was required to conclude a trusteeship agreement with the assembly and whether South Africa could modify the status of South-West Africa unilaterally.”
      • “To answer these questions, the court had no need to state whether the General Assembly had supervisory functions.”
    Quigley notes that, “The court’s statement that the assembly exercised ‘supervisory functions’ made little sense in the context of the League’s demise and the founding of the United Nations.” He goes on:
    • “Judge McNair, dissenting, said that ‘the succession of the United Nations to the administrative functions of the League of Nations in regard to the Mandates could have been expressly preserved and vested in the United Nations’ by an appropriate provision in the UN charter. But, he noted, ‘this was not done’.”
    • “McNair also stated: ‘The United Nations did not succeed to the rights of the League of Nations as to the former mandated territories … There is no legal continuity in the relations of these two systems’.”
    • “The United States had agreed with McNair’s view in a Security Council discussion of Resolution 181 in 1948. ‘The United Nations does not automatically fall heir to the responsibilities either of the League of Nations or of the Mandatory Power in respect of the Palestine mandate. The record seems to us to be entirely clear that the United Nations did not take over the League of Nations Mandate system’.”
    • “Subcommittee 2 also said that the United Nations ‘has not inherited the constitutional and political powers and functions of the League of Nations’ and is not ‘the successor of the League of Nations insofar as the administration of mandates is concerned’. In addition, UN powers over mandate territories are limited ‘by the specific provisions of the Charter’, and ‘neither the General Assembly nor any other organ of the United Nations’ is competent to ‘recommend or enforce’ a ‘solution with regard to the mandated territory’.”
    • “One [other] reason that the United Nations could not succeed to the League’s power of supervision is that the supervision to which mandatory powers agreed under the League of Nations mandate system was significantly less onerous than what the court said could be imposed on South Africa.”  Quigley continues:
      • “The League’s supervision over mandates was exercised by its council, which functioned on unanimity. All the mandatory powers were council members … Britain represented the interests of the mandatory powers that belonged to the Commonwealth – South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Thus, each mandatory power possessed a veto on a decision regarding its performance.”
      • “The General Assembly in this situation operates by two-thirds majority voting. Thus, a decision adverse to the mandatory power could be taken over its negative vote. A state which assumed a League mandate did not consent to such a procedure.”
      • “There would be an ‘excess of supervision if the decision of the General Assembly reached by a two-thirds majority’, stated Judge Lauterpacht of the International Court of Justice, ‘had the same legal and binding force as unanimous resolutions of the Council of the League of Nations’.”
    Argument - Even if Assembly had supervisory power, it cannot determine a mandate’s future status
    “Even if the General Assembly had supervisory power over a former League of Nations mandate territory”, Quigley notes, “that would not give it the power to determine the territory’s future status.” He goes on:
    • “With trusteeship, the UN analogue to the League of Nations mandate system, the assembly had no power to make decisions binding on an administering state.”
    • “ ‘The Trusteeship Agreements’, stated Judge Lauterpacht, ‘do not provide for a legal obligation of the Administering Authority to comply with the decisions of the organs of the United Nations in the matter of trusteeship. Thus, there is no legal obligation, on the part of Administering Authority, to give effect to a recommendation of the General Assembly to adopt or depart from a particular course of legislation or any particular administrative measure. States administering Trust Territories … have often asserted their right not to accept recommendations of the General Assembly’. That right ‘has never been seriously challenged’.”
    Namibia – ICJ did not decide whether Assembly can make a decision contrary to wishes of inhabitants
    Quigley again: “In its advisory opinion on Namibia, the International Court of Justice did not decide whether the General Assembly has the power to decide on the future status of a mandate territory against the wishes of the inhabitants, which is the issue if it is asserted that Resolution 181 is a binding decision.” He continues:
    • “In the Namibia situation the decision of the assembly - to prohibit South Africa from incorporating the territory – was in accord with the wishes of the population.”
    • “But Resolution 181 foresaw a territorial solution unacceptable to the majority of Palestine’s inhabitants.”
    • “The Namibia advisory opinions do not suggest the assembly has the power to adopt a territorial solution against the wishes of the inhabitants.”
    Namibia again – Another difference between the Namibia case and Palestine case
    “There is one other difference”, notes Quigley, “between the Namibia case and the Palestine case. The League had made Palestine a class ‘A’ mandate, but it made South-West Africa a class ‘C’ mandate. The covenant described a community under a class ‘C’ mandate as ‘best administered under the laws of the Mandatory as integral portions of its territory’, whereas a class ‘A’ mandate was to be governed separately. Thus, even if the International Court of Justice had decided that the assembly had the power to resolve the status of mandate territory against the wishes of its inhabitants, that would not give the assembly a similar power over Palestine.”

    Resolution 181 would violate right of self-determination if binding – Palestinian rights under the Charter
    “If Resolution 181 were considered a binding determination of future status”, Quigley states, “it would violate the Palestine Arabs’ right of self-determination.” He goes on:
    • “Some have argued that it did not violate the right of self-determination of the Palestine Arabs since it recognized the claims of both the Arab and Jewish communities in Palestine. But since partition was against the will of the majority of the inhabitants, the right of self-determination was violated.”
    • “The Palestine National Covenant, which was adopted in 1968 as a statement of principle by the Palestine Arabs, construed Resolution 181 as a binding decision. On that basis, it considered it ‘null and void’ since ‘it was contrary to the wishes of the people of Palestine and its natural right to its homeland, and contradicts the principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, the first of which is the right of self-determination’.”
    • “Moreover, the population of Palestine has specific rights under the UN charter. The charter states that the rights of a people under a League of Nations mandate may not be altered to its detriment.” Quigley continues:
      • “The charter contemplated that League mandates would be converted into trusteeships. Article 80 stated that nothing in the charter’s chapter on trusteeship could alter the rights ‘of any states or any peoples or existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties.”
      • “Thus, the rights of the Palestinian people under the mandate instrument are preserved. Arab states, in arguing that partition would violate the rights of the Palestine Arabs, relied on Article 80.”
    • “Subcommittee 2 said that a partition of Palestine against the consent of its population would violate that population’s rights. The United Nations ‘cannot make a disposition or alienation of territory, nor can it deprive the majority of the people of Palestine of their territory and transfer it to the exclusive use of a minority in their country’.”

    Argument – the Palestine Arabs forfeited their right of self-determination - rejected
    Quigley notes that, “It has been argued that even if the Palestine Arabs once had a right to self-determination, they forfeited it by not establishing a state as recommended in Resolution 181. But resolution 181, as indicated, proposed a solution that would violate the Arabs’ right to self-determination. They cannot be considered to have forfeited their right to self-determination by rejecting a proposal which would have violated that right.”

    Argument - Resolution 181 was “re-affirmed” by the Security Council – rejected
    “One other argument”, Quigley states, “has been made to reach the conclusion that Resolution 181 was binding.” He continues:
    • “The argument is that even if the General Assembly did not have the power to issue a binding decision on the future status of Palestine, the Security Council ‘re-affirmed’ Resolution 181 and thereby made it binding. The Council, unlike the assembly, has the power under the UN charter to make decisions that are binding on member states.” Quigley goes on:
      • “Security Council Resolution 42 is cited, in which the council asked its five permanent members to make recommendations regarding ‘instructions which the Council might usefully give to the Palestine Commission with a view to implementing the resolution of the General Assembly’.”
      • “Security Council Resolution 46 is also cited, in which the council called on each of the two parties to refrain from actions that might frustrate the claims of the other.”
      • “From Resolution 54 language is cited in which the council decided a truce should remain in force ‘until a peaceful adjustment of the future situation of Palestine is reached’.”
    • “None of this language implies an affirmation of Resolution 181 by the Security Council.” Quigley continues:
      • “In April 1948, when the Security Council became aware that Resolution 181 was unrealistic, it abandoned it.”
      • “Even if the council had ‘re-affirmed’ Resolution 181, that would not render it binding. While the council has decision-making power on some subjects, it does not have a power to dispose of territory.”


    THE DE FACTO REALISATION OF THE ZIONIST DREAM
    Britain gives up authority in Palestine - Assembly relieves commission to supervise partition of its duties
    “On May 14, 1948”, Quigley records, “Britain renounced authority in Palestine.” Quigley again:
    • “The General Assembly had not finalized its trusteeship recommendations.”
    • “Instead, it proposed a truce [fighting had been going on between Jews and Palestine Arabs since late in 1947] and appointed a mediator ‘to promote a peaceful adjustment of the future situation in Palestine’.”
    • “At the same time it relieved of its duties the commission it had established in Resolution 181 to supervise partition.”

    Israel declares statehood, ignoring the General Assembly’s abandonment of Resolution 181
    On May 14, 1948, the day that Britain renounced authority in Palestine, its troops were in the final phase of withdrawal from Palestine. Quigley states that:
    • “The Arab Higher Command did not proclaim statehood.”
    • “But [that same day] the Jewish Agency did, issuing a Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel:
      • … ‘by virtue of our natural and historic right’
      • ‘and on the strength of the resolution [Resolution 181] of the United Nations General Assembly’
      • ‘we hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel’.”
    • “Thus, the [Jewish] Agency ignored the General Assembly’s abandonment of partition and insisted that Resolution 181 gave them legal entitlement.”
    • “ … The declaration did not specify any borders for Israel. But in a message to President Truman urging him to recognize Israel, the Agency said it was proclaiming statehood ‘within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947’.” [It should be noted that this refers to the partition frontiers, not the armistice lines, incorporating even more land, which Israel ended up with after its further land-grab in the 1948 war.] Quigley notes that, “Use of the term ‘Eretz Israel’ suggested, however, that broader claims might be intended.”
    • “Truman immediately [within hours] extended de facto [our italics] recognition of Israel. [The U.S. was the first state to do so.] That recognition led – according to Dean Rusk, director of the State Department’s Office of Special Political Affairs – to ‘pandemonium’ on the floor of the UN General Assembly, since delegates (including U.S. delegates) felt that the United Nations should establish a temporary trusteeship.”

    THE ZIONIST CLAIM OF ANCIENT TITLE TO PALESTINE

    Israel’s claim of ancient title/biblical title to Palestine - rejected
    Quigley notes that, “In addition to Resolution 181, the Jewish Agency relied for its claim to Palestine on … ancient title.” It is said that the Jews have a historical claim, on the basis that they inhabited the place some 2,000 years ago. Alternatively, the claim is made on a biblical basis – that God gave Israel to the Jews. Concerning the historical claim, on this basis, are the Saxons entitled to parts of England, or the Normans? Can the native Indians reclaim the whole of America? The historical argument seems inherently absurd, as does the biblical one (at least to the more than 99% of the world’s population who are not Jewish). For this reason, we note here only the main arguments in Quigley’s book, where he rejects Israel’s claims – those interested in the detail (he devotes a chapter of several pages to the subject, and makes further references in the chapter following) should refer to the book itself. Quigley again:
    • “The basis for a claim to territory is long-time occupation … Occupation and dominion are the key considerations in international law in a claim to territory, though in the twentieth century, when aggression was outlawed, naked possession was no longer sufficient.”
    • “But the initial consideration in a claim to territory is longevity of control over it … Claims to territory based on ancient title [that is, an absence of control for a long time] have not generally been recognised … The International Court of Justice rejected a concept of original, or ancient, title.”
    • “The fact of [religious or] psychological attachment to a territory does not yield territorial rights.”
    • [Quigley summarises the situation]: “These [Jewish] views overlook the Palestine Arabs’ strong claim based on occupation and dominion and the correspondingly weak claim of the Zionists on these grounds.”

    THE 1948 WAR – A ZIONIST WAR OF AGGRESSION – ISRAEL AS A COLONIAL STATE

    Zionists did not have the right to take Palestine by force
    “If”, says Quigley, “the Jewish Agency did not have a right based on history [or religion, we may add] – and if the United Nations conferred no rights upon it [by Resolution 181 or otherwise – see above] – and if the indigenous population of Palestine (predominantly Arab) had a right to self-determination – then the Jewish Agency’s right to use force to take control of Palestine is in doubt.”

    He goes on, “As the Arab Higher Committee viewed the matter, ‘the people of Palestine’ were ‘an independent nation’. It said that the ‘majority of the population of Palestine, the 1,300,000 Arabs’, considered that ‘the Jewish minority – whether the 300,000 Palestinian citizens or the 400,000 foreigners [that is, recent Jewish immigrants] – is a rebellious minority which has revolted against the sovereignty of the majority of the population of the country’.” Quigley continues:

    • “Thus, the committee thought ‘that any attempt to create any foreign government in Palestine’ was ‘an act of rebellion’.”
    • “This view was expressed in more colourful terms some years later by Mohammed Bedjaoui, an Arab jurist who would become a judge of the International Court of Justice. ‘Who is the aggressor? The intruder who, without right or title, has taken possession of another’s house and cries foul play whenever an attempt is made to evict him?’, Bedjaoui asked. ‘Or the rightful owner, who has been clamouring for his rights for nearly half a century and asks for nothing but the restitution of his property?’ ”
    The Arab Higher Committee, though not a state, had a strong claim to sovereignty over Palestine
    Quigley notes that, “The Arab Higher Committee was not a state. But, like the Jewish Agency, it was recognised by the League of Nations as representing the interests of its community in Palestine.” He goes on:
    • “ ‘Communities under mandate’ were ‘subjects of international law’ with ‘a patrimony distinct from that of the Mandatory State’, the Institute of International Law said in 1931.”
    • “They possessed ‘a national status’, and they could acquire rights or be held to their obligations.”
    • “As the entity representing the majority population of Palestine, the Arab Higher Committee had a strong claim to be the bearer of sovereignty.”
    • “And Palestine, as it emerged from the mandate upon Britain’s renunciation, possessed many attributes of statehood:
      • It had a border internationally recognised
      • Its inhabitants carried Palestinian citizenship
      • It had a body of law deriving from Ottoman law enforced in its courts
      • and it had been a party in its own name to treaties.”
    An attack by the Zionists may lawfully be opposed by the Arab Higher Committee
    “ … an attack by a private group”, states Quigley, “ … may lawfully be opposed by force.” He continues:
    • “A state has the right to defend itself from armed action by private groups, whether they originate in the state or enter from outside”
    • “Thus, if the Arab Higher Committee were a territorial sovereign, it would have a right to use force against the Jewish Agency, which would have been asserting by armed force a right to sovereignty in the committee’s territory.”
    The Zionists’ 1947-48 war as the action of agents of a state – an armed attack warranting self-defence
    “The Jewish Agency’s military action of 1947-48 has also been analysed as the action of a state”, Quigley notes, “on the ground that that the Agency had public-law status with the League of Nations. Under this analysis, the Zionist forces were agents of that public-law body who took up arms against the majority population of Palestine. Their action, therefore, constituted an armed attack by a state warranting self-defence by the majority population.”

    The Zionists imposition of statehood can be considered a forced colonisation of Palestine
    Quigley says that, “It was also plausibly suggested that the Jewish Agency’s imposition of statehood amounted to a forced colonisation of Palestine.” He goes on:
    • “The Agency had been allowed to develop a Jewish settler population by Great Britain, and it then revolted against Britain.”
    • “The UN Charter did not require administering states to divest themselves of their colonies. But, like the League of Nations Covenant, it barred new colonisation.” [our italics]
    • “By outlawing aggression and requiring the promotion of self-determination, the charter prohibited the taking of a people’s territory by force.” Quigley notes later in his book that “ … until the twentieth century forcible seizure of territory as colonies was permitted”. He goes on to say that “while that may be true for some peoples denied the right of self-determination, it is not true of the Palestine Arabs. Their territory was taken from them … after international law prohibited acquisition of colonies by force. Thus, the taking was unlawful from the outset.” [our italics]
    • “In the post-charter era no state claimed a right to acquire new colonies.”
    • “If the Jewish Agency had no right to statehood, the colonialist aspect of its venture was unmistakable.”
    • [In Part III of this article, Israel As A ‘Legitimate’ State In The Sense Of Valid/Acceptable: Israel’s Abnormality: The Colonial State, a persuasive case for considering Israel as a coloniser is set out in detail.]


    ISRAEL AS A DE FACTO STATE

    The initial Israeli application for UN membership is rejected
    “On November 29 [1948]”, notes Quigley, “the [Israeli] provisional government applied for UN membership.” He carries on:
    • “Under the UN charter a state is admitted to membership by an affirmative vote in both the Security Council and the General Assembly.”
    • “The Security Council took up Israel’s application on December 17 … Britain voiced concern … said that before it could support Israeli membership it needed clarification of Israel’s position on the internationalization of Jerusalem and on the repatriation of the Arab refugees.”
    • “Israel’s application was put to a vote and rejected.”
    Israeli resubmission for UN membership approved despite some members concerns
    Quigley states that, “In March [1949] Israel resubmitted to the Security Council its application for membership, and this time the council approved it.” He goes on:
    • “The General Assembly then took up the application.” Quigley again:
      • “… many members had the same concerns that Britain had [previously] expressed.”
      • “… some were concerned as well that Israel had claimed no borders; this raised the question of whether it might intend to take further territory. If it did, Israel might not meet the membership requirement in Article 4 of the charter that it be ‘a peace-loving state’. The Assembly’s ad hoc political committee asked Israel … to address these matters.”
      • “In a statement to the committee, … Israel’s representative”, notes Quigley, said that:
        • “Jerusalem’s status should be defined by international consent but that internationalisation should apply only to the holy sites and that Israel might claim sovereignty over the “Jewish” part of the city.” [the Israelis thus displaying the same ambiguity that had worked so well for them in the past, from the Balfour Declaration thereon]
        • “On the refugee question”, Quigley notes:
          • “Israel said the situation ‘was a direct consequence of the war launched by the Arab states’ [see above on the legal argument that it was the Jewish forces who were the aggressors], and therefore the matter should be solved by resettlement of the refugees in Arab states [one wonders why, since they had been expelled from that part of Palestine taken by Israel].”
          • “It agreed to compensate Palestine Arabs whose property had been taken [it has not subsequently done so – see below] and promised to respect the property of the Palestine Arabs who remained in the territory it held [it hasn’t – see below].”
        • “On the question of borders this should be determined by negotiation between it and the Arab states.”
      • “Though some members expressed concern over Israel’s explanations, the General Assembly on May 11 approved Israel’s application for membership, thereby admitting it to the United Nations. Its resolution approving the application noted its own Resolution 194 that called on Israel to repatriate the refugees and referred to the explanations given by Israel.”

    Recognition of Israel does not imply its legitimacy
    “During 1948”, Quigley notes, “few states had recognized Israel. But in 1949 more did so.” He continues:
    • “This recognition and the admission to UN membership led to a new argument for Israel’s legitimacy. Even if there had been no lawful basis to establish Israel, its recognition became an argument for its legitimacy.”
    • “It is not generally accepted, however, that recognition can legitimize a state that asserts sovereignty over territory to which it is not entitled. A ‘vice in title’ wrote Ian Brownlie, cannot be ‘cured by recognition’ … Thus, recognition confers no objective status.”
    • “Some scholars, like Quincy Wright, pointed to Israel’s admission to the United Nations as a fact that constituted recognition by other states. But admission to UN membership does not imply recognition by all member states or even by those voting for admission. The UN charter does not require a member state to recognize another member state. Many states that do not recognize Israel are UN members.”
    The sovereignty-vacuum theory as a legitimisation of Israel – rejected
    “Another theory that has been asserted to legitimise Israel”, states Quigley, “is that Britain created a ‘legal vacuum’ when it left Palestine. Palestine became a ‘terra delicta’ or ‘terra nullius’ in which Israel created itself through ‘auto-emancipation’ … This sovereignty-vacuum theory relies on the concept in international law that sovereignty may be established by exerting control over unoccupied territory.” He goes on:
    • “The sovereignty-vacuum theory as applied to Israel has been criticized as smacking of colonialism since it assumes the indigenous population has no rights.”
    • “Palestine was not open to occupation by whoever might take it in 1948. An inhabited territory, said Brownlie, ‘cannot be regarded as terra nullius susceptible to appropriation by individual states in case of abandonment by the existing sovereign [in this case, Britain under the mandate]. When mandate territory is abandoned, sovereignty is still located somewhere.”
    • “The International Court of Justice made this point in the case involving Spain’s departure from its colony of Western Sahara. When Spain relinquished sovereignty, Western Sahara was not terra nullius since there was a people in occupation.”

    Israel is the lawful successor to the Jewish Agency as the only authority remaining in place – rejected
    Quigley records that, “A theory suggested by Andre Cocatre-Zilgien is that Israel is the lawful successor to the Jewish Agency. After Britain’s withdrawal, he wrote, the ‘only authority remaining in place’ was, ‘in fact and even in law, the Israeli authority’.” “But”, he states, “while the Jewish Agency had the status of a public body, it represented only a minority of Palestine’s population. Thus, it could not have been deemed the bearer of sovereignty in Palestine.”

    Israel is legitimate because it exists in fact – rejected
    Quigley notes that another theory “has been posited to justify Israel’s existence, namely, that Israel is legitimate because it exists in fact.” He goes on:
    • “Reliance is placed on the Legal maxim uti possidetis, which says that one owns what one possesses.”
    • “But the international community has not followed such a rule. Rhodesia maintained a factual existence as an independent state 1965-80 but was deemed illegitimate since its government denied self-determination to a segment of the population.”
    • “Title to territory can be established by long-standing possession, a doctrine known as acquisitive prescription.” Quigley continues:
      • “But the possession must be peaceful and unchallenged.”
      • “It does not apply ‘where possession has been maintained by force in the face of persistent and violent opposition’.”
      • “A U.S. claim of acquisitive prescription to the Chamizal tract, long in dispute between it and Mexico, was denied by an arbitration panel because the possession had not been ‘undisturbed, uninterrupted, and unchallenged’. Mexico had ‘constantly challenged and questioned’ U.S. control.”
      • “In the Palestine case the possession has been persistently challenged both by neighbouring states and by the Palestine Arabs.”
      • [Though Quigley does not feel the need to mention it, it is in any case very unlikely that Israel’s possession, only since 1948, is nearly long enough to constitute “long-standing possession”.]
    The post-war armistice agreements do not affect Israel’s territorial sovereignty
    “In the spring of 1949 [after the 1948 war]”, records Quigley, “Israel concluded individual armistice agreements – though not peace treaties – with Egypt, Lebanon, Transjordan, and Syria.” He continues:
    • “Under the armistice lines drawn in these agreements, Israel retained the territory it had taken militarily [including territory beyond the abandoned partition plan] with minor adjustments.”
    • “ … By the agreements Israel held 77 per cent of Palestine [compared to the 55% envisioned under the partition plan, which was itself very generous to the Jews – see above] – all sectors except the Gaza Strip and the West Bank of the Jordan river.”
    • “The agreements specified that the armistice lines were not international borders and that their acceptance did not imply recognition of a right to any piece of territory [with the exception of the Israel-Lebanon armistice].”
    Israel’s factual existence does not make clear the extent of its territory
    “Israel’s factual existence”, Quigley states, “did not make clear the extent of its territory.” He goes on:
    • “While the Jewish Agency declared statehood within the borders proposed for a Jewish state in Resolution 181 [the abandoned partition plan], the provisional government of Israel asserted that the resolution’s rejection by the Arab Higher Committee and the military intervention by the Arab states freed it of that limitation.”
    • “When Transjordan cited the resolution in a discussion over borders in May 1949, Foreign Minister Shertok told Transjordan that Resolution 181 had no legal force since the resolution had assumed the two parties would voluntarily establish their states [thus apparently being in agreement with the arguments referred to above that Resolution 181 had been abandoned].”
    • “With respect to the territory it took outside that designated for a Jewish state in Resolution 181, Israel claimed it acted in self-defence against the Arab states and filled a ‘sovereignty vacuum’ there.” Quigley again:
      • “That position is dubious, however, since Israel’s claim to self-defence was weak [see above – and Quigley goes into considerable, and convincing, detail over this in his book, to which those who wish to know the detail may refer].”
      • “[The crucial point is that] … even acting in self-defence, a state does not have the right to territory it occupies while repelling the attack, since self-defence is justifiable only as self-protection.”
      • [Thus, whatever its rights, if any, under Resolution 181, the partition plan, Israel does not have rights to the territory it took in the 1948 war beyond that described in the partition plan
    • “[Furthermore] in October 1949 Israel told the United Nations that it ‘asserts its title to the territory over which its authority is actually recognized’, by which it presumably meant the territory within the 1949 armistice lines [that is, including the territory it took by force outside that envisaged by the partition plan] … This claim to the territory on Israel’s side of the armistice lines is doubtful, however, since [in addition to the point made in the sub-paragraph above] the armistice agreements stated that the lines were not international borders. Many specified that Israel’s borders were undetermined.”
    The special situation concerning the status of Jerusalem
    Quigley notes that “States recognizing Israel did not recognize Israeli sovereignty over west Jerusalem.” He continues:
    • “They typically cited UN resolutions proposing an international status for Jerusalem.”
    • “In December 1949 the General Assembly recommended placing Jerusalem under a ‘permanent international regime’, supervised by the Trusteeship Council.”
    • “But the Knesset soon declared west Jerusalem Israel’s capital.”
    • “Few states located embassies there, and Tel Aviv remained the effective capital.”
    The status of the Gaza Strip and West Bank after the 1948 war
    “The 1949 armistice agreements [after the 1948 war]”, states Quigley, “left the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in an uncertain status, Gaza administered by Egypt and the West Bank by Transjordan.” He goes on:
    • As regards Transjordan:
      • “In 1949, Transjordan became the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, ‘Hashemite’ after the ruling family and ‘Trans’ being dropped to indicate that, with the inclusion of the West Bank, the country spanned both sides of the Jordan River.”
      • “In 1950 Jordan’s parliament incorporated the West Bank, fulfilling king Abdullah’s long-held objective. But the parliament said it took the step ‘without prejudicing the final settlement of Palestine’s just case within the sphere of national aspirations, inter-Arab cooperation and international justice’. It thus acknowledged the self-determination right of the Palestine Arabs. The Arab states and many Palestine Arabs opposed the merger … “
      • Later in his book, Quigley notes that, however, “in response to the desire for independence that came out of the [first intifada which started in 1987], Jordan renounced its claim to the West Bank”
    • “Egypt did not incorporate the Gaza Strip but administered it as ‘an inseparable part of the land of Palestine’. The Egyptian administration continued the law of Palestine in force and issued court judgments ‘in the name of the people of Palestine’. A Gaza constitution adopted in 1962 was declared to be in force ‘until a permanent constitution for the State of Palestine is promulgated’ ... Limited legislative competence was given to a legislative council … ”
    Israel called upon to withdraw unconditionally from the occupied territories
    Quigley records that:
    • “The UN Security Council [during the 1967 war] called for a cease-fire in the 1967 hostilities, but as a result of the position taken by the United States it did not issue a clear call to Israel to withdraw.”
    • “In November 1967, in its Resolution 242, the council asked Israel to withdraw but in the context of an envisaged general settlement with Arab states.”
    • “The United States blocked an alternative resolution proposed by Latin American states to make an unconditional call on Israel for withdrawal.”
    • “In the drafting of Resolution 242, [the U.S.] blocked the placement of the word ‘the’ before ‘territories’ from which Israel was to withdraw, thereby leaving it unclear whether withdrawal was to be from all the territories it occupied, or only from some portion.”
    Quigley states that “By conditioning Israel’s obligation to withdraw on recognition of Israel by the Arab states, the Security Council in effect made the attainment of self-determination by the Palestine Arabs contingent on acts by others. This was a dubious approach since the exercise of a right cannot be conditioned on acts that may or may not be taken by a group of states. The International Court of Justice said as much when it ruled on the question of whether member states of the United Nations could vote against the admission of new states as members on the ground that they wanted other states to be admitted as part of a package. The court said admission was a right for a state satisfying the criteria set in the UN Charter and, therefore, a member state could not make an affirmative vote conditional on other considerations.”

    He goes on: “Viewed from another perspective, Resolution 242 sought to force Arab states to recognize Israel’s control over the territory inside the 1949 armistice lines in exchange for Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and West Bank.” Quigley continues:

    • “Syria criticized Resolution 242 for neglecting ‘the uprooted, dispossessed people in exile’.”
    • “The Organisation of African Unity said Resolution 242 failed to guarantee the rights to which the Palestinian people are entitled.”
    “Since Resolution 242 called on Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but from no other territory”, Quigley goes on, “it was interpreted by some as an implied recognition of Israel’s sovereignty within the 1949 armistice lines. ‘It would appear’, wrote Konstantin Obradovic, ‘that the international community has tacitly resigned itself to the fruits of the 1948 conquest remaining finally in Israeli hands, although in strictly legal terms, that should obviously not be the case’.” Quigley states that “It is questionable, however, that Resolution 242 had this effect.” He continues :
    • “Resolution 242 sought to deal with the recent hostilities and did not address the question of Israel’s borders.”
    • “The Security Council adopted Resolution 242 under Chapter 6 of the UN Charter, which gives it the power to recommend solutions for disputes.”
    • “The Council did not act under Chapter 7, which gives it the power to make decisions binding on member states to resolve breaches of the peace.”
    • “Thus, whatever its meaning, Resolution 242 was not binding on UN member states.”
    Quigley notes that “In any event, in 1980 the Security Council issued an unconditional call on Israel to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and West Bank.” He carries on:
    • “ ‘Reaffirming that acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible’, it [the Security Council] referred to ‘the overriding necessity to end the prolonged occupation of Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem’.”
    • “The General Assembly also called for unconditional withdrawal. It said that ‘the acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible’ and that ‘Israel must withdraw unconditionally from all the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem’.”
    UN Security Council and General Assembly declare Israeli annexation of east Jerusalem a nullity
    “After the 1967 war”, states Quigley, “Israel treated east Jerusalem differently from the rest of the West Bank … the [Israeli] government declared Israeli law applicable to an area that included east Jerusalem, plus adjacent West Bank territory of approximately equal size … [and] merged this newly enlarged east Jerusalem area with west Jerusalem.” He continues:
    • “The action was condemned by the UN Security Council and General Assembly as annexation and, therefore, a violation of the rights of the Palestine Arabs.”
    • “The annexation of east Jerusalem was not recognised by other states and was condemned as unlawful.”
    • “In 1980, the Knesset declared ‘Jerusalem, complete and united’ to be ‘the capital of Israel’ … [and] denominated this law a ‘basic law’ giving it quasi-judicial rank. The Security Council and General Assembly declared the 1980 law a nullity.”
    Illegality of Israel’s continued occupation of the occupied territories
    Quigley notes that “A number of theories were suggested to justify Israel’s temporary or permanent retention of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but all were based on the view that Israel acted in self-defence [and the self-defence claim is comprehensively disputed – see above]. One theory was that a state taking territory in self-defence may lawfully annex it.” Quigley goes on:
    • “As already indicated, however, a state that uses force in self-defence may not retain territory it takes while repelling an attack [Even] if Israel had acted in self-defence, that would not justify its retention of the Gaza Strip and West Bank”
    • “Under the UN Charter there can lawfully be no territorial gains from war, even by a state acting in self-defence.”
    • “The response of other states to Israel’s occupation showed a virtually unanimous opinion that even if Israel’s action was defensive, its retention of the West Bank and Gaza Strip was not.” Quigley notes further on in his book that “The General Assembly characterised Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a denial of self-determination and hence a ‘serious and increasing threat to international peace and security’.”
    “Another thesis”, records Quigley, “was that Israel’s taking of the West Bank and Gaza Strip was necessary and proportional in relation to its security needs and that this necessity did not immediately subside. But even if Israel had responded to an imminent attack in 1967 [and the evidence is very far from this – see the History of Modern Palestine referred to above], it quickly eliminated any threat to itself. At that point its defensive right would have ceased and it would have been obligated to withdraw.”
    Quigley states that “It was also asserted that Israel might lawfully retain the Gaza Strip and West Bank, pending a peace agreement between itself and the Arab states. Others argued that it might lawfully retain them permanently on the theory that Jordan had not held lawful title and, therefore, there was no sovereign power to whom the territories could revert.” He goes on:

    • “Israel, it was said – particularly because it took the territories defensively [this is very dubious, as noted above] – had a better claim to title than anyone else.”
    • “That argument ignored, however, the generally recognised proposition that uncertainty over sovereignty provides no ground to retain territory taken in hostilities … ”
    • “The argument also overlooked the fact that the Palestine Arabs had a sound claim to the Gaza Strip and West Bank on the basis of their right of self-determination.”
    UN General Assembly rejects Camp David restrictions on Palestinian rights over the occupied territories
    “In 1978”, Quigley records, “Israel concluded a treaty with Egypt, the Camp David agreement, that required Israel to return the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt. The agreement also made provision for the West Bank and Gaza Strip, calling for limited autonomy for the Arab population, a continued Israeli military presence, and a prohibition against any Palestinian military force. It contemplated, as construed by Israel, permanent control by Israel of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.” He continues:
    • “The West Bank and Gaza population rejected the Camp David agreement, on the grounds that:
      • they had had no role in its elaboration
      • and it did not contemplate self-determination.”
    • “The UN General Assembly agreed that the agreement violated the Palestine Arabs’ right to self-determination.”

    CONCLUSION
    The detailed examination above shows that, in the legal sense of the word, Israel is very far from being a legitimate state. Indeed, its legal legitimacy is threadbare to the point of non-existence. To those of us who are not lawyers, and know the history of the Zionist project, this is unsurprising. It would be strange indeed if the progressive dispossession of the Palestinians’ land, culminating [in 1948] in a bloody war complete with extensive ethnic cleansing, and finally [in 1967] with a war of expansion resulting in a 40-plus-year occupation of the territory remaining to the dispossessed, somehow turned out to be legal after all.




    PART III
    ISRAEL AS A ‘LEGITIMATE’ STATE IN THE SENSE OF VALID/ACCEPTABLE

    ISRAEL’S LEGITIMACY IN THE SENSE OF VALIDITY/ACCEPTABILITY
    Legitimacy in the sense of validity/acceptability
    We next examine Israel’s legitimacy in the sense of validity/acceptability – ‘Normal, regular; conformable to a recognized standard type; valid or acceptable; justifiable, reasonable’

    ISRAEL’S ABNORMALITY: THE RACIST STATE
    UN General Assembly’s condemnation of Israel as a racist regime, and of Zionism as racism
    Quigley states that, “In a resolution on racial discrimination in 1975 [General Assembly Resolution 3379 of 10th November, 1975], the assembly quoted a resolution of the Organisation of African Unity ‘that the racist regime in occupied Palestine and the racist regimes in Zimbabwe and South Africa have a common imperialist origin, forming a whole and having the same racist structure and being organically linked in their policy aimed at repression of the dignity and integrity of the human being’. The assembly referred as well to a statement by the Non-aligned Countries that ‘condemned Zionism as a threat to world peace and security and called upon all countries to oppose this racist and imperialist ideology’. With those quotations as a preface, the General Assembly proclaimed ‘that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination’.”

    Quigley notes that, “This characterisation has been strongly criticized. But the opinion that Zionism as practiced in Israel reflects racial animus against the Palestine Arabs is widely held in the world community. In particular, those states previously subject to foreign authority view the Palestine Arabs as being in the situation in which they found themselves prior to independence.”

    He goes on: “This characterization called Israel’s formation and existence into question. Jeanne Kirkpatrick, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, commented: ‘It is a short step from the proposition that Zionism is racism to the proposition that the State of Israel is based on aggression’. She said: ‘Adoption of this resolution was tantamount to declaring Israel an illegitimate state based on an illegitimate philosophy’. Zionism, she said, ‘is the national movement on which Israel is based. When the UN majority declared Zionism is racism, it declared immoral the foundations of Israel’.”

    Quigley notes that, subsequently [in 1991], the General Assembly voted, tersely, “to revoke the determination contained in its resolution 3379 … of 10th November 1975.” However, he also notes the context:

    • A focus by the Palestinians, in the face of their own weakness and the strength of an Israel supported strongly by the United States, on reversing the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, rather than on their original aim of reversing the original occupation of the 1948 territory which created Israel.
    • The failure, in 1983, of the UN to carry out a General Assembly proposal for an international conference to end the conflict, based on lines somewhat similar to the present-day “two-state” solution (though they also called for a Palestinian right of return to home areas inside Israel). Quigley reports that though “Most UN member states supported the idea of a conference, Israel did not, knowing it would be outnumbered by states insisting on proposals it sought to avoid. The United States sided with Israel. No conference was held, and no other steps towards a settlement followed.”
    • Quigley continues: “Still [in 1991], the United States would not accede to a UN conference, because in such a context Israel might be pressured to respect the rights of the Palestinians. Instead, the United States promoted the idea of negotiation between the two parties alone, and without a prior understanding of the rights to be protected.”
    • He goes on: “The United States organized a conference … to adopt this approach … In a letter to the Palestinians, the United States made clear its view that the UN should keep hands off the anticipated bilateral process: ‘Since it is in the interest of all parties for this process to succeed, while this process is actively ongoing, the United States will not support a competing or parallel process in the United Nations Security Council.’ The United States did not want the Security Council criticizing Israel for rights violations.” [This “peace process”, and the Oslo peace process which followed it, ultimately came to nothing.]
    • Quigley continues: “As part of its diplomatic offensive, the United States promoted repeal of the resolution passed in 1975 that called Zionism racist. Against the fears of Arab governments that nullifying the resolution would encourage Israel to become more intransigent, U.S. diplomats argued that repeal would encourage Israel to participate meaningfully in the bilateral process sponsored by the United States.” [We might add that all can now see how naïve, or duplicitous, this view was.]
    Zionism
    Zionism was discussed in our article Bully Boys II: Thoughts On Mearsheimer And Walt’s Book On The Israel Lobby, which is also available on our website referred to above. The next paragraph reproduces in full what was said in that article.

    Historical Zionism – that is, Zionism before the creation of the state of Israel - can be defined as a project by Jews from outside Palestine to inhabit a Jewish area in Palestine. [Jewish author Michael] Neumann again: "Having a project to inhabit a certain region in no way entitles you to wield the power of life and death over its current inhabitants, or for that matter to give them a choice of submission or departure."  He goes on “Since your project is illegitimate, it may be resisted just as fiercely as any other project that gives someone, illegitimately, the power of life and death over your existence.” Historical Zionism involved supporting this Zionist project without regard for the rights of the people who were there in the first place, the Palestinians, as the murderous history of the Zionist project referred to below [in that article] amply demonstrates. What then, can current Zionism mean – that is, Zionism since the creation in 1948, by murderous violence, of the state of Israel (a de facto state – its legitimacy is another matter)? Current Zionism, therefore, can only be defined as similar continuing support for post-creation Israel without regard for the legitimate and human rights of the people who were there in the first place – the Palestinians. Thus, anyone who now supports Israel without regard for the rights of the Palestinians is a Zionist (or an apologist for Zionists), and, since the Israeli state currently ignores Palestinian rights, it follows that it itself is a Zionist state unless and until it changes its policies. But, as the history referred to below [in that article] demonstrates, the Israeli state is also a Jewish supremacist state, a racist state. A Zionist, therefore, (whether or not he or she is Jewish – many of them are) is a supporter of such a state, and is therefore a racist. Zionism is thus an oppressive, racist creed which should be resisted by all people who care for justice and human rights for all. It is vital that it be carefully distinguished from both the notions of Jewishness, and of the people of the state of Israel. It is also even more vital that any attempt by Zionists to confuse the three different notions – Jewishness, the people of the state of Israel, and the Zionist cause – for their own malicious purposes, be similarly resisted by all people who care for justice and human rights for all.

    There is an apparent problem here – though on examination it turns out not to be a problem at all. In recent months, American Zionists, and their apologists, frantically attempting to change the goalposts (the history of the Zionist project shows them to be masters of self-serving ambiguity), have asserted that there are Zionists who desire a “two-state solution”. In the first place, the sincerity of such an assertion may be doubted since events have shown that America cannot achieve such a resolution of the conflict. It is easy, therefore, to profess a solution which you are sure will not in any case be achieved. Secondly, they do not express the details of such a “two-state solution”, and in particular do not demand a viable Palestinian state in any manner that the rest of us may consider satisfactory. However, others, notably Justice Goldstone, have referred to themselves as Zionists (though in his case it may have been a matter of self-defence). It remains true, however, that the great majority of Zionists adhere to the Zionist project and its unconcern with Palestinian and human rights. There is no need, therefore to amend the charge that Zionism is a racist creed, despite some misapplying the term to themselves. In any case, what ultimately matters is the behaviour of the Israeli state, and the attitudes of all of us to it.


    Discussion of Zionism as racism
    In the (at least officially) multicultural world of the US and the UK, racism is rightly regarded as anathema. However, there is one form of racism which is never talked about – Zionism.

    In the US, this is because all of the media, whether print or broadcast, brow-beaten by the pro-Israel lobby, is strongly pro-Israel, as discussed in part IV of this article, What Is To Be Done, in the section headed Reason for hope  - uncompromising journalists and writers.

    In the UK, the position of the media is more complex, as also discussed in part IV as noted above. Though the “liberal” British print media give excellent coverage to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there has as yet been no overt discussion of Zionism as racism – though there are many background noises. The situation is very different in the broadcast media, including the BBC, which (with the exception of Channel 4), are similarly bullied by the British pro-Israel lobby. Thus, fairly recently, on the BBC’s flagship Question Time programme, the racist British National Party’s Nick Griffin was roundly and rightly castigated by all members of the panel, including the presenter David Dimbleby. However, as noted below, his brother Jonathan, also a notable BBC presenter, although initially keen to appear in Peter Oborne’s Channel 4 programme investigating the British pro-Israel lobby, suddenly felt unable to do so.

    Zionism is the elephant in the room.


    Is The State Of Israel A Jewish State?
    “Jews are said”, notes Quigley, “to form a ‘nation’ because of a self-perception of commonality and a perception by others.” He goes on:
    • “Supreme Court Justice Moshe Silberg said that in view of  ‘the exclusive status of the Jews in the world’ and of ‘the fact that we are always so different from others’, Jewry must be considered ‘as a people or nation’.”
    • “The government and Supreme Court of Israel both view Jewishness as something other than birth as a Jew, because they consider that a Jew who opts for a religion other than Judaism is not a Jew.” Quigley continues:
      • “ … Judge Silberg [stated] that ‘a Jew who has become a Christian is not deemed a Jew’.”
      • “Judge Zvi Berenson quoted a statement made at the United Nations on behalf of the Jewish Agency by Moshe Sharett, later a prime minister of Israel. Sharett said that, to be a Jew ‘it is essential that the person has not converted to another religion. He need not be an active, pious Jew. He is still considered a Jew. But if he converts to another religion he can no longer demand to be recognized as a Jew. The religious test is decisive’.”
    • “That conclusion [in the sub-paragraph above] was written into [Israeli] statute law in 1970. The Knesset amended the Law of Return to define a Jew as ‘a person who was born of a Jewish mother or has become converted to Judaism and who is not a member of another religion’ … By using religious affiliation as a criterion, the Knesset suggests that Jewry is not a nation.”
    Quigley notes that, “ … others [contend] that the link among Jews is religion, not ‘nationhood’.” He goes on:
    • “The United States has … taken the position that Jewry does not constitute a nation. It was explained – regarding a possible relation to Israel of Jews who are U.S. citizens – that the U.S. government ‘does not recognize a legal-political relationship based upon the religious identification of American citizens … Accordingly, the Department of State does not regard the ‘Jewish people’ concept as a concept of international law.”
    • “A second obstacle to Jewish nationhood is the fact that Jews do not inhabit a single territory but are nationals of many states. Because of the nationality of Jews in various states, early Zionist diplomats used the term ‘Jewish people’, rather than ‘Jewish nation’, though they intended the ‘Jewish people’ be considered a ‘nation’ in the international law sense of a group having collective rights.”

    “Even though there is no ‘Jewish nation’”, continues Quigley, “it is possible there could be an ‘Israeli nation’, made up of those Jews, or perhaps those Jews and Arabs, living in Israel.” He carries on:
    • “The government and courts of Israel have said, however, that there is no ‘Israeli nation’. In 1972, a Jewish Israeli asked to change the ‘nationality’ notation in his identity card from ‘Jewish’ to ‘Israeli’. Israel’s identity cards call for nationality, and the designation used for Jewish Israelis is ‘Jew’. The interior minister denied the request, and the applicant sued. The Supreme Court also denied the request, stating that there is ‘no Israeli nation separate from the Jewish people. The Jewish people is composed not only of those residing in Israel but also of Diaspora Jewry’. Chief Judge Simon Agranat stated that the creation of an Israeli nation would negate the aspiration on which Israel was established. The court’s decision reinforced the concept that Israel exists not for those within its territory but for persons wherever they are located who make up the ‘Jewish nation’. That definition of Israel’s constituency excludes Arabs, even if they are citizens of Israel.”
    Israel used to demand of the Palestinians that they recognise the existence of Israel. But recently Netanyahu has said he wants a Palestinian recognition of Israel as a "Jewish state" – see the paragraph below

    Israeli Racism – Further evidence in recent legal measures
    Further evidence of Israeli racism comes from recent legal measures:
    • Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman, an overt racist, had wanted a loyalty oath from all existing Palestinian citizens of Israel. A bill put to the vote on 10th October 2010 in a divided Cabinet drew back from that, applying only to future non-Jewish citizens – it would not apply to Jews, so it would be a case of racist discrimination on any interpretation. The bill specifically required new non-Jewish citizens to pledge loyalty to Israel as a "Jewish and democratic state". Later that month, Netanyahu (perhaps in defence of the “Jewish interest”, after widespread condemnation and outrage) said he wanted to extend the loyalty oath to also include future Jewish citizens as well as future non-Jewish citizens. The Israeli parliament must ratify such an amended bill before it becomes law. The bill had, when Netanyahu made his comments, yet to be approved by the country's parliament:
      • The commentator Gideon Levy said in Haaretz on 10th October (that is, before Netanyahu’s subsequent comments): "Remember this day. It's the day Israel changes its character ... From now on, we will be living in a new, officially approved, ethnocratic, theocratic, nationalistic and racist country." An Arab Knesset member, said the measure was a provocation whose "purpose is to solidify the inferior status of Arabs by law".
    • In November 2010, it was reported that a Knesset committee had adopted a law that enables “reception committees” of “communal localities” with less than 500 families to refuse would-be residents not to their liking. The law, due to come into force within a matter of days of that report, is designed to circumvent the judgment of the Supreme Court forbidding the refusal to admit Arabs. The wording of the law, said the report, is a masterpiece of verbal acrobatics in order to avoid the use of the word “Arab”. But, the report noted, the meaning is clear to everybody - this is a clear case of racial segregation.
    • Due to time pressures to publish this article, we have not checked whether either of these two legal measures did subsequently become law. The point is that the intent of the measures is clearly racist.

    Israeli Racism – Further evidence from recent events
    Newspaper reports in the British press a few months ago indicated that Israel is “in thrall” to mob rule racism:
    • two Arab citizens of Israel were "disappeared" by the state's secret police
    • an Arab member of the Knesset faced death threats, was jostled and sworn at in the Knesset chamber, and was stripped of her parliamentary privileges for being on the Gaza aid flotilla;
    • a Palestinian man from Jerusalem was convicted of rape after having consensual sex with an Israeli woman who believed him to be a fellow Jew
    • the Israeli children of migrant workers are threatened with expulsion, as a government campaign warns against hiring foreign workers.
    • The Association for Civil Rights in Israel referred to various laws at that time working their way through parliament:
      • to gag Israeli rights groups
      • to threaten imprisonment or financial sanctions for marking the Nakba with protests
      • a bill that criminalises starting up or developing boycotts against Israel.
    • The reports noted that “all this has widespread support – in fact, one of the few causes to bring thousands of Israelis on to the streets was a recent ultra-orthodox protest for the right to segregate Ashkenazi children, of European origin, from their Middle Eastern Jewish classmates.”
    Israeli racism - ‘Judaisation’ of land, and expulsion of Palestinian Arabs.
    From the beginning of the Zionist project in Palestine, the acquisition of land by the Jewish National Fund, under a system where it could never be sold back, was regarded by Zionists as vital to their goal of a Jewish state. Furthermore, land acquisition, through purchase or confiscation, and the expulsion of Arabs, went hand in hand.

    In the period both before and during the British mandate (from 1922 to 1948), tracts of land in Palestine were purchased by the Jewish National Fund in close proximity to each other, to create the geographic nucleus for a state.

    Before, and during the 1948 war, large-scale ethnic cleansing was carried out by the victorious Jewish forces in mandate Palestine, in order to attempt to achieve a Jewish-only state. The following is a summary – greater detail is given in the history referred to above:

    • The period from September 1947 to May 1948, when the last British forces left, marked a descent into a civil war which had the character of ethnic cleansing. The expulsion of Palestinians by Jewish forces began. In April and May 1948 the Jewish leadership put into operation a plan to seize most of Palestine and to cleanse the future Jewish state of as many Palestinians as possible. The nature of the conflict was transformed into an ethnic cleansing operation. The Palestine Arabs were terrorized and intimidated - their fear for their lives was accentuated by several massacres, which may have been meant to, as they eventually did, force Palestinians living in areas falling into Jewish hands to flee under the threat of death or eviction. These atrocities were not randomly committed; they were part of a master plan to rid the future Jewish state of as many Palestinians as possible.
    • The 1948 war proper began in May 1948. Immediately after the British mandate ended and the last British troops had left, the Jewish Agency declared the creation of the state of Israel – in response, the Arab League intervened on behalf of the Palestine Arabs. It raged both on the edges of what was, by partition, to be the Jewish state, and within areas the Jews coveted in the proposed Palestinian state. The victorious Jewish forces took areas beyond those proposed in the partition plan, and carried out further large-scale ethnic cleansing. By the winter of 1948, when the war ended, out of about 850,000 Palestinians living in the territories designated by the UN as a Jewish state, only 160,000 remained on or nearby their land and homes, becoming the Palestinian minority in Israel. The rest were expelled or fled under the threat of expulsion, and a few thousand died in the massacres. Three-quarters of a million Palestinians became refugees.
    • Post-war ethnic cleansing from the de facto Israeli state continued until 1954 - Palestinians were being driven to the border and expelled, in the same way as had happened during the war. Between 1949 and 1952, 40 Palestinian villages were depopulated, their inhabitants either moved en bloc to other villages, driven across the border, or dispersed within the country. Those who lost their homes but remained within Israel joined the large community of internal refugees which in 2006 numbering some 200,000.
    The Israelis were constantly on the alert lest the international community insist on implementing the commitment made in the December 1948 General Assembly Resolution 194 that called on Israel to repatriate the refugees. To avert this, the Israeli government began, in August 1948, to execute an anti-repatriation policy, which resulted in the total destruction or confiscation of every deserted Palestinian house and dwelling, in both rural village and urban neighbourhood:
    • Legislation was passed in 1950 that allowed the government to go on confiscating Palestinian property and use it for public purposes.
    • In 1953, the army too was authorised to make use of Palestinian villages and fields for ‘security’ purposes. These laws provided the constitutional basis for the continued depopulation of Palestinian villages in the name of ‘security’. In those early years after the 1948 war, the army occupied dozens of Arab villages in the north and coastal plain, and expelled their populations.
    • In addition to the above, there were the 370 formerly Palestinian villages destroyed in the 1948 war – Jewish real estate was hastily erected on top of their remains.
    • There was also the land of those evicted after the war – for significant evictions took place after the war. The continued depopulation after the 1948 war was closely connected to Israel’s absorption and settlement policy. The government wished to settle new, post-war Jewish immigrants on deserted Palestinian land and property as quickly as possible, and as close as possible to the disputed borders. Locating them on the border, often on the ruins of deserted Palestinian villages, provided an easy solution for problems of accommodation and land – it also extended Judaisation into geographical areas it had been unable to reach during the Mandate. This campaign of land and village confiscation continued from 1949 to 1954.
    • In the south, the Bedouins were settled by force in a process of dispossession that robbed them of the vast tracts of land they had owned in the late Ottoman period, and of their nomadic culture.

    Jewish settlement in the occupied territories began almost immediately after the 1967 war; the beginning of a continuing attempt to Judaise them. The first began among Palestinians living within the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. “Judaising the Galilee” was a clandestine programme until 1976, when it became an open slogan of the Housing Ministry. Jews were asked to settle in Galilee in every possible way: new towns, new kibbutzim, new community centres. The emergency regulations from the British mandate were used again to expropriate land without compensation or the right of protest. The land was used for new Jewish towns (no new Arab town has ever been built in Israel) and community centres to attract upwardly mobile people from Tel-Aviv. Land was also expropriated for the Israeli army, which seemed to be in constant need of more training grounds. Thousands of Galilean Arabs had their land and houses taken from them by force. Further settlement – further Judaisation - has taken place at intervals ever since settlement began, for the last 40-plus years, right up to the present day – a creeping annexation. The construction of the notorious wall, begun in 2002, to separate the West Bank from Israeli territory, with large inroads to ensure that some of the major Jewish settlements would be on the Israeli side of the divide, is part of that process. Jewish settlement always involves ethnic cleansing, the expulsion of Palestinians - settlements are built on previously confiscated land. There are now more than 230 settlements in the West Bank, which (including Arab East Jerusalem) house over 500,000 settlers - around 60% of the West Bank has now been confiscated or annexed:
    • Settlements were not, and were not perceived to be, a security requirement.
    • The settlers, and the ideologues behind them testified, in the clearest possible fashion, to an intention to displace the occupied population, in an incremental and slowly intensifying pattern of encroachment.
    • Furthermore, a settlement needs access, a road to connect it with other settlements - roads are another reason for confiscating Palestinian property - roads are long and wide and their route can be shifted to achieve maximum impact in terms of houses demolished, orchards uprooted, and so on.
    Israeli racism - discrimination against the Palestinian Arabs who remained within Israel
    Basic laws passed by Israel in the 1950s served to reinforce a discriminatory system against non-Jews that persists today.  Three laws in particular affected, and continue to affect, the Palestinian citizens of Israel:
    • The 1950 Law of Return gave “every Jew” a “right to come to this country” (whether they wanted to or not). This unrestricted right of immigration for Jews is deemed a basic aspect of the concept of a Jewish state. However, Palestine Arabs displaced in 1948 have no right under Israeli law to return.
    • The 1952 Nationality Law conferred Israeli citizenship automatically on every Jew who settles in Israel and does not reject it. As regards Palestinians, the Nationality Law grants citizenship to a person who maintained continuous residence in Israel from May 18th 1948 to July 14th 1952. or returned during that period and registered as an inhabitant. It was directed at Palestine Arabs who departed in the 1948 war, and therefore gave them no right to citizenship unless they returned by the specified date in 1952. The government, however, permitted only a few to legally return - the vast majority could not, and their land, as ‘absentee’ property, was controlled by the custodian of absentee property, who rented it to Jews – the rent money going to the government.
    • the law of the Jewish National Fund created a discriminatory system of land transactions, used to legalise retrospectively the expropriation of land (see above), the prohibition of selling state land (still most of the land available in Israel) to Palestinians, or even absentee land. Most importantly, the laws defined most of the land for sale in Israel as the exclusive and perpetual property of the Jewish people. The result was that almost all of Palestinian-owned land was taken by the government and turned into state land to be sold or leased only to Jews. By the end of the confiscation policy and the formulation of the policy legalizing it, 92% of the country’s land had fallen into Jewish hands. Palestinian land, which on the eve of war amounted to about 4.6 million dunams within the territory that became Israel, was reduced by 1950 to half a million dunams. By 2000, even though the Palestinian population had grown tenfold, the amount of land available to them remained almost unchanged.
    Israeli racism - discrimination against Israel’s Mizrachi Jews
    After 1948, the Zionist elite (East European Ashkenazi Jews) felt that Israel needed numbers to survive even if they came from ‘underdeveloped and primitive’ areas of the world. There was a drive for the mass immigration of Jews from the Arab world:
    • When Mizrachi (Arab Jewish) immigrants arrived in Israel, they were greeted in a manner devised to show them that they had left a primitive traditional existence for a modern one, and ought to be grateful. In fact, they were needed for their (cheap) labour. They lacked financial means, which made them hostages to the power of the Israeli state absorption apparatus, which was run by East European Jews harbouring racist and condescending views about Arabs in general, and Arab Jews in particular.
    • North African Jews were mainly unskilled workers:
      • who were pushed into the development towns the government had erected on the borders. The intention was to expand the Jewish community, which tended to prefer the urban centres on the coast, into those areas.
      • Some were asked to repopulate the deserted and abandoned Arab neighbourhoods in what had been the mixed towns of Palestine - the choicest part of refugee spoils having already been taken by public bodies and then the Kibbutz movement – what was left was turned into crowded slums for North African Jews. But they did not just suffer from poor-quality housing, of which they were the main recipients.
      • Mizrachi Jews:
        • did not receive the same services and benefits as other unemployed (the Histradut union was not immune from Ashkenazi racist attitudes)
        • nor did they enjoy the union’s help in their demand for equal pay for equal work.
        • The speaking of Arabic was forbidden, as were their customs and costumes.
        • Immigrants were offered a second-rate education, full of Zionist indoctrination, but inadequate in preparing them for social mobility and progress.
        • The Mizrachi Jews were also needed in order to expand agricultural production. They were not invited to join the Ashkenazi kibbutzim, except for young children, who were admitted without their parents (these children, unlike their parents, gained the privilege of an exceptional mobility and integration). In general, Mizrachi Jews were thrust into collective cultivation of the land in areas not desired by the kibbutz movement. The economic advantage from the low wages paid to Mizrachi Jews was an incentive to ignore the situation.
    • Even after many years, the Mizrachi Jews have not escaped the lower social stratum their new state assigned to them. In contrast to the prosperity of the Ashkenazim, they remain stuck in the same unskilled, underpaid and low-status rungs of the socio-economic ladder.
     
    Israeli racism - discrimination against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories
    The Palestinians in the Occupied Territories are also subject to discriminatory laws which treat them differently to Israel’s citizens [the settlers] who settled in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This too, can be regarded as Israeli racism. It is discussed in detail below in relation to Israeli as a colonial state, in the section Israel’s Abnormality: The Colonial State, The coloniser’s discriminatory treatment in law of the colonized.

    ISRAEL’S ABNORMALITY: THE COLONIAL STATE
    The Israelis As Colonisers
    Quigley records that, “In 1973, the UN General Assembly condemned ‘the unholy alliance between Portuguese colonialism, South African racism, Zionism and Israeli imperialism’.”

    We can look at empires and colonisers in the past, and derive from many colonial experiences a typical pattern. Typically, a colonising state:

    • Consists of foreigners who take the land of another state by force, against the resistance of the indigenous population
    • When installed, subjugates and oppresses the indigenous population by:
      • Treating them unequally in a political fashion, in particular by denying them their right of self-determination
      • Treating them unequally under the law
      • Treating them unequally in a physical way, by military and police oppression
      • Treating them unequally by suppressing them economically
      • Treating them unequally by oppressively denying them their human rights generally
    • The unequal treatment referred to in each case above is discriminatory – that is, it is based on racial, ethnic or religious lines – its ultimate purpose is to differentiate the coloniser from the colonised (the oppressor from the oppressed, “us” from “them”), and then treat the oppressed in an inferior way
    • Racism is a frequent feature of empires and colonisers – it could be argued that, psychologically, it is “needed” by the coloniser – in order to “justify” (at least to himself) the inferior treatment of the colonised. At any rate, whatever is the ultimate reason for racism, the fact is that racism is often present in colonial situations.
    The Zionists and their project, which resulted in the bloody and murderous creation of Israel, conform to this pattern as can be seen from the History of Modern Palestine referred to above. The various aspects of colonialism referred to in the paragraph above, are considered below in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, using details from that history.

    Foreigners take the land of another state by force against the resistance of the indigenous population
    The Zionist movement consisted of European Jews (foreigners to Palestine), and their purpose was to secure Palestine for the Jewish people (also foreigners to Palestine). The Zionists, as witness their statements, were unconcerned, or indifferent to the fact that Palestine was not an empty land – it had its indigenous, overwhelmingly Arab, population, which had lived there for more than 1,000 years, more or less harmoniously with the small Jewish element. At the start of the project, Palestine was overwhelmingly Arab in population – well over 90% of the population
    In the years of the British mandate, the British allowed significant Jewish immigration so that, when they left just prior to the 1948 war, the Jews now constituted 30% of the population (although owning only 6% of the land). Furthermore, the British allowed the Jewish Agency to operate as a state within a state, and permitted the build-up of the main Jewish armed force, the Haganah. Taken together, these developments were such  that the Jews now constituted a serious, perhaps mortal, threat to the Arab Palestinians
    In the months preceding Britain’s departure in 1948, civil war broke out in Palestine between Jew and Arab, and ethnic cleansing began. When Britain left, the Jewish Agency unilaterally declared the state of Israel, Arab armies intervened, and in the ensuing 1948 war proper, the superior Jewish forces, using a detailed plan to seize most of Palestine and cleanse the future Jewish state of as many Palestinians as possible, were victorious. (The plan had been drawn up even before the 1947 partition plan was abandoned.) This conventional war occurred on the edges of what was to be the Jewish state and within areas the Jews coveted in the proposed Palestinian state. When the conflict ended in January 1949, the de facto Israeli state now comprised 79% of the area of the Palestine Mandate:

    • compared to the 55%. the Jews would have got under the abandoned partition plan
    • and the abandoned partition plan was itself generous, because of it's recognition of a Jewish state covering 55% of a country where Jews were only around 30% of the population (and that only recently – 25 years beforehand they had been less than 10% of the population), and where Zionist landholdings still amounted to less than 8% of the land.
    Only 21% of mandate Palestine now remained in Arab hands - the Palestinian Nakbah (the catastrophe):
    • Out of about 850,000 Palestinians living in the territories designated by the UN as a Jewish state, only 160,000 remained (to become the Palestinian minority in Israel). The rest were expelled or fled under the threat of expulsion, and a few thousand died in the massacres.
    • Three-quarters of a million Palestinians became refugees – in the Gaza strip, in the West Bank, in neighbouring Arab countries - crammed into tented camps, living off charity and solidarity. Israel has always refused to allow them to return, and has never compensated them for the loss of their homes and property.

    The 1967 6-day war was long planned by the Israelis, and Israel was the aggressor – as the history referred to above makes clear. In the 1967 war, the victorious Israelis invaded and occupied the remaining 21% of what had been Palestine. This territory consisted of the (larger) West Bank and the (smaller) Gaza Strip, which came to be referred to as the Occupied Territories. Israel to this day still occupies the West Bank. Though Israel in recent years left the Gaza Strip, the Strip is currently under siege, after an Israeli assault on it in December 2008.

    In a more typical colonisation, the imperial army would march in on some pretext and militarily take over, pretty well in one fell swoop. The Zionist project was somewhat different due to the initial weakness of the Zionists – they therefore had to do their colonisation in a more or less “peaceful” stage (prior to the 1948 war) until they were strong enough, when they then opted for the “military” solution (the 1948 war and subsequent conflicts - in particular the 1967 war). Because of this initial weakness, the Zionists resorted to ambiguity and duplicity to disguise their aims, and effectively lobbied powerful groups to obtain crucial assistance (for example, the Balfour Declaration and the British Cabinet in 1917, US pressure to get the UN General Assembly to vote for partition [though partition was later abandoned]). They are still doing so today (for example, their ultimate aims in the West Bank are ambiguous, they very effectively use the powerful American pro-Israel lobby). In general, though, the Zionist project, and the creation of Israel, consists of foreigners taking Palestine by force from the indigenous Palestinians.


    The coloniser’s denial of the right of self-determination
    The denial of the Palestinian’s right to self-determination has already been extensively covered above in part II of this article, Israel As A ‘Legitimate’ State In The Legal Sense. The conclusion of that section is that Israel is very far from being a legitimate state - indeed, its legal legitimacy is threadbare to the point of non-existence.

    The coloniser’s discriminatory treatment in law of the colonised
    From the beginning of the occupation, international jurists commented on the illegitimacy of the Israeli resolution to maintain the territories as an occupied area without adhering to the requirements sanctioned by the Geneva Convention for the treatment of such areas. Israel violated almost every clause of that convention by settling Jews there, expelling Palestinians, and imposing collective punishment.

    The legal basis for the occupation regime was the notorious mandatory regulations of 1945. The Israelis now added a new regulation allowing the army to expel from anywhere in Israel and the Occupied Territories anyone suspected of being a security risk. The Palestinian minority in Israel are subject to discriminatory laws passed by Israel in the 1950s. These have already been discussed in detail above in relation to Israeli racism.

    Quigley noted that the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories are also subject to discriminatory laws which treat them differently to Israel’s citizens [the settlers] who settled in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Quigley states:

    • “To govern the settlers, the military governors issued military orders that repeated verbatim the texts of various Israeli laws. In this way the settlers were freed from the local law of the West Bank or Gaza Strip with respect to education, personal status, health, and labour. They gained a kind of extraterritoriality. For most legal purposes Israeli settlers … were deemed … to be residents of Israel rather than of the West Bank or Gaza Strip.”
    • “This separation resulted in separate legal regimes for settlers and for Arabs … Arabs continued to function under the prior existing law and institutions – which meant Jordanian law and courts in the West Bank and Palestinian law and courts in the Gaza Strip – except to the extent they were superseded by military orders and military courts.”
    • “For [civil] lawsuits:
      • between settlers the government created courts in the settlements, and it made the judgments of these courts enforceable in courts inside the 1949 armistice lines. The government also authorised settlers to sue one another in courts inside the 1949 armistice lines. Arab courts continued to function in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, but the settlers did not file there since the government provided [these] non-Arab alternatives.
      • If an Arab wanted to sue a settler, the Arab courts would, in theory, have jurisdiction. But they had no enforcement mechanism to compel an appearance in court by a settler defendant.”
    • “[In criminal matters]:
      • Arab police abstained from entering the settlements to investigate crime or make arrests
      • In criminal matters the settlers were made subject to Israeli law rather than the local law and courts. Criminal cases against settlers are to date prosecuted either in Israeli courts within the 1949 armistice lines, in settlement courts, or, rarely, in Israeli military courts. Arab courts still do not try settlers. In a 1984 directive to West Bank prosecutors and judges the government ordered Arab courts not to try settlers … The exclusion of criminal jurisdiction over settlers left Arabs unprotected from physical attacks by settlers, which occurred with some frequency. Israeli authorities rarely prosecuted the perpetrators of those attacks.”

    The coloniser’s physical (military and police) oppression of the colonised and their supporters
    Israel’s physical – that is, military and police – oppression of the Palestinians both in the Occupied Territories and in neighbouring states, and, later, of their supporters such as Hezbollah, is set out briefly below:
    • Israel’s actions are at the root of the violence - Quigley states that, “The Committee on the Rights of the Child, which monitors the Convention on the Rights of the Child, addressed the issue of violence by Palestinians [and Israelis]. It noted ‘continuing acts of terror on both sides, especially the deliberate and indiscriminate targeting and killing of Israeli civilians, including children, by Palestinian suicide bombers’. But the committee found that Israel’s own actions were at the root of this violence [our italics]: ‘the committee recognizes that the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory, the bombing of civilian areas, extrajudicial killings, the disproportionate use of force by the Israeli Defence Forces, the demolition of homes, the destruction of infrastructure, mobility restrictions and the daily humiliation of Palestinians continue to contribute to the cycle of violence’.”
    • Reprisals against Palestinian cross-border raids - By the late 1950’s, Palestinian resistance fighters were mounting cross-border raids into Israel from the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Later, Jordan became a base, and the PLO established itself in Lebanon. The Israelis reacted harshly from the beginning, attacking and killing civilians in reprisals, using special elite commando units of the Israeli army. Their shoot-to-kill policy resulted in the death of thousands of Palestinians.
    • The occupation - After the 1967 war, Israeli rule in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip was from the beginning a harsh and brutal occupation. The inhabitants of the Occupied Territories were, and still are today, under the sovereignty of a Jewish state, with power of life and death over them.
    • Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories - Israeli settlements always involved the mass expulsion of Palestinians. This was begun by the army, seeking land for its camps and installations, but afterwards most of the coveted land was allocated to the settlers. Mass expulsions began immediately after the war and took place at intervals, so that the threat of expulsion and relocation was one of the many burdens imposed by the occupation on the Palestinians. Settlement has continued apace for the last 40 years, and there are now more than 230 settlements in the West Bank, housing over 500,000 settlers.
    • Settler violence - The development of the settler movement and the policies that sheltered it did not even leave the Palestinians with anything remotely resembling a secure and tolerable existence. By the mid-1970’s, both the settler movement and the settlers themselves had become increasingly terrifying forces. Their messianic notions of racial destiny have been amply documented:
      • Settlers have little fear of government intervention, and can take matters into their own hands. This normally consists of harassment at a fairly low level, physical attacks, destruction of trees, and so on, though occasionally there are more serious attacks.
      • Israeli army forces are primarily in the area to protect Israelis from attacks by Palestinians (that is, they will not normally feel the need to protect Palestinians).
      • In addition, every settlement has its own heavily-armed native militia, often imbued with the settler attitude of mind referred to above, though settler violence does not normally compare with Israeli military incursions.
    • Israeli repression of resistance prior to the intifadas (uprisings) - Settlements caused and justified an increasingly bitter Palestinian resistance. There were increasingly vicious Israeli attempts to repress it, resulting in more and more damage to Palestinian lands, cities, and livelihoods.
      • ‘Resistance’ was, in the eyes of the Israelis, very liberally defined. Any show of opposition to the occupation, such as a rally, a strike, distribution of petitions or the waving of the Palestinian flag, was met with severe brutality.
      • Collective punishment began – the first such act was in 1967, when half of the houses in the West Bank town of Qalqilya were demolished. This was the first act of collective punishment in a long series of such acts in the first decade after the 1967 war, for any gesture that was regarded as subversive or resistant to occupation. Such punishment involved:
        • destruction of houses
        • expulsion
        • arrest without trial.
      • Shows of Palestinian resistance with stones, Molotov cocktails, whatever they could find, were quashed under the firepower of tanks and heavy guns employed indiscriminately against the local civilian population.
      • There was restriction of movement. Movement between any destinations in the occupied territories has remained the exclusive right of Jewish settlers. The Palestinians require special permission to do so. The restrictions on freedom of movement were, and still are, harsher on those wishing to leave the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.. This hardship was particularly acute in the case of Palestinian workers who were invited to join, as unskilled cheap labour, the Israeli economy. The workers were allowed to enter Israel at dawn, but had to leave at dusk. The daily routine of these workers was humiliating – daily commuting – Israeli checkpoints where they were quite often subjected to maltreatment and harassment. By the beginning of the 1980’s, about 150,000 Palestinians were living this way.
      • Border closures stifled employment opportunities in Israel.
      • Curfews and, above all, checkpoints made anything resembling normal economic life impossible – thus, unemployment remains a major problem, and there are high levels of poverty, especially in the Gaza Strip.
      • To the direct harm of the settlements must be added the indirect harm resulting from the violence they spawned. For the Palestinians, it all represented dispossession, humiliation, lack of opportunity. Their lives, and the lives of their families, are constantly in real danger, and it is entirely reasonable to respond with violence. (Israelis responded to Palestinian violence with considerable savagery and questionable methods, including collective punishment).
    • Israeli repression of resistance during the first intifada - The first intifada (‘shaking off’) erupted in the Occupied Territories in 1987 as an expression of Palestinian desperation and despair, and, erratically waxing and waning, lasted until roughly 1993, when the abortive Oslo peace process started. It was mostly a weaponless confrontation – Palestinian stone-throwers against the Israeli army. The Israelis responded with various measures::
      • the sealing off of houses, and house demolitions
      • the use of collaborators
      • mass arrests without trial
      • torture during interrogation
      • assembling all the men in reoccupied villages and in some instances subjecting them to merciless beatings
      • cordoning off villages as ‘secure military areas’, preventing entry and exit for days on end – to keep out the international media
      • Towards the end of the intifada, the Israeli army resorted to an economic clampdown as a last resort, cutting off electricity and water, and preventing olive-picking during the height of the season
      • The Israelis did not resort to mass expulsions during the intifada – they would do so in 1993.
    • Israeli repression of resistance during the second intifada - The second intifada broke out in October 2000, as a result of the failure, after several years of negotiations, of the Oslo peace process. Although it started as a popular uprising with no use of weapons, the second intifada quickly turned into an armed confrontation. Suicide bombings were among the measures of resistance that the Palestinians used:
      • The Israelis responded by a harsh re-occupation of all of the West Bank cities and villages, resisted by force, most courageously in the refugee camp at Jenin (in April 2002) – the Palestinians claimed that a massacre took place there.
      • In Ramallah, Arafat’s compound was demolished, and he was put under siege. (After being under siege for two years, Arafat died in November 2004 [some suspected poisoned by the Israelis], after being taken to a hospital in France.)
    • The Israeli response to Palestinian resistance from Southern Lebanon- the 1982 Lebanon war - The increase in Palestinian resistance operations from Southern Lebanon (see above), led the Israelis to invade Lebanon in 1982. (the war, and combat with the subsequent resistance led by Hezbollah, became a running sore in Israel’s side, with mounting Israeli casualties, and the Israelis ultimately withdrew unconditionally from Lebanon in 2000, after almost 20 years). The 1982 Israeli operation:
      • scarred Lebanon
      • forced the PLO to evacuate to Tunis (other PLO groups moved to Damascus)
      • reached a low point with the massacre, by Christian Phalangists, of hundreds of the inhabitants of two refugee camps, Sabra and Shatilla, encouraged and incited by Israeli military officers of the highest rank.
    • The Israeli response to the resistance of Hezbollah – the 2006 Lebanon war - In the summer of 2006, Israel fought a 34-day war with Lebanon, which it had planned months before, as a response to Hezbollah rocket attacks on Israel in support of the Palestinians. Israel’s war aim was to send a message to the Lebanese government of the dire consequences of their not suppressing Hezbollah, and to crush Hezbollah itself. In the war:
      • The Israeli air force launched a major air campaign designed to punish the Lebanese by laying waste to Lebanon’s infrastructure. More than 1,100 Lebanese were killed, mostly civilians, and roughly one-third of whom were children.
      • The Israeli army invaded Lebanon in an attempt to crush Hezbollah and eliminate its stockpiles of rockets.
    • The Israeli response to the current situation in the West Bank - The cycle of violence in the West Bank continues:
      • There have been constant clashes with Israeli security forces, and the firing, by Hamas, of primitive missiles from the Gaza Strip. Israeli retaliation has been brutal, and has included the political assassination of many of the Hamas leaders, Islamic Jihad, and the military wing of Fatah.
      • Over the last seven years, over 5,000 Palestinians have been killed – during the same period, around 1,000 Israelis have been killed.
      • Israel continues to imprison more than 10,000 Palestinians, including Palestinian parliamentarians, abducted and in prison without charge.
      • A few months ago, two new Israeli military orders came into force which are broadly worded to make it easier for Palestinians living in the West Bank to be labelled infiltrators and deported or jailed, in contravention of the Geneva conventions.
    • The Israeli response in Gaza – blockade, assault, continuing blockade (slightly eased)
      • In the summer of 2005, the Israelis pulled out of Gaza
      • Later, in 2007, after Israel, abetted by the US and a supine EU, ignored the Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections of 2006 and assisted its rival Fatah as the “Palestinian authority” in the West Bank, Hamas (in fact, the elected authority for all of the Palestinians) took control in Gaza. The Israeli response was to blockade Gaza, further increasing the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza. A senior Israeli official joked about "putting the Gazans on a diet".
      • Then, in December 2008, Israel began a long-planned and savage 22-day assault on Gaza - the Israeli army, the fourth largest army in the world, plus the (American-equipped) Israeli air force, against the light weapons of the Palestinian resistance fighters of Hamas.
        • Israel’s military action killed around 1400 Palestinians (more than 400 of them children), and injured more than 5,000 (more than 1800 of them children). Unsurprisingly, given the balance of forces, there were only 13 Israeli deaths – the usual kill ratio of many Palestinians for each Israeli.
        • Israel was accused of serious war crimes by numerous groups, including the UN, human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and even Israeli groups. Further details are given below in the section Israel’s Abnormality: Its Disregard Of International Law And Opinion, Condemnations of Israel’s 2008 assault on Gaza.
        • More sinisterly, a booklet, approved by the army’s chief rabbi, was issued to soldiers preparing for the Gaza offensive. This document, bordering on racist incitement, talks about the necessity of cruelty against the enemy, and dehumanises and delegitimises the Palestinians and their claims. Israel Shahak, in his book Jewish History, Jewish Religion, similarly reported years ago on the racist effects of Orthodox Judaism, prevalent not just among Israeli politicians (and particularly Likud), but within the Israeli army, affecting the army’s attitude towards the Palestinians.
      • The Israeli blockade of Gaza continued after the assault ended, and persists, despite some easing, to this day. Its real purpose, like that of the assault, is to bring down Hamas by coldly and quite deliberately causing death and malnutrition, and physical and mental suffering to one and a half million Palestinians in an act of collective punishment which the oppressors hope will turn the population against Hamas. Conditions are dreadful:
        • Large areas have been reduced to rubble, and infrastructure and much of private industry has been destroyed.
        • Many thousands of people remain displaced, living in tents amongst the debris, or forced to stay with relatives.
        • The Israeli overlords control the borders and refuse to allow reconstruction materials in, or adequate food supplies.
        • Medical services cannot handle a traumatized population battered by siege, bombardment from land and air, renewed siege, the killing of family and friends, living in poor conditions on inadequate rations with, for many, precarious access to water and power.
      • UN security council resolution 1860, passed after Israel’s assault on Gaza, calls "for the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance, including food, fuel and medical treatment". Israel ignored it with impunity until the attack on the flotilla attempting to break the blockade of Gaza in May of this year (referred to below in the section Israel’s Abnormality: Its Disregard Of International Law And Opinion, Condemnations of Israel’s recent attack on the flotilla attempting to break the blockade of Gaza) refocused international attention onto the blockade itself. Under pressure from the international community, in an effort to end its deepening international isolation, Israel agreed, in June, following the flotilla debacle, to ease its land blockade of Gaza. However, it has insisted that its naval blockade is essential to prevent the shipment of arms to militants.
      • The effect of the blockade:
        • It has destroyed a once-entrepreneurial and productive economy, ensured that 80 per cent of Gaza’s population now depend on food aid. Hundreds of companies have collapsed. Many farmers are unable to plough their lands and fishermen are restricted to a tiny area. The economic collapse in Gaza is striking. A decade ago, annual per capita income in Gaza was $2,500, and some $400m of goods was exported to Israel annually. Last year, per capita income fell to just $600, plunging most Gazans below the poverty line to survive on less than $2 a day. Unemployment runs at 45 per cent. About 80 per cent of the population is now dependent on UN food aid. Exports were negligible.
        • The United Nations estimates that Gaza is now only getting around a quarter of the supplies it received before the blockade was tightened three years ago.
        • Israel claims that it allows in all the humanitarian aid that Gaza needs. But the United Nations says that less than a third of the necessary supplies get through. The result for Gazans is widespread malnourishment.
        • The blockade on construction materials means that three-quarters of the homes and buildings destroyed in the 2008/2009 Israeli invasion have not been rebuilt (in addition to the many thousands more destroyed since the beginning of the intifadas)
        • The embargo on fuel has created chronic shortages of electricity, most of Gaza’s water is undrinkable, and Gaza's sanitation system is close to collapse. - much of Gaza's sewage is pumped into the sea because sanitation facilities are poor.
        • 100 new schools the UN refugee agency Unrwa desperately needs to meet its ever-soaring demands cannot be built -  children are forced to attend school in shifts.
        • Defiance has only grown in Gaza.
      • In June, and only because of international pressure, Israel said it would "liberalise" the flow of goods to Gaza:
        • It eased its regime for food imports.
        • The relaxation fell far short of the much wider lifting of the economic blockade which had been increasingly urged by the international community, and is just a sop to world opinion.
        • No raw materials for manufacturing, barred as part Israel’s economic warfare.
        • A (very limited) agreement to expand the shipment of construction materials needed to repair Gaza’s devastated infrastructure – but only in reference to those needed for internationally supervised infrastructure projects – and further decisions would be taken on "additional steps to implement this policy" - some such projects, requiring strict security guarantees from international organisations like the UN, will be exempted from a general prohibition on materials like cement (desperately needed cement, Israel says, may be used by Hamas to build up its "military machine" – this, of course, is preposterous – haven’t they got “bunker-busters” from their American friends?).
        • Exports (with minor exceptions) are still banned.
        • No easing of the naval blockade.
        • The basic regime of control maintained.
        • Not many believed that Israel would really dismantle its blockade – and they were right. Israel defends the blockade as essential to its security – this is an excuse, since sea imports could be controlled as regards security and a similar regime could no doubt be set up for imports by land. The real reason Israel is determined to prevent any substantive easing is its wish to destroy, or at least weaken, Hamas, which controls Gaza – after all, it has the compliant Abbas in the West Bank to deal with in peace negotiations – Hamas may be a tougher customer.
      • The response of the international community was cool. The chief Palestinian negotiator said, "With this decision, Israel attempts to make it appear that it has eased its four-year blockade.... In reality, the siege of the Gaza Strip, illegally imposed on Palestinians, continues unabated." A Hamas official condemned the move as "window dressing."
      • The actual effects of Israel’s (limited and insufficient) easing of the blockade: at end-November 2010, a report from 21 respected international organisations called for an end to the Gaza blockade, saying the easing agreed by Israel six months previously has done little to improve the plight of the 1.5 million people in Gaza, still suffering from:
        • severe restrictions on the import of construction materials (11% of pre-blockade levels). Many of the thousands of homes and businesses hit during the war are still unrepaired almost two years later because of the shortage of building materials. Despite having agreed to allow in materials for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency to rebuild its schools and clinics damaged or destroyed in the three-week war in 2008-09, Israel has permitted only 7% of the necessary amount.
        • Damage to the business sector. Israel now allows clothing factories to import fabric, but blocks the export of finished items. However, some businesses are still unable to import raw materials they need. According to the report, two-thirds of Gaza's businesses have closed since the blockade was tightened in June 2007, and the rest are operating at restricted capacity.
        • Damage to agriculture and fishing. There has been no change on the "buffer zone" around Gaza's perimeters, which swallows 35% of Gaza's arable land and 85% of maritime fishing waters "with devastating impact on the economy and people's rights and livelihoods … Boundaries of the restricted areas are highly arbitrary and enforced by live fire," says the report. Since the blockade was eased six months ago, six civilians have been killed and 50 injured by Israeli fire in the buffer zone.
        • a ban on exports (with minor exceptions) – (later, in December, Israel decided to allow exports, consistent with security conditions – whether this is a genuine improvement or mere public relations remains to be seen)
        • The loosening of the embargo has done little to improve the plight of Gaza's civilians. Since the easing, the import of food and many other consumer items has resumed. Israel is maintaining an overall ban on the movement of people, with the number of permits granted to people to leave Gaza less than 1% of the number 10 years ago, the report says.
        • severe restrictions on people’s movement.
        • In summary, the cruel and illegal blockade still collectively punishes the entire civilian population.
    The coloniser’s economic oppression of the colonised
    • Dispossession and expulsion of Palestinians – The history of the Zionist project, and the state of Israel which it created, is a history of the progressive dispossession and expulsion of the indigenous Palestinians from the land they had lived on for thousands of years. This in itself, as well as being the act of a colonizer, can also be viewed as a massive act of economic oppression and domination. The phases of this dispossession were:
      • From the beginning of the Zionist project, the acquisition of land by the Jewish National Fund, under a system where it could never be sold back, was regarded by Zionists as vital to their goal of a Jewish state. Prior to, and during, the Mandate years, tracts of land were acquired by the Jewish National Fund by purchase.
      • The creation of the de facto state of Israel through the bloody and murderous 1948 war, which, through military force and violence, dispossessed and expelled the Palestinians from 79% of the land they had lived on for thousands of years. Some 750,000 Palestinians were expelled.
      • The continuation, after the 1948 war (until 1954), of the dispossession and expulsion of the Palestinian minority within the Israeli state - closely connected to Israel’s absorption of Jewish immigrants, and to settlement policy. The Israelis wished to settle Jewish immigrants on deserted Palestinian land and property as quickly as possible, and as close as possible to the disputed borders. Land confiscation policy also continued in the name of security and ‘public interest’. The use of an apartheid-style system of land transactions to legalise retrospectively the expropriation of land has already been referred to above in the section on Israeli racism, Israel’s Abnormality: The Racist State, Israeli racism - discrimination against the Palestinian Arabs who remained within Israel.
      • After the 1967 war, there was a further wave of some 400,000 Palestinian refugees. Furthermore, Jewish settlement in the Occupied Territories began almost immediately. Further settlement – always involving the expulsion of Palestinians - has taken place right up to the present day – a creeping annexation. The process has already been described above, in the section on Israeli racism referred to in the sub-paragraph above.
      • The Palestinian refugees:
        • After the 1948 war, some 750,000 Palestinian refugees had been expelled to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, others to nearby Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. Their numbers were further augmented by further Israeli post-war expulsions which continued until 1954. They were reduced to beggary, dependent on the United Nations for hand-outs. Their camps were the shanty towns of the Middle East, with their lack of basic infrastructure – water, sewage, housing electricity, roads – a constant reminder to the world of the bitter harvest of the 1948 war. The vast majority have never been allowed to return,– this has already been referred to in the section on Israeli racism above Israel’s Abnormality: The Racist State, Israeli racism - ‘Judaisation’ of land, and expulsion of Palestinian Arabs - nor have they ever been compensated.
        • After the 1967 war, the camps and other Palestinian refugee communities were swollen by a new wave of displaced people - around 400,000 of the population of the Occupied Territories became refugees, almost half of them for a second time - adding to the burden of an already oppressed community.
        • Though some escaped the camps, to work in the Gulf states, and by other means, many did not. In 1972, 1.5 million refugees were registered, of whom 650,000 lived in thirteen large, overcrowded camps in Palestine, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. The number of refugees would increase to about 2 million by 1982. By the beginning of the first intifada in 1987, the refugee camps in Gaza and the West Bank alone held about 1,500,000 people. Today, the Palestinian refugees, together with their dependents, now number more than 7 million people – they make up the majority of the total Palestinian population – 70% of the Palestinians are refugees. They comprise the largest single group of refugees in the world. Approximately 4.5 million are refugees from the 1948 war and their descendants who are registered with the UN. An estimated another 1.5 million are not registered. Palestinian refugees from the 1967 war, and their descendants, number around another 1 million.
      • Finally, there are around one-third of a million internally displaced Palestinians and their descendants living in Israel, with citizenship but unable to return to their original homes and villages. They were not permitted to reoccupy their home areas. Many live in squalid circumstances in new make-shift towns.
    • Dispossession, expulsion, and Palestinian unemployment
      • An element of the Zionist concept of land redemption was that the “redeemed” land should be worked only by Jews – Arabs should not be hired as labourers – land purchase, and the expulsion of Arabs, went hand in hand. Prior to, and during, the Mandate years, Jewish labour policy required that only Jewish labour worked Fund land, leading to a large and growing class of landless, dispossessed Palestinian Arabs.
      • After the 1948 war, for the Palestinian minority in Israel, there was growing economic hardship, to which the post-war expulsions referred to above contributed. The Palestinian minority had the highest level of unemployment and underemployment. Peasants in unskilled and poorly-paid jobs had to return home daily as they were not allowed to stay overnight in Jewish areas. In the security-minded state, significant sections of industry were closed to Palestinians because of the ‘security’ problem. The Palestinian minority in Israel continue to exist, economically, as second-class citizens.
      • After the 1967 war, Jewish settlement in the Occupied Territories resulted in an incremental and slowly intensifying pattern of encroachment, and led to an inexorable degradation of Palestinian living conditions and opportunities. Unemployment remains a major problem, and there are high levels of poverty.
      • For the Palestinian refugees, life was difficult due to economic deprivation. They became the landless proletariat of Palestinian society. Life was governed by finding work, perhaps in the fields of a local landlord during harvest, or in the workshops and offices of relief organisations in the camps. Some worked as street vendors. Survival depended on the economies of the host countries or on temporary labour, with earnings usually insufficient to keep an average family.
    • Economic discrimination against the Palestinian minority in Israel – This involves:
      • The use of an apartheid-style system of land transactions involving the prohibition of selling state land (still most of the land available in Israel) to Palestinians, or even absentee land. This has already been referred to above in the section on Israeli racism, Israel’s Abnormality: The Racist State, Israeli racism - discrimination against the Palestinian Arabs who remained within Israel.
      • Discrimination in the area of welfare benefits. Only people who have served in the Israeli army are eligible for important welfare benefits such as loans, mortgages, subsidised rents, child support payments, and reduced university fees – and the Jewish army is not filled with Palestinians. A system of benefits dependent on army service consists of discrimination by the back door.
    • Economic oppression in the Occupied Territories
      • The occupation itself, coupled with the ‘creeping annexation’ of Palestinian land through the building of more and more Israeli settlements, and the relentless processes of deprivation described above, have had socio-economic implications that, taken together, amount to a kind of neo-colonialist relationship of Palestinian dependence:
        • Continuing settlement, each new settlement being linked by ‘Jewish-only’ roads led the effective break-up of the Occupied territories into a series of ‘Bantustans’.
        • the absorption of a good part of the Palestinian workforce into the Israeli economy, as cheap labour
        • the integration of the Palestinian economy into the Israeli economy
        • a fall in savings and investment in the Palestinian economy
        • the dumping of Israeli products on the Territories, undercutting local producers
      • Israel’s economic blockade of Gaza, begun in 2007 and continuing to this day, was aided and abetted by the US and a supine EU, and has already been referred to above, in the section The coloniser’s physical (military and police) oppression of the colonised and their supporters. It has further increased the already considerable suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza.
      • In June, 2010, an Israeli-American company announced the discovery of two potentially huge offshore natural gas fields that could be worth as much as $40bn and turn Israel from a net importer of fossil fuels into a lucrative exporter. Another significant, perhaps vastly significant, case of Israel exploiting Palestinian resources.
    • Economic oppression amounting to colonial oppression – Quigley says that, “Israel’s economic policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were similar, analysts charged, to those followed by European powers in their Third World colonies.” He goes  on: “For the West Bank and Gaza Strip, one study concluded, Israel’s economic policy led to:
      • A migratory labour situation
      • Stagnated production
      • A  lack of capital formation
      • Minimal physical infrastructure
      • A near total dependence on Israel’s economy
      • A brain drain of professionals, the emigration of entrepreneurs
      • The export of capital
      • The proletarianisation of the farm population.”
    The coloniser’s denial of the human rights of the colonised
    • Israel’s colonial, Zionist and apartheid nature involves a denial of human rights - Quigley notes that, “The African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, in naming in its preamble concepts that involve a denial of rights, listed ‘colonialism, neo-colonialism, apartheid, zionism’.”
    • The nature of Israel’s occupation is a fundamental violation of human rights - Quigley again: “The UN Commission on Human Rights characterised the occupation [of the West Bank and Gaza Strip] from a human rights perspective as ‘a fundamental violation of the human rights of the civilian population of the occupied Arab territories’.”
    • Israel and specific abuses of human rights in the occupied territories
      • “In the 1990s”, records Quigley, “Israel ratified human rights treaties that required it to report periodically to [UN] committees. When Israel filed reports, it included information on its human rights performance only in its own territory, but not in Gaza or the West Bank. Israel took the position that provisions in these treaties … do not  require a state to apply them outside its own sovereign territory. The committees … replied that Israel’s obligation under these treaties extend to non-Israeli territory it occupies … these committees pressed it for information about its practices in Gaza and the West Bank.”
      • Quigley continues: “The Human Rights Committee, which monitors the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, found Israel in violation for:
        • The assassination of opposition figures
        • Demolishing Palestinian houses as punishment
        • Using physical force in interrogating suspects
        • Building a security barrier [the wall] that the committee said would disrupt access to health care and to water resources.”
    ISRAEL’S ABNORMALITY: THE APARTHEID STATE
    The 1976 UN International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid defines apartheid as ‘inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over another racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them’. According to Article 2 of the Convention, these ‘inhuman acts’ include:
    • Denial of the right to life and liberty
    • Imposition of living conditions calculated to cause physical destruction in whole or in part
    • Creation of conditions preventing full development, in particular by denying basic human rights and freedoms, including:
      • The right to work
      • The right to education
      • The right to leave and return to their country
      • The right to a nationality
      • The right to freedom of movement and residence
    • Any measures designed to divide the population along racial lines by:
      • The creation of separate reserves and ghettos for the members of a racial group or groups
      • The prohibition of mixed marriages among members of various racial groups
      • The expropriation of landed property belonging to a racial group or to members thereof

    A perusal of the short history set out above shows that the Israeli government has been guilty of all these ‘inhuman acts’ in relation to the Palestinian people. Israel is therefore an apartheid state.

    Archbishop Tutu, in 2001 gave a compelling address, entitled “Apartheid in the Holy Land”, describing Israel as an apartheid state. The South African Defence Minister did the same in 1994. Nelson Mandela, on a visit to Gaza in 1999, said, addressing a special session of the Palestinian assembly: “the histories of our two peoples correspond in such painful and poignant ways that I intensely feel myself at home amongst my compatriots.” The Israeli academic Uri Davis has argued for the comparison at length in his book Israel; An Apartheid State. The former American president, Jimmy Carter, titled his recent book on the conflict Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.

    The maintenance of separate legal systems for settlers and Palestinians in the occupied territories has already been referred to above. Quigley states that, “The separation in applicable law and court jurisdiction between the settlers and the Arab populations of the West Bank and Gaza Strip has been characterised as ‘a form of legal apartheid’, since the Apartheid Convention prohibits dividing a population on racial lines for administrative purposes.”


    ISRAEL’S ABNORMALITY: ITS DISREGARD OF INTERNATIONAL LAW AND OPINION

    Israel disregard of international law concerning its legitimacy as a state
    Israel’s disregard of international law in regard to its actual legitimacy as a state has already been comprehensively dealt with in part I of this article, Considerations Regarding Israel’s Legitimacy As A State

    The 1948 war in Palestine
    The 1948 war, which resulted in the bloody and murderous creation of Israel, accompanied by extensive ethnic cleansing, has also been dealt with extensively above, and in  part II.

    Israel’s Wars  – Further details on these conflicts are given in the History of Modern Palestine, referred to above. It should be noted that, apart from the 1973 war, Israel was in each case the aggressor:
    • The 1956 Suez campaign - Israeli society was becoming increasingly militarised – hawks like Ben-Gurion dreamed of a Greater Israel expanding to the north, east, and south, and believed in an aggressive policy. There was fierce rhetoric on the Arab side about revenge for the 1948 defeat, which contributed to an ‘eve of war’ atmosphere, and aggressive actions on the part of the Egyptians, but they in fact merely provided the Israelis with a welcome pretext. Ben-Gurion was looking for war. (In 1954, according to former Prime minister Moshe Sharett, the Israeli army sought a way to initiate a war with Egypt in order to take the Gaza Strip. In 1955, Ben-Gurion asked the cabinet to approve an invasion of the Gaza Strip [they rejected the proposal, concerned over US reaction]). He found one by aligning Israel to the Anglo-French plot to overthrow Nasser. The ex-colonial powers had their own colonialist agenda, which involved bringing down Nasser in Egypt. Israel’s military victory, in conjunction with the British and French, was swift – the Israelis penetrated into the Gaza Strip, and most of the Sinai Peninsula. But the political consequences were less impressive – Israel withdrew from both the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula after a concentrated effort by both the USA and the USSR (in those days, the Israel lobby was not the factor in American politics which it became later). (The British and French, too, were forced to withdraw.)
    • The 1967 6-day war – Israel’s war of expansion
      • In a period of increasing tension between Arab forces and the Israelis, UN Secretary-General U Thant proposed the UN arrange a settlement. Egypt accepted the idea, but Israel rejected it. Thant then asked Israel to accept United Nations forces on its side of the 1949 armistice line. Israel declined – the probable inference is that Israel was not concerned about an Egyptian attack.
      • Israel mobilised, and Egypt moved troops toward the Israel-Egypt armistice line. The Israeli army concluded that Nasser meant to intervene in case of an Israeli attack on Syria. US intelligence likewise did not expect Egypt to attack in the absence of an Israeli invasion of Syria, and communicated that assessment to Israel.
      • The Israelis followed a long and well-rehearsed plan. The Israeli cabinet authorised an invasion of Egypt, and the following morning, the first day of the war, in a surprise attack, Israel’s air force destroyed the Egyptian air force on the ground at their bases and attacked Jordan’s and Syria’s aircraft in a similar fahion - by the evening it had destroyed the air warfare capacity of all three. At the same time, Israel sent ground troops through the Gaza Strip into the Sinai Peninsula. The United States gave Israel military support – ammunition, jet fighters, and the use of reconnaissance aircraft - which was crucial to its success.
      • By the fourth day of the war, when a cease-fire was effected, Israel had taken the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Sinai Peninsula. (Egypt eventually recovered the Sinai after a bilateral peace with Israel in 1979.) On the fifth day, Israel attacked Syria, which had shelled Israeli targets during the first four days, but had not otherwise engaged in the war. After occupying Syria’s Golan Heights, Israel stopped its attack on the sixth day, under pressure from the United States.
      • In the Security Council on the first day of the war, Egypt and the USSR charged Israel with aggression. Israel claimed that Egypt had struck first. In fact, Egypt had not attacked by land or air and none of its aircraft had approached Israel. The United States, according to President Lyndon Johnson, was aware that Israel had initiated the hostilities, but it supported Israel’s claim that Egypt had attacked it. Two days later, Eshkol acknowledged that Israel had struck first, abandoning Israel’s initial position that Egypt had initiated the hostilities. Eshkol now said that Israel’s attack had been a “legitimate defence”, in anticipation of an Egyptian attack on Israel. However, various Israeli officials said later that Israel had not in fact anticipated an imminent attack by Egypt when it struck – their testimony is detailed in the History of Modern Palestine. Israel was the aggressor.
      • At the start of the 1967 war, Israel existed on 79% of what had been Palestine. At its end, it now occupied the remaining 21%, consisting of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which came to be referred to as the Occupied Territories.
    • The 1973 war
      • The 1973 joint Syrian-Egyptian attack caught Israeli intelligence unprepared, and the near-defeat on the battlefield sent shock waves through the Israeli political system as a whole.
      • This round of fighting was not focused on the Palestinian question – the bloodiest of all Arab-Israeli confrontations was fought over issues not related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It shattered the illusion of unity of purpose within Israeli society – the myth of Israeli invincibility was shattered. It was of no importance to those living in the Occupied territories or in the refugee camps.
      • The 1973 war might have ended with an even more devastating Israeli defeat had it not been for an intensive American support operation which tipped the military balance after the early days of the war.
      • Egypt and Syria had wanted a limited war, and achieved their major objective: the resumption of the peace process. (This led in 1979 to a bilateral peace agreement with the Egyptians, and their recovery of the Sinai Peninsula, lost in the 1967 war. The Syrians have still not recovered the Golan Heights to this day.)
    • The 1982 invasion of Lebanon
      • An increase in Palestinian resistance operations from Southern Lebanon led the Israelis to invade Lebanon in 1982. Israeli Defence Minister Sharon misled his prime minister into believing that the operation would be limited to the occupation of Southern Lebanon, although from the start he intended to occupy Beirut, install a Maronite pro-Christian government in Lebanon, and destroy the PLO.
      • Lebanon was scarred, the PLO evacuated to Tunis, the Syrians achieved greater control over the country, and Hezbollah, a radical political Islamist movement, appeared on Lebanon’s political scene. The low point for Israel was reached with the massacre, by Christian Phalangists, of hundreds of the inhabitants of two Palestinian refugee camps, Sabra and Shatilla, encouraged and incited by Israeli military officers of the highest rank. Hezbollah began a campaign of guerrilla resistance in Southern Lebanon, causing hundreds of Israeli casualties in bold suicide attacks, ambushes and direct confrontation with the occupying Israeli army. The war, and combat with the subsequent resistance led by Hezbollah, became a running sore in Israel’s side, with mounting Israeli casualties. The Israelis ultimately withdrew unconditionally from south Lebanon in 2000, after almost 20 years, because they were not achieving their objectives (to crush Hezbollah and stop rocket and other attacks into Israel), and because of mounting pressure at home due to the mounting losses of Israeli soldiers
    • The 2006 invasion of Lebanon
      • Subsequent to 2000, Hezbollah acquired stockpiles of weapons and rockets from Syria and Iran with which to attack Israel. The Israelis planned a major attack on Lebanon months before it began, briefed the Bush administration of their plan, and were given a tacit green light by Washington. Israel’s war aim was to send a message to the Lebanese government of the dire consequences of their not suppressing Hezbollah, and to crush Hezbollah itself.
      • In the summer of 2006, Israel fought a 34-day war with Lebanon In July, Hezbollah had captured several Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid. Though incidents such as this went on all the time, Israel used it as a pretext for starting the war. The Israeli air force launched a major air campaign designed to punish the Lebanese by laying waste to Lebanon’s infrastructure. More than 1,100 Lebanese were killed, mostly civilians, and roughly one-third of whom were children. The Israeli army invaded Lebanon in an attempt to crush Hezbollah and eliminate its stockpiles of rockets.
      • Israel’s excessive response was widely condemned around the globe – virtually alone in the world, the US failed to criticise Israel. (The only, shameful, exception, was the UK, due solely to British prime minister Tony Blair’s grovelling attitude to the US.) The US vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that criticised Israel and worked hard for about a month to prevent the UN from imposing a ceasefire, so that Israel could try to finish the job with Hezbollah. Only when it was apparent that the Israelis had failed, did the US allow a ceasefire to be imposed. During the conflict, the US supplied Israel with precision-guided bombs when Israel’s stocks started running low, and also supplied military intelligence.
      • Despite strong support from the US, Israel failed to achieve its military or political objectives, and Hezbollah emerged from the war with its popularity and prestige significantly enhanced. The war intensified anti-American attitudes throughout the world.
    Israeli racial discrimination against its Palestinian minority in Israel
    Quigley records that, “The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which monitors the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, noted in 2003 ‘the continuing difference in treatment between Jews and non-Jews, in particular Arab and Bedouin communities, with regard to their enjoyment of economic, social, and cultural rights’. It said that an ‘excessive emphasis upon the state as a ‘Jewish State’ encourages discrimination and accords a second-class status to its non-Jewish citizens’.

    Illegality of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories
    Quigley notes that, “Just as in the 1930s the Jewish Agency settled land in preparation for statehood, so after 1967 the government of Israel settled the Gaza Strip and West Bank as a step toward permanent control … The Likud was more explicit in declaring the West Bank to be part of Israel. It asserted the right to establish settlements at any location in the West Bank, on the ground that it formed part of Eretz-Israel, over which it asserted Israeli sovereignty. On the issue of possible annexation by Israel of the West Bank, the Likud prime minister, Menachem Begin, said, ‘you can annex foreign land. You cannot annex your own country. Judea and Samaria [that is, the West Bank]’, he said, ‘are part of the land of Israel, where the nation was born’. Itzhak Shamir, who succeeded Begin as prime minister in 1983, pledged in his inaugural speech to continue what he called the ‘holy work’ of settlement in the West Bank.”

    “The International Commission of Jurists”, records Quigley, “citing the ‘permanent character’ of many of the settlements and ‘pronouncements of Israeli leaders to the effect that they are permanent’, viewed the settlements as a ‘step towards eventual assertion of sovereignty over the [occupied] territories or part of them’. It said this policy violated the self-determination right of the Palestine Arabs.”

    Quigley also notes that, “In 1995, the European Union concluded an agreement with Israel, like others it has with non-European states, to allow for reduced tariffs on products of Israeli origin entering Europe … In identifying products, Israel included, as Israeli-produced, items from its settlements in the Palestinian territories. The European Commission … interpreted the agreement as excluding goods from Gaza and the West Bank, since they are not territory of Israel. It asked Israel to specify which products had their origin in Israel, and which in the occupied territories. Israel refused. It said that the EU was trying ‘to prejudge Israel’s borders … ’ This reply suggested that Israel might be planning to keep Gaza and the West Bank.

    Quigley goes on:

    • “… The law of belligerent occupation … applied since Israel had come into control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip through hostilities. The law of belligerent occupation provides a variety of protections for an occupied population, while ceding to the occupying power the right to protect its temporary tenure. The principal embodiment of the law of belligerent occupation is the 1949 Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, to which Israel and the neighbouring Arab states are parties.”
    • “The Geneva Convention requires an occupying power to change the existing order as little as possible during its tenure. One aspect of this obligation is that it must leave the territory to the population it finds there. It may not bring in its own people to populate the territory. This prohibition is found in the convention’s Article 49 which states: ‘The Occupying Power shall not … transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies’.”
    • “On the basis of Article 49 many states criticised Israel for establishing and maintaining settlements.”
    • “ … In 1987 the UN Human Rights Commission criticised [Israel] for the ‘settlement of alien populations brought from other parts of the world in the place of the original Palestinian owners of the land’.”
    • “ … All states that indicated a view on the matter, other than Israel, found the convention to be applicable to Israel’s occupation of the Gaza Strip and West Bank.”

    Israel ignores international condemnation over settlements in and adjacent to Arab east Jerusalem
    Quigley states that, “In 1995 [Israel] announced that it would expropriate new tracts of land in [Arab] east Jerusalem to build housing for Jews. The UN Security Council met on the matter. The delegate from the United Kingdom said that Israel should ‘refrain from taking actions which seek to change the status quo on this most sensitive of all issues before the conclusion of the final-status negotiations [referring to the peace process which was ultimately aborted]’. Delegates of Russia, Indonesia, Italy, and France all expressed concern that the land seizures were intended to preempt the Palestinian claim to east Jerusalem … Although the Declaration of Principles [regarding that peace process] did not forbid new settlements, under international law parties must fulfill treaty obligations in good faith. A state that agrees to resolve a contentious issue may not take action that renders the issue more intractable.”

    “In 1997”, continues Quigley, “Israel announced yet another major settlement initiative … the projected settlement … would complete a string of settlements between east Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, thus cutting east Jerusalem’s Arabs off from the rest of the West Bank … ” He goes on:

    • “The UN Security Council met. A European-sponsored resolution was proposed to condemn Israel’s settlement plan as illegal, and as a ‘major obstacle to peace’. Fourteen of the Council’s fifteen members voted in favour of the draft resolution, but the United States vetoed.”
    • “The General Assembly then took up the matter and adopted the failed Security Council resolution as its own. This resolution asked Israel ‘to refrain from all actions or measures, including settlement activities, which alter facts on the ground, preempting the final status negotiations, and having negative implications for the Middle East Peace Process [which ultimately came to nothing]’.”
    • “When Israel began construction … yet another draft resolution was proposed in the Security Council, to demand that Israel ‘immediately cease construction of  [this particular settlement] as well as all other Israeli settlement activities in the occupied territories’. Thirteen states voted in favour, but again the United States vetoed.”
    • “In casting vetoes, the United States did not view the construction as lawful. Rather, in line with its emphasis on the bilateral negotiation process, it said the UN was not the ‘proper forum’. As viewed by other member states, however, the settlements threatened a peace arrangement and thus were very much the concern of the UN. The UN General Assembly condemned the … construction … ”
    Condemnations of Israel’s use of force against Palestinian resistance to occupation
    Quigley quotes various sources which consider Palestinian resistance to occupation as legal (a people denied self-determination may resort to force, short of attacking civilians, to achieve independence - anti-colonial force is not to be deemed aggression). Here, however, we are interested in Israel’s countervailing use of force – Quigley refers to various authorities which condemn Israel’s use of force against Palestinian resistance, and some of these are referred to below:
    • The Zionists’ forced colonisation of Palestine has already been referred to above. Quigley records that:
      • “In its 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, the General Assembly said that ‘all armed action or repressive measures of all kinds directed against dependant peoples shall cease in order to enable them to exercise peacefully and freely their right to complete independence, and the integrity of their national territory shall be respected’.”
      • “In 1970, in its Declaration on Friendly Relations, the General Assembly … declared “Every state … has the duty to refrain from any forcible action which deprives peoples … of their right to self-determination and freedom and independence.”
    • In relation to the 1967 war, Quigley notes that, in the Security Council:
      • “Pakistan said that Israel’s 1967 aggression deprived it of the right to use any force against Fatah, since [Fatah] was protecting the territory [Israel] had taken unlawfully.”
      • “France objected to Israel’s claim to use force in reprisal for ‘the security of the territory and population’ under its jurisdiction because ‘we cannot recognise that jurisdiction, which was established through occupation’.”
    • Quigley notes that Israeli attacks (like Palestinian attacks) often kill civilians, and that “under the rules of warfare, a state in waging war … must refrain from attacking civilians”. However, he also observes that:
      • “The General Assembly studied terrorist acts in the 1970s and concluded that they are often undertaken as a result of the inability of a dependent people to attain self-determination by political or legitimate military means. In order to eliminate ‘the causes and the problem of international terrorism’, the United Nations should ‘pay special attention to all situations, including, inter alia, colonialism, racism and situations involving alien occupation, that may give rise to international terrorism and may endanger international peace and security, with a view to the application, where feasible and necessary, of the relevant provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, including Chapter VII thereof..’ ”
      • Quigley then notes that “Chapter 7 of the charter provides for economic and military sanctions to be imposed by the Security Council against a state that threatens the peace. By referring to Chapter 7 the assembly was suggesting that the Security Council mandate collective coercive measures to terminate the denial of self-determination.”
    • those interested in the full arguments should refer to the book itself.
    Israel’s illegal forcible expulsions from the occupied territories, property destruction, group penalties
    Quigley states that, “Much of Israel’s suppression activity [in the Occupied Territories] violated the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Civilian Persons in Time of War.” He notes that:
    • “Article 49 stated: ‘Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory … are prohibited, regardless of their motive’.”
    • “The convention also protects property … Thus, the punitive demolition of the houses occupied by persons suspected of violent acts violated the convention.”
    • “[The convention also] forbids penalties imposed on groups or communities as opposed to individual perpetrators … The curfews also represented a penalty taken against a group for the acts of an individual.”

    Israel’s confiscation of property in the occupied territories
    Quigley states that, “An earlier treaty on belligerent occupation is the Hague Regulations of 1907. Article 46 of the Hague Regulations states that private property should not be confiscated. Much of the land confiscated in the West Bank and Gaza Strip was taken from private persons. While Israel is not a party to the regulations, they are generally taken to reflect the customary law of nations and, therefore, to be binding on all states.”

    Israel’s exploitation of the natural wealth, resources and population of the occupied territories
    Quigley records that, “The UN General Assembly … called on Israel to end its ‘illegal exploitation of the natural wealth, resources and population of the occupied territories’.”

    Israeli abuses in the first intifada
    Quigley states that, “[In the first intifada, which began in 1987, the Israeli government] responded quickly and harshly to suppress the uprising … The IDF arrested several thousand Palestine Arabs … most under the administrative detention procedures that did not require a criminal charge … The IDF reacted to demonstrations with live fire from high-velocity military weapons, causing many deaths. The UN Security Council ‘strongly deplored’ the ‘opening of fire by the Israeli army, resulting in the killing and wounding of defenceless Palestinian civilians’.”

    Quigley continues: “ … In reaction to the international criticism of the shootings … the [Israeli] government announced a policy of summary physical beatings to be administered by the IDF at the site of demonstrations. Defence Minister Itzhak Rabin said that the purpose was to instill fear in the population … IDF soldiers broke the hands or arms of many demonstrators with methodically directed blows, according to reports by many physicians … The uprising continued into a second year, and shooting deaths of Arabs by the IDF continued, the number of fatalities exceeding five hundred … It imposed curfews on localities of demonstrations, extending at times for weeks … the government began to expel persons it considered uprising leaders … ”

    “Many of the methods Israel used to suppress the uprising”, notes Quigley, “were criticized by UN bodies as contrary to the Palestinian’s right to self-determination, to their rights under the law of belligerent occupation, and to human rights norms. The situation led the United States, which had in earlier years been mild in its criticism of Israel’s occupation practices, to issue a strong condemnation of many of Israel’s policies. The UN Human Rights Commission, using the Geneva Convention’s provision that certain violations of humanitarian law are ‘grave breaches’ meriting criminal punishment for perpetrators, found a number of Israel’s practices during the uprising to constitute ‘war crimes’. It included:

    • physical and psychological torture of Palestinian detainees and their subjection to improper and inhuman treatment
    • the imposition of collective punishment on towns, villages, and camps
    • the administrative detention of thousands of Palestinians
    • the expulsion of Palestinian citizens
    • the confiscation of Palestinian property
    • the raiding and demolition of Palestinian houses.”
    Israeli abuses in the second intifada
    In the second intifada, beginning in 2000, Israel re-occupied West Bank towns it had allowed the PLO to administer. Quigley notes that, “The UN Security Council asked Israel to withdraw but did nothing to enforce its call.”

    Quigley again: “Although the United Nations did nothing to turn this situation around, its agencies that were not hamstrung by the veto power examined what was occurring and reported on it. As the intifada and reprisals proceeded, the UN Commission on Human Rights dispatched fact-finding missions that visited the Palestinian territories and castigated Israel for abusing the Palestinians.”


    Condemnations of the Wall
    Construction of the notorious wall, begun in 2002 to separate the West Bank from Israeli territory, has continued despite international condemnation and the denunciation of the wall as illegal by the International Court of Justice.

    Condemnations of Israel’s recent attack on the flotilla attempting to break the blockade of Gaza
    On 30 May, in the early hours of the morning under cover of darkness, in international waters, an elite unit of the Israeli navy stormed the Mavi Marmara, the flagship of a flotilla of activists attempting to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza. The masked commandos abseilled onto the Turkish ship's deck from a helicopter and boarded from the side by fast attack launch. They were armed with guns, stun grenades and tear gas. Those on board said the Israelis fired on the boat before boarding. When the commandos descended they were attacked by waiting passengers armed with what appeared to be metal bars and sticks.

    The Israeli commandos killed nine people and injured dozens more. Autopsy results revealed that the nine men killed (all Turkish) were shot a total of 30 times, Many bullets were fired at close range. Five men were killed by gunshot wounds to the head. Five of the victims were shot either in the back of the head or in the back. This information undermines Israel's insistence that its soldiers opened fire only in self defence and in response to attacks by the activists. Many eye-witness accounts from passengers on the Marmara also contested Israel's version of events.

    It may have been just a cock-up – by an elite unit? But Israeli actions do raise suspicions that the violence may have been premeditated, to deter other activists on other, future, flotillas from repeating the exercise, and so avoiding repeated murderous assaults which world opinion would not tolerate:

    • The Israeli military was well aware there were no arms on board the boats in the flotilla as they had been repeatedly searched by Greek and Turkish authorities. The fearsome weapons it said it had discovered turned out to be a collection of chair legs and kitchen knives. Several of the photos released by the IDF "proving" there were other weapons there have been exposed as old images that have been on the web for years.
    • If the Israelis had only wanted to stop the ship, they could have attacked the rudder and propeller. Instead they preferred to send masked commandos to attack the vessel.
    • Violence did not apparently end with the assault. Witnesses attested to rough treatment and beatings after being taken into custody.
    Israeli actions in closing down information also raise suspicions that they were trying to hide the truth:
    • Shortly after the assault, the Israelis blocked all communications with the flotilla. Mobile phones, satellite phones and internet access all went down, making it all but impossible to glean any account from the passengers about what had happened, beyond a few minutes that were captured on film. Israel's version of events became the only one available in any detail.
    • Shortly after the assault began, the commandos took mobile phones from the activists.
    • When the Mavi Marmara was brought into the Israeli port of Ashdod, the area was closed to the media.
    • Israel imposed a communications blackout on the detained activists - while simultaneously launching a sophisticated public relations operation to ensure its version of events was dominant. First-hand accounts from passengers were difficult to come by, with activists taken straight to Israeli hospitals or screening by Israeli officials in preparation for summary deportation or trial. Those arrested by the Israelis were given no access to attorneys – possibly because they might then have communicated details of Israel’s assault. Israeli officials confiscated all mobile phones. Israel barred journalists from speaking to the wounded in its hospitals.
    The Israelis also attempted misinformation: Israel alleged that some passengers were al-Qaeda terrorists - the Israeli Army later admitted there was “no evidence” that al-Qaeda members were on board or had any links to the convey.

    The attack, in international waters - a serious infringement of international law - sparked international outrage, and demands for an independent inquiry. However, there were exceptions:

    • The American reaction was particularly spineless: a US spokesman said the administration was "working to understand the circumstances surrounding the tragedy". Obama expressed "regret" at the loss of life. No condemnation.
    • In a similar vein, neither the UK nor the EU explicitly condemned Israel's action, though each called for an inquiry (the UK for an independent one, the EU for an Israeli inquiry, echoing some European governments); each also called for an easing of the Gaza siege.
    • The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon was similarly muted in his comments. He condemned the violence and called for an investigation: "I heard the ships were in international water. That is very bad."
    • The UN Security Council statement condemned the "acts" which led to the deaths and injuries, and called for an impartial investigation. Its statement was severely diluted by the US, which refused to go along with an outright condemnation. America blocked demands at the Security Council for an international inquiry. A compromise statement called for an “impartial” and “credible” investigation – unsurprisingly, the US signified this could be carried out by Israel – a view treated with scepticism by others. The statement did call for an easing of the Gaza blockade.
    Israel seems to have initially calculated that it could weather the storm of criticism, because when the UN secretary general in early June called for a multinational investigation, this was promptly rejected by the Israelis – however:
    • under international pressure, Israel announced that it would conduct an internal investigation - this in addition to a separate military investigation. Though Israel’s Haaretz newspaper called the proposed panel a “farce”, the White House gave its approval.
    • The military inquiry concluded in July that, although mistakes had been made, "… there were no wrongdoings and no negligences in any fundamental areas …" - a whitewash, then, given the details of the raid noted above.
    • The internal inquiry (the Turkel inquiry) opened at the end of June – it is examining the political decisions taken and whether international law was breached.
    • In early August, after two months of sustained international pressure from the UN, Europe and Turkey (but not the US), Israel agreed to co-operate with a UN investigation, saying it had nothing to hide.
    In late September, after a fact-finding mission ordered by the UN Human Rights Council, with which Israel refused to co-operate, its report was released:
    • It found that the Israeli military was guilty of "an unacceptable level of brutality", deployed "totally unnecessary and incredible violence" in the flotilla raid, and said that its forces violated international law.
    • The authors said it was clear to them that there was a humanitarian crisis in Gaza when the aid flotilla was approaching. "The preponderance of evidence is too overwhelming to come to a contrary opinion," the report said. "Any denial that this is so cannot be sustained... For this reason alone, the blockade is unlawful."
    • The findings come even as a second high-level panel created by the UN Security Council is preparing shortly to issue its own interim findings.
    In October, the international criminal court was urged to prosecute members of the Israeli defence force for the flotilla raid. Turkish victims formally requested an investigation, following the report of the UN Human Rights Council referred to above. An investigation is possible only after a reference from the UN security council – the US will ensure that this does not happen.

    Condemnations of Israel’s 2008 assault on Gaza
    Israel’s cruel and continuing blockade of Gaza, and its savage assault thereon which it carried out in December 2008-January 2009, have been detailed above in the section The coloniser’s physical (military and police) oppression of the colonised and their supporters, The Israeli response in Gaza – blockade, assault, continuing blockade (slightly eased)

    Israel was accused of serious war crimes by numerous groups, including the UN, human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and even Israeli groups. (Human Rights Watch later accused Israel and its supporters of an "organised campaign" of false allegations and misinformation, including "extremely personal attacks" on its staff, in an attempt to discredit the group over its reports of war crimes in Gaza – similar to attacks on Judge Richard Goldstone, see below.)

    In January 2009, in the absence of any effective measures on the part of the Security Council, the UN’s Human Rights Council adopted a resolution mandating an investigation into violations related to the 2008 Gaza conflict. In April 2009 the president of the Human Rights Council established the investigative team, appointing Justice Richard J. Goldstone  In May 2009 the fact-finding Mission established its programme of work The 575 page report included recommendations for further action by numerous bodies, including the UN Human Rights Council itself,  the  UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly, the UN Secretary-General,  the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the International Criminal Court (the Court to be involved if Israel, and the Palestinians, were not to carry out fully independent investigations of what the report said were repeated violations of international law, "possible war crimes and crimes against humanity" during the Gaza operation).. The object of involving these various UN bodies and the Court, was essentially an attempt to prevent an American veto in the Security Council burying the report. Seasoned UN observers also feared that follow-up by the Secretary-General could effectively bury the report because of the political pressures that can, and are, placed on him. Action by the International Criminal Court (despite Israel, like the US, not being a signatory to it) would be devastating for Israel.

    The report, which became known as the Goldstone report, was released in September 2009:

    • The report said, of Israel’s 23-day assault on Gaza which began at the end of December 2008, that, “while the Israeli Government has sought to portray its operations as essentially a response to rocket attacks in the exercise of its right to self defence, the Mission considers the plan to have been directed, at least in part, at a different target: the people of Gaza as a whole.” It found the war was "a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorise a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever-increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability". The military operation left some 1,400 Palestinians dead (including 770 civilians) against only 13 Israelis, and triggered a wave of criticism against Israel across the world. More than 5,000 Palestinians were injured.
    • "The operations were in furtherance of an overall policy aimed at punishing the Gaza population for its resilience and for its apparent support for Hamas, and possibly with the intent of forcing a change in such support."
    • Grave breaches of the laws of war were committed by Israeli forces: wilful killing, the use of human shields, torture or inhuman treatment, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, and extensive destruction of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly “These acts give rise to individual criminal responsibility." Thus, soldiers and others could face prosecution.
    • The long Israeli economic blockade of Gaza (which began almost three years prior to the Gaza assault, and which continues to this day) amounted to "collective punishment intentionally inflicted by the government of Israel on the people of the Gaza Strip".
    • Israeli actions depriving Gazans of their means of subsistence, employment, housing and water, and denying their freedom of movement "could lead a competent court to find that the crime of persecution, a crime against humanity, had been committed".
    • "The destruction of food supply installations, water sanitation systems, concrete factories and residential houses was the result of a systematic policy by the Israeli armed forces". The purpose was "to make the daily process of living and dignified living more difficult for the civilian population".
    • Deeds by Israeli forces, and the statements of Israeli political and military leaders before and during the Gaza assault indicated the use of "a deliberate policy of disproportionate force", aimed, the report said, not only at the enemy but also at the "supporting infrastructure". The report goes on: "In practice this appears to have meant the civilian population."
    • The vandalising of houses and "the graffiti on the walls, the obscenities and often racist slogans all constituted an overall image of humiliation and dehumanisation of the Palestinian population".
    • “Hospitals and ambulances were targeted by Israeli attacks."
    • The report also called on Israel to halt immediately its closures of the crossings into Gaza and said the Israeli military needed to review its rules of engagement to avoid future Palestinian civilian deaths.
    • The report also harshly criticised the Palestinian side. However, Israeli conduct during the operation takes up much the greater part of the 575-page report, and its harshest language is reserved for the Israelis.
    • In effect, the report accused the Israelis of war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

    Israel refused to cooperate with the inquiry, and did its best to obstruct the fact-finding mission headed by the Jewish South African former Supreme Court Judge Richard Goldstone, who it and various pro-Israel lobbies attempted to smear (standard Israeli and lobby tactics - they are terrified of confronting the actual findings of the report).

    It is instructive to read the full transcripts of the various subsequent Security Council open debates on the Middle East, held in October 2009 and January, April, and July 2010, where non-members of the Security Council are allowed to speak. It is a pity that even the UK’s liberal print media did not quote more extensively from them:

    • For to do so is to hear speaker after speaker for the majority of the world’s nations (including the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the League of Arab States) denouncing Israel and the long list of its crimes – the cruelty of its long occupation, the crimes in Gaza described in the Goldstone report, and so on - in considerable and passionate detail – mostly about the Palestinians, but also about Lebanon and Syria. They speak out against Israel’s impunity and disregard for international law, and its intransigence in obstructing the (doomed) peace process; some are bold enough to note that this is only because of the support it receives from certain quarters (though they do not refer to America by name). They call upon the Security Council itself to take effective action instead of doing nothing, and, so that this can happen, implicitly call upon the US (which has veto power) to change its flagrantly pro-Israeli stance. Some note that the credibility of the UN Security Council, and that of the UN itself, is at stake.
    • This contrasts with the speakers for the Western minority of nations (excluding the US, see below). Principal among these is the European Union. Though the EU makes muted criticisms of the Israelis, its line in practice is to kowtow to the US, and follow the US position. Echoing the US line, therefore, in the first, post-Goldstone open debate, in October 2009, the acting head of the EU, speaking for the EU, said that:
      • Negotiations must respect previous agreements and understandings.
      • The European Union will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders other than those agreed by the parties (that is, the land swaps referred to below)
      • Furthermore, he called for all Palestinians to promote reconciliation behind President Abbas, (that is, Hamas is to remain out in the cold).
    • The US stands out alone in its flagrant and one-sided support for Israel In the first post-Goldstone open debate, in October 2009, the speaker for the US, aside from emphasising America’s excessive concern for Israel’s security (with little regard for that of the Palestinians, especially in Gaza), gives the game away in several instances:
      • For Hamas to take part in negotiations, apart from renouncing violence and recognizing Israel (as a Jewish state), it must accept previous agreements and obligations.
      • An independent (and viable?) Palestinian State must be based on the 1967 lines, with agreed land swaps.
      • Although the US does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement building, nothing is said about existing settlements.
      • Only through negotiations can a peaceful settlement be realized – that is, despite the massive imbalance of power between the occupier and the occupied, the US will not impose a settlement on the Israelis.
      • In other words, the US accepts that considerable settlements in the West Bank will be retained by Israel, and that the US will not take any action to force Israel to a just settlement. One suspects that the land swaps themselves, to enable major Israeli settlements to be retained, may consist of lumps of desert in the Negev in return for the prime land represented by these retained settlements.
      • Finally, the US speaker said that the allegations of human rights and humanitarian law violations contained in the Goldstone report “are not a matter for Security Council action”. It is thus the attitude of the US, and the threat of its veto, which prevents the Security Council from taking any effective action on the Goldstone report.
    In October 2009, the Goldstone report was endorsed by the UN’s Human Rights Council and referred to the UN General Assembly despite intense lobbying by Israel and the US. The vote at the Human Rights Council was thus the first opportunity to stop all action on the Goldstone report dead in its tracks, and it is therefore instructive to examine the voting, which was 25-6 in favour of referring Goldstone to the Assembly, with 11 abstentions. The USA (in its usual resolute pursuit of freedom and human rights around the world) opposed the resolution. Of the 27 EU states, none voted in favour of the resolution, 4 opposed it – the Netherlands, Italy, Hungary and Slovakia, 2 abstained – Belgium and Slovenia (Norway, a European state but outside the EU, also abstained), and 2 others  - the UK and France, which had been expected to register formal abstentions, instead called in vain for a delay in the decision and did not participate in the vote at all. The vote followed a U-turn by the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, who faced severe criticism from the Palestinian people themselves after succumbing to US and Israeli pressure to defer the whole issue.

    In November 2009 the General Assembly passed a resolution endorsing the Goldstone report together with that report’s recommendations for further action by numerous UN bodies, and the International Criminal Court, as noted above. It called upon both the Israelis and the Palestinians, within three months, to undertake independent, credible investigations in conformity with international standards into the serious violations reported in the Goldstone report. It requested the Secretary-General to transmit the Goldstone report to the Security Council, and to report back to the General Assembly, within a period of three months, on the implementation of the present resolution, with a view to the consideration of further action, if necessary, by the relevant United Nations organs and bodies, including the Security Council. Though the 192-member UN General Assembly, with its majority of non-Western nations, was always likely to endorse Goldstone, it is nevertheless instructive to look at the voting - there were 114 votes in favour of the resolution, 18 votes against, and 44 abstentions - in addition, 16 states did not vote:
    •   As expected, the US joined Israel in voting against.
    • Of the 27 EU states:
      • only 5 – Cyprus, Ireland, Malta, Portugal, and Slovenia voted in favour
      • 7 opposed – the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, and Slovakia
      • 15 abstained – Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.
    • Of the European states which are not in the EU, Switzerland and some smaller states voted in favour, while Norway and some smaller states abstained. In addition, Turkey, which is applying for membership of the EU, voted in favour.
    • Two other states which are effectively part of the “West” also voted against – Canada and Australia. Two others, Iceland and New Zealand, abstained.
    • The BRICs, minus Russia (which abstained) also voted in favour – that is, Brazil, India, and China

    The Secretary-General then, also in November 2009, duly transmitted the Goldstone Report to the Security Council, which has, as expected, taken no action thereon up to the present date. He also gave the Israelis and Palestinians a late January 2010 deadline to advise him of progress with their investigations.

    In early February 2010, the Secretary-General sent, as required, his follow-up report to the General Assembly. In his report, he noted that he had duly requested both the Israelis and the Palestinians to provide information on any investigations they were carrying out, and that he had received, in late-January 2010, documents from both sides. (Initially, Israel, which has not got a history of co-operating with international inquiries into the actions of its army, refused to accept any inquiry, but later changed its mind.) However, the Secretary-General’s report concluded, from the documents received, that because the investigations initiated by the Israelis were ongoing, and since the Palestinians had just initiated their investigations, no determination could at that time be made on the adequacy or otherwise of those investigations. Consequently, in late-February 2010, the General Assembly, to keep the Goldstone report alive, reiterated its call for Israelis and Palestinians to carry out appropriate investigations, and requested from the Secretary-General a second follow-up report, within five months, with a view to considering further action, by the relevant UN organs and bodies, including the Security Council.

    In March 2010, the Human Rights Council resolved to establish a committee of experts to monitor and assess the adequacy of Israeli and Palestinian investigations into the violations of international law set out in the Goldstone Report. The Council also reiterated its call upon all concerned parties, including UN bodies, including the Security Council, to ensure their implementation of the recommendations contained in the Goldstone report. The Council further decided to follow up implementation. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 29-6, with 11 abstentions. The voting was as follows:

    • The US voted against
    • Of the 8 EU states involved in the vote, only 1 state voted for the resolution – Slovenia, 4 voted against – the Netherlands, Italy, Hungary and Slovakia, and 3 abstained – the UK, France, and Belgium
    • Of the 2 European states which are not in the EU, and also involved in the vote, 1 small state voted in favour, while Norway abstained.
    • All 4 of the BRICs were involved in the vote – Brazil, India and China voted in favour, and Russia abstained.
    • Of the 31 other non-Western states involved in the vote, 23 voted in favour, only 1 voted against – the Ukraine, and 7 abstained.

    In June 2010, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights addressed the Human Rights Council and announced the appointment of the required committee of three independent experts.

    In August 2010, the Secretary-General sent, as required, his second follow-up report to the General Assembly (delayed because of the time taken to translate the Israeli and Palestinian submission documents), concerning what steps the Israeli and Palestinian sides had taken over independent, credible investigations by each, in conformity with international standards, into the serious violations of law reported in the Goldstone report. His report noted that he had duly received documents from both the Israeli and Palestinian sides, which were attached as annexes to the report, and that he had sent these documents to the committee of independent experts charged with monitoring and assessing them.

    And there, essentially, matters currently rest, in the confusion following the collapse of the moribund peace process in September 2010, despite a frantic, humiliating and unsuccessful American offer to keep it going, for which see part IV of this article, in the section What, then, of the Americans?

    However, the Goldstone report will not go away, even in the face of the near-certain use of the American veto in the Security Council to protect Israel from the consequences of its crimes. As noted above, the Goldstone report provided numerous avenues for possible action, other than exclusively through the Security Council. The following possible options for the UN General Assembly have been discussed:

    • The Goldstone report stated that, among the possible actions by the UN General Assembly, the Assembly, “may, in order to ensure justice for victims and accountability for perpetrators, consider whether additional action within its powers is required in the interests of justice, including under [an old General Assembly resolution dating back to 1950] – resolution 377 (V) ‘Uniting for Peace’ ”. In the Uniting for Peace resolution, the General Assembly:
      • Reaffirms the importance of the exercise by the Security Council of its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and the duty of the permanent members to seek unanimity and to exercise restraint in the use of the veto.
      • Recognizes that a failure of the Security Council [perhaps because of a veto] does not deprive the General Assembly of its rights or relieve it of its responsibilities under the UN Charter in regard to the maintenance of international peace and security
      • Resolves that if the Security Council, because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members [perhaps because of a veto], fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in any case where there appears to be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression, the General Assembly shall consider the matter with a view to making appropriate recommendations to Members for collective measures … to maintain or restore international peace and security.
    • The collective measures could then consist, for example, of economic sanctions or a trade boycott. They could equally consist of a requirement that member states use “universal jurisdiction” against Israel, under which countries can prosecute perpetrators of crimes against international humanitarian law regardless of where in the world the alleged crimes were committed.
    • Another possibility that has been mooted is to declare Palestine a state, using the “Uniting For Peace” procedure if need be, and then refer the issue to the International Court of Justice, asking the Court to rule on the validity of a Palestinian signature on the International Criminal Court convention. The International Criminal Court could then be requested to initiate investigations and proceedings.

    CONCLUSION
    The comprehensive scrutiny above reveals that Israel is very far from being a legitimate state, when considering “legitimate” in the (non-legal) sense of valid, acceptable, justifiable, reasonable. Its history closely resembles that of a colonial state; it is racist; it practices apartheid; it is indifferent to international law; many states and peoples deny its legitimacy.




    PART IV
    WHAT IS TO BE DONE?

    Israel’s illegitimacy reinforces the need for a solution to the conflict
    We conclude, therefore – see above – that, although Israel is a de facto state, it is very far from being a legitimate state, either in the strictly legal sense, or in the sense of being a valid, acceptable, justifiable, reasonable state. This conclusion is valuable because it strengthens the need for reaching a peaceful, acceptable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    What kind of solution?
    The realpolitic, “consensus” two-state solution, based upon Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Territories to the 1948 borders does not represent a just solution:

    • Full justice to the past would require the abolition of Jewish sovereignty in Israel (the “one-state” solution), as well as a full right of return, with compensation, for Palestinians, and the eviction of Jewish inhabitants occupying Palestinian property.
    • The “consensus” two-state solution represents, if accepted, a considerable forfeiture by Palestinians, giving them only 21% of historic [mandate] Palestine. They will thus have lost nearly four/fifths of their homeland.
    • Nevertheless, the Palestinians may accept this solution on a pragmatic, realpolitik basis, if only because they cannot get anything else, due to Israeli arrogance and intransigence - a second-hand arrogance, a borrowed intransigence, scrounged on the back of the massive economic, military and (above all) diplomatic support they receive from their American backers (ever ready in their support of democracy, freedom, and human rights throughout the world).
    • However, it is becoming more and more apparent to the world at large that Bibi, Avigdor, and the rest of the American-backed bunch of Jewish racists/supremacists who run things in Tel Aviv, do not want a viable two-state solution of the kind which most observers envisage:
      • To most (non-American) observers, a land settlement comprising anything less than the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip (the remaining 21%), by excluding some or all of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank (which includes East Jerusalem) would make a Palestinian state unviable. No state worthy of the name could exist with islands of the territory of another state either embedded within it, or (alternatively) existing as spear-like projections into it. It follows therefore that, at a minimum, a future Palestinian state would require Israeli withdrawal from all of the illegal settlements on the West Bank, including those in East Jerusalem. It now appears that, to prevent Israeli “islands” within a Palestinian state, there will be “land swaps”. The suspicion is that the land swaps to enable major Israeli settlements to be retained may consist of lumps of desert in the Negev in return for the prime land represented by these retained settlements.
      • The Israeli leadership appear not to be prepared even for this minimum Palestinian state – never mind the need to abandon all Israeli settlements, they resist even a moratorium on the building of new, additional settlements. They appear, from what Netanyahu and others have said in the past, to envisage for Palestine a political entity which is not a state at all, which has no army (that is, it is defenceless), and which may include embedded within it some un-dismantled Israelis settlements (that is, it is not a state worthy of the name). Indeed, all they appear to offer is (perhaps) a little more economic prosperity within a political entity which is little more than a colony, a collection of bantustans. In this, they appear to be oblivious to changing world (particularly European) opinion, and changing geopolitical realities.
      • Indeed, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the Israelis, playing for time, are quite happy to string things out (as they have in the past), gulling the Americans (and perhaps some others) with the pretence rather than the actuality of a peace process.
    • It is also important to consider the fact that the so-called “consensus” for a two-state solution is very far from being a world-wide consensus. It is in fact largely a Western consensus in which the principal actors, aside from America itself, are the states of the European Union. A much larger number of other states - the developing countries and the Arab and larger Muslim world - have, virtually since Israel’s creation, been against the Zionist project (as a form of colonialism, and for many other reasons), and would certainly consider the two-state solution to be overly generous towards Israel. However, their power to change things is limited because of the American veto in the UM Security Council – unless the so-called “Uniting For Peace” resolution can really be used.

    Other solutions are at least thinkable:
    • There is the “one-state solution” already referred to, which currently seems wildly unrealistic for decades. A variant of this is the two-state solution which makes provision for an eventual one-state solution at some unspecified distant time in the future.
    • Other prescriptions are also thinkable, for example:
      • The original UN partition plan embodied in the abandoned resolution 181
      • A revised (and fairer) UN partition which takes into account the relative populations in 1947
    There is, however, yet another two-state solution which has, apparently, never been discussed. Since no valid settlement has been made in the past, and since the past has gone and cannot be reconstituted (whether fairly or not), a two-state partition could be made which is fair to the present (rather than the past) Jewish and Arab populations of Israel/Palestine, reflecting the numbers of each of the two populations:
    • This solution has the immense advantage that it is fair to the present populations:
      • The Palestine Arabs are innocent of anything – they are the victims.
      • The original Zionists who were guilty of creating Israel out of someone else’s land are, for the most part, dead and gone.
      • The proposed solution does not visit the sins of the Jewish fathers on their Jewish sons, who are not responsible for them.
      • It also has the immense advantage that it assumes that everyone in the two present Jewish and Arab populations is innocent.
      • Of the Palestinian refugees who are outside Palestine, it is suggested that only those who wish to permanently return are included in the Arab population. Those who have made a satisfactory life elsewhere and do not wish to return should not be so included.
    • The mere mention of such a solution will enrage the Zionists in Tel Aviv. They are not used to fair solutions, only solutions which are very considerably to their advantage, and very considerably to the disadvantage of the Palestinians.
    • The Americans, too, are unused to any solutions which are not very considerably in favour of their racist Zionist friends, and very considerably to the detriment of the Palestinians. True to their consistent and blatantly pro-Israeli stance, the assiduous pursuers of freedom, democracy, and human rights throughout the world will not be interested in a fair solution.
    • What of the rest of the world? Developing countries (that used to be referred to as the Third World) would no doubt be overwhelmingly in favour of a just solution – but they have no power to change things – unless, again, the “Uniting For Peace” resolution can really be used. What of the states in the European Union? They are so used (due to a combination of threats and bribes) to a position of abject subservience to America, that, despite their moral misgivings, they are unlikely to depart from the pro-Israeli American position. What of the peoples of the world (at least the 99%-plus who are not Zionists) who are very likely to be strongly for a settlement which is just and fair? Hell, we don’t count, baby, didn’t you know that!

    How likely is a solution?
    The Israeli leadership, as noted above, appear not to be prepared to accept a Palestinian state which is worthy of the name, and envisage (if anything at all) a mere form of Palestinian colony. They seem quite happy to string out a peace process which is going nowhere.

    What, then, of the Americans?
    The United States was instrumental in bringing Israel into existence 60 years ago. It has strongly and more or less uncritically supported the Israelis, at least since Israel’s seizure of the Occupied Territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip 40-odd years ago, and its harsh and brutal occupation of them ever since (Gaza, though no longer occupied, is under siege – the biggest prison in the world). The Americans have thus placed themselves down there in the gutter with the Israelis, as the oppression of the Palestinians has become progressively more horrific, making mock of American pretensions to democracy, freedom, and human rights. Furthermore, the moral bankruptcy of the American position is increasingly perceived around the world:
    • The media often refer to the American president as “the most powerful man in the world” – this (despite the ailing American empire – see below) is still true in the short-term - except when it comes to things Israel-related. It is impossible to believe that Barack Obama, as a black American, has any sympathy with the racists in Tel Aviv. However, in the case of things Israeli, Obama, like his predecessors, is but of diminutive stature.
    • Consider the massively generous incentives which Obama offered Netanyahu in a desperate attempt to save the expiring peace process, by attempting to get Bibi to renew, for a mere three months, a partial freeze on Jewish settlement construction which still did not include East Jerusalem. The package included the sale of $3 billion worth of American military aircraft, backing for Israel's continued military presence in the Jordan Valley following the formation of a Palestinian state, and a promise by the US to veto any UN Security Council resolutions Israel does not like. And still Netanyahy disdainfully turned him down. Commentators have fittingly used the terms “bribe”, “appeasement”, and “humiliation”.
    • No, when it comes to Israel-related things, the most powerful political entity in the world (again, at least in the short-term) is the United States Congress, and they are bought and paid for by the powerful pro-Israel lobby (with Zionist Jewish organizations at its core, supported by, among others, an unholy bunch of Christian Zionists), which listens slavishly to Netanyahu and his Zionist buddies.
    • The American mainstream media are also a disgrace when it comes to things Israeli – British journalist Robert Fisk correctly labeled them (when it comes to Israel) as “gutless and biased”. Indeed, if the American media and the well-paid stooges who write and front for them were honest about Israel, and in particular its history (as recommended by professors Meisenheimer and Walt in their book on The Israel Lobby), American public opinion is very likely to change against Israel. The dishonest American media are thus (like Congress) a major obstacle to progress towards settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – see, on our website referred to above, our article Bully Boys II: Thoughts On Mearsheimer And Walt’s Book On The Israel Lobby, under the section To The American People: They’ve Never Told You The Truth – Otherwise, You Wouldn’t Unconditionally Support Israel.
    • However, with the appearance on the American scene of  “J Street”, a more moderate Jewish-American lobby group which favours the two-state solution (but do they favour an equitable two-state solution – the devil is in the detail), things may eventually change – but they have neither the finances nor the power of the “old” pro-Israel lobby of AIPAC and the rest – so, for the short-term, little may be expected from America. And the Palestinians don’t have time.
    • Shifts are occurring, too, among the military and diplomatic elite. General Petraeus who has commanded US forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan, has recognised Israel's continued occupation of Palestinian land as an obstacle to resolving these conflicts. And a former director of intelligence assessment for the US defence secretary has written a paper called “Israel as a Strategic Liability?” – he observed a change in thinking at the White House, state department and the Pentagon concerning  the effect of Washington's automatic support for Israeli policies He said, “… the depth of America's moral [moral!] commitment does not justify or excuse actions by an Israeli government that unnecessarily make Israel a strategic liability … It does not mean that the United States should extend support to an Israeli government when that government fails to credibly pursue peace with its neighbours.” But again, these changes are very likely to be too little, too late for the Palestinians.
    • Attitudes of the American public toward Israel are also changing. The American Public Opinion and U.S. Foreign Policy polling unit has contended that American opinion shifts against Israel with each Israeli outrage: Lebanon in 2006, Gaza in December 2008,  the flotilla attack in May 2010,  and Israel’s disregard of international law. A 2009 Zogby International poll of American attitudes toward Israelis and Palestinians also detected significant changes in American public attitudes favouring US disengagement from Israel. Americans are apparently becoming weary of Israeli procrastination in “peace negotiations”, and Israeli officials undercutting the American President and flaunting their power in Congress. There is a growing belief that Israel takes the US, and its economic and military aid, for granted. Again, probably too late for the Palestinians.
    • Obama’s whole approach to the conflict is determined by the above-noted factors, and as a result is totally inadequate, and a complete waste of time, Furthermore, even if the now-moribund peace process had succeeded, it would have brought about such a non-satisfactory non-state that Palestinians would not have accepted it, and it would not, therefore, have brought peace about. America needs to use its enormous leverage over Israel to force change – there is no necessity to repeat our detailed arguments, which are also included in the Bully Boys II article referred to above under the section To The New American Administration – Bring Peace To The Middle East: Stop Treating Israel As Special, And Demand A Viable Palestinian State. As a result, two years have been wasted, and the peace process is dead in the water.
    • There is an important additional point about the current (near-moribund) American-instigated peace process. The Americans will not accept Hamas as a negotiating partner – the excuse is that they are a “terrorist” organization. However, the real reason is that America/Israel will not deal (at least officially) with Hamas because they believe (with good reason) that Mahmoud Abbas will be easier to deal with (that is, more compliant), and the most important reason of all is that, unlike Abbas, Hamas may not accept all past “agreements”, which may include, according to Avi Shlaim, Israel's retention of the major settlement blocs on the West Bank (This is bizarre, of course, since Israel doesn’t follow past agreements – take settlement building for example). It should be noted that:
      • Hamas has explicitly said it will not use violence against America or any other state than Israel, and it has not in fact done so.
      • Furthermore, Hamas “terrorist” violence (to regain Palestinian territory, to fight for self-determination, to fight against the oppressor) is little different from Israeli state violence (to hold territory dispossessed from the Palestinians, to hold illegally-occupied territory, to assassinate the opposition). Both Hamas and the Israelis kill civilians.
      • In the face of American-supported Israeli intransigence, the Palestinians (and Hamas) have no alternative to the use of violence within their resistance strategy; the Israelis leave them no other option if they are to resist at all. However, the Israelis do have an alternative – they could end the occupation of the West Bank (and the siege of Gaza) unilaterally tomorrow if they so wished – and therefore Israeli violence cannot be excused, because they have a peaceful alternative.
      • The entire argument concerning Israeli state violence and Hamas “terrorist” violence is discussed in great detail in the Bully Boys II article referred to above under the section A Call To Everyone – Don’t Be Fooled By Zionist Myths, in the sub-section Zionist Myths: Palestinian Terrorism Prevents Peace.
      • A viable and lasting peace probably cannot be achieved without the participation of Hamas.
      • For more details about Hamas, see our website referred to above, and an article entitled Hamas and Palestinian-Israeli Peace Negotiations.
    • The Americans, as noted above, prefer to deal with Mahmoud Abbas, whose party lost the Palestinian elections, whose Palestinian Authority is completely financially dependent on the pro-Israeli US, and the EU, which is subservient to the US, and whose security forces are trained and paid for by the US and EU. Abbas’s other shortcomings are also detailed above. For what it is worth, an international activist who had recently been in the West Bank, was of the opinion that very few Palestinians had faith in Abbas as a negotiator capable of achieving a “just” settlement to the conflict. The Americans have done their best to prevent any reconciliation between Abbas and Hamas.
    • In short, nothing can be expected of an American-led peace process if the Palestinians, and the world community, want to see a truly viable Palestinian state. The American failure to achieve peace in the Middle East damages not only the Palestinians, and indeed the best interests of the Israelis themselves – it also damages everyone else's interests. Effective peace efforts must begin elsewhere, and, among other things, concentrate on isolating America with Israel, its pariah “friend” and ally.
    What of the ‘Quartet’?
    • The Quartet (the US, Russia, the EU, and the UN) has been in the past a creature of George W. Bush, and a singular failure, a near-moribund organization existing only as a cover for the Bush regime’s misdeeds. It might perhaps just be disbanded.
    • But if the Quartet is not disbanded, and is rejuvenated, then it must, like the European Union, take a robust and independent line from that of the United States.
    • Tony Blair, as the Quartet’s Special Envoy to the Middle East, needs to be replaced. It is difficult to think of a more ill-suited person. Second only to George W. Bush himself, Blair must be the most hated man in the Middle East, where he has achieved nothing - furthermore, he has disturbing Zionist connections.
    • Our detailed arguments are also included in the Bully Boys II article referred to above under the section The ‘Quartet’: Act Independently Of The Americans, And Press For Swift Action To Bring Peace.
    What political stance should the European Union adopt?
    The European Union has traditionally been more sympathetic towards the Palestinians. If little is to be hoped for from America, then it is all the more important that the European Union take a robust and independent line from that of the United States, and use its own clout with Israel to promptly and forcefully bring pressure to bear for a solution to the conflict
    • Chris Patten, the former EU commissioner said as much a few months ago, on a visit to Gaza, "The default European position should not be to wait to find out what the Americans are going to do, and if the Americans don't do anything to wring our hands. We should be prepared to be more explicit in setting out Europe's objectives and doing more to try to implement them." And on Hamas: “… do we need to insist on them accepting all past agreements? Has Israel accepted all past agreements?”
    • Last month, twenty-six European grandees (former EU leaders) urged the EU to adopt a tougher stance towards Israel. Their letter did not go nearly far enough - they implicitly accepted land swaps, and instead of demanding an EU trade boycott, and a downgrading of relations with Israel in all areas, they merely settled for a proposed refusal to upgrade ties with Israel unless settlements are frozen. They could have, as Brazil, Argentina and Ecuador actually did last month, and Uruguay plans to do soon, proposed recognition of the independent State of Palestine, within borders that conform to the ceasefire lines of 1967 – but they didn’t. Meanwhile, the US pays for Israeli weapons which demolish EU-funded projects in Gaza, and the EU pays for them to be rebuilt - in time for Israel to destroy them again?
    • As noted above, the supporters of Israel are limited more or less to the Western nations. A much larger number of other states - the developing countries and the Arab and larger Muslim world - have, virtually since Israel’s creation, been against the Zionist project (as a form of colonialism, as a denial of self-determination). But their power to change things, as noted above, is limited. Thus, aside from the United States itself, the European Union could take a pivotal role in forcing a resolution of the conflict.
    • Coordinated EU action to bring pressure to bear on Israel for an acceptable solution to the conflict would have the effect of more or less totally isolating Israel as a pariah state, except for its American patron. This in turn would put pressure on America, to adopt an even-handed approach towards the Israelis and the Palestinians
    • Though the EU doesn’t have the clout of America, it nevertheless has considerable influence with Israel, since it is Israel’s biggest trading partner. It should use this influence to the utmost, and, until there is an end to the siege of Gaza,  and a satisfactory resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
      • Publicly suspend any upgrade of relations with Israel
      • immediately suspend the EU-Israel Association agreement and all trade preferences
      • use trade sanctions against Israel – leading progressively to a complete trade ban
      • bring pressure to bear on Israel to accept Hamas as a negotiating partner – see the discussion on Hamas above.
    • The EU should also pressure America to take adequate and prompt steps to resolve the conflict - a repeat of the cruel trickery of the wasted years of the (totally inadequate) “peace process” under former president Clinton, and the wasted years of the (non-existent) “road map” process under Bush junior, must not be allowed to happen again.
    • More detailed arguments are also included in the Bully Boys II article referred to above under the section To The European Union: Take A Robust And Independent Line From The US, And Use Europe’s Leverage
    • There is a problem, however. The arrogance of imperial America has grown over the years – such that threats and bribes are used as frequently against its supposed allies and friends as much as its enemies. As a result, individual European states, and the EU itself, have far too often been subservient to the demands of the United States, both over Israel and on other matters. This docile submission should be resisted, and the knowledge of American imperial decline, and the rise of other powers in the world – see below – should make it easier to do so.
    • Germany, a major force in the EU, also presents a major problem – it is slavishly pro-Israeli because of its Nazi past (a fact that the pro-Israel lobby in Germany uses mercilessly). The Germans are an important player in the European Union, and need to do their part.. They cannot carry on forever a penance for the sins of some of their grandfathers and great-grandfathers some 60-70 years ago. They need to end their easy and politically correct kow-towing to the Israelis (for a terrible relic from the historical past which they cannot change) and take the politically courageous course of supporting the Palestinian people in their struggle to achieve their human rights (a present-day cause which they can do something about). If they do so, they may be pleasantly surprised at the number of friends they have gained, not just among the Palestinians and in the Arab and Muslim worlds, but in Europe too, and throughout the developing world. Further background is provided in another article on our website, Taking The Easy Way Out: German Moral Cowardice Over The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The Germans, however, are only one among twenty-seven European states, and the others should not allow misplaced German qualms to impede progress towards a resolution of the conflict.
    • As for the UK, it too has its pro-Israel lobby. And the signs are not good - the government is intending, disgracefully (and specifically to help its Israeli “friends” – some of whom are war criminals), to change the law on universal jurisdiction to abolish the ability to bring private prosecutions for international crimes in the UK. But the UK has a particular need, post-Blair (that is, after solid support for America over Iraq, Lebanon in 2006, Israel-Palestine, not to speak of Afghanistan), to restore the UK’s damaged reputation around the world, especially in the Arab and Islamic worlds. And even the British have (belatedly) realised that their “special relationship” with America, to the extent that it ever existed, is no more – if the United States desired a special relationship, it would now be with China – see below.
    • David Cronin, in his recently published book Europe’s Alliance With Israel: Aiding The Occupation, gives a detailed account of how Israel has wormed its way into the European Union’s institutions and snuggled up to its highest representatives. He notes in the preface that, "Israel has developed such strong political and economic ties to the European Union over the past decade that it has become a member state of the union in all but name." He quotes Javier Solana, then EU foreign policy chief in 2009, “There is no country outside the European continent that has this type of relationship that Israel has with the European Union. Israel, allow me to say, is a member of the European Union without being a member of the institutions. It’s a member of all the [EU’s] programmes, it participates in all the programmes". As the Independent’s Robert Fisk remarked, in a recent article on Cronin’s book, and concerning this institution, so unaccountable to the citizens of its various member states: “Pardon me? Did we know this? Did we vote for this? Who allowed this to happen?” Cronin goes on, ” … their [EU representatives] alliance with Israel is largely devoid of ethical integrity … the European Union’s cowardice towards Israel … Europe is abetting crimes against humanity in the Middle East.”
    • The EU and its member states need to absorb the end of American hegemony, take a tougher and more autonomous line from the US, and actively seek to end the conflict by seeking collective action with the non-Western world.

    Reason for hope – a multipolar world
    There is another reason for greater hope for a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Americans are, despite recent bust-ups with Netanyahu, still staunchly (and amorally) pro-Israeli – but American power is waning. Though major world events are frequently unpredictable, and long-term forecasting is distinctly error-prone, it does appear that the American empire is in terminal decline. It is generally agreed, at least outside the United States, that American hegemony, “full spectrum dominance” in every region of the world, as beloved by the neocons, is over. There is a belated realisation that the defining moment was the Great Crash of 2008 – that is, on the watch of the widely-despised George W. Bush, leaving Obama to handle the problem. Other powers, the so-called BRICs, are seen to be on the rise. The BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are likely to have a very different attitude to the Israeli state than the American one:
    • India in particular has had direct historical experience of colonisation, under the old British empire.
    • Brazil also, as a South American country, has experienced the murderous depredations throughout that sub-continent of the new American empire, particularly (and not so long ago) under Reagan, but also in previous years, when South America was considered (at least by the United States) to be “America’s backyard”.
    • China, as a rising industrial power, has a large and increasing demand for oil; Arab states and other Muslim states such as Iran supply much of the world’s oil – for historical reasons, none of these has cause to love Israel.
    • Russia suffered in the 1990s under a resurgent America following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and was forced (like much of the rest of the world) to adopt an ugly neoliberal economic agenda which had very harsh effects on many of its people. Notwithstanding recent rapprochements (it would be nice to know precisely what bribes and carrots the Americans proffered – they can’t use threats, they only use those against the helpless and weak), Russia is unlikely to feel much warmth towards America. It may be tempted, therefore, to simultaneously cock a snook at the Americans while siding with the angels – and support the Palestinians in their struggle.
    Reason for hope – The Non-Western World
    To examine the progress of the Goldstone report (see part III above) is to watch the various geopolitical forces at play. Here is the US, conspicuous and alone in its barefaced and biased support for Israel. Here are the Western minority of nations, excluding the US, the most important among these being the European Union, making muted criticisms of Israel, but in reality subservient to the US, and falling into line with the hugely pro-Israeli US position. Their stance together putting the credibility and prestige of the United Nations itself in jeopardy.

    But then there are the majority of the world’s nations (including the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the League of Arab States), struggling to help the Palestinians in their unequal contest, and doing their best, through the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council, in the face of a US veto in the Security Council, to keep Goldstone alive.
     
    Here, then, are reasons for hope, as the rest of the world becomes more assertive as US dominance declines in a more multipolar world. In particular, there is the increasing power and influence of the so-called BRICs, as noted in the paragraphs above. There is also a new forcefulness in Latin America, for so long America’s “backyard”, in which (especially in the not-so-long-ago Reagan era) the US played out its brutal neo-imperialist games – this is especially so for Brazil, Venezuela, and some others.

    Aside from the general role which these non-Western nations can play in building a genuine peace process to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there is, perhaps, one specific opportunity. This is to use, via the UN General Assembly, the “Uniting For Peace” resolution to nullify an American veto in the UN Security Council (see part III above).
       

    Reason for hope  - uncompromising journalists and writers
    The American mainstream print media have already been dealt above - the British journalist Robert Fisk has correctly labeled them as “as pro-Israel, biased and gutless as the two professors infer them to be”. The two academics he refers to are professors Mearsheimer and Walt, whose book is also referred to above. They say in their book, “The American [print] media’s coverage of Israel tends to be strongly biased in Israel’s favor, especially when compared with news coverage in other democracies.” They note that, “to discourage unfavorable reporting on Israel, groups in the [pro-Israel] lobby organize letter-writing campaigns, demonstrations, and boycotts against news outlets whose content they consider anti-Israel”. Anyone who has watched American TV networks will know that their coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict is similarly dire. In contrast, Israeli journalists like Amira Hass and Gideon Levy, in the liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz, do not hesitate to criticise Israel.

    By contrast, coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the “liberal” British print media – the Guardian (and the Guardian Group’s Observer) and Independent is excellent – we say nothing of the right-wing press, particularly Murdoch’s papers. It is a different matter with the British broadcast media – with exceptions (see the point on Channel 4 below):

    • Tim Llewellyn, in a 2004 article in the Observer, said that, “British television and radio's reporting [of the Arab-Israeli conflict] has been, in the main, dishonest - in concept, approach and execution … The struggle between Israel and the Palestinians is shown, most especially on mainstream bulletins, as a battle between two 'forces', possessed equally of right and wrong and responsibility. It is the tyranny of spurious equivalence … Legions of critics have formed similar views and put them to the BBC and ITN, to no avail … the general BBC and ITN attitude is to bow to the strongest pressure”
    • Bad News From Israel, by Greg Philo and Mike Berry recounts the research of the Glasgow University Media Group, who monitored and analysed four separate periods of BBC and ITN coverage between late 2000 and the spring of 2002. These are some of the comments on that book by Tim Llewellyn in the same article referred to above:
      • “[The book] makes the scientifically based case that the main news and current affairs programmes - with the rare exception, usually on Channel 4 - are failing to tell us the real story and the reasons behind it
      • The Israeli view, the study finds, dominates the coverage
      • far more coverage of Israeli deaths than Palestinian, even though far more Palestinians have died
      • Israeli violence is tempered not only by the weight of coverage but by the very language used to describe incidents
      • the cycle is always shown as Palestinian attack and Israeli reprisal. Broadcasters consistently fail to suggest that it might be the military occupation that engenders armed resistance, or that Israeli actions may be such as to provoke Palestinian violence
      • the daily despairing and degrading consequences of living under military occupation are rarely reported
      • while there is constant reference to Israeli security and Israel's right to exist, there is little mention of Palestinians' security or their right to exist
      • ignorance among people who rely on TV for their information about the world is not surprising: Bad News reveals that between 28 September and 16 October 2000 BBC1 and ITN devoted 3,500 lines of text to the crisis in Israel/Palestine - 17 of which were devoted to the history of the conflict
      • This thoughtful study does offer some hope. It found that the images of this crisis, of tanks, jet fighters and helicopter gun-ships in lethal pursuit of terrified civilians, many of them women and children, have brought home to viewers that a grave injustice is being committed in Palestine. They are just not quite sure what it is.”
    The BBC is Britain’s publicly-funded broadcaster, with a duty to educate as well as entertain, and it is required to be impartial. Unfortunately, a number of commentators have cast doubt on that impartiality when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - calling into question its international reputation:
    • Peter Oborne’s Channel 4 Dispatches programme on the British pro-Israel lobby was aired in November 2009, and accompanied by an online pamphlet and an article in the Guardian. Oborne made the following points (among many others):
      • The BBC (and the Guardian) suffer from a barrage of complaints and emails, many from outside the UK. The BBC has proved unable to cope. As the then culture secretary, Ben Bradshaw (the then culture secretary, and a former BBC reporter), rather bravely remarked after director general Mark Thompson turned down a request to broadcast a humanitarian appeal for Gaza: "I'm afraid the BBC has to stand up to the Israeli authorities occasionally. Israel has a long reputation for bullying the BBC."
      • many individuals who privately told Dispatches of their concerns about the lobby simply felt they had too much to lose by confronting it. The BBC’s Jonathan Dimbleby had boldly expressed criticism in a powerfully argued article for Index on Censorship of the pressure from pro-Israel groups on the BBC, which led to the BBC Trust’s report on Jeremy Bowen, and had initially been keen to be involved [in Oborne’s programme]. From Oborne’s pamphlet: “Suddenly his interest evaporated. There simply wasn’t the time, he said. At first we felt baffled and let down. But in due course we discovered that his comments had brought a complaint from the very same lawyer, Jonathan Turner of the Zionist Federation, that had complained about Jeremy Bowen … ”
      • In January 2009, Mark Thompson, director general of the BBC, took the unprecedented decision of breaking away from other broadcasters and refusing to broadcast the Disasters Emergency Appeal for Gaza, claiming outlandishly that it would compromise the BBC’s impartiality
    • John Pilger’s film The War You Don't See was broadcast on ITV last month. It is instructive to see Pilger cornering various hapless BBC management persons on their misguided views as to what constitutes impartiality and bias.
    • Robert Fisk, in various recent articles, refers to:
      • “the BBC's grovelling coverage of Israel”
      • in an article headed “How can you trust the cowardly BBC?”, Fisk says “the BBC Trust is now a mouthpiece for the Israeli lobby which abused Bowen … the BBC Trust's report on Jeremy Bowen's dispatches from the Middle East is pusillanimous … The trust has collapsed, in the most shameful way, against the usual Israeli lobbyists … the BBC management cowards … Bowen and his colleagues are truly lions led by BBC management donkeys”
      • “the BBC's pusillanimous coverage of the Gaza aid ships”
    • An article in the Independent in November 2005 noted that the BBC’s director general, Mark Thompson, “has recently returned from Jerusalem, where he held a … meeting with the hardine Prime Minister Ariel Sharon … Sources at the Beeb also suspect that it heralds a ‘softening’ to the corporation's unofficial editorial line on the Middle East.” The article continues, quoting from the ‘BBC source’: "Not many people know this, but Mark is actually a deeply religious man. He's a Catholic, but his wife is Jewish, and he has a far greater regard for the Israeli cause than some of his predecessors." The article adds (for the sake of fairness) that a BBC spokesman stressed that Thompson had also held talks with the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas. Most British people would probably think it odd (and demeaning) that the head of the BBC should meet with Sharon, much less discuss things with him (what things? BBC coverage?) Moreover, given the BBC’s pro-Israeli coverage, was the visit to Abbas merely for the sake of a spurious (and non-existent) “balance”?
    • In studies of television coverage by the University of Wales, Cardiff, and Media Tenor, the BBC's coverage was found to reflect overwhelmingly the government line.
    John Pilger, in a recent article in the London Guardian, asks “Why are wars not being reported honestly?” (He is speaking of conflicts in general) He goes on: “So why have journalists colluded with governments to hoodwink us? … Never has so much official energy been expended in ensuring journalists collude with the makers of rapacious wars.” He speaks of military intentions to control the media as far as possible; of "false realities" and their adoption by the media; of a news vocabulary that “seldom questioned the good intentions of the invaders”; of the pressure on journalists - of losing their job, of being labelled unpatriotic, and of a [Wiki]-leaked document revealing that the most effective journalists “are those who are regarded in places of power not as embedded or clubbable, but as a "threat”.

    The need for uncompromising media executives, editors, and journalists, some of whom have been mentioned in this article, is palpable - authors too. Indeed, Mearsheimer and Walt, in their book referred to above, identified this as one of two main points they made about mitigating the effects of the pro-Israel lobby, to encourage a more open debate about Middle East issues, and to encourage editors, journalists, and scholars to resist the lobby’s efforts to shape public discourse, and to reject the silencing tactics that some lobby groups employ. (Interestingly, their other major point, to reduce the lobby’s political influence, was to recommend the public financing of all elections – a point that could be borne in mind here in the UK.)

    So, dear readers, how honest is the press, TV and radio in your country when it comes to the Middle East conflict? (Compare it to the Middle East coverage on Al-Jazeera and Russia Today.)


    Reason for hope  - activists from around the world
    It was ordinary people from around the world who, motivated by the injustice done to the Palestinians, manned the Gaza flotilla which attempted to break Israel’s sea blockade of Gaza. The international outrage provoked by Israel’s murderous attack on the flotilla caused a shift in global attitudes towards Israel, not least at the United Nations, and led to some easing of the blockade.

    So, come on, all you good people out there in all countries! Get active. Write to your MP, senator, or other political representative about Israeli wrongs. March and protest. Join your local BDS (Boycott, Disinvestment, and Sanctions) campaign - or start one.

    An activist who had been on a blockade-breaking “Viva Palestina” land convoy told us of the wonderful reception they had received from ordinary people in all of the countries they had passed through – bringing out the often big differences in attitude between the average citizen and those of the elites who rule over them. It would be nice if some reputable polling organization would carry out a new, comprehensive poll throughout the European Union, to look at public attitudes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Such a poll should at least cover all European states with large populations, and, in addition to measuring people’s attitudes to Israelis and Palestinians, should also measure their feelings about America’s position on the confllict, and the extent of their historical knowledge of the Zionist project and the related Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The European Union’s ruling elites would then be confronted, perhaps, with the distance between their own, currently subservient, position towards Israel, and the feelings of ordinary people – not that they ever listen to us.


    Consequences of a failure to achieve an equitable settlement to the conflict
    If a resolution of the conflict is left entirely to the Israelis and the Palestinians (this is essentially the disingenuous American view), with perhaps a little mild behind-the-scenes chivvying, then, such is the massive imbalance of power between the two parties, coupled with Israeli intransigence, that no lasting, viable solution can come about. Unless, therefore, the United States changes course, and puts real pressure on Israel, or the European Union (and perhaps others) do so (putting also whatever pressure they can bring to bear on a recalcitrant America), then no solution to the conflict will be achieved. If this happens, then:
    • The Israelis, as well as the Palestinians, are headed for a disaster which may well spill over into the entire Middle East, and perhaps even further.
    • The extent of Israeli settlements (facts on the ground) is so great now, that if they continue much longer:
      • Then a two-state solution becomes more impossible by the day, paradoxically forcing the Palestinians towards a one-state solution (whether by force or not).
      • There is also a danger that Israel’s slow and cruel strangulation of the Palestinian people, so far advanced today, may be somehow completed – a genocide in slow motion.
    • In either of the above cases, if such a terrible end-game were to occur, the Americans would bear a heavy, not to say major, responsibility, since without their massive and long-term military and economic aid and diplomatic support, Israel’s expansionist wars, and its continuing illegal settlements, would not have been possible. They would rightly be widely reviled, and all their pretensions to freedom, democracy, and human rights would be derided.

    A final message of support for the Palestinians
    We reiterate our support for the Palestinians. No-one can know the history of modern Palestine and not come to the conclusion that the creation of Israel in 1948 was a crime, and its expansion after the 1967 war a crime upon a crime. We say again to the Palestinians:
    • Ultimately it is not up to the rest of the world to “decide” what is good, or what is not good, for you.
    • If you wish to continue the struggle to reverse the creation of Israel, there are many people who will sympathise, and others who will not. The question is in any case irrelevant, since, in the end, no one can force you to acceptance of anything against your will.
    • The “consensus” solution is the two-state solution, but in reality it is not a consensus at all. It is the favoured solution of a minority of largely Western nations led by America, and it is very favourable to the status quo – that is, to the Israelis. The minority of nations who propose it hold the power, at least currently. It may be possible to muster greater support for a solution other than the two-state solution outside your own community, but, at least for the present, hard realpolitik points to the two-state solution.
    • A breakthrough could occur at any time. On the other hand, there may be a long and bitter struggle, comparable to the struggle decades ago against apartheid South Africa.
    • You are the wronged party in this terrible and tragic conflict. You have our support whether you accept a two-state solution, or struggle for some other solution, and we wish you well.



    John Tinmouth
    South Tyneside Stop The War Coalition
    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

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