Talk:International law and Israeli settlements/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2


Quote "Neutral point of view (NPOV) is a fundamental Wikimedia principle and a cornerstone of Wikipedia. All Wikipedia articles must be written from a neutral point of view, representing fairly, proportionately, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources. This is non-negotiable and expected of all articles and all editors."

The tone of this article is "Here is my opinion. There are several views that dispute this. I give them only as references."

Logically it would be good to start from the Israeli point of view. They are at the centre of the question. The article should give the Israeli reasons why they say settlements are legal, then and only then open the discussion. One example would be

This section needs to be recast. Clearer thinking is needed about what international law is. It is not resolutions of international bodies. 123Robert (talk) 11:36, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

Hello and welcome to Wikipedia. We try to write our articles based, mostly, on reliable secondary sources. The Israeli MFA is not a secondary source. And the Israeli POV should be included, but that is a minority POV, in fact an extreme minority POV, that should not be given undue weight. We do need to present all sides involved in the dispute, but the overwhelming majority POV needs to be presented as such. If you have secondary sources that back up things like ewish settlement in West Bank and Gaza Strip territory has existed from time immemorial by all means re-add it. Thanks, nableezy - 14:28, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
Given that from an NPOV perspective Israeli settlements across the Green Line aren't in Israel and the Israeli position on their legality is very much a minority view it seems quite illogical and inconsistent with NPOV to start from the minority point of view, place them at the centre of the question and suggest that Wikipedia should base an article on an MFA source. Wiki articles need to represent positions fairly and proportionately as NPOV states so policy compliance requires that minority views are teated as such. It's true that there are many problems with the article, the main ones being that it's too long and lacks clarity on the issue despite there being a great deal of clarity on the issue in reliable sources. The entire article can essentially be summed up with the standard BBC boilerplate phrase "The settlements are illegal under international law, but Israel disputes". That's the policy compliant tone this article should use and build upon. At the moment it looks like a POV battlefield. Sean.hoyland - talk 15:20, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for your contribution to the discussion. Please reinstate the section on historical summary relative to the League of Nations. The Mandate was agreed by all signatories of the League, comprising most of the world States of the time, and in democracies after extensive parliamentary debate.

Please do not start an unpleasant situation by cutting factual opinion unilaterally. This removal has nothing to do with the reasons you have put forth. Let's try to have an impartial article.

The first paragraph needs major revision as "consensus" is undefined and it is clear from the same sentence that there is major disagreement with it. Nor is the majority always right in law. If this article is about law, it should stick to law and not give opinions. The International Court gave an Advisory Opinion about the Barrier problem, not a judgement on settlements. This should be corrected. The Israeli Supreme Court unanimously rejected the Opinion and gave its reasons. 123Robert (talk) 16:38, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

Please review WP:SOURCES, WP:PSTS and the discretionary sanctions. Sean.hoyland - talk 16:47, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
Another thing worth knowing is the history of this article. It used to be part of the Israeli Settlement article. It was split off simply to reduce the size of that article per WP:SPLIT. However, this article doesn't have a lead that complies with WP:LEAD i.e. a lead should simply summarize the contents of the article. Producing a sensible lead is indeed a priority however the article is in such a bad shape that a lead based on the current article would also probably end up being in a bad shape.
Regarding the current lead
  • There is no major disagreement about the legality within the international community. There is a consensus. This is clear from reliable secondary sources like the BBC stating plainly "Settlement building in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is illegal under international law - although Israel disputes this." in the first reference used in this article.
  • The ICC stated "the information provided to the Court shows that since 1977, Israel has condiucted a policy and developed practices involving the establishment of Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, contrary to the terms of Article 49, paragraph 6" amongst other statements about settlements in their advisory opinion document, ref 6 in this article. That reference should be replaced by a secondary source reporting on their findings.
  • A more obvious problem is that the Golan Heights is not mentioned in the lead.
Sean.hoyland - talk 17:53, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

Settlements in Golan Heights

I have found a source that show that the international community is against Israeli settlement in the Golan Heights:

"According to draft V, on the occupied Syrian Golan, the Assembly would call upon Israel to comply with the relevant resolutions on the occupied Syrian Golan, in particular Security Council resolution 497 (1981). It would also call on Israel to desist from changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan and, in particular, to desist from the establishment of settlements. Israel would further be called on to desist from imposing Israeli citizenship and Israeli identity cards on the Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan and from its repressive measures against the population of the occupied Syrian Golan. It would call on Member States to not recognize any of the legislative or administrative measures and actions referred to above.

That text was approved by a recorded vote of 165 in favour to 1 against ( Israel), with 10 abstentions ( Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Panama, Tonga, United States)." [1]. --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 23:16, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

Found a new source that say they are illegal: "Stressing the illegality of the Israeli settlement construction and other activities in the occupied Syrian Golan since 1967" [2] --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 10:13, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

East Jerusalem annexation by Jordan

The article states that the UK acknowledged Jordan's territorial claims in East Jerusalem. This is not 100% accurate. While recognising the annexation of the West Bank, the UK did not recognise Jordanian sovereingty in Jerusalem. [3] Chesdovi (talk) 00:52, 30 November 2010 (UTC)

Agreed. It's not very clear in the article what "acknowledged Jordan's territorial claims" means and could be taken as a recognition of sovereignty. We could amend it to reflect Britain's recognition of de facto authority but not sovereignty, the same language as the source. Sol (talk) 01:38, 30 November 2010 (UTC)

Reagan's believe

Reagan's believe should be attributed to him. There is a quote in the book that show its his personal believe. It also says "The reversal of U.S. policy (at least at the rhetorical level)", shows that its not clear that it was an official viewpoint from the United States. --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 23:31, 30 November 2010 (UTC)

Found this now, this proves it was not an official US view: "Despite the passage of time, the legal opinion, issued during the Carter administration, has never been revoked or revised. President Ronald Reagan said he disagreed with it -- he called the settlements "not illegal" -- but his State Department did not seek to issue a new opinion."[4] --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 23:37, 30 November 2010 (UTC)

Reagan's comments were made in the aftermath of the Camp David Accords. The government of Israel had agreed to remove all of its settlements in the Sinai, concurrent with the withdrawal of Israel's armed forces from that area. In addition, the Israeli Supreme Court had just ruled (in the Elon Moreh case) that the military commander could not establish permanent settlements that were intended to outlast the IDF occupation of an area or attempt to establish the requisite "military necessity" of a temporary settlement after it had already been planned or initiated by others, e.g. [5] It is obvious now (see the Sasson Report) that those decisions have been circumvented by individuals working in the government and parastatial organizations. harlan (talk) 04:10, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

Deletion of UN General Assembly table

is unexplained ([6]), and seems to be contrary to the table's evident utility (although a longer timeframe would be more useful). Chesdovi, care to explain? [belatedly signed] --Carwil (talk) 00:42, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

I don't feel its necessary here. This is not "UN resolutions and Israel." Can be included at List of United Nations resolutions concerning Israel. The UN forms one part of international opinion, (heavily biased I might add), and the chart does not really add anything. The UN view has been summed up in text. Chesdovi (talk) 01:54, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

Summary of US position in lead

The following text inserted in the lead is not an adequate summary of the US position:

The United States position has evolved from briefly considering them to be illegal, to referring to them as "obstacles to peace", to acknowledging and implying acceptance of them as de facto "reality on the ground."

Above all, "implied acceptance" is simply not a judgment on legality. And this page is about nothing but legality under international law. Second, we have three paragraphs on the US position. The WP:LEAD must summarize the material in body of the article, not repeat one source's summary which does not correspond with the material cited below. Third, even taking 1981 as a closing point (more on this in a second), the US objection to settlements endured through four presidential administration and is therefore not "brief." Fourth, we have three reliable sources (remains the policy of the United States according to Hansel, the Washington Post, and the Rand Corporation's Palestinian State Study Project) that claim the official US position on legality remains the Carter position. Fifth, the position of the Obama administration, "the United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements," cannot be legitimately summarized by the text used here.--Carwil (talk) 22:39, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

OK, If and when I edit the US section, I will taken your concerns abroad. Chesdovi (talk) 22:55, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

Chesdovis edits

Chesdovi, you added that the "status of Israeli settlements in international law is unclear." there is no source for this.

All of this is unsourced: "There are a number of factors to be considered, all of which are linked to the question of whether Israel has the legal right to establish settlements on land it captured during the 1967 war. Arguments by legal experts have been offered for and against the permissibility of the settlements under international law."

The US view is also false, "United States position has evolved from briefly considering them to be illegal", it has not changed from this. Also the US view does not belong in the lead. --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 22:43, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

The LEAD does not need to be sourced. It can summerise the article and its contents. The article makes clear that there is consensus, but there remains opposing legal views on the matter. So the legal status remains unclear. Maybe "disputed" is better? The bit about the US is not false. Sure, they have not come out saying they are outright legal, but refusal by the US to use the word illegal for 30 years means their stance has softened and some sources view this as US acceptance of legality, i think. Chesdovi (talk) 23:07, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
The lead you added: "There are a number of factors to be considered, all of which are linked to the question of whether Israel has the legal right to establish settlements on land it captured during the 1967 war. Arguments by legal experts have been offered for and against the permissibility of the settlements under international law." does not summarize the content of the article. US view is an extreme minority view and to have it in the lead is undue weight. "The status of Israeli settlements in international law is unclear." is a false representation of the situation, we are talking about the entire international community against Israel, this is not "unclear". There is not one single source that says: "The United States position has evolved from briefly considering them to be illegal, to referring to them as "obstacles to peace", to acknowledging and implying acceptance of them as de facto "reality on the ground." --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 01:07, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
Your opinion carries little weight against reliable sources (mentioned above and cited in the article) summarizing the situation. If you have conflicting RSs, add them, and then a controversy can be summarized.--Carwil (talk) 00:42, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
Who are you directing this comment at? Chesdovi (talk) 01:51, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

Chesdovi, your lead does not summarize the content of the article correctly, the previous lead does that. For example you had presented the views as equal in weight, this is not the case. Also: "At present, based on the result of numerous..." why "at present"? And the IC view is not only based on UN resolutions but on several different factors. Also the article previously said EJ including West bank, get consensus if you believe EJ is not WB. --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 00:21, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

This page is called IL and IS, not the "Status of IS" or the "IC and IS". This page documents how IL is applied and how it relates to IS, not the "concensus" opinion on the matter. What are the other factors? We also need to know if IL is based on UN resoluton, or if it's visa versa, (the resolutions are based on IL).... Chesdovi (talk) 11:53, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

International organizations & weight

Chesdovi reduced the position of the European Union, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of the Islamic Conference to component parts of a single sentence, although they each include tens of countries. Yet the United States' opinion continues to occupy extensive space.

The EU, like the US, forms part of the Quartet on the Middle East, as does Russia. I recommend that each of its members be given a sub-section, which means re-expanding the EU and adding Russia's position. The Non-Aligned Movement is a majority of all nation states, likewise at least as relevant as the US. The OIC and the Arab League (NATO might have the same level of importance, but do they have an opinion?) are the major regional organizations in the Middle East. Other multinational organizations probably deserve greater weight than uninvolved countries (like Canada), but less than these.

The big holes here are the former or current administrators of the territories involved: Egypt, Jordan, and Syria; the Palestinian Authority and Hamas; and other states that condition ending their state of war with Israel on the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Everyone outside these lists can be grouped into "other countries" or something like that, but in any case multinational organizations like NATO, the EU, or the OIC are qualitatively different from even international human rights groups.--Carwil (talk) 14:14, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

Chesdovis edits to this article has been problematic, for example: he keeps on changing the lead so it misrepresents the situation, although several people have objected to his incorrect edits. I explained several edits above and he just reverted without explanation. His removal of the EU section amongst other things is absurd. --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 16:42, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
I've reverted to the old lead. It's not perfect but it beats the suggested version which implied that there's more controversy about the topic than exists. The legality of the settlements really isn't controversial; there's one country defending them and some scholars making the same arguments that have been rejected since 1967. If one country's opinion makes it a controversy then we could change the lead to human rights, freedom of the press and fluoridation of water. Sol (talk) 21:37, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
I support the existing lead. Substantial changes to it should be discussed before editing, in detail the situation isn't "unclear" or subject to much to-and-forth, in my view the situation is crystal clear: there is the consensus view and the Israeli view, and the present lead captures that very well, IMO. --Dailycare (talk) 10:20, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

The IC opinion

Footnote 13 See the Judgment in "Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory", para 120, 134, and 142 [1] and PAUL J. I. M. DE WAART (2005) International Court of Justice Firmly Walled in the Law of Power in the Israeli–Palestinian Peace Process. Leiden Journal of International Law, 18, pp 467-487, doi:10.1017/S0922156505002839. It is my understanding that this was an advisory opinion of the court and not a legal judgment and therefore not binding? Although there are legal scholars who believe it to be binding. Isn't it misleading (and factually incorrect?) to call this a "Judgment?" Also, was not this opinion about the wall specifically and about the settlements only peripherally (therefore being open to interpretation?)? Opportunidaddy (talk) 04:10, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

As you can see in declaratory judgement the difference is in that it does not resolve an actual case, the advisory opinion is however still a legal judgement. The fact that it may not be binding is somewhat irrelevant, it doesn't change the opinion of the judges weighing the facts and laws. As for the settlements aspect of their findings, they looked at the legal consequences of building the wall, in doing so they would have to look at arguments such as protection of settlements, which were used to defend the necessity of the wall. unmi 19:59, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

Julius Stone

Can someone show me the quote in this source: [7], where it says that Stone believe Israeli settlements are legal? I'm not talking about nahal settlements, Israeli settlements in general. --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 20:52, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

Why has SD added the "Verify source" tag to the Julius Stone material? Chesdovi (talk) 22:10, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
Because I'm waiting for someone to very the text by doing what I asked for above. --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 22:14, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
It's in Part 3 of the document, "THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS AND THE LEGALITY OF THE SETTLEMENTS", in particular: ...On that issue, the terms of Article 49(6) however they are interpreted, are submitted to be totally irrelevant. To render them relevant, we would have to say that the effect of Article 49(6) is to impose an obligation on the state of Israel to ensure (by force if necessary) that these areas, despite their millennial association with Jewish life, shall be forever judenrein... --ElComandanteChe (talk) 22:19, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
I thought this was sourced to Cohen's book which says that if Nahal settlements are transferred for civilian use and "fruitful agriculture", it makes no difference under IL. Chesdovi (talk) 22:49, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
I'd point out that Stone's argument is premised largely on the lack of a peace treaty as justification for occupation (correctly) and he died before the 94 treaty with Jordan. So he did think they were legal then. That's not now. Stone was a well-respected jurist but it's also worth pointing out that his scholarship regarding Israel is criticized as being below his usual standards and, in some cases, well beyond "reasonable interpretations of the law". Sol (talk) 23:44, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

Is that Saul's view? We don't know what he would have said after peace was made with Jordan and we cannot assume. We can however mention other peoples assumption from RS. We need not mention critiscm here, but on his page. (Remembering thet Saul has not exactly projected himself as being neutral on this point.) Chesdovi (talk) 01:42, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

Why has SD removed the following from the lead?!

"Arguments by legal experts have been offered for and against the permissibility of the settlements under international law." Chesdovi (talk) 21:29, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

I explained above. Your sentence does not present the situation in a correct or neutral manner, your sentence makes it look like the arguments for is the exact same as against. --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 21:33, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
Where above? Do you mean this: "does not summarize the content of the article"? Chesdovi (talk) 21:38, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
Both Chesdovis edits section and International organizations & weight section, and now this section. --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 21:41, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
SD, you removed the sentence saying it had been addressed at talk. I raised your edit here and you say you already explained above, yet you proceed to give a different reason for removal, quite different to what you stated above. This sentence soundly summerises the fact that arguments have been given on both sides of the spectrum. I cannot not see why this should not be mentioned in the lead. Chesdovi (talk) 21:50, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
The reason is the same: "does not summarize the content of the article." "you had presented the views as equal in weight, this is not the case." "Your sentence does not present the situation in a correct or neutral manner, your sentence makes it look like the arguments for is the exact same as against.".
The "both sides" are completely different. We have one side representing the entire international community, all countries and legal institutions, and then we have Israel and two (or one) Jewish individuals. Your sentence presents these two "sides" as the same in weight. --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 21:57, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
Not quite. I would not call "the entire international community, all countries and legal institutions" or Israel "legal experts". The fact remains that thorough legal arguments have been presented for and against the settlements legality by legal scholars (not countries via UN voting). Why should this fact not be mentioned. Not to do so would make it seem Israel indeed has no leg to stand on, which is false. Chesdovi (talk) 22:07, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
You are creating the false impression of some kind of equal balance in the distribution of opinion among scholars and the legal community. This seems unsupportable. unmi 22:20, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
The arguments that they are illegal are from the international court and other international organizations and all countries on earth, this is the extreme international community and organs. The other side is Israel and a couple of personal views from individuals. As Unomi said above: "You are creating the false impression of some kind of equal balance in the distribution of opinion among scholars and the legal community." --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 23:16, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

You are correct. How do you suggest we can insert this so that it doesn't give the false imprseeion you are seeing? I would not delete it outright. This is after all talking about international law, and numerous IL experts have, albeit in the minority, taken the view that the settlements have been established using a legal interpretation of the law. This page is not only about the given consensus of the matter. It would wholly inappropriate to ignore disenting views in the leade. The sentence actually says "for and AGAINST", and mentions the "prdominant view" AND consesnus", so I am failing to see the issue here about "equal balance". Chesdovi (talk) 22:45, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

Considering that the sentence presents the situation in an incorrect manner, it shouldn't be reinserted. --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 23:17, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
I would actually start the article with this sentence, and then go on to add the predominant view... I fail to see how stating that arguments for and against the settlements presents the situation in an incorrect manner. This is a fact. If you both feel "for & against" implies 50% are for 50% are against, this concern is addressed in the lead when it says the the consensus view from among these arguementns has been reached, etc. So how does it create a "false impression"? I dont know why SD has got it in her head that this sentence insinutes "all countries on earth!" All countries on earth have not made legal arguments. Neither have various bodies. The only ones who have made legal arguments are prominent experts.How many expert are invovled? I don't know. 50? 100? Who cares. I agree that the majority have made arguments against them, but there is a significant tiny, incy, whincy minority who have argued that they are legal. Therefore I feel it is in order to state that arguments have been made for and against. Not doing so would imply that there have been no arguements "for" which would truly be giving the issue an unequal footing. Chesdovi (talk) 23:45, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
Alright, how about we start by finding out just which legal experts are offering arguments for their 'permissibility'. That would put us in a better position to judge the weight with which we present them. unmi 00:45, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

The only reason why I added this sentence and other stuff was to enhance the lead, instead of it launching straight into the consensus views held on the subject, which is rather dull, etc. Becasue this article is not called "The consensus legal opinion on the settlements", I would have thought that a more emcompassing lead including all interpretations of the law on the matter would be in order. Is there really a problem of UNDUE here? I agree there may be if it was titled "IS in IL". But becasue it is IL and IL, does more weight need to be given to the majority view? I thought it would be good to have a little background info and that sentence was an attempt. Maybe we dont really need it after all since, as it stands we have "Israel's stance has been backed by a number of prominent legal scholars." But we do need to add more substance to the lead. Chesdovi (talk) 01:36, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

Well, "Israel's stance has been backed by a number of prominent legal scholars." probably cannot be left as is, for it seems to fall afoul of WP:WEASEL. The article seems to lack a central section that discusses the scholars who back Israels stance, it is not really clear to me who or how many scholars we are talking about. unmi 02:36, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
Agree, the sentence is also not presenting the situation in an accurate manner, it presents it as that "prominent legal scholars" are behind the Israeli view, and not the IC view.--Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 16:32, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
It is a given that legal scholars support the predominent view. (Or is the majority view just based on the need to procure oil?) It is not WEASEL to say prominent, for just saying "legal scholars" would reduce the strength of Israel's position. And the quoted legal scholars are indeed prominent, it being used in a discriptive sense, rather than mere embellishment. Chesdovi (talk) 22:19, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

Why did Chesdovi remove "consensus" and replace it with "predominant" in the lead?

Why did Chesdovi remove "consensus" and replace it with "predominant" in the lead? The only country that say they are legal is Israel. --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 21:39, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

I think you're forgetting Nauru, Palau and Tuvalu. But I did not remove "consensus". It appears in the second paragraph. I would also add that the US does not currently view the settlements as illegal, or has at least not officially said so for the past 30 years, and they're a big player in the IC. Chesdovi (talk) 21:59, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
If they haven't officially said that they are illegal does that mean that they view them as being legal? Hardly. unmi 22:15, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
No. It means that they don't view them as illegal. All other organs don't seem to have forgotten how to pronounce the word when necessary. This is important, because it shows that the US does not at present form part of the "consensus" that they are "illegal". They are "just" obstacles, etc... Chesdovi (talk) 22:39, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
Certainly not, that's your own personal interpretation. The US has said they view them as illegal and you have not provided one single source that say that the US no longer regarded them as illegal. Just because they say they are an "obstacle to peace" doesn't mean they believe they aren't legal. --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 23:04, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

I was basing it on Pens and Swords:

...during his campaign, Reagan asserted that "the settlements were legal, even that Israel had the right to construct them." According to Christison, once Reagan was in office the SD attempted to square the circle and reconcile Reagans beliefs with formal US disproval of the settlements, coming up with the formula that the settlemtns were "an obstacle to peace." With that codification of the American position, "no one in the Administration ever again called the settlements illegal." .... Chesdovi (talk) 00:12, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

Also [8] pp. 111-118 which gives context of US's changing attitude to legal status:

Up to 1908, the US had maintained the illegality of the settlemetns... Chesdovi (talk) 13:01, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
Consensus doesn't mean that other opinion doesn't exist, it means a clear majority. FWIW, this source uses the term "overwhelming view". The Obama administration says that settlements are not legitimate. Concerning Nauru, Palau et cetera, does someone have a source that would support the notion that they consider the settlements legal? --Dailycare (talk) 13:11, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
Does not predominant also mean a "clear majority", "overwhelming view"? The reason I swapped these two words was from a sylistic POV. I played along with SD who seems to take me to task for each and every edit I make. Ask her why she felt the word swap was unacceptable?! Chesdovi (talk) 14:34, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
I have now seen that you have changed back the intro. to "consensus". This word is not used in the given source. Justify your edit if you are so particular about the choice of words! Chesdovi (talk) 14:51, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
Re: US position. The continuity of the US regarding settlements as illegal is sourced in the article (Hansel, WPost, Rand). The Washington Post also discusses the US not talking about its legal opinion. Since the 1994 Accord, the US position is also that the bilateral talks, and only bilateral talks will determine the final status of the settlements, so international law and the UN should avoid comment.
Re: Palau et al: While all of the resolutions being voted upon include the settlements' illegality, that's not all they include. There are many pages of national positions attached to these votes in which individual nations often comment on the settlements illegality (in my reading so far, no country that isn't Israel has defended the settlements' legality, whatever their vote; and even Israel prefers the bilateral-only argument). Feel free to cite Palau, Nauru or whoever's position publicly stated at the UN, but don't draw inferences from the votes except about the opinion of the UNGA, UNSC or whatever body is voting.--Carwil (talk) 13:36, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
So can we not then use UN resolutions as a barometer for internatioanl "consesnsus" regarding this issue? I agree with you. The problem is SD is of the opinion that UN resolutions clearly insinuate that all the countries in the world except Israel say they are illegal based on these votes! But there is more to it than that. Some countires may view them a legal, but vote for other reasons. Anyhow, we need to link UN resolution to IL otherwise the opinions of this organ do not form IL which is whats disscussed here. Chesdovi (talk) 14:23, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
The extreme vast majority of all countries in the UN votes say they are illegal, secondary sources also say that only Israel say they are legal, for example: "So does every other government in the world, except for Israel." BBC. --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 16:03, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
Chesdovi, we have independent sources confirming "vast majority"/"consensus"/"virtually the entire international community". However, my direct point was this: if resolution XYZ says A,B,C, and D, with A being "all settlements are illegal," we cannot assume that a country F not voting for it believes that A is not true. Especially when a prominent country, the US, has taken a position that the resolving institution should not be involved in issue, regardless of the truth of A.--Carwil (talk) 16:11, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
Chesdovi asked me to explain my edit where I restored the term "consensus". The explanation is that pending consensus to change the wording, the longstanding version is kept on the article per wikipedia procedure. The BBC source SD linked to, by the way, is in some ways better than the one I linked to and I'll include it in the article. --Dailycare (talk) 16:59, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

"Consensus" vs. "Predominant"

The 1st line says "consensus". This is not supported by the given source. Additionally, Consensus decision-making states "not only seeks the agreement of most participants, but also the resolution or mitigation of minority objections". The latter clause had certainly cannot been applied to our case! Please advise. Chesdovi (talk) 19:58, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

Hi, see this definition on the word "consensus". Per e.g. the BBC source saying that all governments except Israel consider the settlements illegal, I'd say the present wording meets the definition. here2 is another source, concerning the opinions of individual jurists: "The vast majority of jurists in Israel and abroad hold the opinion that the Fourth Geneva Convention is binding on Israel in the territories it occupies, and that Article 49 indeed prohibits the establishment of settlements." This is a consensus view according to the present wording of the lead, not consensus decision-making. --Dailycare (talk) 23:03, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

UN resolutions and IL

As resolutions are not legally binding, why are they brought here? Chesdovi (talk) 20:01, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

Most of the important ones here are. Either way, they shape the course of the debate on the issue and the standard of inclusion isn't "must be legally binding" but some general connection to the article title. Does it help the reader if we omit reference to any non-binding GA resolution? I can't see the advantage to omitting relevant info (if it is) on those grounds. Sol (talk) 21:52, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

Who drafts these resolutions? Law experts or ammbassadors? Chesdovi (talk) 22:11, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

The resolutions are here because they state the view that IS are a violation of IL. If they just said settlements are bad, they wouldn't be on this page.--Carwil (talk) 23:28, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
I agree. Thats why we have a reference to each & every organisation that uses the word "illegal", mentioned here. I just hope that these each country voting for these resolutions has requested their own legal experts how to vote, and it does not boil down to a matter of political point scoring. I mean, Turkey has settlements in NC, why does Turkey vote against Israel's? Chesdovi (talk) 23:34, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
Clarification: UNSC resolutions are of course binding on member states. Also, I'm not sure about the binding or not-binding nature of UNGA resolutions passed under the United for Peace statute. As discussed above, member states often explicitly state their position on the legality of IS before voting, and this is one preferred source for their opinions.--Carwil (talk) 02:31, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
Hmmm.... Does this mean we can dispense with all of the "political point making" regarding Balfour's Declaration, San Remo, or the Mandate in the works of Julius Stone and Eugene Rostow? The Balfour Declaration was only a non-binding resolution of a single government. The resolution of the San Remo Conference cited it, and stipulated that the terms of its draft mandate would not enter into effect until they were approved by the League of Nations. The text of the San Remo draft was NEVER actually adopted by the League. cf the final LoN Mandate text [9] with the earlier versions in The League of Nations Yearbook Volume 1, [10] and the New York Times "Current History" [11]. In comparison, the UN resolutions cite the Fourth Geneva Convention, which has been universally ratified and declared to be a part of customary international law. Article 85(4.a) and 85(5) of the First Additional Protocol of 1977 made the establishment of settlements in occupied territory a war crime. [12] There are 175 signatories or state parties to that treaty agreement.
All of the Mandates, including the Palestine Mandate, took the final form of a resolution of the Council of the League of Nations. The binding nature of "resolutions" was a topic on which the Covenant of the League was completely silent. The Palestine government adopted the English dualist principle in their legal system. They held that the LoN Mandate was not legally enforceable in the Courts of Palestine. The only entity that ever claimed the Mandate was legally enforceable was the Government of Israel. It retained the Mandate era ordinances and dualist legal system, but permitted defendants to argue that the Mandate had been a law that could render inconsistent ordinances invalid. The 1948 Annual Digest for 42-43, quoted a portion of the decision in the case of Leon v. Gubernik in the Israeli High Court, which stated: "However, we must not ignore the argument . . . that Imperial statutes which were inconsistent with the Mandate are of no validity. During the Mandate the Courts rejected such arguments on the ground that the Mandate was only law in so far as its provisions had been incorporated into the Palestine Order in Council, 1922. The attitude of this Court is different. We are prepared to examine laws passed by the Mandatory in the light of the provisions of the Mandate." Accordingly, the decisions of the Mandatory's courts do not constitute binding precedents on the Courts of Israel (cf Rosenbaum v.Rosenbaum)." -- cited in Marjorie M. Whiteman, Digest of International Law, vol. 1 (Washington, DC: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1963) 655, Questia, Web, 9 May 2010. harlan (talk) 11:31, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

Section dealing with Israeli law

Land ownership

In November 2006 Peace Now acquired a report (which it claims was leaked from the Israeli Government's Civil Administration) that indicates that as much as 40 percent of the settlement land that Israel plans to retain in the West Bank is privately owned by Palestinians.[1] Peace Now further claims that this is a violation of Israeli law.[2] The Washington Post reported that "The 38-page report offers what appears to be a comprehensive argument against the Israeli government's contention that it avoids building on private land, drawing on the state's own data to make the case".[3] Peace Now published statistics and aerial maps for each individual settlement.[4][5] According to the spokesman of Israel's Civil Administration, this report was based on a leaked map that indicated Palestinian claims rather than rights, and that Peace Now never contacted the Civil Administration to confirm the report.[6] A recent report by Peace Now, allegedly based on official data provided by the Civil Administration following a court struggle cites a lower figure of 32%, a figure rejected by the Civil Administration.[7]
In February 2008, The Civil Administration admitted that more than a third of West Bank settlements were built on private Palestinian land, originally seized by the IDF for 'security purposes'.[8] The unauthorized seizure of private Palestinian land has been defined by the Civil Administration itself in a recent case as 'theft'.[9]
The Spiegel report, commissioned by the Israeli Defense Ministry, also details a large amount of land theft by Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The report reveals that some settlements deemed legal by Israel are in part, and sometimes in large part, effectively illegal outposts, and that large portions of veteran Israeli settlements, including Ofra, Elon Moreh and Beit El were built on private Palestinian land.[10]
According to the Israeli government, the majority of the land currently occupied by the new settlements was vacant or belonged to the state (from which it was leased) or bought fairly from the Palestinians. Former United States State Department Legal Advisor Stephen Schwebel, who later headed the International Court of Justice, 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.[11]

The recent use of the Absentee Property Law to "transfer, sell or lease any real estate property" in East Jerusalem owned by Palestinians who live elsewhere (usually in the West Bank) without compensation has been criticized both inside and outside of Israel.[12]
Opponents of the settlements claim that "vacant" land had either belonged to Arabs who had fled or belonged collectively to an entire village, a practise that had developed under Ottoman rule. B'Tselem claims that the Israeli government used the absence of modern legal documents for the communal land as a legal basis for expropriating it.
I'm inclined to move it back. As Chesdovi rightly edited into the article recently, Israel did incorporate international law (the relevant bit here is the Hague Convention) into its domestic law and the section details the possible violations of that Convention. Lustick's "Israel and the West Bank after Elon Moreh: The Mechanics of De Facto Annexation" goes into greater depth on how the extremely high standard of proof imposed in Israeli courts allowed this to occur, if anyone is curious about the issue. Sol (talk) 04:13, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
But every country's law should shtim with IL. This deals soley with IL and its stance on IS which is disputed by Israel in the international arena. There would not be a page if there was no dispute. This section is abt an internal matter, hence the reoccurance of the term "Government's Civil Administration". Chesdovi (talk) 11:10, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
I can't speak to every country. This is international law as applied through domestic/military administrative courts; it's not an internal matter as the West Bank isn't Israel. This isn't how land possession cases work in Israel, just the way they are done by Israel in the OPT. Sol (talk) 17:07, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
It seems to be all about Israeli law. "Peace Now further claims that this is a violation of Israeli law." Might belong at IS itself, with mention here. Chesdovi (talk) 17:13, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
It's the Israeli obligations under the Hague Convention. You won't find it written in any Knesset bill or legal code. It is illegal under Israeli law because it's illegal under a bit of international law the Israeli courts recognize. If you look at the article you'll notice the reference to the 1979 High Court decision ruling that settlements aren't allowed on private property. That ruling was on the Hague Conventions. This allegation (if true) would violate both international law and the international law the Israeli legal system has the ability to implement (not GC, for various reasons). This fits in the purview of the article. Sol (talk) 04:48, 23 December 2010 (UTC)
I see. Thank you. Chesdovi (talk) 15:58, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Currently, this article is a break out of Israeli settlement#Legal status, which is organized as debate between legality and illegality. Turning this page into Legality of Israeli settlements is one option, putting this material into an Israeli law subsection is another. I could go either way. Preferences?--Carwil (talk) 15:43, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

This article and the material in it are about settlements established in the territory Israel occupied in 1967. That situation is governed by the terms of international law, not Israeli municipal law. So, putting it into an Israeli law subsection is a non-starter. This is a modern encyclopedia. Old legal essays from the 1970's should not be given undue weight. Since the era in which they were originally authored, the Geneva Conventions were declared to be part of the body of customary international law that is binding on all parties that engage in armed conflicts.
FYI, there is no Basic law or statute which says that customary international law is part of the municipal law of Israel. The Courts simply followed the precedent of the English dualist system that they inherited. The Israeli Supreme Court has finally ruled that the Fourth Geneva Convention and portions of the 1st Additional Protocol reflect customary international law.[13] So, there is no difference between the status of the Geneva and Hague Conventions on that account. David Kretzmer explains that the English approach rests on three principles: 1. Parliament is supreme in the field of legislation. Hence, any law enacted by parliament is valid, even if it is incompatible with the state's international law obligations. 2. Customary international law is part and parcel of the common law of the land, and will be enforced by the domestic courts unless it is incompatible with parliamentary legislation. 3. International treaties that were duly ratified by the state and bind it in international law will not be enforced by the domestic courts unless their provisions have been incorporated in domestic law through parliamentary legislation. It goes without saying that Article 49(6) of GC IV conflicts with the explicit provisions of municipal laws like the "Basic Law Jerusalem", the "Golan Heights Law", & etc. See Kretzmer's "International law in domestic courts: Israel", page 4 [14]
There exists in international law a universally recognized principle that a gap or deficiency in a state's municipal law or lack of national legislation does not relieve a state of its international obligations. Any attempt to excuse non-fulfilment of an international obligation on the basis of municipal law actually constitutes a breach of those obligations. See for example André Klip, Göran Sluiter, Annotated leading cases of International Criminal Tribunals: The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia 1997-1999, Intersentia nv, 2001, ISBN 9050951414, page 134 [15] The supremacy of international law is a rule in dualist systems and in monist legal systems. Judge Sir Hersch Lauterpacht described the determination of the International Court of Justice to discourage the evasion of international obligations through its repeated affirmation of "the self-evident principle of international law that a State cannot invoke its municipal law as the reason for the non-fulfillment of its international obligations." See The Development of International Law by the International Court, Hersch Lauterpacht (ed), Cambridge University Press, 1982, ISBN 0521463327, page 262
So, the Israeli's can argue that the settlements are legal, but not that they do not violate international law. Israelis are still criminally and civilly liable for violations of their international obligations. harlan (talk) 23:08, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
I have to take exception to this in your post above: "Since the era in which they were originally authored, the Geneva Conventions were declared to be part of the body of customary international law that is binding on all parties that engage in armed conflicts." They are binding only upon the signatory states. Israel is one. They are not binding on military groups such as Hamas or Hezbollah, or non-state entities such as the Palestinian Authority; as well as some other states. Hamas and other militant groups regularly engage Israel in armed conflict, but are not sworn to uphold, nor do they follow, the Geneva Convention regulations. An important distinction, I think. Snakeswithfeet (talk) 05:58, 26 December 2010 (UTC)
One of the main problems with Wikipedia articles is that editors are citing many outdated legal arguments that the Government of Israel abandoned years ago.
As the old saying goes, you are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. Palestine is a signatory of the Geneva Conventions and over one hundred other signatory states recognize Palestine as a State. The ICJ noted in 2004 that Switzerland, as depositary State, considered the Palestinian undertaking to apply the Geneva Conventions to be valid. The Geneva Conventions are the primary source of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). The General Assembly is holding the Palestinians responsible for conducting credible investigations in conformity with international standards into the serious violations of international humanitarian and international human rights law reported by the Gaza Fact-Finding Mission, towards ensuring accountability and justice. [16]
FYI, the argument that non-signatory parties could not be prosecuted for violations of customary international law reflected in the Hague Convention of 1907 and the Geneva Convention of 1929 was dismissed in the Nuremburg Judgement on "The Law Relating to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity" [17] The argument that the Conventions no longer applied to territories after they had been subdued and annexed by one of the belligerents was also dismissed.
In 1993 the UN Security Council "acting under Chapter VII of the Charter on the United Nations" approved a report made by the Secretary General [18] which concluded beyond doubt that the law applicable in armed conflict as embodied in the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and the Hague Convention (IV) of 18 October 1907 had become part of international customary law. Breaches of the principles contained in the conventions were subsequently placed within the competence of various international criminal tribunals charged with prosecuting the responsible individuals. That has included prosecution of the members of armed opposition groups. See Security Council Resolution 827, 25 May 1993,[19] and the commentary with regard to customary law in the UN article on The Statute For the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.[20]
Under the terms of Article 25, that decision is binding on all UN member states, who are required to lend the tribunals every necessary assistance. When a possible conflict arose between the Statute of the Court and the national laws of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Tribunal drew attention to the obligations of states under the Security Council resolutions and repeated the self-evident principle of international law that states cannot invoke their own municipal laws as a basis for avoiding their international obligations. see International Law Reports, By E. Lauterpacht, et. al. page 8 [21]
In 2005 the ICRC conducted a study of the rules of customary international law. [22] The first purpose of the study was to determine which rules of international humanitarian law are part of customary international law and therefore applicable to all parties to a conflict, regardless of whether or not they have ratified the treaties containing the same or similar rules (page 5). The study found that the principles and rules contained in treaty law have received widespread acceptance in practice and are now part of customary international law. As such, they are binding on all States regardless of ratification of treaties and also on armed opposition groups in case of rules applicable to all parties to a non-international armed conflict (page 25).
The Israeli Supreme Court has ruled "that between Israel and the various terrorist organizations active in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip (hereinafter "the area") a continuous situation of [international] armed conflict has existed since the first intifada." See the subsection of the ruling under the heading "The General Normative Framework, A. International Armed Conflict". [23] The Court has also ruled that Judea and Samaria are not part of Israel and that they are being held in a state of belligerent occupation. See HCJ 7957/04 Mara’abe v. The Prime Minister of Israel The Foreign Ministry of Israel said that Israel could not be held responsible for observing human rights covenants in Gaza or the West Bank because those areas are not part of Israel's sovereign territory and jurisdiction. It also claimed that events in the West Bank or Gaza are not subject to the mandates of human rights monitoring bodies "inasmuch as they are part and parcel of the context of armed conflict" (to which only IHL apply). See CCPR/C/ISR/2001/2, para 8[24] or E/1990/6/Add.32, para 6-7 [25]
The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website discussion of the laws of war says that "Others have gained acceptance by the practice of the international community and become part of customary international law. The Israeli High Court has ruled that these customary international law rules bind Israel under both international law and Israeli law.(8) In particular, Israel’s High Court of Justice has confirmed that in the ongoing armed conflict with Palestinian terrorist organisations, including Hamas, Israel must adhere to the rules and principles in (a) the Fourth Geneva Convention,(9) (b) the Regulations annexed to the Fourth Hague Convention (which reflect customary international law), and (c) the customary international law principles reflected in certain provisions of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions on 1949[26] harlan (talk) 01:31, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
I agree with that old saying, which actually originated with Daniel Moynihan, a strong supporter of Israel, and that is the point, as a matter of fact. It is often not the facts that are at issue, but how to interpret those facts in a broader context. My understanding of WP:primary (defined as Primary sources are very close to an event, often accounts written by people who are directly involved, offering an insider's view of an event, a period of history, a work of art, a political decision, and so on) is that primary sources are not acceptable for any interpretation since:
" Any interpretation of primary source material requires a reliable secondary source for that interpretation. A primary source may only be used on Wikipedia to make straightforward, descriptive statements that any educated person, with access to the source but without specialist knowledge, will be able to verify are supported by the source."
I am not a specialist, and I was not able to take away from the sources you provided, all of the facts that you said were there. For example, in the first paragraph of your article, you claim that Palestine is a signatory of the Geneva Conventions and that it is a state, because 100 nations have agreed upon it. I could find nothing in your sourced material that supported those statements. I think that none of us here are international law scholars, so it behooves us not to use international law opinions and UN documents, but rather to use a "reliable secondary source" (per Wikipedia policy) for interpretation. I think it not terribly fair to accuse editors here of "citing outdated legal arguments" and/or fabricating facts, without first supplying a RSS that speaks directly to an editor's specific argument. Otherwise it may appear you are engaging in ad hominem attacks on other editors for expressing alternate views or arguments. Snakeswithfeet (talk) 20:58, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
You made an unsourced claim that the customary laws reflected in the Geneva Conventions are only binding on signatory states. You haven't cited a single published source (reliable or otherwise) which says that.
Judge Theodor Meron discussed the establishment of the ICTY by the Security Council and noted that although the Geneva conventions were recognized as binding conventional law, in 1993 the Commission of Experts and Secretary General determined that in practice the treaty provisions were also declaratory of customary international law binding on non-signatories. See Theodor Meron "War crimes law comes of age: essays", Clarendon Press, 1998, ISBN 0198268564, page 212.
Meron also wrote an essay that is available at the Crimes of War Project which explains that the Rome Statute codified many provisions of international humanitarian law (IHL) as customary criminal law. He explains that "Together with treaties, customary law is one of the principal sources or components of IHL. It results from a general and consistent practice of States that is followed by them from a sense of legal obligation. The most obvious significance of a norm — a principle or rule — of a customary character is that it binds States that are not parties to the treaty in which the norm is restated." [27] Members of insurgent militias, like the Kosovo Liberation Army, certainly were prosecuted for war crimes by the Tribunal on the basis of the customary criminal law contained in the Statute adopted by the Security Council.
The basis of the legal requirement for UN member states to cooperate with the Tribunal was linked to Lauterpacht's Law Report, which is a reliable secondary source. In any case, I'm not interpreting the MFA or Israeli Supreme Court documents which say that the Geneva Conventions are applicable or that there has been an international armed conflict with Hamas and other groups. I provided links and quotes. The WP:PSTS policy relates to interpretations by a Wikipedian... not interpretations by those outside of Wikipedia in the UN, Israeli MFA, and Israeli Supreme Court. e.g. [28]. WP:PSTS policy allows the use of reliably published primary sources, including the information and analysis contained in those sources. As of 2009 the MFA and Supreme Court plainly state that the Conventions apply to the conflict in the West Bank and Gaza. Editors can obviously challenge and fact tag decades-old claims which claim that "Israel sez" the Conventions are completely "irrelevant" or "inapplicable". harlan (talk) 01:57, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
Harlan, I felt that the links you gave did not support your assertion that Palestine is a signatory of the Geneva Conventions, nor the implication that recognition by 100 states makes Palestine legally a state.
In International Criminal Law: sources, subjects, and contents-- by M Cherif Bassiouni, pg 480-- he lists various treaties and instruments of law which involve some of the prohibitions contained in crimes against humanity from 1946 UN Assembly Res, affirming the Nuremberg Trial rules to the 1987 European Torture Convention. Of these the author says, "Of these eight instruments, one is a GA resolution, one an ILC report, and three are ILC drafts; none of which have per se legally binding effect. Two are regional conventions (Genocide, Apartheid and Torture) binding on their respective signatories, and which are also be binding on nonsignatory states as part of jus cogens."
It is clear that much is interpretive and that at least in certain cases none are legally binding, and only certain ones are considered binding on non signatory states -- note he says "states" and not militias, entities or observers. You do not make these distinctions with the sources that you put up. Of the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the two 1977 Protocols, Bassiouni goes on to say that they "incorporate certain aspects of 'Crimes Against Humanity' by including them among activities prohibited to belligerents in conflicts of an international character. Common Articles 50,51,130 and 147 of the four 1949 Geneva Conventions provide: 'Grave breaches...shall be those involving any of the following acts, if committed against persons or property protected by the Convention: willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments, willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.
"Willful" killing, "inhuman" treatment, "military necessity" -- all words that require interpretation, which is not really our job here.
He goes on: However, these and other provisions of the four Conventions and Protocol I apply to certain contexts and to certain protected persons. They only extend in part to civilian populations in conflicts of a non-international character..."
"Certain contexts and certain protected persons" -- not all of the Geneva conventions and certainly not all the various treaties are considered binding on all parties involved in any and all hostilities. To say so is to generalize from the primary sources and interpret the material. But until and unless we have reliable secondary sources to tell us, specifically what law(s) or regulation(s) Israel is guilty of violating, your interpretation (or mine) is neither sufficient nor proper. In the meantime, their are always two significant views. The prosecution and the defense. There are many many well-known and not so well known jurists and scholars who are of the opinion of the "defense."
An opinion in the Jurist says "Even those who believe the ICTY represents the rule of law often question its functionality." This insinuates that there are plenty that do not even accept that the ICTY represents the rule of law! International law is not a finished product by a long shot. It is not meant to be a stick with which to beat certain states or entities, but an attempt to humanize relationships internationally, to avoid genocides, and other horrors that have killed so many millions in the past century and continue to this day. Snakeswithfeet (talk) 05:24, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

Carter's previous stance is worth mentioning too

"On Apr. 1 (1977) Jimmy Carter, formerly Governor of Georgia and Democratic candidate for President, declared that he supported Israeli settlement in the administered territories and that he was in favor of the sale of transport planes.... Carter repeated his earlier statements that Israel need not withdraw from the Golan Heights or from E. Jerusalem" [29]. Chesdovi (talk) 23:58, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
What I said above, about the need for an organized attempt to evaluate legality under international law, applies here too. Administrations and presidents (much less their political statements as candidates) are not equivalent sources on this issue.--Carwil (talk) 19:48, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

Christenen voor Israel

Do Christians for Israel belong in the NGO section? Chesdovi (talk) 00:11, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

IMO in principle they could be mentioned, but they can't have equal weight to the ADL or Amnesty as that would be undue. And since ADL and Amnesty are just mentioned very briefly, I guess fitting this one in without undue weight doesn't look possible. --Dailycare (talk) 19:13, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

Albright on Today Show

I've removed this text from the article:

In a 1997 interview on NBC-TV's Today Show, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright stated that the building of settlements in the West Bank was legal.[13]

because of this information from the "Settlement Monitor" column of the Journal of Palestine Studies (Vol. 27, No. 2 (Winter, 1998), pp. 126-136), a transcript of the State Department spokesperson's follow-up on Albright's comments:

Question. However, in her 'Today Show" interview this morning, the secretary was asked if the settlements are legal. And she said, quote, "they are legal," unquote. Was she talking about legal within the context of Israeli law? Or was she talking about international law, specifically the Fourth Geneva Convention?
Spokesman: No, she was not talking about international law. Our overall position on the question of the legality of settlements remains the same. We are, of course, not taking a legal position on that overall issue.... The fact of the matter is that there is nothing in the interim agreement, as such, and under Oslo that prohibits settlement activity. We do not support the settlement activity. We think it is unhelpful and counterproductive. But as a technical answer, though, the statement was technically correct. [emphasis added]

--Carwil (talk) 19:01, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

What does the spokesman mean by saying the quote "they are legal" is technically correct? What he said seems to be a contradiction to me. What comes out of Albrights mouth has more weight than a "spokesman". Quote should be re-added with qualifiation if necessary. Chesdovi (talk) 23:36, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
This is a pretty textbook case of a government agency "walking back" the statement of its leader. It is in fact as authoritative as Albright. And the confusion no doubt comes from the standard practice of "re-interpreting" rather than retracting people's statements.
The "technically correct" position is clearly about not violating Oslo. The US's position expressed here is that Oslo (and subsequent agreements) do not prohibit settlement activity. Russia, for example, has the exact opposite position.--Carwil (talk) 19:53, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
You mean legal under Oslo, not IL. Is that what the Today show interviewer had in mind? I doubt it. This is a clear case of saving face after an official gave the official stance, which was "retracted", as not doing so would compromise the country's impartial position with regards to the peace process, etc. It is not for us to interpret subsequent comments made regarding Albright's quote. We have two valid statements. Albright did not retract herself. She said they are legal and the spokesman said that technically they are legal but the US does not take sides on the matter. Maybe the spokesman meant they are not legal under IL, but aording to US law or opinion? Both quotes can be meared into a nice paragraph. It would be a shame not to include a rare remark, as clear as this one about the settlements legality Chesdovi (talk) 23:34, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Re: Albright did not retract herself. This is just not how DC works; if George Bush or Barack Obama deviates from policy in their statements, the White House Press Secretary will step in to correct. Likewise in the Departments.
Re: Is that what the Today show interviewer had in mind? Totally unclear. Likewise Albright's "They are legal" in return. Unless you're saying Albright is a mind-reader, it's her intent that counts.--Carwil (talk) 21:56, 17 February 2011 (UTC)


Is it worth adding the few individuals who endorse the settlements, e.g. Mike Huckabee, [30]? Sarah Palin Sarah Palin: Expansion Of Israeli Settlements Should Be Allowed? Chesdovi (talk) 23:47, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Given the topic here, one prerequisite for inclusion, is a specific opinion on the legality of settlements under international law. IMHO, opinions of non-institutions are probably irrelevant unless they represent some kind of organized attempt to assess legality (like the legal scholars).
In any case, it's probably best to build descriptions of such opinions from the top down (i.e., political parties, their nominees for president, then random figures). Also, if we can keep them within the individuals section, that would help.--Carwil (talk) 19:47, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee don't use international law to justify their support for illegal settlements. They use their religion, in which they believe Jews appropriating Palestinian land will lead to an apocalyptic damning of Jews and all other "non"-believers to a fiery eternal hell. It would be perhaps appropriate for an article titled Christian antisemitism and Israeli Settlements, but not this one. -asad (talk) 18:08, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Actually each person or country "against" a particular issue are so not b/c of the rulings of IL, but rather they have there own opinions about a matter and if it fits with IL, all well and good, they will cite IL. This is quite clear, as when it comes to a countries own violation of IL, they wil defend themselves, paying scant attention to IL. e.g. Why does Turkey condemn IS while it sustains its own in Cyprus? Why are all the IL judges who favour IS Jewish? IL means nothing. Law can be interpreted to favour the defendant or the plaintif. It usually boils down to the personal bias of the jury or judge, e.g. EDO Decomissioners Case. Iran will cheer on the Egyptian protestors but quash any dissent in its own country. These two prominent US politicaisn are well aware of IL. Yet they still hold their own views about it. They are at odds with the general stance and interpretation taken on the issue, that is why it is important to mention here. I mean, how can they so publically encourage violation of IL? Chesdovi (talk) 18:48, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
For whatever reason they chose to be against or for it, the two individuals you listed do not use international law to justify it or condemn it. Therefore, they are irrelevant to a article which focus is about International law. That's pretty obvious. -asad (talk) 12:00, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

Land ownership

I put this content (possibly back?) in the main Israeli settlement article here for now after Chesdovi removed it from this article. Sean.hoyland - talk 18:13, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

CAMERA & Rikki Hollander are unreliable sources

I would like to recommend that we delete the CAMERA editorial. It is false, misleading, and misquotes the terms of the UN Charter.

The League of Nations Mandates took the form of resolutions of the Council. In the "Interpretation of Article 3, paragraph 2, Treaty of Lausanne Case" (Series B no 12),[31] the Permanent Court of International Justice said that resolutions of the Council of the League of Nations were merely recommendations subject to acceptance by the parties involved. The Palestine government adopted the English dualist principle in their legal system. The Courts held that the LoN Mandate was not legally enforceable. Conflicts between the Mandate and the Palestine Order in Council of 1922, statutes, and other ordinances of Palestine were resolved in favor of the latter. See Marjorie M. Whiteman, Digest of International Law, vol. 1 (Washington, DC: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1963) page 655.

The ICJ confirmed that the powers and functions of the General Assembly under Chapter IV include the power to adopt decisions that terminate a mandate. In 1947, the General Assembly acted upon the combined requests of the British government, the Jewish Agency, the Arab Higher Committee, and the UNSCOP recommendation that the mandate be terminated. So, Resolution 181(II) was legally effective to terminate the mandate for Palestine. See James Crawford, The Creation of States in International Law, 2nd Edition, Oxford University Press, 2006, page 580. The International Court of Justice confirmed that when it said "Since 1947, the year when General Assembly resolution 181 (II) was adopted and the Mandate for Palestine was terminated, there has been a succession of armed conflicts, acts of indiscriminate violence and repressive measures on the former mandated territory. See paragraph 162 on pdf page 133 of 139 [32]

After the Yalta Conference recommended that the mandates be abolished or established under new rules as UN trusteeships, the Jewish Agency wrote a memo to the San Francisco Conference on UN Organization. It requested a safeguarding clause which would say that no trusteeship agreement could alter the Jewish right to nationhood secured by the Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate. However, the UN conference rejected that proposal and stipulated in article 80 of the Charter that a trusteeship agreement COULD in fact alter the Mandate. See Jacob Robinson, Palestine and the United Nations: Prelude to a Solution, Greenwood Press, 1971 (Reprint of 1947 edition), page 2-3.

In addition, the scope of Article 80 was " strictly limited to Chapter 12 of the Charter, i.e. "nothing in this Chapter shall be construed in or of itself to alter in any manner the rights...& etc". " The General Assembly noted that the terms of Chapter 11 of the Charter regarding non-self governing territories were a treaty obligation with immediate force and effect that were applicable to all of the member states and did not require the conclusion of any trusteeship agreements (see UN GA resolution 9/1). That chapter was incompatible with Jewish minority rule.

In any event Article 80 did not preserve the Jewish right of settlement. It was adopted as a "status quo" agreement at the request of the Arab League with respect to the Palestine mandate, the 1939 British White Paper policies, and the 1940 Land Transfer Ordinance - which legally limited the right of Jewish settlement in much of Palestine. See for example the discussion on this page and the following page under "Palestine" in "The United Nations conference on international organization, San Francisco, California, April 25-June 26, 1945", Foreign relations of the United States : diplomatic papers, 1945.

So, Rikki Hollander is misquoting and misinterpreting Chapter 12 of the UN Charter when she says: "Article 80 of the U.N. Charter preserved this Jewish right to settlement by specifying that: "nothing in the [United Nations] Charter shall be construed ... to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or peoples or the terms of existing international instruments." The actual text of article 80 reads "nothing in this Chapter", NOT "nothing in this Charter".[33] harlan (talk) 23:48, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

I don't think it's at all in doubt that CAMERA is an unreliable source concerning anything related to the Middle-East. --Dailycare (talk) 16:26, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

Nothing from CAMERA should be used as its a well known unreliable source. --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 16:28, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

No objections so far, removed. --ElComandanteChe (talk) 20:57, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

Stone and "Individual stances"

Regarding this edit and this revert. The section is about "Individual stances". I can understand the role of the first edit in the sense that it provides some balance to Stone's individual stance from another individual but I don't understand the reason for the revert. Sean.hoyland - talk 16:50, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

I agree, it certainly belongs there as it is part of the subject and shows Stones views from another notable perspective. I don't see any reason provided for the revert. --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 17:22, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
I have removed Saul's critics from Stone's opinion paragraph for the following reasons:
  1. I don't really understand the need to provide the antithesis here, in the place consigned to describe Stone's opinion only, no matter how unbalanced or even false it may be.
  2. Reductio ad Hitlerum argument: Adolf Hitler's political views satisfies with the description of the matter, without providing critics and counterarguments.
  3. If Saul's opinion is notable, it deserves it's own paragraph; it could be included within Stone's section only if that is how the latter is presented by the sources, otherwise providing balance turns into synthesis.
--ElComandanteChe (talk) 19:21, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
1. the place is not to "describe Stone's opinion only", its a place for individual stances. 2. Your second point is built on that this section or article is dedicated to Stone, as that article is dedicated to Hitler, which is inaccurate. 3. Stone doesn't have a section, its a section for individual people. And Sauls opinion is notable as he is an Associate Professor and expert in international law. I dont see any syntheses, Saul is speaking of Stones views of international law, and that is also what Stone is speaking of.--Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 19:34, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
The synthesis is in the presentation of Stone's views through Saul's opinion. No sources except Saul's publication are doing it. Also, I guess you have a reason to revert in the middle of BRD cycle? --ElComandanteChe (talk) 19:46, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
I don't see how Saul speaking of Stones views of international law is synthesis. --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 19:50, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
The source directly addresses Stone's arguments about the settlements in detail on page 11 so I think synthesis is avoidable perhaps with some rewording. Saul thinks Stone's view was invalid and he says so in a reliable source. I don't see a problem with including that information. Ironically, a Reductio ad Hitlerum-like argument is what Stone uses to claim that the settlements aren't illegal i.e. he argued that the Fourth Geneva Convention article related to things like the Nazis "forcibly transporting populations of which it wished to rid itself, into or out of occupied territories for the purpose of liquidating them with minimum disturbance of its metropolitan territory, or to provide slave labour or for other inhumane purposes". Sean.hoyland - talk 19:59, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
What sentence do you suggest? --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 20:12, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
Still, I'd like to see secondary source(s), i.e. analysis of Saul's view of Stone's position, or at least sources stating that Stone's position is widely criticized. Otherwise it's yet another low-standard, ripped of the context, random piece of text of questionable encyclopedic value. --ElComandanteChe (talk) 20:16, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
Hitler's views are the subject of a separate article. There is no reason to afford Stone's Zionist propaganda undue weight in an article on international law. The State of Israel did not bother to mention Stone in its 230+ page written submission to the ICJ. All 15 of the jurists disagreed with his propositions that the Geneva Conventions do not apply. The 14 jurists that contributed to the majority opinion found that the Jewish settlements had been established in violation of international law. His views always did represent an extreme fringe theory. For example, "Stone is betraying a life of scholarship to peddle a political position." Israel And Palestine: Assault On The Law Of Nations? by Anthony D'Amato, 91 Yale Law Journal 1725 (1982) [34] P.S. D'Amato provides a brief analysis of the shortcomings of Stone's historical and legal scholarship on the topic. harlan (talk) 20:38, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
Of course we shall not give undue weight to Stone's opinion. However, I see no policy-based reason to mix his critic views into his opinion description. --ElComandanteChe (talk) 21:30, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
Do you see any policy based reasons not to? How about that it would create some balance and neutrality since Stones views are extreme minority. --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 16:46, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
If the views of this guy are in the "extreme minority", surley that alone would make them notable? We woulnd not have to list all those who reached the opposite conclusion. IF stone was alive, he would no doubt defend galliantly his position. Alas he cannot speak from his grave. When Freidberg lambasted Rostow, Rostow rebuffed his arguments. So do we have to show this back and forth till the cows come home? Each viewpoint should be given its own space without criticisms, if those ctirics themsleves have publsihed views on the matter. It get silly otherwise. Chesdovi (talk) 17:02, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
Of course we should list those who challenge this. The individual stances section only has views of people who say they are legal, while there are people who challenge these views. Therefore it is not neutral to keep this information out and only present one side of the story. What Stone would do if he was alive has nothing to do with this, we can not predict what would happen. --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 21:46, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
Why don't we just move the discussions about this individual's Zionist propaganda to the Fringe Theory Noticeboard? His views were roundly rejected and condemned by the mainstream long ago and are simply not relevant. The Conference of the High Contracting parties to the Geneva Conventions decided the question regarding the applicability of the Conventions and the illegality of the Settlements. It was Stone who was "attacking the law of nations". Judge Higgins also pointed out that "It follows from a finding of an unlawful situation by the Security Council, in accordance with Articles 24 and 25 of the Charter entails "decisions [that] are consequently binding on all States Members of the United Nations, which are thus under obligation to accept and carry them out." So, all of Israel's attempts to annex territory and alter the demographic balance of the territories through the settlements are illegal. It really is as simple as that. That is why In “The Jewish Settlements in the West Bank: International Law and Israeli Jurisprudence”, Michael Galchinsky began by lamenting that: “Many who care about Israel have learned to stop caring about international law.” and finished his introductory pitch by claiming “For good reasons, many who love Israel have honed their contempt for international law.” Let's include that explanation and clearly explain that these individual and fringe views are NOT a relevant source or evidence of the applicable rules of law. harlan (talk) 16:36, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
Harlan, how many legal scholars say the settlements are illegal? Currently it feels like the "Individual stances" section is not representing reality correctly. --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 20:44, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
If Wikipedia included the individual stances of the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations who say the settlements are illegal the article would become excessively long. After Rostow left the government he was employed by the Israel lobby and wrote a bunch of hogwash for AEI that was never published in any peer-reviewed law journals. International law is the law of the international community of states. If the conferences or councils of high contracting parties to the applicable conventions say that the settlements are illegal, then they are illegal. It's as simple as that. Legal publicists sometimes write about "state practice" and those writings can sometimes be considered sources for the rules of law. Neither Rostow nor Stone fit into that category in this case.
The members of the panel of judges in the Wall case included some of the most qualified publicists, e.g. Rosalyn Higgins, and they considered the applicable rules of law, including the published and oral arguments of publicists, like James R Crawford, & etc. Neither Rostow nor Stone are considered reliable sources on Israeli settlement. For example, the Canadian UN legal counsel, Sidney A. Freifeld, criticized Rostow's historical and factual errors in a Commentary Magazine article [35] David Korn, former State Department office director for Israel and Arab-Israeli affairs, also lambasted Rostow's claims that he had a hand in authoring resolution 242. [36] In April of 1968, Secretary of State Rusk wrote a memo on the subject of the illegality of Israeli settlements to the Embassy in Jerusalem directing the Ambassador to restate in strongest terms the US position on the question to the Government of Israel. [37]. BTW, that is evidence of US state practice. harlan (talk) 21:36, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

<-ElComandanteChe, shouldn't the inclusion/exclusion criteria, requirements for secondary sources etc be the same whether it's Stone or Saul ? Stone is already there presumably because there is an assumption, not supported by any evidence from secondary sources in the article, that it's notable, not widely criticized and isn't nonsense. I don't really see a need for an analysis of Saul's view to justify its presence when we have nothing to indicate that its validity and weight are any different from Stone's view which, bear in mind, may also be "another low-standard, ripped of the context, random piece of text of questionable encyclopedic value". Hard to tell from the article at the moment because there is no secondary source analysis of Stone's view. :) As to what to actually say, no idea, it's past my bedtime. Sean.hoyland - talk 21:03, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

Well, huh, Stone's view is sourced to Cohen's book. Saul's to Saul's paper. Have a good night, and please call me Che: I'll be grateful, you'll save some typing, and WP will save some bytes --ElComandanteChe (talk) 21:30, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes, in the second sentence in the Individual stances section. Stone's view is sourced to Cohen's book and Stone's view can be sourced to Saul's paper. What's the difference ? Why do we need a meta source for Saul but we don't for Cohen ? Sean.hoyland - talk 06:50, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
Morning. That's my reading, may be erroneous or naive, of WP:PSTS: Cohen is secondary source on Stone, Saul is primary source on Saul, if Saul's opinion is given per se. Rewording can solve this problem, however we will stay with the question if critics on individual stances worth inclusion. --ElComandanteChe (talk) 08:52, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
Your reading of WP:PSTS is faulty. Stone on Stone would be a primary source, but Saul on Stone is a secondary source. The Yale Law Review and D'Amato are reliable secondary peer-reviewed sources too. Why don't you explain why individual stances are worth inclusion? Stone was not responsible for any affairs of state or treaty enforcement and Rostow's declassified government policy memos contradict the views he published while writing in private life at the New Republic and AEI. harlan (talk) 16:57, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
In the edit under discussion, Saul is provided as a balance to Stone, not as a source. Compare:
  • "Stone individual stance is X and Y (ref Cohen)" (valid)
  • "Stone individual stance is X and Y (ref Cohen), but Saul says Z" (synthesis)
--ElComandanteChe (talk) 20:56, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
You are still not answering the original objection. In "Henry's wars and Shakespeare's laws", Oxford University Press, 1993, page 45-46, Judge Theodor Meron explained the limitations on the resort to force in self-defense (Article 51 of the UN Charter). He was the Legal Advisor to the Israeli Foreign Ministry in 1967 and he says there that responsibility for the outbreak of the Six Day War has never been authoritatively established; that the General Assembly had reaffirmed (GA res 3314, 29 UN GAOR Sup No 31, at p 142) that the territory of a State shall not be the object of acquisition by another State through military occupation or of other measures of force, or the threat thereof; and that the Security Council had also emphasized in Resolution 242 of November 22, 1967 "the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war." Other legal scholars have noted that Stephen Schwebel offerred no evidence whatever to establish that Israel acted in self-defense and have complained about "the ignorance and denial of historical fact which animate tracts like Lauterpacht’s Jerusalem and the Holy Places and Schwebel’s What Weight to Conquest?" See for example From Coexistence to Conquest: International Law and the Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1891-1949, Victor Kattan Pluto Press, London, 2009 and "Challenging the culture of denial", By John McHugo in Middle East International Vol.2 Issue 5, 8 January 2010. I don't know why we are including Zionist propaganda about Israel entering the territory legally, fantasies about "unallocated territory", the "perverse continued mandate theory", the better claim theory, & etc. when none of that has ever been established as a matter of fact or the law. You would have to include the published rebuttals from D'Amoto, McHugo, Kattan, Ball, Falk, Weston, & etc. None of these personal speculations are "international law". harlan (talk) 21:54, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
Please stay on topic, which is this edit. If in your opinion, the article requires wider changes, feel free to make bold changes. --ElComandanteChe (talk) 22:24, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
Harlan, "Rostow nor Stone aren't considered reliable sources on Israeli settlements." By whom? Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. And everyones opinion is open to criticism. Rostow and Stone had their own valid views on the matter. They are just as "reliable" as anyone elses. Whether their views form the majority opinion is another matter. (FYI, Rostow was able to rebut Freifled ramblings in a subsequent letter. Even I can detect problems with Freifeld's summerisation. He states: "The Partition Resolution provided for a Jewish state and an Arab state in what is now the West Bank and Gaza Strip." Yes, the GS and WB formed part of the envisioned Arab stated, but it was supposed to be much larger and include territory that Israel held pre-67. Why has he awarded this extra territroy to Israel? Why indeed does 242 only mention the '49 lines, and not those of partition? And if he is going along with the Partition Plan, surely he would endorse the International status for Jerusalem, yet this is never mentioned in many UN resolutions.) Chesdovi (talk) 00:03, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
Chesdovi, Freifeld didn't award any territory to Israel. The Jews and Arabs signed bilateral armistice agreements which legally recognized the right of each of the parties to legally occupy and govern the territories on their respective side of the permanent line of demarcation until Hell freezes over. Israeli Ambassador Abba Eban explained that "Israel holds no territory wrongfully, since her occupation of the areas now held [i.e. within the Green line] has been sanctioned by the armistice agreements, as has the occupation of the territory in Palestine now held by the Arab states." see "Effect on Armistice Agreements", FRUS Volume VI 1949, page 1149 [38] See also Prime Minister David Ben Gurion's remarks to the same effect in the minutes of the 62 Sitting of the 1st Knesset, on 1 August 1949. in Netanel Lorch (editor), "Major Knesset Debates, 1948-1981, Vol 2, JCPA- University Press of America, 1993, page 542.
The armistice agreements were adopted under the auspices of a binding Chapter VII UN Security Council resolution (SC res. 62, November 16, 1948). FYI the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty contains a safeguarding clause in article 3(2) [39] which stipulated that the establishment of the international boundary does not prejudice the status of any territory that came under Israeli military control in 1967.
I didn't say that Rostow and Stone are not entitled to their personal opinions, only that they represent a discredited fringe theory that doesn't deserve undue weight in an encyclopedia article. harlan (talk) 01:06, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

Are the views of ambassadors and Prime Ministers valid? Surly only those of "publicists" count? We do have Reagan saying the settlements are "not illegal" remember, and Albright unretracted statement. And who cares what the Israeli Ambassador says about the territory gained in 48-49? They are the fringe view surely. I am sure there are Arabs who would beg to differ about the status of the areas of the Arab partition area that became Israel. No UN resolution recognises Israel borders, except the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan. Chesdovi (talk) 11:10, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

Officials often say one thing publicly, yet do another privately when they make State policy. For example, Eugene Rostow pledged to preserve Jordanian territorial integrity in any settlement. The US government assumed (and Israeli Ambassador Harman confirmed) that despite public statements to the contrary, the Government of Israel position on Jerusalem was that which Eban, Harman, and Evron had given several times, that Jerusalem was negotiable. The Israeli position was that Jerusalem should be an open city under unified administration but that the Jordanian interest in Jerusalem could be met through arrangements including “sovereignty”. See Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964–1968 Volume XIX, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1967, Document 505 [40] The views of government officials contained in official records of a State's foreign relations and diplomatic practices are considered evidence of State practice. See for example "State practice" [41] I cited the FRUS and Secretary of State Rusk's policy statement about the illegality of the settlements in the thread above. In 1967 Under Secretary of State Lucius Battle explained the US government's position of not airing our disagreement with Israeli settlement policies in public. See paragraph 4 [42]
Eugene Rostow's Op-Eds in the New Republic Magazine and the American Enterprise Institute don't mention those classified official documents. They are definitely NOT evidence of state practice. Wikipedia already has articles with references which explain the sources of customary international law and the forms of evidence. See for example Sources of international law and the "Customary international law" & Forms of evidence subsections" of International law and the Arab–Israeli conflict.
Security Council resolutions routinely recognized the de facto sovereignty over territory inside the armistice boundaries. For example, the Council condemned the November 1966 Israel raid in the Hebron area as a large-scale and carefully planned military action on the territory of Jordan by the Israeli military in UN SC Resolution 228. UN Security Council Resolution 73 cited Article 40 (Chapter 7) of the UN Charter and recalled three earlier Chapter 7 resolutions 50, 54, and 62. It stated that the armistice lines had replaced the temporary cease fire lines and accepted the armistice agreements on the behalf of the UN organization. That resolution requires the continued application, observance, and execution of those agreements pending any final negotiated settlement. Those bilateral agreements and that resolution are still binding upon all of the UN member states, including the Arabs. Neither the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty nor the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty effected the legal status of the Occupied Palestinian territory according to the analysis of the World Court in its 2004 advisory opinion. Israeli Prime Minister Ben Gurion advised the US Representative of the PCC that Arab Palestine could be recognized through the device of a federal union with Transjordan. Footnote 24 of Yehuda Blum's "Missing Reversioner" says that the Armistice Agreement with Israel was signed on April 3 1949 by Jordan rather than by Transjordan, and that the reason for this change was that the country now included a large part of Arab Palestine. harlan (talk) 16:04, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

Do the views of Lauterpacht also belong to the "discredited fringe?" Chesdovi (talk) 16:50, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

Would anyone disagree with having this information in a "Criticism" section in the Julius Stone article? [43]. Since its about Stones general legal issues views. --Supreme Deliciousness (talk) 11:01, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

That's the right place I guess. --ElComandanteChe (talk) 11:05, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

Stone and Rostow may or may not have been influenced by the fact that they were Jewish. It is , however, a relevant fact that a reader of their works might like to know in assessing their views. I have reinstated that fact (Trahelliven (talk) 11:04, 15 June 2011 (UTC)).

Nonsense. I have removed it again. It isn't "a relevant fact". Richard Falk, Richard Goldstone, Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein and many other Jewish people regard settlements as illegal under international law. So what ? Sean.hoyland - talk 11:18, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
Neither Stephen Schwebel, Stone or Rostow gave their opinions in any official capacity. Lauterpacht began arguing on the 'acquisition' of territory and ended up talking about 'restoring' sovereignty. Israel held no sovereignty over any "territories occupied". talknic (talk) 16:07, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Further to statements of opinion being made out of office - Statements made while not holding office of the institution relevant to the issue are not judgements or rulings. The should be clearly prefaced with an inline qualifier, especially important where Jurists or Judges are quoted. e.g., After his term as a Judge of International Court of Justice, Professor Stephen M. Schwebel expressed the opinion that " ..whatever..."
Eugene V. Rostow. 1966 to 1969 helped draft UNSC Res 242. He held impressive titles after leaving that office. His opinions on UNSC res 242 were not made in any official State Department or UNSC capacity post 1969 and even though a Sterling Professor Emeritus, it is still only and opinion.
I suggest all such statements in the article be addressed to eradicate any 'weasel status' that might be implied by their current wording talknic (talk) 18:02, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

The BBC is the final arbiter of international law? Or, whatever happened to WP:NPOV, WP:V and WP:RS?

Recent edits to the lede of this article have made various assertions about international law using Wikipedia's voice, which are cited (but not attributed) to two BBC news reports of 2008 and 2009. I am both amazed and bemused by this; since when has the BBC become the final arbiter of international law? My reading on the subject of international law indicates that international law is a very complex topic, about which legal experts often disagree. Per WP:RS, shouldn't we be citing the views of legal experts on this, rather than the opinions of anonymous reporters as stated in media outlets? Also, when did we start ignoring WP:V and WP:NPOV, and start stating the opinions of one source as fact? And finally, even if one were to allow that the BBC is a WP:RS on the topic of international law (which is itself a dubious claim), why on earth would its views be the first sentence of the lede of this article? I suggest a thorough review of WP:LEDE and WP:UNDUE before responding. Jayjg (talk) 19:18, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

I completely agree, and believe that we should revisit this discussion on a broader scale. Certain users have tried, and succeeded, to insert a sentence that settlements are illegal into the article about every single settlement, based on a single BBC article (in some cases, 2 or 3 BBC and/or The Guardian articles). This is an absurd situation, and dumbs down and stifles a very important and complex debate. —Ynhockey (Talk) 20:53, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

Jayjg, could you please explain to me why you made the article say, as its first sentence, that BBC News asserted in a December 2009 story that "[s]ettlement building in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is illegal under international law - although Israel disputes this."? Im pretty sure you know that this line could be sourced to a thousand different sources, and claiming that this is something that only the BBC "asserts" is, well, I dont know how to describe it. You also removed the information on settlement activity in the Golan also being illegal under international law. Why? nableezy - 22:01, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

Please review the comments directly above yours. I find it extremely unlikely that claims this bold "could be sourced to a thousand different sources", but feel free to bring any that you can find. I don't know what you mean about the removing material about the Golan. Jayjg (talk) 22:10, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
Oh, regarding the Golan, I now understand what you mean. I merely quoted the sources in question, and they didn't actually refer specifically to the legality of the settlements in the Golan, though one did assert that a free trade/duty-free agreement between the EU and Israel is supposed to exclude goods from the Golan Heights. Jayjg (talk) 22:20, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

All right, here we go.

  • Benveniśtî, Eyāl (2004), The international law of occupation, Princeton University Press, p. xvii, ISBN 9780691121307 

    In its advisory opinion of July 9, 2004, on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the International Court of Justice found Israel in breach of several international law obligations by its construction of a separation barrier on West Bank territory. ... The Court flatlu rejects the Israeli claims concerning the inapplicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the West Bank and concerning the inapplicability of Article 49 to the Jewish settlements in the areas occupied by Israel. Neither of these claims gained serious support from the international community.

  • Bowen, Stephen, ed. (1997), Human rights, self-determination and political change in the occupied Palestinian territories, International studies in human rights, 52, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, pp. 151–152, ISBN 9789041105028 

    It can this clearly be conclused that the transfer of Israeli settlers into the occupied territories violates not only the laws of belligerent occupation but the Palestinian right of self-determinition under international law. The question remains, however, whether this is of any practical value. In other words, given the view of the international community that the Israeli settlements are illegal under the law if belligerent occupation ...

  • Conforti, Benedetto; Bravo, Luigi, eds. (2005), The Italian Yearbook of International Law, 14, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, p. 141, ISBN 9789004150270 

    the establishment of the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory has been considered illegal by the international community and by the majority of legal scholars.

The line did not give a legal opinion as fact, it gave a factual description of the view of the international community and presented it as this. Do you really challenge that the international community considers Israeli settlements in the occupied territories to be illegal under international law, namely the Fourth Geneva Convention? nableezy - 22:27, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

Also, the BBC wasnt used to say that the settlements are in fact illegal under international law, it was used to say that the view of the international community, nearly without exception, is that that settlements are illegal under international law. There is a bit of a difference in what the article said and what you are here claiming that it said. nableezy - 22:35, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
Regarding the BBC, when it makes a statement regarding what the "international community" regards as "illegal", it's making an assertion about international law, so your objection is, in my view, a "distinction without a difference". In any event, moving on to the comments relevant to article content, these sources are a good start. Let's review:
  • Eyal Benvenisti writes that Israeli claims regarding "the inapplicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the West Bank and concerning the inapplicability of Article 49 to the Jewish settlements in the areas occupied by Israel" have not "gained serious support from the international community".
  • Catriona J. Drew writes that it is "the view of the international community that the Israeli settlements are illegal under the law of belligerent occupation".
  • Marco Pertile writes that "the establishment of the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory has been considered illegal by the international community and by the majority of legal scholars."
Interesting personal views, though it's not clear to me yet how notable or authoritative they are on the subject, and Benvinisti's "support" for this view is considerably weaker than the latter two. Do you have other sources? Jayjg (talk) 00:16, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
None of these are offering a personal view, they are providing the view of the international community. The distinction is there, it is obvious in fact. I would be glad to ask at RS/N if these sources, and the many more that I can provide, on the views of the international community are simply "personal views" that are somehow less important because the author is a red link, or if they are reliable for the the factual statement that the international community views the settlements as illegal. nableezy - 05:15, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure you're being serious here, but I'll respond on the assumption that you are. Did someone appoint Drew or Pertile as official spokespeople for "the international community"? If not, then whatever they say about the "international community" are their own personal views on the subject. They may be well-informed views, or even expert views – or not – but they're still personal views. Regarding the importance of someone being a "red link", in 2002 it would have meant little, but it does have some import in 2011, as Wikipedia now has biographical articles on a huge number (and perhaps a majority of) notable academics. Not everyone who writes on a topic is equally notable, reliable, or authoritative, and this is something the Wikipedia editor must evaluate when trying to assign weight to a view. Do you have any other sources you'd like to add to these two? Jayjg (talk) 23:42, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for the assumption, Ill return it now, though I must admit it is becoming a bit difficult. If the source cited said that "The settlements are illegal under international law" then I would agree that the source represents the view of the author. But they dont say that. They attribute the view to the international community, they dont provide their own. Your position, if it were to be applied with any consistency at all, would require nearly every single sentence be attributed to some source. We accept that what reliable sources report is accurate so long as there are not equally, or more, reliable sources disputing it. Are there any sources that dispute that the international community considers the settlements illegal under international law? nableezy - 23:56, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
Stating that "the international community believes X" is as much an opinion as stating "X is illegal". Both need to be attributed, per WP:V and WP:NPOV. This is very basic policy, so I'm rather surprised at your resistance to it. And yes, of course, policy "require[s] nearly every single sentence be attributed to some source". This is also basic policy, so I'm surprised you object to it. We just need to cite reliable sources and attribute their views; that's not so hard, is it? Jayjg (talk) 00:31, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

Adding another 10 eminent sources to Nableezy's list would be very easy. Of course it is true and very widely mentioned that the overall opinion of the international community is the way that the BBC said. Citing just the BBC always struck me as a bit strange; perhaps it is intended as a proxy for a longer list. This issue occurs in multiple articles and ought to be resolved in a global fashion, i.e. on some project page rather than here. Since the plain fact is actually not in dispute, the main question to settle would be how to cite it. Zerotalk 00:06, 29 August 2011 (UTC)

I'd be happy with fewer sources, so long as they are actually "eminent". And I agree, sourcing it to the BBC was strange, though I don't think I can agree that the "plain fact is actually not in dispute". The "international community" is a rather nebulous concept, a phrase usually used to buttress claims without evidence. Israel, by the way, is also part of the "international community". Jayjg (talk) 00:16, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
Which is covered by "though Israel disputes this". nableezy - 05:15, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
Not really. To begin with, it presents 7 billion people as if they speak with one voice on any topic. Moreover, it, again, creates a false dichotomy between Israel and the "international community". This reminds me of an old joke, which I've seen on the internet as re-told by Mark Steyn: One day the U.N. Secretary General proposes that, in the interest of global peace and harmony, the world’s soccer players should come together and form one United Nations global soccer team. “Great idea,” says his deputy. “Er, but who would we play?” “Israel, of course.” If there is such a thing as the "international community", then Israel is a part of it, and Wikipedia cannot imply that it is not. Jayjg (talk) 23:42, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia is making no such implication, and your view on this is not consistent with policy. We say what reliable sources say. Those sources say that the international community considers the settlements to be illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nableezy (talkcontribs)
Please stop making assertions and start citing policy. We cite reliable sources, and attribute them, per WP:V and WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV. Jayjg (talk) 00:25, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
Incidentally I agree with Ynhockey that we shouldn't be inserting statements that the settlements are illegal (even though quite a lot of good sources state that unequivocally). However the statements in question do not make that claim, they only claim (correctly) what the majority opinion of the international community is. Zerotalk 00:09, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
A claim about the "majority opinion of the international community" is quite different from a claim that "the international community" believes X or Y. Jayjg (talk) 00:16, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
It is much more than the majority, it is nearly without exception. Which the sources makes clear in attributing the view to the international community. nableezy - 05:15, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
That may well be the case, though there are always nuances in these things, but we still need reliable sources (per WP:V) and, unless we have many of them, we need to attribute them (per WP:NPOV). Jayjg (talk) 23:42, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Nableezy in that the BBC isn't used as RS on the topic of international law, but rather it is used, and it is, RS on the topic of opinions that governments have concerning issues, for example the settlements. I don't belive that attribution is necessary or apprioriate in the lead in this case. --Dailycare (talk) 19:47, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
What expertise do these sources have on "the opinions governments have concerning issues"? Perhaps what we need are the views of political scientists, then, rather than lawyers. Regarding your belief that attribution is not "necessary or apprioriate in the lead in this case", please review WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV - policy says the exact opposite. Jayjg (talk) 23:42, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
That is a misapplication of that policy. You are attributing to the BBC what it says is the view of the international community; that is you are, in the text, attributing the supposed "POV" to the BBC itself. That is the view of the international community, not the BBC. No matter, Ill use a different source. Ill us the following in the article: Roberts, Adam, "Prolonged Military Occupation: The Israeli-Occupied Territories Since 1967", The American Journal of International Law, American Society of International Law, 84 (1): pp. 85–86 

The international community has taken a critical view of both deportations and settlements as being contrary to international law. General Assembly resolutions have condemned the deportations since 1969, and have done so by overwhelming majorities in recent years. Likewise, they have consistently deplored the establishment of settlements, and have done so by overwhelming majorities throughout the period (since the end of 1976) of the rapid expansion in their numbers. The Security Council has also been critical of deportations and settlements; and other bodies have viewed them as an obstacle to peace, and illegal under international law.

nableezy - 23:57, 29 August 2011 (UTC)
BBC reporters have opinions on all sorts of things, including what they think the "international community" believes. WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV doesn't allow you to wiggle out of attributing opinions simply because you personally believe something to be true. Jayjg (talk) 00:25, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
Any source on anything could be ruled out on grounds like that. You don't seem to have a case, and you are ignoring all the other sources which Nableezy has brought. Zerotalk 00:40, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
Zero0000, your comment really isn't about policy or article content; please focus on that. The BBC, as a source on this topic, hardly compares in reliability to a more recent source brought by Nableezy, Adam Roberts, who is a considerably more reliable source on the topic, and who I have not at all ignored. WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV is pretty clear-cut policy; on what grounds might one claim an exemption? Jayjg (talk) 00:50, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
The grounds are is that you are making up a "POV" that you are demanding that we attribute. How is it a "POV" that the international community considers the settlements illegal? Your earlier response that if the source is not some official spokesman for the international community then whatever they say about the "international community" are their own personal views on the subject would rule out nearly every secondary reliable source as a source for facts, as secondary sources by their nature are not official spokespeople for whatever they are reporting on. We already are attributing the POV; that POV being that the settlements are illegal under international law and that attribution being to the international community. But I would be happy to go to the NPOV/N to see others opinions on the matter. nableezy - 03:56, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
This has already been discussed; Pertile et al are not the official representatives or spokespeople for the "international community". Their opinions are their own. The international community includes, for example, Israel, which does not agree with Pertile et al, and it includes the United States, which has made a number of often conflicting statements on this issue, depending on the administration in power, but which in any event generally votes against or abstains from UNGA and UNSC resolutions on this matter. Jayjg (talk) 06:35, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
Nonsense, and nothing in any policy backs this view. You have repeatedly asked that I "stop making assertions", yet you continue to assert that reliable secondary sources of the highest quality are simply voicing an opinion on the views of the international community. Your position goes against Wikipedia policy of citing material to secondary sources. You are saying that unless the source is a primary source (a spokesman) then it cannot be used for a factual statement. You continue to claim that this or that policy backs your claim, saying that the policy is clear. Please quote from the policies. Here, Ill do it for you; from WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV: An exception is situations where a phrase such as "Most people think" can be supported by a reliable source, such as in the reporting of a survey of opinions within the group. We have here reliable sources for what the international communityu thinks. Those sources can be used to support a sentence on the view of the international community. nableezy - 16:15, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
I see, so you're actually claiming "an exception" to WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV. So, in line with the exception to policy that you have quoted, are you arguing that the article should say "most countries view the Israel settlements a being illegal"? Would you base this "survey of opinions within the group" on UNGA resolutions? If so, that's not a terrible idea - it does appear to comply better with WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV, which specifically allows for this kind of exception to the general policy. It may actually be compliant with WP:YESPOV as well, which allows for these kinds of statements to be "described as widespread views". Jayjg (talk) 23:02, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
The policy says phrases such as, not exactly as. The exception makes it clear that when there are reliable sources reporting on the views of people then those sources may be used for the factual statement on the views. The "Most people" here is the "international community", not "most of the international community". Can you or can you not provide a single source that disputes that the "international community" considers settlements illegal under international law? And how many sources will be necessary to remove the ridiculous in-text attribution that you have insisted on including to authors of peer-reviewed journals. At NPOV/N you wrote if there 10 reliable sources then it would not be necessary. Is 10 the number? nableezy - 23:12, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
I have added two additional sources. Before I keep going, please let me know how many will be sufficient to remove the in-text attribution. nableezy - 00:05, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Oh, I see you already have done that. It would have been nice to be informed of your, lets say, creative way of framing the issue at that noticeboard. nableezy - 03:58, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
Nableezy, it's enough already. We don't need more digs and insults. Focus on content, and on the issues being raised here. Jayjg (talk) 06:35, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
I have been focused on the content, and this game of claiming everybody except for you is making "digs and insults" is tiresome. Ive seen this game enough that Id rather not play. Please respond to the request that you provide sources that dispute that the international community considers the settlements illegal under international law. nableezy - 16:15, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
It seems that RSN thinks the BBC is RS, cimmunity consensus has spoken, lets drop the dead donkey shall we?Slatersteven (talk) 20:15, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
That would require removing the in-text attribution to the authors for the statement that is backed by several sources, not just the BBC. I would welcome that. nableezy - 20:24, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps I haven't wasted enough time reading this thread yet, but I don't see a place where the BBC refers to "the international community", rather to the UN Security Council and to the International Court of Justice. These are a small albeit important subset of the whole international community. Unless there is a strong reason and excellent RS to support the preposterous idea that seven billion people hold one opinion, the statement should be dropped or at very least attributed as a quote from the specific source. "Exceptional claims" and all. LeadSongDog come howl! 22:30, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
The BBC is no longer cited. And the term "international community" does not mean that every single person in the world. But the sources cited for the phrase "the international community considers Israeli settlements illegal under international law" are:

*Roberts, Adam, "Prolonged Military Occupation: The Israeli-Occupied Territories Since 1967", The American Journal of International Law, American Society of International Law, 84 (1): pp. 85–86, The international community has taken a critical view of both deportations and settlements as being contrary to international law. General Assembly resolutions have condemned the deportations since 1969, and have done so by overwhelming majorities in recent years. Likewise, they have consistently deplored the establishment of settlements, and have done so by overwhelming majorities throughout the period (since the end of 1976) of the rapid expansion in their numbers. The Security Council has also been critical of deportations and settlements; and other bodies have viewed them as an obstacle to peace, and illegal under international law. 

Pertile, Marco (2005), Conforti, Benedetto; Bravo, Luigi, eds., The Italian Yearbook of International Law, 14, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, p. 141, ISBN 9789004150270, the establishment of the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory has been considered illegal by the international community and by the majority of legal scholars. 

Perhaps it would be wise to spend the time reading the section prior to commenting. nableezy - 22:40, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

And it took me all of 5 seconds to find the BBC saying that the international community considers the settlements illegal. Not that that matters, because that isnt the source cited. nableezy - 22:42, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I think the issue here is more WP:NPOV than WP:V, although Jayjg has pointed out WP:V problems as well. The fact that certain authors or the BBC make certain statements does not mean that it's okay for us to put them in articles. "International community" is a vague term that doesn't really mean anything (if you don't believe me, visit the article International community, the problems of which reflect what I just said). We must present all the facts, but not make judgments like the BBC does. What's more, this particular articles is the one that should go in-depth about the legal status of settlements, therefore a statement (especially in the lead) saying that "the international community considers settlements illegal" does not provide any real value except poisoning the well. This is even worse in individual articles, where absolutely no context is provided for this meaningless sentence.

In short, instead of making bold political statements, the article should instead present the facts about International law and Israeli settlements. —Ynhockey (Talk) 23:22, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

Are you serious? Certain authors? You mean, reliable sources? Bold political statements? What is the bold political statement? What is the judgment in saying that the international community considers Israeli settlements illegal under international law? There are no WP:V problems, the sources directly support the material in question. They specifically say that the international community considers Israeli settlements illegal under international law. This is unreal. Nobody has yet to provide a single source that disputes that the international community considers the settlements illegal. Not one. Yet an unsupported assertion becomes a mantra, where one claim is repeated until enough people accept it as a fact. If I remember correctly, Wikipedia bases its articles on reliable sources. Ive brought sources, and I am prepared to bring more. But so far it is me against myself, because the only things that have been offered in response are vague claims about "some authors" making "claims" about "nebulous terms". You cant simply say something is "POV". What about the sentence the international community considers Israeli settlements illegal under international law is "POV". Whose "POV" is it? Of course this is the article that should discuss the legal status of the settlement in detail. Yet you for some reason seem to think that we should not include what a number of top quality sources say is the view of the international community. And you do this without ever providing a source that disputes the ones provided. nableezy - 23:59, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
Wouldn't it make more sense to simply replace the poorly-written well-poisoning sentence about the nebulous "international community" with something more meaningful for the reader and more compliant with NPOV, as has been suggested by several editors? Why not have an opening paragraph that is actually an example of good, accurate writing, rather than the current political posturing? In fact, why not have a lead that actually, summarizes the article contents and draws the reader into the article, rather than one that attempts to discourage the reader from looking beyond the first sentence? You know, in line with WP:LEDE? Jayjg (talk) 00:46, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
That would require that I accept the unsupported premise that the sentence is poorly-written, that it is well-poisoning, that the term "international community" is nebulous, and that the sentence is not accurate and compliant with NPOV and that it is "political posturing". Needless to say, I dont accept that premise. One more time. You said at NPOV/N that if there were 10 sources for something it would not need in-line attribution to the authors. Is that the magic number? There are currently 4 sources, with 4 authors attributed in-text. Before I add any more, can you please say how many will be required. And can you say whether or not you can provide any sources that dispute that this is the view of the international community? nableezy - 00:52, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Nableezy, you seew to be under the impression that if a phrase was said/written by a reliable source, it automatically conforms with the neutral point of view policy. This is certainly not the case; we do not blindly copy everything written in books, and our job is to summarize what is written in a neutral fashion (i.e. rewording is not only allowed, it's encouraged). Please explain to the editors who disagree with you what exactly the term "international community" means in a way that doesn't amount to original research. Please also explain how the phrase doesn't poison the well in this article, i.e. provides the reader with the conclusion before they even read the article. —Ynhockey (Talk) 10:17, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
No, Im under the impression that if not one source disputes what other sources say that it is "NPOV". In fact, NPOV says as much. You cant just say that something is not "neutral", you need to be able to show that sources show a dispute. Are there any sources that dispute the line "The international community considers Israeli settlements illegal under international law". As you have, yet again, failed to provide any sources for your position, I see no need to respond to demands that are not based on Wikipedia policy. You are asking that I disprove your unproven assertions. Sorry, doesnt work like that. I brought several eminent sources on the topic that make this specific point. You have brought none. Im still waiting on an answer to how many sources would be necessary to remove the in-text attribution. nableezy - 13:27, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't even need to read the policy again to point out where you are wrong. The policy in a nutshell:
Articles mustn't take sides, but should explain the sides, fairly and without bias. This applies to both what you say and how you say it.
I will repeat again: how you say it. Even if something is a fact (and in this case that's disputed too), you need to write it in a neutral way. Clearly the statement you're proposing is not neutral because it poisons the well. I have yet to hear your explanation about how it does not poison the well (as well as your explanation for the other things I and other editors have pointed out). —Ynhockey (Talk) 16:58, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
See, this is where yall jump the shark. By saying the international community considers settlements illegal we are not taking a side. If we were to say, as a statement of fact, that the settlements are illegal then that would be taking a side. But we arent doing that, we are accurately, and neutrally, describing the position of the various actors here. You claim that the fact that the international community considers settlements illegal is "disputed", but, once again, you fail to provide a single source that actually disputes that statement. You want an explanation from me? Are you serious? You want me to disprove your unproven assertion, for which you provide no sources? No, I dont think so. Bring some sources that actually dispute the statement. You cant just claim that there is a dispute. Well, you can, but on Wikipedia that remains a bogus claim made without any backing from reliable sources. In other words, it is a worthless claim that merits no response. nableezy - 17:57, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't think you understand anything I said in any of the above posts. Forget sources for a second and explain what "the international community considers settlements illegal" means. Then we can move from there. —Ynhockey (Talk) 18:25, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
It means that the UN, and each of its organs, the UNSC, the UNGA, the ICRC, nearly every single state in the world, considers the settlements to violate international law. But no, I wont forget the sources. Do you have any sources that dispute that line? Any at all? nableezy - 18:55, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Ok hold on there a second. Nearly every single state in the world? So essentially you admit that no one knows exactly what the phrase means, and it's inherently imprecise. Please correct me if I'm wrong and explain. —Ynhockey (Talk) 19:03, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Uh, no, I did not "admit" that. You asked what the sentence "the international community considers settlements illegal" means. I answered. But that answer does not exactly matter, as the sources directly support the sentence. Can you or can you not provide a single source that disputes the several eminent ones cited that say, as a fact, that the international community considers settlements illegal? That is a very simple question, one that you and every other person arguing against the plain language in several sources has yet to answer. nableezy - 19:10, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Arbitrary break 1

  • For the record, I also agree with the majority of the editors above. This template-like insertion of all villages and towns outside the 48' border based on a BBC source is embarrassingly unencyclopedic, as explained above. The "consensus" it is based on is a joke, concocted in some sort "collaboration" project that has never collaborated on anything and is simply used a forum for editors of a similar extreme POV. It in no way represents the consensus of editors for anything Israel-Arab related.--brewcrewer (yada, yada) 01:43, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
What exactly does that have to do with this article? Have you noticed that this is not about what an individual settlement article says, and that it is not based on a BBC source? If you have a problem with the consensus covering the inclusion of the material on the illegality of Israeli settlements in the lead of each Israeli settlement article I dont know what to tell you. As it stands there is a consensus for that material, but you are more than welcome to seek a new one. However, that doesnt actually have anything to do with the topic of discussion here. Have you read the discussion? Have you looked at the sources quoted here and presently in the article? Do you have any sources to contribute to the discussion? Do you know of any source that disputes the line "The international community considers Israeli settlements illegal under international law"? Ive read a lot of replies so far, but I have yet to see a single source offered by anybody besides me. nableezy - 02:11, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Nableezy, I don't understand why you're so set on talking about what the "international community" thinks in the first sentence. As many editors here point out, even if you could prove it to be 100% true, it's still not good writing. The lead should be a summary of the article, and deal with concrete statements expressed neutrally. What's there now is none of that. Plot Spoiler (talk) 15:23, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Editors have made unsupported assertions on the quality and neutrality of the statement. None have been able to provide any sources that back their claims on the neutrality of the sentence. Something is not neutral just because a few people on Wikipedia dont like it. There needs to be sources disputing the material. So far, not a single source has been brought that disputes the sentence in question, where several superb sources have been brought that explicitly support it. nableezy - 15:45, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Nableezy, neutrality is an editorial decision. If most people here agree that something is not neutral, then it's probably not neutral. Moreover, several people have already pointed out sources that dispute your assertion about the international community. Israel doesn't believe that settlements are illegal. Israel is part of the international community. Therefore, the statement "the international community thinks that settlements are illegal" is false. Maybe I understand this well because I study computer science and mathematics, but this just sheds light on how problematic and meaningless the term "international community" is. —Ynhockey (Talk) 16:58, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Nonsense. NPOV defines "neutrality" as presenting fairly, proportionately, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources. Reliable sources say that the international community considers Israeli settlements illegal under international law. Not a single reliable source has been presented that contradicts this. You cannot just say something is not neutral. We already include Israel's claims regarding the legal status of the settlements in the occupied territories. We present that view, fairly and proportionately (some might say that we give too much weight to Israel's view), along with the view of the international community. Do you have any sources that dispute that the international community considers Israeli settlements illegal under international law? Any at all? If not, then your unsourced assertion that because Israel does not consider the settlements to violate international law that means the sentence the international community considers Israeli settlements to violate international law remains unfounded, and on Wikipedia, of no use. See WP:OR for why your math does not add up. nableezy - 17:57, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't need sources to ask you to explain what "international community considers Israeli settlements illegal" means. When you cite a source, you must understand exactly what it means, otherwise it's intellectually dishonest. Please explain what the statement above means and we can restart our discussion from there, because it doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Also, mathematics aren't WP:OR, it's an exactly science, unlike the issue of settlements, which is not. It would be silly to do it here, but I'll gladly provide you with a mathematical proof (in private) why the statement you want to insert is contradictory. —Ynhockey (Talk) 18:25, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't agree with this.
  • "neutrality is an editorial decision" - not really. In a case like this where there is a large set of sources that can be sampled you have a large set of secondary source generated solutions available that can be used to measure neutrality pretty objectively by comparing their solutions to our solutions. Inconsistencies will be obvious. Mismatches in weighting will be obvious. Neutrality is measurable because the set of solutions is large. When a very large number of sources say X and a very small number of sources say Y, saying X can't reasonably be described as poisoning the well because it's objectively very close to a perfectly neutral statement.
  • "If most people here agree that something is not neutral, then it's probably not neutral." - that's certainly not the case in this topic area. That's why it's critical that the NPOV policy is implemented rigorously using objective source based methods that have nothing to do with the politics or editor headcounts.
  • "Israel doesn't believe that settlements are illegal. Israel is part of the international community. Therefore, the statement "the international community thinks that settlements are illegal" is false." is contradicted by the hundreds of sources that say that the "international community" thinks that settlements are illegal under international law. That is how hundreds of secondary sources have solved both the weighting issue and the naming of the set issue. It's the same solution used to exclude advocates of intelligent design who happen to be scientists from statements about the view of the "scientific community" on the modern evolutionary synthesis. It's not a contradiction. It's a secondary source generated solution to describe a consensus position of a named set.
I would welcome a much more objective and deterministic source sampling approach being used to resolve these these kind of issues so that policy compliance can be measured. Sean.hoyland - talk 18:47, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
"Hundreds" of sources? The claim three days ago was that it could be "sourced to a thousand different sources". Will it be "tens of sources" three days from now? Jayjg (talk) 23:50, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Thousands if including the news sources that say this, like nearly every single BBC article that even mentions a settlement (something that seems to have general support at RS/N as being reliable for the statement). But a few days ago you wrote that if there were, for example, 10 reliable sources for a single point it would not need to be attributed. Can you please say if that is the magic number? I have asked this question several times now. There are currently 4 reliable sources with in-text attribution to each of them. If I add five more, will you demand the tenth? nableezy - 02:34, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for the detailed and serious response. Please note however that I'm not really disputing any facts per se. What I am essentially saying are two things:
  1. The "international community" is a vague and meaningless term. Who is the international community? Nableezy tried to explain above but in his own explanation admitted that the term is vague. This is irrespective of what sources that the "international community" believes.
  2. Even if, for argument's sake, we assume that "the international community considers settlements illegal" is a neutral term in itself, if it is placed very early in an article whose very purpose it is to explain it, it poisons the well and gives the reader a very clear (political) position on a nuanced issue which the article goes in-depth about.
Neither of these concerns can be addressed by any amount of sources. WP:NPOV is not a sub-policy of WP:V. It works by itself and dictates that, among other things, articles should have a neutral point of view. —Ynhockey (Talk) 19:13, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Again, NPOV defines a "neutral point of view" as representing all significant views that have been published in reliable sources, fairly, proportionately, and as far as possible without bias. For you to claim that the sentence is not neutral you need to provide sources that dispute it. Otherwise you are contorting the policy to back your position when it clearly does not do so. The view of the international community is very obviously a significant view, it has been published in reliable sources, and it is fairly, proportionately, without bias, and accurately represented. nableezy - 19:26, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
It is intellectually dishonest to claim that this fact is disputed but then refuse to provide a single source disputing it. The fact is that sources that are among the highest quality cited in any Wikipedia article specifically say that the international community considers settlements illegal under international law. That fact has been disputed by a collection of people on the internet, but there has not yet been a single source provided that actually disputes it. It is in fact OR to say that because Israel disputes that the settlements are illegal that means that the sentence that the international community considers it illegal is false. It is OR because there is no source making this claim, there is only you. In case you were not already aware of this, you are not a reliable source. The sources that I have that explicitly say that the international community considers settlements illegal under international law trumps your unsourced assertion that Adam Roberts, Daphne Barak Erez, and the other sources listed are wrong; an assertion that remains, on Wikipedia at least, meaningless. nableezy - 18:55, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
See above. —Ynhockey (Talk) 19:13, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
That isnt an answer. nableezy - 19:26, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
I can follow Nableezy's reasoning here, but not Ynhockey's. Sources say X, X="the international community says the settlements are illegal". Now editor Y feels the sources are wrong because Israel is part of the international community, however what we write here is what sources say, not what we think about them. What the sources say is X. We needn't concern ourselves with the definition of the international community if the sources don't. The separate point of whether the settlements actually are illegal isn't a "nuanced" legal matter, but an obvious one, hence there exists the consensus view on it with the predictable exceptions. --Dailycare (talk) 19:32, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
I can follow Ynhockey's reasoning here, but not Dailycare's. "International community" is indeed a vague term, particularly when it seems to sometimes include various countries and other times exclude them, and the placement of the sentence contradicts NPOV. We needn't concern ourselves with whether or not sources are in and of themselves reliable, if the sources (and the article's structure) are used to promote bad writing and NPOV violations. Jayjg (talk) 23:50, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Here's a quote that might be helpful:

"... the 'international community' is a term sometimes employed by publicists, diplomats and careless academics (including, sadly, the present write on occasion) when they wish to express approval of some collective international action, or, perhaps, criticize the failure to act. In fact, the term is pretty much meaningless or even misleading..." Chris Brown. Sovereignty, Rights and Justice: International Political Theory Today, Wiley-Blackwell, 2002, p. 244.

Brown (then Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science) goes on to explain at length the problems with that "meaningless or even misleading term". Jayjg (talk) 00:02, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

Mr. Brown is entitled to his view. The fact remains that the term is used, and is specifically used in this context. If you would like to edit the article international community to include this view, by all means, please do so. However, at this article, we have several sources that say that the "international community" considers settlements illegal under international law. And we have none that dispute the statement. How exactly should the near unanimous consensus on this issue among states, multi-national organizations, non-state members of the "international community", be worded in the lead? nableezy - 02:34, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

Ynhockey is correct that "the international community" is an imprecise expression, and Jay's source Brown is correct that the expression is sometimes abused. The conclusion to draw from this is the same as always when a source uses an expression which might allow several interpretations: we quote the words of the source and don't try to interpret them ourselves. Isn't that what the rules require? Zerotalk 06:07, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

Jayg, if the article follows reliable sources, it can't, by definition, violate NPOV. The current lead text, which names individual persons, is ridiculous, which is OK since I assume it was meant from the start to be a joke. --Dailycare (talk) 19:56, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
Of course one can use reliable sources and still violate NPOV. Look at Wikipedia:Neutral point of view#Impartial tone to start. Plot Spoiler (talk) 14:30, 2 September 2011 (UTC)
Would you care to say what about the sentence The international community consider Israeli settlements illegal under international law. is not in an "impartial tone"? Im getting tired of these assertions that such and such policy is violated by a sentence sourced to 4 top quality reliable sources, that not one single source contradicts, and that attributes the "POV" to the group that the sources say hold it. Once more, and hopefully for the last time, Wikipedia is not saying the settlements are illegal. It is saying that X considers it illegal, with X being "the international community". We do this because a large number of sources explicitly say that the international community holds this view, and not one disputes that. Can anybody bring even a single source that disputes the sentence under discussion? Im trying to be reasonable here, but between users refusing to answer simple questions like how many sources they want to users saying ignore the sources my reasonableness is rapidly approaching its limit. nableezy - 16:24, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

I have waited for a more than reasonable amount of time for somebody to answer how many sources would be needed for removing the in-text attribution. There are currently four sources for this sentence. I am adding one more and removing the attribution. There has not yet been one single source presented that disputes the sentence, and the attempts to qualify eminently reliable sources as some random opinion has no backing in Wikipedia policy. nableezy - 14:55, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Nableezy, why the WP:IDIDTHEARTHAT? I have pointed out a number of things that you haven't addressed, regarding NPOV, which is irrelevant of sources. Please address the concerns. —Ynhockey (Talk) 20:07, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
The only person playing I did not hear that is you. I have addressed your concerns, several times. NPOV stipulates that a "neutral" point of view means that all viewpoints are given their due weight, relative to their preponderance in reliable sources. The sentence "the international community considers Israeli settlements illegal under international law" is by definition written in with a "neutral" POV as there are zero reliable sources that dispute it, and many many that explicitly back it up. I repeat my question to you: can you provide any reliable sources that dispute the sentence? This game of simply asserting that such and such policy backs up a view, when the policy in fact does the exact opposite, it more than just a little tiresome. nableezy - 20:11, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
But you've ignored what Zero, Jayjg, Ynhockey and I have all pointed out: the term is meaningless or misleading, and the sentence violates the impartional tone requirement of NPOV. Plot Spoiler (talk) 21:15, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
No I have not. Zero wrote we quote the words of the source and don't try to interpret them ourselves. The term "international community" is used by each of the sources. I am not adding any interpretation to it. Jay's provided quote is certainly interesting, but not relevant at all to this article. He is free to use it in the article international community. I also asked you, specifically, what about the sentence is not in an impartial tone. As you, and everybody else here, has refused to actually back up their unsupported assertions I still do not know why you think that the sentence is not written in an impartial tone. And still, not one single source has been provided that disputes the sentence. Not one. nableezy - 21:23, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
The quote I've provided is, of course, entirely relevant here, since it goes to the heart of the matter that has been assiduously avoided. The claim being made is meaningless, and is really only made for non-encyclopedic purposes. It's unclear, bad writing, and sources have indeed been provided for that. Moreover, it is simply inaccurate; Israel is part of the international community, and doesn't consider the settlements illegal - the first sentence is therefore false, and the second sentence is unrelated to the first, since Israel doesn't actually comment on whether or not the "international community considers the settlements to be illegal". Jayjg (talk) 23:37, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
Im sorry that you feel that the "claim" that the international community considers settlements illegal to be meaningless, however several rock solid sources obviously do not consider that sentence to be meaningless. You are not a reliable source, so your position that because Israel does not consider settlements illegal that means that the sentence is false is trumped by the several reliable sources that say, and none disputing, that the international community does indeed consider settlements illegal under international law. One more time, do you have even a single source that dispute the several reliable sources that say that the international community considers the settlements illegal? Because until you do have a source that challenges the several that I have provided your objections are unfounded. You can try to play literary acrobatics as much as you want to, but there are several sources, written in the highest quality publications by experts in the field, that say that the "international community" considers the settlements illegal under international law. No matter how much you wish to argue that your opinion on the veracity of that statement or the meaning of the phrase international community trumps these sources, on Wikipedia it does not. nableezy - 01:37, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
Additional reliable sources:

"But invoking the international community is a lot easier than defining it. [...] According to this definition, it is clear that an international community does not exist, at least not on a worldwide level. [...] Second when the phrase of 'international community' is invoked, what it refers to seems highly situational. [...] Third, who makes decisions for the 'international community' seems to be heavily influenced by the international power structure. ...the concept of 'international community'... is meant to give legitimacy to actors and institutions, and very often it is used as an idealistic cover of power relations and self interests." Hongying Wang, "Understanding the intangible in international relations", in China and International Relations: The Chinese View and the Contribution of Wang Gungwu, Taylor & Francis, 2010, p. 205.

"First, the 'international community' does not truly exist. Such a 'community,' in truth, is an exclusive and largely privileged membership, which includes hegemons and imperialists who came to dominate the landscape in this new century..." P.H. Liotta. The wreckage reconsidered: Five oxymorons from Balkan deconstruction, Lexington Books, 1999, p. 96.

Wang is Associate Professor, Political Science at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and Liotta is Executive Director of the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy.
As is obvious, rock-solid sources also consider the term "international community" itself to be essentially meaningless; I'm sorry that this points out a fundamental flaw in the article's first sentence. You can try to play literary acrobatics as much as you want to, but there are several sources, written in the highest quality publications by experts in the field, that say that the "international community" is an essentially meaningless term. Also, please don't present straw man versions of my arguments; instead, I recommend trying to present your own arguments more convincingly. Jayjg (talk) 00:56, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
I was not aware that I should be researching for the article international community. You are free to include this material in that article, I dont think anybody is stopping you. However, despite the views of these people that the term has no meaning, or means something that does not exist, there very clearly are several other sources that do see a meaning in the words and do use them to describe the group that considers settlements illegal under international law. You are imposing a demand on the sentence that has no backing in policy, you are saying that I must prove that the sources provided are true and that what they say is not meaningless. You do this without ever providing a source that actually disputes them, instead bringing a collection of sources that do not discuss the topic of this article. How exactly would you like to include the fact that the overwhelming majority, approaching a unanimity, of competent parties (states, intergovernmental organizations, non-state parties like the ICRC ...) consider the settlements to be violations of the Geneva Conventions and as such illegal under customary international law? Would you rather the lead include a list of every state, UN body (UNSC, UNGA, ICJ, OCHA, several Special Rapporteurs ...), intergovernmental association (the EU, the Arab League, the OIC, ...) that says these settlements violate international law? Because several reliable sources explicitly say that "the international community" considers the settlements illegal. If you have objections to that term you should ask them why they use it. So I ask you, one more time (how many times will it be until you finally answer?), do you have even a single source that dispute the several reliable sources that say that the international community considers the settlements illegal? Oh, and the next time you accuse me of making digs and insults please remind me of this delightful replay of the mimicking act. nableezy - 02:48, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
Nableezy, the issue here is bad writing; unclear, inaccurate, imprecise, etc. One does not need to find a source to refute bad writing, one needs merely to demonstrate that it is bad writing, and this has been done, using multiple reliable sources. The next step is to fix the bad writing. Jayjg (talk) 00:49, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
I think there are good reasons to ignore the concerns that have been raised so far because there is no data to support them. This has been mentioned several times. It's unfortunate that editors find the word meaningless but hundreds of reliable sources apparently find that it conveys meaning and use it to name the set of things that "considers Israeli settlements illegal under international law". If it violates the impartial tone it should be possible to demonstrate that by using RS based data to show how and to what extent it violates the impartial tone. It will be obvious from the diversity of terminology and summary statements used by the sources. Where is the data to support the notion that it is impartial ? None of this has anything to do with the political issues. It can be resolved by simply looking at sources. Sean.hoyland - talk 21:57, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
Are we back up to "hundreds of reliable sources" again? I've only seen four sources so far (the new one doesn't really count, as it's not qualified to judge). And the fact that the term is meaningless has already been demonstrated, using reliable sources. In any event, we'll have to fix the bad writing, because it's not helpful for the reader. Jayjg (talk) 23:37, 7 September 2011 (UTC)