Murtaza “Maz” Hussain is a journalist working for Al Jazeera, whose output is typically anti-Western conspiracism. However, he is an accomplished writer.
The YNet report is itself a model of brevity, not delving into the legal arguments endorsed by the Levy Commission.
From this reference, Hussain reports the following:
In contrast to mainstream legal opinion as well as the recognised position of the international community, including Israeli allies such as the US and EU, the Commission’s inquiry came back with the unprecedented finding that in fact there is no occupation of Palestinian lands and that the continued construction of settlement outposts, viewed as one of the major roadblocks to a negotiated peace agreement with the Palestinians, is in fact wholly legal both in the future and retroactively.
He asserts that this is an unprecedented finding, which is true but only if the journalist was unaware that this was the Israeli position from the 1967 war onwards until the early 2000s. So what this report has done is reversed the Sasson Report, which was, itself, a politically engineered opinion.
Hussain then develops his argument by arguing that the Levy Report states that the West Bank is legally a part of Israel. He then argues that incorporation of the Levy Report into Israeli government policy would result in an actual apartheid situation for the Palestinian residents (of Area C). This would further assault Israel’s international standing and its relationship with the United States. Thus the right-wing government of Israel (which is actually less right-wing in political-makeup than the previous coalition) is actually endangering Israel by not adopting the policies advocated by the European Union et al.
This is an argument which, flatly, rests upon a rhetorical slight of hand. Notice that Hussain writes this below:
his position maintains that the West Bank is thus not occupied territory but in fact today is a part of Israel proper.
However, the slight of hand, upon which he builds the whole article is a fraudulent statement by a journalist who is wilfully misrepresenting the Levy Report’s argument and recommendations.
The Levy Report states that the Fourth Geneva Convention is not applicable to the West Bank (or Gaza) as these were captured in a defensive war and were a part of the Palestine Mandate area to which Jews have a legal right, recognised under the League of Nations Mandate, to settle upon public or privately purchased land.
Consequently, settlement is legal and should not be obstructed. Hussain writes that the report incorporates all the West Bank into Israel proper but this is not the case, even on the narrow grounds of legal settlement. The report advocates the incorporation of Jewish owned lands into Israel, not the lands upon which Palestinians have settled.
Through Hussein’s slight of hand rhetoric, the whole argument of the Levy Report is based upon the continuation of the League of Nations Mandate is left out of his article. The reader is then left mystified as to how the Levy Report justifies the proposed change in policy.
Furthermore, the slight of hand enables Hussein to state the following:
Implementation of the Levy Commission’s findings would make apartheid, which today is a highly controversial and politically charged description of Israel’s relationship with the Palestinians, into an undeniable and formalised part of Israeli government policy. This would be devastating for Israel’s already poor international standing as well as for its relationship with key backers abroad who would find it politically unfeasible to be seen as helping to facilitate such a system.
Thus Hussein purports to be a critical friend of Israel but through the rhetorical trick regarding the Levy Report, Hussein instead argues that incorporation of the report would create an actual apartheid state in Israel. The apartheid charge rests upon the idea that the Palestinian population would be second-class citizens in a “Greater Israel” with less or undetermined legal rights.
Thus Hussein implicitly charges Israel with unilaterally seeking to dissolve the Palestinian Authority and thus end the peace process. However, the peace process is moribund owing to Palestinian intransigence and not due to Israeli malevolence or the settlements. And so the rest of the article becomes a false lament for Israel’s supposed slide into becoming a new South Africa and ruining itself in world opinion.
Hussein’s article is deeply dishonest, misrepresenting Israeli legal opinion to pain a wholly fraudulent picture of Israeli policy and intentions. This simply identifies Hussein and Al Jazeera as an anti-Western and anti-Israeli propaganda outfit. It is also worth noting that the terminology used by Hussein is mirrored by the far-left Israeli peace groups which opposed the Levy Report, such as Yesh Din and Peace Now, who automatically describe the Mandate argument as “far right” in origin.
I love Danny Ayalon. This is an excellent and succinct video.
Decided to post this here as links fail after a time.
Guest Columnist: Hamas’s useful Americans 07/15/2011 16:51 By NITSANA DARSHAN-LEITNER
Effective law enforcement will stop the next flotilla.
From Boston Harbor to the jail cells of Birmingham to the public squares of Cairo, the American people have had a centuries-old love affair with the idea of regular citizens engaging in civil disobedience to bring down unjust laws, discriminatory policies and brutal regimes, through non-violent protests. It comes as no surprise, then, that a small group of Americans were involved in raising funds, outfitting ships and serving as crew and passengers on the boats for the flotilla that intended to breach Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Tragically, rather than engaging in authentic efforts to win freedom for an oppressed people, or acting to safeguard the liberties of an endangered minority, these Americans, wittingly or unwittingly, are lending material support and providing resources to Hamas and its goal of eradicating the Jewish state. If imperiling the security of innocent Israelis weren’t enough, Hamas’s “useful Americans” are also violating numerous federal laws and recklessly endangering their own lives.
Pursuant to the Oslo Accords negotiated and signed between Israel and the PLO, the Palestinians agreed that the Gaza coastline would be placed under Israeli control and that no foreign ships would be allowed closer than 12 nautical miles from the shore. Israel demanded this out of concern over widespread import of conventional and unconventional weapons into Gaza. Had it not been for this provision, there would be no Palestinian Authority today, and Israel would not have withdrawn from Gaza.
Because of this agreement, the Gaza maritime blockade is consistent with international law, and violating it constitutes a hostile action against the State of Israel. As such, Israel is permitted to utilize all necessary force to repel any seafaring intruders.
The UN’s soon-to-be-released Palmer Report, which investigated last year’s flotilla, will confirm that this is true.
THE AMERICANS who organized the boats seemingly refuse to accept the validity of Israeli jurisdiction over the coastline and are determined to dangerously confront the Israel Navy and reach Gaza.
Ironically, those organizing and outfitting the ships, who claim that Israel is in violation of international law and Palestinian rights, have themselves run roughshod over numerous provisions of the federal penal code as they attempt to deliver material support and resources to the Hamas government, which is responsible for thousands of missile attacks on Israeli cities.
The Neutrality Act, legislated in 1789, prohibits American citizens from organizing or donating funds or participating in any military or naval expedition against an allied foreign nation. Although originally passed by Congress as an anti-piracy statute, its ancient provisions remain in force today. Related sections of the federal criminal code outlaw the furnishing of a sea vessel with the intent that it be employed to commit hostilities against a people with which the United States is at peace. The organizers of the Gaza flotilla have ignored these laws, as they openly raised funds via websites and public appeals.
Delivering goods and other cargo by ship to the Hamas government in Gaza, without the supervision of the Israeli army, would also constitute a violation of the American federal code. The Anti Terrorism Act of 2002 prohibits the provision of any material support or resources to a designated terrorist organization.
A recent US Supreme Court decision ruled that material support could be something as benign as legal advice and would certainly include weapons, funds or bunker-building supplies. If anyone were killed, as nine were last year, the organizers could be charged with murder.
These laws were enacted to ensure that US citizens would not engage in hostile campaigns against American allies lest the US be dragged deeper into foreign conflicts.
Moreover, they serve to ensure that terrorist organizations are not funded or supplied by American citizens or residents.
When these laws go unenforced because of some romanticized notion that the lawbreakers are modern-day Gandhis, Kings and Mandelas, they imperil not just innocent Israelis who bear the brunt of the murderous Hamas attacks, but the safety of all peoples in the region.
The residents of the Negev communities have suffered more than a decade of deadly missile attacks from Gaza. The unsupervised provision of materials or support to Hamas endangers their safety.
Peace treaties, to which the United States government served as an active intermediary, cannot be ignored. It is wholly negligent of the US Department of Justice not to have investigated and prosecuted the flotilla organizers. Israel’s citizens cannot accept that American law enforcement is turning a blind eye and providing safe harbor to those who would abet their destruction.
The best way to head off the next flotilla is to pursue legal proceedings against its organizers. It is up to the law enforcement agencies around the world to make sure that laws are followed.
The writer is an Israeli attorney and the director of Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center.
1.”Fayyad’s state building in the West Bank — schools and roads and institutions and security forces — led the World Bank to declare last year that the Palestinian Authority was ready for a state “at any point in the near future.””
Yet, Cohen does not mention the continued existence of the terrorist groups in the PA controlled areas, the continued genocidal incitement against Jews and Israelis in particular.
Incitement was supposed to be stopped under the Oslo Accords, yet the PalArabs never ceased to indoctrinate their children in school, mosque or media to hate Jews and to preach the goal of destroying Israel.
2. “Israel snubbed a viable partner — criminal waste.”
This ignores the repeated attempts of Olmert and Livni to negotiate on an even more radical platform than Barak in 1999-2000. This was rejected by Abbas et al. Cohen does not propose to address this conceptual problem of how does one negotiate with a party that does not wish to negotiate except upon maximalist terms. As usual for the New York Times, Netanyahu is treated with a combination of contempt and rhetorical sleight of hand in an attempt to blame the Israeli government for PalArab rejectionism. The ten-month freeze in settlement building outside of Jerusalem is ignored but what is worse in Cohen’s dishonest approach is that he again reduces the PalArabs to the status of objects, ignoring the very real problem for Israeli politicians of PalArab behaviour during those ten months.
In the ten months in which Netanyahu persuaded reluctant political partners in a coalition government to suspend building outside of Jerusalem, the PalArab leadership, which Cohen calls “a viable partner” did not approach or suggest negotiations. Instead when the period was almost up, they asked for it to be extended! Netanyahu took a big gamble and the PalArabs behaved exactly as Israeli conservatives expected.
This behaviour must lead us to one of two possible conclusions: either the PalArab leadership in the PA does not want to make peace (as reflected in their own literature, political programmes and propoganda) or they cannot because they fear the reaction of a radicalised, terrorised PalArab population if the sacred goals of “Palestine from the River to the Sea” were abandoned.
3. “But Fayyad never got recognition from Israel for his achievements: Terrorist violence is down 96 percent in the West Bank in the past five years.”
Fayyad has nothing to do with the reduction of terrorist violence emanating from Judea and Samaria. The continuous presence of the IDF beyond the Green Line has been almost solely responsible for the near cessation of terrorist violence but the threat remains and reappears from time to time. The attacks upon Jewish car drivers in Jerusalem, the murder of the Fogel family and many unreported (in the Western media) attacks on Jews on either side of the Green Line are terrorist attacks, are motivated by PalArab propaganda and militant sentiment and are applauded in PalArab society and state.
How can Cohen unilaterally attribute reduction in terrorist violence without taking into account the IDF? Why has he nothing to say about the murderous propaganda emanating from mosque, school and media?
4. “The Israeli insistence on up-front recognition from the Palestinians of Israel as a “Jewish state” is absurd — a powerful indication of growing Israeli insecurities, isolation and intolerance.”
This has been the official view of the Israeli state since the founding of Israel but the reason for this insistence is to press the PalArabs to abandon the “one state solution” or to accept that Israel is a Jewish and sovereign state in the same way as a Palestinian state would be a Muslim one. It about ending the Nakba and accepting that Israel is a fact and not an obstacle to Arab honour.
Cohen does not ask why PalArab rejection of this demand is so consistent, nor does he delve into the reasons for this reluctance. If he were do so, he would have to revise his vision of a pragmatic Palestinian people and see a terrorised and radicalised people who’ve been ruled by authoritarian Arab regimes until 1967 (at least in Gaza and Judea & Samaria) and by an authoritarian, corrupt terrorist regime since 1994.
Cohen does not because his mind and eyes are closed. He treats Arab politics merely as a reaction to what he perceives as the excesses and insecurities of Israeli politics.
5. “States get recognized, not their nature, and the Palestine Liberation Organization has recognized Israel’s right to “exist in peace and security.””
Fatah has never recognised Israel. Fatah is the ruling party of the PLO and the ruling party of the PA. Cohen would do better to actually research these things before simply repeating them as common-place truths. This is not solely Cohen’s fault but is one that is shared between writers such as Friedman, Freedland and even Nick Cohen and David Aaronovitch. They all persist in trying press moderate credentials on mainstream PalArab factions and individuals and persistently run into the problem that those factions and individuals hold radical, genocidal views which embrace political violence and antisemititism.
6. “So pushing it to the front of the agenda is just Netanyahu’s way of putting delaying tactics ahead of strategic thinking once again. The waste is staggering and the looming train wreck appalling.”
Here Cohen is using the Livni tactic of ascribing catastrophic significance to the September vote in the UN. This event may not pass but the attempt to describe this as catastrophic is to place undeserved importance in this diplomatic stunt. Caroline Glick and others have pointed out that the UN General Assembly has declared Palestinian statehood on previous occasions but nothing came of this because the move is empty of the stuff of political power.
Cohen attempts to portray Netanyahu and by extension most Israelis as stupid and inviting their own destruction because they will not countenance a course of action which will not be accepted by the PalArabs and which if acted upon unilaterally will not end the war against the Jews but merely enable its continuance.
Sometimes, one has to love Caroline Glick.
Here she is on Thomas Friedman;
So on the one hand, the chief Palestinian negotiator declared eternal war. And on the other hand, Friedman condemned Netanyahu – for the gazillionth time.
The real flaw in Israeli military-political thinking with regard to Operation Cast Lead was the failure to occupy the ground. Too often the regime that sponsors the attacks remains in place.
Dr Samy Cohen is very wrong here. He’s taken the COIN doctrine but he’s not fully applied it. In order for COIN strategies to work, an alternate polity has to be developed and supported in order to wean the people from the terrorists.
Here Israel has not, even in its years of military administration of Judea, Samaria and Gaza until 1993. Instead it has not faced the problem of Arab irredentism, choosing to ignore or turn away from the problem of “how does Israel choose to defuse the hatred facing it”.
In a way, this flawed response can be seen in the depths of the Oslo process, poisoning the water. We rightly point out that the PLO/PA had, and has, refused to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state, refused to renounced the “right of return” and remained fully committed to terrorism and its aim of genocide.
But Israel has too often pushed the problem of Arab anti-Semitism and political terrorism onto others. It did so with the PLO, making Arafat responsible for dismantling the terrorists and making peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs and was dumbfounded when Arafat proved false.
Perhaps the poison in the well is the intellectual and cultural ideology of anti-imperialism. If Israel had any sense in 1967 after the Arabs refused to make peace, it would have annexed Gaza, Judea and Samaria (as well as the Sinai) and slowly absorbed the Arabs there into the Israeli polity. Strip away the hatred that was taught to two generations of the Arab inhabitants, promote economic growth and good governance from the village upwards and the new Israeli Arabs would have forgotten their hatred and become something different today.
Israel has relied on deterrence but not in COIN warfare. That disappeared in the 1960s with the last of the reprisal raids. Deterrence is still works and is required against states like Syria and against the budding Hezbollah state in Lebanon.
The conventional wisdom tells us that the 2006 war was a failure. Yes and no. It did not destroy Hezbollah – I have covered this in a different piece – the strategy was not matched to the (declared) political aim. But from the view of deterrence, it worked. There has been no more than a handful of attacks from Hezbollah or other Islamist groups since, though war is brewing once more.
Dr Cohen is right in one respect. When a true COIN war is fought, the policy of minimum force may well prove fruitful. But Israel’s only COIN war to date (the Second Intifada) was not marked by deterrence but by a combination of counter-insurgent battles and a minimum military presence sufficient only to control the ground. The PA remained in place, teaching the same hatreds and organising the attacks against Israel, the IDF and the Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, as well as against those who might advocate a different course for the Palestinians.
The flaw is political, not military. Clauswitz remains the supreme guide to war.