Palestine Can Now Join the International Criminal Court

by craig on November 1, 2011 8:47 am in Uncategorized

Palestine is now a state. Membership of the United Nations is not in international law a pre-condition of statehood, and indeed is not compulsory for states. The existence of states not members of the UN is recognised in international law, not least by the UN itself. Palestine has just joined UNESCO for example under a provision which allows states which are not members of the United Nations to join if they get qualified majority support – which Palestine overwhelmingly did.

So the UNESCO membership is crucial recognition of Palestine’s statehood, not an empty gesture. With this evidence of international acceptance, there is now absolutely no reason why Palestine cannot, instantly and without a vote, join the International Criminal Court. Palestine can now become a member of the International Criminal Court simply by submitting an instrument of accession to the Statute of Rome, and joining the list of states parties.

As both the USA and Israel refuse to join the ICC because of their desire to commit war crimes with impunity, acceding to the statute of Rome would not only confirm absolutely that Palestine is a state, it would reinforce the fact that Palestine is a better international citizen with more moral legitimacy than Israel.

There is an extremely crucial point here: if Palestine accedes to the Statute of Rome, under Article 12 of the Statute of Rome, the International Criminal Court would have jurisdiction over Israelis committing war crimes on Palestinian soil. Other states parties – including the UK – would be obliged by law to hand over indicted Israeli war criminals to the court at the Hague. This would be a massive blow to the Israeli propaganda and lobbying machine.

It would also be a huge chance for the International Criminal Court to redeem its reputation. It is widely believed, particularly in Africa, that the ICC is merely a tool of western domination and used against those that the NATO powers want it used against. That is a bit unfair on the court, who are dealing with the cases brought before them according to the statutes. Palestinian membership could give a chance for the court to assert its independence, and become a watershed for both Palestine and the ICC.

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  1. Libya is not on that list of States Parties, yet the ICC had no problem indicting Libyans for things they allegedly did in Libya to Libyans. So why is it necessary for Palestine to sign up in order for the ICC to take an interest in goings-on in Palestine?

    If the ICC were a judicial body it would be indicting NATO commanders and personnel for bombing TV studios etc. It’s a political body whose primary purpose is assisting in the re-colonisation of Africa.

    If Palestine could sign up to the International Court of Justice, now that would be something to see.

  2. And why should anyone give 2 farthings about the UN or the Stature of Rome?

  3. I paid some attention to the functioning of the ICTY, an atrocious monstrosity of which Stalin would have been proud, and as far as I can see the same problem is repeated at the ICC; the prosecutors are a part of the court rather than being separate, which gives them an impossible advantage over the defence. In the ICTY the judges behave as if they are in fact simply an extension of the prosecutors’ office.
    The problem with these ‘courts’, which is blatantly in evidence at the ICTY, which came up again in the Lockerbie trial, and which I cannot believe is not equally present at the ICC, is that in high profile cases the judges are unable to resist political interference. Thus, for example, Saif al-Islam al-Gadaffi, though he did nothing more than call on the Libyan people to resist the rebellion which threatened their state, would certainly be convicted, or if conviction was too embarrassing in the face of the evidence, bumped off before the case could be finished like poor old Milosevic. The supposed justification for NATO’s latest exhibition of their supreme international criminality is precisely that Saif and his Dad were devilish criminals bumping off lots of Libyans. If Saif were acquitted it follows that Barry, Nic and Bomber Dave would have to be next in the dock.

  4. mike cobley

    1 Nov, 2011 - 9:58 am

    “And why should anyone give 2 farthings about the UN or the Stature of Rome?”
    Is that Ghengis Khan that lwtc is channelling?

  5. How frustrating all this is for those zionist cartographers intent on wiping Palestine off the map.

  6. LWTC247 and Quelctime

    I think you need to think deeper. We saw a monstrous abuse of international institutions during the Bush/Blair years, similar to what Hitler and Mussolini did to the League of Nations.

    The altenrative is either to strengthen and improve international law and international institutions, or accpet that might is right. I go for the former.

    You might as well argue “why does Palestine want to join the UN?”. Diplomacy is the only chance for Palestinians. They can’t win by force. Your shallow-minded rejection of the ways to fight this diplomatic battle is pointless and nihilistic.

  7. “it would reinforce the fact that Palestine is a better international citizen with more moral legitimacy than Israel.”

    This is not a fact but a view. My view is that both Israel and Palestine have moral legitimacy and trying to assert that one has more than the other will actually make no contribution to peace or a settlement.

  8. A little puzzled on the jurisdiction point – Bashir has been indicted by the ICC, yet Sudan is not a signatory. Is that because there are certain crimes and circumstances where universal jurisdiction applies, but if so, any reason they can’t already apply wrt Palestine?

  9. Wrong there Stephen. If I were to say “Nelson Mandela possesses great moral authority”, that is a fact. It is only not a fact if you hold the view that facts are only corporeal. But Nelson Mandela’s moral authority, I would contend, is a fact measurable by the tools of social science.

    The Unesco vote was a reasonable test of the relative moral authority of Israel and Palestine. Moral authority also affects popular opinion and is to a certain extent measurable by it. Israel’s moral authority have been undermined by its attack on the Mavi Marmara, Operation Cast Lead, the pitilessness of its blockade, its treatment of its large Arab minority – I could go on.

  10. Eddie-G

    I think the answer probably lies inarticles 13 and 14 on referral of crimes by states parties. Palestine would become a state party and able to refer.

  11. Craig

    Your shallow-minded rejection of the ways to fight this diplomatic battle

    I’m not rejecting anything (beyond the notion that the ICC is an independent court) – I just don’t see how Palestine joining the list of States Parties will somehow enable the ICC to pay more attention to crimes committed in Palestine. You haven’t answered my main point – if the ICC needs Palestine to sign up before it can look at things that happen there, how is it that it didn’t need Libya to sign up before indicting people for things they supposedly did in Libya? And if it doesn’t need Palestine to sign up before taking an interest in events in Palestine, well, it hasn’t taken much interest yet, has it?

    I’m all for Palestine joining international bodies. (And Taiwan for that matter, though that’s a different story)

  12. Sorry, messed up the formatting there. Second line alone was meant to be italic.

  13. “My view is that both Israel and Palestine have moral legitimacy and trying to assert that one has more than the other will actually make no contribution to peace or a settlement”.

    Stephen, you are asserting a two state solution, you are calling one israel, the other Palestine. Such assertion has no moral legitimacy as it is as yet merely a discussion point between the two.
    By releasing Marwan Barghouti, and Mr. Murphy should really start persuading his FoI collegues now, he’s a uniter and kinpin between the two factions, negotiations could re start soon.
    A re-start of negotiations is vitally necessarry for any next steps and the newly accepted Unesco membership will help.
    A denouncement of the prevailing rethoric, prescribing all Palestinians as terrorist, might also help.

  14. Oh, sorry, missed Eddie’s point and your reply.

    So, the point is that Palestine could refer cases to the court. There are remarkably few Muslim countries signed up. Perhaps you have a point. I can’t see the ICC paying any attention though.

  15. Stephen 1st November 2011
    “it would reinforce the fact that Palestine is a better international citizen with more moral legitimacy than Israel.”

    This is not a fact but a view. My view is that both Israel and Palestine have moral legitimacy and trying to assert that one has more than the other will actually make no contribution to peace or a settlement.
    and from the previous thread

    Stephen 1st November 2011
    It was covered on the BBC 10 o’clock news on BBC in a fair amount of detail.

    Does anyone else detect a slant for the status quo?

  16. No Craig – You were comparing Israel and Palestine – not Israel with Nelson Mandela. UNESCO is not the court of general public opinion, where you have judged Nelson Mandela, as you know very well. You have also moved on from moral legitimacy to moral authority. I could follow you logic and say that it is a fact that the Palestinians have hardly any moral authority among Jews living in Israel – but it would be pointless to do so.

  17. Mary

    The slant is for intellectual honesty (and for a peaceful between Israel and Palestine). You should try it some time.

  18. Philip Thompson

    1 Nov, 2011 - 11:21 am

    International law can operate beyond the area of war crimes that you emphasise.
    If Palestine were also to sign up the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea then it might be able to put up some resistance to the steady erosion of fishing rights that have been imposed on those living in Gaza.
    The fishing area in the sea was agreed in 1994 to cover an area of 20 miles from the coast by the Jericho agreement following the Oslo accords. It has subsequently been unilaterally reduced to 12 miles then 6 miles and since 2008 to 3 miles. Even in this limited space Israeli gunboats often operate aggressively.

  19. Intellectual honesty as you see it quite obviously.


    “In Israel, there is no apartheid.” Goldstone, again.
    Posted by gabriele on November 1, 2011, 8:46 am

    How many articles will he have to write before his sins can be forgiven? What an asset he has become for the Israeli lobby.


    Israel and the Apartheid Slander

  20. As both the USA and Israel refuse to join the ICC because of their desire to commit war crimes with impunity

    Hm. If joining the court gives a state the right to submit cases for the prosecutor to consider, but failing to join doesn’t provide immunity for its citizens, then, er, what’s your point here?

    To me a very clear indictment of the ICC is the way their chief prosecutor shamelessly repeated to the media the obvious fabrication about Gadaffi giving his soldiers viagra to help them get it up when raping the dollybirds of Benghazi.

  21. Philip,

    Thanks and an important point. I did actually draft and negotiate key parts of the Protocol on deep seabed mining that allowed UNCLOS to enter into force…

  22. Philip Well said. Here is an American’s view of the daily oppression.
    About notesfrombehindtheblockade
    I’m a civil rights attorney currently living in the Gaza Strip. It can be hard for those living outside the blockade to understand what life is like here in Gaza. I hope this blog will provide a small window into life here, at least through the eyes of a foreigner. Thank you for visiting.

  23. Ingo

    When I need your comments on the moral legitimacy of my views I shall ask for them. In the meantime I shall happily carry on committing thought crime.

    And of course both parties would have to agree to a two state solution.

  24. Craig, do you really think that the ICC is independent? Then have a look at this:,_2008.png

  25. “The slant is for intellectual honesty (and for a peaceful (sic) between Israel and Palestine). You should try it some time.” (Stephen)

    Intellectual honesty requires at least a minimal intellect. And if you have failed to notice that the Israeli policy on Palestine involves the progressive theft of Palestinian property until the region between the Jordan and the Med is wholly devoted to a Jewish, non-secular state, in which any non-Jews have inferior privileges; if you haven’t noticed, over the last 40 years, that Israel is supremely uninterested in peace until the Palestinian population is displaced elsewhere, and probably not then (they are now planning to build ICBM’s to carry their immune-from-scrutiny nukes up to 4000Km)…if you haven’t got that yet, your claim to an intellect fails completely, and with it any pretensions you may have to intellectual honesty.

  26. Mary

    Could you please tell me when I have ever tried to defend the crimes and abuses committed by the Israeli state – as you seem to be inferring???

    It is quite possible to see that their are rights and wrongs on both side of the argument – and to believe that forming a view on the superiority of either side will contribute nothing to peace or a settlement.

  27. Isn’t it funny that the biggest, most slovenly way of protesting corporate theft etc is to reach into ones pockets and choose to not spend it on certain products.

    Wasn’t it MLK, who suggested not buying Coke Cola, seems a pretty good suggestion to me……pick a product…..

  28. Komodo

    The missing word was “settlement”.

    One side of “intellect” is being capable of recognising that others with “intellect” may have different views from your own, and being able to discern between facts and opinions.

    Don’t you understand that there are intelligent Israelis who would disagree with your account (and not a few intelligent Palestinians either)as to Israel’s behaviour and intentions, who at the same time recognise and condemn the excesses and abuses of their state. Go and look at the Haaretz website if you don’t believe me.

  29. I’ve been reading through part of the Statute of Rome. Perhaps I should have done that before making any comments here. If I haven’t misunderstood it, I think these points make things clearer –
    -If a national of a State Party is accused of a crime, the court has jurisdiction.
    -If a crime takes place on the territory of a State Party, the court has jurisdiction.
    -If the case is referred to the Prosecutor by the UN Security Council, the court has jurisdiction.
    The second point above is relevant to Palestine; the third presumably explains the Bashir and Gadaffi cases. However, might there not be questions about where precisely is Palestinian territory?

  30. john macadam

    1 Nov, 2011 - 12:28 pm

    At least the Palestinians are not compelled, by law, to fund the BBC> In Scotland we are, and receive the same level of propaganda. During the last election the BBC quoted Ed Milliband saying that Independence [for Scotland] would be bad. No follow up of Ed! How? Why? For whom?, no attempt to probe his reasoning and uncover flaws. Just – Labour says.
    And we must pay to subsidise these attempts to pervert our democracy

  31. Stephen:
    There are undoubtedly Israelis who would disagree with me. Netanyahu, Livni and Liebermann to name but three. If they announced that ethnic cleansing is the name of their game, even the Yanks would start looking at them sideways. Nevertheless, the consistent pattern of the occupation has been to create facts on the ground. It is even occasionally admitted. Those facts do not include a Palestinian presence. By their works shall ye know them…if you are at all familiar with the New Testament…

    As to the Israelis who realise what’s going on and object to it, fair play to them. You will find B’Tselem is a better source than Ha’aretz, which itself is an excellent journal of record but is not too concerned about the elephant in the room.

  32. Phillip, good point. Only since the discovery of a smallish gasfield, enough to power Ghaza/the PA for decades to come have these territorial waters be reduced, unilaterally as you say.
    I very much hope that the PA adopts the law of the seas and establishes its own harbours.
    Stephen, when I feel that you need guidance on your thought crime, as you call your morale semaphors, I will talk about it, whether you ask for it or not!

  33. Komodo

    I think you missed the following part of what I said

    …, who at the same time recognise and condemn the excesses and abuses of their state

    I very much doubt that Netanyahu and co – meet this additional criteria.

  34. Ah, Stephen. You’re carrying the flag for the have-your-cake-and-eat-it tendency. Who (intellect again!) feel that the Palestinians can righteously be confined to ever-shrinking Bantustans, and deprived of the rights of full citizens, pending ever-receding promises of a future as a “state” without the power of self-determination, so long as it is done in a gentlemanly manner. And peacefully. I don’t think that’s a tenable or even a realistic position, and there we must differ.

  35. Both Nelson Mandela and Mohandas Gandhi have been beatified by the West. Now, both were/are great men. But they were/are human beings with political faults. Gandhi’s actions definitely contributed to the rise of religion as mediator of political discourse and action in South Asia and his actions (as well as those of others) also contributed to the inevitability of the break-up of India (the ‘Partition’). He paid the ultimate price and so we must be circumspect, but rational analysis of Gandhi, the lawyer, the politician, seems to have been ditched in much of the public discourse in the West. Mandela made great sacrifices, as we know, nothing can take away from that. Yet he began political life as a strike-breaker and was always a fervent anti-Communist. Stephen Dorril, in his superb tome on MI6 (SIS), claims that Mandela was an MI6 agent from early on. The relevance of all this is simply to suggest that the matter of moral authority/legitimacy is complex.
    I wholeheartedly agree with Craig’s post. The UNESCO decision is indeed momentous, esp. with the overwhelming majority. And the USA immediately cutting off funding on the basis of the decision suggests three things:
    1) The embarassing depth to which the USA seems beholden to, or to perceive its interests wrt the Middle East as being identical with those of, Israel.
    2) The fact that the USA globally does not respect democracy.
    3) The USA’s strategic decision to destroy international institutions which defy its hegemony.

  36. John Macadam re: “At least the Palestinians are not compelled, by law, to fund the BBC> In Scotland we are”

    Assuming that you mean the license fee, I think its worth pointing out that you are not compelled to have a TV. I got rid of my own TV when my license expired back in the 80’s, round about the time of the miners strike. I refuse to pay for my own brainwashing. If you are not talking about the license fee then please accept apologies in advance for my presumption.

  37. Komodo

    Given your view of intellect is based upon not being able to read what people actually say and to attributing them with views that they don’t hold – yes you are right I have a minimal intellect.

  38. Come on, Stephen. I’m sure you can do better than ad hominem if you put your mind to it. You are asserting that there are Israelis who do not believe, as I do, that Israel is simply establishing facts on the ground under the guise of an intentionally stalled peace process – who buy the public version of the Netanyahu account, in other words – and yet deplore the dedicated methods which unequivocally demonstrate the reality behind the facade? WTF do these heroes think the barriers and restrictions are for?

  39. Komodo

    I am asserting what I am asserting – not what you say I am asserting. Contrary to what you may believe that are interpretations of Israel’s intentions and behaviour other than your own.

  40. there is now absolutely no reason why Palestine cannot, instantly and without a vote, join the International Criminal Court

    Yes, but the application takes time. You know, paper work, bureaucracy, noses to pick. You can’t expect this to happen overnight.

  41. Komodo

    It would also be possible to come up with a similar partial and distorted account regarding the intentions and behavior of the Palestinians – and indeed Netanyahu and his friends do so on a regular basis. I daresay you would howl (or whatever lizards do) in protest, but can you fathom that such behaviour as well as being dishonest, will do absolutely nothing to change the situation and just entrnches existing prejudices.

    Please do not quote lists of Isreali attrocities/bad behaviour to me in response – I am not denying their existence nor will I engage in a distateful game of attrocities Top Trumps.

  42. Uzbek in the UK

    1 Nov, 2011 - 2:29 pm

    Apologies for the off topic.
    Has anyone noted that the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been hired as personal adviser to the President Nazarbaev of Kazakhstan. Some believe that Blair will help to Kazakhstan’s more pro Western transformation since Kazakh authorities are concerned with growing influence of China in the region.
    Others believe that Blair’s job will do more with assets management since it is believed that Nazarbaevs own over 15 billion of dollars most of which is currently placed in the UAE funds. It is believed that Blair will advise to Nazarbaev on how to make these billions more attractive to the western markets.
    I believe that Blair will do both.

  43. *didn’t the US previously cut off ties with UNESCO and stop funding the organization? I don’t think UNESCO has perished as a result of this.

    * wikipedia states: since 1991 the United States has been the world’s dominant military, economic, social, and political power (not to mention hosting the UN Headquarters itself in New York City); the United Nations was not designed for such a unipolar world with a single superpower, and conflict between an ascendant U.S. and other UN members has increased.

    * conflict between the U.S. and the UN predates the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1971, the UN adopted Resolution 2758—which effected the admission of the People’s Republic of China and the removal of the Republic of China—despite objections by the U.S. government’s. The U.S. government changed its own China policy shortly afterward, however, so the conflict between the UN and US foreign policy was short lived.

    *The U.S. government’s repeated opposition to Arab military actions has created much more tension between the U.S. government and the United Nations. The General Assembly Resolution 3379 of 1975 (the resolution states that zionizm is s a form of racism and racial discrimination), was strongly opposed by U.S. officials. In 1991 the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 4686, which effectively negated Resolution 3379, which means zionism is NOT a form of racim and racial discrimination!!!. Use of its veto power to prevent the Security Council from issuing resolutions condemning Israeli military action in self-defense has frequently divided the U.S. from the Soviet Union, China and France in the Security Council; since 1989 the U.S. government has dissented against security council resolutions on more that 12 occasions out of 17 total instances when a permanent member vetoed. Of these 12 occasions, only two related to issues other than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 2009, the U.S. government abstained from Security Council Resolution 1860, which called for a halt to Israel’s military response to Hamas rocket attacks, and the opening of the border crossings into the Gaza Strip.

    *Under the Reagan administration, the U.S. withdrew from UNESCO, withheld its dues to encourage the UN to repeal Resolution 3379, which it did in 1991.

    -Now, will theu now try to repeal UNESCO’s decision on Palestine?!
    I think the citizens of the world need to make decision and move the UN headquarters to more civilised countries in Europe.

  44. Israel depends, for its existence, on the apathy of the American public, which as a backdrop, highlights the fanatical commitment of a lobby which is well financed but very short of constituents.
    AIPAC is only powerful because most American voters care so little about foreign policy that they lap up the most extraordinary nonsense about Israel and Cuba (as another example.)
    But all this is changing now. The Depression is biting very deeply in the States, quite apart from the fifty million families reduced to food stamps and an equal number without any medical insurance,, the latest Congressional figures show that half of the population lives in poverty or very close to it.

    In short people are beginning to ask what happened to the nation’s legendary wealth. And a very obvious part of the answer is that hundreds of billions have been spent pursuing the discredited policies of the Jabotinsky zionists.

    Israel is the keystone of the US ” security architecture” in western eurasia. The preservation of this colony, by increasingly complex and costly manouevres, by dividing its enemies, breaking up their states, betting heavily on three legged outsiders like the Saud family or the kleptocrat emirs in the Gulf, utterly discredited, worn out tyrants such as Jordan’s Hashemites and the latest sysyphusean labour, in the shape of replacing Mubarak with another Mubarak, has become the central obsessive work of the United States. All the power of the Pentagon, all the resources of the State Department are devoted, primarily, to strengthening Israel’s position.

    But the task is quite impossible: Israel spends all its energies (most of them derived from US taxpayers’ subsidies) to weakening its position. Ir refuses to contemplate the chance of making Peace while everything is in its favour. Instead of cashing in on its victories it pirouettes on a precipice and warns the world that it is endangered.

    And everything it does costs the Poor Bloody Punter in Peoria more money (an Iron Dome!) and the lives of more kids from the Appalachians, more R and D for Boeing and Lockheed and more billion dollart a year bases. Mr Karimov is just another element in the edifice of which Israel is the keystone. The prospect of war and peace in the Indian sub-continent is intimately linked with Pakistani alliances in the Gulf and Brahmin empathies with Zionists. Washington is a city obsessed with Israel.

    And Israel is but a tiny colony, a pumped up Southern Rhodesia, an Algerie with a dwarf root system. In the current burgeoning crisis in the United States the fact that the government has earmarked about a trillion and a half dollars (and equivalently outlandish sums) annually for decades, simply to preserve Israel’s right to insult and humiliate all comers is going to require justification a little more profound than those currently on offer: 1/ That Europe’s Jews are the descendants of Palestinians exiled more than a millenium ago; 2/ That God wants the Jews to rally in the Holy Land so that they can be liquidated to prepare the way for the return of the Messiah.

    The story of the period of US superpowerdom is its weakness for fascism. It was that which lay behind the Cold War, the refusal to come to terms not only with a Soviet Union exhausted and eager to treat, but with the anti-fascist forces from Italy’s communists to Ho Chi Minh, Mao and North Korea, which gave rise to the Cold War, which ended with the boot being put in (to the cheers of Croatians fascists and their German friends) to the last Partisan legacy, Tito’s Yugoslav Federation. Throughout the Cold War the US nursed the poisonous remnants of the Nazi axis, protecting Franco and Salazar from their angry populations, cossetting ex-SS groups in every city in north and south America, employing fascists to hunt down communists…it is an old story. And the Jabotinsky zionists are the one fascist party which can claim uninterrupted continuity from the 1930s. The one fascist party that is, besides the original wellspring of fascism which is from the Southern States, the old alliance between vicious business interests and KKK racism, whose current form is the Republican Party, which was the segregationist Democracy of the Solid South and the New South. The principle of extreme inequality and forced labour which is the spectre haunting the modern world.

    Americans who cannot feed their kids, whose kids schools are broken down, unstaffed and unequipped, who are paying the world’s highest prices for pharmaceuticals, are losing their homes and are unable to find jobs, where BMW workers are earning $12 an hour (and are envied) are beginning to wonder why.

    It is in these circumstances that Palestine’s calls for peace and a just settlement will in future be examined, whether the Zionists like it or not.

  45. The I.C.C. has consistently obfuscated any investigations of the atrocities in Iraq and refused to institute proceedings against the Bliar. It is so obviously a tool of Western Imperialism. We will see no justice from it. However if viewers look further afield they will find a War Crimes Tribunal has just been convened in Kuala Lumpur indicting Bush Bliar Cheney Rumsfeld Yoo Bybee et al. Obviously it will be merely symbolic in its findings as getting any of these psychopaths to attend will probably be er difficult! However let the proceedings begin and it may add even more pressure on the authorities here. Interestingly the B.Brainwashing Corp; has given this news zero coverage. Wonder if Chilcott will be paying any attention?!

  46. I love it how this issue Palestine-Israel gets massive feedback unlike so many other urgent world problems. Why is that? Could it be that most of us are outsiders and don’t know the local politics very well – but that doesn’t stop us from pontificating and moralizing – or just meddling if you will, because it is such a newsworthy item.

    The fact is that this is a very complex historical-political-legal-moral problem that has lasted for more than 60 years. Those who blindly declare that one side (usually Israel) is the baddie are, I would suggest, using emotion not intellect. It’s fair to say that the Arab-Israel conflict has largely become a cause célèbre, an abstract post-colonialist ideology to attack in all cases, largely to the detriment of the two local protagonists, the Palestinians and the Israelis. In brief, iIt would be nice to see an admission that this is not a simple case of goodies versus baddies.

  47. Stephen:

    Straw man. I have no more sympathy for Palestinian extremists than I have for Israeli ones. I hope you are as familiar as I with the long list of atrocities on both sides. Which have resulted in approximately 100 times as many Palestinians being killed as Israelis…so there’s no dispute about the “top trump” in that field, is there?
    Are you asserting that you are neutral in this? Claiming objectivity? Your position is not very clear.

  48. “If they announced that ethnic cleansing is the name of their game, even the Yanks would start looking at them sideways.”

    This yank calls it ‘genocide’ because that is what it is.
    If it was anyone but Jews committing it everyone would call it genocide. Time to break that taboo. It is what it is.

    Article 2
    In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

    (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

  49. Mike, wrt the complexity, I agree ith what you’re saying about ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’. It’s not a simple question. But, if you search the site, there have been many discussions over the years in the context of the complexity of the issue – this is not the only thread that has dealt with the Palestine-Israel issue. And if you check this site, you’ll find that many other urgent world problems are being argued over, sometimes ferociously! Yes, Palestine-Israel is a cause celebre. But perhaps to some extent that is because it deserves to be. ‘Apartheid South Africa’, for example, was also a cause celebre – and it deserved to be. But saying that is a ‘fashionable’ cause does not mean that it is not a worthwhile cause. And cynicism is a hiding to nowhere.

  50. American…hmmm…I think the Israelis would be happy if the Palestinians would just leave, and go and live in Jordan or somewhere. Except, of course, they can’t leave Gaza at all. Maybe you have a point.

  51. Komodo

    My position on this is that I’m not taking a position on this. And I pretty clear that doing so will be of little use in finding a solution. Top Trumps is a game this isn’t. I can seen arguments being put forward with equal vehemence and certainty on both sides supported by selectively chosen facts.

    I agree totally with Mike that this is not a simple case of goodies versus baddies – and hence my initial objection to Craig’s viewpoint “that Palestine is a better international citizen with more moral legitimacy than Israel” was a fact.

    Perhaps those with greater certainty on this issue might wish to look at this survey of Israeli attitudes and then consider how a change in those attitudes might be achieved which surely has to occur if there is be anything which might be seen as a peaceful resolution.

  52. Stephen,

    You said, ‘My view is that both Israel and Palestine have moral legitimacy’ which begs the question, how morally legitimate is the state of Israel?
    Attempting to answer that question makes me think about the principles of its founders. In an age of terror and fear Israel’s founding presents some real problems to me. It is well known that the Haganah, the Irgun and the Stern Gang became the IDF.
    I remind myself of the Deir Yassin incident at the time of Israeli independence in 1948. In Deir Yassin, a village of about 1,400 men women and children, roughly 253 people were massacred by elements of the Irgun and the Stern Gang. Menachem Begin was quoted as saying, ‘accept my congratulations on this splendid conquest … As at Deir Yassin, so everywhere, we will attack and smite the enemy.’
    The widespread panic this caused forced roughly 650,000 Palestinians, to leave their land, and emigrate as refugees.
    Menachem Begin you’ll recall, not only became prime minister, but actually won the Nobel Peace Prize(Obama:Drones?) was also behind the terror bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946.
    The falling towers reminds us ‘terror’ works really well in forcing through an agenda. The King David incident, combined with the kidnapping and execution of two innocent British soldiers in reprisal for the execution of several Zionist terrorists, directly caused the British to withdraw. Deir Yassin was instrumental in causing a convenient mass emigration of Arabs. Two huge problems solved, and these two incidents were pivotal in the founding of Israel.
    The problem has not gone away. Israel has been in a constant state of war from its founding. The underlying causes of the conflict are fully intact. The Muslim population keeps growing, and as generations of young Palestinians grow up fighting, the problem has amplified.
    America and British power are inextricably intertwined with Israel and with a plan to dominate the Middle East by deception, terror and war, only us, the 99% can prevent another holocaust, the aftermath of which would be the self-immolation of Muslim soldiers world-wide; martial law and total domination of the Western world by government force would ensue.
    So, in answer to your question, I say Israel has no moral legitimacy at all.

  53. “Palestine can now become a member of the International Criminal Court simply by submitting an instrument of accession to the Statute of Rome .. the International Criminal Court would have jurisdiction over Israelis committing war crimes on Palestinian soil..” So, are they in the process of doing it?

  54. Mark

    First I never asked a question about my views – so no answer was required.

    I also remember the Holocaust as well. So what would you do with the Jews who now live in Israel – drive them into the sea ask them nicely to pack up and go elsewhere?

    Your views are not part of the 99%, apart from the very small circles in which you move – and that is a demonstrable fact.

  55. doug scorgie

    1 Nov, 2011 - 4:27 pm

    About getting rid of your TV so you don’t have to pay for the BBC. If your computer can recieve live tv (like Parliament Live) you have to get a TV licence


  56. Did the Oslo Accords – flawed as they were – not state that there would be a Palestinian state. So why is this now controversial? It’s what Israel signed-up to, nearly 20 years ago! It’s what Yitzak Rabin was assassinated for. UNESCO were simply recognisiing what Israel officially agreed to, 20 years ago, and what the USA (including George W. Bush!) has been agreeing officially to ever since, that it is only right that the Palestinians have their state.

  57. Abe Rene: No they are not in the process of doing it. They have done it a long time ago.

    On 22 January 2009, the Palestinian National Authority lodged a declaration with the Registrar under Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute which allows States not party to the Statute to accept the Court’s jurisdiction.

  58. Suhayl Saadi,

    Oslo is dead, just like Arafat. Who killed them? – I think it was the duplicity of the Palestinian side. They didn’t want a state alongside Israel ( Jordan is already a ‘Palestinian’ state ). They wanted and still want a state from the river to the sea meaning all of Israel – though they may say otherwise to Western media. What is there to negotiate when they have a Hamas in Gaza and the PA in Ramallah who both agree that Israel post-1947 must be dismantled ? The Arab spring has yet to become summer. If I were in Israel, I’d prefer to wait and see before trusting any Palestinian leader to keep his word.

  59. Stephen,
    “the very small circles in which you move” – for which you have no idea – try not to be so arrogant Stephen, it destroys your argument.

  60. Stephen,

    You questioned the accuracy of Craig’s statement and I replied with my analysis based on historical fact. I have made no attempt to offer a solution to the problem and you appear to have answered your own question.

  61. @Mark
    I would have thought claiming that your views belonged to the 99% might also be seen as being a tad arrogant. It certainly didn’t help your argument.

  62. Mark

    You were clearly respnding to my statement not my questioning of Craig’s statement. Craig’s statement was about the relative legitimacy of Israel and Palestine to statehood – which you do not address.

    So you take a statement of my views as a basis for question which you then seek to provide an answer (a straw man technique if ever I saw one) and then don’t want to address the question raised in response – and you call me arrogant to boot!

  63. Komodo
    Are you actually referring to Israel with this statement:
    ” If they announced that ethnic cleansing is the name of their game, even the Yanks would start looking at them sideways.”
    Unfortunately, there are factions on both sides that would like to see ‘ethnic cleansing’. The difference is that it is a small faction in Israel and the core political aim for the majority of the Arab people leaving in that region.

  64. Mike W and Sarah

    A genuine question. What tenable steps do you think the Palestinian leadership could take to change attitudes within Israel so that they start to push their politicians towards a negotiated settlement?

  65. Thank you for that explanation, Craig. I did not know that the US and Israel were not members of the ICC and I was under the impression that the court was a tool of NATO, which it clearly is not.
    This augurs well for Palestine’s future. Furthermore, while I have no particular support for Saif al Islam Gaddafi I think that he might get a fair trial if he can get a safe passage to ICC. My suspicion is he will not get a safe passage because of the interests of those non member states who are not members “because of their desire to commit war crimes with impunity.”

  66. The first step has been taken, the recongition as a state, as acknowledged by Israel in the Oslo agreement, moreover, how can it be ‘dead’, when the braking of the laws of the seas, more than once, did not devalue or scrap this international statuted agreement?

    The next step, returning to the negotiations table, can only be done by consensual agreement of both sides, For that to happen, Israel has to let Marwan Barghouti go free.

  67. It is interesting that most Arab states did not sign the Rome Statute, except for (I think) Jordan and Tunisia. This is no coincidence and may tell us something about other possible issues that the PLO needs to keep in mind. For example, if they sign the Statute they might find themselvs on trial for crimes against their own people (which is why Arab countries do not sign the Statute). But, I like your attempt to portray the Palestinians as a developing democracy. It’s really optimistic :-)

  68. Hasbara, Sarah? Megaphone? Substantiate your statements. I can:
    Bibi’s shot himself in the foot big time now. Sheer bloody spite, and with his accelerated development of ILLEGAL settlements, a clear signal even to the indifferent that his government has no intention whatever of facilitating a Palestinian state of any kind.
    Prediction: Abbas will pull out in disgust, the PA will fall apart (its useful idiocy having ceased) and the resulting chaos will be used by Israel as an *excuse* for further mass murder.

  69. “….It’s really optimistic :-)

    Certainly is, sport. Unrealistically so. When the party they vote for is proscribed and shot at, while the people they voted out are embraced as the enforcers of an apartheid state. Still, I think that’s nearly over now, and no Palestinian organisation will be permitted by the occupiers to move in the direction of self-determination. Ever.

  70. “Stephen Dorril, in his superb tome on MI6 (SIS), claims that Mandela was an MI6 agent from early on.”
    so this is the reason thatcher gave her wholehearted support to mandela and the anc ..

  71. “What tenable steps do you think the Palestinian leadership could take to change attitudes within Israel so that they start to push their politicians towards a negotiated settlement?”
    buy up shares in the US / UK pro zionist politicians ..

  72. One thing we should never lose sight of is that there are many Israelis in Israel and abroad that do not share their government’s views and that we should campaign alongside these to bring peace and integration to the Holy Land. Likewise there are Palestinians for whom violence is the only choice. These we should condemn absolutely. I’ve just come across an Israeli peace group based in the US and from their site I quote:
    “But it is simply false to say that history shows that Jews and Arabs cannot live together. They have before, and, in a modern, secular state, may well be able to do so on a much more equal footing than existed in the past.”
    I’m sure Craig shares this view. Me too. Take a look at this site. It may change your opinions about ordinary Jewish people and their hopes. They are not all Zionist supremacists.

  73. Sorry to put a damper on things, John Goss, but it’s not the Israelis who need convincing that peace is better than war. There really is a clash of civilisations between the Arabs and the Israelis. If Libya or Iraq didn’t convince you, what will??

  74. Mike W. That is exactly what you are trying to do – put a damper on things. What is wrong with cooperation? And anyway, Libya and Iraq conflicts were about NATO greed for oil, and had nothing whatsoever to do with your interpretation.

  75. If Palestine is restricted — in bringing claims to the ICC — to violations which occur in its own territory, then this raises the very interesting question as to what, in fact, is Palestine’s own territory (a question which might be asked with equal vigor about Israel). I assume Palestine will claim the territory outside the so-called green-line of 1948-1967. What Israel would claim is anyone’s guess. For example, if Gazans shot a rocket from Gaza which struck a “civilian” settlement in East Jerusalem, could Israel go to ICC with a claim that [other than as overflight] the rocket was shot into Israeli territory?

  76. Sunday BBC Radio 4 is offering The State of Israel
    “Israel suddenly finds itself lonely in an uncertain world. The Arab Spring has meant it has lost Egypt, a key ally. Turmoil in Syria threatens the stability of an enemy who was at least a known quantity. Inept handling has destroyed the friendship with Turkey. And Iran remains an active threat. Now the Palestinians are nominally united and rivalling Israel in international diplomacy with their quest for statehood.”
    Ah diddums. Just learn to live with your neighbours without menacing them and stop oppressing the Palestinians.
    You would think that ZBC could have chosen a disinterested presenter who a) was not Jewish and b) had not been responsible for relaying the Israeli propaganda previously.

  77. Are you applying for the presenter’s job, ‘Mary’? – Oh no, of course not. You’re not exactly what one would call ‘disinterested’ or unpartisan..

    Your comment that Jewish presenters couldn’t be objective shows : (1) your bias,
    (2) your ignorance, (3) your racism.

  78. To save wasting time, Mike W. please read my previous comment and stop trying to intimidate Mary who has been a staunch campaigner for civil and human rights on this blog.

  79. Yet again, Israel responds by showing its “restraint” and gives due consideration and respect to international opinion, justice, peace and…
    In other words, they don’t give a rat’s arse, stick two fingers up and make more settlements as punishment. As long as they can run underneath Amerika’s coattails for protection, of course.
    Mike W – not wishing to speak for Mary, but why shouldn’t someone be biased in favour of a hideously grieved people progressively robbed of their nation? What’s ignorant about presenting fact? And why are you so racist towards Arabs – or don’t they count as people to Zionist apologists such as yourself?

  80. Mark Golding, thinking about the massace, why did Begin get the Nobel peace prize?

  81. ‘but it’s not the Israelis who need convincing that peace is better than war.’

    Hmm…so successive Israeli governments welcomed the peace initiative tabled by the Arab League, in 2002 & again in 2007 ? As I recall the proposals were contemptuously dismissed by Israel on each occasion, and the Americans, usually so assertive in their promotion of the ‘Peace Process’, stood back and let their no 2 ally in the region (the House of Saud)suffer humiliation as a result.

    Bibi’s announcement today of accelerated settlement building is yet another example of the Israelis showing the world who really wears the trousers in that part of the world.

  82. John Goss – I have no idea as I have no idea why Obama received the prize. It was Carter who brokered the Israel/Egypt peace treaty and American dollars in aid was flooded to Egypt to keep Sadat and his followers sweet. Arms and aid to the tune of $58 billion is one hell of a comforter. Anwar Sadat shared the award much to the disgust of the Arab League and the majority of Egyptians. According to my information from a reliable source, Sadat was assassinated as the result of a secret plot between Mubarak and Israeli intelligence. Mubarak’s henchman, General Fouad Allam, head of Egypt’s security service, waged a terror campaign against radical Islam that featured unlawful arrests, detention without trial, and torture to force confessions.


    On 3 May [2010], the OTP published a “Summary of submissions on whether the declaration lodged by the Palestinian National Authority meets statutory requirements.” The OTP has not made any determination on the issue.

    They’ll stretch it out longer than the decision on whether to prosecute the copper who bumped off Ian Tomlinson.

  84. Palestinian membership could give a chance for the court to assert its independence
    I guess this is an attempt at brilliant naivete?
    I read that the planes which bombed the civilian TV facilities in Tripoli were Danish. Denmark is a State Party to the ICC and therefore its personnel are subject to the court’s jurisdiction. The prosecutor is allowed to begin investigations on his own if he chooses. Although there was some language in UNSCR1973 about no comeback for people enforcing it, bombing TV studios was not authorised by the resolution and can’t be covered by its protections.
    Why not write a post saying ‘the Danish bombing of the TV studios could give a chance for the court to assert its independence’?
    How many chances does the court need?

  85. Egypt, surrounded by the sweet blossom of the ‘Arab Spring’ is emerging from decades of autocratic rule under President Mubarak. Egyptians bless them have responded by anti-Israeli sentiments on the street that will soon abrogate the Camp David peace treaty after what, three decades. Bravo!
    Through the power of intention I believe the Palestinians’ quest for state recognition at the United Nations, despite American veto, will come to pass by world recognition of a substantial majority. I believe this may mean Israel lands up in the International Criminal Court. This in turn will fuel deeper resentment of the United States government by it’s people in their awakening. It will also kick off a new convulsion of violence in the West Bank and Gaza that will intensify world condemnation and force Israel into a dangerous corner.

  86. John and Glenn I appreciate your comments. I stand by what I said. Last week when 9 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, the usual Israel friendly report appeared on the BBC website where the word ‘militant’ was used to describe the Palestinians 11 times in a report of just a couple of hundred words. Israelis have soldiers. Palestinians have militants. We read ‘Israel says’ but one never the phrase ‘Palestine says’.
    I do not intend to enter into one of those ‘flame’ encounters with Mike W here. There is little point from past experience and I am sure that Craig does not want his bandwidth used in this way. Dissident Voice shut down their comments facility mainly for that reason. The trolls work to squash all comment critical of Israel.
    I read that Palestine intends to join more UN organisations which is good news.

    and elsewhere that there is a likelihood of Israel allowing an IAEA inspection of their nuclear facilities for the first time ever since Damona was built. Their arsenal of nuclear weapons is very large by all accounts.
    ‘Israel is extending its Jericho III missile’s range, and is developing an ICBM capability, expanding its nuclear-tipped cruise missile enabled submarine fleet’. (from a report on the proliferation of nuclear weapons which was written by Rifkind and others for an American outfit called BASIC – British American Security Information Council).

    The Guardian carried the report {} yesterday written by Norton Taylor who is on the RUSI board incidentally.
    Yet simultaneously the USUKIsNATO axis is accusing Syria of building a nuclear facility in the same way that they accuse Iran. You get the picture.

  87. 94 years ago today the shameful Balfour Declaration was signed.

    The Balfour Declaration of 1917 (dated 2 November 1917) was a letter from the British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Baron Rothschild (Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild), a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland.
    His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
    The statement was issued through the efforts of Chaim Weizmann and Nahum Sokolow, the principal Zionist leaders based in London; as they had asked for the reconstitution of Palestine as “the” Jewish national home, the declaration fell short of Zionist expectations”. The Balfour Declaration was later incorporated into the Sèvres peace treaty with Turkey and the Mandate for Palestine. The original document is kept at the British Library.
    Text of the declaration
    The declaration, a typed letter signed in ink by Balfour, reads as follows:
    Foreign Office,
    November 2nd, 1917.
    Dear Lord Rothschild,
    I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet:
    “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country”.
    I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
    Yours sincerely
    Arthur James Balfour

  88. Good Israelis, bad Israelis. I think we need to be aware that a good number of Israelis are opposed to the actions of their government, as a good number of people are opposed to their governments in the UK and US. The previous link I dropped down shows that half the States in the US have well-organised chapters affiliated to Jewish Voice for Peace. However the Israeli government, and its dirty brigade, MOSSAD, have much to answer for in world affairs.
    Mary mentions that ‘there is a likelihood of Israel allowing an IAEA inspection of their nuclear facilities for the first time ever since Damona was built. Their arsenal of nuclear weapons is very large by all accounts.’ There was a time when Israel denied having nuclear weapons and a brave man exposed their nuclear capability. Vanunu was picked up by the filth, there is no more fitting epithet to describe these secret services, and imprisoned for this honest act in exposing Israel’s dishonesty.
    So who tells the truth and who tells the lies? Vanunu tells the truth and the secret services, with full complicity of the Israeli government, arrest and imprison him for exposing their lies. Likewise Dr David Kelly tells the truth about Iraq not having weapons of mass destruction against the lies our government present and our secret services kill him for it.

  89. Quelcrime,

    There appears no current chance that the Court will independently instigate investigations into war crimes authorised by the governments of states parties who are members of NATO. But when a complaint is lodged by a stste party, that is a completely different thing and the Court is obliged to act. Palestine would be a state party. It would not be complaining against a member of NATO. The European states who dominate the court’s composition may all want to protect the Danish pilot you cite; it is by no means certain it is a priority for them to protect Israel.

    Wondered why the apologists were coming out of the woodwork: it’s time for some more demonisation.
    This one’s for you, Mary. Our old PNAC friend Ledeen agitating the excrement as usual:
    And in view of the shock-horror felt by all rightthinking people at the Palestinians firing rockets at Israel, nice to see the Israelis taking a leaf out of the Hamas book and upgrading their own rockets, to fire at Iran, presumably. Or maybe London, with the reported range….

  91. Mike W, your personal attacks on Mary are spurious and unqualified, it negates what you say in the first place. Far from repeating Marks reposte, it is impossible for Israel’s hardliners to hide behind a positive facade, only actions can now change their flat relationship with the US, strained tight to say the least. The forthcoming release of 550 other prisoners will be a guide as to what Netanyahu wants to happen next. If he wants dialogue and progress, he will release Marwan Barghouti and the imprisoned elected Palestinian Parliamentarians, he will release the monies owed to the PA and Ghaza, as well as return PA tax records and state documents/archives.

  92. Thanks for the links Mary – both very disturbing yet predictable.
    Arthur Koestler wrote that in the Balfour letter “one nation solemnly promised to a second nation the country of a third.” More than that, the country was still part of the Empire of a fourth, namely Turkey.
    I present an extract from Britain’s Great War Pledge To Lord Rothschild by Robert John with some confidential information from the wire left by my great grand-father, telegraphist John Benjamin Waterman.
    Theodore Herzl (1860-1904), descendant of Sephardim (on his rich father’s side) who had published Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State) in Vienna in l896 at the First Congress, Litman Rosenthal, Herzl said,
    “It may be that Turkey will refuse or be unable to understand us. This will not discourage us. We will seek other means to accomplish our end. The Orient question is now the question of the day. Sooner or later it will bring about a conflict among the nations. A European war is imminent. . The great European War must come. With my watch in hand do I await this terrible moment. After the great European war is ended the Peace Conference will assemble. We must be ready for that time. We will assuredly be called to this great conference of the nations and we must prove to them the urgent importance of a Zionist solution to the Jewish Question. We must prove to them that the problem of the Orient and Palestine is one with the problem of the Jews — both must be solved together. We must prove to them that the Jewish problem is a world problem and that a world problem must be solved by the world. And the solution must be the return of Palestine to the Jewish people.”[American Jewish News, 7 March 1919]
    Three Pledges at the time of the Great War.
    A series of letters passed between Sherif Hussein and the British Government through Sir Henry McMahon, High Commissioner for Egypt, designed to secure Arab support for the British in the Great War. One dated 24 October 1915 committed HMG to the inclusion of Palestine within the boundaries of Arab independence after the war, but excluded the area now known as Lebanon.
    Sir Mark Sykes, Secretary of the British War Cabinet was sent to Russia to negotiate the Tripartite (Sykes-Picot) Agreement for the Partition of the Ottoman Empire. M. Picot was the French representative in the negotiations. Neither Hussein nor Sir Henry McMahon were made aware of these secret discussions. Among other things, the agreement called for parts of Palestine to be placed under “an international administration” which Russia insisted.
    At a conference in New York on 30 August 1914, a committee was set up under the chairmanship of Louis D. Brandeis, with the British-born Dr. Richard Gottheil and Jacob de Haas, Rabbi Stephen Wise and Felix Frankfurter, among his principal lieutenants. Brandeis was advisor to to American President Wilson.
    The chairman of the non-Zionist American Jewish Committee responded to an appeal by the Brandeis group that all American Jews should organize to emphasize Zionist aims in Palestine before the Great Powers in any negotiations during or at the end of the war

    A Programme for a New Administration of Palestine in Accordance with the Aspirations of the Zionist Movement was issued by the English Political Committee of the Zionist Organization in October 1916 . The programme did not reach cabinet level because of Prime-Minister Asquith’s lack of support.
    [Power of the main stream media (N.B.)]
    At the time Lloyd George, was prepared to oust Asquith, his chief, by a coup de main. With the suspicious death of Kitchener Lioyd George rose to the War Office and he saw the top of the parliamentary tree within his grasp. In this maneuver he was powerfully aided by the newspaper proprietor Northcliffe, who turned all his publications from The Times downwards to depreciate Asquith, and by the newspaper-owing M.P., Max Aitken (later Lord Beaverbrook).
    With public sympathy well prepared, Lloyd George demanded virtual control of war policy. It was intended that Asquith should refuse. He did. Lloyd George resigned. Asquith also resigned to facilitate the reconstruction of the Government. The King then sent for the Conservative leader, Bonar Law, who, as prearranged, advised him to offer the premiership to Lloyd George.
    Lioyd George and Balfour were in and the Declaration was soon to be signed…
    N.B. The enormous human cost in the Great War was kept secret by restricting war correspondants and a heavily restricted wire between Berlin and Washington.

  93. Edwin: if the Palestinians have already joined the ICC, what would be the point of Craig’s proclamation?

    But more to the point: the United States has halted its funding to UNESCO under a law passed by Congress requiring it to do so from any UN body that recognises Palestine as a member state.

    Therefore, the United States has by implication assented to this, that UNESCO has recognised Palestine as a member state!

    I’ll leave it to the lawyers (I’m not one) work the implications of that one out.

  94. (Corrected)
    Edwin: if the Palestinians have already joined the ICC, what would be the point of Craig’s proclamation?

    But more to the point: the United States has halted its funding to UNESCO under a law passed by Congress requiring it to do so from any UN body that recognises Palestine as a member state.

    Therefore, the United States has by implication recognised the fact that UNESCO has recognised Palestine as a member state!

    I’ll leave it to the lawyers (I’m not one) work the implications of that one out.

  95. Funny how you guys and gals can’t stand to be criticized for bias. Free speech still exists, I understand. Accusing me of being a Zionist spokesman or a troll isn’t gonna win an argument. It only confirms your prejudices.

    As long as ‘anti-Zionism’ is your noble cause, and Israel your favorite bogeyman, I see no point in wasting energy or ‘bandwidth’. For what it’s worth, the BBC is often accused by pro-Israelis of bias, as is The Guardian. If the Beeb has become a bit more objective ( as it should ), good luck to it. There *are* two sides to the Israel-Palestine conflict, you know, and it wouldn’t hurt to read the history books or scan Israeli newspapers which support a Zionist narrative.

    Over and out!

  96. “Funny how you guys and gals” always pop up when Israel is doing, or about to do, something really shitty….

  97. Craig. I think you need to think deeper. The UN and “global” diplomacy has failed wholesale via this channel.
    Do you honestly believe this organisation has achieved – even by a miserable standard – any of the “liberating” things it is supposed to have done.
    Have there been more wars in a 66 year period than what there has been since ’45?
    . If you were to draw up a list of the UN’s failings vs. it’s successes, you would still believe the UN’s the way to go? Come on Craig.
    The UN is chiefly a WW2 victors organisation which allows for imperialism in various guises of Russia, China, US, UK and France.
    And very probably the WTO,WB,IMF,BIS etc eclipse the UN.
    Now, I happen to agree with you that there should be certain international laws that actually do the things that strange people beguile themselves into thinking the UN actually does. The UN however isn’t succeeding. I don’t think it was truly ever meant to.
    Look at the satanic way killers BuSh and bLiar conducted an illegal (as declared by the highly ineffectual Kofi Annan) abuse of the UN and used it to wage a the war against Iraq, and before that impose murderous sanctions.
    There are also allegations of corruption, drugs, and human (sex) trafficking and child sacrifice, all of which I haven’t got a clue if they are true or not, but would not be in the least bit surprised.
    How can you possible think good on the UN?
    I rather think it’s you who’s displaying a certain shallow mindedness along with other UN cheerleaders for being unable/incapable of thinking/proposing anything other than the UN as being able to bring about much needed global equality.
    Accusation of being “nihilistic” are a rather nihilistic way to attempt to stonewall actual real concerns – hardly diplomatic, is it?

  98. Thanks Ingo. He seems to have ‘buzzed off’ like one of those annoying insects you get in the summer. I am using that metaphor because quite often the Zionists likened the Palestinians in Gaza to ‘drugged cockroaches in a corked bottle’ implying that they had to be eradicated. That sort of thing sticks in the mind.


  99. Even if you accept that the Balfour Declaration was the wrong thing to do back in 1917 and that the establishment of Israel should not have been allowed post WW2 and the Holocaust and that behaviour of Israel to the Palestinians since then has been unacceptable and in many cases disproportionate to the threats that it has faced – there is still the question of what to do with the current population of Israel. It is a fact that they are not going to go anywhere else (especially since most of the population have ancestors who have paid for the consequences of being pushed around) and because they consider themselves just as much entitled to a secure homeland as do the Palestinians. If there is to be a peaceful settlement of this – the one thing I’m convinced of is that it will be occur as a result of each party seeking to change the hearts and minds of the other, and not by the ritual insults that are all too much in evidence here or by trying to argue that they have a better case.

    On the other hand you could have a war to the death and break the evil Zionist imperialist US, the source of all evil in the World, as the 99% are clearly demanding etc. etc.

  100. One book you should read Mike W. is by Avi Shlaim and it is called ‘the iron wal’ a metaphor for extolling that any other idea by zionism is to be kept out of the occupied territories.
    Prof. Shlaim is an imminent professor of Middle east studies at Oxford and his speciality is Israely foreign policies.

    Who and what has pointed you to this blog?

  101. Ingo

    I think “Iron Wall” was meant as a metaphor for the defence/military policy followed by the Israeli government.

  102. What to tell the leftwing bloggers if you are a Zionist: RSS feed to keep you updated with stuff to tell them about the Promised Land and the evil people who don’t like you: this week, IRAN!
    Former home of the “Megaphone” tool which enabled the faithful to punt the party line without even having to think about it

  103. Mike W: I suppose you are aware that in the Occupied West Bank, apart from stealing land by illegal settlements, the Israelis have reserved for themselves all the best sources of water, the best roads (which Palestinians are not allowed to use) and forbidden or demolished schools that Palestinians try to build for their children? If this is not oppression, what do you call it? Even if the Jews were chosen by God in a special way, was it for this purpose – large-scale injustice and theft? Is that what you call being a light to the world?

  104. PS. What brought me here was a link on Google about Palestine being admitted as a full member of UNESCO, Ingo.

    What surprised me is how certain many of you seem to be about your political convictions. I doubt any of you have ever visited Israel/Palestine or read the history of the last 100 years in depth, as I have.

    You may find an report on today of interest. It tells of the suffering of many Sudanese or Eritrean refugees in Egypt at the hands of Beduin smugglers. These desperate Muslim refugees are trying to cross the Egyptian border into Israel, where they will find relative safety and economic prosperity.

    Ignorance is bliss…

  105. Well said Abe Rene, before a solution can be re-considered I believe the present violation of UN Reso’s has to be addressed by International law and then some, including the dividing wall land grab, settler burning of olive groves, IDF occupation of Palestinian houses on high ground and continuing genocide in the Gaza strip.
    To talk of booting Israelis out is wasting key-strokes and reference to hearts and minds at this juncture is premature.

  106. Avi Shlaim, Finkelstein, Chomsky et al. Funny isn’t it that Jews can hold so many opposing opinions and tolerate even these self-hating Jews who take pleasure in siding with Israel’s enemies ?

    Did it ever occur to any of you that the occupied territories are still in a legal limbo, hence they belong as much to Israel as to the Palestinian Arabs? Try reading up on the San Remo Resolution of 1920 which created the legal and political basis of modern Israel. Israel has tried swapping territories for peace – withdrawing from southern Lebanon and Gaza, but what has been the result? More hostilities or bloodshed.
    One day, there will be true peace, but that day is still in the distant future. Until then, the world has more urgent matters to deal with.

  107. ‘These desperate Muslim refugees are trying to cross the Egyptian border into Israel, where they will find relative safety and economic prosperity.’

    Howzat for a non sequitor ? Around 70% of refugees worldwide are muslim, and ‘desperate Muslim refugees’ attempt to cross the Turkish/Greek land border, and the Tunisia/Italy & Morocco/Spain maritime borders, in far greater numbers than those that try their luck on the Egypt/Israel border in the Negev. The fact that Israel, a prosperous ‘western’ country, is a magnet for third world refugees (like other wealthy countries) is irrelevant to determining whether Israel is justified in its attempts to strangle Palestinian statehood at birth.

  108. Mark W,: “What surprised me is how certain many of you seem to be about your political convictions. I doubt any of you have ever visited Israel/Palestine or read the history of the last 100 years in depth, as I have.” You seem pretty certain yourself of your views of people that you do not know.

    I visited Israel in 1985 in a group of students and we had the chance to talk to Palestinians and visit Bethlehem. I remember a white South African woman in Beersheba married to an Israeli, who told us that the relations between Jews and Arabs seemed similar to those between whites and black in her native South Africa. This was when apartheid was very much alive. I imagine that life for Palestinians there is a lot tougher still now, with the security barrier. As for history, I have read Ben Gurion’s “Recollections” and seen Abba Eban’s historical documentary, as well as the film “A woman named Golda” starring Ingrid Bergman and Leonard Nimoy, and enjoyed the film “The Impossible Spy” starring John Shea. But I’ve also read Jimmy Carter’s “Palestine: Peace, not Apartheid”, Elias Chagour’s “Blood Brothers” and the dialogue between Daniel Barenboim and the late Edward Said “Parallels and Paradoxes”. I’ve a good deal of admiration for what Barenboim is doing. Is the political spectrum of your own reading and viewing as wide?

    The fact that Africans try to escape desperate circumstances to Israel and relative prosperity does not justify what is going on in the West Bank. I understand in fact that they are not welcome in Israel, which is trying to deport them as much as European countries.

  109. Mike W
    these self-hating Jews who take pleasure in siding with Israel’s enemies ?

    Conflating ‘Jews’ and ‘Israel’ is such a basic error…go back to kindergarten. I suppose you think Trevor Huddleston was a self-hating caucasian?

  110. Those desperate Muslims don’t seem to be blocking the road at Rafah, do they? Even Somalis fail to see Gaza for the paradise it isn’t.

  111. “Avi Shlaim, Finkelstein, Chomsky et al. Funny isn’t it that Jews can hold so many opposing opinions and tolerate even these self-hating Jews who take pleasure in siding with Israel’s enemies ?”

    Thanks Mike, you are mistaken and the fables of the choosen people were wrong, sad that you had to wait so long to find out, somebody could have givven you a hint long ago.
    Israels inability to have any genuine relations with any of its neighbours has always been under flase pretences, to keep their backs calm whilst the persued their goal of driving the Palestinina from the lands they have lived in, for hundreds of years and in peace.

    Palestine is multicultural and Israel will have to realise that its down to their own policies.

  112. The reason Libyans were indicted without being State Party to the Rome Statute was because the Security Council (including US, Russia, China and India, none of which are part of the ICC membership) referred the case to the Court. The Security Council would never refer crimes committed in occupied Palestinian territory to the ICC.

  113. On Obama’s decision to cancel the $60 million payment to UNESCO (and Canada following too apparently) and what the effects will be.

  114. @C (and Craig and all)
    Another UN triumph

  115. “Israel’s inability to have any genuine relations with any of its neighbours..” –
    writes Ingo.

    As usual, you guys turn the truth upside-down without even realizing it. A Jewish national homeland in Palestine was created by Britain and the League of Nations in 1920 out of the vast lands of Ottoman Turkey. The Arabs were given Arabia, Mesopotamia, Syria and Transjordan. It’s not about religion, it’s not about land; it’s about injured Arab pride and their stubborn desire to turn the clocks back to 1900 or even further. There will never be a lasting peace until they change their mindset and stop educating their children to hate Israelis/Jews.

  116. “There will never be a lasting peace until they change their mindset and stop educating their children to hate Israelis/Jews.” I wonder whether you actually know any Palestinian parents, so as to know first-hand just how they educate their children. Or perhaps your opinions are not based on any such personal acquaintance? Anyway, stopping the occupation of territory which is not in your country (the West Bank) should help considerably towards such an end.

  117. “Stephen Dorril, in his superb tome on MI6 (SIS), claims that Mandela was an MI6 agent from early on.”
    so this is the reason thatcher gave her wholehearted support to mandela and the anc .. Wendy.
    Off-topic, now, I know. But that is a simplistic view of how things work. If you were an imperial power (UK), you would want to prevent the perceived instruments (Communists in S. Africa) of the opposing imperial power (USSR) from gaining control of the major oppositional movement. Therefore, it makes eminent sense to recruit senior non-Communist figures in the opposition, even while actively supporting the Apartheid regime.
    After all, Wendy, many of our own Trade Union leaders (allegedly, Jack Jones, Vic Feather and a number of others) were spying for MI5 during the Col war for exactly the same reasons, even while they were struggling against the government. George Orwell gave a list of names to MI6 for the same reasons. That is now openly agreed.
    This kind of complex game is entirely normative, Wendy.

  118. Ken Waldron

    2 Nov, 2011 - 7:17 pm

    It’s not about religion, it’s not about land…

    If its not about religion nor land, then what is Israel?

    the “Arabs” were given… & injured “Arab” pride…

    – So its a “race” thing then?

    But as far as I am aware, there is little to no real genetic difference between a Palestinian “Arab” and a “Jew” of Middle Eastern origin. Is this not the case?

    Back to religion and land?

  119. Sorry, Wendy, reading over what I wrote, it sounded awfully patronising – I didn’t mean to be! Apologies if it looks that way.
    Abe, yes, I agree entirely.
    Mike W, you know, Israel has the power to dismantle any type of Palestinian state at any time it wants and this is likely to continue to be the case for the forseeable future. Indeed, it seems to have been busy doing just that for the pas how many years, so really, it has little to fear existentially, whatever the supposed duplicity of ‘the Arabs’ (to use a phrase typical of people who won’t want to acknolwledge that Palestinians exist and who seem to think it acceptable that all Arabic speakers normatively be homogenised).
    But I recognise that it is likely that agreement will never be reached and that ‘the Arabs’ will be definitely divided and defeated, as they have been for the past so many decades. Israel – united, strong, First World Plus – will continue to be victorious and will continue to be supported in every way by the West. This will not change until the historical cycle shifts. ‘The Arabs’ would need to become like ‘China’ for this power dynamic to change – and they never will.

  120. Mike W, your use of this term, ‘The Arabs’ really irritates. It’s use in this way is almost as bad as the anti-Semitic use of the term, ‘The Jews…’. And how magnanimous of Britain to ‘give’ ‘the Arabs’ their own lands! Your underlying assumptions are deeply imperialist and, I would argue, are bordering on the racist.
    Your basic position, then, might be summed up as follows: ‘Oslo is dead. UNESCO will soon be dead. Palestine does not exist’.
    Golda Meir lives again, it seems!
    Now, I know these are complex matters. I know the history (eg. Iraq, 1940s). It is not clear-cut. And yes, the various Islamist movements are not beneficent in terms of their own people let alone others. But while arguing for complexity, you youself simplify the problem, you distill it down into what is basically, propaganda.

  121. Walk Tall Hang Loose

    2 Nov, 2011 - 8:06 pm

    To Mike W.

    The San Remo Resolution/Balfour Declaration does NOT establish the legal basis for Israel. Mary has given the text, which calls for “the establishment IN Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”.

    A national home for the Jewish people is NOT the same thing as a Jewish state. For example, Scotland is the national home of the Scots, but it is not a state: it is a nation WITHIN the state called the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    This is a long way from giving ALL of Palestine to the Jews as THEIR nation-state.

  122. So, Wendy, to go back to South Africa, the real (as opposed to public) position of the UK establishment (hard state, whatever) was that they supported white minority rule. Thatcher certainly exemplified that. However, they recognised that unless one has major influence on the leaders of the black majority, one would risk loss of the country with its major resources – gold, diamonds, primarily – to the USSR if and when white minority rule collapsed. With the demise of the USSR as a global force at the end of the 1980s (the Soviet withdrawl from Eastern Europe, Afghanistan, etc.) and with continuing social unrest in S. Africa’s major cities risking the destabilisation of the economy, it became clear to the power-brokers in Washington, London and Pretoria that firstly Communism/ the USSR was no longer likely to pose an existential threat to South Africa as part of the Western bloc and secondly, that they could do a deal with black non-Communist leaders that would maintain capitalism and their privileges, etc. in S. Africa and exclude redistribution of wealth to the majority of the black population. And so, in 1990, Mandela was released from jail.
    Being an agent of MI6 (or even MI5) does not preclude greatness – witness, George Orwell. This is what I mean. We need to take some of our heroes down off pedestals and view them as they deserve to be viewed. Mandela is a great man, as I said in my original post. But the vision of S. Africa which became that of the (now extremely corrupt) ruling ANC bloc has not resulted in significant improvement in the lives of the vast majority of S. Africans of even the middle classes (of all colours), let alone the poorer people. It didn’t have to be that way; it could have been different. But that would have reqd a different economic vision – and the West was not willing to allow that to happen.

  123. William Hague has made a statement condemning the additional Israeli settlements in the West Bank:

  124. Let me get this right: Israel shouldn’t have been created, say you. Hard cheese! It exists and has existed for more than 60 years. The Kingdom of Jordan was created only a few years earlier. I don’t hear anyone suggesting it should be dismantled. At least Israel has a history going back millenia. Jews in Jerusalem and other holy cities like Hebron and Safed were living there long before the Muslims arrived in the 7th century, and they’ve been living there ever since. Britain gave Jews a national home, and the Arabs a number of states they’d never had under the Ottomans. The Arab nations and Iran kicked out their own Jewish inhabitants who in turn become refugees until they were re-settled in Israel. This is not a racial or territorial thing, it’s an existential struggle between different cultures – but yes, the Israelis are going nowhere; they have no home to go to. The Palestinian Arabs used to call themselves Egyptians or Jordanians, or Syrians etc. etc. and they *do* have other homes to go to.
    I would hope that the new Palestinian mini-state will form a confederation with Jordan and Egypt in order to be viable.

    Suhayl, I hear what you’re saying, but you’re wrong in accusing me of making propaganda. I believe everything I say. I wish I could believe you all say what you mean or believe. This is not an ideological struggle as far as I’m concerned. For most of you, I think that’s all it is. You have no idea how wrong you are and you’re afraid to admit I might be right.

  125. As I said, Mike W, I know the history and it is complex. No, I have never argued that Israel should not exist. I think it natural and entirely understandbale that Jewish people might want a land where they are not in the minority, after hat happened to them in lands where they were in the minority. And I agree that Israel is a fact. I beleive you beleive everyuthing you say – my refernec to ‘propaganda’ was not meant to suggest that you were being insincere, simply that you are propagating views which might be described as similar to Israeli state propaganda – always the same contentions which centre around the proposition that Palestinians do not exist. Well, tough. Those people who define themselves as Palestinians have existed now for at least as long as the state of Israel and have equal right to call themselves Palestinian as Israelis have to call themselves Israeli.
    Well, suffice to say that as you well know, there are a number of Israelis who disgaree with your views, Mike W. Miko Peled, son of israeli general and war-hero, is one. Ronan Berelovitch, ex-IDF solider, is another. And of course, people such as Ilan Pappe, Amira Hass and others – Scottish Jews for a Just Peace, for example, there are many others.
    Now, at the start, you claimed that Palestine/Israel was the focus of much comment, a disproportionate level of comment, and that people became inordinately impassioned about it all, the subtext of your contention being that we are all anti-Semites and that criticism of Israeli state policy equates to anti-Semitism 9and that Jews who engage in such criticism are self-haters, etc.). Yet you yourself appear to have become equally impassioned about the subject. So.

  126. I don’t think an existential struggle b/w different cultures. the culture of Mizrahi (and many Sephardic) Jews is very similar to that of Muslim snd Christian Arabic-speaking peoples. No matter that they now sadly are ‘enemies’, they shared the same culture for hundreds of years and many aspects of their culture remain very similar. It’s a territorial issue. Both extremes try to make it into an existential struggle b/w cultures, but at root that is not the dynamic. The religious extremists in Israel are every bit as crazy as the Islamists – and unfortunately in israel the religious extermists are gaining the upper hand, pushing increasingly bigoted policies, etc. But the Palestine-Israel issue at root is territorial. It requres a political land settlement. And much else thereafter, but without the land settlement, nothing else will work.

  127. Ah! Typos ‘r’ Us!

  128. Walk Tall Hang Loose

    2 Nov, 2011 - 9:53 pm

    Mike W: I accept the existence of Israel and have not suggested it should be ‘dismantled’ or that its Jewish inhabitants should leave, even though many, perhaps a majority, are 20th century immigrants, who have not been living there for millenia.
    But the crucial question is what happens to the Arab Palestinians, who HAVE been living in Palestine for many generations at least(and many of whom may be descendents of Jews who converted to Christianity and/or later to Islam). No, they cannot go to Jordan or Egypt, because those countries will not accept them. And anyway, why should they leave their homes to make way for Jews from Europe and Russia? This is the fundamental illogic, injustice and inhumanity at the heart of Zionism.
    The solution on offer is of two states with the starting point for negotiations being the pre-67 borders, as specified in numerous Security Council resolutions. The Israeli government says it will accept this, the Arab states will accept it, even Iran and Hamas say they will accept it if the Palestinian people vote for it. The only thing preventing negotiations starting immediately is the continuing colonisation by Israel of land outside the pre-67 borders.
    Mike W. – please tell us honestly what is your vision of the future for Israel and Palestine: ethnic cleansing?

  129. Since Golda Meir muttered ‘that there is no such thing as a Palestinian they are all terrorist’ has the psychological management of consent gone into overdrive. If you are able to tell your people something for decades, 100 times/per annum and with conviction, extolling the pains of the past and the dangers that surround Israel, keeping them alive worldwide and prioritising their pain above all others, then the people will beleive you and take it up and tell their children and make them fear too.

    There was change apparent, but Sharon ruined it with his hardline policies, it was his Government that stopped schooling children together, since that day Israel has opposed its own interlect and abilities in favour of opposing the international community of equals, it took others land by any means, and by doing as was done to them in the past, to the Palestinians. If Ghaza was not one big concentration camp, shut off and fired at, then what was it?

    Release Marwan Barghouti and save Israel from eating itself in anger. If Bibi looks closely at the pros and cons he will realise that this is exactly what he needs, lets hope all this missile testing has not got to his pecker and switched the brain off.

  130. Well, Mike W, wrt denial of the existence of the Palestinians, you’re in good company, it seems. Republican wannabee presidential candidate, Herman Cain, the man who, it seems, cannot pronounce the word, ‘Uzbekistan’. Mind you, that may simply be a reminder of Dubya and the obverse of the Obama ‘Pakistan’ moment when, for once, the Democrat candidate pronounced the word, ‘Pakistan’ correctly and was criticised for sounding too learned and snobbish as a result. Since then, Obama has tried to pronounce ‘Pakistan’ as incorrectly as he can manage – he still can’t bring himself to do it properly incorrectly, though. What a circus!

    Anyway, Mr Cain says the Palestinians do not exist. And that is what Mike W seems to be arguing. It’s an extremist position, even in Israeli/US circles. Herman Cain, the right-wing Evangelicals, the insane lobby. here’s an article by Dan Ephron on the matter:

  131. Mike W,
    I’m not here to give yet another history lesson (I’m on the limit now) but sorry I have a problem with the ‘old chestnut,’ “At least Israel has a history going back millenia. Jews in Jerusalem and other holy cities like Hebron and Safed were living there long before the Muslims arrived in the 7th century” – or as I call it ‘the keys to the kingdom’ needs a little thought.
    While Garfinkel jumps from boulder to boulder looking for where David killed Goliath, Tel Aviv Uni Prof. Finkelstein’s four carbon-14 readings have set the chronology in stone looking backwards and forwards from the Herodian period.
    The kingdoms of David and Solomon is one more chapter in a saga possessing deep theological, national and political roots and often compounded by interpersonal tensions and academic politics. The accounts in the holy scriptures have to date never been proved valid because the physical evidence from discoveries found by excavations (walls, pottery etc) and the accounts of the archaeologists/researchers are disputed.

  132. So Mike, Its not about land, its not about religion, and now you say its not about race, its about “Culture”.

    Do you seriously think Moroccan Jews shared the same culture as the Ashkenazi ?

    I can assure you that there are many kinds of Jews who live comfortably within many different cultures. In fact the majority of Jews still do so, so its not about culture.

  133. Jeez, do I need to answer all of you at such a late hour?

    What I’m doing is passionately defending the country I love, that’s right – but what’s *your* justification. I doubt if there is even *one* Arab in this room. Oh and I wish some of you wouldn’t put words into my mouth. I never ever accused anyone here of antisemitism ( I may have thought it, but that’s for me to know )- though it’s interesting in a Freudian sense that you should suggest it…

    I’m an agnostic and no Bible expert as far as religion goes, but I do know that archeological finds in the Holy Land have validated a number of Biblical accounts. In any case, the land of Israel forms an integral part of the Jewish religion. It was never abandoned spiritually or physically by Jews. ‘Palestinians’ of course existed for centuries but only started calling themselves that from the 1960’s onwards. There wasn’t a Palestinian nation or a specific language there because most had come fairly recently to the region. The question now is what to do with the West Bank and Gaza. I see no reason to deny them a self-governing state with fixed borders if that is what they want. Whether they will settle for it and give up attacking Israel is the next question, and how soon they could be allowed their own airport and free airspace. Given that their borders are only a few miles from Israel’s centres of population, you can understand why people on my side tend to feel pretty nervous about it. It would need close co-operation with Jordan and Egypt and right now, the Arab spring is casting a dark shadow all over the Middle East…

  134. “The question now is what to do with the West Bank and Gaza. I see no reason to deny them a self-governing state with fixed borders if that is what they want.” Mike W.
    Jolly good.
    Yes, Mike W, I can understand the nervousness. I know some people in Israel. And the Palestinians too are and would remain nervous, given how close Israeli military bases are to their centres of population. So, in a state of mutual nervousness, perhaps it would be better to proceed with getting the Palestinian state set up, as you rightly suggest, there is no reason to delay further. It is largely this further delay that generates more and more violence and extremism. And wrt the Arab Spring – though I share some of your foreboding – it also may present new opportunities. Good. So, the status quo is untenable and a proper Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza is a rational way forward. I am glad that we gree on that at least. And that is the main catalyst for the future in relation to this issue.

  135. “There wasn’t a Palestinian nation or a specific language there because most had come fairly recently to the region.”

    Your proof of this is what? Perhaps Joan Peters “From Time Immemorial”? A well recognised fraud demolished many years ago by Norman Finkelstein.

    Excuse me, but I thought you were well read?

  136. My apologies Mike for a slightly knee jerk response to arguments presented so many times before. Suhayl is correct in what he says. There is no point in provocation or entrenchment in mythical rights. A solution is required to a pressing problem. Accentuate the positive.

  137. In the long-term Israel has to live with Palestinians in the same small area of the globe, and therefore it makes sense to seek harmony with they, who are and will be your closest neighbours. An “existential conflict” mentality will not help.

    The way to long-term security for Israel is therefore by helping, not hindering, the creation of a Palestinian state that will be viable. Not stealing their water and land, which is not part of Israel. Nor withholding their revenue. Nor preventing them building an adequate quality of life for themselves, through infrastructure, economy, airports and fishing.

  138. Announcing “over and out” must mean the same to Mike W, as claiming to be “perusing peace and justice” does to the Israeli government. That is, to tell a lie.
    So Mike W, one has to have experienced a circumstance for a good time, at least longer than the individual posing the challenge, preferably 100% experience, to have any right to comment? But then the next barrier would be brought up of course, that a lack of broader experience was lacking. Only if a view is contrary to yours, of course, otherwise we’re talking about “common sense” and a rightful “moral decision’ no matter how ignorant your supporter. (“Yeah, I say we bomb those guys, those… who are the ones throwing the stones again?”)
    Mark W, this isn’t some lazy hangout. Have your disagreements and bigoted opinions – fine, but don’t accuse this blog’s residents to be uninformed and poorly read compared with yourself. Particularly on a subject where you are flat out morally bankrupt and spouting dismissible, worn out half-truths. Shame on you on a number of fronts.

  139. I thought your accidental type ‘the religious extermists’ was rather apt Suhayl.

    Immediately after the UNESCO vote was announced, Bibi said that he would hold on to Palestinian taxes and extend the building of settlements. Obama his poodle withdraws $60 million from UNESCO thus depriving some of this world’s needy of their services.

    Bibi’s real family name is Mileikowsky and their association with Palestine began in 1920.

    ‘In 1920 the family emigrated from Warsaw to Palestine. After living in Jaffa, Tel Aviv, and Safed, the family settled in Jerusalem. Benzion studied in the Midrash for teachers run by David Yellin, and later went on to study at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He specialized in History and was especially inspired by professor Joseph Klausner. His younger brother, mathematician Elisha Netanyahu, also studied at the Hebrew University, and later became the Dean of Sciences at the Technion.
    Netanyahu’s father, Nathan Mileikowsky, used to sign some of his articles with the name Netanyahu. It was a common practice for Zionist activists at the time to adopt a Hebrew name and his son Benzion eventually adopted this family name. Following the same practice, Benzion Netanyahu occasionally wrote under the name “Nitay”. When his son Benjamin Netanyahu lived in the United States, he needed a name Americans could easily pronounce; he chose “Ben Nitay”.’

  140. Good morning Palestine! It’s a very interesting blog you have here.

    Yeah, I did say goodbye meaning to leave, but something drew me back. Thanks for the constructive replies ( Suhayl, Ken and others ). On the other hand, some of you seem to be reading a lot into what I wrote, which means either that I didn’t express myself well enough, or else that you are projecting thoughts you want me to have in order to attack me more effectively. I won’t bother replying to those who are angry and insult me rather than debate ( hello Glenn ).

    I guess no-one here actually lives in Israel-Palestine so our opinions come from second-hand sources at best. I suggest a little less emotion and more thinking.
    Of course I admire Israel – there’s a lot to admire. Many of you seem to be motivated by hate for Israel rather than by love for the Palestinians – there isn’t such a lot to admire, is there? I don’t spend my time hating my enemies ( real or imagined ): I prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

    Have a nice day !

  141. Fascinating to learn about Bibi’s family background. It’s true that most of the Israeli leaders who created the state in 1947/8 had European backgrounds. It’s also true that Palestinian figures like Arafat or Edward Said came from Egypt rather than Palestine. So what? The majority of today’s Israelis are from Arabic countries, including North Africa. In other words, they come from Sephardi / Mizrachi, not Ashkenazy origins, and belong to the Middle East as much as their Arab neighbours. I don’t know the percentage of today’s Palestinians having grandparents who lived on the same land for generations. History books show that Ottoman Palestine was a poor and barren region that was sparsely populated until the turn of the 20th century. Around that time, Jews were told to go back to Palestine. It needed a Theodor Herzl to make it happen.

  142. The population of Israel by ethnicity in 2008 was
    TOTAL 5,818,000 100%
    Mizrahi Jews and Sephardic Jews 2,921,000 50.2%
    Ashkenazi Jews 2,767,000 47.5%


    Isn’t this division by ethnicity racist? Are we not all humans and sisters and brothers?

  143. Mike W, you have a good day too. Thanks for debating. Ken, Abe, cheers.
    Mary, that is a good point actually. there was and maybe to some extent still is tension (and in the pst, much worse) b/w the Ashkenazi and other Jewish communities in Israel. Of course, the population of Israel also consists of Israeli Arabs (Palestinians who stayed after 1948 plus Bedouins), Druze, Armenians, Samaritans and others – so I assume those figures relate solely to the Jewish population of Israel?
    Out of all this, Mike W does make a valid point about a growing proportion of the Israeli population being from the Near or Middle East – Iraqi, then Moroccan, are the largest two groups now in Israel, and apart from the older people, most of them were born in Israel. In some ways, this offers hope, but it’s a long way off, the distrust b/w the Mizrahi/Sephardic Jews and Arabs has been festering now for many decades. Apart from everything else, this aspect is a major tragedy, in my view. A sustained political settlement might represent the beginnings of a new paradigm. Panglossian? Maybe. And like Mike, I am not optimistic yet must sustain hope. It’s worth working towards.

  144. amrikiyaaaa

    3 Nov, 2011 - 1:05 pm

    Who could have predicted that a tiny Palestine might have influence to force the US out of UN. Read the article here and expect the US becoming non-member of major international organizations. I wish Palestine was accepted to the Security Council with veto powers, then the US would withdraw itself from the SC and then the yankees wouldn’t be able to veto vital resolutions in the future or make illegal wars around the world.

  145. Suhayl, I’m quite impressed that, for an outsider, you appear to know a great deal about the Israel-Palestine situation. Mabrouk! – as the Arabs say.

    I don’t know if there is much left to add to this topic. I suspect that a lot of anti-Israel animosity comes more from headline-grabbing media tidbits and a generalized anti-Americanism or anti-capitalism than from a genuine knowledge of the facts on the ground. In a nutshell, it’s not cool to be pro-Israel; c’est la vie! If people keep reading only The Guardian or The Independent, they’ll never see Israel in a positive light. Hopefully the BBC is more impartial these days, despite Craig’s claims to the contrary.

    Take care!

  146. Mike W,

    I find your ‘Good morning Palestine!’ and your assumption there exists ‘hate’ for Israel among our contributors disturbing. I do not personally ‘hate’ anything Mick, because I have learnt to seek some good in anything.
    You ‘..suspect that a lot of anti-Israel animosity comes more from headline-grabbing media tidbits and a generalized anti-Americanism or anti-capitalism than from a genuine knowledge of the facts on the ground.’ It does not. I happen to love the American people. Your assumptions are like stones in quicksand and your sarcasm affords no respect. I say that not out of anger and insults are not in my vocabulary. Your cloaked diatribe of Glenn, a long standing commentator is not required here.
    According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, the Arab population of Israel in 2010 is estimated at 1,573,000, representing 20.4% of the population.
    From 2000-on these Israeli Arabs have been subjected to the worse consequences of racial discrimination, thirteen killed protesting the Israeli government’s response to the Second Intifada. Most Israeli Arabs boycotted the 2001 Israeli Elections as a means of protest. Unfortunately this action helped the war criminal Sharon into power. During the 2006 Lebanon War, Arab advocacy organizations complained that the Israeli government had invested time and effort to protect Jewish citizens from Hezbollah attacks, but had neglected Arab citizens – No emergency info in Arab was posted and no bomb shelters were afforded them.
    I found good in Israel in a conversation I heard from a young IDF enlisted soldier who said he had no idea why he was commanded to kick a Palestinian family out of their house, on high ground where they had lived for twenty plus years. Children left on the street while their parents frantically sought refuge from other family members.
    This is the reality and this forms the basis of my aversion towards the Israeli leadership.

  147. Quite Mark.
    Anyway they are falling out with each other now.

    Israeli PM orders investigation into Iran leak
    Kuwaiti paper says Binyamin Netanyahu believes the heads of the Mossad and Shin Bet may have leaked plans to thwart them
    Ian Black, Middle East editor, Thursday 3 November 2011 13.57 GMT

    Israel’s prime minister has ordered an investigation into alleged leaks of plans to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, it has been reported.
    According to the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Jarida, the main suspects are the former heads of the Mossad and the Shin Bet, respectively Israel’s foreign and domestic intelligence agencies.
    Netanyahu is said to believe that the two, Meir Dagan and Yuval Diskin, wanted to torpedo plans being drawn up by him and Ehud Barak, the defence minister to hit Iranian nuclear sites. Tzipi Livni, leader of the opposition Kadima party, is also said to have been persuaded to attack Netanyahu for “adventurism” and “gambling with Israel’s national interest”.
    The paper suggested that the purpose of the leaks was to prevent an attack, which had moved from the stage of discussion to implementation. “Those who oppose the plan within the security establishment decided to leak it to the media and thwart the plan,” it said.
    Both Dagan and Diskin oppose military action against Iran unless all other options – primarily international diplomatic pressure and perhaps sabotage — have been exhausted. In January the recently retired Dagan, a hawk when he was running the Mossad, called an attack on Iran “the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard”.
    The Kuwait paper has a track record of running stories based on apparently high-level leaks from Israeli officials.
    Even well-informed Israeli observers admit to being confused about what is going on behind the scenes.
    “It seems that only Netanyahu and Barak know, and maybe even they haven’t decided,” commented Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff, both respected Haaretz writers. “While many people say Netanyahu and Barak are conducting sophisticated psychological warfare and don’t intend to launch a military operation, top officials…. are still afraid.”
    The idea that something significant is going on in this highly sensitive area was rekindled last week in comments by columnist Nahum Barnea, who wrote in Yedioth Yedioth Ahronoth that the officials running Israel’s military and intelligence services were opposed to a war with Iran.
    “Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak are the Siamese twins of the Iranian issue,” he wrote. “A rare phenomenon is taking place here in terms of Israeli politics: a prime minister and defence minister who act as one body, with one goal, with mutual backing and repeated heaping of praise on each other… They’re characterised as urging action.
    “Netanyahu portrayed the equation at the beginning of his term as: [Iranian president Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad is Hitler; if he is not stopped in time, there will be a Holocaust. There are some who describe Netanyahu’s fervour on this subject as an obsession: all his life he’s dreamed of being Churchill. Iran gives him the chance.”
    The debate in Israel was further fanned on Wednesday when Israel successfully test-fired a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and striking Iran.
    The paper quoted looks very tabloid and like some NewsInt’l publication.{}

  148. Netanyahu now follows suit by withdrawing funding of $2 billion from UNESCO.
    Israel to halt UNESCO funding over Palestinian vote
    JERUSALEM | Thu Nov 3, 2011 7:24pm IST
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel said on Thursday it would freeze its funding to the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO following the group’s decision to grant the Palestinians full membership.

    A statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said UNESCO’s decision this week damaged chances of reaching a peace deal with the Palestinians and that Israel would halt its annual payments of $2 million.

    Israel’s main ally, the United States, has also stopped its financing, which accounts for 22 percent of the agency’s funds.

    The UNESCO vote on Monday was a diplomatic victory for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who in the absence of peace talks has pushed for recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations, a move opposed by Israel and the United States.

    A day after the vote, Israel announced it would speed up the building of some 2,000 housing units in the occupied West Bank and around Jerusalem, and freeze tax transfers to Abbas’s Palestinian Authority.

    “Steps like these do not promote peace but make it more distant,” Netanyahu said of the UNESCO vote.

    Netanyahu has called on Abbas to return without preconditions to peace negotiations that collapsed over a year ago in a dispute over Jewish settlement. Abbas says Israel must first freeze settlement activity.

    The Palestinians are looking to establish a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East War.

    Israel later annexed East Jerusalem, a move that has not won international recognition. It withdrew from Gaza in 2005, and in 2007 the territory was taken over by Hamas Islamists, who are rivals to Western-backed Abbas and refuse to recognise Israel.

    (Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

  149. Israel, Occupied Palestine and Apartheid: John Dugard responds to Richard Goldstone
    Earlier this week, in an op-ed in The New York Times, Richard Goldstone denounced those comparing Israeli state policies to apartheid South Africa. Renowned legal scholar and former UN Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Territories John Dugard responds.
    Note: The NYT refused to publish this op-ed, giving Dugard only 250 words in its letters pages.

  150. The latest newsletter from the Palestine Solidarity Committee on the Unesco vote and Israel’s illegalities following it, and the aid boats to Gaza.

  151. Mary

    You overinflated the amouunt of Israel’s withdrawn funding from UNESCO by a factor of 1000, you understated the amount lost to fraudulent benefit claims per the Panorama program (where I still nevertheless agree with your general drift).

  152. Stephen. The million into billion was an honest mistake. I assumed all funding to UNESCO was in $billions. The report I copied said $2 million so why the fuss.
    The benefit fraud figures were copied from Stevo on Medialens as I said.

  153. Israeli doctors ‘failing to report torture of Palestinian detainees’
    Human rights groups accuse doctors of failing to document signs of torture and returning detainees to interrogators
    Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem,
    Thursday 3 November 2011 08.53 GMT

  154. So Israel is not only stopping its funds to UNESCO, and with it its say on that body, saving millions, whilst also punishing the Palestinians for daring to advance their state in International bodies as such, by withholding 100 million of owed tax revenues to the west bank and Ghaza.

    Eid is fast approaching and it looks like Israel wants to create some anger and strife with their measure. Tops, I win head you loose, How ill the PA pay its Authority and security staff?
    The Iran boys Bibi and Ehud, with their idea of going to war with Iran rejected by many in Mossad and shin beth, look like the loony lonesomes now, but still they are prepared to attack Iran for their master voice.

  155. Ingo

    “So Israel is not only stopping its funds to UNESCO, and with it its say on that body, saving millions, ” well 2 to be precise.

    Reminds me of the old maxim

    that one is number, many is two, several is three or more.

  156. On the Australian vote against Palestine joining UNESCO, Rudd and Gillard and the Israel lobby in Australia.
    The article is also discussed on medialens.

  157. Thansk Mary, what can you expect of people who shoot at fully laden boats to sink them and who put people in concentraion camps on remote islands.

    ‘Tel Aviv is the only western City that has no Arab or Muslim populace’.
    A good opinion piece with lots of replies.

  158. A little spank for the spambotties…?

  159. Pleased about Palestine’s recognition, at last, by the UN. I am still really troubled by the position that the US and Israel take on the same matter. The word recalcitrant comes to mind.

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