Posts Tagged ‘international law’


This article originally appeared at LobeLog. There is an indispensable wealth of material there on recent events in Israel/Palestine, Iran, Egypt and others. I urge you to check it out.

Some days, it must be really difficult to be the State Department’s spokesperson. It doesn’t seem like a bad job to have at all, but on certain questions it’s impossible to not look like an idiot. A lot of those questions are connected to de facto policies which differ from de jure ones.

Look up the hill from the West Bank town of Tuwani and you see the Israeli settlement, Maon

Look up the hill from the West Bank town of Tuwani and you see the Israeli settlement, Maon

And there is no better example of that than US policy on Israeli settlements.

Back in the early years after the 1967 war, the United States made it clear that the settlements were illegal according to international law. As recently as 1978, the State Department legal adviser confirmed that all Israeli settlements beyond the Green Line are illegal, and through the Carter administration, this was explicit US policy. That policy has never been explicitly revoked, but beginning with the Reagan administration, de facto policy has been ambiguous. Reagan began the trend when he stated that while the settlements were ill-advised, provocative and that further settlement was not necessary for Israel’s security “I disagreed when, the previous Administration refereed to them as illegal, they’re not illegal.  Not under the U.N. resolution that leaves the West Bank open to all people—Arab and Israeli alike, Christian alike.”

The problematic nature of Reagan’s statement — implying that “Arab” equals “Muslim” and “Israeli” equals “Jew”, and more importantly, citing the “U.N. Resolution”, which is not the basis for the illegality of the settlements (the Fourth Geneva Convention is) — notwithstanding, this was the beginning of the US’ refusal to label settlements illegal, terming them instead, at most, “illegitimate.” (more…)

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A group of former European heads of state and foreign ministers have sent a letter to Catherine Ashton advocating some important steps in the Israel-Palestine conflict, and included a surprisingly sharp rebuke of US policy. I report here for IPS.

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My report for Inter Press Service on how the options, or lack thereof, are shaping up for renewing the lifeless corpse called the “peace process” between Israel and the Palestinians in Obama’s second term.

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Many of you may have seen my piece for Jewish Voice for Peace’s Muzzlewatch blog last week, analyzing the hateful campaign against the potential nomination of Chuck jvplogo (2)Hagel. Well, today, JVP put out an action alert on this issue. Please take a moment to take this action and send a message to President Obama that you are tired of AIPAC and its fellow travelers having such undue and disproportionate influence over US political and diplomatic appointments and, indeed, over our policy in general. Here is the alert:

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Happy New Year, everyone. I begin 2013 by reaffirming my point that the right-wing, one-state forces in Israel are taking leadership to frame the conversation in a post-Oslo world. Now it is Naftali Bennett and his HaBayit HaYehudi party leading the way. Bennett, though a zealous nationalist and an orthodox Jew, presents a much more reasonable face which he puts on his outrageous plan for endless occupation and permanent apartheid. And, while we can critique his ideas, we need also to recognize that this sort of thinking is making its way into the political arena–it’s in Israel now, which means it will soon be in Congress and parts of the European right. An alternative needs to be developed and politicized; peace activists need to stop wasting time in the misguided effort to raise Oslo from the dead.

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The idea of Israel building in E-1 has got world leaders in quite a lather. But is it really because it is the death knell for the two-state solution or is it because even raising the issue betrays the reality that there never was a serious effort to reach a two-state resolution to this conflict to begin with, despite the rhetoric? I argue it is both.

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At Alternet, I argue that Israel’s own behavior is finally breaking down the walls for liberals all over the world, even in the US. The long-held epithet “PEP” (Progressive Except for  Palestine) tried to shine a light on the difficult tension between liberal values and support for Israel’s excuses as to why it expands settlements and tightens its occupation. But now, Israel has stretched that to such a point that it is becoming impossible for liberals to ignore the reality of Israeli human rights abuses, rejectionism and land grabs. This wave overtook Europe some time ago, but now even US liberals, even Jewish ones, are moving away from their support for Israeli actions. AIPAC’s influence will become even more expensive as a result.

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