Friday, January 4, 2008

Egypt Breaks Explicit Agreement with Israel.

by Hillel Fendel

Egypt is allowing some 1,200 Arabs - including Hamas terrorists - to return to Gaza without having to go through Israeli security - in violation of an explicit agreement between Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak just two weeks ago.

Israel says that among the Arabs in question are Hamas terrorists, including many with possibly millions of dollars in cash to be used for Hamas purposes.

Jerusalem Stays Mum
Officials in Jerusalem are said to be "angered," but no official response has been issued.  Only MK Aryeh Eldad, of the opposition National Union party, has deigned to respond publicly - and he said that Egypt must be hit in its pocket.  Eldad called on Minister Barak to order a total closure on the tourist-popular Taba crossing between Sinai and Israel

"It could be that Egypt only understands when they are hit in their pocket," Eldad said.  "If they see a drop in their tourism income, maybe then they will understand - seeing as they don't seem to understand diplomatic protests and discussion."  He said Taba should be closed in both directions until Egypt commits in writing to regulate the passage of Arabs into Gaza according to Israel's security needs.

The story began several days ago, when some 2,300 Arabs from Gaza, among them Hamas terrorists wishing to avoid being arrested by Israeli security forces, attempted to return to Gaza after their hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.  At first, Egypt would not let them pass into Gaza through the Egyptian Rafiah checkpoint, and said that they must go through Israel's Kerem Shalom passage.

However, the Arabs, aboard two luxury ferries at a port in the Red Sea between Egypt's Sinai Desert and Saudi Arabia, refused to disembark under those conditions.  They spent a weekend on the boats, and were then taken to temporary camps in north Sinai, with the explanation that they were to remain there until a solution could be found.

Arutz-7 reported last week, in the name of Arab sources, that Egypt had already decided to violate its agrement with Israel and let them pass through Rafiah - but it actually happened only yesterday (Wednesday). 

Hamas Ecstatic
Hamas diplomatic figure Muhammad Nazal told Hamas TV that the return of the Arabs to Gaza "via Rafiah is the first nail in the coffin of the [Israeli] siege on the Gaza Strip."

An Egyptian official, acknowledging that his country violated its leader's word to Israel, tried to explain why. "We had no other choice," he told the Al-Hayat newspaper, "because we couldn't accept the responsibility of having pilgrims being arrested by Israel." He said that Egypt had tried to negotiate with Israel on the topic, but with no results.  "Egypt's leadership was right in enabling them to enter via Rafiah, even though this is in violation of the agreement between Egypt and Israel," the source said.

No Supervision at All as Hamas Builds Army
Israel responded officially with silence, but government-run Voice of Israel Radio reported in the name of a "government figure" that the agreement had totally collapsed.  "Egypt is now allowing many terrorists to enter Gaza without supervision," the source said, "as well as arms, large sums of money, and instruction guides in how to prepare terrorist attacks."

Israel has long complained that Egypt is not fulfilling its post-Disengagement obligations to effectively monitor the Rafiah crossing into Gaza. The massive Hamas terrorist infrastructure in Gaza, which has been compared to that of an army, has been almost exclusively built up with weapons and materials smuggled through Rafiah and in tunnels under the Philadelphi Corridor.

Foreign Minister Tzippi Livni, Transportation Minister Sha'ul Mofaz, and Prime Minister Olmert have criticized Egypt's peformance in this regard. Just yesterday (Wednesday), Olmert told visiting US Senators and Congressmen that Israel "expects Egypt to do a better job stopping the smuggling."

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.


After Annapolis: What Chance for Agreement with Abbas and the PLO?


By Prof. Efraim Karsh

  • In reality, there is no fundamental difference between the ultimate goals of Hamas and the PLO vis-à-vis Israel: Neither accepts the Jewish state's right to exist and both are committed to its eventual destruction. The only difference between the two groups lies in their preferred strategies for the attainment of this goal.
  • Whereas Hamas concentrates exclusively on "armed struggle," the PLO has adopted since the early 1990s a more subtle strategy, combining intricate political and diplomatic maneuvering with sustained terror attacks. In the candid words of Farouq Qaddoumi, the PLO's perpetual foreign minister: "We were never different from Hamas. Hamas is a national movement. Strategically, there is no difference between us."
  • Such attitudes are commonplace among supposed moderates, notably Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), Arafat's successor and perhaps the foremost symbol of supposed Palestinian moderation. For all their drastically different personalities and political style, Arafat and Abu Mazen are warp and woof of the same fabric: dogmatic PLO veterans who have never eschewed their commitment to Israel's destruction and who have viewed the "peace process" as the continuation of their lifetime war by other means.
  • By categorically refusing to recognize Israel's Jewishness, the Palestinian leadership has effectively rejected the two-state solution, based, in the words of the UN partition resolution of November 29, 1947, on the creation of "independent Arab and Jewish States" in Palestine.
  • In his Annapolis address, Abbas insisted that "the plight of Palestinian refugees...must be accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194." Yet Resolution 194 (passed on December 11, 1948) puts the return of Palestinian refugees on a par with the "resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees" in other countries; indeed, that provision made the resolution anathema to the Arab states, which opposed it vehemently and voted unanimously against it because the measure was seen, correctly, as establishing no absolute "right of return."
  • To deny the depth of the PLO's commitment to Israel's destruction is the height of folly, and to imagine that it can be appeased through Israeli concessions is to play into its hands. Only when Palestinians reconcile themselves to the existence of the Jewish state and eschew their genocidal hopes will the inhabitants of the Holy Land, and the rest of the world, be able to look forward to a future less burdened by Arafats and their gory dreams.


The PLO Vision of Palestine in Place of Israel

In August 1968, shortly before seizing control of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Yasir Arafat urged "the transfer of all resistance bases" into the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, conquered by Israel during the June 1967 war, so as to launch a sustained terrorist campaign that would undermine Israel's way of life by "preventing immigration and encouraging emigration...destroying tourism...weakening the Israeli economy and diverting the greater part of it to security requirements...[and] creating and maintaining an atmosphere of strain and anxiety that will force the Zionists to realize that it is impossible for them to live in Israel."

Forty years later, with salvos of Gaza-fired missiles raining down on Israeli towns and villages on a daily basis, Arafat's words seem prophetic. Yet his plan for victory would have remained a chimera had it not been for the Rabin government, which in 1993 invited the PLO, a group formally committed to Israel's destruction by virtue of its covenant, to establish a firm political and military presence on its doorstep.

More than this, Israel was prepared to arm thousands of (hopefully reformed) terrorists, who would be incorporated into newly established police and security forces charged with asserting the PLO's authority throughout the territories. In the words of the prominent Palestinian leader Faisal Husseini, Israel was willingly introducing into its midst a "Trojan Horse" designed to promote the PLO's strategic goal of "Palestine from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea" - that is, a Palestine in place of Israel.

In line with this thinking, from the moment of his arrival in Gaza in July 1994 to lay the ground for Palestinian statehood at peace with its Israeli neighbor, Arafat engaged in an intricate exercise in duplicity, speaking the language of peace to Israeli and Western audiences while building up an extensive terrorist infrastructure and backing anti-Israel terror attacks. By the time of his death in November 2004, Arafat had transformed the territories transferred to PLO control - the Gaza Strip and the West Bank's populated areas - into an effective terrorist state and had launched a vicious terror war (euphemized as the al-Aqsa intifada after the Jerusalem mosque) that plunged Israel into one of the greatest traumas in its history.


No Difference in Goals of Hamas and Fatah

One might have hoped that, eleven years and thousands of deaths after the launch of the Oslo process, the international community would pay closer attention to what the Palestinian leadership was actually saying (in Arabic) and doing. Yet such was the extent of the peace delusion that the European Union's policy chief, Javier Solana, could state upon Arafat's death that "the best tribute to President Arafat's memory will be to intensify our efforts to establish a peaceful and viable state of Palestine." When this widespread illusion of a new and more peaceful Palestinian political era failed to materialize, a handy scapegoat was found in the form of the Hamas Islamist group, which in January 2006 won a landslide victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections and replaced the PLO at the helm of the Palestinian Authority (PA), established in May 1994 as the effective government of the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza.

In reality, of course, there is no fundamental difference between the ultimate goals of Hamas and the PLO vis-à-vis Israel: Neither accepts the Jewish state's right to exist and both are committed to its eventual destruction. The only difference between the two groups lies in their preferred strategies for the attainment of this goal. Whereas Hamas concentrates exclusively on "armed struggle," as its murderous terror campaign is conveniently euphemized, the PLO has adopted since the early 1990s a more subtle strategy, combining intricate political and diplomatic maneuvering with sustained terror attacks (mainly under the auspices of Tanzim, the military arm of Fatah, the PLO's largest constituent group and Arafat's alma mater). In the candid words of Farouq Qaddoumi, the PLO's perpetual foreign minister: "We were never different from Hamas. Hamas is a national movement. Strategically, there is no difference between us."

Such attitudes are by no means confined to "hard-line" elements within the PLO but are a commonplace among supposed moderates, notably Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), Arafat's successor and perhaps the foremost symbol of supposed Palestinian moderation. For all their drastically different personalities and political style, Arafat and Abu Mazen are warp and woof of the same fabric: dogmatic PLO veterans who have never eschewed their commitment to Israel's destruction and who have viewed the "peace process" as the continuation of their lifetime war by other means.

In one way, indeed, Abbas is more extreme than many of his peers. While they revert to standard talk of Israel's illegitimacy, he devoted years of his life to giving ideological firepower to the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish indictment. In a doctoral dissertation written at a Soviet university, an expanded version of which was subsequently published in book form, Abbas endeavored to prove the existence of a close ideological and political association between Zionism and Nazism. Among other things, he argued that fewer than a million Jews had been killed in the Holocaust, and that the Zionist movement was a partner to their slaughter.

In the wake of the failed Camp David summit of July 2000 and the launch of Arafat's war of terror two months later, Abbas went to great lengths to explain why the "right of return" - the standard Arab euphemism for Israel's destruction - was a non-negotiable prerequisite for any Palestinian-Israeli settlement. Those who were disposed to regard these words as lip service by a lackluster apparatchik deferring to the omnipotent and hopelessly intransigent Arafat were to be bitterly disillusioned. In an address to a special session of the Palestinian parliament shortly after Arafat's death, Abbas swore to "follow in the path of the late leader Yasir Arafat toward fulfilling his dream...until the right of return for our people is achieved and the tragedy of the refugees is ended."

Six months later, in a televised speech on the occasion of Israel's Independence Day, Abbas described the proclamation of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948, as an unprecedented crime of history and vowed his unwavering refusal to ever "accept this injustice." "On that day, a crime was committed against a people, who were uprooted from their land and whose existence was destroyed and who were forced to flee to all areas of the world," he said. "The refugees have a full right to fulfill the right of return. We strongly object to the possibility they would become citizens of the countries they live in."


Arabs Rejected UN Resolution 194 on Refugees

Against this backdrop, it is hardly surprising that the Annapolis summit not only proved little more than a photo opportunity but also underscored the pervasiveness of Palestinian recalcitrance. For one thing, by categorically refusing to recognize Israel's Jewishness (or for that matter its very existence as a Jewish state), the Palestinian leadership - from Abbas, to Ahmad Qurei (negotiator of the 1993 Oslo Accords), to Saeb Erekat, to the "moderate" prime minister Salam Fayad - has effectively rejected the two-state solution, based, in the words of the UN partition resolution of November 29, 1947, on the creation of "independent Arab and Jewish States" in Palestine. For another thing, despite the lip service paid to the two-state solution in his Annapolis address, Abbas insisted that "the plight of Palestinian refugees...must be addressed holistically - that is, in its political, human, and individual dimensions in accordance with UNGA Resolution 194."

Yet far from recommending the return of the Palestinian refugees as the only viable solution, Resolution 194 (passed on December 11, 1948) puts this particular option on a par with the "resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees" in other countries; indeed, that provision made the resolution anathema to the Arab states, which opposed it vehemently and voted unanimously against it. Equating return and resettlement as possible solutions to the refugee problem; linking resolution of this issue to the achievement of a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace; placing on the Arab states some of the burden for resolving it; and above all establishing no absolute "right of return," the measure was seen, correctly, as rather less than useful for Arab purposes. This, however, did not prevent Arabs and Palestinians from transforming the resolution into the cornerstone of an utterly spurious legal claim to a "right of return," which in their internal discourse is invariably equated with the destruction of Israel through demographic subversion.

And therein, no doubt, lies the crux of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. For to refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist, sixty years after the assertion of this right by the international community, and to insist on the full implementation of the "right of return," at a time when Israel has long agreed to the creation of a Palestinian state roughly along the pre-1967 lines, indicates that, in the Palestinian perception, peace is not a matter of adjusting borders and territory but rather a euphemism for the annihilation of the Jewish state.

The Israeli government and the international community will be dangerously deluding themselves in continuing to view Abbas' adamant refusal to fight terrorism as a reflection of political weakness (as they did with Arafat in the early Oslo years) and his avowed commitment to "the right of return" as a bargaining chip or lip service. To deny the depth of the PLO's commitment to Israel's destruction is the height of folly, and to imagine that it can be appeased through Israeli concessions is to play into its hands. Only when Palestinians reconcile themselves to the existence of the Jewish state and eschew their genocidal hopes will the inhabitants of the Holy Land, and the rest of the world, be able to look forward to a future less burdened by Arafats and their gory dreams.

*     *     *

Professor Efraim Karsh is Head of Mediterranean Studies at King's College, University of London, and a member of the Board of International Experts of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center. His most recent book is Islamic Imperialism: A History (Yale University Press, 2007).


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

This is a MUST-READ !!!

An Important Message from Guy Rodgers,
Executive Director, American Congress for Truth

The following is a MUST-READ for anyone who wants to understand how Islamic radicals think and how they have been infiltrating the highest levels of America for years. We've highlighted certain segments in red. Please forward this email to everyone you can think of, and direct them to our website, Thank you!

The Islamist Head Fake

Homeland Security: When dealing with Muslim leaders, Washington should borrow a page from Ronald Reagan's Soviet playbook: Trust, but verify. Many aim to deceive us, court evidence shows.

It's now believed that several leaders of the Muslim establishment in America last decade conspired to infiltrate the U.S. political system, change Middle East policy and gradually Islamize America. At the same time, they hatched a plot to fund overseas terrorists.

Of course, they couldn't do this out in the open. So they set up benign-sounding nonprofits and charities to "camouflage" their traitorous activities, say U.S. prosecutors who cite wiretap transcripts and other documents uncovered in a criminal probe of the Holy Land Foundation, the largest Muslim charity in America.

During a secret meeting at a Philadelphia hotel, the charity's president and other prominent Muslim leaders were recorded allegedly plotting ways to disguise payments to Hamas terrorists as charity.

"I swear by Allah that war is deception," said Shukri Abu-Baker, now on trial in the federal terror-funding case. "We are fighting our enemy with a kind heart. . . . Deceive, camouflage, pretend that you're leaving while you're walking that way. Deceive your enemy."

Another participant at the Hamas summit was the founder of the Council on American Islamic-Relations, or CAIR, the largest Muslim civil-rights group in the country and an unindicted co-conspirator in the terror-funding case.

 Adding to Abu-Baker's point, Omar Ahmad compared the deception needed to fool the infidels with the head fake in basketball. "He makes a player believe that he is doing this while he does something else," Ahmad said. "I agree with you. . . . Politics is a completion of war."

The Islamist head fake has worked all too well over the past decade. Blind acceptance and validation of Muslim leaders with questionable loyalties hardly missed a beat in Washington even after 9/11.

Many were invited to the White House and Congress. The head of the FBI spoke at their conferences, calling them "mainstream" and "moderate." Many naive officials still confer legitimacy on them.

But what Muslim leaders tell us and what they tell Muslim audiences are often two entirely different things. The deception is astonishing. They've really played us for suckers.

Here are just a few examples

Sami Al-Arian: The popular and respected Muslim activist was a White House guest of both presidents Clinton and Bush. He assured his hosts he was both peace-loving and patriotic. "I am a very moderate Muslim person," he said. "I also condemn violence in all its forms."

All the while, Al-Arian was secretly running a U.S. beachhead for Palestinian terrorists. In a speech at a Cleveland mosque, he once thundered: "Let's damn America, let's damn Israel, let's damn their allies until death."

He's now a convicted terrorist.

Abdurahman Alamoudi: This pillar of the Muslim community also went from the White House to the Big House. But not before developing the Pentagon's Muslim chaplain corps, and acting as a goodwill ambassador for the State Department.

He, too, strongly denounced terror. "We are against all forms of terrorism," he claimed. "Our religion is against terrorism."

Privately, however, he raised major funds for al-Qaida and was caught on tape grumbling that Osama bin Laden hadn't killed enough Americans in the U.S. embassy bombings.

 Also, at a Muslim conference, he was recorded saying the following:

"Muslims sooner or later will be the moral leadership of America. It depends on me and you. Either we do it now or we do it after a hundred years, but this country will become a Muslim country. And I think if we are outside this country, we can say, 'Oh, Allah, destroy America.' But once we are here, our mission in this country is to change it."

Ali Al-Timimi: A noted imam and native Washingtonian, he also put on a moderate face in public while secretly plotting against us. The internationally known Muslim scholar had government clearance — even worked with a former White House chief of staff — and was invited to speak on Islam to the U.S. military.

Publicly, the imam denounced Islamic violence. "My position against terrorism and Muslim-inspired violence against innocent people is well known by Muslims," he said.

But privately, a darker picture emerged. Five days after the 9/11 attacks, he called them "legitimate" and rallied young Muslim men at his mosque to carry out more "holy war" and "violent jihad."

Al-Timimi even cheered the Columbia space shuttle disaster, calling it a "good omen" for Muslims because it was a blow to their "greatest enemy." He also said the U.S. "should be destroyed."

This high-profile moderate is also now behind bars, for soliciting terror and treason.

What other Muslim leaders are betraying our trust? Who else is "camouflaging" their radical beliefs and agenda with smiles and soft rhetoric?

To reach out to the Muslim community, we must deal with its leaders. But based on their proven track record of dissembling, we can no longer go on blindly trusting them.


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.




By Dore Gold

"Occupation" as an Accusation / The Terminology of Other Territorial Disputes / No Previously-Recognized Sovereignty in the Territories / Aggression vs. Self-Defense / Israeli Rights in the Territories / After Oslo, Can the Territories be Characterized as "Occupied"?


"Occupation" as an Accusation

At the heart of the Palestinian diplomatic struggle against Israel is the repeated assertion that the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are resisting "occupation." Speaking recently on CNN's Larry King Weekend, Hanan Ashrawi hoped that the U.S. war on terrorism would lead to new diplomatic initiatives to address its root "causes." She then went on to specifically identify "the occupation which has gone on too long" as an example of one of terrorism's sources.1 In other words, according to Ashrawi, the violence of the intifada emanates from the "occupation."

Mustafa Barghouti, president of the Palestinian Medical Relief Committees and a frequent guest on CNN as well, similarly asserted that: "the root of the problem is Israeli occupation."2 Writing in the Washington Post on January 16, 2002, Marwan Barghouti, head of Arafat's Fatah PLO faction in the West Bank, continued this theme with an article entitled: "Want Security? End the Occupation." This has become the most ubiquitous line of argument today among Palestinian spokesmen, who have to contend with the growing international consensus against terrorism as a political instrument.

This language and logic have also penetrated the diplomatic struggles in the United Nations. During August 2001, a Palestinian draft resolution at the UN Security Council repeated the commonly used Palestinian reference to the West Bank and Gaza Strip as "occupied Palestinian territories." References to Israel's "foreign occupation" also appeared in the Durban Draft Declaration of the UN World Conference Against Racism. The Libyan ambassador to the United Nations, in the name of the Arab Group Caucus, reiterated on October 1, 2001, what Palestinian spokesmen had been saying on network television: "The Arab Group stresses its determination to confront any attempt to classify resistance to occupation as an act of terrorism."3

Three clear purposes seem to be served by the repeated references to "occupation" or "occupied Palestinian territories." First, Palestinian spokesmen hope to create a political context to explain and even justify the Palestinians' adoption of violence and terrorism during the current intifada. Second, the Palestinian demand of Israel to "end the occupation" does not leave any room for territorial compromise in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as suggested by the original language of UN Security Council Resolution 242 (see below).


Third, the use of "occupied Palestinian territories" denies any Israeli claim to the land: had the more neutral language of "disputed territories" been used, then the Palestinians and Israel would be on an even playing field with equal rights. Additionally, by presenting Israel as a "foreign occupier," advocates of the Palestinian cause can delegitimize the Jewish historical attachment to Israel. This has become a focal point of Palestinian diplomatic efforts since the failed 2000 Camp David Summit, but particularly since the UN Durban Conference in 2001. Indeed, at Durban, the delegitimization campaign against Israel exploited the language of "occupation" in order to invoke the memories of Nazi-occupied Europe during the Second World War and link them to Israeli practices in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.4


The Terminology of Other Territorial Disputes

The politically-loaded term "occupied territories" or "occupation" seems to apply only to Israel and is hardly ever used when other territorial disputes are discussed, especially by interested third parties. For example, the U.S. Department of State refers to Kashmir as "disputed areas."5 Similarly in its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, the State Department describes the patch of Azerbaijan claimed as an independent republic by indigenous Armenian separatists as "the disputed area of Nagorno-Karabakh."6

Despite the 1975 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice establishing that Western Sahara was not under Moroccan territorial sovereignty, it is not commonly accepted to describe the Moroccan military incursion in the former Spanish colony as an act of "occupation." In a more recent decision of the International Court of Justice from March 2001, the Persian Gulf island of Zubarah, claimed by both Qatar and Bahrain, was described by the Court as "disputed territory," until it was finally allocated to Qatar.7

Of course each situation has its own unique history, but in a variety of other territorial disputes from northern Cyprus, to the Kurile Islands, to Abu Musa in the Persian Gulf -- which have involved some degree of armed conflict -- the term "occupied territories" is not commonly used in international discourse.8

Thus, the case of the West Bank and Gaza Strip appears to be a special exception in recent history, for in many other territorial disputes since the Second World War, in which the land in question was under the previous sovereignty of another state, the term "occupied territory" has not been applied to the territory that had come under one side's military control as a result of armed conflict.


No Previously-Recognized Sovereignty in the Territories

Israel entered the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the 1967 Six-Day War. Israeli legal experts traditionally resisted efforts to define the West Bank and Gaza Strip as "occupied" or falling under the main international treaties dealing with military occupation. Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Meir Shamgar wrote in the 1970s that there is no de jure applicability of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention regarding occupied territories to the case of the West Bank and Gaza Strip since the Convention "is based on the assumption that there had been a sovereign who was ousted and that he had been a legitimate sovereign."

In fact, prior to 1967, Jordan had occupied the West Bank and Egypt had occupied the Gaza Strip; their presence in those territories was the result of their illegal invasion in 1948, in defiance of the UN Security Council. Jordan's 1950 annexation of the West Bank was recognized only by Great Britain (excluding the annexation of Jerusalem) and Pakistan, and rejected by the vast majority of the international community, including the Arab states.

At Jordan's insistence, the 1949 Armistice Line, that constituted the Israeli-Jordanian boundary until 1967, was not a recognized international border but only a line separating armies. The Armistice Agreement specifically stated: "no provision of this Agreement shall in any way prejudice the rights, claims, and positions of either Party hereto in the peaceful settlement of the Palestine questions, the provisions of this Agreement being dictated exclusively by military considerations" (emphasis added) (Article II.2).

As noted above, in many other cases in recent history in which recognized international borders were crossed in armed conflicts and sovereign territory seized, the language of "occupation" was not used -- even in clear-cut cases of aggression. Yet in the case of the West Bank and Gaza, where no internationally recognized sovereign control previously existed, the stigma of Israel as an "occupier" has gained currency.


Aggression vs. Self-Defense

International jurists generally draw a distinction between situations of "aggressive conquest" and territorial disputes that arise after a war of self-defense. Former State Department Legal Advisor Stephen Schwebel, who later headed the International Court of Justice in the Hague, wrote in 1970 regarding Israel's case: "Where the prior holder of territory had seized that territory unlawfully, the state which subsequently takes that territory in the lawful exercise of self-defense has, against that prior holder, better title."9

Here the historical sequence of events on June 5, 1967, is critical, for Israel only entered the West Bank after repeated Jordanian artillery fire and ground movements across the previous armistice lines. Jordanian attacks began at 10:00 a.m.; an Israeli warning to Jordan was passed through the UN at 11:00 a.m.; Jordanian attacks nonetheless persisted, so that Israeli military action only began at 12:45 p.m. Additionally, Iraqi forces had crossed Jordanian territory and were poised to enter the West Bank. Under such circumstances, the temporary armistice boundaries of 1949 lost all validity the moment Jordanian forces revoked the armistice and attacked. Israel thus took control of the West Bank as a result of a defensive war.

The language of "occupation" has allowed Palestinian spokesmen to obfuscate this history. By repeatedly pointing to "occupation," they manage to reverse the causality of the conflict, especially in front of Western audiences. Thus, the current territorial dispute is allegedly the result of an Israeli decision "to occupy," rather than a result of a war imposed on Israel by a coalition of Arab states in 1967.


Israeli Rights in the Territories

Under UN Security Council Resolution 242 from November 22, 1967 -- that has served as the basis of the 1991 Madrid Conference and the 1993 Declaration of Principles -- Israel is only expected to withdraw "from territories" to "secure and recognized boundaries" and not from "the territories" or "all the territories" captured in the Six-Day War. This deliberate language resulted from months of painstaking diplomacy. For example, the Soviet Union attempted to introduce the word "all" before the word "territories" in the British draft resolution that became Resolution 242. Lord Caradon, the British UN ambassador, resisted these efforts.10 Since the Soviets tried to add the language of full withdrawal but failed, there is no ambiguity about the meaning of the withdrawal clause contained in Resolution 242, which was unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council.

Thus, the UN Security Council recognized that Israel was entitled to part of these territories for new defensible borders. Britain's foreign secretary in 1967, George Brown, stated three years later that the meaning of Resolution 242 was "that Israel will not withdraw from all the territories."11 Taken together with UN Security Council Resolution 338, it became clear that only negotiations would determine which portion of these territories would eventually become "Israeli territories" or territories to be retained by Israel's Arab counterpart.

Actually, the last international legal allocation of territory that includes what is today the West Bank and Gaza Strip occurred with the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, which recognized Jewish national rights in the whole of the Mandated territory: "recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country." The members of the League of Nations did not create the rights of the Jewish people, but rather recognized a pre-existing right, that had been expressed by the 2,000-year-old quest of the Jewish people to re-establish their homeland.

Moreover, Israel's rights were preserved under the United Nations as well, according to Article 80 of the UN Charter, despite the termination of the League of Nations in 1946. Article 80 established that nothing in the UN Charter should be "construed to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments." These rights were unaffected by UN General Assembly Resolution 181 of November 1947 -- the Partition Plan -- which was a non-binding recommendation that was rejected, in any case, by the Palestinians and the Arab states.

Given these fundamental sources of international legality, Israel possesses legal rights with respect to the West Bank and Gaza Strip that appear to be ignored by those international observers who repeat the term "occupied territories" without any awareness of Israeli territorial claims. Even if Israel only seeks "secure boundaries" that cover part of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, there is a world of difference between a situation in which Israel approaches the international community as a "foreign occupier" with no territorial rights, and one in which Israel has strong historical rights to the land that were recognized by the main bodies serving as the source of international legitimacy in the previous century.


After Oslo, Can the Territories be Classified as "Occupied"?

In the 1980s, President Carter's State Department legal advisor, Herbert Hansell, sought to shift the argument over occupation from the land to the Palestinians who live there. He determined that the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention governing military occupation applied to the West Bank and Gaza Strip since its paramount purpose was "protecting the civilian population of an occupied territory."12 Hansell's legal analysis was dropped by the Reagan and Bush administrations; nonetheless, he had somewhat shifted the focus from the territory to its populace. Yet here, too, the standard definitions of what constitutes an occupied population do not easily fit, especially since the implementation of the 1993 Oslo Agreements.

Under Oslo, Israel transferred specific powers from its military government in the West Bank and Gaza to the newly created Palestinian Authority. Already in 1994, the legal advisor to the International Red Cross, Dr. Hans-Peter Gasser, concluded that his organization had no reason to monitor Israeli compliance with the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Gaza Strip and Jericho area, since the Convention no longer applied with the advent of Palestinian administration in those areas.13

Upon concluding the Oslo II Interim Agreement in September 1995, which extended Palestinian administration to the rest of the West Bank cities, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres declared: "once the agreement will be implemented, no longer will the Palestinians reside under our domination. They will gain self-rule and we shall return to our heritage."14

Since that time, 98 percent of the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has come under Palestinian jurisdiction.15 Israel transferred 40 spheres of civilian authority, as well as responsibility for security and public order, to the Palestinian Authority, while retaining powers for Israel's external security and the security of Israeli citizens.

The 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention (Article 6) states that the Occupying Power would only be bound to its terms "to the extent that such Power exercises the functions of government in such territory." Under the earlier 1907 Hague Regulations, as well, a territory can only be considered occupied when it is under the effective and actual control of the occupier. Thus, according to the main international agreements dealing with military occupation, Israel's transfer of powers to the Palestinian Authority under the Oslo Agreements has made it difficult to continue to characterize the West Bank and Gaza as occupied territories.

Israel has been forced to exercise its residual powers in recent months only in response to the escalation of violence and armed attacks instigated by the Palestinian Authority.16 Thus, any increase in defensive Israeli military deployments today around Palestinian cities is the direct consequence of a Palestinian decision to escalate the military confrontation against Israel, and not an expression of a continuing Israeli occupation, as the Palestinians contend. For once the Palestinian leadership takes the strategic decision to put an end to the current wave of violence, there is no reason why the Israeli military presence in the West Bank and Gaza cannot return to its pre-September 2000 deployment, which minimally affected the Palestinians.

Describing the territories as "Palestinian" may serve the political agenda of one side in the dispute, but it prejudges the outcome of future territorial negotiations that were envisioned under UN Security Council Resolution 242. It also represents a total denial of Israel's fundamental rights. Furthermore, reference to "resisting occupation" has simply become a ploy advanced by Palestinian and Arab spokesmen to justify an ongoing terrorist campaign against Israel, despite the new global consensus against terrorism that has been formed since September 11, 2001.

It would be far more accurate to describe the West Bank and Gaza Strip as "disputed territories" to which both Israelis and Palestinians have claims. As U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright stated in March 1994: "We simply do not support the description of the territories occupied by Israel in the 1967 War as occupied Palestinian territory."

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1. CNN Larry King Weekend, "America Recovers: Can the Fight Against Terrorism be Won?," November 10, 2001 (

2. Mustafa Barghouti, "Occupation is the Problem," Al-Ahram Weekly Outline, December 6-12, 2001.

3. Anne F. Bayefsky, "Terrorism and Racism: The Aftermath of Durban," Jerusalem Viewpoints, no. 468, December 16, 2001.

4. See Bayefsky, op. cit. U.S. and European officials may use the term "occupation" out of a concern for the humanitarian needs of the Palestinians, without identifying with the PLO political agenda at Durban or at the UN.

5. U.S. Department of State, Consular Information Sheet: India ( November 23, 2001.

6. 1999 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Azerbaijan, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State, February 25, 2000.

7. Case Concerning Maritime Delimitation and Territorial Questions between Qatar and Bahrain, March 15, 2001, Judgment on the Merits, International Court of Justice, March 16, 2000, paragraph 100.

8. The Japanese Foreign Ministry does not use the language of "ending the Russian occupation of the Kurile Islands," but rather resolving "the Northern Territory Issue." ( U.S. Department of State "Background Notes" describe the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as the island's "northern part [which is] under an autonomous Turkish-Cypriot administration supported by the presence of Turkish troops" -- not under Turkish occupation.

9. Stephen Schwebel, "What Weight to Conquest," American Journal of International Law, 64 (1970):345-347.

10. Vernon Turner, "The Intent of UNSC 242 -- The View of Regional Actors," in UN Security Council Resolution 242: The Building Block of Peacemaking (Washington: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 1993), p. 27.

11. Meir Rosenne, "Legal Interpretations of UNSC242," in UN Security Council Resolution 242: The Building Block of Peacemaking, op. cit., p. 31.

12. Under the Carter administration, Hansell's distinction led, for the first time, to a U.S. determination that Israeli settlement activity was illegal since it purportedly contravened Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which stated that "the Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it is occupying." Subsequently, the Reagan and Bush administrations altered the legal determination of the Carter period, changed the U.S. voting pattern at the UN, and refused to describe Israeli settlements as illegal, even if American political objections to settlement activity continued to be expressed. One reason was that the Fourth Geneva Convention applied to situations like that of Nazi-occupied Europe, which involved "forcible transfer, deportation or resettlement of large numbers of people." This view was formally stated by the U.S. Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Morris Abram, on February 1, 1990, who had served on the U.S. staff at the Nuremberg trials and, hence, was familiar with the legal intent behind the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention.

13. Dr. Hans-Peter Gasser, Legal Adviser, International Committee of the Red Cross, "On the Applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention After the Declaration of Principles and the Cairo Agreement," paper presented at the International Colloquium on Human Rights, Gaza, September 10-12, 1994. Gasser did not state that in his view the territories were no longer "occupied," but he did point out the legal complexities that had arisen with Oslo's implementation.

14. Foreign Minister Shimon Peres's Address at the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement Signing Ceremony, Washington, D.C., September 28, 1995.

15. Ehud Barak, "Israel Needs a True Partner for Peace," New York Times, July 30, 2001.

16. The present intifada violence resulted from a strategic decision taken by Yasser Arafat, as admitted by numerous Palestinian spokesmen:

  • "Whoever thinks the intifada broke out because of the despised Sharon's visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque is wrong....This intifada was planned in advance, ever since President Arafat's return from the Camp David Negotiations," admitted Palestinian Communications Minister 'Imad Al-Faluji (Al-Safir, March 3, 2001, trans. MEMRI). Even earlier, Al-Faluji had explained that the intifada was initiated as the result of a strategic decision made by the Palestinians (Al-Ayyam, December 6, 2000).
  • Arafat began to call for a new intifada in the first few months of the year 2000. Speaking before Fatah youth in Ramallah, Arafat "hinted that the Palestinian people are likely to turn to the intifada option" (Al-Mujahid, April 3, 2000).
  • Marwan Barghouti, the head of Fatah in the West Bank, explained in early March 2000: "We must wage a battle in the field alongside of the negotiating battle...I mean confrontation" (Ahbar Al-Halil, March 8, 2000). During the summer of 2000, Fatah trained Palestinian youths for the upcoming violence in 40 training camps.
  • The July 2000 edition of Al-Shuhada monthly, distributed among the Palestinian Security Services, states: "From the negotiating delegation led by the commander and symbol, Abu Amar (Yasser Arafat) to the brave Palestinian people, be ready. The Battle for Jerusalem has begun." One month later, the commander of the Palestinian police told the official Palestinian newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida: "The Palestinian police will lead together with the noble sons of the Palestinian people, when the hour of confrontation arrives." Freih Abu Middein, the PA Justice Minister, warned that same month: "Violence is near and the Palestinian people are willing to sacrifice even 5,000 casualties" (Al-Hayut al-Jadida, August 24, 2000 -- MEMRI).
  • Another official publication of the Palestinian Authority, Al-Sabah, dated September 11, 2000 -- more than two weeks before the Sharon visit -- declared: "We will advance and declare a general intifada for Jerusalem. The time for the intifada has arrived, the time for intifada has arrived, the time for Jihad has arrived."
  • Arafat advisor Mamduh Nufal told the French Nouvel Observateur (March 1, 2001): "A few days before the Sharon visit to the Mosque, when Arafat requested that we be ready to initiate a clash, I supported mass demonstrations and opposed the use of firearms." Of course, Arafat ultimately adopted the use of firearms and bomb attacks against Israeli civilians and military personnel. On September 30, 2001, Nufal detailed in al-Ayyam that Arafat actually issued orders to field commanders for violent confrontations with Israel on September 28, 2000.

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Dore Gold is President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Previously, he served as Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations (1997-1999). This Jerusalem Viewpoints is based on an earlier Jerusalem Issue Brief on this subject.



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How Societies Commit Suicide - Scots and Italians surrender to Islam.

By Theodore Dalrymple

In an effort to ensure that no Muslim doctors ever again try to bomb Glasgow Airport, bureaucrats at Glasgow's public hospitals have decreed that henceforth no staff may eat lunch at their desks or in their offices during the holy month of Ramadan, so that fasting Muslims shall not be offended by the sight or smell of their food. Vending machines will also disappear from the premises during that period.

Apparently the bureaucrats believe that the would-be bombers were demanding sandwich-free offices in Glasgow hospitals during Ramadan. This kind of absurdity is what happens when the highly contestable doctrine of multiculturalism becomes a career opportunity for the semi-educated and otherwise unemployable products of a grossly and unnecessarily swollen university system.

Meanwhile, the highest court in Italy was confirming an appeals court's acquittal of the father and brother of a Muslim girl, whom they beat and locked up for becoming too Westernized—that is to say, for having a Western friend. The court ruled that, though they had undoubtedly beaten her and locked her up, this was not because of any culpable ill-feeling toward her. It was, rather, because of "her lifestyle, which did not conform to their culture."

The sound of a civilization committing suicide can be heard in these stories; for civilizations collapse not because the barbarians are so strong, but because they themselves are so morally enfeebled.

UPDATE: The hospital boards in Scotland have denied the allegations against them, though they admit advising hospitals to consider avoiding working lunches during Ramadan if Muslims would normally participate in them, and to consider altering the route of lunch trolleys to accommodate "sensitive colleagues who adhere to the Muslim faith." No hospital board, as far as I am aware, has ever advised that one should not eat pork in front of Jews, or beef in front of Hindus; the most likely explanation of the difference in the way religious sensibilities are treated by the hospital boards would appear to be fear. It is characteristic of pusillanimity that it does not recognize itself.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.