User:Sceptic Ashdod

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I, Shuki, hereby award you this Barnstar of Diligence for you extraordinary and tireless effort and persistence in ensuring good, neutral articles on the subject of the Gaza War.

Shalom!שלום


"I may be surrounded by insanity, but I'm not insane".


UN vs Israel[edit]

1. Facts and issues concerning Mrs. Robinson's 1997-2002 tenure as U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rightswere presented in comprehensive manner: An open letter by UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer to Mrs. Mary Robinson.

Appendix. I generally try not to use blogs etc, but here's an exception. Not because of the text, but because it has that What if I had won? poster.
Appendix #2. Mrs. Robinson is to be praised for the following: Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson stated that "the resolution (UNHCR Resolution on Gaza War) is not balanced because it focuses on what Israel did, without calling for an investigation on the launch of the rockets by Hamas. This is unfortunately a practice by the Council: adopting resolutions guided not by human rights but by politics. This is very regrettable." Asked to head up the mission before Goldstone, Robinson refused.

2. US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice sharply criticized the international organization, accusing the General Assembly of unfair treatment of Israel... Rice accused the Security Council of failing to address the crisis in Darfur, in rehabilitating Zimbabwe, the military regime in Myanmar, and other issues on the international agenda.

3. Notwithstanding UNHRC high-sounding name, it is just another UN-sponsored front against Israel, as the 26 motions of censure against Israel out of only 32 since its inception in June 2006 seem to prove.

4. UN Human Rights Council - a UN body systematically and systemically biased against Israel. For this is a Council that has a special and permanent agenda item targeting Israeli violations of human rights, and another agenda item for the rest of the world - thereby singling out Israel for differential and discriminatory treatment. This is a Council that targets some 80% of its resolutions at one member state, Israel, while the major human rights violators enjoy exculpatory immunity. This is a Council that has had more emergency "Special Sessions" directed against Israel than against all the other countries of the world combined. This is a Council that excludes only one country - Israel - from membership in any regional grouping, thereby denying it international due process. UN Council exercises 'Alice in Wonderland' justice - where the conviction is secured even before the hearing begins.

5. ...the user is presented with ten categories for all meeting summaries and press releases of the entire General Assembly since they went online in 1995. One such category is "Palestinian Rights." All the other choices list nothing but generalities.

Human Rights Organizations vs Israel[edit]

"Human rights groups argued (Feb. 2009) that a detailed probe into Hamas's firing of Kassam rockets at Israeli communities is not necessary, because it constitutes such a "blatant" war crime. By contrast, Israel's actions are more complex, and therefore do require such investigation, they said". Nice to see that human rights groups have found a reasonable explanation to devote lion's share of their publications to criticism of Israel - because Hamas' violations are just so obvious.

The HRW Middle East division is headed by Sarah Leah Whitson, who participated in the Caterpillar Israel boycott campaign, and in a HRW fundraising trip to Saudi Arabia. Deputy Director Joe Stork, according to the report, participated in a "Zionism and Racism" conference in Saddam Hussein's Iraq, before joining HRW. "Since 2000, HRW has called 68 times for independent investigations against Israel," Steinberg added. "There is no parallel regarding any other country."

As the founder of Human Rights Watch, its active chairman for 20 years and now founding chairman emeritus, I must do something that I never anticipated: I must publicly join the group’s critics. The region {ME} is populated by authoritarian regimes with appalling human rights records. Yet in recent years Human Rights Watch has written far more condemnations of Israel for violations of international law than of any other country in the region.

International Humanitarian Law vs Israel[edit]

Collective Punishment[edit]

An article by Michael I. Krauss, Professor of Law: "The bar on collective punishment forbids the imposition of criminal or military penalties (imprisonment, death, etc) on some people for crimes committed by other individuals..."

"Disproportionate Force"[edit]

An article on "Proportionality" from Jan. 8 2009, by Michael Walzer, Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., and the author of "Just and Unjust Wars": "Proportionality doesn't mean "tit for tat," as in the family feud, (...) where proportionality means symmetry.
Proportionality arguments are forward-looking, and because we don't have positive, but only speculative, knowledge about the future, we need to be very cautious in using this justification. The commentators and critics using it today, however, are not being cautious at all; they are not making any kind of measured judgment, not even a speculative kind. "Disproportionate" violence for them is simply violence they don't like, or it is violence committed by people they don't like. So Israel's Gaza war was called "disproportionate" on day one, before anyone knew very much about how many people had been killed or who they were.

1967 War[edit]

Professor Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, former President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), '“What Weight to Conquest?” in Justice in International Law': The facts of the June 1967 ‘Six Day War’ demonstrate that

“Israel reacted defensively against the threat and use of force against her by her Arab neighbors. This is indicated by the fact that Israel responded to Egypt's prior closure of the Straits of Tiran, its proclamation of a blockade of the Israeli port of Eilat, and the manifest threat of the UAR's use of force inherent in its massing of troops in Sinai, coupled with its ejection of UNEF. It is indicated by the fact that, upon Israeli responsive action against the UAR, Jordan initiated hostilities against Israel. It is suggested as well by the fact that, despite the most intense efforts by the Arab States and their supporters, led by the Premier of the Soviet Union, to gain condemnation of Israel as an aggressor by the hospitable organs of the United Nations, those efforts were decisively defeated. The conclusion to which these facts lead is that the Israeli conquest of Arab and Arab-held territory was defensive rather than aggressive conquest.”

Soviet intelligence report[edit]

Here is a small excerpt from "Israel’s Wars, 1947–93", Ahron Bregman, Routledge, ISBN 0–415–21468–8, allowing myself only a short side comment in the end:
'...To understand how this came to happen we should go back to 13 May 1967. Sadat heard from Semnov that according to Soviet intelligence, ‘Ten Israeli brigades had been concentrated on the Syrian border’ ready to strike at Syria; in Cairo the same message was delivered to President Nasser by the Soviet ambassador. Against mounting tension between Israel and Syria, which... was caused by statements from Israeli leaders and troubles in the DMZ, ... the Russian information was taken very seriously indeed. Nasser now felt he had to act, for he had long been under intense pressure and criticism from Jordanian and Saudi Arabian radio stations for not doing enough to support fellow Arab states. This is why, at a latenight meeting with his deputy and commander of the Egyptian armed forces, Field Marshal Abd el-Hakim Amer, and Sadat, who had just returned from Moscow, Nasser ordered the dispatch of two divisions across the Suez Canal and into the Sinai, with the aim of distracting Israel from what seemed to be, according to the Soviet report, an imminent strike at Syria. It is important to note here that Sinai was Egyptian territory, and although the move was unusual there was nothing wrong with sending Egyptian troops there...In addition to dispatching troops into the desert, Nasser sent his Chief of Staff Mohammed Fawzi to Damascus, entrusting him with two missions: first to confirm the Soviet information about the apparent Israeli mobilization, and second to coordinate moves with Damascus. In Syria, Chief of Staff Fawzi went with Syrian General Anwar Al-Kadi to inspect the border, but found nothing unusual; he also examined aerial maps which indicated no unusual movement of Israeli troops. The Syrians – they too had been informed by the Russians of the apparent Israeli mobilization – had sent reconnaissance planes which reported back that ‘there was no massing [of Israeli troops] on the border [with Syria]’... Oddly enough, and in spite of Fawzi’s findings that Israel had not mobilized troops on its border with Syria, Nasser did not call his divisions back from the Sinai – in fact he went so far as to reinforce them by dispatching more troops to the desert. Furthermore, on 16 May he instructed UN troops, which since the 1956 war had been deployed on the Egyptian side of the border...and in Gaza and Sharm el-Sheike, to leave their posts. Even though these UN troops were not strong enough to prevent either Israel or Egypt attacking the other, they were a symbol of non-belligerence and their removal was seen, and rightly so, as a further escalation of an already critical situation. We should point out, however, that Nasser’s action was qualified, for what he did was order the removal of UN troops solely from their positions along the Egypt–Israel border, and not from Gaza or Sharm el-Sheike, which controls passage through the Straits of Tiran. Here, however, U Thant acted hastily and foolishly, insisting that either all UN troops remain in their positions, or that they leave altogether. Nasser – he could not back down on the UN issue without loss of face in the eyes of the world and his own people – took the latter option. A week later, on 23 May, Egypt’s president took yet another step, which raised the temperature of an overheated situation to boiling point, by ordering the closure of the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping. (In 1956, French representative to the UN, for example, announced that any attempt to interfere with free shipping in the Straits would be against international law, and American President Dwight Eisenhower went so far as publicly to recognize that reimposing a blockade in the Straits of Tiran would be seen as an aggressive act which would oblige Israel to protect its maritime rights in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter)... ‘Now, with the concentration of our force in Sinai the chances of war are fifty–fifty but if we close the Straits, war will be 100 per cent certain’...Israel – whose main strength was its reserve force – had started mobilizing on 16 May and moved to full mobilization on 19 May; this was completed by the 20th (full mobilization completed 2 weeks before making the first shot. those who do not live in Israel can not perhaps comprehend what this means, its impact, its consequences and its possible outcome if prolonged beyond June 5th).

UNSC Resolution 242[edit]

1. Arthur J. Goldberg, US ambassador to the United Nations (1965-1968) and a key draftee of UN Resolution 242, says that:

The resolution stipulates respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty of every state in the area. Because Israel has never denied the sovereignty of its neighbors, this provision obviously requires those countries to acknowledge the sovereignty of Israel and its right to exist.
The resolution does not explicitly require that Israel withdraw to the lines that it occupied on June 5, 1967, before the outbreak of the war...The notable omissions in language used to refer to withdrawal are the words the, all, and the June 5, 1967, lines. I refer to the English text of the resolution. The French and Soviet texts differ from the English in this respect, but the English text was voted on by the Security Council, and thus it is determinative. In other words, there is lacking a declaration requiring Israel to withdraw from the (or all the) territories occupied by it on and after June 5, 1967. Instead, the resolution stipulates withdrawal from occupied territories without defining the extent of withdrawal. And it can be inferred from the incorporation of the words secure and recognized boundaries that the territorial adjustments to be made by the parties in their peace settlements could encompass less than a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied territories.
The Arab states ... point to such language as "the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war." This language, the Arab states argue, calls for the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from all of the territories occupied ...Further, the Arab states contend that the U.N. Charter supports their contention that the military conquest of territory is inadmissible. It is arguable whether under international law this argument applies to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. It seems clear that under the circumstances, Israel exercised the right of self-defense in the 1967 war. It should be noted that Jordan occupied the West Bank by war, contrary to the United Nations partition resolution...the status of the West Bank under international law is questionable, although in realistic and demographic terms, the rights of Palestinians must be resolved short of Israeli annexation. The most that can be said of the withdrawal and related language of Resolution 242 in light of this negotiating history is that it neither commands nor prohibits territorial adjustments in the peace agreements contemplated in the resolution...Resolution 242 contains the phrase "respect and acknowledgment of ... the territorial integrity of every state in the area." This language has been cited in support of the demand for the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from all of the occupied territories. That demand overlooks the fact that for many years the Israelis have sought respect for their territorial integrity, which has been withheld from them by the Arab states and the PLO.
As recognized in the Camp David Accords, there is a difference between international boundaries, presumably intended to be permanent, and provisional armistice lines.
On certain aspects the resolution is less ambiguous than the language pertaining to withdrawal. Resolution 242 specifically deals with free passage through international waterways. In precise language it affirms "the necessity for guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways," which include the Gulf of Aqaba. This language underscores the fact that blocking Bab el Mandeb and other points of access to the Red Sea is prohibited. The principle of international law that governs free passage through international waters was also acknowledged in the Camp David Accords.
A notable omission in 242 is any reference to Palestinians, a Palestinian state on the West Bank or the PLO. The resolution addresses the objective of "achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem." This language presumably refers both to Arab and Jewish refugees, for about an equal number of each abandoned their homes as a result of the several wars.
Another notable and purposeful omission from Resolution 242 is any specific reference to the status of Jerusalem and the reaffirmation of past U.N. resolutions calling for the internationalization of the city. Resolution 242 thus realistically recognizes the desuetude of the internationalization resolutions and leaves open the possibility of an agreement for a unitary Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty that would provide appropriate safeguards for Muslim and Christian holy places and possible Vatican-type enclaves or boroughs for the Arab population of Jerusalem.


2. Professor Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, former President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), '“What Weight to Conquest?” in Justice in International Law', explains that the principle of “acquisition of territory by war is inadmissible” must be read together with other principles:

“… namely, that no legal right shall spring from a wrong, and the Charter principle that the Members of the United Nations shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State.”


“A state [Israel] acting in lawful exercise of its right of self-defense may seize and occupy foreign territory as long as such seizure and occupation are necessary to its self-defense... 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... As between Israel, acting defensively in 1948 and 1967, on the one hand, and her Arab neighbors, acting aggressively, in 1948 and 1967, on the other, Israel has the better title in the territory of what was Palestine, including the whole of Jerusalem, than do Jordan and Egypt.”

3. Lord Caradon, former British Ambassador to the UN and a drafter of Resolution 242, told the Beirut Daily Star on 12 June 1974:

"It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of 4 June 1967 because those positions were undesirable and artificial. After all, they were just the places the soldiers of each side happened to be the day the fighting stopped in 1948. They were just armistice lines. That's why we didn't demand that the Israelis return to them and I think we were right not to."

4. Eugene V. Rostow, Under Secretary for Political Affairs in years 1966-69, writes in 1991:

Resolution 242, which as undersecretary of state for political affairs between 1966 and 1969 I helped produce, calls on the parties to make peace and allows Israel to administer the territories it occupied in 1967 until "a just and lasting peace in the Middle East" is achieved. When such a peace is made, Israel is required to withdraw its armed forces "from territories" it occupied during the Six-Day War--not from "the" territories nor from "all" the territories, but from some of the territories, which included the Sinai Desert, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. ...Israel was not to be forced back to the "fragile" and "vulnerable" Armistice Demarcation Lines, but should retire once peace was made to what Resolution 242 called "secure and recognized" boundaries, agreed to by the parties. In negotiating such agreements, the parties should take into account, among other factors, security considerations, access to the international waterways of the region, and, of course, their respective legal claims.

Peace Process[edit]

Abbas, who was speaking at the weekly PA cabinet meeting in Ramallah (on Aug. 17 2009), said that the Hamas offensive against Jund Ansar Allah, which resulted in the death of 28 Palestinians and the wounding of more than 120, was "inhumane." But while Abbas expressed his readiness to resume dialogue with Hamas, he said he remained opposed to reviving peace talks with Israel.

"I affirmed to President Obama in Cairo that the Arab initiative offers recognition of Israel and normalization with it after, and not before, achieving a just and comprehensive peace," Mubarak told (Aug 17 2009). "I told him that some Arab states which had mutual trade representation offices with Israel could consider reopening those offices if Israel commits to stopping settlement [expansion] and resumes final-status negotiations with the Palestinian Authority where they left off with Olmert's government," Mubarak added.

says Benny Morris: "But the Arab revolt of 1936-39 and the resurgence of antisemitism in Europe persuaded the Zionist leaders that they would have to make do with only part of Palestine. They accepted, in principle, the 1937 Peel commission partition proposal and, a decade later, the UN General Assembly partition resolution; thus, since the 1990s, they have reaffirmed the principle of two states for two peoples".

"Brothers and sisters, we will not be satisfied with Gaza," he declared. "Hamas looks toward the whole of Palestine."

Hamas has accepted Israel's right to exist and would be prepared to nullify its charter, which calls for the destruction of Israel, said reportedly Aziz Dwaik, Hamas's most senior representative in the West Bank. Luckily, another hamas leader, Dr. Salah al Bardawil, has clarified Dwaik's position: Hamas' charter never called for the destruction of Israel! So there is no need for it to be nullified. A day later, Aziz Dweik on Thursday denied reports by Israeli news outlets that he said Israel has a right to exist: "The media reports in question were inaccurate," he said in a statement, adding that since his release from an Israeli prison last year, Israeli news outlets have repeatedly misrepresented his views. Mahmoud Ramahi, another top Hamas operative in the West Bank, said in response to Dwaik's comments that his movement was indeed willing to accept an independent Palestinian state within the pre-1967 lines, but only on a temporary basis and without recognizing Israel's right to exist; Hamad also stressed that "accepting" Israel did not mean that Hamas would "recognize" the Jewish state; Salah Bardaweel, a Hamas legislator and spokesman from the Gaza Strip, said in response to the Post story that his movement was not seeking the destruction of Israel - go figure

Legality of settlements[edit]

Eugene V. Rostow, Under Secretary for Political Affairs in years 1966-69, writes in 1990:

The Jewish right of settlement in the West Bank is conferred by the same provisions of the Mandate under which Jews settled in Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem before the State of Israel was created.
...Article 25 gave Great Britain and the League Council discretion to "postpone" or "withhold" the Jewish people's right of settlement in the TransJordanian province of Palestine-now the Kingdom of Jordan-if they decided that local conditions made such action desirable. With the divided support of the council, the British took that step in 1922...The Mandate does not, however, permit even a temporary suspension of the Jewish right of settlement in the parts of the Mandate west of the Jordan River. The Armistice Lines of 1949, which are part of the West Bank boundary, represent nothing but the position of the contending armies when the final cease-fire was achieved in the War of Independence.
Many believe that the Palestine Mandate was somehow terminated in 1947, when the British government resigned as the mandatory power. This is incorrect. A trust never terminates when a trustee dies, resigns, embezzles the trust property, or is dismissed. The authority responsible for the trust appoints a new trustee, or otherwise arranges for the fulfillment of its purpose...In Palestine the British Mandate ceased to be operative as to the territories of Israel and Jordan when those states were created and recognized by the international community. But its rules apply still to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which have not yet been allocated either to Israel or to Jordan or become an independent state. Jordan attempted to annex the West Bank in 1951, but that annexation was never generally recognized, even by the Arab states, and now Jordan has abandoned all its claims to the territory.
Article 49 provides that the occupying power "shall not deport or transfer part of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies." But the Jewish settlers in the West Bank are volunteers. They have not been "deported" or "transferred" by the government of Israel, and their movement involves none of the atrocious purposes or harmful effects on the existing population the Geneva Convention was designed to prevent. Furthermore, the Convention applies only to acts by one signatory "carried out on the territory of another." The West Bank is not the territory of a signatory power, but an unallocated part of the British Mandate. It is hard, therefore, to see how even the most literal-minded reading of the Convention could make it apply to Jewish settlement in territories of the British Mandate west of the jordan River. Even if the Convention could be construed to prevent settlements during the period of occupation, however, it could do no more than suspend, not terminate, the rights conferred by the Mandate. Those rights can be ended only by the establishment and recognition of a new state or the incorporation of the territories into an old one.
Another principle of international law may affect the problem of the Jewish settlements. Under international law, an occupying power is supposed to apply the prevailing law of the occupied territory at the municipal level unless it interferes with the necessities of security or administration or is "repugnant to elementary conceptions of justice." From 1949 to 1967, when Jordan was the military occupant of the West Bank, it applied its own laws to prevent any Jews from living in the territory. To suggest that Israel as occupant is required to enforce such Jordanian laws-a necessary implication of applying the Convention-is simply absurd. When the Allies occupied Germany after the Second World War, the abrogation of the Nuremberg Laws was among their first acts.
The controversy about Jewish settlements in the West Bank is not, therefore, about legal rights but about the political will to override legal rights.

He adds in 1991:

The British Mandate recognized the right of the Jewish people to "close settlement" in the whole of the Mandated territory. It was provided that local conditions might require Great Britain to "postpone" or "withhold" Jewish settlement in what is now Jordan. This was done in 1922. But the Jewish right of settlement in Palestine west of the Jordan river, that is, in Israel, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, was made unassailable. That right has never been terminated and cannot be terminated except by a recognized peace between Israel and its neighbors. And perhaps not even then, in view of Article 80 of the U.N. Charter, "the Palestine article," which provides that "nothing in the Charter shall be construed ... to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments...."
Some governments have taken the view that under the Geneva Convention of 1949, which deals with the rights of civilians under military occupation, Jewish settlements in the West Bank are illegal, on the ground that the Convention prohibits an occupying power from flooding the occupied territory with its own citizens...Yet the Jews have the same right to settle there as they have to settle in Haifa. The West Bank and the Gaza Strip were never parts of Jordan, and Jordan's attempt to annex the West Bank was not generally recognized and has now been abandoned. The two parcels of land are parts of the Mandate that have not yet been allocated to Jordan, to Israel, or to any other state, and are a legitimate subject for discussion.

Palestinian Refugees vs Jewish Refugees[edit]

President Mahmoud Abbas's revelations on Al-Palestinia TV: "People were motivated to run away... They feared retribution from Zionist terrorist organizations - particularly from the Safed ones. Those of us from Safed especially feared that the Jews harbored old desires to avenge what happened during the 1929 uprising. This was in the memory of our families and parents... They realized the balance of forces was shifting and therefore the whole town was abandoned on the basis of this rationale - saving our lives and our belongings".

Resolution 194[edit]

It should be noted that at the UN General Assembly of 11 December 1948 - Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen - voted against 194...Moreover, that permission (right to return) is subject to two conditions: that the refugee wishes to return; and that he/she wishes to live in peace with his neighbors. Major-General (ret.) Shlomo Gazit, former head of IDF Intelligence, and member of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University. explains:

Even more importantly, it does not establish a 'right' at all, let alone an eternal and unconditional one. As opposed to UN Security Council resolutions, General Assembly resolutions have no binding international standing. They are merely recommendations.