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Friday, February 18, 2011

Bolton and the OU on the Security Council resolution

Jennifer Rubin has John Bolton's reaction to President Obama's attempt to muddy the waters at the UN Security Council, as well as some solid pushback from the OU (Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America). Here's Bolton:
This is a classic case of negotiating for the sake of negotiating. The Obama Administration may well produce a slightly less-outrageous draft resolution than the sponsors' original draft, but this is simply putting lipstick on a porcine being. If the United States votes for or abstains on such a resolution, it will reflect a dramatic shift in policy against Israel. If the United States vetoes such a resolution, it will be voting against a "more reasonable" text. The right approach is to say at the outset that the sponsors' approach is fundamentally misguided, and that the only sensible US policy will be to veto. So doing may actually dissuade the sponsors from proceeding, now or in the future, or will at least shorten the period of agitation and agony. American weakness in this type of context only invites further provocation.
The OU's reaction includes this:
Assertions that Israeli "settlement activity" is illegal under international law are incorrect as such a position is at variance with United Nations Resolution 242.

Passed in 1967, Resolution 242 calls for Israel to return "territories" captured during its defensive war of 1967. The words "all" and "the" were proposed by those who advocated a complete return, but the U.S. and Great Britain, which opposed that view, prevailed. Even partial return of captured territories is conditioned on "termination of all claims of belligerency" and "acknowledgment of the sovereignty . . . of every state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force." Resolution 242 does not mention the rights of non-states, such as the Palestinian Authority, Hamas or Hezbollah, the latter two of which do not accept the conditions of the resolution. (Nor do Iran and several other states in the region.) . . . .

A Security Council resolution declaring "settlement activity" as "illegitimate" is no better, and no less counterproductive, than a resolution asserting it's illegality. Such phrasing by an authoritative body such as the Security Council is nothing more than semantics. Given the record of animosity toward Israel in the UN and its bodies and the actions and stated intentions of the resolution's proponents, it is clear that a slightly amended text would be used for the same purposes against Israel; to further isolate the Jewish State diplomatically, utilize the UN and other international entities to pressure Israel economically, and ultimately undermine Israel's security.

I cannot tell you how many times a day I see articles and blog posts that take for granted that Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria are 'illegal.' I know all the arguments and I have cited them many times (and have written about them many times on this blog - see here for example). But those first two paragraphs that I quoted from the OU are just about the best succinct summary of the arguments that I've seen. Clip and save them.

And read the whole thing.

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At 9:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

May I add another regarding "Occupation"
Occupation refers to the holding and control of an area by a foreign force. Given that the land of Israel was never the sovereign country of any nation but the Jewish one, Jews cannot be deemed "occupiers" in their own land, a fact affirmed by international law. The San Remo Conference of 1920 was a meeting of the Allied Powers of WWI, convened at San Remo, Italy, to decide the future of the former territories of the Ottoman Empire. At that conference, a binding agreement was reached between these world powers "to reconstitute the ancient Jewish State within its historic borders from Dan to Beersheba." The agreement was incorporated into the Treaty of Sevres and the Mandate for Palestine. With its formal approval by the League of Nations in 1922, the Mandate for Palestine tasked the British with "reconstituting" the Jewish people in their historic homeland. The desire to restore the Jewish people to their native land was ratified by a unanimous vote of The League of Nations, which then entrusted Great Britain with facilitating Jewish immigration and encouraging "close settlement by Jews on the Land," as explained in Article 6 of the Mandate. This document gave Jews the legal right to settle anywhere in the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This right has never been superseded by any other legal document. Accordingly Jews building in Judea and Sanmaria is legal!


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