Monday, October 3, 2011

Wash. Post's Silly Semantics Against Israel's Rightful Claims to Jerusalem

by Leo Rennert

Just when readers of the Washington Post might think that its reporters have exhausted all available semantic distortions to blacken Israel, here comes a new contorted Israel-bashing label that descends into the far reaches of utter silliness.

It's served up by Joel Greenberg, the Post's Jerusalem correspondent, in an Oct.2 article about a senior Palestinian official complaining that the Quartet of international mediators -- the U.S., the EU, the UN and Russia -- are too easy on Israel in pushing for resumption of negotiations ("Abbas aide presses for strong action by Quartet -- He portrays mediators' response to settlement plans as slap on wrist" page A14).

While the Quartet is pushing for a new round of talks without pre-conditions, the Abbas aide first wants an Israeli settlement freeze and Greenberg clearly sympathizes with him. Greenberg also writes that the dispute about how to proceed to negotiations was aggravated when Israel advanced building plans on West Bank land annexed to Jerusalem," -- as he puts it in his lead paragraph.

Farther down in his piece, Greenberg more specifically reiterates that Israel has complicated matters with plans to build "1,100 homes in Gilo, a Jewish neighborhood built on West Bank land annexed to Jerusalem." It takes Greenberg a while to recognize the Jewish character of Gilo.

However, in Greenberg's view, it is not enough to simply label Gilo a Jewish neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem. No, as far as he's concerned, Gilo doesn't belong to Israel and to these Jewish residents because it sits on "West Bank land annexed to Jerusalem." Such annexation, in his view, is Israel's original sin

Consequently, Greenberg rejects any permissibility for Jerusalem, like many cities and capitals around the world, to grow by bursting its geographic boundaries -- a natural phenomenon elsewhere around the globe.

Which is utterly silly, when you think of it.

Take for example, London, which originally consisted of an area known as the Square Mile, or what is referred to today as the "City of London." But over the years, London, as a municipality, added 32 boroughs -- a rather awesome series of expansions, or annexations, to use Greenberg's term.

So would Greenberg, if he were assigned to the London bureau of the Post, write that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II resides in "Buckingham Palace on land annexed to London?" I rather doubt it.

Or take as another example, Paris, which originally consisted of only two small islands in the Seine -- Ile de la Cite and Ile St. Louis. By 1860, it had stretched to 30 square miles and, since the last annexations in 1929, now encompasses 41 square miles.

Would the Post, reporting from Paris, write that President Sarkozy resides in the "Elysee Palace, built on land annexed to Paris"?

Or closer to home, Sacramento, the capital of California, also has followed a similar trend of geographic growth and annexations since the Gold Rush.

Yet, only when it comes to Jerusalem, does Greenberg find it necessary, as part of his anti-Israel agenda, to declare a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem as "built on West Bank land annexed to Jerusalem."

It's not as if Israel grabbed this part or any other part of Jerusalem from the Palestinians. There never has been any Palestinian sovereign throughout history. The Palestinians never have had sovereign ownership of any Jerusalem neighborhood and that includes Gilo. The last sovereign to hold sway over the Holy Land was the Ottoman Empire and it disappeared after World War I. On the other hand, for one thousand years, Jews were the sovereign rulers of this land until the Roman conquest and Jews have been a continuous presence in this land for the last 3,000 years -- with a brief interlude during the Babylonian exile.

After World War I, the "international community" -- the British with the Balfour Declaration, the World War I victors at the San Remo conference, the League of Nations, the U.S. Congress all called for establishment of a Jewish national home in the Holy Land.

So, while today, there remains contention over setting sovereign boundaries around Jerusalem and in the West Bank, every conceivable peace plan that's been floated in recent decades leaves Gilo and other Jewish neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem on the Israeli side.

So why smear Gilo as somehow a non-kosher entity "built on West Bank land annexed to Jerusalem." Gilo, by international consensus, is as much part of Israel as Tel Aviv.

How silly can Greenberg and the Post get in pursuit of their anti-Israel agenda?

Leo Rennert is a former Washington bureau chief and White House correspondent of McClatchy Newspapers.


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


Rhonda said...

It's worse than silly, it is ignorance. The Palestinians are JEWS, as they have been called since the Romans conquered the area. In 1922, the British Government mandated that west of the Jordan River be Palestine, and east of the Jordan be Transjordan. So, you see, the Arabs have already BEEN GIVEN a state, 90 years ago. Their state is JORDAN!

There is nothing wrong with building new homes in a Jewish neighborhood. The Arabs are using it as an excuse as to why they cannot negotiate, when everyone knows that they will never negotiate. Negotiation will not get them what they ultimately want, and that is the annihilation of the State of Israel.

salubrius said...

The fact is that the Arabs have been attempting extortion of Jewish National or Political Rights to Palestine by violence and threats of violence for many years. You can find the whole story at The Israelis have never published a good summary of these events. There are in fact four bases for Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem. 1. A grant of exclusive political rights to be held in trust by England, devolving into a legal rights when England abandoned its trust in 1948. See, e.g Howard Grief, Legal Foundations and Boundaries of Israel under International Law, and Brand, Israeli Sovereignty over Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, 2. Jordan's aggressive invasion west of the Jordan in 1948 did not give it sovereignty over the land it conquered, so it is not the land of another sovereign occupied by Israel in its defensive war, but rather disputed land over which Israel has a far better claim under International Law. This is best stated by Stephen Schwebel and Julius Stone, both acclaimed International Lawyers. Stephen Schwebel, "Justice in International Law, the Selected Writings of Stephen Schwebel", for a pertinent excerpt see: CAMERA, The Debate about Israeli Settlements, Julius Stone, INTERNATIONAL LAW AND THE ARAB-ISRAEL CONFLICT, Extracts from "Israel and Palestine - Assault on the Law of Nations" by Julius Stone, Second Edition, 3. As treaty law, it has become the domestic law of the US and the UK when the Balfour Declaration and the British Palestine Mandate were adopted in the 1924 Anglo American Convention, a treaty. 4. By a grant from God as stated in the Old Testament.
If there is any question that the Palestine Mandate was a trust agreement to hold the political or national rights to Palestine in trust for the Jews until they were a population majority and capable of exercising it, they are put to rest by a memo of Arnold Toynbee when he was working for the British Foreign Office at the time of the deliberations over the British Policy that became the Balfour Declaration. While that was only policy, it was transformed into International Law by the Agreement of the WWI Al;lies at San Remo in 1920, and received further dignity by its publication by the League of Nations as the British Mandate in slightly amended form in 1922 that lopped off the land east of the Jordan. The United States, not being a member of the League, ratified it by a joint Congressional Resolution over the objections of President Wilson. It was inconsistent with his 14 points. In the next Administration it was adopted as a Treaty in the Anglo American Convention of 1924 and as a treaty it became the domestic law of the UK and the US as well. Rashid Khalidi, a Professor at Columbia University and alleged to be the former spokesman of the PLO , in his book The Iron Cage complains that the Arabs local to Palestine were ignored when it came to granting the political or national rights to Palestine. P. 33 Professor Porath, in his book, The Emergence of the Palestinian Arabs National Movement 1917 - 1929 also concluded the a 1926 effort by the Arabs to advise the Mandate government on matters of civil, national, political and religious rights would, if their was advice on political or religious matters, be inconsistent with the Balfour Declaration and hence with the Palestine Mandate. p. 264 The British in their White Paper of 1939 betrayed the beneficiaries of the trust by blocking the efforts of the Jews to become a majority of the population as originally intended as stated by Winston Churchill in the debates over that White Paper.

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