Monday, September 12, 2016

Settlements

I want to bring your attention to an extremely interesting article in the Washington Post today about the legality or illegality of settlements in occupied territories.  This is a widespread practice and has never been subject to anything like the condemnation that is directed toward (surprise) Israel, with respect to its West Bank Settlers.  Here's a key passage:

"Despite its frequent invocation in the Israeli context, scholars have never examined – or even considered – how the norm has been interpreted and applied in any other occupation context in the post-WWII era...

First, the migration of people into occupied territory is a near-ubiquitous feature of extended belligerent occupations. Second, no occupying power has ever taken any measures to discourage or prevent such settlement activity, nor has any occupying power ever expressed opinio juris suggesting that it is bound to do so. Third, and perhaps most strikingly, in none of these situations have the international community or international organizations described the migration of persons into the occupied territory as a violation of Art. 49(6)...Finally, neither international political bodies nor the new governments of previously occupied territories have ever embraced the removal of illegally transferred civilian settlers as an appropriate remedy."

And let us also remember that Israel came into its status as an "occupier" of the West Bank not through aggression, as is the case in virtually every other known situation like this, but as its role as the victim of aggression which collapsed, leaving Israel in possession of this territory.

This is just one more example of something which is almost universally denied, but is true nevertheless: holding the single, tiny Jewish state to a different standard than the entire rest of the world, for the sole purpose of condemning it as a rogue monster, is anti-Semitism.  Period, end of story.  People such as the BDS movement who portray Israel as a pariah state for behavior which elicits not a word of complaint when other countries do it, while ignoring the massively worse things going on in surrounding countries, are anti-Semites.  Their denials of this fact deserve no more respect than the claims by wavers of Confederate flags that this has nothing to do with racism, and those denials put them in the same class with Confederate adherents, whether they come from the right or the left.



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As an addendum, I might add that the constant attacks on Israel for having "displaced" the alleged Palestinian population utterly ignore the many examples from only a couple of years previous, such as the resettlement of Germans from the Sudetenland and Poland, in which hopelessly revanchist and irredentist populations were resettled, with the full approval of the world's governments.  The people of German descent in the Sudetenland had a long history there, but after World War II, it could be seen that they represented a dagger pointed at the heart of Czechoslovakia.  The same is true for a large part of the Arab population of the West Bank or Gaza, with the significant difference that the main supporter of the Germans in the Sudetenland had been destroyed, while the hostile fractions of the Palestinian population still receive massive aid from surrounding Muslim states.

2 comments:

Wayfaring Stranger said...

"As an addendum, I might add that the constant attacks on Israel for having "displaced" the alleged Palestinian population utterly ignore the many examples from only a couple of years previous, such as the resettlement of Germans from the Sudetenland and Poland, in which hopelessly revanchist and irredentist populations were resettled, with the full approval of the world's governments." - Green Eagle

(1) The expulsion of Germans from Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Yugoslavia was a humanitarian disaster, as these articles from the Nation and Huffington Post indicate. Of the 12 million ethnic Germans who were removed, at least 500,000 died. Matthew White's Atrocities gives an estimate of 2 million dead.

(2) The resettlement following the Partition of India was another great humanitarian disaster. Wikipedia mentions estimates of 14 million refugees, with between 200,000 and 2 million people killed in the process.

I can't think of a forced population transfer which didn't result in high death tolls relative to the number of people displaced, which is a good reason to oppose them.

(3) For these reasons, and the decision that the Nazis' forced movement of population was declared a war crime at Nuremberg, the Fourth Geneva Convention, passed in 1949, includes a ban on the removal of people from occupied territories.

I quote Article 49 in whole:

Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.

Nevertheless, the Occupying Power may undertake total or partial evacuation of a given area if the security of the population or imperative military reasons so demand. Such evacuations may not involve the displacement of protected persons outside the bounds of the occupied territory except when for material reasons it is impossible to avoid such displacement. Persons thus evacuated shall be transferred back to their homes as soon as hostilities in the area in question have ceased.

The Occupying Power undertaking such transfers or evacuations shall ensure, to the greatest practicable extent, that proper accommodation is provided to receive the protected persons, that the removals are effected in satisfactory conditions of hygiene, health, safety and nutrition, and that members of the same family are not separated.

The Protecting Power shall be informed of any transfers and evacuations as soon as they have taken place.

The Occupying Power shall not detain protected persons in an area particularly exposed to the dangers of war unless the security of the population or imperative military reasons so demand.

The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.


In short, since the law changed in 1949, anything that happened before then (such as your Sudetenland example or the Partition of India) cannot be used to justify a violation of Article 49 after that time.

Green Eagle said...

Stranger, can you read? The content of article 49 refers to the forced removal of residents from these areas, except for the last line, which forbids the forced removal from the offending country of populations to occupied territories. It has absolutely nothing to say about the settlers, who are voluntarily taking up residence in the West Bank.

And the real transfer of populations, in which virtually all Jews were forcibly expelled from Arab countries, took place before 1949. It should be noted that this was nothing but an example of ethnic cleansing, without a shred of pretense that the Jews, whose ancestors had lived in those countries for generations, posed any threat to their native countries.

Once again, a deliberate twisting of reality to make Israel, i.e. Jews, the bad guys, from a person who can immediately be classified as a Jew hater.