Today 29th November, or as it is quirkily called in Hebrew “kaf tet beNovember”, is the 70th anniversary of the fateful UN Resolution 181 which aimed to partition Palestine and created a Jewish area and an Arab area. As we all know, the resolution was rejected by the Arabs who never fulfilled any of its provisions or conditions, while it was accepted in full by the Jews. No sooner had the vote passed in the UN than 5 Arab armies invaded the newborn Jewish state with the overt intent of destroying it before it was born. They lost the war and the rest is history.
It would serve us well to recall the events of that historic day. The Israel-advocacy organization Legal Grounds, which promotes Israel’s legal rights to all the Land of Israel, sent out this important backgrounder with vital facts that are either unknown, misunderstood or ignored:
INFORMATION ALERT: 70 YEARS SINCE RESOLUTION 181
In June, Attorney Karen Stahl-Don made a presentation in The Hague, on behalf of the Legal Grounds Campaign, on the subject of UNGA Resolution 181 of 1947:
The Resolution, which is often misunderstood, was merely a recommendation and carried no weight in international law.
Palestinian Arabs refer to it as “The Partition Plan,” claiming, after all this time, that it gives them rights to a state. This is blatantly false, as they rejected this plan 70 years ago. According to international law, a party that rejects an agreement does not retain any rights based on that agreement.
What is more, the recommendation was not simply that two states, one Jewish and one Arab, be established. It proposed that two states be joined by an economic union, with a myriad of requirements. The states were to share currency, transportation, postal systems, and a great deal more; both were to be democratic, provide civil rights and prohibit discrimination.
Israel accepted this partition. However, acceptance was premised on what was described in the Resolution: economic cooperation and peaceful coexistence. Israel never agreed to disregard the nature of the Arab state recommended for creation at its border.
In the end, Resolution 181 was abandoned and never came to fruition. The UN Palestine Commission charged with facilitating the Resolution never even met, and the Security Council would not lend support. The Commission was officially relieved of its duties.
Israel, the sole party to accept Resolution 181, is not responsible for its failure, and is certainly not in violation of international law by not complying with it now.
Keep this last paragraph in mind as we now read of the UN’s efforts to delegitimize Israel on a daily basis.
In order to “celebrate” this auspicious day, the UN – as it has done every year for 70 years – makes it its business hold an International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Not the International Day of Solidarity with Israelis and Palestinians mind you. Just those most pampered self-made “refugees” in the world, the Palestinians, who only arrived at this glorified status because of their constant rejection of any Jewish State, of any size, anywhere in the Middle East at all.
Isn’t it pathetic that the UN (Useless Nations) cannot find it within themselves to celebrate a National Day for the Inalienable Rights of the Jewish People to their own Homeland in the State of Israel.
Surely after 70 years it is about time that the UN gave up this charade? Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor demanded of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that the UN repudiate its ingrained anti-Israel hatred:
The seventieth anniversary of the passage of UN Resolution 181 partitioning Palestine into Jewish and Arab states on November 29 will be marked by UN offices around the world as the “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.” The global organization first designated the date as a day of Palestinian solidarity in 1977, with a General Assembly resolution authorizing the practice as an “annual observance.”
In a letter to Guterres, Prof. Gerald Steinberg – president of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor – argued that the Day of Solidarity, along with the numerous UN bodies that promote an anti-Israel agenda through various pro-Palestinian committees and agencies, undermine the UN’s stated desire for peace based on a “two-state” solution.
“Too often, UN officials are willing and active players in this dynamic, applying double standards and singling out Israel for attack,” Steinberg wrote. “Next week, as occurs every year, the UN will hold a special meeting in Geneva on the occasion of ‘International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People,’ featuring anti-Israel demagogues and highlighting agendas that undermine the spirit of UNGA 181.” Among the events planned is a photographic exhibition at UN Headquarters in New York entitled “The Palestinian People: Everlasting Roots, Infinite Horizons.” The exhibition, according to the UN’s web page devoted to the “Question of Palestine,” “…celebrates the lives and careers of Palestinians who have contributed to humanity in different walks of life, in the face of extraordinary challenges. The UN General Assembly will also hold its annual debate on the question of Palestine on this day.”
Steinberg highlighted a number of UN bodies – such as its dedicated Division for Palestinian Rights and its annual condemnation of Israel through the UN Human Rights Council’s Agenda Item 7 – as contributing decisively to the anti-Israel environment at the UN. The Division for Palestinian Rights in turn services the “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People” (CEIRPP), created on November 10, 1975 – in the same session of the General Assembly that passed the infamous Resolution 3379 denouncing Zionism as a “form of racism.”
In his letter to Guterres, Steinberg pointed out that the UN spends millions of dollars on pro-Palestinian activities every year. “In October 2017, 24 separate UN agencies contracted with the Palestinian Authority to spend more than $18 million on campaigns aimed at isolating Israel through coordinated political, economic, and legal attacks,” he noted, emphasizing the need for the UN as a whole to “accept the obligation to end the rampant and systematic discrimination against Israel that currently plagues the UN.
“A good place to start will be in your remarks to be read on November 29 in Geneva at the forthcoming ‘Special Meeting on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People,’” Steinberg told Guterres. “Your repudiation of anti-Israel hate and rejectionism on this occasion would send a strong message that the vision and principles expressed in the 1947 Partition Plan remain guiding principles in the UN.”
The amount of money spent pampering the Palestinians is mind-boggling. Imagine how many genuine refugees and other minorities could be assisted with this money.
Gutteres is actually relatively sympathetic to Israel, but whether he will have the intestinal fortitude to stand up and condemn his own institution’s racism is another matter. And if he does, will his words be heeded? I doubt it somehow.
Meanwhile, over in Geneva at the UN Human
Rights Wrongs Council, the 29th November – in fact any day at all – is a day to be marked by condemning Israel for .. well…. anything it can think of. The most popular crime du jour is the settlements of course, and the HRC last year put together a list of companies “profiting” from the settlements – and that includes neighbourhoods of Jerusalem and other major cities – so that their products should be boycotted. Doesn’t this have echoes of a much darker time in our history? 1933 anyone? And then in September the UN began sending out warning letters to these companies that they will be added to this blacklist:
The UN’s Human Rights Commissioner began sending letters two weeks ago to 150 companies in Israel and around the world, warning them that they are about to be added to a database of companies doing business in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, senior Israeli officials and Western diplomats involved in the matter told Haaretz.
The Israeli official, who requested to stay anonymous due to the sensitivity of the issue, noted that the letters, sent by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said these firms were doing business in the “occupied Palestinian territories” and could thus find themselves on the UN blacklist for companies acting in violation of “internal law and UN decisions.” The letters, copies of which also reached the Israeli government, request that these firms send the commission clarifications about their business activities in settlements.
The Washington Post reported in August that among the American companies that received letters were Caterpillar, Priceline.com, TripAdvisor and Airbnb. According to the same report, the Trump administration is trying to work with the UN Commission on Human Rights to prevent the list’s publication. Israel’s Channel 2 reported two weeks ago that the list includes some of the biggest companies in Israel, such as Teva, Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, Bezeq, Elbit, Coca-Cola Israel, Africa-Israel, IDB, Egged, Mekorot and Netafim.
Senior Israeli officials said the Israeli fear of divestment or scaled-down business due to the blacklist is already becoming a reality. They said that the Economy Ministry’s Office of Strategic Affairs has already received information that a number of companies who received the letters have responded to the human rights commissioner by saying they do not intend to renew contracts or sign new ones in Israel.
“These companies just can’t make the distinction between Israel and the settlements and are ending their operations all together,” the senior Israeli official said. “Foreign companies will not invest in something that reeks of political problems – this could snowball.”
Countering this vicious boycott attempt, fighting fire with fire, a pro-Israel law group, The Lawfare Project, has announced that companies targeted by the UN HRC for working in the settlements will have legal recourse:
International firms targeted by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for doing business with Israeli settlements will have legal recourse, a US-based pro-Israel nonprofit law group noted this week.
It is expected that a “blacklist” of such companies will be published by the UNHRC by the end of this year — a move which both the US and Israel oppose and are lobbying against.
On Monday, the Lawfare Project issued a statement saying the purpose of the UNHRC’s potential action was “clear” — “to coerce the blacklisted companies into reducing or ceasing their Israeli operations, and/or to prompt other business entities (and consumers) to boycott or refuse to deal with the named companies.”
However, the Lawfare Project continued, “what the UNHRC seems to ignore, perhaps purposefully, is that compliance by business enterprises with the boycott of Israel can violate a slew of US federal and state laws.”
“It comes as no surprise that the proponents of the Israeli boycott — the Human Rights Council, NGOs, Arab League member states, and others — do not acknowledge the serious legal implications of actually carrying out the discriminatory conduct for which they advocate,” Benjamin Ryberg — the Lawfare Project’s chief operating officer and director of research — said.
… “When corporations are faced with such proposals or consider implementing boycotts based on the HRC’s database, it is imperative that they are well-versed in the relevant laws so that they can act in their own self-interest, which is to firmly reject the boycott,” he went on to say. “To this end, the Lawfare Project drafted a comprehensive analysis of US and foreign law relating to the boycott of Israel, which we have disseminated to a number of Fortune 500 companies that have been or may be targeted. Our aim is not to threaten legal action, but to prepare these entities to protect themselves from liability that could ensue should they succumb to pressure from the boycott campaign.”
Good for them! Kol hakavod to the activists in the Lawfare Project for throwing the boycott back in the UN’s face, and equally as important, for involving Congress in this anti-boycott legislation:
Lawfare Project Director Brooke Goldstein stated, “For years, the Human Rights Council has focused obsessively and disproportionately on Israel, while turning a blind eye to the most egregious and rampant human rights violators in the Middle East and around the world. With this blacklist, the HRC continues to unabashedly devote disproportionate resources to foment discrimination based on national origin. It continues to make a mockery of its mission to the detriment of human rights worldwide.”
Lawrence Hill — the chairman of the Lawfare Project’s board — said the UNHRC’s “farcical conduct” demonstrated the necessity of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act — which is currently making its way through Congress.
As a reminder of the complete irrelevance of the settlements to the Palestinian’s self-made predicament, it is worthwhile looking back at the article written by John B McCormick, (chairman of Hawke’s Bay Friends of Israel Association and a member of Hawke’s Bay Branch of NZ Institute of International Affairs) which was published in Hawke’s Bay Today newspaper back in January 2017, which I quoted from in this blog at the time. Here is a relevant excerpt:
The focal point for peace efforts was (and many say should still be) UNSC Resolution 242 of November 1967 – the way the UN dealt with the outcome of the 1967 Six Day War. This requires an understanding of its wording. It calls for:
Clause 1 (I) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;
It is very precise wording. The words “all” or “all the” are not used. The UK’s UN Ambassador Lord Caradon who helped write 242 said in 1978: “We didn’t say there should be a withdrawal to the 67 line, we did not put the ‘THE’ in, we did not say ‘all the’ territories deliberately… we all knew – that the boundaries of 67 were not drawn as permanent frontiers, they were a ceasefire line of a couple of decades earlier…. We did not say that the 67 boundaries must be forever.”
President Johnson said in 1968 relating to UNSC242 that “We are not the ones to say where other nations should draw lines between them that will assure each the greatest security. It is clear however that a return to the situation of June 4 1967 will not bring peace.”
In 2005 Israel withdrew completely from the Gaza Strip without any kind of peace agreement. At the same time they also withdrew from the West bank city of Jenin and four nearby settlements, again without any agreement. The Palestinian response was indiscriminate firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel.
The British were granted the mandate for Palestine at the San Remo Conference in 1920.
In 1921 Britain separated what we now know as Jordan from the rest of the mandate, making Transjordan the Arab Palestinian State on 78 per cent of the mandate area, and banned Jewish settlement east of the River Jordan. In 1923 Britain ceded the Golan Heights to the French mandate of Syria. The remaining mandate area, 22 per cent of the original total, was to be the Jewish homeland. Read it for yourself! Do the UN and the Arabs want to go there?
So where to now? On January 3 on Palestinian TV Palestine Liberation Organisation executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi, said: “We have refused and still refuse to say that Israel is a Jewish state.” The PLO was formed in 1964 when there was no Israeli occupied territory.
So until there is a Palestinian leadership that accepts Israel as the Jewish State nothing much will happen.
And I will leave it to the redoubtable Melanie Phillips who succinctly sums up the entire argument about the irrelevance of settlements to the Arab-Israeli conflict in her article: The signature cause of Western progressives is purging every Jew from Israel:
MEMRI has translated a report in the the Urdu daily Roznama Urdu Times in wihich al Habbash said: “Every Palestinian will continue the struggle till the complete freedom of Palestine. Those who started the movement for the freedom of Palestine took a pledge, while leaving this world, from the next generation that it will continue this struggle until the land of the first qibla [direction of prayer, i.e. Palestine] is purified of the impious existence of Jews.”
As is clear from the rest of his remarks, he was not talking merely about the “West Bank” and Gaza. He meant the whole of Israel would be “purified” of Jews. This man does not speak for Hamas. He is part of the Palestinian Authority, regarded by the west as “moderate”, and religious adviser to Abbas, regarded by the west as a statesman-in-waiting.
Western “progressives” support the Palestinian Authority and support the Palestinan cause. What do they imagine Mahmoud al Habbash means by the world “purified”? How do they think he intends to put that word into practice in Israel? I’ll give them a clue. It will involve, at the very least, a war of annihilation, racist ethnic cleansing and mass murder.
Only when the West finally admit to themselves that what they are working for is ethnic cleansing of the worst sort against the Jews, and when they apply the force of law and morals to the Palestinians, to all the Arab states and their international supporters, only then will we have a chance for peace.