Date: 16/12/2019
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Catherine Ashton Off To An Intolerable Start

Catherine Ashton, I suspect, has never understood the legal, moral, and historic claims of Israel to those parts of Judea and Samaria (the terms used uninterruptedly in the Western world for more than 2000 years) that the Jordanians, when they seized that territory in 1948-49, carefully renamed as "the West Bank." She may be unaware that the only reason the Arabs have a claim is that of military possessor, or occupier, which claim they lost when they lost the territory in 1967. Israel, on the other hand, does not have a claim that rests solely on being a (temporary) military occupier. Its claim rests on the legislative intent, and the express language, of the League of Nations' Mandate for Palestine.

Perhaps Catherine Ashton has not read the relevant documents including the records of the Mandates Commission. She really ought at least to read, and carefully re-read, the Preamble to the Mandate for Palestine, especially the parts about encouraging "close Jewish settlement" on the land -- the "land" in question including all of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, that is including what is now so tendentiously known as "the West Bank." 

She should supplement this by looking into the most exhaustive study of the legal status of the territories that Israel won in the Six-Day War, written by Professor Julius Stone, an Australian lawyer and a celebrated writer on jurisprudence, hailed by, among others, Dean Roscoe Pound of Harvard Law School. Once she has read and thoroughly assimilated that book's contents, perhaps she will be qualified to speak on the subject and will have learned not to use -- even if the BBC and The Guardian and a great many other places continue to use - that loaded, but most inaccurate Homeric epithet, "occupied" in front of the phrase "West Bank." The territory is, according to the Mandate for Palestine, part of that assigned to the Jewish National Home.  That Great Britain, in 1921, even before it had formally assumed its responsibilites as Mandatary authority, unilaterally refused to apply the Mandate' s provisions to fully 78% of the territory originally assigned to the Mandate, that is to all of Eastern Palestine, out to the desert, which became the Emirate of Transjordan and then, in 1946, the Kingdom of Jordan, was outrageous enough. For anyone at all, for say Catherine Ashton, to think that she can get away with applying this word "occupied" to land  that was always meant to be part of Israel, is outrageous.

She should be knocked about, and knocked about again, until she learns a little something. It isn't too late. She'd better.