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Friday, 18 December 2009
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.

Posted on 12/18/2009 11:01 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
19 Dec 2009
Hugh Fitzgerald

It was the Allies, and in the MIddle East chiefly Great Britain, that was responsible for the defeat of the Turks. Had it not been for the Allies, the Arabs would still have been under Turkish control. The Arabs themselves showed no great interest in fighting the Arabs; it wasn't until late in 1916, after two years of imprecations from the British that a handful of Arabs under one of the Hashemites managed to create a force of a few hundred men who did little more than harass the Hejaz Railway. The mythomane T. E. Lawrence convinced others that he, and those Arab troops, had done something significant, but as was known at the time, to those in the know, there was nothing of importance achieved by those troops. And the myth of the Arabs taking Damascus, when it was actually the Australians who did so, has been well-established. See J. B. Kelly, passim, see Elie Kedourie, passim, see Richard Aldington in his myth-smashing book about Lawrence.

The Muslim Arabs did not have, and do not have,some kind of divine? right to the entire Middle East and North Africa. There are still many other peoples, the Jews, the Kurds, the Armenians and the Arabs were all supposed to acquire states of their own after World War I. We know what happened.?The Kurds did not get their state, though they certainly deserved and still deserve one. The Armenians had that part of their ancient homeland in eastern Anatolia taken over by Kurds and Turks (think of the place now called "Diyarbakir"?and of Armenians no longer there), and had to be content with the dimidiated Armenian SSR, which at long last is the independent state of Armenia. The Muslim Arabs ended up, as we all know, with nearly two dozen separate states. In none of those states do any of the non-Muslims or non-Arabs enjoy the full rights and security that the Muslim Arabs do, much less enjoy autonomy. Think of the cultural and linguistic imperialism of the Arabs from which the Berbers suffer. Think of the Copts, the descendants of the original Egyptians, not the descendants of Arab (or Turk) invaders, in Egypt. Think of the Maronites, for whom Mont Liban, Mount Lebanon,? provided a refuge from the Muslim invaders, and think of how their status has steadily gone downhill ever since the French left. Think of the Chaldeans and Assyrians, the Mandeans and Yazdis and Turcomans, in Iraq, and what they have been on the receiving end of, from Muslim Arabs under Saddam Hussein, and especially now that Saddam Hussein's regime is gone, and the "secular"?Ba'ath Party can no longer hold the true-blue Muslims in check. And so on.

The British and French are the ones who removed the Turks. The League of Nations attempted to meet the perceivedneeds, and to justice, to the many peoples of the Middle East, and was not fooled by that phrase that originates with ARAMCO propagandists, about "the Arab World,"?nor was it corrupted, as the U.N. has been, by an Arab bloc that, through appeals to fellow Muslims, and the abundant use of propaganda and money, has managed to transform that organization into something it was never intended to be.

Besides, the U.N. Charter requires the U.N. to accept, unchanged the League of Nations Mandates, that is those that had not yet expired. It was not free to ignore them, and it is not free to ignore the terms of those Mandates -- where territory allocated under them remains in dispute (and not, tendentiously, "occupied"). Read Stone, or read Greif on the relevance of San Remo. Read, too, the exact wording of Resolution 242, and keep in mind who defines what constitutes Z"defensible borders."?Hint:?it will not be the Arab League, nor the recently-invented (see Zuhair Mohsen) "Palestinian people.'?

19 Dec 2009
Send an emailMary Jackson

She's ignorant rather than malignant. And nobody had heard of her before the Lisbon treaty business.

Blame the Irish. Why not?

19 Dec 2009
Send an emailLugo

I don't see why the League of Nations mandate language should provide a superior claim on the land.  LON Mandates were simply a fig leaf for British and French military occupation, which indeed turned out to be "temporary" in the grand scheme of things.