WAFA, the official Palestinian news outlet, has just reported on a telephone conversation Anthony Blinken had with PA President Mahmoud Abbas. If it is accurate, it is another sign that the Bidenites are willing to violate both international law and an act passed by Congress, in order to satisfy the Palestinians, in the hope that this will make them more amenable to negotiating with Israel. A report on this is here: “PA: Blinken says US will reopen consulate; rejects settlements, settler violence,” Times of Israel, January 31, 2022:
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that the US “rejects” settlements and attacks by settlers on Palestinians, the PA’s official mouthpiece says.
On what basis does the Biden Administration “reject the settlements”? Does it believe them to be illegal? If so, can it provide its reasons? Or does it merely think the West Bank settlements are unwise? And If “unwise,” is it because those settlements make a Palestinian state less likely? Why is that “unwise”? Some would argue that treaties are not the most effective way for Israel to keep the peace between it and the Arabs. Muslim treaty-making is based on the model of Muhammad’s Treaty of Al Hudaibiyya, made with the Meccans in 628 A.D. That treaty was meant to last for ten years, but after only 18 months, having judged his forces by then sufficiently strong, Muhammad broke the treaty and attacked the Meccans. That has been the model for Muslim treaties with Infidels ever since. Not treaties, but deterrence, is what will keep the peace between Israel and potential Muslim enemies. And that deterrence requires that Israel retain military control of the West Bank. It must, at a minimum, hold onto its five large settlement blocs right across the Green Line, as well as settlements in the Jordan Valley. Were Israel to give up these settlements, and agree to be squeezed back within the 1949 armistice lines — Abba Eban described them as the “lines of Auschwitz” — it would have only a nine-mile wide waist at Qalqilya, and could be sliced in two by an invader from the east in less than a half-hour. Such borders would not sate, but whet, Arab and Muslim appetites for attempting another assault on the Jewish state.
I doubt that the Bidenites have read and understood what the League of Nations’ Mandate for Palestine signifies. Article 6 requires the holder of the Mandate – it was Great Britain — to both facilitate Jewish immigration and to “encourage close settlement by Jews on the land.” What land? The land that the League of Nations assigned to the Palestine Mandate for the future Jewish National Home. That land extended from the Golan in the north to the Red Sea in the south, and from the Jordan River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west.
Are the Bidenites aware that Article 80 of the U.N. Charter – known as “the Jewish people’s article” – committed the U.N., as the successor to the League of Nations, to bring to a successful conclusion any of its mandates that still remained? And that certainly included the last of the mandates to be fulfilled – the Mandate for Palestine.
Does Biden, does Blinken, does Sullivan understand that according to Resolution 242 of the U.N. Security Council (passed unanimously on Nov. 22, 1967) Israel has a right to retain territory it deems necessary to keep in order to have “secure [i.e. defensible] and recognized boundaries”? Have the Bidenites read with care what the chief author of UNSC 242, the British representative to the U.N. Hugh Caradon, said that Resolution 242 meant? Here – to “refresh the Bidenites’ memories”– is Lord Caradon:
The chief drafter of Resolution 242 was Lord Caradon (Hugh M. Foot), the permanent representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations from 1964 to 1970. At the time of the Resolution’s discussion and subsequent unanimous adoption, and on many occasions since, Lord Caradon always insisted that the phrase “from the territories” quite deliberately did not mean “all the territories,” but merely some of the territories:
His discussion of Resolution 242 follows:
Much play has been made of the fact that we didn’t say “the” territories or “all the” territories. But that was deliberate. I myself knew very well the 1967 boundaries and if we had put in the “the” or “all the” that could only have meant that we wished to see the 1967 boundaries perpetuated in the form of a permanent frontier. This I was certainly not prepared to recommend.
On another occasion, to an interviewer from the Journal of Palestine Studies (Spring-Summer 1976), he again insisted on the deliberateness of the wording. Lord Caradon was asked:
The basis for any settlement will be United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, of which you were the architect. Would you say there is a contradiction between the part of the resolution that stresses the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and that which calls for Israeli withdrawal from “occupied territories,” but not from “the occupied territories”?
Nota bene: “from territories occupied” is not the same thing as “from occupied territories” – the first is neutral, the second a loaded description. Resolution 242 refers only to “territories occupied in the recent conflict.”
Lord Caradon answered:
I defend the resolution as it stands. What it states, as you know, is first the general principle of inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war. That means that you can’t justify holding onto territory merely because you conquered it. We could have said: well, you go back to the 1967 line. But I know the 1967 line, and it’s a rotten line. You couldn’t have a worse line for a permanent international boundary. It’s where the troops happened to be on a certain night in 1948. It’s got no relation to the needs of the situation.
Had we said that you must go back to the 1967 line, which would have resulted if we had specified a retreat from all the occupied territories, we would have been wrong.
Note, too, how Lord Caradon says that “you can’t justify holding onto territory merely because you conquered it,” with that “merely” applying to Jordan, but not to Israel, because of the Mandate’s allocating the territory known now as the “West Bank” to the future Jewish state. Note, too, the firmness of his dismissal of the 1967 lines as nothing more than “where the troops happened to be on a certain night in 1948,” that is, nothing more than armistice lines and not internationally recognized borders.
According to the Mandate for Palestine, Jewish settlements are legal throughout Judea and Samaria (a/k/a the West Bank).
According to UNSC Resolution 242, Jewish settlements can be retained if Israel needs them in order to have “secure [defensible] and recognized boundaries.”
One hopes that the Bidenites will finally do their homework on the legality of Israeli settlements; there is still time.
According to WAFA, Blinken told Abbas that the US also rejects home demolitions and evictions, and that the US is committed to reopening its consulate in Jerusalem.
He said he would talk to US President Joe Biden “about the challenges and difficulties facing the Palestinians,” WAFA says.
How dare Tony Blinken presume to “reject” home demolitions? 3,500 Israelis have been murdered, and 25,000 wounded, in the thousands of terror attacks that Israel has endured since 1948. Decades of experience have left the IDF and Shin Bet convinced that the demolitions of terrorists’ houses does dissuade many Palestinians from terrorist attacks. Though they are willing to become “martyrs” themselves, they are unwilling to cause their families the distress that house demolitions would inevitably cause. It is outrageous for any of the Bidenites to lecture the long-suffering people of Israel as to what they “must” or “must not” do to discourage terrorists.
As to “evictions,” why should the Bidenites concern themselves with the decisions of Israeli courts in settling what is an ordinary property dispute involving land in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem? The Jewish plaintiffs in one dispute showed that Jews had uninterrupted title to the land since 1875; the Arab squatters claimed that a mysterious man named “Ismail” had sold them the property; they offered no proof that “Ismail” ever existed. They also showed an Ottoman document that turned out to be a forgery. The Arabs in that case were squatters, who had always refused to pay rent to the Jewish owners. Even with all this, the owners were willing to let the Arabs stay on the property, if they agreed, from now on, to pay a most modest rent. The Arabs refused. And that is what may lead, at long last, to an eviction that is certainly well deserved. In another publicized case, Arabs had built houses on public land. The municipality wants to use that land to build facilities for Arab children with special needs; hence it has gone to court to obtain approval of its eviction of these illegal squatters.
Abbas told Blinken “that the current situation is not sustainable,” WAFA says, rattling off a list of issues Abbas brought to Blinken, from settlement activity to “the Israeli occupation of the land of the State of Palestine,” to prisoner rights, the Temple Mount/al-Aqsa Mosque compound and tax deductions to offset money Ramallah disburses to Palestinians jailed for attacking Israelis and the families of slain attackers.
Israel has for years collected taxes on goods imported for the Palestinians, and scrupulously transferred them to the P.A. But in recent years it decided that it would withhold from the taxes it transferred the same amounts that the P.A. spends on its “Pay-For-Slay” program, by which the P.A. gives to imprisoned terrorists, and to the families of terrorists who died during their attacks, large monthly stipends. Did Blinken tell Abbas that there was nothing he could do about Israel withholding those taxes? Or did he tell Abbas that despite the Taylor Force Act passed by Congress in 2018, which prohibits the American government from giving aid to the P.A. as long it continues with its Pay-For-Slay program, that he, Tony Blinken, and his boss Joe Biden, would not be bound by it because “we don’t think the prohibition covers all aid, and so far Congress hasn’t tried to stop us”?
Finally, Abbas reported that Blinken promised that the U.S. “consulate to the Palestinians” would be re-opened. Apparently Blinken thinks that, just as the Bidenites have been ignoring the Taylor Force Act, claiming to have found a nonexistent loophole, so they can get away with ignoring the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, Article 4, which states:
- A consular post may be established in the territory of the receiving State only with that State’s consent.
- The seat of the consular post, its classification and the consular district shall be established by the sending State and shall be subject to the approval of the receiving State.
- Subsequent changes in the seat of the consular post, its classification or the consular district may be made by the sending State only with the consent of the receiving State.
- The consent of the receiving State shall also be required if a consulate-general or a consulate desires to open a vice-consulate or a consular agency in a locality other than that in which it is itself established.
- The prior express consent of the receiving State shall also be required for the opening of an office forming part of an existing consular post elsewhere than at the seat thereof.
In other words, any consulate that is opened or reopened must first be approved by the “receiving State” which, in the case of this “consulate to the Palestinians” in Jerusalem, is Israel.
And both Prime Minister Bennett and Foreign Minister Lapid have clearly said that no such consent will be given.
One last question for the Bidenites: do you propose to violate the Vienna Convention on Consular Affairs, which is part of international law, thereby exhibiting the same arrogance that you have demonstrated in violating the Taylor Force Act? On second thought, don’t bother answering. Of course you do.