BBC’s Sackur promotes notion of Israeli settlements as a ‘war crime’

The summary of the March 14th edition of Hardtalk appearing on the BBC website is as follows:

“Two decades ago the world’s killing fields were in the Balkans and Rwanda but right now, they’re in Syria. Can we be any more confident today, than we were back then, that the perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity will be brought to justice? HARDtalk speaks to Theodor Meron, currently serving a second term as President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. When it comes to delivering justice, is the international legal framework now in place fit for purpose? “

Hardtalk Theodor Meron

The programme can be heard here or watched here in the UK. 

Members of the audience tuning in because they are actually interested in the subject of potential legal action against either or both sides in the Syrian conflict would have been left feeling rather sold short after watching or listening to this programme, as the subject was given barely a minute of attention towards its end. 

What they did hear, however, was host Stephen Sackur blithely lumping the subject of Israeli settlements together with crimes against humanity in, among other places, the former Yugoslavia, Darfur and Rwanda.

At 19:44 in the above audio recording, Sackur says to his interviewee Theodor Meron:

“Let’s talk about one particular case, which is again very relevant to your past, and that is Israel. Israel stands accused by many observers around the world of violating the Geneva Conventions – fundamental international law – when it comes to settlements. You wrote a legal advice for the Israeli prime minister back in 1967, right after the Six Day War, in which you said settling Jewish civilians on occupied land, in your view, would fundamentally contravene the Geneva Convention.” 

Meron: “This is still my view.”

Sackur: “Still your view?”

Meron: “This is still my view.”

Sakur: “So in that case, do you think..”

Meron: “I am sorry my opinion was not listened to; I think those settlements certainly make no contribution to peace.”

Sackur: “Do you think Israel should face international legal action on the back of – for example – Chapter Eight of the ICC, concerning war crimes?”

Meron: “It would be a very difficult question for the ICC to tackle, but because of my Israeli past I feel not comfortable in discussing the jurisdictional or political aspect of..”

Sackur: “Well, precisely.”

Meron: “Because of my past.”

Sackur: “Well hang on a minute; that is your past. You’re no longer a citizen of Israel. You took US citizenship, but you advised the Israeli government for years and therefore you, more than anybody, could send a message ringing around the world about your belief of how Israel stands before international law.”

There are – as is well known – many legal opinions which differ with that of Theodor Meron, although Sackur elected to avoid any mention of that point and indeed a detailed and factual discussion of the subject would have actually distracted from what was clearly his purpose. The BBC is of course perfectly entitled to discuss the legal aspects of Israeli settlements, but its editorial guidelines would require that such a discussion be factual and balanced, with fair representation of  differing views on the subject. 

Sackur, however, was obviously not interested in such a discussion because – despite Meron’s clearly expressed reluctance to get into the issue – all that was important to him was getting across to audiences the ‘sound bite’ framing of the building of towns, villages and residential neighbourhoods as being a war crime on a par with the mass slaughter of civilians. That, together with Sackur’s call for a “message” to be sent “ringing around the world” can be seen as nothing other than a deliberately demagogic and politically motivated action which severely compromises the BBC’s claim of impartiality. 

113 comments on “BBC’s Sackur promotes notion of Israeli settlements as a ‘war crime’

  1. Because viewers are becoming more sophisticated, such transparent dishonesty will inevitably be seen for what it is. BBC should be more aware of meeting the public’s needs rather than its own. I assume that BBC is a public trust.

  2. What a paucity of ideas if, in spite of quite horrifying activities and atrocities having been committed globally, Sackur still has to bring the discussion back round to Israel.

    It’s yet another example of the BBC’s obsession, comparing the irrevocable butchery and carnage of the Balkans and Rwanda, with the situation in Judea and Samaria., where a negotiated agreement could see borders revised and peoples returning to former homes.

    What Sackur broadcasts is comparing apples with pears, but with far reaching and damaging effect. The foremost opinion forming broadcaster in the UK and increasingly globally, must be held to account for it’s output, which is anything but balanced, objective or impartial.

    • What is causing you such dismay is the fact that “Aunty” has finally managed to see through the murk and myth of Israeli propaganda. Now reporting what is actually going on in The Occupied territories and Gaza and judging it by the standards that Israel itself pays lip-service to.
      In case you hadn’t noticed,the BBC is not the only news service which takes a dim view of Israel’s grubby little war against the Palestinians!
      Still,one should be thankful for small mercies.
      You actually refer to a “negotiated agreement”,”borders revised” and “peoples returning to their former homes”!
      Does this mean you support a two-state solution to the problem? The right of return? I doubt it because you give the game away by referring to “Judea and Samaria.
      .A notion based on a 2000 year-old fairy-tale!
      This is a horror story ,not a fairy-tale.

      • Israel’s “grubby little war against the Palestinians” is a fight for survival, not against the “Palestinians” but against the massed ranks of its enemies who are blinded by racist hate and are using the “Palestinians” as a blunt instrument with which they hope to destroy their Jewish homeland, regardless of the suffering endured by both Israelis and Palestinians alike. You are fully aware of this fact. If any one or any thing is grubby it’s you and your mean spirited fellow travellers.

        • I like your use of the term “blunt instrument” to describe the deaths of 33 children in 2012. It’s even more effective if your describing the 300 or so who perished in 2009. Throw into the mix the standard “oppressor as victim” bleat. Then add a little humour! To wit the assertion that somehow,the IDF and THEIR victims are BOTH the unwitting victims of a conspiracy to destroy Israel! Laughable!

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        • Yes that’s it ! In 1948 they suddenly appeared from the bowels of a giant spaceship! All 750000 of them and the IDF said “you smell” and they all ran away!

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          • Fiirst of all they started running in 1947 and the IDF didn;t exist than . They were arabs. The Un called for a Jewish state and an arab state not a palestinain state.

          • Yes they did start running in ’47. Have you asked yourself why entire populations of towns and villages would drop everything and run? As for the IDF. Try Googling Stern Gang,the Irgun,The Haganah and the Palmach.

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          • Ever asked yourself why they did? The were twice the number of jews . 1,200,000 arabs to 600.000 jews. As for the IDF try google it the organizations were not the IDF. If not for them those 600,000 would have been slaughter with the British closing their eyes and doing nothing as they did in many cases.

      • More than a century of still on going archaelogical findings, the Dead Sea scrolls, Josephus, the Old and New Testaments, etc are scarcely the stuff of fairy tales and with no reference to Palestinians, Arabs or Muslims. It is neither grubby nor war but a constant police action against sorely misled people who have been deluded by the malefactors of the Arab League. It’s a massive propaganda invention that has deluded otherwise thoughtful people who could encourage successful rehabilitation of the remaining Arab refugees as Israel did with its 850,000 Jews expelled from their homes in the Arab world. They had much less in common with Israelis than the Palestinians have with the Syrians, Egyptians, and Saudis. With honesty and good will, matters could be settled. Until you and others recognize that you “have been had”, your sympathies will be exploited. In a sense, you have become a contributor to the Palestinian distress by your gullibility..

          • As those 22 children slaughteres by the PLO of Yasser Arafat in 1974 after 105 of them were taken hostage and just in one day.

          • You speak with such vehemence and select details for which there is common knowledge that your malice has blinded you from seeking. The issue of the children has been chewed to death: lies, explanations, studies, UN reports, etc

  3. “its editorial guidelines would require that such a discussion be factual and balanced, with fair representation of differing views on the subject.”

    The editorial guidelines actually say: “We seek to provide a broad range of subject matter and perspectives over an appropriate timeframe across our output as a whole.” There is therefore no requirement to balance views within one programme. To attempt to do so when the programme format involves interviewing one person (as in ‘HARDtalk’) would be ridiculous.

    “Sackur, however, was obviously not interested in such a discussion because – despite Meron’s clearly expressed reluctance to get into the issue….”

    The whole point of HARDtalk is to put difficult questions to the interviewee. Sakur is on record as expressing controversial opinions on the legality of settlements. His ‘reluctance’ to discuss these is the best of reasons for the interviewer to press him on them.

      • Just Google ‘Hardtalk and Palestinian’. You’ll find difficult questions have been put to a number of Palestinian representatives.

      • And how many of the questions received direct, thoughtful, honest answers? What I have observed too often are persistently, self-serving, devious lies, hardly replies. This BBC format that promises balanced programming within a suitable time frame allows this moderator to corner guests and waylay them with what constitutes an extended theatrical assault much to his egotistical pleasure. Fairer would be having two guests of equivalent skill and knowledge debating an issue in which he is merely moderator and not a vain lynchman. Is he, by chance, a frustrated actor?

        • There are hundreds of programmes where “guests of equivalent skill and knowledge debate an issue in which (the interviewer) is merely moderator”. HARDtalk is what it is. No-one is forced to come on the show!

          • It sounds to me like a stunt calculated to humiliate his guest and to advance his own bias. It may amuse him and his special kind of audience who enjoy his toreador performance.

          • I just heard an interview with the “Palestinian ambassador” who insisted that negotiations are imperative but that Israel must stop developing the settlements. The interviewer asked if that didn’t constitute a precondition. The Ambassador said, “No, that’s an obligation.” The exchange was repeated. The interviewer didn’t ask if there was any difference and the Ambassador merely repeated his guileful evasion. How does one negotiate with such slippery self deceptions of language and thought? Is this cunning or something out of Alice in Wonderland?

    • Spratty and Sencar are squealing because the legal arguments in support of the legality of settlements are beginning to gain traction. This will be a calamity for those whose hope is that israel will be destroyed by the “Return” of millions of false refugees.

      In this context, the programme makers at the beeb dig out an ex advisor to the Israeli govt whose interpretation of a Geneva convention fits with an anti-Israeli agenda.

      They could have chosen to interview an Israeli with far better credentials in international law who could explain why the settlements are not in breach of the said convention.

      In order to maintain even the pretence of impartiality they would have to do so. But I doubt that the presenter would beg him or her to send their message “ringing around the world”.

      The reek of dishonesty is the abiding impression made by ‘contributions’ from the likes of Spratty and Sencar.

      • The BBC might want to watch a YouTube video in which international lawyer, Professor Eugene Kontorovich, explains this interpretation of the Geneva Convention, which refers to an action undertaken by a power to transfer its people in or out of an area. I won’t go into the arguments we already know, but instead will mention a few that may be less well known and that need to be considered.

        The Professor poses the hypothetical situation in which a resident of Tel Aviv decides to move to a settlement. That’s not a ‘transfer’. It’s a free choice. But, if we say that an individual may not exercise that free choice then the Geneva convention must necessarily include the movement of individuals in and out of the area. This would mean millions are daily breaking the Geneva convention – including BBC reporters in Israel.

        As Prof. Kontorovich explains, a tourist getting a bus from the Jerusalem bus stop to the Kotel has broken the Geneva Convention IF it’s application includes individuals. It cannot be one law for, say, tourists, (and BBC reporters) and another for Jewish Israelis.

        What of children born in the settlements? They have not been ‘transferred’ by any means. Prof. Kontorovich doesn’t extend his argument beyond that statement but it has left me wondering ……if this generation is transferred – by force – out of their home, would this also not contravene the Geneva Convention?

        There is more, and it’s worth watching the video to hear the arguments. I won’t provide a link here but a quick search on YouTube under the professor’s name and ‘The Legal Case for Israel’ will bring this video up on the first page.

          • Play the ball, Sprattyville, not the man.

            If you want to respond to the conundrums Prof. Kontorovich has posed regarding the use of the Geneva convention in the case of Israel and the West Bank then please, go ahead. Pick them apart.

            I believe the Professor is based in America. But why does it matter where he is from? It doesn’t alter the basic problems posed by recourse to the Geneva Convention.

          • What you fail to realise is that all this talk of legal this and that is irrelevant.The Israeli government is hard-wired to ignore any international law or treaty or agreement which threatens it’s comfort zone.This is also true of the United States which co-incidentally is Israel’s “greatest friend and ally” That is why the so-called two-state solution has always seemed to be just out of reach.It’s a puff of smoke and will never be achieved as long as the United States is expected to be an “honest broker”

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      • “legal arguments in support of the legality of settlements are beginning to gain traction.”

        They may be gaining traction amongst the expansionists of ‘Jewish Home’ but the predominant legal opinion in the rational world at large hasn’t changed: settlements are contrary to international law. Moreover you only have to look at the disastrous impact of settlements on Palestinians to appreciate that they are grossly immoral as well as illegal. I would recommend anyone without a completely closed mind to see the film, ‘5 Broken Cameras’ (widely available on the net). The film shows the day to day (largely non-violent) resistance of ordinary Palestinians to the casually brutal enforcement of land expropriation by IDF conscripts. It’s marches, sit-ins and stones against tear gas, rifles and bulldozers: truly David and Goliath.

        • 5 broken camera? lol a fim that most of it was film by Plaesitnian camerman.
          palliwood at its best.
          Why don;t you just watch a youtube called
          Never mind jounalistic honesty or integrity by Ruben Salvadori. he is not Israeli by the way but Italian.
          The film show how photographer don;t show us reality but staged sences in the WB and Jerusalem.
          i do hope you keep an open mind watching it . that is if you do watch it.

          • OK, I watched the film. It makes the points that people play up to cameras and that the photographer isn’t a neutral observer. All true, but not very profound. The demonstrators would still demonstrate without the cameras (though they might not strike such dramatic poses) and the soldiers would still try to suppress them (perhaps even more brutally without a third party recorder).

            5 Broken Cameras was shot by one man over 5 years. It records the actions of scores of villagers and soldiers who may at times be influenced by the camera but who would obviously be behaving in a pretty similar way if it wasn’t there.

            Now, I’ve watched your clip. Are you going to watch mine?

          • It doesn’t make the point that ‘people play up to cameras’, Sencar. There are enough videos on YouTube – including supposedly dead Palestinians coming to life – to suggest that these scenes are directed and shot for an audience – the West. these staged scenes stir up anger and cost innocents – like Daniel Pearl – their lives.

            As for: ‘soldiers would still try to suppress them (perhaps even more brutally without a third party recorder). That cuts both ways, you know.

          • International law is irrelevant in the case of Israel.  Israel does not recognise international law as such because it has been well-trained and supported by successive American administrations. These two societies represent a collective force for destruction and cruelty in the world today. It follows that any expectation that Obama could somehow broker a “peace process” is pie in the sky. Still Apartheid didn’t last for ever.Did it?

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          • Legal- shmeegle, when they get around to restoring the many thousands of acres stolen from the Jews from ten Arab countries. Expropriation achieved through mass terror and pogroms is not legal.The real villain is the Arab League, not the Palestinian Arabs.

          • Cos they ooze hatred and murderous intent towards the Palestinians.They are also inhabited by a group of people who believe in 2000 year old fairy tales!

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          • “Explain why settlements are immoral”

            In brief because they are built on stolen land and maintained by oppressing those who protest against the theft.

            If you haven’t seen ‘5 Broken Cameras’ yet I would urge you to do so. It is propaganda of course but it illustrates the truth of the theft and the oppression. Anyone who imagines that its graphic scenes, shot by one man over five years, are all somehow posed needs to see a doctor in my opinion.

          • Why is it ‘stolen land’? Not that I’m unaware of the many others who have attempted to explain history and law to you in the past to no avail.

          • Give Palestinian their stolen land? this was a war arab decalre on Israel . they lost. should the Austro Hungraian get back their lands because the lost the war? or the ottoman ?

          • The innocent inhabitants of 500 Palestinian villages didn’t declare war on Israel .Where possible they tried to defend their homes.Unfortunately the British trained had learnt too much from their colonial masters.The Brits were expert in ethnic cleansing !

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          • The innocents people in Europe also didn;t decalre war on the Allies and yet millions of them were refugees , Never to return to their homes.

        • How can we trust a Palestnian cameraman when we saw so many lies made by Palestinian . Camera can show one situation in many way as we can see in Ruben Salvadadori youtube. The Cameraman can edit it to make people see his point not to see what really happned as is done everyday by Palestinians camermen all over the WB .

        • Well said but, the reality is that this process of aggressive settlement and dispossession started long before the so-called “War of Independence” and largely with the connivance of the mandatory ( British) authorities.

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          • With all the blame the British may or may not deserve, we might want to remember that beginning in 1902, the Arab world’s leadership reacted to the Herzl conference in Vienna a few years earlier. It did so by encouraging the movement of fellahin from Egypt and Syria who were encouraged to lease and cultivate Palestinian land of absentee landlords. Unfortunately, those lands were usually either exhausted, sandy wastes or malarial marshlands.
            My point obviously is that the Nakba has its unsavory origins in a historical counterpoint and cynical awareness that can be traced right through from the many Husseiny inspired riots, to the Arab League role in directing 1948 Palestinian Arab flight, to ordering five Arab armies in, which in defeat led to the expulsion of 850,000 Jews and expropriation of their assets from ten Arab countries.
            The very fact that we continue to speak of the Arab refugees and UNRWA 65 years later is clearly a contrivance of the Arab League. The fact that these Arabs’ very lives have been put on hold is a tribute to Arab League villainy. The fact that most of the Jews from Arab countries have finally settled in Israel and refuse to regard themselves as refugees is a tribute to Jewish tradition of caring.
            One may cynically say that it served Israel’s purposes, but they now constitute more than half of Israel’s Jewish population. Many would have preferred to remain in the Arab world where they’d been for 2600 years; not just since 1902 or 1922 as many of Israel’s Arabs. Fifteen million displaced persons were moved in Central Europe in 1946 with 500,000 deaths; millions more in India and on and on…..Why beat a”dead horse?” unless the Arab League and the ill informed insist on it.

          • Is that why so many jews were expelled from their homes and lands in Gaza, Hebron
            1929 , Jeruslaem (Sillowan) in 1938 in with the help of the British .
            The mufti admitted in his testimony to the Peel comittee that the land were all bought and not taken.
            SIR L. HAMMOND: His Eminence gave us a picture of the Arabs being evicted from their land and villages being wiped out. What I want to know is, did the Government of Palestine, the Administration, acquire the land and then hand it over to the Jews?

            MUFTI: In most cases the lands were acquired.

            SIR L. HAMMOND: I mean forcibly acquired-compulsory acquisition as land would be acquired for public purposes?

            MUFTI: No, it wasn’t.
            http://frontpagemag.com/2011/david-meir-levi/%E2%80%9Cthey-stole-our-land%E2%80%9D-vs-the-grand-mufti-of-jerusalem/2/

          • Early Zionist groups went to great lengths to purchase land from Arab Landlords.This was not stealing but,the policy caused an enormous outcry because the mainly Arab tenants of the land were then evicted to make way for Jewish immigrants.Furthermore there was a policy to gradually displace Arab workers ( who had previously worked for Jewish Employers) in favour of immigrants. But the real “theft” of land and property is a result of the civil war or “The War of Independence” and all that has transpired since.

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          • the reality is that this process of aggressive settlement and dispossession

            Land was always purchased by the Jews sprattyville. Unless you have examples of it being stolen? If so. Please post links to reputable sites.

            Before you start to search, read the following links:

            http://frontpagemag.com/2011/11/25/%E2%80%9Cthey-stole-our-land%E2%80%9D-vs-the-grand-mufti-of-jerusalem/2/

            http://www.ourjerusalem.com/history/story/%E2%80%98they-stole-our-land%E2%80%99-vs-the-grand-mufti-of-jerusalem.html

            Rather kicks the chair out from under the ‘They stole our land’ false narrative.

          • Immediately prior to the WOI Jews held approx 6% of private land in Mandatory Palestine.How much do they own now and where did they get the money? Russian oligarchs?

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      • Yeah they could have chosen to interview a self-proclaimed Zionist who happens to be a settler with a very large axe to grind!

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          • Have you read any of the history of the flight of the Palestinians in 1947/48? These people had houses and farms and lost everything.who do you think took over those houses and farms?Some of these refugees were dispossessed a second time in 1967.who by you may ask! Unfortunately the process continues backed by the power of the gun.

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        • Incidentally, much of the absentee owner lands sold to the Jews were variously reported as priced at the then current price for top Iowa farmland. The absentee landlords usually were unable to get rents largely because the land was too spent to yield enough for rents. Removing the improvident tenants necessitated expensive and prolonged litigation which the owners were only too happy to dump on the Jews.
          The whole process did not incur mutual good will for the Jews and the dispossessed Arab tenants.
          On further thought or what if: The British trained, equipped, and led TransJordanian army was victorious in 1948 over the Old City of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. The other four invading Arab armies were less successful. Now imagine, if you will, had the British trained those four Arab armies as well and the victimized Jews been beaten, what chance would Israel have had in insisting on the return of the lands assigned them by the UN, Balfour, etc? and returning to the “borders”? I would expect the principled defenders of Arab rights to be consistent in their thinking.

        • Had the Arabs succeeded in 1948-49 in conquering most of Palestine and put the Jews to flight, would you be constitent in demanding that the Arabs return all conquered lands to the Jews and permit their return? Would you be gracious and solicitous of their welfare? Similarly, in 1967, would you as the commander of victorious Arab forces return to the Jews the fruits of your conquest? These are not mere rhetorical questions. Please advise.

  4. Eugene Rostow, co-author of Res 242, wrote:

    “….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….”

    .http://www.tzemachdovid.org/Facts/islegal1.shtml

    • Thank you for this pennylan. The sencars of this world imagine that the wishful thinking of the massed ranks of ignorant bigots can be passed off forever as “the predominant legal opinion in the rational world at large”

      • What on earth do you know about the rational world? The so-called right to a homeland in Palestine depended on the wacky prejudices of an English toff and a Welsh prime minister who believed in all manner of mumbo jumbo!

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      • But no 1947-48 UN plans contemplated that the UN would be instrumental in Arab revenge upon 850,000 Jews in Arab countries causing even greater calumny. The displaced Palestinian Arabs shared the identical culture, language and religion of adjacent Arab lands and could have returned there. But the Jews of the Muslim world, after up to 2600 years, had far less in common with their Israeli brethren. It’s better forgotten how difficult it proved for both groups of Jews to accommodate to their often major differences. Their sudden doubling of the Israeli population presented food and housing problems at a time of deep post WWII austerity.

        • I presume your alluding to the well documented racism committed by European Ashkenazi towards their Sephardi and Mizrahi bretheren. I wonder how many of these dispossessed managed to acquire property and land  left behind by Palestinians forced from their homes by the all-conquering IDF in 1948? Supremely ironic don’t you think?

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          • Not mentioning how well arab treat those refugees form palestine until these days. Poor things. As for those mizrahi jews they were not left in tents like your friends were all over the arab world . They got houses and land . They are now about half of the popualtion in Israel. And your friends? still in the refugees camps still hated by the arab world

          • In 1947-48. wealthy, educated folks on both sides, the Palestinian Arabs and the Jews in Arab countries had the wherewithal and the sense that impending hostilities made it advisable to seek safety. The Arabs headed for Western Europe, Canada, and the US. Many never bothered to return until many years later and had had their properties managed for them. Of the 850,000 Jews from the Arab countries, many went to the same havens and many also went to France. Through the years,before and after 1948, many of the latter have chosen to try Israel. In both instances, the refugees had few options, however, Israel did not seek to use her Mizrahi refugees to make a political point as have the members of the Arab League The “trouble” is that today the refugee Jews no longer think of themselves as refugees and become insenced at the merest suggestion, whereas it would not be amiss to say that the Arabs have become professional refugees over several generations past and probably future. The Jews, after up to 2600 years distance from Ashkenazi or Sephardic Jews, found adjustment very difficult in every respect. In addition, there was very little to eat after WWII for almost ten years and the refugees lived in camps of tin huts on the sites where eventual new housing met their needs. For some reason, some of them look back with some fondness to those days. There has been so much intermarriage between the groups, encouraged by the government, that one is less aware of those early marked cultural and intellectual disparities. The IDF has played a very important role as well. I wonder what the condition of the Arab refugees might be today had their leadership not preached victimhood.

          • My recollection of the 1950’s is that a custodial agency was established to manage those abandoned properties and that an office was set up on Cyprus by Israel where Arab property owners, fearful of death threats from the Arab community,went to sell their assets and depart directly for other lands. I am particularly familiar with the former Arab community of Ein Hod, now a famous art colony just south of Haifa. In 1954, it looked like no more than drunken heaps of stones, had no running water, sewage, roads, or electricity. It struck me at the time as hopeless. Despite huge Jewish Agency expense, it’s still a pathetic collection of hovels however atmospheric and probably a more densely occupied community than ever. In 1948, that was a not atypical form of Arab village housing although I recall the occasional lavish home in Talbieh and Jaffa. Yes, I understand that a man’s home is his castle and most of those token keys saved and handed on, father to son, may be sadly thrown away because few structures met modern health codes or fit ambitious development plans. Again, only 6% of Israeli land is held in private hands, 94% is on 49 year leases.

  5. There are more statements made by the other co-authors, zeitgoose, who, in the wake of attempts to manipulate Res 242, spoke quite clearly about its meaning. And if they wrote the thing, they should be the experts on what it was intended to mean!

  6. Unfortunately the UN is a playground to dictators and despots, many of whom are Arabs and the Mullah’s who run Iran. That is why Israel refuses to be judged by them and why the US vetos their rediculous resolutions.
    Remember, Libya And Syria chaired the UN Human Rights Commission.

  7. Jews can settle anywhere in the West Bank.
    According to the league of Nations mandate in 1922′ Jews could settle anywhere in ‘Palestine AKA the Roman name for Israel’. The San Remo conference gave the Jews the same right. The UN confirmed the current validity of the Leagues mandate system in Chapter 80 of the UN charter, including the Mandate for Palestine. This was again confirmed by the International Court in he South West Africa case in the 1960’s. Further, UNSC’S resolution 242 did not require Israel to return all the LANs captured in the June 67 war.

    The Oslo accords of the 1990’s allowed Israel to build at will in area ‘C’ of the West Bank, which is where she has been building. So quite contrary to what you say, Israeli settlements in the WB is absolutely legal according to International Law.

    • Jews can settle anywhere in the West Bank because they have the gun and will kill anyone who tries to stop them.And if they don’t like you they will kill your children ,your family ,tear down your house and uproot your crops.Just as they did on a massive scale in 1948.

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      • Do you know the old road up to Jerusalem? With Arab villages overlooking the at the time narrow pass, there was no other way to get food and water up to Jerusalem. The British trained and equipped Jordanians held the high ground, and any hostile Arab village had to be destroyed along the way. The Arabs of Abu Gosh proved friendly and were let alone. 35 Jewish youngsters were killed in the operation. Deir Yassin proved the Jewish outrage of the entire war and, like everything else, much exaggerated. Eventually, the Jordanians won but lost in 1967. In all wars, you are forced to clear the way of hostile civilians that might encircle and prevent retreat.

        • Which explains why Israel has killed nearly 400 Palestinian children in the last four years. Is this how to attain the “moral high ground”?What the heck ! life is cheap in Palestine and everything has it’s price!

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          • Pitty you can;t really answer . You mean children like the son of BBC worker in Gaza? oh I forgot he was killed by Hamas wasn;t he?And he wasn;t the only one.

          • The Palestinians themselves established the market price at 1100 Arab killers or would be killers for one green lad.That’s certainly setting a low price on their “finest.”

  8. The Palestinians have nothing to do with the name Palestine.
    The name Palestine is named after the Philistines, not the Palestinians or any Arab group.

    The name Palestine was applied by the Romans against the Jews to destroy the name Israel.
    It was certainly not directed or bestowed to the Arabs in this area.
    The Philistines were from Crete and came to Israel 3000 years ago and were not Arabs or Muslims.

    Delilah and Goliath were Philistines. (Philistines died out.) Philistine is the name the Romans renamed Israel as a chagrin against the Jews.
    Yassir Arafat was not a Philistine, but an ARAB born in Egypt. Philistine originates from the Hebrew verb Palash, which means to invade. So the Arabs who started to call themselves Palestinians in the late 60’s are invaders and they want to create an Invadia state.

  9. There was never in history any state called Palestine governed by Palestinians.
    Tell us when did it ever belong to Palestinians? Answer Never. It was never a Pal land to begin with, so your question is invalid.The Palestinians never governed or controlled any land before 1993. To make it simple, please tell me one Palestinian President before 1948? Keep thinking. The Palestinians want a capital, which they never had, in a country that never existed.

    • This is third grade history with some Daily News politics thrown in! No wonder they’re threatening pogroms against the asylum seekers in Tel Aviv!

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      • If you choose this as your reading material and it deserves only your withering contempt, it seems that you ought to be more selective in finding appropriate reading material. Before you leave, please inform us and perhaps we may engage your brilliance elsewhere. Thank you.

  10. Israel existed 1500 years before Muhammad was born. Look at Islamic countries and look at Sharia laws. Its a brutal, violent and an intolerant religion. It produces the most inhumane people on this planet. Besides Saudi Arabia, the entire Middle East and North Africa was never Arab or Muslim. The thieving Arabs stole all the land from the Native peoples in the Middle East and North Africa in the 7th century and forced everyone they colonized to become Muslim. Anyone that didn’t convert, had there heads cut off. The Jews resisted the Mohammad and didn’t convert.

    There is a primary historical fact, that must be established now. There has never been, I repeat NEVER been, a civilization, Entity, or a nation referred to as “Palestine” There was never a Palestinian tribe, and there was never a Palestinian country in the Land of Israel to begin with! Israel is not for sale. It is not a pie to be sliced up and served to a clan of killers and their supporters.
    1: When did Jerusalem serve as a capital to any Arab Country? Never.
    2: When did Jerusalem serve as a Palestinian capital? Never.
    3: Only Israel have had Jerusalem as there capital in Ancient and modern times. Jerusalem was never in history an Arab capital and never will be one.
    4: How many times is Jerusalem mentioned in the Koran? Zero. Was Mohammed to so badly educated, he could not utter the word “J-e-r-u-s-a-l-e-m”

  11. Jerusalem has had a Jewish population majority since the late 1850s – that’s 130 years already, before ‘Palestinianism’ was invented:
    Jews were expelled from East-Jerusalem by the Jordanian occupation at 1948. They lived in East-Jerusalem for thousands of years. They returned to their homes after Israel liberated the city in 67.
    Jerusalem was never in history the capitol of any Arab country.
    It has been only the Capitol of Israel and the Jewish people.

    ISRAEL which is defending itself against Pan-Arabism, Arab imperialism and Arabization of the Middle East – that is the “problem you dont like.

    The real problem is global Arab/Moslem insistence to spread hate, violence, wars, terrorism, lies, false accusations against Jews and reducing Jews to subhumans or second class citizens – slaves or servants – without any human rights.

  12. For Nobbly Stick:

    “Land was always purchased by the Jews sprattyville.”

    Prior to 1947 most settler land was purchased from absentee landlords living in Lebanon and elsewhere. The Palestinian tenants were dispossessed from land farmed by their families for generations. If you believe in unfettered capitalism, regardless of the interests of the workers, that’s OK. Most civilised people would see it as far from OK.

    Since 1947, of course there has been no question of purchase; land has simply been siezed by military force.

    • This process of land purchase and dispossession was facilitated and encouraged by the supposedly antisemitic British authorities. Needless to say the dispossessed were not happy about it! would you be? The Zionist project was discriminatory right from it’s inception.

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      • YOu forget that lots of lands were purchased in the time of the Ottoman occupation. so do tell me were those land puchase and dispossession also falicitaed and encouraged by teh Turks?

    • My careful reading indicates that land sold to the Jews was done so with malice aforerthought. The absentee Arab landlords discovered: that their lands were too barren to produce income for the renting fellahin, that the rents were not forthcoming, that it was too costly and dangerous to have the tenants evicted, and that if the Jews were so naive as to buy such lands at the high prices they offered, what a marvelous way to get rid of an otherwise insoluble problem. Anyone can understand how venality seemed to pay off. Sometimes folks can be too clever for their own ultimate good. I may be in error but it seems to me that I read again recently that only roughly 6% of Israeli lands are privately owned and 94% State owned and usually only leased for 49 years with a customary, conditional renewal option.

  13. I do believe that your Jerusalem figure is not accurate, nonetheless there has always been a Jewish presence in Jerusalem, Safed, etc. But the amusing thing is that the Arabs are not even able to pronounce “p” to say Palestine, but refer to it as Falastin.
    I hope that I’m not in error in any of the above.

        • I am hostile to the fact that a great injustice is being perpetrated on a daily basis.I have not witnessed a single expression of regret on this site in relation to the deaths of so many innocent children to give but one example.

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          • sprattyville – what do you do to work towards safeguarding Palestinian children?

            Do you write or undertake any action aimed at deterring Hamas from indoctrinating their children into hatred and violence? To stop Hamas using them and encouraging them to see suicide bombing as a glorious life option?

            Or – are you one of those who would encourage and support another Mavi Marmara, Global March to Jerusalem, Flytilla – or any of those things which encourage Hamas to believe that they have support for their actions and should continue along non-peaceful, provocative lines?

            If you fall into the former category then fine – we share a position because this is what I have done. But if you believe that Hamas should continue to fire rockets indiscriminately at Israeli civilians, knowing that eventually, Israel will respond, then I see your concern for children as cynical. You’re using them to speak piously while all the time believing Hamas should continue along their current trajectory.

      • Actually, my husband’s first language was Arabic (he’s from Egypt) and they do struggle with the letter ‘p’. It often comes out as ‘b’

          • It was you who bothered to reply to what you call ‘obsession with the minutiae’, not me. I was simply telling you that you were wrong – Arabic speakers cannot easily pronounce the letter ‘p;.

  14. Facts matter, sprattyville. You may laugh and pretend it isn’t so but it’s clear to see that you lost this argument. Emmanuel and Barry are too good for you.

    By the way, do you have a horse in this race at all? Why are you so eager to oppose the Israelis and defend the Palestinians? I feel you’re not entirely objective

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