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Thursday, March 25, 2010

It's about time someone in this country ticked off the Saudis

Barack Obama may bow to Saudi King Abdullah, but Binyamin Netanyahu does not, and the Saudis are not too pleased about that. One of the 15,000 or so Saudi princes has slammed Prime Minister Netanyahu's AIPAC speech for saying that Jerusalem isn't a 'settlement.'
A Saudi official is also quoted as saying that his country expects clarification from the Quartet over “Israeli arrogance...defiance of international will as well as violation of all the international laws and legislations.”

In Netanyahu’s speech, he declared that “Jerusalem is not a settlement,” responding to new criticism of Jewish housing construction in east Jerusalem.

The official also asserted that Israel "blatantly confiscated Palestinian, Arab and Islamic rights in Jerusalem without any regard to Palestinian, Arab and Islamic rights” in the wake of the Netanyahu government's plan to build 1,600 homes in Ramat Shlomo.

"Saudi Arabia has always called upon the international community to bear the responsibility of dealing with the Israeli one-sided defiance that usually opposes the peace process," the official said.
For the record, Ramat Shlomo was built on an area that was no-man's land prior to the 1967 Six Day War (which was initiated in Jerusalem by the Saudi royal family's cousins the Hashemites). Israel didn't confiscate the land from anyone once it drove out the illegal occupiers from Jordan (Jordan's occupation of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem from 1948-67 was recognized only by England and Pakistan).

And by the way, Judea and Samaria aren't 'settlements' either, nor are the Jewish towns located therein. They are part of the Land of Israel. So there.


At 12:51 AM, Blogger Freedom's Cost said...

Considering that Mohammed killed off thousands of Jews in Makkah (Mecca), raped their women whom he took prisoner together with the little girls... Aren't major parts of Makka, then, a settlement stolen from the Jews?!?!?

At 2:04 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The Saudis should mind their own business. Where Jews build and live in their own country is no one else's business and I'm sure the Saudis would not like Israel to tell them where they can build in Mecca.

At 11:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The audacity of President Obama's cynical, cunning, and brutal manipulation of Jewish voters before his election and subsequent betrayal is somewhat breathtaking, as his his evident adoption of the "anti-neocon", "realist" Arabist program for isolating Israel while seeking realignment with the wider Islamic and Arab world. There is a point of diminishing returns in which cooperation with a great power no longer is self-evidently worth the candle despite fears of negative fallout should that relation collapse, given the movement of the power past ally, past neutral, to, as in this case, advocate of your enemies. Quite brutally frankly, President Obama lies routinely to shape the environment and his words of assurance aren't worth spit.

That said, the Geneva Convention against colonization was intended to protect populations not necessarily governmental regimes. That the Jordanian regime (with some Israeli concurrence) occupied the West Bank territories did not give permission for Israel to colonize within the territories of the designated Palestinian state having expelled the former occupier. And we cannot forget that land registries and the law of absentee trustee joined to the refusal to permit former residents of the West Bank to return compelled the loss of property and residences for Palestinians.

That said, we could argue that initiating failed wars have consequences; that the attempted liquidations of Israel in 1947-8 and 1967 and 1973 and subsequent intifadahs (terror campaigns still commemorated by the Palestinian Authority today, such as the 1978 bus terrorist; and the Al Asqa intifadah) have simply removed the moral commitment of Israel to convert supposed international legal norms into moral imperative.

Palestinians at every turn end up rustling up guns and rockets and trying to kill Jews. That the President wishes to cut them slack at Israel's expense is a fascinating exercise in policy reversal and radicalization (and hypocrisy--this is all supposedly "tough love" for Israel's own good) but there is only a calculus of cost and benefit in Israel considering its next moves.

Morally, ethically, historically, the President's petulant, unrestrained, and sweeping advocacy of the Palestinian dream of a Judenrein Jerusalem is an empty wind with no more cover, meaning, or legitimacy than a forged birth certificate.

At 3:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sparky -
"That said, the Geneva Convention against colonization was intended to protect populations not necessarily governmental regimes."

Right! I take it you know that the "west bank" had a substantial Jewish population in the 1930s and 1940s before the massacres and ethnic cleansing by the Arabs, often with tacit British approval. Therefore the Jews who are returning home should be protected by Geneva.
You should also know the "settlements" (including Ramat Shlomo) were not build on lands inhabited by Arab populations but on empty areas or land owned by Jews.
Should those populations who have lawfully returned to the land of their fathers also have their rights protected by Geneva, or is "international law" merely a club to be brandished against Jews?

At 6:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, they are not "returning home" as far as the law of war is concerned--that is international jurists will trace back the status of a contested area from the last agreement between belligerent parties--it isn't an issue of general ethical or human rights as far as demarcated borders. It is known that the Etzion Block was destroyed and the Jewish population expelled en masse from East Jerusalem and the opportunistic resort to violence by Arab belligerents is a constant. Nevertheless, the last agreed upon set of borders between Israel and a neighbor to the east were the demarcation borders known as the Green Line. We can appeal to history, to morality, or to who was living where, but post 1948 a case can be made that Israel cannot unilaterally restore and extend its former population centers. After all, the Arabs who left the areas to the west of the Green line, including former Arab residents if West Jerusalem, who did live there, now can't. If Jordan, in other words, had been the successful party in 1967 but the Israeli government maintained a core of organization, and was occupied and not liquidated, the Geneva Convention would not permit the unilateral establishment of Palestinian communities to the west of the Green line, although, of course, this would be done.

I did not say that the Arab parties, including the Palestinians had any intention to follow the Geneva Conventions themselves when inconvenient. Hamas and Fatah regularly assume the role of illegal combatants, targeting civilians etc.

The point regarding Ramat Shlomo has been made by yourself and other observers.


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