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Israel's Tragedy [of settlements] Foretold

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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 03:06 PM
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Israel's Tragedy [of settlements] Foretold
I hadn't figured out what this guy explained so simply about why the occupied territories remain an open wound.

Israel is in a catch-22. If they annex the territory outright, they have to give the Palestinians citizenship. If it's just occuppied territory, they can't legally settle it (but they want to), so they play the same legal game that the Bushies do with Gitmo, that these pieces of land don't exist in the normal legal world.

Of course the public arguments are about security and the Biblical mandate to take back all that land, but I think it shows we have advanced as a world civilization since they know the world wouldn't tolerate just driving the Palestinians out or killing them outright (and the majority of Israelis probably wouldn't be able to stomach that either).








Israel's Tragedy Foretold


By GERSHOM GORENBERG
Published: March 10, 2006

The legal counsel of the Foreign Ministry, Theodor Meron, was asked whether international law allowed settlement in the newly conquered land.
In a memo marked "Top Secret," Mr. Meron wrote unequivocally, "My conclusion is that civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention."

In the detailed opinion that accompanied that note, Mr. Meron explained that the Convention to which Israel was a signatory forbade an occupying power from moving part of its population to occupied territory. The Golan, taken from Syria, was "undoubtedly 'occupied territory,' " he wrote.

<snip>

There is a subtext here. In treating the West Bank as occupied, Israel may simply have been recognizing legal reality. But doing so had practical import: if the land was occupied, the Arabs who lived there did not have to be integrated into the Israeli polity in contrast to Arabs within Israel, who were citizens.

Eshkol and other Israeli leaders knew that granting citizenship to the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza Strip would quickly turn Israel into a binational state. In effect, the Meron memo told Eshkol: you cannot have it both ways. If the West Bank was "occupied" for the Arab population, then neither international law nor Israel's democratic norms permitted settling Jews there.

FULL TEXT:


http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/10/opinion/10gorenberg.h...

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