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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Today's bizarre Temple Mount accusations

Every time a Jew visits the Temple Mount, the Arab media report on it from Egypt to Saudi Arabia.

Because that gets boring after a while, they need to goose things up a bit.

Today's news is that the valiant Al Aqsa guards managed to foil an attempt by "Jewish settlers" to fly a plane over the Temple Mount. They say this is the fourth time they have frustrated such attempts. How exactly they stopped the "attack" is not clear.(It is possible that some Israelis are trying out a hobbyist drone.)

The more interesting story is that PA minister Sheikh Yusuf Odeih went on TV and claimed that Jews had been drinking alcohol on the Temple Mount along with their Talmudic prayers.

He also said that because of the Jews digging underneath the Mount, the mosque can now collapse from merely a strong wind.

Hey, its only incitement to attack Jews. No big deal.

New "work accident" meme

In the first half of this year, there were a large number of "work accidents" and errant rockets that killed dozens of Gazans.


But since the Gaza war, a new meme has emerged whenever Gazans get killed in explosions: Now it is israel's fault.

This morning Arabic media are reporting on the death of Hamas terrorist Bilal Abdel Moneim Almunirawi of an explosion in a Hamas training site near Rafah. But instead of saying that it was a "mysterious internal explosion" as they used to claim, now they are saying he was killed by some leftover Israeli ordnance.

This is not the first time this has happened since the war - the number of "work accidents" has declined sharply while the number of people supposedly killed by leftover Israeli munitions has increased just as sharply.

Hamas' Al Qassam Brigades, for its part, doesn't blame Israel for this, although they do of course beseech Allah to accept him as a martyr so he can enjoy his "wedding" to the 70 virgins.

12/18 Links Pt1: EU Backs Palestinian Dictatorship; PM warns spirit of appeasement blowing through EU

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: EU Backs Palestinian Dictatorship
These European parliaments are also turning a blind eye to the fact that, under the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, there is no respect for the rule of law, free speech, transparency or accountability.
These Western parliamentarians are in fact acting against the interests of the Palestinians, who are clearly not hoping for another corrupt dictatorship in the Arab world.
"The situation in Palestine does not conform at all with democracy or the rule of law... Wake up and see the loss of rights, law and security." — Freih Abu Medein, former Palestinian Authority Justice Minister.
"Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] wants to concentrate all authorities in his hands and the hand of his loyalists. He's acting in a dictatorial way and wants to be in control of everything, especially the finances." — Yasser Abed Rabbo, Secretary General of the PLO.
By turning a blind eye to human rights violations, as well as assaults on freedom of expression, the judiciary and the parliamentary system in the Palestinian territories, Western parliaments are paving the way for a creation of a rogue state called Palestine.
Mordechai Kedar: Spinning Out of Control
The prevailing atmosphere of the last few days when it comes to the Middle East is of a situation that is spinning out of control in all manner of unconnected spheres.
The Palestinian Autonomy is rushing ahead to gain recognition of its statehood in the Security Council, the European Parliament, the International Court and many other international institutions, in a step that is a clear and blatant violation of the Oslo Accords that created the Authority itself. Israel has not as yet reacted seriously to these Palestinian steps, and it has now emerged that Minister Livni, who was given the responsibility for negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA) is ideologically and politically in the camp of the architects of Oslo.
Someone in Israel fell asleep while on duty guarding the lands that the League of Nations granted the Jewish people as far back as the 1920 San Remo Conference.
As a result of the Palestinian Authority's efforts, there may yet arise another Arab country in the region of Judea and Samaria, one that without the slightest doubt will turn into a Hamas state. This switch to Hamas can happen through elections, as occurred in 2006 or by a violent takeover like the one in Gaza in June 2007. Public opinion polls of the Arab population of Judea and Samaria show that Hamas is much more popular than Fatah. That is why Israelis, or any others for that matter, who support a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, are actually calling for another terror state like the one that arose in Gaza. The launching of a major and bloody war between this Hamas entity and the House of Israel would be only a matter of time – and not much of it, either.
How to help the Palestinians of Gaza


IDF Blog: Words of Incitement


UNRWA spends more money on videos of student elections than most schools spend on student elections

UNRWA is proud of the recent student elections they held under their "human rights" curriculum:



And they list the donors to this successful program at the end.

Isn't this condescending?

Tens of thousands of schools worldwide hold student elections every year. Somehow they manage to do this without huge infusions of international funding and professional videos. The cost is roughly the price of poster materials and markers.

The only way that this makes sense is if the donors don't believe that Palestinian Arab students and teachers have the ability to do this on their own.

Which is, frankly, racist as well as counterproductive.

What kind of message does it give to these girls that their school elections require outside funding from Japan and Sweden? It tells them that they should expect the world to underwrite every normal activity, and it provides a disincentive for them to do it on their own!

Perhaps UNRWA is trying to distract the world from realizing that its "human rights" curriculum in fact includes Jew-hatred and lies. Better to spend money on condescending videos than to actually fix the problems.


Jordanian media NGO silently removes praise for terrorist

Sidebar photo of Tamimi on JMI page
Last week I wrote about the Jordanian Media Institute, a well-funded NGO, that had featured on every page of one of its websites a tribute to terrorist Ahlam Tamimi, responsible for the murder of 15 people including 7 children in the Sbarro pizza shop massacre.

The site revered murderer Tamimi as a role model for journalists and its bio showed pride in her bloody history.

Arnold Roth, father of one of the victims Malki Roth, had originally publicized this issue, and the Missing Piece site also wrote about it in Dutch. 

A number of people wrote to the sponsors and funders of the JMI asking why they are paying to an organization that explicitly condones terror.

Three Dutch MPs wrote back to Missing Piece saying that they will make inquiries into Dutch support for the institute.


Canadian diplomats also wrote back to some of the critics saying that they are looking into this.

Meanwhile, the "jmijournalists.com" website with the offensive tribute to Tamimi seemed to go offline for a few days, but it was apparently only the victim of a hack. As soon as the complaints started coming in, the institute removed the page praising Tamimi without any apology or acknowledgement, which is what I predicted they would do - the barest minimum necessary to ensure that their Western funding remains intact. 

There is no indication that Western funding has influenced the thinking of these NGOs a single bit. They happily take the money and continue to support the most sickening of terror attacks. And the funders happily go along with this charade because they like the illusion that they are helping bring peace, when in fact their money is doing the opposite.

Tamimi, meanwhile, regularly tweets her continuing support for Hamas terror.

The funders of programs like this must be held to account to ensure that their money is not misused in this way.

The Israel bashfest in Geneva


On Wednesday, Switzerland hosted an entirely useless conference.

Here is how Switzerland's foreign ministry described it:

Representatives of 126 High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention met in Geneva today to adopt by consensus a ten-point Declaration recalling applicable international humanitarian law (IHL) in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East-Jerusalem. The conference was hosted by Switzerland in its capacity as Depositary of the Geneva Conventions.

The ten-point Declaration adopted by consensus by the Conference today reaffirms fundamental principles of international humanitarian law which all High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War must respect. It emphasizes that these principles also apply to non-state actors. The Declaration reaffirms the outcome documents of two previous conferences of 1999 and 2001 and reiterates legal obligations relating to developments in the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 2001.

In his opening statement, the Chairman of the Conference, Ambassador Paul Fivat, noted that through the declaration, the participating States reaffirmed that international humanitarian law and in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention continued to apply in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and needed to be respected for the benefit of affected civilians. Representatives of the ICRC, of UNRWA and of several groups also spoke.

Switzerland, in its capacity as Depositary of the Geneva Conventions and acting as a facilitator, had concluded last week that the Conference would be convened, after consulting High Contracting Parties about this question from 28 July to 3 December 2014. The Depositary undertook these consultations pursuant to a recommendation of the United Nations General Assembly contained in resolution 64/10 of 5 November 2009. While an initial round of consultations in 2009 and 2010 had remained inconclusive, the consultations during the last four months had revealed a cross-regional critical mass of High Contracting Parties requesting the reconvening of a Conference, as had been the case in 1999 and 2001. A small of number of High Contracting Parties expressed their opposition and did not attend the Conference.
For years, the Swiss worked to convene a conference whose entire purpose was to confirm the conclusions of two previous conferences. Finally, they succeeded in getting enough countries interested in reiterating their bashing of Israel.

There is something notable about this conference, though.

The last one was in 2001. Since then, Israel has withdrawn its troops and people from Gaza. As I noted recently, by the ICRC's own pre-disengagement definition, this means that Gaza is not occupied.


Yet the closing declaration of this conference did not mention the fact that Israel does not exercise effective control over Gaza, the textbook definition of occupation. It doesn't even acknowledge that there has been any change since 2001. It simply declares that all the territories are still occupied without the tiniest thread of legal argument.

The topic, apparently, didn't even come up.

Which proves that the purpose of the conference was for no other reason than to bash Israel.

This conference was effectively identical to the many such Israel bashing conferences held in Muslim countries every month. The fact that it was proudly hosted by Switzerland tells us much more about Switzerland than it does about Israel.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

12/17 Links Pt2: Disturbed's David Draiman: Media Laying Ground for 'Next Holocaust'

From Ian:

Heavy Metal Rocker Not “Disturbed” about Israel
While many celebrities toe the BDS line and stand with those who hate Israel, David Draiman of the mega rock group “Disturbed” takes an opposite approach. He is outspoken in his support for Israel and does not back down when faced with criticism for his position.
According to Draiman, anti-Israel media bias has encouraged deadly terrorist attacks, but also the global resurgence in antisemitism.
Listen to his interview on the Voice of Israel.
Disturbed's David Draiman: Mainstream Media Laying Ground for 'Next Holocaust'


Yisrael Medad: J Street - Going down another wrong road
Since 1920, when Arab anti-Zionist organized political violence first appeared, killing 7 Jews during the Pesach holiday, the Zionist movement has always decided to go the route of compromise and yielding The official leadership surrendered territory, accepted partition plans, acquiesced to a 'certificate' system of immigration, recompensed Arabs who did not actually own the land they worked and so on.
The only time an 'East Jerusalem' made its appearance, in all of history, was due to the Arabs rejecting the internationalization program and launching a war of aggression in 1947. Arab refugees came into being not because Jews "expelled" them but because their leaders sought to eradicate the Jews but lost their battles. And Jews in Arab lands, hundreds of miles from the fighting ended up themselves, becoming refugees through no direct fault of their own.
Besides a worldview dominated by irrational, illogical and detached-from-reality left-wing progressive ideology rather than a serious analysis of the history and the diplomacy of the conflict, J Street once again seeks foremost to back up its political partner in the White House as well as their own preference for a Galut existence and then, secondly, to promote policies that do not respond to the problems and why they are problems and third, to ignore that failing of thinking of theirs, end up undermining Israel's security, existence and diplomatic standing.
With J Street, one needs to be aware of detours, no exits, turnabouts and now, another wrong road in a wrong direction.
Jerusalem requests special Israel mention at Irish memorial ceremony
“Israel will be referred to and the Israeli ambassador has attended and participated in the ceremony since its inception in 2003 and will do so again in January 2015. Holocaust Education Trust Ireland (HETI) has this week reassured the Jewish Community in Ireland of this.”
“Israel will of course be mentioned,” an MFA spokesman told The Jerusalem Post, confirming that Ambassador Boaz Moda’i will attend the event as an official guest.
“We would always like a higher profile and believe we warrant a more central role but the distance from that to [descriptions of a ban] is very far.”
According to the Israeli embassy in Dublin, until three years ago it was HETI policy not to invite the ambassador to the Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony, a policy changed following Israeli lobbying.
“This year the ambassador will be reading a text provided by the organizers of the event. Although the Israeli dimension and the conditions of the embassy’s participation in this event are less than what we would ideally desire, we consider it preferable to participate in the event than not to do so,” embassy information officer Dermot Meleady told the Post.

Hasby Award nominations time! (continuously updated)



It is time to solicit nominations for the annual Hasby Awards for best examples of pro-Israel activities during the year.

Please enter your nominees (and seconds)  in the comments for each category. Please include links!

I am trying not to include previous winners.

Possible categories (and previous nominees plus some initial nominees from me, you may second them) include:

BEST PRO-ISRAEL TWEETER (Previous winners: Avi Mayer, No Camels)

Arsen Ostrovsky (seconded)
Margie in Tel Aviv (seconded)
CiFWatch (seconded)

BEST PRO-ISRAEL MEDIA OUTLET/WRITER NOT EXCLUSIVE TO ISRAEL (Previous winners: The Commentator and Melanie Philips)

Douglas Murray (seconded)
Gatestone Institute (seconded)
Charles Krauthammer (seconded)
Walter Russell Mead (seconded)
Bret Stephens (WSJ) (seconded)
Legal Insurrection (seconded)
Daniel Greenfield (seconded)
Colonel Richard Kemp (seconded)
Brendan O'Neil
SunNews Media (Canada)


BEST YOUNG DEFENDER OF ISRAEL
Ryan Bellerose (seconded)
Chloe Valdary (seconded)
Daniel Mael (seconded)
Mohammed Zoabi (seconded)
Sarah Bernamoff (seconded)
Samantha Hamilton (seconded)
Orit Arfa

BEST PRO-ISRAEL COMMENTATOR EXCLUSIVE TO MIDDLE EAST/ISRAEL (Previous winners: Barry Rubin and Sarah Honig)

Caroline Glick (seconded)
Martin Kramer (seconded)
Daniel Gordis (seconded)
Evelyn Gordon (seconded)
Khaled Abu Toameh (seconded)
Mudar Zahran
Israel Revolt 

BEST ENGLISH-LANGUAGE PRO-ISRAEL ONLINE MEDIA OUTLET (Previous winners: Times of Israel and The Tower)

Algemeiner  (seconded)
Israel HaYom (seconded)
Tablet (seconded)
JPost (seconded)
Israel21c (seconded)
Mosaic Magazine (seconded)
YNet (seconded)
Arutz7 (seconded)

BEST MAINSTREAM MEDIA WATCHDOG (Previous winners: Honest Reporting and CAMERA)

BBC Watch (seconded)
CiF Watch  (seconded)

BEST WATCHDOG - ARABIC MEDIA AND NGOs (Last year's winner: Palestinian Media Watch)

MEMRI  (seconded)
NGO Monitor (seconded)
UN Watch (seconded)

BEST PRO-ISRAEL BLOG (PRESENT COMPANY EXCLUDED) (Previous winners: Daphne Anson, Missing Peace, Israellycool)

Israel Matzav (seconded)
This Ongoing War (seconded)
Jews Down Under (seconded)
IsraelSeen (seconded)
Thomas Wictor (seconded)
IsraelStreet (seconded)
BEST PRO-ISRAEL VIDEO


BEST PRO-ISRAEL SOCIAL MEDIA PAGE 

IDF (idfnadesk) on YouTube  (seconded)
StandWithUs (FBYouTube)  (seconded)

BEST SPEECH



BEST "OWN GOAL" (Anti-Zionists acting so stupid they disgust even disinterested parties or backfire spectacularly)

Max Blumenthal and David Sheen Toiletgate (seconded)
George Galloway (seconded)
 Brighton BDS warning people about 'Zionist donations' to food banks
Saima Jamal
Ala'a Hamdan " “I will soak a koffiah with your blood and save it to show to your siblings "
UCLA student meltdown after BDS defeat (seconded)




BEST ARTICLE

A Letter to the Jewish Nation: Why an Indian Stands With Israel , Vijeta Uniyal (seconded)
Native Jewish Bond Thicker Than Water, Ryan Bellerose
Why I Decided to Start Wearing a Kippah, Ryan Bellerose (seconded)
Israel: The World's First Modern Indigenous State, Ryan Bellerose

BEST GRASSROOTS PRO-ISRAEL ORGANIZATION (Previous winner: Sussex Friends for Israel)


MOST COURAGEOUS NON-JEW 

Bassam Eid (seconded)
Mohammed Zoabi (seconded)
Orim Shimshon (seconded)
Father Nadaf (seconded)
Aboud Dandachi
Tarek Fatah (seconded)
Raheel Raza (Honour Diaries)


BEST HUMOR SITE

Dry Bones (seconded)
Tikun Olam
Benji Lovitt

BEST BOOK

Industry of Lies by Ben-Dror Yemini (Hebrew)
Catch the Jew by Tuvia Tenenbom (Hebrew)
Like Dreamers, Yossi Klein Halevi (seconded)
BEST CELEBRITY TWEETER

David Draiman
Roseanne Barr (seconded)
Mark R. Pelligrino
Joshua Malina

UNCATEGORIZED
StandWithUs "Passport"Campaign

Chanukah video night #2: The Maccabeats - All About That Neis (plus bonus video)




And here's another spoof of the same song, and the lyrics are funnier:

Harvard students cannot handle the word "Sodastream," consider it "microaggression"

The childishness of the Israel-haters knows no bounds.

From the Harvard Crimson:

Following student group complaints and internal discussions, Harvard University Dining Services has decided to suspend purchases of appliances from a company involved in an international settlement dispute.

Until last April, HUDS had been purchasing water machines from a company recently acquired by SodaStream, an Israeli company that specializes in do-it-yourself soda and water machines. Sodastream’s main factory is located on the West Bank, a settlement at the heart of conflicts between Israel and Palestine regarding land ownership in the area. The company, which announced in October that it will move its factory to southern Israel, has drawn criticism and boycotts for its location in disputed territory.

Last fall, some members of the College Palestine Solidarity Committee and the Harvard Islamic Society noticed that the filtered water machines in certain dining halls had Sodastream labels on them. Citing discomfort with the machines and the potential of the machines to offend those affected by the Israel-Palestine conflict, the students emailed House masters and tutors to arrange a meeting with University officials to have the machines removed.

Rachel J. Sandalow-Ash ’15, a member of the Harvard College Progressive Jewish Alliance who attended some of the subsequent meetings, said that she believed that regardless of the University’s position, the machines and their association with the disputed territory could be offensive to Palestinian students.

“I think it is neither anti-Israel nor anti-Semite to take stand against the occupation,” she said. “These machines can be seen as a microaggression to Palestinian students and their families and like the University doesn’t care about Palestinian human rights.” She added that her views should not be construed as the official club stance on the issue.

Members of the PSC, representatives from HUDS, Lowell House Masters Diana L. Eck and Dorothy A. Austin, Mather House Co-Master Michael Rosengarten, and Dean of Student Life Stephen Lassonde convened to discuss the students’ complaints at a meeting on April 7 in Lowell House, according to a memo from the meeting shared with The Crimson.

Sandalow-Ash, who was present at the meeting, said that the discussion focused on the potential effects of the machines on the student body. While many students pushed for the removal of the machines, she said that at least one participant at the meeting argued that this move could be perceived as a University stance against Israel.

Following the discussions, HUDS agreed to remove SodaStream labels on current machines and purchase machines from other companies such as American firms EverPure and Crysalli in the future, according to HUDS spokesperson Crista Martin.
Something seems to be missing from this article...let's see...Ah, that's it.

It doesn't quote a single student who is personally offended by the word Sodastream.

Instead, it quotes students who are worried that the word "Sodastream" being visible in a cafeteria may offend their fellow Palestinian students, and since that is such a major concern in the Ivy League, the word must be banned altogether. The very mention of the offensive term "Sodastream" makes one guilty of the crime of microaggression.

While actual, Palestinians from Ramallah compete with each other for the opportunity to work at Sodastream, Jews in Cambridge call meetings to pre-emptively make sure that Arabs at Harvard aren't going to be offended by the unspeakably obscene word.

The soda machines could be named after slang terms for genitalia and not cause this much of an uproar.

Not surprisingly, Rachel J. Sandalow-Ash also once organized a walkout of an economics class at Harvard because it was perceived as being too "conservative." Free expression is not exactly one of the liberal standards she holds dear.

I commented on this article:
I am pleased to discover that Harvard students cannot handle the word "Sodastr--m" and consider its presence to be "microaggression."

Free speech has limits, of course, and microaggressive words like "Sodastr--m" are clearly over the line. I'm proud to see Harvard leading in protecting the delicate sensibilities of the segments of its student body who like to yell "Death to Israel!"

I wonder if there are any other words that are so thoroughly offensive that they should be banned from being seen at Harvard.The offensive term "Temple Mount" which causes violence to break out spontaneously among certain people no doubt should be added to the banned word list, as should "Israel," "Likud" and "Zionist" unless they are being used in a disparaging way.

Bravo for being in the forefront of protecting your students from being offended by the crime of microaggression!

You gave my peace prize to WHOM?! (PreOccupied Territory)

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory

Check out their Facebook page.


You gave my peace prize to WHOM?!

By Alfred Nobel

Wait, wait, run that by me again: the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded my flagship prize to a lifelong terrorist? If I weren't dead already I'd die from shock. You folks evidently have no idea what you're doing.

Yeah, to you that's old news. It happened in 1994. So kill me. I've been dead more than a century - there's no rush on this side of the grave. But it almost slew me all over again to find out: a guy signs a "peace" agreement, all the while insisting to his constituency that it's but a stage in the multiple-phase plan to wipe out the enemy, and you treat him like some saint. Gandhi you ignored - but Arafat? Sure! Help yourself, Rais! Just make sure you don't hock it to by weapons from Iran, that's all we ask.

While you're at it, give it to Pol Pot - oh wait, I see you already gave it to Henry Kissinger....and... what's a Barack Obama? Our servers here on the Other Side are notoriously slow - haven't been upgraded since like 1995 - but I don't see any accomplishment of any Barack Obama that would deserve my peace prize except Not Being George W. Bush. You have to employ slightly more selective criteria than that, gentlemen. But I digress.

You might accuse me of speaking with the benefit of hindsight. Touché. I'm six feet under. At this point hindsight is all I've got. But you don't even need hindsight to see which Peace Prize laureate was speaking out of both sides of his mouth even as his candidacy was being bandied about the halls of Oslo. You don't need to look as far ahead as the Second Intifada and the Karine-A. All your evidence was right there in front of you. One gets the impression you were so hellbent on extracting concessions from Israel you didn't care to whom.

All that means you're likely to make the same mistake again. I'm not fully conversant in the ongoing crises of the second decade of your century - a bit too distracted right now just catching up on movies and TV shows - goodness, those writers for The Simpsons are good - but you're heading for a repeat. If any agreement goes down soon between Israel and the Palestinians, you'll probably wax epic about it and reward Mahmoud Abbas with the same prize. And he'll justify your acknowledgment of his noble (see what I did there?) pursuits by continuing to pay pensions to the families of murderers, continuing to libel Israel with every accusation imaginable, and continue to laud the heroic achievements of Jew-killers. Don't believe me? You're already doing it across Europe with all those votes recognizing a Palestinian State, recognition that rewards Abbas for his inflexibility. Way to promote peace, gentlemen.

Perhaps I should give you the benefit of the doubt. After all, physics is one of the realms in which I ordained an award - and you might just be in the running for one by developing a method to generate electrical power by making me spin in my grave.

12/17 Links Pt1: Turning back the clock to pre-1948 is the real endgame; Five questions for Geneva

From Ian:

Anne Bayefsky: UN: Turning back the clock to pre-1948 is the real endgame
Incitement against the Jewish state is directly related to the stabbings, raping and killing of Jews inside and outside of Israel. But doing something to stop it requires confronting a very troubling fact: the global epicenter for incitement is the “human rights” leviathan, the United Nations.
From November 24, 2014 until December 5, 2014, UN human rights headquarters in Geneva mounted a public exhibit that was pure incitement. UN-driven antisemitism that takes the form of seeking to demonize, disable and ultimately destroy the Jewish state.
The exhibit was entitled: “La Nakba: Exode et Expulsion des Palestiniens en 1948” – or “The Nakba: Exodus and Expulsion of the Palestinians in 1948.” The occasion was the annual UN Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Solidarity Day marks the adoption by the General Assembly on November 29, 1947 of the resolution that approved the partitioning of Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish state.
The partition resolution was rejected by Arab states and celebrated by the Jewish people. Thus the Arab war to deny Israel’s right to exist began.
But in 2014, the UN overtly jettisoned the usual diplomatic lie that the 1967 occupation is the root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The exhibit focused on the alleged crime of creating a Jewish state in 1948 and openly justified the rejection of the partition resolution.
Eugene Kontorovich: Five puzzles about occupation and settlements: questions for Geneva
Today, Switzerland convened a conference of State Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to discuss the law of occupation as it pertains to Israel. There have been just a couple of previous occasions when Geneva convened the signatories of its eponymous treaty, and every single one has been about Israel. (Jerusalem, Washington, Ottawa, and Canberra have announced they will snub the confab.)
Yet there is nothing wrong with an international conference to discuss the Fourth Geneva Convention, and to attempt to better understand its requirements as they apply in particular situations. Art. 49(6)’s prohibition of “deportation and transfer” into occupied territory could certainly do with elucidation. (The “deport or transfer” ban is commonly referred to as “settlement building.”)
Indeed, an examination of movement into occupied territory in Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Western Sahara, and Cyprus would be both timely and instructive. Needless to say, this is not what the state parties will be discussing. They are, sadly, not interested in the Geneva Conventions, but only their possible use against Israel. But if the State Parties were to want an interesting agenda, here are some questions they might ask.
1. The first relates to the ICRC’s own definition of occupation (a precondition to the applicability of the “deport or transfer” norm). The state parties apparently regard Israel as occupying Gaza, to say nothing of all of the West Bank, despite the removal of Israeli troops from those areas and the existence of an independent Palestinian administration there. However, occupation in all other contexts requires the occupying power to displace and actually function as the governing authority, conditions that do not apply in Gaza and large parts of the West Bank (Area A).
Indeed, an ICRC manual excludes areas like Gaza:
Occupation ceases when the occupying forces are driven out of or evacuate the territory. (emphasis in the original)
How Israel’s occupation squares with the ICRC’s own definition of the term would be a useful subject for the state parties.