Steve ApfelThe writer is a prolific author of novels and non-fiction, essayist and commentator on ‘enemies of Zion’ which happens also to be the title of his latest book. His books are The Paymaster, 1998; Hadrian’s Echo: The whys and wherefores of Israel’s critics, 2012; War by other means: Israel and its detractors, Contributor. Israel Affairs, 2012; Enemies of Zion, (for publication in 2015); Balaam’s curse ( a novel in progress.). Webpage: http://sbpra.com/SteveApfel
'Twas the period of good tidings when a ghoul came back to haunt and hurt Israel. If a phantom can haunt an opera house then the UN chambers of ill repute are the haunts of a phantom that blows sulphur and flame. It was therefore no shock when it spooked the chamber where diplomats are perpetually at daggers drawn.
In the unsanctified chamber of the UN Security Council the mischief-monger played a skit on the very eve of Christmas. The ghoul enticed or enchanted, bewitched or brainwashed members of the Council to kill their own two babies: The Peace Process and The Two State Solution. The Palestinians were handed all they want without their having to lift a finger. Instead of negotiating a deal with Israel, thanks to the UN Security Council they can now entrust their case to anti-Zionist lawyers and academics working hand in glove with the crooked United Nations.
For Act 2 even stalwart friends that once had Israel’s back ganged up to stab it in the back. For the finale the Council passed Resolution 2334 condemning the Chosen People to dwell alone and not be reckoned among the nations. Between the lines it warned Israel to prepare for a flurry of international law suits and boycotts.
The Council, declaimed President Obama’s dummy mouth, John Kerry, “does not seek to impose a solution to the conflict.” That was diplomatic speak; what Kerry meant was what he denied. He meant that the Council had imposed land-giveaways on Israel while it enticed the Palestinians to demand the giveaways, plus… And they weren’t even obliged to accept the Jewish state.
For Israel, Resolution 2334 meant a threat of historic proportions. For international law it meant relegation to a fun league. For the ruling clique that want the UN to conjure up a State of Palestine it meant second prize. For nine-tenths of member countries it meant one step closer to rescinding the right of Israel to exist. For America and Europe it meant a new arm-twisting lever to get Israel to do their bidding. For all players it meant a whole new ballgame.
The Security Council was not able to conjure up a State of Palestine, but it did conjure up “settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem.” No one blinked. It then drew law out of a black hat, declaring that “the settlements have no legal validity and constitute a flagrant violation under international law.” Again no one blinked.
Any cause must have a catchphrase, and the anti-Israel cause boasts the Coca Cola of catchphrases. ‘Occupied Palestinian Territory’ is a brand with the power of a mantra. OPT recurred many times in a resolution that recalled many things and reaffirmed many others. And no one in that assemblage of knaves batted an eye. Repeated ad nauseam, nonsense can pour into sense, plot can merge with policy, fiction can turn to wisdom. The catchphrase had made Israel’s defeat a long time coming. When defeat came the Jewish brigade that really loves Israel but wants to save it from itself, took the resolution well. A forty-year lie can do that – slip into the skin of truth with barely a sigh.
Now you see it now you don’t, OPT is a trick of smoke and mirrors, the stuff of mumbo jumbo. Historically, there’s never been Palestinian territory for Israel to occupy. Legally, Israel snapped up the territories fair and square from Egypt and Jordan. Logically, how can Israel be an occupier of land unless someone else owns it? Turn Middle East wars and laws upside down or any way you like: the 'West Bank' is neither occupied nor Palestinian land.
Yet there it was again, in the phantom skit for Christmas day: the council “reiterates its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory.”
Expelled from their dugout, applauders of Resolution 2334 may scamper to another, firing the next volley from that landmark Security Council Resolution 242 of 1968. It’s the one that required Israel to withdraw from territory (only some) it snapped up in six days of war. The applauders say ‘No! Resolution 242 told Israel to withdraw from all the territory.’ Some or all – quite how it connects to the narrative of OPT is not well explained, if at all. It may be a bridge too far for those that want ‘Palestine’ to prevail. But it cannot. Resolution 242 nowhere refers to Palestinians. How could it?
-One, they weren’t a belligerent in the Six Day War.
-Two, the drafters of 242 may have looked to Israel the victor to give back territory, but to the defeated Arab belligerents, not to Palestinians.
-Three, not until a year after Resolution 242 do we find those people popping up in records.
-Four, no binding UN resolution, before or since, nor any treaty or agreement gave the Palestinians a legal leg to stand on.
In sum, to speak of OPT is to speak in riddles, or to engage in wishful thinking.
Yet, even law buffs are not immune to wishful thinking. Take Professor John Dugard, at one-time a policeman-prosecutor for the UN Human Rights Commission and the International Court of Justice (ICJ). As a Rapporteur it was his enviable task to investigate, rebuke and report on Israel’s bad conduct in the ‘Occupied Palestinian Territories.’ That phantom again – and in his job title! And how the Professor milked it to the last drop. “The Wall being built by Israel penetrates deep into Palestinian territory.”
I took the liberty once of asking the lawman from Leiden to clarify: would he quote law to the effect that Israel occupies Palestinian territory? Dugard’s answer came – with more stink and holes than a ripe Dutch cheese. “I think,” he wrote me, “it would be helpful if you were to read the Advisory Opinion of the ICJ of 9 July 2004 and the judgment of the High Court of Israel in the Beit Sourik case of 30 June 2004. They will provide you with answers to most of your questions and give you a better understanding of the legal norms that govern the situation.”
What! One advisory opinion and a case relating to Israel’s security barrier: they seem like nothing compared to the enormity of setting a country’s boundary. Not to mention the problem of timing. Dugard, you see, began working at the Human Rights Commission in 2001. Hence from 2001 until his two cases in 2004 he had no law to go by; meaning that he worked under a fake title with a fake Occupied Palestinian Territory; and like a doting father, he took land from bad Israel and made a present of it to beloved Palestinians. The verdict? For three years a legal authority on the Palestinian conflict was acting as a law unto himself.
As for that advisory opinion and that judgment he asked me to read: did they “provide answers and give me a better understanding?“ They were as fake as Dugard’s grand title. To quote the High Court of Israel in the Beit Sourik case: The fence “is a security measure for the prevention of terror attacks and does not mark a national border or any other border”. As for the opinion of the ICJ, it had no opinion. That court failed to rebut the Israeli
No doubt applauders of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 would love the land that Israel has settled to have ‘Palestine’ stamped over it; but law and history are against it – even common law.
court’s ruling. It failed to even consider the ruling!
No doubt applauders of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 would love the land that Israel has settled to have ‘Palestine’ stamped over it; but law and history are against it – even common law. As the one in possession Israel has 9/10 of the law in its favour.
Better go to the old King of Jordan to explain the big hoax. The late King Hussein was honest. He understood that steps had to be taken to give the Palestinian people some legitimate apparel. As the King told the 1988 Arab League summit in Amman, “The appearance of a distinct Palestinian national personality comes as an answer to Israel’s claim that Palestine is Jewish.” The monarch was explaining why a new and distinct people had to be concocted in 1968. After all, what Arab leader liked the thought of the 'West Bank' and Gaza belonging to Israel by dint of history, war and law?
The task of dressing up the coveted land was given to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), a clique led by a badly-shaved Egyptian in keffiyeh and khaki drills. Smartly, it went to work on a covenant. Article 24 was the big one. Erasing words here, inking new words in there, the inner circle soon unpacked a people still with straw clinging to beards…And gave them a holy mission. On July 17, 1968 the Palestinian people sprang from the PLO Charter, claiming the 'West Bank' and Gaza as an ancient birthright and heritage.
How was it all done? It was done step-by-step with eraser and ink. The first thing that had to be erased was an obsolete declaration that the 'West Bank' and Gaza were not occupied (by Jordan and Egypt.) This made it possible to declare that the territories were occupied (by Israel.) Now for the coup de grace. The Palestinian people were sworn to liberate their Israeli occupied homeland. But an important finishing touch remained. Article 24 of the Charter contained the offending words, "Jews of Palestinian origin are considered Palestinians.” Now of course Palestinian Jews were an impossible thing. After erasing them for posterity, the PLO men wrote in a definition with a grudge. Palestinians were now people, "who had resided in Palestine until the beginning of the Zionist invasion.” At a stroke Palestinian Jews thus became invaders.
Immediately world spotlights turned on the new people, dispossessed, and on the new culprit. Leaders in perpetuity lost no time decorating, enlarging and tidying up a tale of Jews who had swept down from Europe to put indigenous Palestinians under their colonial boot. From there it was but a quickstep to the accepted wisdom of OPT.
But OPT developed into more than a risible lie. It acquired the power to create facts on the ground. For one thing the international community, hung up on a notion of consensus and backed by kangaroo opinions in and out of court, adopted OPT. For another, a vocal section of the Diaspora, and even Israelis, nailed their colors to OPT. For a third, an economic bubble developed around OPT. Monthly pay slips of untold thousands of UN staffers came to depend on that unreal estate. UNWRA alone developed into an employment agency on a massive scale.
In the private sector, hundreds of human rights entities and thousands of workers would be the poorer without OPT. For others it’s damn near a religion. The world over OPT is the article of faith on which anti-Zionists peg their zeal. The anti-Zionist god demands little: hate Zionism and revere occupied Palestinians. Hence the daily invocations: label products from OPT; boycott Israel and divest from OPT.
But for the big lie the world would be a different, if quieter place. And the Zionist enterprise would not now labor under a terminal threat.