No human being is illegal: The Guardian’s vilification of settlers is immoral & illogical


A guest post by Gidon Ben-Zvi

In an August 12 article the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Harriet Sherwood reported that, “In highly contentious moves heralding the renewal of Middle East peace talks this week, Israel…authorized 1,200 new homes to be built in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.”

In response, Palestinian leaders warned that continued settlement expansion could scuttle peace talks.

Evidently, if not for Israeli communities on the ‘wrong’ side of the 1949 armistice lines, peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors would have broken out decades ago. And if large swaths of the “international community” evidently deem the territories seized by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War as illegally occupied, then it must be true.

2013, construction in (eastern) Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo

2013, construction in (eastern) Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo

It is easy to see why such a consensus has coalesced around the perceived relationship between the Jewish State and the West Bank. When you google the term ‘settlement’, pages upon pages of news items, essays, studies and screeds  – nearly all of them equating the Jewish civilian communities built on lands captured by Israel during the Six-Day War with illegal occupation – proliferate.

In her report, Sherwood asserts that, “all settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are illegal under international law.” However, the term “occupied” In relation to Israel’s control of these areas has little basis in international law or history.

petition by 1,000 international jurists arguing that Israel’s West Bank settlements are in fact legalrecently sent to EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, made the following points:

  • The long-held view of the EU as to the illegality of Israel’s settlements is a misreading of the relevant provisions of international law, and specifically Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which is neither relevant to the unique circumstances of Israel’s status in the area, nor was it ever applicable, or intended to apply to Israel’s circumstances in Judea and Samaria.
  • The EU together with other international bodies has consistently ignored authoritative sources, including the 1958 official commentary by International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as the published opinions of prominent international jurists, all of which explain the provenance of Article 49 in the need to address deportations, forced migration, evacuation, displacement, and expulsion of over 40 million people by the Nazis during the Second World War. This has no relevance to Israel’s settlements in Judea and Samaria.
  • The EU totally ignores the very agreement to which it is signatory as witness, the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement, in which it was agreed by the parties, pending a permanent status agreement, to exercise powers and authority in the areas under their respective control. Such powers include planning, zoning and construction. The issues of settlements and Jerusalem, as agreed upon between the parties, are negotiating issues, and hence, determinations by the EU undermine the negotiating process and run against the EU’s status as signatory.
  • The legality of Israel’s presence in the area stems from the historic, indigenous and legal rights of the Jewish people to settle in the area, as granted in valid and binding international legal instruments recognized and accepted by the international community. These rights cannot be denied or placed in question. This includes the 1922 San Remo Declaration unanimously adopted by the League of Nations, affirming the establishment of a national home for the Jewish People in the historical area of the Land of Israel (including the areas of Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem) as well as close Jewish settlement throughout. This was subsequently affirmed internationally in the League of Nations Mandate Instrument, and accorded continued validity, up to the present day, by Article 80 of the UN Charter which reaffirmed the validity of the rights granted to all states or peoples, or already existing international instruments (including those adopted by the League of Nations).
  • The inference regarding Israel’s borders as recognized by the EU is no less misguided and historically and legally wrong. The pre-1967 Armistice lines (so-called “green” line) were never considered to be borders. UN Security Council resolution 242 (1967), endorsed by the European members of the Council, called for “secure and recognized boundaries” to replace the pre-1967 Armistice lines. The European leaders further endorsed this principle in their 1980 Venice Declaration. By its persistence in referring to the pre-1967 lines, the EU is undermining future negotiation on this issue by pre-determining its outcome.
  • In a similar vein, the repeated use by the EU of the term “occupied Arab” or “Palestinian territories” to refer to the area of Judea and Samaria, has no basis in law or fact. The area has never been determined as such, and thus the continued EU usage of the term runs against the very concept of negotiations to resolve the dispute regarding these areas, supported by the EU, to determine their permanent status. 

And, leaving aside the legal basis for the settlements for a moment, while the geopolitical situation between Israel and the Palestinians is undeniably tense, it is also remarkably ordinary when perceived through a wider, global lens – especially when you glance at the long list of disputed territories around the world which has somehow eluded the attention of the ‘international community’.

Furthermore, the actual area inside the West Bank that’s being bickered over is much smaller than popularly understood. Built-up Jewish settlements account for a tiny fraction of the disputed territories. An estimated 70 percent of the settlers live in what are in effect suburbs of major Israeli cities such as Jerusalem. These are areas that virtually the entire Jewish population believes Israel must retain to ensure its security.

Probably the only net benefit to be reaped from the Oslo Accords is that their failure clarified what the true obstacle to peace between Israel and the Palestinians is and has always been. It is not the territories, nor the settlements, nor the settlers – but the very existence of Israel.  Recent history confirms this Arab intransigence: from 1949–67, when Jews were forbidden to live in the West Bank and “East” Jerusalem, the Arabs nonetheless refused to make peace with the “Zionist Entity”.

If it is not the settlements, then what is the true reason for this 45-year-old stalemate? While there are no easy answers, allowing the Jewish population in the territories to grow could arguably even serve as a catalyst for negotiations since the Palestinians would quickly realize that time is on the side of an Israel that is building settlements and creating facts on the ground.

Realizing this, Israel’s peace partners may finally acknowledge that the only way out of its dilemma is face-to-face negotiations, without preconditions such as the demand (met by Israel) to release Palestinian prisoners convicted of murder, attempted murder, or being an accessory to murder – many of whom identify with terrorist movements which reject peace with the Jewish state under any terms.

Ultimately, the disposition of settlements is a matter for final status negotiations. While one may legitimately support or challenge Israeli settlements in the disputed territories, they are not illegal, and demonizing Jews who live in communities across the green line is certainly not moral and does not help the peace process.  

Harriet Sherwood’s ‘obstacles to peace’ have neither the size, population, nor placement to have a serious impact on sincere efforts to reach a comprehensive agreement on all issues related to the disputed territories.

(Gidon Ben-Zvi is a Jerusalem-based writer who regularly contributes to Times of Israel and the Algemeiner)

108 comments on “No human being is illegal: The Guardian’s vilification of settlers is immoral & illogical

  1. The Guardian’s vilification of settlers is immoral & illogical
    Sadly their possibilities are limited (yet). The vilification of the “Zionists”, the “settlers” is maybe immoral but not illogical if you understand the meaning of those two words – they mean Jews., Jews who are not licking their collective progressive asses but kicking it instead.

  2. I wish that this issue would one day come before the ICJ or some similar body, which, made up of lawyers expert in international law, would simply shred the “illegal settlement” argument once and for all, and make it impossible for politicos and anti-Israelis to make that claim any longer.

    It has never come to that point because the Palestinians and their supporters know, in fact, that the settlements are not illegal, whatever one thinks of them from a political POV or as an possible hindrance to an agreement.

    • Actually AKUS, it has in a way. The ICJ has ruled that the separation barrier is illegal. The decision was undoubtedly political and those “judges” are no more objective about “settlements” than the most virulent anti-Israel NGO.

    • The IJC ignored just about every possible legal precedent when it gave its advisory opinion on Israel’s security barrier. it is completely politicized when it comes to Israel so don’t expect anything other than a kangaroo court at the IJC whereIsrael is concerned.

  3. Pingback: No human being is illegal: the truth behind the settlement sideshow | Jerusalem State of Mind

  4. This was an opportunity to denounce the decision to build more settlements during the peace talks. An opportunity lost. The decision was almost comically transparent. This site is about those who delegitimise Israel and if you had denounced such a vulgar and provocative gesture you would have gained much respect.

    • Why is it a provocation to build inside (not expand) and area that will be retained by Israel in any peace deal. It would have been a provocative if they had announced a completely new settlement in the middle of the West Bank. Your use of “vulgar and provocative” proves the exact point this article is making.

      • But that’s precisely the terminology used by most media: “establishing new settlements.” It’s got to be countered full-court-press fashion and almost no one’s doing it.

          • You do not get to determine what comprises “Israel.” That is subject to negotiation between Israel and Palestinians, not by some self-righteous, hypocritical Brit who would never apply his “high moral standards” to himself.

      • Why did Israel expand its territory into the West Bank in the first place?
        Wasn’t the creation of e.g. Ariel “provocative”?

        • For a better reason, i.e., it’s Israel’s historic homeland, than the hypocritical Brits expanding their territory into Ireland.

          • it’s Israel’s historic homeland

            Where exactly do the borders of said historic homeland extend to? East of the Jordan too?
            And how do you envisage the future? An Israel encompassing the entire West Bank? If not – why not?

            • The east bank of the Jordan river to the Mediterranean sea is Israel’s historic homeland. As such an “expert” you should know those details.

              Future borders entail negotiation, subsuming concessions by both sides.

                • As a Brit, it’s more than a bit embarrassing that you don’t understand English. I state quite clearly that borders are subject to negotiation between Israel and Palestinians.

                  You should invest in a remedial reading class.

                • @ Michael

                  As a Brit, it’s more than a bit embarrassing that you don’t understand English.

                  Oh, the wit! God what a boring dullard you are.

                • @pretzelberg: Likewise. Nevertheless, it took you only about a day to come up with that one.
                  Bravo! What progress.

            • Hi Pretzelberg. The contours of the modern Jewish state were established by the United Nations in 1947. Furthermore, the outline of an independent PALESTINIAN state were also set by the U.N. Had the Palestinians truly desired peaceful coexistence, they would have accepted the partition. Let’s not forget that Israel has already returned land to the Palestinians: despite the promises made in the Balfour Declaration, the Jewish people surrendered the majority of territories guaranteed it by the League of Nations to create a country that never was: Jordan. Thank you

              • The contours of the modern Jewish state were established by the United Nations in 1947.

                Care to relay that to the poster Michael? He seems to think the borders extend to the Jordan.

                • More lack of reading comprehension, I see. Gidon cites the well-known fact that the Arabs rejected that partition, so Israel is not bound by it.

  5. “The long-held view of the EU as to the illegality of Israel’s settlements is a misreading of the relevant provisions of international law, and specifically Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which is neither relevant to the unique circumstances of Israel’s status in the area, nor was it ever applicable, or intended to apply to Israel’s circumstances in Judea and Samaria.”

    Perhaps someone would let us into the secret of the unique circumstances of Israel which entitles it to break international law. Why should Israel not be subject to International Law like any other country? Does not make sense to say that our uniqueness entitles us to break the law. Double standards or what?

    I

    • Hi Rafi. The point I was trying to convey was that despite conventional wisdom to the contrary, Israel is breaking no international law when it allows its citizens to build communities in territories that were captured in a defensive war. Had Israel not initiated what became known as the Six Day War, it may well have ceased to exist. Based on your logic, a sovereign nation has no right to defend itself from invasion and conquest unless that nation promises not to succeed in warding off extinction. Rafi, you are entitled to your opinion that the settlements somehow are an obstacle for peace. However, my essay refutes your contention that they are illegal. I thank you for reading and replying to my essay!

      • The 6 day war eh? It was Pearl Harbor mark 2 . Funny nobody on your side of the debate ever uses that expression.. Yes we all cheered Moshe…we were kids listening to Arab -phobic media..what the hell did we know

        • Funny, you still know nothing. Pearl Harbor? Does that mean that the Americans attacked the Japanese?

        • Goodguy: “we were kids listening to Arab -phobic media..what the hell did we know”

          Whereas you have been brought up in a Judeo-phobic culture that is incapable of any empathy with Jews as a people staring into the abyss of destruction when Nasser made his blood curdling speeches to drive the Jews into the sea, block the straights of the Red Sea to Israeli shipping (act of war), amass troops in the Sinai and become joint of staff of the Syrian armed forces to attack Israel on two fronts.

          Ignorance seems to be your particular forte.

      • “Had Israel not initiated what became known as the Six Day War,”

        To be clear, Israel did not initiate the 6 day war. Egypt did. They blockaded the Straights of Tiran which is a recognized act of war. Not to mention the fact that Egypt removed UN peace keepers in the Sinai and massed tens of thousands of troops near Israel’s border. And not to mention the fact that all of the other Arab countries simply invaded for no reason other than to destroy Israel.

        • Not to mention, as I am old enough to remember (and as you can clearly see if you search for Egyptian cartoons in May 1967), they made no secret of their plan to “drive the Jews into the sea.”

        • The battle with Jordan was a bit diffrenet .Israel only entered the West Bank after repeated Jordanian artillery fire and ground movements across the previous armistice lines. Jordanian attacks began at 10:00 a.m.; an Israeli warning to Jordan was passed through the UN at 11:00 a.m.; Jordanian attacks nonetheless persisted, so that Israeli military action only began at 12:45 p.m. Additionally, Iraqi forces had crossed Jordanian territory and were poised to enter the West Bank. Under such circumstances, the temporary armistice boundaries of 1949 lost all validity the moment Jordanian forces revoked the armistice and attacked. Israel thus took control of the West Bank as a result of a defensive war.

          • Hi Alexa. Taking your analysis a step further, I think it is worth noting that having acquired the West Bank in a defensive war, Israel later began building settlements on the West Bank. The settlements were built solely on land belonging to the Jordanian government, and not land belonging to individual Arab owners.

    • Did you read the article? If so, how does Israel break international law, unless you mean that “International law” consists of whatever the Arabist agenda entails.

      • I get the impression that that is exactly what “international law” means to a very high proportion of the world. To the world’s shame. And what shame it is that an article needs the serious title of the one we are commenting on.

  6. Running from one alias to the next.
    The change from ranamirza to Rafi Mirza, from NSIsmail to Antisemite Rana won`t help you, antisemitic member of the Diane Shame Group of aliases like Mondoweiss Chris/Isac/ liar/Peter Ounce/Islamabadi/diane/dianeshammes/Angel/Rafi aka Nazisse Sharon/Jane/Catherine/Samantha aka HarpalSingh/AaronPatel/AnrewBird/Jeremy Bowles/AlanThornton/Jabal aka
    Alan/Deborah/Jim/Jason/Dirk/Nick/Natzie/Rob, amended by Gerald with Dopey/Grumpy/Sneezy/Sleazy/Tosser/Dorothy/Straw Man/Dick Head/Drek

  7. Read the post. Where does it say Israel is entitled to break international law? The whole point is that the settlements are not illegal under international law, so there is no law for Israel to break.

  8. Gideon you say “Hi Rafi. The point I was trying to convey was that despite conventional wisdom to the contrary, Israel is breaking no international law”

    Now tell me why you think your unconventional wisdom should take precedence over the conventional wisdom. I will stick with the conventional wisdom – if you have no objection.

    • The problem here is that you have a pre-conceived notion that the land belongs to the Arabs and that is false.

      If you have the courage, I suggest that you watch the link that Jeff posted above.

    • Make an actual legal argument then. If you can’t then your opinion and that of the EU is worthless. If you can’t, feel free to stick with your ignorance.

    • Simply put: my conclusions are based on historical fact and dispassionate analysis. Way back when, the pervailing conventional wisdom was that the earth was flat. Another doozie that was as universally recognized then as is the illegality of Jewish settlements are today is that Emperor Nero fiddled while Rome burned. In fact, the violin would not be invented for another 1,600 years. In short, Rafi, facts are stubborn things and repeating a misconception 10,000 times doesn’t turn it into a truth.

  9. It is interesting what is being said by this blog is that conventional wisdom is wrong, the Judges are wrong Zionists are right – On one point I concede individuals by themselves are not illegal. It is their actions that are illegal. So a murderer is not illegal he is committed and his action was illegal and as retribution he needs to be punished. If somebody has stolen a property again, he has committed an illegal act. The victim of the crime needs to be reimbursed and the perpetrator needs to be punished. That is the conventional wisdom. The unconventional view held by the perpetrator that he has done nothing wrong is not conventionally acceptable.

    • Hi Rafi. At its best, international law is blind and impartial – not subject to the whims of public opinion. As such, you may want to keep in mind that a nation has no obligation under international law to surrender control of territory to an entity which is in a state of war with the nation. The constitution of the PLO and the Hamas charter both explicitly call for the destruction of the state of Israel. Accordingly, Israel has no international law obligation to give any territory to a government controlled by the PLO or Hamas. (Had the PLO followed through on its promises in the Oslo Accords, and actually ended its war against Israel, the legal situation might be different.)

      • One point of clarification that Professor Kontorovich elucidates quite brilliantly is how the term “international law” has lost its meaning. The UN doesn’t make international law as it is not a lawmaking body nor is there is any such thing as an international congress or international parliament. That role does not fall to media outlets like The Groan and Biased BS Confabulation either. As such, international law is made between countries on individual basis.

  10. There is ample evidence provided by the honest Zionist themselves – Here is what Benny Morris a well respected Zionist Historian puts the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians – Of course the evidence is damning for the wrong doing and is recognized as part of the conventional wisdom as unjust and illegal.

    “A Jewish state would not have come into being without the uprooting of 700,000 Palestinians. Therefore it was necessary to uproot them. There was no choice but to expel that population. It was necessary to cleanse the hinterland and cleanse the border areas and cleanse the main roads. It was necessary to cleanse the villages from which our convoys and our settlements were fired on.[5]”

    • Benny Morris? Who else, Ilan Pappe? What makes a Zionist “honest?”

      He states results that fit his opinion. Neither of you mention the fact that the Arabs themselves told the people there to leave so that they wouldn’t be in the way of their invading armies.

    • You quote Morris selectively. Elsewhere he makes it clear that this Arab population instigated belligerence and aligned itself with invading belligerents, thus becoming a party to war and setting up the outcome. It’s a plain fact that no harm befell Arab villages/towns that sat it out.

    • Talk by Benny Morris
      – When looking at Israeli internal documents we clearly find that (In accordance with original Zionistic principals) there was NO Jewish institutional policy of expelling the Arabs.
      In a military directive from March 1948, there was a specific order that commanders should treat the Arab population with dignity and NOT expel inhabitants, except for military objectives.

    • Rafi and his definition of an ‘honest Zionist’ – one that strengthens his visceral Medieval prejudices regarding Jews as liars, thieves and murderers.

  11. Of course Michael keep telling yourself they did to themselves does not make it true. Now I have Ilan Pappe he is a good historian. But i prefer to supply a Zionist historian as a witness who has no reason to lie on behalf of the Palestinians.

    “When a Haaretz interviewer called the 1948 Palestinian exodus “ethnic cleansing”, Morris responded, “[t]here are circumstances in history that justify ethnic cleansing. I know that this term is completely negative in the discourse of the 21st century, but when the choice is between ethnic cleansing and genocide—the annihilation of your people—I prefer ethnic cleansing.”[5]
    Morris endorses the creation of a Palestinian state, as reducing the urge for violence against Israelis: “We have to try to heal the Palestinians. Maybe over the years the establishment of a Palestinian state will help in the healing process. But in the meantime, until the medicine is found, they have to be contained so that they will not succeed in murdering us. Something like a cage has to be built for them. I know that sounds terrible. It is really cruel. But there is no choice. There is a wild animal there that has to be locked up in one way or another.””

    You cannot heal the victim’s wounds unless you give the victim justice and there lies the real existential threat for Zionist Israel which it really cannot do anything about.

    Again, in Benny Morris’s words “”If he was already engaged in expulsion, maybe he should have done a complete job. I know that this stuns the Arabs and the liberals and the politically correct types. But my feeling is that this place would be quieter and know less suffering if the matter had been resolved once and for all. If Ben-Gurion had carried out a large expulsion and cleansed the whole country – the whole Land of Israel, as far as the Jordan River. It may yet turn out that this was his fatal mistake. If he had carried out a full expulsion – rather than a partial one – he would have stabilized the State of Israel for generations.””

    • Of course keep telling yourself that Jews do not have a right to live on this land does not make it true.

      Morris is unfortunately, not the only Israeli who engages in self-loathing. What you conveniently ignore is the hostility that Arabs showed to Jews well before the creation of the state. Ever hear of the Hebron Massacre? There wouldn’t have been so much conflict otherwise.

      • The impression gets stronger every day that the haters and the idiots who parrot them really do not want to have Jews living on any land.

        But how would the ugly creatures live if the benefits Jews have provided to the world were suddenly taken away from them?

    • The Arabs objected to Israel’s existence and tried to kill it at birth. The Israelis successfully and rightfully repelled the attack. You can talk all you want about how the Palestinians were victims, but when comparing that war to other wars where the aggressors were defeated, whilst many of their own people could be called victims of war, generally we do not refer to the aggressor side of a conflict as its victims.
      And, I do believe that even Benny Morris’ overall view of that war was that Israeli actions were mostly justified. It’s the Arab side’s actions that were from the get go unnecessary and unjustified, and it was principally those actions and subsequent actions and rhetoric that bring us to where we are today.

  12. Michael how do you think the pre-conceived notion that the land belongs to the Arabs compare with my grandfather owned this land 2000 years ago? How do you know?

    • Because, quite simply Arabs did not live in Israel 2,000 years ago. Even the Palestinian representative at the UN has admitted that.

  13. Neither did the Europeans who claim their grandfather owned the house 2000 years ago – but the Arabs claim somebody robbed their house a mere 60 years ago – I know Justice has taken long time coming but it will come

      • Precisely, Michael. The house where I grew up (I am Jewish) is now “occupied” by a Muslim family. If I kept my front door key and claimed refugee status, do you think the UN will feed me and my children and my grandchildren to eternity?

        I don’t think so. Mainly because my “Jewish” house (which had been lived in by Jews for at least 60 years to my knowledge) which was “taken over” by Muslims a mere 25 years ago, is in the Kenton area of North West London. In fact, the whole area used to contain a large Jewish community – every other house had a mezuzah. I visited again a couple of weeks ago, and my kids were the ONLY ones under Bar Mitzvah in the shul (once packed with kids and youth). The area now has as many South Asian Muslims as it used to have Jews.

        Guess what? This is perfectly normal and part of the way of the world. People (and communities of all sorts of stripes, colours and religions) move around. The character of areas changes over time. In most countries, it is perfectly possible for a church to be re-dedicated as a synagogue, and vice versa. It may be personally sad to see the once vibrant Kenton community dying out, but that’s all it is. Personal sadness. Not a stick with which to beat anyone.

        • Perhaps another example will help you. My maternal grandmother was born in Vilnius. Her family were once rich merchants who owned a beautiful mansion in an expensive part of town. Due to the racist persecution Jews suffered, and the deaths from typhus of her parents at a young age, by the 1920s, my grandmother and her younger siblings were effectively destitute (though still in their home). They were fortunate to have a relative in England who paid for them to sail to London, leaving their home and the very few possessions left to them.

          My mother and her sisters went back to Vilnius a couple of years ago and found the house which still stands. Should they claim it as theirs? Are we Lithuanian refugees? Or perhaps Belarusian refugees (my maternal grandfather fled from Kossack pogroms in a village now in Belarus)? Or perhaps Polish refugees (where my paternal grandparents fled from)?

          No, no and no. My grandparents worked hard, earned their British citizenships, instilled good values in their children and grandchildren and now their grandchildren are Brits, Israelis, Americans, Czechs … That’s how the world works. Get used to it.

    • I know Justice has taken long time coming but it will come
      I don’t believe it until you will be in a closed ward, preferably in a Hamas prison or mental institution in Gaza.

    • The mufti also claimed that the Jews stole the land. But when asked by Sir Laurie Hammond, a member of the Peel Commission he told another story

      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.

      SIR L. HAMMOND: Not taken by compulsory acquisition?

      MUFTI: No.

      SIR L. HAMMOND: But these lands amounting to some 700,000 dunams were actually sold?

      MUFTI: Yes, they were sold, but the country was placed in such conditions as would facilitate such purchases.

      SIR I HAMMOND: I don’t quite understand what you mean by that. They were sold. Who sold them?

      MUFTI: Land owners.

      SIR I HAMMOND: Arabs?

      MUFTI: In most cases they were Arabs.

      SIR L. HAMMOND: Was any compulsion put on them to sell? If so, by whom?

      MUFTI: As in other countries, there are people who by force of circumstances, economic forces, sell their land.

    • During the Zionist movement, most Arab land was purchased fair and square by the Jewish National Fund from absentee Arab landlords. Some Arabs fled their villages during the war of independence, other were expelled. As Benny Morris points out, this was because they were hostile to the Israeli forces, which therefore needed to clear the territory for defensive purposes. Nowhere was Arab property stolen. No one was robbed.

  14. If an Arab has been living in a place that is his house. Now, somebody comes and kicks him out of that house it still remains the Arab house and Justice demands retribution whichever way you look at it.

    Now some claim that the Arabs left of their own accord, a very unlikely story, but even than it is an Arab house. Most of those houses are not 2000 years old so when the Europeans left that place for Europe the houses that were there 60 years ago were not there 2000 years ago.

    The problem is now justice has to be done. Palestinians have to receive retribution. than It is possible that both people can live together in peace. There is no other option. Palestinians cannot be exterminated as Benny argues no matter how powerful a case you build against them of being barbarians. Many Jews would not buy it let alone the rest of the world. We are living in the 21st century.

    • First of all, there has been continuous Jewish habitation of the land since before the time that there were any Arabs whatsoever. Furthermore, the encouragement of Arab armies telling Arabs living in the land to leave is well documented. While some did leave out of fear and there were undoubtedly forced out, to say that all were “expelled” by Zionists is disingenuous and simply a denial because it doesn’t suit your agenda.

      Also, you referred to the word “house” in a metaphorical sense, previously, but now in a literal sense. Fine, Jews also built houses all over Israel that Arabs did not build, so those have never been their houses.

      Justice has to be done? It’s being served by Jews returning to their land. Furthermore, those charges of “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing” are simply stupid. Anyone can look at the demographics and see that over the years the Palestinian population has increased. That doesn’t happen under genocide.

      Yes, we need to live together and when Arabs drop their agenda of driving Jews into the sea as they have tried to do on several occasions, living together may just happen.

    • “Now some claim that the Arabs left of their own accord, a very unlikely story, but even than it is an Arab house.”

      Rafi now I understand.
      You want some areas and houses designated for Arabs only.

    • The same way 850,000 jews refugees from arab countries.
      If Israel wanted to exteminated the Palestinain it could have done so many times.

  15. Good Article. It should also be pointed out that the idea of European collusion with the Arabs to clear Jews from any piece of land, anywhere in the world, but especially in their very own Homeland, is racist, disgusting, and anathema to the values the Europeans supposedly abide by. Of course, these values are outweighed by European anti-Semitism and the need to appease Arab/Islamic supremacists who insist on a Judenfrei land (as is pretty much already the case in the rest of the Middle East).

    • I find your post muddled. You’re saying that accusing Europea of collusion with the Arabs to clear Jews from any piece of land is in itself racist – right?

      • No Pretz. He is saying that the “idea” of European collusion is disgusting and an anathema, and that the “act” of doing so is a racist endeavour.

        And he has a point. Antizionists like to compare Israel to apartheid South Africa and to British Imperial colonies. When apartheid ended, I don’t recall a rush to expel all the whites from South Africa – that would have been just as racist and evil as the terrible regime that had been dismantled. When India, Kenya, Jamaica, Australia etc secured independence from Britain, I don’t recall a rush to force all Brits to “go home” – that would have been racist and counter-productive.

        Only in Palestine does the creation of a state for “Palestinians” necessarily mean that NO JEWS can live there. What sort of disgusting racist endeavour is this that seems to have the support of the UN, the EU, the Guardian and “liberals” around the world?

  16. The flight from one alias to the next.
    The change from ranamirza to Rafi Mirza, from NSIsmail to Antisemite Rana won`t help you, antisemitic member of the Diane Shame Group of aliases like Mondoweiss Chris/Isac/ liar/Peter Ounce/Islamabadi/diane/dianeshammes/Angel/Rafi aka Nazisse Sharon/Jane/Catherine/Samantha aka HarpalSingh/AaronPatel/AnrewBird/Jeremy Bowles/AlanThornton/Jabal aka
    Alan/Deborah/Jim/Jason/Dirk/Nick/Natzie/Rob, amended by Gerald with Dopey/Grumpy/Sneezy/Sleazy/Tosser/Dorothy/Straw Man/Dick Head/Drek

  17. No, Gerald I do not want an Arab Settlement in Tel-aviv but a house that an Arab lives or was forced out of is still an Arab House. Are you saying that just because an Arab has been dispossessed of his house by a Zionist the house is no longer an Arab House but a Zionist house. May be the racist Israeli laws but not by conventional wisdom

    • “.. but a house that an Arab lives or was forced out of is still an Arab House”

      Rafi so what if the Arab sells the house and or land, do you accept that it belongs to whoever purchases it?

    • What is the difference between an arab who had to leave his home and become a refugee due to a war ,and a german who had to leave his home and become a refugee due to a war. I don;t see Germans sitting in refugee camps for decades demanding to have their homes back.

      • I don;t see Germans sitting in refugee camps for decades demanding to have their homes back.

        i.e. you believe Jews should have stayed in the diaspora.

  18. Why do you discuss with the terror buddy Mirza aka Ismail aka whatever?
    He keeps repeating the same lies since years.

  19. Pingback: The Tripod: CAMERA Links in Three Languages – August 13th edition | BBC Watch

  20. None of the Palestinians in Dir Yassen sold their houses – Perhaps you know something that nobody else except as conventional wisdom – but you still want to stick to your narrative that they gave me their houses willingly.

    • John Walsh – with a European name like that I would say you have a lot more to answer for than the injustices that occurred at Dier Yassin. You could start with an apology for your ancestors treatment of the Jews in England, the first country in Europe to rob, expel (and murder) it’s Jewish population, and the first country to spread its disgusting blood libel against the Jewish people – something still going strong in today’s modern and forward thinking times. Or doesn’t that fit your morally superior European conscience?

  21. Alexa it is obvious one is an Arab and the other a German

    Both have a right of return to their countries of origin. I suspect the Palestinians
    will be happy to have the German law applied to them giving them a right of return.

    German law allows persons of German descent (by citizenship) living in countries of the former Warsaw pact (as well as Yugoslavia) the right to return to Germany and claim German citizenship (Aussiedler/Spätaussiedler “late emigrants”; de:Aussiedler). After legislative changes in late 1992 this right is de facto restricted to Germans from the former Soviet Union. As with many legal implementations of the Right of Return, the “return” to Germany of individuals who may never have lived in Germany based on their ethnic origin has been controversial. The law is codified in Article 116 of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany, which provides access to German citizenship for anyone “who has been admitted to the territory of the German Reich within the boundaries of December 31, 1937 as a refugee or expellee of German ethnic origin or as the spouse or descendant of such person”,

    • In that case, Jews have the right of return to their homeland. Thank you for your support of the Zionist cause.

    • During an international meeting dealing with Middle Eastern problems, sponsored by a German foundation, a Lebanese academic raised the issue of the right of Palestinian refugees to return to Israel.

      A senior German minister responded: “This is an issue with which we in Germany are familiar; may I ask my German colleagues in the audience to raise their hand if they, or their families, were refugees from Eastern Europe?” More than half the Germans present (government officials, journalists, businessmen) raised a hand: they, or their families, had been Vertriebene, expelled from their ancestral homes in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Yugoslavia after World War II. It is estimated that up to 10 million were expelled; with their descendants today they make up almost double that number – almost one in four Germans.

      The German minister said he himself was born in Eastern Europe and his family was expelled in the wake of the anti-German atmosphere after 1945. “But,” he added, “neither I nor any of my colleagues claim the right to go back.”

      Anyone who now argues that the 1948 Palestinian refugees have a claim, in principle, to return to Israel, has to confront the question: Why not the millions of German post-1945 expellees from Eastern Europe?

      The German minister explained: Had a German government insisted in talks about reunification in 1990 that all German expellees from Poland and Czechoslovakia have, in principle, a right to return to these countries, it would have been clear that what West Germany had in mind was not reunification, but undoing the consequences of Nazi Germany’s defeat in 1945.

      This is exactly the meaning of the Palestinian demand for the right of return. The Palestinians’ insistence on it at Camp David and Taba in 2000 made clear to most Israelis that what they have in mind is not undoing the consequences of 1967 – but undoing the consequences of their defeat in 1948.

      At that time, Palestinian Arabs and four Arab members of the UN went to war – not only against Israel, but against international legitimacy and the UN plan for a two-state solution. There is no other example of member countries going to war against UN decisions; this is what the Arab countries – and the Palestinians – did. Obviously they prefer to forget it.

      Clearly there is a serious humanitarian issue involved. That the Palestinians’ plight has been compounded by Arab use of the refugees as political pawns for half a century is a measure of the cynicism and immorality of Arab politics.

    • “They” can return to a country of their own, just as soon as a country of their own is established. There isn’t really an analogy with the German situation, only a contrast. The phony analogies won’t get you far here.

  22. Groovy Times I apologize every day to those who have suffered racism at the hands of the British. I apologize for the massacre in Amritsar and I apologize for the British trying to ethically clean Europe and for not allowing the Jews to escape to England from the Nazis.I apologize for the colonization of North America and Australasia where they wiped out the indigenous peoples.

    Apologies for the Balfour Declaration that is still causing massacres in the Middle East. What can I sorry to all those who have suffered because of the British colonization of the world.

    Now let us try and fix it. Compensate the Palestinians by ensuring they can return to their homes.

    • Talk is cheap. Instead of making insincere apologies, why you all put your money where your big mouths are and get your arses out of occupied Ulster and pay reparations to the part of the world that you’ve ruined?

      And by the way, what massacres is the Balfour declaration causing?

    • And by that create another massacare of the Jews. But than who care when Jews are being killed. Yes let fix it get rid of the jews and everyone will by happy.

    • Actually it is not the British but 51 countries of the Leage of Nation .
      Mandate for Palestine” is a League of Nations document that laid down the Jewish legal rights in Palestine. The British Mandate, on the other hand, was entrusted by the League of Nations with the responsibility to administrate the area delineated by the “Mandate for Palestine.

  23. Well of course they have and so have the Palestinians nobody argued the Jews have no right to return to their homes that would be racist.

    • Ah. Since the Balfour Declaration, for which you made a backhanded “apology” above, enabled Jews to return to their homes, it would then reason that you’re apologizing for not being racist.

      Got it.

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