Monday, 19 September 2011

Would UN Palestinian Statehood destroy any chance of an equitable peace?

After recent suggestions that Mahmud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, was wavering over a planned request for the UN to recognise a Palestinian state, he has affirmed that he will go ahead when scheduled to address the UN General Assembly on the 23rd of September. Such a move is expected to cause an environment of intensified strife.

Abbas said he wished to see a Palestinian state recognised on the basis of the 1949 Armistice Lines, which the international media incorrectly labels as the 1967 lines. This would comprise the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and Gaza, occupied by Jordan and Egypt respectively between 1948/9 and 1967. Previously these territories were administered by the Ottoman Empire and latterly the British Mandate.

Although the US is expected to veto the application for full state membership at the UN Security Council, non-member state recognition would probably pass at the UN General Assembly due to the power of the Arab/Islamic (OIC) voting block which typically gets the support of the somewhat leftist third-world Non-Aligned Movement voting bloc that represents a majority of nations within the UN, and has displayed a consistent bias against Israel.

Whether or not recognition of a Palestinian state would be inimical to the peace process, the benefits to the Palestinian cause would be significant. The Palestinian Authority is expected to get a huge majority in the General Assembly and it will appear as a significant diplomatic victory. Recognition will also aid pro-Palestinian groups. Their incessant condemnation of Israel will gain more apparent legitimacy.

UN state recognition, even where no sovereign governing body or borders exist, would allow access to other international bodies, such as the ICC (International Criminal Court), from where the notional State could sue Israel, bringing the common Palestinian lawfare tactic to a new level of intensity.

Although this Palestinian State would only exist on paper, it would still have the capacity to sign treaties with fully fledged nations, which would add to its perceived legitimacy. Many states (e.g. Arab and South American) that already adopt a strong pro-Palestinian line would queue up to offer support. This may in turn pressure the US to give it greater recognition as a full member of the UN over time.

Efforts to dissuade the request for UN state recognition

Generally speaking the path being taken by the Palestinian Authority is seen negatively by the US, the EU and some other interested parties, albeit for differing reasons.

The United States has threatened to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority if it brings the request to the Security Council but it is unlikely for the US to do so as it would merely reinforce criticism that it display favouritism toward Israel, thus undermining their position as an honest broker in the conflict.

Although the PA have been talking about making this request for almost a year, it does not appear as if the US has attempted to form a strong coalition of allies on the Security Council against the proposal because they appear to be the only member of the Council that has stated it will exercise a veto.

There have been reservations expressed by parties on the Palestinian side too. Both Jordan and Hamas have expressed reservations but the risks to the Palestinian Authority appear to be minimal. One Hamas spokesman said that the result will be “cosmetic, especially when Mahmoud Abbas said his aim is to return to the negotiations with the occupation [i.e. Israel] after all.”

The Quartet on the Middle East, comprising of Russia, the US, EU and UN, are also seeking persuade the PA to stop the statehood bid. Tony Blair, an envoy for the Quartet, stated that they were seeking some sort of mid-way compromise:

The Palestinians are here at the UN now, so the question is … can people find a way that enables the Palestinians to take a significant step forward to statehood at the same time as not ending up in a situation where the UN replaces negotiations?
The European response has been mixed. The President of the European Parliament said the EU does not oppose such a move even if “unilateral declarations or decisions are not the best solution…” German Chancellor Angela Merkel is against recognition of a Palestinian state outside of negotiations, whilst French President Nicolas Sarkozy stated France will recognise a Palestinian state if talks are not established.

The European Union tried to avert conflict at the UN by attempting to renew talks within a short period of time but diplomats stated that the long-standing disagreements over the terms of reference prevented such a move which seems to be is diplomatic speak for Abbas refusing to return to negotiations without a suspension of construction in the settlements and Jerusalem. Since talks would or have failed to get off the ground, the EU also suggested that the Palestinians accept a lesser upgrade to their status at the United Nations. However, without any firm reason to drop the bid for full statehood, which carries richer diplomatic rewards, Abbas is unlikely to accept the offer.

In June France proposed a conference to establish parameters for a resumption of negotiations for similar reasons but was met with disinterest, for which Israel was criticised. However, Nabil Shaath, Fatah’s head of foreign relations, asserted in Lebanon that the PA would not accept the French approach of two states for two peoples.

[The French initiative] reshaped the issue of the “Jewish state” into a formula that is also unacceptable to us — two states for two peoples. They can describe Israel itself as a state for two peoples, but we will be a state for one people. The story of “two states for two peoples” means that there will be a Jewish people over there and a Palestinian people here. We will never accept this…

Dubious legal foundations

Palestine’s status at the UN is currently defined as an “entity” that has observer status with the right to speak at General Assembly meetings, participate in some votes etc.

The Palestinian position is that almost 20 years of occasional talks on statehood have hit a dead end for reasons such as Israel’s refusal to stop settlement construction s in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

However, the path of unilateral action seems to challenge some basic principles of the peace process, including all the internationally accepted frameworks for peace, such as UN Resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), which advocate agreed solutions of the conflict rather than unilateral actions.

The Oslo Interim Agreement of 1995 (also known as Oslo II), to which both parties signed, prohibits unilateral action by either side. Article XXXI states:

Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.
The PA is in breach of the agreement by demanding a suspension of settlement construction prior to resuming talks because final status issues are to be discussed directly as stated in Article XXXI. Moreover Israel’s powers in the relevant zone of its jurisdiction (Area C) weren’t limited in this regard according to Alan Baker, who assisted in negotiating and drafting the Oslo Accords:

… the two sides agreed in the 1995 Interim Agreement… on a division of their respective jurisdictions in the West Bank into areas A and B (Palestinian jurisdiction) and area C (Israeli jurisdiction). They defined the respective powers and responsibilities of each side in the areas they control. Israel’s powers and responsibilities in Area C include all aspects regarding its settlements — all this pending the outcome of the Permanent Status negotiations. This division was accepted and agreed upon by the Palestinians…

The main proponent orchestrating the settlement issue over the years has been the Palestinian leadership, which has decided to isolate and take up the issue of settlements as an independent “cause célèbre,” despite the fact that it is among the agreed-upon items to be negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians in the Permanent Status negotiations.
A common Palestinian line justifying the UN bid refers to the “1967 borders” as the just boundaries of their new state, and cite UN Security Council Resolution 242. However, the 1967 borders are in fact the armistice lines that lasted from 1949 to 1967. They were never designated as permanent boundaries by any party. Rather it was an interim cease-fire line to do expressly the opposite as Article 2.2 of the 1949 Jordanian-Israeli agreement attests:

It is also recognized that no provision of this Agreement shall in any way prejudice the rights, claims and positions of either Party hereto in the ultimate peaceful settlement of the Palestine question, the provisions of this Agreement being dictated exclusively by military considerations.
The fact that the Arab parties in the conflict insisted that the 1949 Armistice lines (Green Line) would have no political significance results in it not having the status of being a true international border. It is worthwhile to add that today many countries, for example numerous states in South America, affirm recognition of a Palestinian state on those very lines. In contrast, UN Resolution 242 (1967) recognises the present Israeli lines as borders until such time as a peace deal is achieved. 242 does not call for full withdrawal to the pre-June 1967 borders despite continual claims to the contrary. As Eugene Rostow, one of the authors of the Resolution, pointed out the wording refers to withdrawal not from “all territories” but unspecified territories whilst ensuring Israeli security. Resolutions that sought withdrawal from all territories were repeatedly rejected at the UN.

Lord Caradon, British Ambassador to the UN at the time and the primary author of Resolution 242, along with Arthur J. Goldberg, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN and another contributor to the text, both asserted that Resolution 242 did not demand Israel to return to the 1949 lines. Goldberg stated:

And it can be inferred from the incorporation of the words secure and recognized boundaries that the territorial adjustments to be made by the parties in their peace settlements could encompass less than a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied territories.
Resolution 242 also stated that all states should have “secure and recognised boundaries free from threats or acts of force”, and that only negotiation can establish such boundaries.

The mandate established by the League of Nations made it legal for Jews to settle anywhere in Palestine, which nullifies any issue of illegality over settlements if they are voluntary. Article 80 of the UN does not allow the institution to hand over any territory appertaining to the Mandate unless Israel, being the representative of the Jewish people agrees

Except as may be agreed upon in individual trusteeship agreements, made under Articles 77, 79, and 81, placing each territory under the trusteeship system, and until such agreements have been concluded, nothing in this Chapter shall be construed in or of itself to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which Members of the United Nations may respectively be parties.

Consequently, it seems that the efforts to establish a Palestinian state at the UN may in fact be illegal.

An excellent video by Give Peace A Chance covers legality issues.

Probable effects on the Peace Process

Aside from the occasional often ill-judged initiative, the peace process initiated almost 20 years ago has in essence stalled. Whilst many pro-Palestinians pretend Israel is solely to blame for this problem the reality is different. The real issue is whether or not recognition of a Palestinian state will become an impediment to the rather faint prospect of peace down the road. The answer is a very definite “yes”.

Abbas insisted in his announcement that UN recognition would then enable the Palestinians to return to negotiations with Israel. This view seems quite absurd considering the fact that every Israeli prime minister has had an open door policy toward negotiations almost continually for two decades.

The reality is that UN recognition would give the Palestinians considerably greater power in negotiations, tipping the balance very much in their favour. Abbas more or less said so in as many words himself:

Negotiations, no matter how difficult, will be between one state and another…. But we will have obtained the world’s recognition that our state is occupied and that our land is occupied and not disputed territory, as the Israeli government claims.
Having a recognised state will dramatically reduce any incentive to compromise because Israel’s ability to trade territory in exchange for a peaceful solution will be lost. Discussion of land swaps, which were a big part of the 2000 Camp David talks, and the Olmert-Abbas talks in 2008, will also be out because the territory of this notional Palestinian State will be set in stone more so than before.

The Jerusalem Question

Critically the Palestinians would probably insist on possessing all of East Jerusalem when Arafat had agreed in principle to allowing the Jewish neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem to remain within Israel.

Any talks would also lead to a cast iron demand that the Palestinians possess the Temple Mount or Haram, which was the primary reason for Arafat walking out of Camp David over a shared sovereignty proposal. Al Jazeera and the Guardian had lambasted Abbas for even considering an independent consortium to decide the issue in the Palestine Papers controversy that they mocked up with selective leaks in January of this year to harm and perhaps destroy the PA.

Conceding absolute sovereignty to the Temple Mount and the Wailing Wall would be near impossible for Israel in the aftermath of the 1948-49 war, where the majority Jewish population was expelled from East Jerusalem, their religious sites desecrated and destroyed. Jordan banned Jews from access to East Jerusalem. That of course included the Temple Mount, which is Judaism’s holiest site, and the adjacent Wailing Wall, its last standing remnant. Indeed a few Palestinian commentators have acknowledged abandoning the site would fatally undermine the Zionist movement since Zion/Tzion equals Jerusalem.

Palestinian leaders and academics systematically deny the extraordinary historic connection between Jerusalem and the Jews. In 1967, Israel agreed to allow the Muslim Waqf to manage the Temple Mount area, with a view toward preventing religious conflict, even at the expense of Jews who are banned from worshipping at the Temple Mount itself! The considerable effort to maintain religious tolerance has never been properly recognised, and has not been remotely reciprocated. Conspiracist plots are repeatedly invented claiming that Israel seeks to harm the Al-Aqsa Mosque, as a method of incitement.

The PA has maintained the propaganda campaign that disassociates the Temple Mount from any connection with Judaism, and sources claim they intend to hand over control of the holy site to the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Co-operation).

This unfortunate contempt, which even the supposedly the moderate Palestinian Authority display, cannot give the Israeli authorities any faith that a deal respecting Jewish places of worship would be carried out in good faith by the Palestinians. For example, last month the Palestinian Authority TV channel broadcast a documentary that stated they plan to build a Palestinian residential area in place of the Western Wall Plaza in Jerusalem.

They [Israelis] know for certain that our [Palestinian] roots are deeper than their false history. We, from the balcony of our home, look out over [Islamic] holiness and on sin and filth [image of Jews' praying at the Western Wall] in an area that used to have [Arab] people and homes. We are drawing our new maps. When they [Israelis] disappear from the picture, like a forgotten chapter in the pages of our city’s history, we will build it anew [a residential area]. The Mughrabi Quarter will be built here [on the Western Wall Plaza].
The Palestinian Authority has an intensely disrespectful attitude toward the connection of the Jewish faith to Jerusalem. UN recognition of a Palestinian State on pre-1967 Jordanian lines would make it considerably more difficult for Israel to ensure safety of Jewish sites and possess the right to worship at them. If Islamists like Hamas were to take a greater role, which is entirely possible, agreements would be torn up and the stance of the Palestinians toward these Jewish sites could be intensely destructive.

The effects of state recognition on the right-of-return issue

UN recognition of a Palestinian state would give a greater capacity for moral posturing if and when the PA inevitably walk away from talks since Israel will be unable to offer the so-called “right to return”.

The UNRWA, which administers the Palestinian refugees, is a remarkable institution. It is separate from UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, dedicated to aiding all other refugees in the world. In contrast to the UNHCR, the UNRWA has a uniquely liberal definition of that category, which included short-term migrant workers of which there was a substantial influx prior to Israel’s formation. Remarkably it includes the later generations of the original refugees, which has resulted in some five to six million people today.

Israel’s current population consists of almost 6 million Jews and 1.4 million Arabs. Consequently the right of return, which the PA never gave up on (contrary to Al Jazeera’s claims during the Palestine Papers controversy), would subsume the Jewish identity of the State of Israel, which was the cause of conflict with the Arab Islamic world in the first instance. Thus it is seen as an effort to destroy Israel.

Jordan has made attempts to persuade the Palestinian Authority to abandon UN recognition, based especially on Palestinian interests, by claiming that such a bid carries the risk of damaging the PA’s ability to seek the “right of return,” but with the UN decidedly on the side of the Palestinians, such an eventuality seems relatively unlikely.

Maen Areikat, the PLO emissary to the United States recently stated that a future Palestinian state should be free of Jews which mirrors a commonly held view that a Palestinian state should effctively be judenrein. The irony of this view is indeed stark. Israel absorbed most of the Jews that were expelled from the Arab world. Now it must take in not only the Jewish settlers that won’t be tolerated in a Palestinian state but six million Palestinians as well on top of the existing Arab populace!

The involvement of Hamas

State Recognition will be given to the Palestinian Authority while in a loose partnership with Hamas. This coalition government was formed in May to present a united front. However, Hamas opposes any peaceful resolution, the existence of Israel and advocates the genocide of Jews the world over. At one time there was a sharp contrast between Hamas and Fatah/PLO but this move may over time increase the radicalism within the PA, whilst increasing the creeping international legitimisation of Hamas.

Contrary to what apologists keep asserting, Hamas’ stance with regard to Israel’s existence has not softened. For example, the organisation’s foreign minister, Mahmoud Al-Zahar, asserted a month and a half ago that Hamas would view any Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, or agreement with the Palestinian Authority, as only a ‘first stage’ towards the destruction of Israel in its entirety. Children are also a long-term component in this vision:

At this moment in time, we say to you, first of all: We want Palestine in its entirety – so there will not be any misunderstandings. If our generation is unable to achieve this, the next one will, and we are raising our children on this. Palestine means Palestine in its entirety, and Israel cannot exist in our midst.

Some conclusions

The Palestinian bid for statehood breaks numerous commitments since 1993 with the signing of the Oslo accords. Effectively Abbas is pursuing a Palestinian state without having to pay the heavy price of truly recognising Israel. Ironically enough, a Palestinian people unwilling to accept peace with Israel is the cost of decades of incitement against the state as a recent poll forcefully indicates.

It is likely but not a given that the UN General Assembly resolution will be passed because although many countries speak up for a Palestinian state based on the 1949-67 borders, numerous commentators have been saying it will lead to a great deal of Palestinian violence in the spirit of 2011 Nabka Day.

That combined with the Hamas-Fatah union, which may be a strategic error for Abbas, has given the impression that some members of the UN may be afraid of voting in a resolution that could incur a Third Intifada. Indeed it may not be a coincidence that Abbas stressed that any protests in support of the UN bid should not turn violent which would be embarrassing. It does seem likely that the endeavour will spark more conflict.

Does it really matter if UN state recognition will destroy any chance of a meaningful peace settlement? The reality certainly seems to be that the PA doesn’t seek peace, and as if to reinforce that point, Abbas said there was no alternative options the Palestinians could pursue if the bid for UN recognition ends in failure, unlikely as that will be.

There is indeed a reason that even the moderate PA has continuously denied Israel’s right to exist for example to quote one of many examples from the Al-Hayat Al-Jadida PA Newspaper:

Manal Taha, one of the organizers of the event… [said that Israel's aim is] to threaten the resolve within the occupying entity, which continues through the actions of the authorities in Jaffa, Acre, Haifa, Jerusalem, and other occupied Palestinian cities. … Taha called upon everyone to participate in this activity, whose aim is to energize the connection between the Palestinians of the territories occupied in 1948 and [those in] the territories occupied in 1967.

Another example is a narrator in PA TV broadcast addressing Israelis, and asking them to leave, because Israel has no right to exist:

Where are you [Israelis] from? Where are you from? Where are you from? Of course, you’re from Ukraine; of course, you’re from Germany, from Poland, from Russia, from Ethiopia, the Falasha (pejorative for Ethiopian Jews). Why have you stolen my homeland and taken my place? Please, I ask of you, return to your original homeland, so that I can return to my original homeland. This is my homeland; go back to your homeland!
Israel, the US and other sectors of the international community are opposed to the Palestinian move at the UN. The truth remains that a true Palestinian state can only be created through direct negotiations.

The founding a Palestinian state is not remotely the root issue of the conflict. The idea has been fully accepted by Israel subject to the negotiations process. Peace is the issue and it will only come with a mutual recognition of each party’s conflicting rights. UN recognition would ignore Israel’s concerns over security, and recognition by its long standing opponent as the national home of the Jewish people. Thus this one-sided UN bid will simply snuff out an already extremely fragile movement toward peace.

Ps. Aish offers a humorous account of the UN bid.

This article is also posted on the Crethi Plethi website.


builder man said...

I'm afraid this propaganda, which is what it is, selecting everything from history that supports your case and ignoring everything that does not
will not wash with neutrals such as myself and Nelson Mandela, who know injustice when they see it. The overwhelming support for the Palestinian cause at the UN was evident today and as one who knocks on doors and campaigns I know the great majority of the public think the same. Your game and your time as conqueror is up.

Anonymous said...

If you truly consider yourself neutral then that suggests a great deal of self-deception on your part. I have no issue describing myself as pro-Israel. To suggest that "Jewish groups" are using their wealth to harm your country, and to suggest Mossad incited the massive expulsions of Jews from Arab countries displays a paranoia that one finds a lot on anti-Semitic far-right websites like Stormfront which also hate Israel. Odd that! Oh and what is this "we" business as if only Israeli's and/or Jews could possibly support Israel? I suggest, respectfully of course, that you get a grip.

The System Works said...

You don't sound particularly 'neutral' to me, builder man. Perhaps the sainted shyster Nelson Mandela isn't the ideal yardstick?

builder man said...

To Anonymous. Thank you for pointing
out that I had mistakenly conflated all Jews with a pro-Israel agenda. That is obviously wrong as there are many enlightened Jewish people and groups who support the Palestinians.
What was in my mind was the pro-Israel people who changed our law
on Universal Jurisdiction recently
and they were predominately Jewish.
Why I object is because their influence is out of all proportion to
their democratic rights and the
changes were made to specifically
benefit a foreign power - Israel.
Whereas before the ordinary citizen
or group could apply for an arrest
warrant for a suspected war criminal, that has now been removed
and the only avenue vested in the
Government - Big Brother. Those warrants were NOT easily obtained.
One had to provide overwhelming evidence to a specialist judge who
was versed in the details of the
charge. But that was not good enough for Israel after the case of
Tzipi Livni who faced arrest here
because of her role in the slaughter in Gaza. Consider this possible scenario as an analogy.
There are many English people now
living in the Irish Republic. I was
one of them for 10 years. Imagine
if they lobbied successfully for
reparations of trillions of euros
as compensation for the activities
of the IRA. Would the Irish taxpayer be happy about that? As to
terrorism, we have suffered much more from Jewish and Irish terrorism than Islamic. It would be
interesting to see that reflected in your blog but I don't think it
will happen! Apart from the direct
Jewish bombs, shootings etc. that
killed and maimed UK citizens in the forties, there are indirect
consequences from the killing of
Palestinians. In James Barr's book
'A Line in the Sand', he relates some of these incidents including
a planned attack by Jewish terrorists to infect London's water
supply with cholera. That would have killed about 6 million people
-an ominous figure. When it comes to barbaric, ruthless terrorism,
no-one can hold a candle to the Jews. If that sounds anti-Semitic,
think again. I regard the Jews as
the same as the rest of us. Sometimes aspiring to the best in
human nature, always capable of the
worst. It was only Adolf Hitler who
regarded the Jews as different. And
maybe their terrorists were reacting to the Holocaust. It would
make an interesting study. As
Shakespeare pointed out 'Men's evil
manners live on in brass; their
virtues we write in water.
To The System Works. I regard myself as a neutral on this issue
because originally I had the opposite perspective. Israeli propaganda had infused my brain with stories of gallant little Israel standing up to and defeating
the nasty Arab millions surrounding
them who were bent on it's destruction. David and Goliath in
fact - another well advertised fable. Many years later, though, I
joined and establishment NGO, The
Minority Rights Group and Palestine was one of 50 cases brought to my attention. This opened my eyes to a different view
and in the following years I read
extensively which took me to my present view. Nelson Mandela is not
a saint but the reason his voice is respected around the world is because of his lack of vindictiveness towards his former enemies. Of course he used violence
to get political change, a 'terrorist' in fact - just like
Hamas and just like the Jews in
the forties and the Israelis now.
An objective person looks behind
the 'terrorism' to understand the
motives. The IRA objected to the
British presence in Ireland. The ANC objected to apartheid rule.
Hamas objects to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Two of these 'terrorist' groups have been
allowed a political path to pursue
their justified objectives. Why not
Hamas? Because it's Israel, a law
unto itself, constantly in breach
of International Law and the UN.

Anonymous said...

Builderman, let me just say you are welcome to express your views on this blog. I sincerely believe both sides of this debate should be represented fairly and I dislike censorship. However, you need to stay reasonably on topic with regard to the article being commented on. The above and your other long posts do not do that. I’ll briefly comment on a few of the points and leave it at that.

You are misrepresenting the reality of the human rights law in Britain. I believe it hasn’t been adopted at all elsewhere because it is unworkable. Contrary to what you claim a magistrate is sufficient to issue an arrest warrant without any significant evidence, which the police have to act on. I believe a magistrate in the UK can practice after just six months, and doesn’t require any legal experience other than some work experience. It was an absurd law that it was right to seek to revoke it.

What you say about Jews is clearly contradictory: "When it comes to barbaric, ruthless terrorism, no-one can hold a candle to the Jews. If that sounds anti-Semitic, think again. I regard the Jews as the same as the rest of us." and quite frankly I think you have crossed a line in terms of hatred. It comes as no surprise you now legitimise Hamas which wants to destroy all Israel, and advocates mass genocide.

It is also wrongheaded to compare the consequences of a 700 hundred year conflict with the recent trouble with Muslims. If anyone would talk about reparations in the British-Irish conflict it would be the Irish who needlessly starved in several famines, and a large portion of which were essentially forced to leave Ireland. In the 1840's Ireland has 8.5 million people. It feel to under 3 million (1926) by the time the British left Ireland. Thats remarkable at a time when other nations were exploding in size.

builder man said...

To anonymous. Firstly, I do not hate anyone - it's a futile emotion. I do
of course hate injustice. I followed
your link on UJ and I'm beginning
to understand why you think the way you do if you regard that as a valid
opinion.These cases are ONLY heard at
Westminster Magistrates Court by a senior judge and the evidence has to
be overwhelming and within jurisdiction. What you call an absurd
law was instituted so that the criminals who carried out crimes like the Holocaust could not act with impunity. Israel used UJ to
prosecute Eichmann. Are you saying the Holocaust does not matter? Goldstone defends the Gaza war crimes report thus: 'The lack of
accountability for war crimes and possible war crimes against humanity has reached a crisis point; the ongoing lack of justice
is undermining any hope for a
successful peace process and
reinforcing an environment that
fosters violence.'(Ynet News 29/9/2009).All groups who advocate
or use violence to pursue their
agenda should justify their actions
I do not legitimise Hamas or any
other group. I only said that they
had the same right to offer a
justification as any other; the ANC
the IRA, Israel or the Jewish
terrorist groups. A judgement can
then be made if that is at all
compatible with human decency and
justice.Resisting occupation is
usually an acceptable excuse but I
for one detest any actions based
purely on hate. I was not suggesting that a claim for IRA
violence was historically justified
but as an analogy to Israel's actions. The British empire exploited people in Ireland and
around the world and when they
objected they were brutally repressed. Don't you see the same attitude by Israel in Palestine?
If the human race is to progress, or even survive, then countries
based on exploitation and greed
should be challenged and that is what I do.

Anonymous said...

Builder it seems you are determined not to heed any requests about posting off-topic. I have asked you repeatedly to stay “reasonably” within topic for the relevant article being commented on. If you wish to discuss matters generally I suggest you go to one of the many politics forums on the Internet. I will reply to your comments briefly and leave it at that point. If you wish to reply please do so briefly without asking more questions and expanding the discussion into yet more areas. It is important both sides have their say but I will consider the matter can be closed at that point.

The extremism of your comments suggests a certain animosity. Please note I haven’t called you an anti-Semite. You could be carried along with misinformation, a cultural Zeitgeist of which there clearly is to bash Israel at the expense of far worse conflicts which are hardly given any attention etc. but some of your remarks do have a component that is undoubtedly crossing the line - your remarks a while ago about Jews using their wealth to harm your country, and legitimising Hamas which explicitly calls for the slaughter of Jews the world over (read the Charter, Chapter 7 etc.)

It was Westminster Magistrates Court for Tzipi Livni but that is not necessarily the case. The problem with the law has been well publicised. Any magistrate which is the lowest rank on the judicial ladder can issue an arrest warrant that the police are bound to act on. That is why the law is farcical, and hasn’t been adopted elsewhere. That is not to say there shouldn’t be a form of Universal Jurisdiction but needs to be applied with care or it is open to abuse. Stop trying to strawman by putting words in my mouth about the Holocaust. It is pro-Palestinians who cheapened it by comparing Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto where 400,000 Jews were killed. By contrast Hamas themselves attested in September 2010 that at least 1/2 of those killed in Cast Lead were their own members.

You stated in your second post above “Hamas and just like the Jews in the forties and the Israelis now. An objective person looks behind the 'terrorism' to understand the motives. The IRA objected to the British presence in Ireland. The ANC objected to apartheid rule. Hamas objects to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Two of these 'terrorist' groups have been allowed a political path to pursue their justified objectives. Why not Hamas? Because it's Israel, a law unto itself, constantly in breach of International Law and the UN.”

Nonsense. You water down Hamas’ claims to make it look like they just want the West Bank and Gaza, not all Israel which Hamas has repeatedly asserted they seek. They call for the mass slaughter of Jews. You equate them with the ANC, and their former leader Mandella who you have said you hold in high regard. You did legitimise Hamas. Now you say any group that uses violence can justify their actions. Any action can be justified depending on the mind-set.

You would like to think Israel is far worse to the Palestinians than Britain was to the Irish as well, wouldn’t you? The truth is very different. The British decimated Ireland in the 19th Century. Ireland had the highest infant mortality rate in Europe (including Russia) by the time Britain left. By contrast Palestinian conditions actually improved since Israel took the West Bank in 1967. The population went from 1 million to almost 4 million.

IRA/Irish and British actions are not contextually the same as Israel and Hamas/Palestine. There are big differences. It is my contention that the Irish and Jews have more in common with each other than the Irish and the Palestinians, the latter of which the IRA are keen to parallel themselves with but that’s a topic for another article in the future.

builder man said...

To anonymous. On UJ, name a single case of an incorrect arrest warrant.
There isn't one because they would be
refused. The PRACTICE is that all cases are heard at Westminster. I have never compared Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto, but there are similarities. Our pro-Israel PM called it a 'prison camp.'In all movements there are diverse opinions
just as in Jewish attitudes to Israel
The pro-Israel lobby,which you rightly point out does not involve
only Jews, is however, like Murdoch
too powerful for a healthy democracy. Israel encouraged Hamas
as a counter to Fatah and has legitimised it with the recent negoiations for the release of Gilad Shalit. Rhetoric is not the same as an objective agenda and while I deplore expressions of hate
(and they also emerge from members
of the Israeli government and settler groups etc.), it is clear from intermederies like President Carter that Hamas would accept a
two state solution. As to extremism
allegations, you should know that I
support the Iran Liberty Association which highlights human
rights abuses and seeks peaceful
change to a more democratic society
there, which I presume is also Israel's agenda. I do not think that Israel is worse than the British Empire, but this is the 21st century when ideas of colonization such as Israel is attempting in Palestine belongs to a darker age 200 years ago. If you
cannot see that, then I think that
you are the extremist, not me.

Rob Harris said...

Builderman, I would like to ask you to stop posting long comments that (other than also being about Israel) do not remotely relate to the articles at hand that are being commented on. The comment section needs to be reasonably on topic. I’ll reply briefly to a few points and feel free to reply briefly if you wish but after that the matter is closed, and I ask that in future you focus more on the topic at hand. I hope you heed the request as I don’t wish to delete any comments from opposing political persuasions.

Whether there have been incorrect arrest warrants or not is not the point. Certainly Tippi Livni who is strongly pro-peace did not deserve one but the point is that a lowly magistrate who has minimal legal experience would be in a position to issue arrest warrants that the police have to act on. This was expressed in the link to the last article and here for example. Now a case has to be made to the Director of Public Prosecutions appointed by the Attorney General, which shouldn’t be a negative.

Comparing Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto is a very common motif of the pro-Palestinian movement generally.

Your PM is only “pro-Israel” because he isn’t sufficiently critical of Israel for pro-Palestinians such as yourself.

Absolute nonsense about what you call the “pro-Israel lobby” – the pro-Palestinian movement is vastly more powerful across the board, in the media, academia and political circles. Call black white and vice versa if you wish.

If the conspiracy theories are true, which is dubious, Israel only encouraged Hamas as a counter to the PLO because it was facing a powerful enemy. If they did then it was clearly a tactical error which leads to a “so what” response.

Israel in no way legitimised Hamas with the recent negotiations to release of Gilad Shalit. It was done through a third party. They have always had to pay a high price to return their soldiers. Even a few dead IDF soldiers in Lebanon were only returned by Hizbullah after the release of several serious terrorists.

Carter’s assertion that Hamas would accept a two-state solution was actually is in effect merely part of a two-stage solution as has been said repeatedly by senior officials. Carter’s claim in 2008 that they would recognise Israel was denounced by Hamas’s Khaled Meshaal

Carter is a morally corrupt individual who actually sought to avoid censor of Sudan’s genocidal policies which are vastly worse than anything to do with Israel.

builder man said...

As this topic is now closed, I would just like to congratulate the Irish people for the election of a decent, thoughtful and wise individual to the office of President. Well done!

Rob Harris said...

My request related to future debates. Since the discussion was already going, you have the option of replying, and having the final word, if you so wish.