June 15, 2009

Educating Stephen about Israel's occupation

In "Two Peoples--One Struggle" reader Stephen ranted about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:Your posts indicate that you know next to nothing about it, not to mention the nonsense you spewed about Islam.Says the religious bigot. Besides Muslims, are there any other groups of people you feel self-righteously superior to?

In a previous posting, I told you some of what I know about the Palestinians. I laughed uproariously at your use of WorldNetDaily.com as a source of "information."

Now I'll tell you some of what I know about Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Maybe you won't sound so ignorant the next time you open your mouth.

Status of territories captured by Israel--OccupiedIn their decisions on the separation barrier, the International Court of Justice and Supreme Court of Israel have both ruled that the West Bank is occupied. The US State Department also considers the West Bank and Gaza Strip occupied.

The ICJ outlined the legal rationale for the supporters of this view in its advisory opinion of 9 July 2004. It noted:

...under customary international law as reflected (...) in Article 42 of the Regulations Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land annexed to the Fourth Hague Convention of 18 October 1907 (hereinafter “the Hague Regulations of 1907”), territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army, and the occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised. The territories situated between the Green Line (see paragraph 72 above) and the former eastern boundary of Palestine under the Mandate were occupied by Israel in 1967 during the armed conflict between Israel and Jordan. Under customary international law, these were therefore occupied territories in which Israel had the status of occupying Power. Subsequent events in these territories, as described in paragraphs 75 to 77 above, have done nothing to alter this situation. All these territories (including East Jerusalem) remain occupied territories and Israel has continued to have the status of occupying Power.
On the application of the fourth Geneva Convention, the Court noted:

...for the purpose of determining the scope of application of the Fourth Geneva Convention, it should be recalled that under common Article 2 of the four Conventions of 12 August 1949:

“In addition to the provisions which shall be implemented in peacetime, the present Convention shall apply to all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties, even if the state of war is not recognized by one of them.

The Convention shall also apply to all cases of partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party, even if the said occupation meets with no armed resistance."

(...) the Court notes that, according to the first paragraph of Article 2 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, that Convention is applicable when two conditions are fulfilled: that there exists an armed conflict (whether or not a state of war has been recognized); and that the conflict has arisen between two contracting parties. (...) The object of the second paragraph of Article 2 is not to restrict the scope of application of the Convention, as defined by the first paragraph, by excluding therefrom territories not falling under the sovereignty of one of the contracting parties. It is directed simply to making it clear that, even if occupation effected during the conflict met no armed resistance, the Convention is still applicable.

In its June 2005 ruling upholding the constitutionality of the Gaza disengagement, the Israeli High Court determined that "Judea and Samaria" [West Bank] and the Gaza area are lands seized during warfare, and are not part of Israel."
"Occupied" vs. "Disputed" territoriesAppropriateness of disputed

  • With respect to the West Bank, Israel itself argues that it "has valid claims to title in this territory." It does not, however, identify these claims, their bases, or their extent (except to imply by use of "in this territory" rather than "over this territory" that these claims do not encompass the entire West Bank)

  • Use of "disputed" instead of "occupied" arguably implies the existence of contending territorial claims against some part of the West Bank, or against the West Bank as a whole. Israel makes no specific territorial claim on any part of the West Bank, however: wherever an Israeli solder leaves a footprint in the West Bank, no specific Israeli territorial claim of the area within that footprint is in evidence. Nor can Israel point at any specific site where such affirmative and incompatible territorial claims exist as might normally bring the term "disputed territory" to mind (i.e. a site within the claimed boundaries of more than one nation). The term "disputed" may not apply here as conventionally understood, or may be more suitably applied to the status of the West Bank than to the territory of the West Bank itself.

  • Further, the applicability of "disputed" here appears not to preclude the correctness of "occupied"

  • The international consensus, excepting the U.S. in some cases, is that

  • The annexation of the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem are illegal and not recognized by international law

  • The West Bank and Gaza are "occupied," because:

    o They were captured by force of arms and against the will of their populations.

    o The residents in these areas were stateless.

    o Israel has put the territories under military rather than civilian administration, creating a de facto state of occupation.
  • If you want to challenge my sources, go ahead. Edit the Wikipedia entries and correct what you consider the mistakes. Watch how fast people correct your "corrections." That's because Wikipedia, unlike your source, tries to be fair and balanced.

    Deconstructing Stephen's claimshttp://www.ujc.org/page.aspx?id=78861


    "Israel "occupies" the West Bank."

    The more accurate description of the territories in Judea and Samaria is "disputed" territories.
    Most of the world calls the territories "occupied." Israel and its American supporters dispute this and calls the territories "disputed." And...so? Is there any particular reason we should accept the views of a tiny minority over those of the vast majority? No.

    Even the Israeli High Court agrees that "Judea and Samaria" [West Bank] and the Gaza area are lands seized during warfare, and are not part of Israel." Do you have anything to say to that?

    If most of the world preferred the term "disputed" to "occupied," you might have a point. But most of the world prefers "occupied" to "disputed." Your claim is stupid semantics at best, false or misleading rubbish at worst.In fact, most other disputed territories around the world are not referred to as being occupied by the party that controls them.Yes, occupiers such as Israel rarely admit that their occupations violate international law. And people accused of crimes rarely admit they're guilty. So the hell what?This is true, for example, of the hotly contested region of Kashmir.The problem with this example is that there's no consensus about Kashmir. There is a consensus about Israel's illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Hence the UN resolutions and "road maps" calling for the return of these territories.

    In short, the status of Israel's occupied territories isn't "hotly disputed" by anyone except Israel. Therefore, the word "occupied" is more appropriate than "disputed."Occupation typically refers to foreign control of an area that was under the previous sovereignty of another state.That's because most territory is typically under someone's sovereign control. And not because it's a requirement of the definition of "occupation."

    Conquest = self-defense?!It is also important to distinguish the acquisition of territory in a war of conquest as opposed to a war of self-defense. A nation that attacks another and then retains the territory it conquers is an occupier. One that gains territory in the course of defending itself is not in the same category.Israel's war of self-defense ended when it regained control of its fixed borders. When it overstepped those borders, it turned legitimate self-defense into an illegitimate invasion and occupation.

    Anything else you need to know? Next time, do some research on something other than your rabidly right-wing websites. Then you'll learn there are plenty of arguments you've missed. Anyone who thinks there's a clearcut answer to any aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is even stupider than he seems.

    Here's a clue, bright boy: If you don't want to look like a total intellectual fraud, present both sides of the issue next time. Don't waste my time telling me how much smarter you are when you're too prejudiced to acknowledge the "occupation" controversy. I'm willing to note both sides because I'm interested in the truth. Other than sheer stupidity, what's your excuse for your ideological blindness?

    For more on the subject, see The Indian-Palestinian Connection.

    P.S. I've disabled comments on this and the previous posting because of your obvious penchant for inundating me with irrelevant arguments. As I told you before, you're not cluttering my blog with your insults and attacks. If you have something to say, start your own blog and post your rebuttal there. Or e-mail your comments and I'll consider whether they're relevant to my mission.

    You know, the mission I stated at the top of the blog? The one you're apparently too stupid to understand? Yes, the intersection of Native America and pop culture...that mission.

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