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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

January 27, 2003

Why one should oppose a second Palestinian-Arab state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza - Part 19 of 23

This piece continues a series of which the first 18 parts were posted on September 8, 9, 11, 17, 20, 22, 23; October 7, 24, 28, 29; November 6, and 26; and December 5, and 13, 2002, and January 7, 10 and 21, 2003. (Alternatively, the previous articles may be found in the IsraPundit archives as follows: September 8, 9, 11, 17, 20, 22, 23; October 7, 24, 28, 29; and November 6 and 26; December 5, and 13, 2002; and January 7, 10 and 21, 2003). The object of the series is to provide a database that is not only reliable and well-documented but also one for which documents are easily accessible, preferably from web resources. The term "second Palestinian-Arab state" is used in order to underscore that one Palestinian-Arab state already exists: it's called Jordan, and it is located in that part of Eastern Palestine that was originally to have been part of the Jewish National Home.

Recapitulation: The first nine parts of this series dealt with arguments based on fundamentals and principles: the historical right of the Jewish people to a home in their ancestral land, which has had a Jewish population continuously for millenia; the international acceptance of the Balfour declaration and the British Mandate to ensure the creation of a Jewish national home in Palestine; the fact that Israel is in possession of Yesha as a consequence of a defensive war; the argument that the current Arab population of Palestine consists mainly of immigrants who came to Palestine as a consequence of the development brought about by the Jewish pioneers since the 1880's; and the fact that the Arabs of Palestine have rejected numerous opportunities to establish a state by peaceful means, indicating that their real objective is to destroy Israel.

The second group of nine parts dealt with arguments based on Middle East realities. The points made include the assessment that a sovereign Palestinian State would obviate Israel’s ability to defend herself; that such a state, by the admission of the Palestinian Arabs themselves, would not solve their grievances; that violence within and among Arab states has a long history, and adding another Arab state will not pacify the region; and the economic base of Yesha, as well as the water resources in the area, do not permit the creation of an additional, viable state.

The present Part 19 begins the third group of five articles, which deal with such issues of the disputed territories, Jerusalem, and an alternative to Palestinian-Arab sovereignty. Strictly speaking these are not arguments against the creation of a Palestinian-Arab state, but they are intrinsically linked to these arguments.

19. Judea, Samaria and Gaza (“Yesha”) are disputed territories, not “occupied Arab lands”, and the settlements are not “illegal”. Even if a sovereign Palestinian-Arab state were to be created, it is incomprehensible that Jews be allowed to live in any European or North American city, but not in Yesha.

One of the most spectacular triumphs of the Arab propaganda machine has been its ability to inject the Arab agenda and terminology into our life, to the point that such expressions as “occupied Arab lands” have become ubiquitous. In fact, Yesha is no more than one of many disputed territories around the globe and it must be seen in this light.

Disputed territories come in several flavours. Some fall within the sovereignty of one country but a segment of the population demands secession. That was the situation, for example, in Bangladesh before it seceded from Pakistan; currently, segments of the population in Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Basque territory, and Corsica, to name but a few examples, demand the right to secede. (Indeed, the EU would do well to handle these issues before it foments its mischief against Israel.) The saddest examples of territories in this group are Tibet and Kurdistan, the latter being divided among four countries. Appendix A of this article provides a list and links to this type of territorial dispute.

In other instances, a territory is occupied by one country, but another country (or countries) has (have) claims to it. Examples include the Japanese islands which the USSR occupied after WW II and which Russia still occupies; the Malvinas (Falkland Islands) which Britain holds but which are claimed by Argentina; and Gibraltar which is an area disputed by Britain and Spain. (Again, the Quartet would do well to resolved these issues before they meddle in Israel’s affairs.) Another example, and one that may return to the headlines at any time, is Taiwan, claimed by China as an integral part of its territory. This type of territorial dispute is so common and involves so many countries that it is easier to list the countries that are NOT involved. Appendix B provides a partial list and links concerning this type of dispute.

In a third group of cases, disputed territories have shifted from one country to another, but eventually, all parties have come to accept the status quo (at least for the moment). Few people today still remember an entity called East Prussia, German territory that ceased to exist as an entity after WW II, in the course of which its population was “transferred” to contemporary Germany; the territory was partitioned between the USSR and Poland. Similarly, Alsace-Lorraine was German at one time, but is now an integral part of France.

The point is that a dispute over territories is nothing unique or new, even if the Palestinian-Arabs present their case as such. One conclusion is that the fate of Yesha should be dealt with accordingly: negotiations and unequivocal rejection of terrorism. As a first step, supporters of Israel should object at all times to the pejorative, inaccurate term, “occupied Arab lands”. They are neither Arab nor occupied, though I will concede that they are “lands”. Whenever the media wave the “occupied thing”, let’s insist that at the very most, Yesha is a disputed territory, one of many around the globe.

Moreover, Israel’s claim to Yesha is extremely strong. In particular, from 1948 to 1967 no recognized sovereignty covered Yesha, even though the areas were occupied (indeed, really occupied) by Jordan and Egypt.

Resolution 242, which doesn’t even name the Palestinian Arabs as an entity, is one of many documents that strengthens Israel’s claim to the territory or, at the very least, to part of it. This point has been expanded upon by Eugene Rostow [at the time, of Yale Law School] whose 1978 article in the NYT may be found on the Web. In this article, Rostow states, inter alia:
Resolutions 242 and 338 require the parties to make peace by direct negotiations. Their agreements of peace should rest on two basic principles: Israel need not withdraw from any territories it occupied in 1967 until peace is made; and the new "secure and recognized" boundaries of Israel need not be the same as the Armistice Demarcation Lines of 1949.
The most important reasons for the territorial provision of Resolution 242, which Sadat has just accepted in principle, is that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are not "Arab" lands, but unallocated parts of the Palestine Mandate, a "sacred trust" like Namibia, to be fulfilled in accordance with its terms. Professor Hoffmann refers to the West Bank as "Jordanian territory." This is not the case. Jordan's attempt to annex the territory in 1951 was ineffective because it was not widely recognized by the world community, and especially by the other Arab states.

Eugene Rostow’s pronouncements gain unique gravitas from the fact that he was the US undersecretary of state for political affairs during the period, 1966-1969, when the 1967 War took place and when 242 was passed. Subsequently, we will quote Rostow’s pronouncement on the specific issue of the Jewish communities in Yesha.

A second conclusion from the foregoing analysis concerns the Jewish communities that have been built in Yesha, and which the media refer to as “settlements”.

In a 1991 article in the New Republic, Eugene Rostow examined this specific question and stated as follows:
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 1992. 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 . . ."
Indeed, as John Derbyshire has pointed out, there is no legal basis for viewing the Jewish communities as “illegal”. In particular, the Oslo accords say nothing about freezing or dismantling the communities, only that the issue is deferred to the next stage.

Even had Yesha been an “occupied territory”, the Jewish communities would still have had a right to exist there, just like Polish communities have a right to exist in the former East Prussia, which is as much an “occupied territory” as Yesha is.

Next, assume that as a consequence of negotiations Yesha reverts to another sovereignty in part or in whole. What is the justification for the demand that the Jewish communities be dismantled? Are Jews to be denied the right to live in Yesha (regardless of sovereignty) while they are allowed to live anywhere in North America? Is this population transfer of tens of thousands of Jews justified on any reasonable grounds?

As one of its mantras, the Arab propaganda cites Article 49 of the Fourth, 1949 Geneva Convention as prohibiting the establishment of Jewish communities in Yesha. The Convention is available on the web and nothing in it has any bearing on the issue. Cited from the ICRC site, here is the relevant text:
The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.
No one was "transferred" to Yesha, and anyone is free to up and leave the Jewish communities; hence this part of Article 49 is irrelevant. The other parts of Article 49 are even less relevant. The entire article is reproduced in Appendix C for the record.

The oft-repeated argument that the Jewish communities are an obstacle to peace, can be refuted easily. For if the communities were the problem, why did the Palestinian-Arabs and their sponsors in the Arab countries refuse peace negotiations between 1948 and 1967? Furthermore, peace treaties with two Arab countries (Egypt and Jordan) were signed even though the communities did exist. There were periods when Israel voluntarily agreed to freeze the development of the Yesha communities, but such a freeze has never advanced the cause of peace. And finally, note that the Khartoum “Three No’s” (September 1, 1967 - no to peace, no to recognition, no to negotiations) were declared before any communities were established in Yesha.

It is also interesting to note that the area actually occupied by the Jewish communities under question, exclusive of Greater Jerusalem, amounts to less than 2% of Yesha’s territory (see David Dolan’s article in WorldNetDaily). In these areas are locagted some 160 communities with 200,000 Jews who occupy that tiny fraction of the territory (as late as 1977, prior to Begin's taking over as prime minister, there were less than 10,000 Jews in the disputed territories). What justification could there possibly be for transferring them from their homes?

Irony of ironies: the real “illegal settlements” are the clumps of unlicensed structures put up by the Palestinians themselves. In an October 10 article, IMRA reported as follows:
It should be noted that over the course of Oslo, the Palestinians have followed a consistent strategy of illegally erecting buildings on roads - including new bypass roads (infrastructure serving settlements) - that can be used as firing position from which to attack Israeli vehicles as they travel to and from settlements.

The impact of this illegal Palestinian construction on security is tangible. But political considerations - including the active support of many elements of the Israeli Left for illegal Palestinian construction - lead Israel to decline to make a concerted effort to control this security threat.
No jurisdiction in the world should be expected to permit illegal structures to stand, let alone illegal structures that constitute a security risk.

Further reading:

With the exception of the text concerning the global picture of disputed territories, virtually all the points covered in this article have been made in one form or another in various articles; some examples follow.

1. An example of a comprehensive essay was posted by Opinion Journal. The article is entitled Why the Settlements Should Stay and authored by Hillel Halkin.

2. The official Israeli view, with which the present article is entirely compatible, may be found at the site of the Government of Israel.

3. A noteworthy article was posted recently at the IMRA site, under the heading Diplomatic and Legal Aspects of the Settlement Issue.

4. On 17 December 2001, the Jerusalem Post ran an article on the topic by Samuel Kats, who has published numerous articles in support of Israel’s position. The article is entitled, Get the Word Out and may be found, among other places, at the site of the Christian Action for Israel.

5. Recently, an IsraPundit contributor, “Eyes of the World”, posted an article on the legal aspects at IsraPundit.

6. On January 16, 2003, JCPA posted a comprehensive article on the topic by Dore Gold - antother article that should not be missed.

Appendix A - Examples of Disputed Lands with Active Separatist Movements

(1) Basque, Tamils, Kashmiris - see ADL site.

(2) Kurdss - There are 22 million Kurds, making them the world's largest ethnic group without a nation to call their own. See Columbia site.

(3) Xinjiang - See article, China Links Xinjiang Separatist Movements with Al-Qa'eda.

(4) Western Sahara - Polisario war against Moroccan forces.

Appendix B - Some Examples of Territorial Disputes Around the Globe

B1 - Island disputes

Tok-do/Takeshima Islands Dispute (S. Korea-Japan)
Spratly Islands Dispute (China-Vietnam-Indenosia-Malysia-Phillipinnes-Brunei)
Pulau Ligitan and Pulau Sipadan Dispute (Malaysia-Indonesia)
Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands Dispute (Japan-China)
Perejil/Leila Islets (Spain/Morocco)
Paracel Islands Dispute (China-Vietnam)
Kurile Islands/Northern Territories (Russia-Japan)
Imia/Kardak Rocks Dispute (Greece-Turkey)
Hawar Islands Judgement, ICJ (Qatar-Bahrain)
Abu Musa and Tumb Islands Dispute (Iran-UAE)

B2 - List of 23 selected international conflicts involving territorial disputes, specifying the countries involved and notes on the disputed territories

1. LIBYA claims about 19,400 sq km in northern NIGER and part of south-eastern ALGERIA, and also has a maritime boundary dispute with TUNISIA.
6. CHINA considers TAIWAN as a renegade province. Chinese Nationalists retreated to the island in 1949 after losing to the Communists in a mainland civil war. CHINA also disputes two sections of the boundary with RUSSIA, a 33-km section of boundary with NORTH KOREA in the Paektu-san (mountain) area, and a maritime boundary with VIETNAM in the Gulf of Tonkin. Paracel Islands is occupied by China, but claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan. China claims the Japanese-administered Senkaku-shoto (Senkaku Islands/Diaoyu Tai), as does Taiwan
12. ESTONIA claims over 2,000 sq km territory in the Narva and Pechory regions of RUSSIA, based on boundary established under the 1920 Peace Treaty of Tartu.
Based on the 1920 Treaty of Riga, LATVIA had claimed the Abrene/Pytalovo section of border ceded by the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic to Russia in 1944. There also are ongoing talks over a boundary dispute with LITHUANIA (primary concern is oil exploration rights).
14. FALKLAND ISLANDS: Claims on the UK-administered islands (Islas Malvinas) by Argentina led to a military conflict in 1982. The dispute started in 1833. Read more about it at this site. Argentina also claims the UK-administered South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.
GIBRALTAR is a source of friction between SPAIN and the UK... Spain controls five places of sovereignty (plazas de soberania) on and off the coast of Morocco - the coastal enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, which Morocco contests, as well as the islands of Penon de Alhucemas, Penon de Velez de la Gomera, and Islas Chafarinas.
KASHMIR: territorial dispute between INDIA and PAKISTAN. KASHMIR is made up of many regions but is called "Jammu & Kashmir" being the two most populous regions in the state, other regions being Ladakh, Gilgit, Baltistan and Skardu. PAKISTAN grabbed many of these regions in 1947 (some parts were taken by China). The largest portion of the original state of Jammu & Kashmir remains as a state within INDIA. INDIA and PAKISTAN also have water-sharing problems over the Indus River (Wular Barrage), and INDIA has a boundary dispute with China. Read the Story behind the Story of KASHMIR.
JAPAN claims the islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan, and the Habomai group occupied by the Soviet Union in 1945, now administered by RUSSIA.
SUDAN and EGYPT dispute an international boundary, creating the "Hala'ib Triangle," a barren area of 20,580 sq km

B3 - Selected territorial disputes involving various coutntires, as presented by the Bartleby online encyclopaedia

United Kingdom: Northern Ireland issue with Ireland (historic peace agreement signed 10 April 1998); Gibraltar issue with Spain; Argentina claims Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas); Argentina claims South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; Mauritius and the Seychelles claim Chagos Archipelago (UK-administered British Indian Ocean Territory); Rockall continental shelf dispute involving Denmark and Iceland; territorial claim in Antarctica (British Antarctic Territory) overlaps Argentine claim and partially overlaps Chilean claim; disputes with Iceland, Denmark, and Ireland over the Faroe Islands continental shelf boundary outside 200 NM

Western Sahara: claimed and administered by Morocco, but sovereignty is unresolved and the UN is attempting to hold a referendum on the issue; the UN-administered cease-fire has been in effect since September 1991

Turkey: complex maritime, air, and territorial disputes with Greece in Aegean Sea; Cyprus question with Greece; dispute with downstream riparian states (Syria and Iraq) over water development plans for the Tigris and Euphrates rivers; traditional demands regarding former Armenian lands in Turkey have subsided.

Taiwan: involved in complex dispute over the Spratly Islands with China, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, and possibly Brunei; Paracel Islands occupied by China, but claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan; claims Japanese-administered Senkaku-shoto (Senkaku Islands/Diaoyu Tai), as does China.

Syria: Golan Heights is Israeli occupied; dispute with upstream riparian Turkey over Turkish water development plans for the Tigris and Euphrates rivers; Syrian troops in northern, central, and eastern Lebanon since October 1976

Spain: Gibraltar issue with UK; Spain controls five places of sovereignty (plazas de soberania) on and off the coast of Morocco - the coastal enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, which Morocco contests, as well as the islands of Penon de Alhucemas, Penon de Velez de la Gomera, and Islas Chafarinas

Russia: dispute over at least two small sections of the boundary with China remains to be settled, despite 1997 boundary agreement; islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, and Shikotan and the Habomai group occupied by the Soviet Union in 1945, now administered by Russia, claimed by Japan; Caspian Sea boundaries are not yet determined among Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan; Estonian and Russian negotiators reached a technical border agreement in December 1996, which has not been signed or ratified by Russia as of February 2001; draft treaty delimiting the boundary with Latvia has not been signed; 1997 border agreement with Lithuania not yet ratified; has made no territorial claim in Antarctica (but has reserved the right to do so) and does not recognize the claims of any other nation; Svalbard is the focus of a maritime boundary dispute between Norway and Russia.

Liechtenstein: Liechtenstein's royal family claims restitution for 1,600 sq km of land in the Czech Republic confiscated in 1918
France: Madagascar claims Bassas da India, Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island, and Tromelin Island; Comoros claims Mayotte; Mauritius claims Tromelin Island; territorial dispute between Suriname and French Guiana; territorial claim in Antarctica (Adelie Land); Matthew and Hunter

Islands east of New Caledonia claimed by France and Vanuatu

China: most of boundary with India in dispute; dispute over at least two small sections of the boundary with Russia remains to be settled, despite 1997 boundary agreement; portions of the boundary with Tajikistan are indefinite; 33-km section of boundary with North Korea in the Paektu-san (mountain) area is indefinite; involved in a complex dispute over the Spratly Islands with Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, and possibly Brunei; maritime boundary agreement with Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin awaits ratification; Paracel Islands occupied by China, but claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan; claims Japanese-administered Senkaku-shoto (Senkaku Islands/Diaoyu Tai), as does Taiwan.

Appendix C - Complete text of Article 49 of the Fourth 1949 Geneva Convention, as posted on the web by its custodian, the ICRC (the document is also available at numerous other sites).

Art. 49. Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.

Nevertheless, the Occupying Power may undertake total or partial evacuation of a given area if the security of the population or imperative military reasons so demand. Such evacuations may not involve the displacement of protected persons outside the bounds of the occupied territory except when for material reasons it is impossible to avoid such displacement. Persons thus evacuated shall be transferred back to their homes as soon as hostilities in the area in question have ceased.

The Occupying Power undertaking such transfers or evacuations shall ensure, to the greatest practicable extent, that proper accommodation is provided to receive the protected persons, that the removals are effected in satisfactory conditions of hygiene, health, safety and nutrition, and that members of the same family are not separated.

The Protecting Power shall be informed of any transfers and evacuations as soon as they have taken place.

The Occupying Power shall not detain protected persons in an area particularly exposed to the dangers of war unless the security of the population or imperative military reasons so demand.

The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.

Contributed by Joseph Alexander Norland. This piece is cross-posted on IsraPundit and Dawson Speaks.