On Settlements, Agreements and Legitimacy: a midnight monograph

by Michael Zebulon (January 2011)

Not in Our Name, Mr President 

If I “propose” to a lady, it will strain neither comprehension nor credulity to suggest that whatever her response to the overture, it’s certain to be vastly different (even, I daresay, in the present, quaintly confused age) from what it would be, had I “propositioned” her—despite the evident morphological similarity of the two verbs.  By the same token are the nouns, “legality” and “legitimacy”—which likewise share a common root [lex < L.: “law”]—seen, in their turn, to be related. 

But, again, as in the previous instance, the mere fact of their linguistic and ety­mological kinship is of itself insufficient to render them synonymous, and outside of a court-of-law—most especially in the devious world of diplomatic skullduggery[i]—you will never hear somebody employ the two in the same discussion, let alone, as approximate interchangeables.  Instead, the looser locution, legitimacy, is used whenever the speaker chooses to suggest—yet NOT explicitly ref­erence or invoke—legality; notwithstanding that in a finite and fallen world, the only true measure of legitimacy IS the Law

That’s why we order our lives by it.

NOW, CONTRARY TO the popular myth, carefully cultivated in some quarters (and of whose continued circulation our President is, beyond a shadow of doubt, well aware), Mr Obama was never, strictly speaking, a university professor. Never a professor of law, never a professor of professing—never, in point of fact, a professor of anything.  Certainly he never held actual title to the designation.

Traditionally the formal appellative of “Professor” is one which academic faculties have guarded jealously—indeed zealously—and one which college and univer­sity administrations have conferred only advisedly. Typically it reflects, among other things, the awarding of tenure (or the positioning onto a “tenure track,” for prospective or provisional granting of same). Tenure is perhaps the ultimate in job security:  an all-but-ironclad guarantee—in the name of intellectual freedom—against dislodgment by virtually anything short of outright conviction of felony.  (Occasionally it can survive even that.) 

To be vested with tenure represents the attainment of membership, as it were, in a very exclusive and prestigious "club”; and entails—beyond the matter of teaching (as such)—at minimum, a diligent, sustained, concretely demon­strated attention, in one’s field of focused study, to: (A) research, and (B) pub­lishing of pertinent works—both species of endeavor, powerful attractors of treasured corporate and foundational grants, as well as coveted, university endowment dollars. The tenure prize is so esteemed for the most worthy—and occupationally pertinent—of reasons:  The idea is that tenure serves to shelter a professor’s scholarly in-tegrity against a world outside (or even on-campus) that may be discomfited, and even threatened, by his dedicated and undiverted pursuit of truth irrespective of where it may lead and “though the heavens fall.”

And that, in turn, goes a long way toward explaining why we common folk—denizens of the intellectual peonage—quite naturally, if not perhaps altogether consciously, incline toward conceding a special standing to such devotion, and an extra measure of deference to pronouncements (casual or formal) that come our way, courtesy of the august “professoriate.” That is, we tend to trust a professor, not only because he is presumed a disciplined reservoir of knowledge essential to civilization, but also because we sense that his enjoyment of tenured status assures that he is authentically free of ulterior motives, that he has no axes to grind—that he can “afford” to be honest, and will therefore be both able and (again, presumably) inclined to bypass-the-BS in disinterested service to the public weal—unlike the rest of us, who have to live in the real world. 

Or, so holds the logic implicit in that trust.

Of course, were it anybody other than Borukh, Our Gracious Master of the Holy Hope’n’changen, to whom the tenured-professor handle was being erroneously attached or intimated, the grumbling and the grousing and the growling from the groves of academe, the shrecking and shrying, the bellowing and blustering—to say nothing of the sneering and jeering—would, you may rest assured, never end (even AFTER the presumptuous usage of the honorific did).  Envision, for example, the paroxysms of offended propriety and scandalized virtue that would convulse that community, its precincts, domains and environmentalistically proper baronies—from the green tea in the faculty lounge, to the green ivy of the buildings, to the green mud on the gridiron—should it be so much as rumored that, instead of alluding to Mr Obama as a former tenured professor, someone had so miscredited the Gracious Master’s White House predecessor.

The mind boggles….

Now, granted—certainly—that the simple (albeit flagrant and disquietingly persistent) misappropriation of a mere title might present a paltry, even petty, consideration to the rest of us; nevertheless, on-campus, it is well understood, commonly (if grudgingly) accepted, and routinely acknowledged, that careers, perquisites and salaries rise & fall over the issuance of Institutional Tenure. So it matters who has it and who doesn’t:  matters to academia, and—because of society’s insinuative willingness to entrust the molding, modification and replacement of its opinions to the possessor of tenure—matters to us as well.

The curious fact that the university crowd, in the face of all prepossession and inclination, most conspicuously never do speak up whenever the illustrious professor designation is sloppily bandied about by our Chief-of-State’s koolaid-addicted acolytes in regard to the Anointed One (Blessed be He, and exalted, yea verily), is less a measure of the present era’s laxity in scholarly and administrative standards than simply a reflection of the university’s own ideological enshacklement to the political (and culturo-socio-political) camp from which he hails. That a full dozen academics supported his candidacy for every one that opposed it (a whopping 92 percent endorsement as compared with the 53 percent from the broader electorate) comes surely as no shock to anybody.

All the same, you can bet the farm that—even as they haste to circle the prairie schooners in the face of (“Horror; the horror!”) gathering hordes of hopelessly benighted shades of Joe-the-Plumber and Sarah-Barracuda, as well as myriad, motley, affiliated, mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, extra “y”-chromosome, Tea-Partying, flag-waving, small-town, small-business, entrepreneurial and comparably déclassé types, “bitterly clinging to their guns and religion”—the scholarly, quasi-scholarly and pseudo-scholarly cohort bite their tongues to suppress the impulse to howl and hiss their scorn, ridicule and general opprobrium every time they hear the misdirected distinction.

THAT ALL HAVING BEEN SAID, it may correctly be noted that, while Master Hope’n’change never was awarded (or formally profferred) the brass ring of academic tenure—back in the days when he was working in the private sector (sort of)—he, nonetheless, most certainly was, in verifiable fact, officially designated a non-tenured, part-time, guest Lecturer, and then a staff-level, non-tenured, part-time, Senior Lecturer, at University of Chicago Law School for a total of some 12 years:  during which period—although he never completed (or, in any event, published) a single work of legal scholarship—he did maintain an ongoing schedule whereby he regularly taught three law courses as a means of supporting himself, while he embarked on five electoral political races. 

It is therefore, by any rational assessment, safe to say that our learned, illustrious President, whatever kind of ‘professor’ he was, quite surely does know his way around the law, and—more significantly—that in understanding the general terrain, he understands, as well, how to find his way around the law.

It is, then, equally safe to say also that he is an impudent prevaricator, with no excuse for the devious little game he is playing, one who understands good-and-well that he would never get away with characterizing the residential, civilian Jewish communities in Jerusalem’s eastern sector or the Holy Land’s unincorporated, heartland provinces of Judea and Samaria as “illegal.”  Indeed if he tried pulling such a howler, all sorts of folks—YoursTruly amongst them—would promptly jump all over such an assertion like a dog on a bone.  (We might even find ourselves wondering aloud just what kind of smokes the gentleman was sneaking in those nine-holes-on-the-green indulgences and other off-camera interludes—and whether he really was “trying to quit,” after all.)

And why?

Because in truth the upright, hard-working residents of the rural and suburban Jewish “settlements” of the “West Bank,”?and those of the reestablished Jewish communities of eastern Jerusalem—which apt and thoroughly proper habitations in all such developments have necessitated neither the displacement nor the harm (nor the exploitation) of anybody, nor the theft, usurpation, damage, endan-germent or devaluation of anybody’s bona fide property (real or chattel; individual or communal)—have every right, I repeat (and I stress), every RIGHT, in international law and equity, to be precisely where they are: and, moreover, to grow there in numbers, should they be so blessed—indeed to thrive and flourish there, howsoever they may be honorably able—in perpetuity.

Got that?—in perpetuity.

So, how, then, does His Wonderfulness proceed?  (And where, exactly, is your grumpy but obliging observer going with all this huffing’n’puffing about a “devious little game”?)  Mr Obama proceeds most “deftly,” to say the least—that’s how. 

You see, because the altogether lawful, but politically incorrect, reality fails to comport with the agenda of the cunning demagogue who straddles the Oval Office these days, the said Wonderful One chooses to use—IN PLACE OF the straightforward term, legality—a weasel word like “legitimacy”:  which, as shown, does not denote legality, but which, when substituted for it, is clearly positioned, per application, to move a listener to “feel” the same way about the object that that code-word was used to modify that such an observer would “feel,” had the designation, “legality,” been fastened to that object. 

THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION’S FAVORED Middle East policy mantram, and default catch-all nominee for idée maitresse—as laid out and solemnly intoned by the Magniloquent Mahatmabama at Cairo University just six weeks after Presidential Inauguration Day, in his promised Reach-Out-to-the-Devotees-of-Muhammad panegyric-qua-harangue[ii]of 4 June 2009—has clearly become, “America does not accept the legitimacy” of the Jewish communities of Yehudah v’Shomron [Judea and Samaria] and the eastern sector of Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.  

And judging from the response of that audience to this little pronouncement (in one very long rant), you’d swear—despite Miz’ Hillary’s apt, trenchant, primary-campaign sarcasm for the Anointed One’s barefaced pretensions—that

  • the “sky [DID] open,
  • the light [DID] come down,
  • celestial choirs [WERE] singing, and
  • everybody [DID] know that we should do the right thing, and
  • the world [suddenly WAS] perfect,”[iii]

notwithstanding that former US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton [2005-06], found it "the most radical anti-Israel speech I can recall any president making."

That high-minded harridan, the determinedly distemperoid Hillary Rodham Clinton, Our Lady of Foggy Bottom (this latter, of course, about where she sits these days, not what she sits on), has, moreover, taken dutifully to parroting the breathtakingly disingenuous, ‘nonacceptance-of-legitimacy’ formulation—as she did in Marrakesh and Cairo, on the following November 2 and 4, respectively. “We have said that repeatedly,” adds Our Lady, and “…would like to see everything [in the nature of Jewish ‘settlement’ activity] ended forever…”

…in the very cradle of Judaism, the virtual swaddling clothes of the Jewish People…. “ended forever.”


What’s more, His Wonderfulness, The Dear Leader, himself, had occasion to  lordly ladle out yet another dollop of the lumpy, counter-legitimacy gravy during his maiden speech to the 192-member body of the UN General Assembly over a year ago [23 September 2009].

Nor was the presidential intent lost on the likes of Sa’eb Erekat, the US-educated [SFSU], lead Palestinian “negotiator” (horse trader, PR flack & all-‘round motormouth)[iv]—who, upon hearing that address, wasted not a moment proceeding to inform the world’s oldest news agency, Agence France-Presse (AFP), that “We are encouraged and highly appreciate President Obama’s statements on settlements being illegal…”  


As noted above, clever Barry-O (“too clever-by-half,” some might offer) did NOT —and would not—say the settlements were “illegal”; he never does that; he knows better.  And knows better than to try. Certainly he might like to call these towns and developments “illegal,” had he any reason to believe he could make it stick—but, whatever else he may be, he is (unlike the buffoonish Mr Erekat) no fool, and would not knowingly render his dainty, friable backside such an easy target. He prudently crafted his words to avoid that (or his cautious speechwriters did, at his direction).

On the other hand (and as already intimated), this peculiar specimen of the ex-“professor” subgenus is not above allowing the questionable, even errone­ous, instruments or remarks of others to do his dirty work for him—sometimes by merely alluding, without comment, to such faulty or irrelevant holdings as if authoritative.  Consider, for example, his June 15, 2009, statement (viz., scant days after the aforecited Cairo address to world Islam), at a news conference with Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, that the Jewish communities of eastern Jerusalem and the unincorporated provinces “in past agreements have been categorized as illegal.” 

Technically accurate, when patiently parsed and deconstructed, and—of itself—entirely noncommittal, to be sure, yet with implication beyond any hazard of mis-apprehension or misconstrual.  (Indeed it was “almost pluperfect”—just like Chris Matthews’ assessment of the man himself.)  The proper—obligatory—response to such an assertion from the President is an insistent and unyielding (and, yes, pugnacious) demurrer:  “So?” or “And…?”

Or, perhaps, “Which ‘past agreements,’ Sir?—and how exactly do they overrule those agreements that did and do ‘categorize’ these communities as perfectly legal?”

Or, even, “Does it matter, Professor, that, by law, ‘agreements’ entered into (or whose terms are accepted, or whose language is conceded) under imposition of threat, duress or coercion (not to say, fraud) are—as, of course, you would surely  know, Sir (as a practitioner of law)—inherently void and without binding legal force, nullified by such irremediably flawed conditions?

“Kind of like the extortive (also crippling and enfeebling) ‘agreements’ you’re trying to corral the Israelis into right now, Sir?—under the meretricious rubric of ‘Peace’ Process?—by ramping up the pressure on them (and not just incidental pressure or peripheral pressure, but ineluctable pressure on their very existence) to sign on to such ‘agreements’:  via such confirmed and verified facts as

  • your refusing for your entire first year in the Oval Office, and now nearly through your second, to approve any needed, significant Israeli arms purchases or up-grades, as well as your suspending delivery of previously-approved purchases:  effectively imposing, until now, an unstated, but very real, embargo—while America racks up a hefty profit from the ten billion dollars in sales of massive quantities of offensive armament that Your Wonderfulness did indeed see fit to approve for Arab League states in that same, identical period?

—to say nothing of your recent seal on the largest munitions transaction in this country’s history:  to the Sa’udi regime?[v]

—policy decisions in egregious and contemptuous violation of a 40-year-old US pledge to foster Israel’s qualitative military edge over her Arab neighbors;

  • or your administration’s policy of coddling and humoring the rabid mullahs in Tehran, while the latter play Chicken, undisturbed at their gallop-for-the-goalposts in an apocalyptic, Crackhead’s Quest to pack a flying lunch box with a Nice-Hot-Big-One, ready for Express Shipping and marked for the citizenry of the Jewish state?

or your notifying Jerusalem through diplomatic back-channels that US forces will not—repeat, absolutely WILL NOT—bomb the nuclear facilities of the Islamic Republic (since, after all, “the United  States… will never be at war with Islam”),[vi]

—since, by your order, the Islamic Republic must under no circumstances be defined as a geostrategic threat?

“Settlements, then, that ‘have been categorized as illegal’ in ‘past agreements’ which had been obtained in that manner, Mr President?”

Always pay especially close attention whenever the language of diplomatic commentary incorporates the utilization of passive voice:  “have been categorized as illegal.” While the diplo trade does seem inordinately prone to the beckonings of shelter in the passive formulations, more often than not, this oleaginous little do-si-do signals the presence of (one or more) weasels at work—and a thoughtful listener can profit well from marshaling the demurrer, as above, in smoking out such characters.

When the speaker names no names, cites no authorities, skirts the facts, skips the terms, buries the background—all the while speaking calmly and matter-of-factly, taking care to couch his lynch-mob intimations in passive voice, while moving smoothly and swiftly forward, without pausing for anybody’s absorption of, and reflection upon, his damning demagogy—he forestalls or neutralizes any responsive demand to stand-and-deliver:  even as the vile toxins are permitted to lodge, accumulate and fester unscrutinized in the consciousness of the unwary.  Smart.  

Sleazoid, but smart.  And actually, not nearly so arcane or mysterious as it sounds; typically, politicians (and politician-wannabes) learn the fancy footwork early-on. Of course, for the demagogically inclined, these dance steps are more than just another tool in a seasoned politico’s belt.  They are his stock-in-trade.

Be that as it may, in the instant case, the unstated but plainly intended objective on which Obama & Company are bent (and “bent” is truly the operative word here, in so many ways) is the inducement of a relentless and increasing erosion in US popular perception of the fitness and felicity, and even fairness, of continued Jewish occupancy in the very place where Judaism—and indeed the 200-generation-long entity known as the Jewish People (where do you suppose the name, “Judea,” came from anyway?)—was born-and-bred, nurtured-and-raised, disciplined-and-blessed.

Make no mistake about it, however:  The "legitimacy" gambit is strictly a politically-motivated device, bearing no jurisprudential weight or significance of any sort, a ploy resorted to by those who begrudge Israel her patrimony; “legitimacy” is taken to only as a refuge because a forthright claim of 'illegality' wouldn’t have a legal leg to stand on—any juridical rudiments of such an avowal having been long-ago demolished by a multitude of the world’s most accomplished and respected international judicial scholars, jurists and legal theorists—including the twentieth century's foremost authority on jus gentium:  the Law of Nations—the late Prof. Julius Stone. 

In 1980, the Leeds [UK]-born, Australian scholar of International Law, and prolific, erudite author of highly regarded works on the international system of jurispru-dence, Professor Stone (a real professor), subjected the 'illegality' allegation to a withering analysis, during the course of which he hesitated not a heartbeat to denounce and dismiss it as “a subversion…of basic international law principles.” [vii]

Stone’s findings were in the event sufficiently powerful to move then-President Ronald Reagan to soundly, unequivocally reverse the assertions of settlement “illegality” previously advanced by his predecessor’s transparently self-seeking State Dept after the latter had taken recourse to inappropriately citing as an authority a 20-years-earlier-published book of the estimable Professor Stone to justify its own utterly contorted and ill-considered, “settlements” pronunciamento.

“Legitimacy” is simply a crafty and shameless ploy, as well as a perennial one—though never till now so boldly essayed—clearly purposed by the country's current Chief Executive Officer to befuddle the thinking of sincere though unsuspect-ing observers (and calmly cover his tracks in the act)—while providing implicit en-couragement to low-rent, world-class predators, who have no more trouble read-ing the signs than they would a traffic signal. And no honorable and aware person should stand still for this malignant narcissist’s “balls-out-&-brazen” stunt masquerading as responsible policy.  Not for a nanosecond. 

THE ENTIRELY LICIT, legal and equitable character of the restored Jewish “settlements” in eastern Jerusalem—long-established communities, unlawfully destroyed:

after the Jordanian monarchy’s Arab Legion assault and accompanying massacres of eastern Jerusalem’s Jews by Palestinian Arabs, during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence

—as well as the similarly lawful, legitimate nature of the Jewish sentinel communities in the disputed, heartland provinces:

was again affirmed when that legality—and legitimacy—was flatly, unambiguously and authoritatively set forth in print in 1990 and 1991.

The vehicle of transmission at the time was a pair of trenchant, provocative articles in that notable, ax-grinding, hard-line, right-wing rag, The New Republic, by another international legal scholar, Prof. Eugene Rostow [1913-2002],? Dean of Yale University Law School, and Distinguished Fellow, United States Institute of Peace, Washington, DC.  As Director of the Arms Control & Disarmament Agency, Dean Rostow had been the highest ranking Democrat in the Reagan administration.

Rostow had previously been Pres. Lyndon Johnson's Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs [1966-69]:  both during and after the swift, conclusive, thunderclap that came to be known to modern history as the Six-Day War of June 1967 —to Israelis, in particular, as the War of Miracles, and operationally at the time, among IDF personnel, as Strike Zion.  That intensely potent little affair was one which the Arab world had willfully, spitefully, opportunistically and altogether gratuitously forced upon the people of Israel, and which cataclysm had brought the oldest part of the theretofore unlawfully divided, Israeli capital, as well as the purely politically named "West Bank," into Israeli possession.[viii]

Thus, the eminent jurist was crucially, and in a vital way, uniquely, positioned when occasion and the duties of office obliged him—together with British Foreign Secretary George Brown and US Ambassador to the UN, [former Supreme Court Justice] Arthur Goldberg—to take a direct and personal hand in the drafting of the advisory and hortatory (but not self-executing or otherwise binding), postbellum, Security Council Resolution 242;[ix]  issued effectively under Chapter VI of the UN Charter (“Pacific[x]Settlement of Disputes”—Articles 33-38). That Resolution addressed (among other things), the rights of the identifiable sovereign parties to the conflict in the wake of the clash. 

In grounding within historical context the then-burgeoning quarrel over the legality of the Jewish presence in eastern Jerusalem and the said unincorporated provinces—where, incidentally, many of the “settler”-revenants, and their residential developments, cities, towns, hamlets and villages, have now been well-established for the better part of half-a-century—Prof. Rostow (yes, also a real professor) took note, in the two journal pieces, of the paramount and controlling, international legal authority in the matter of that presence:  the unanimously-ratified [24 July 1922], League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, which expressly—unambiguously—endorsed, planned, facilitated and GUARANTEED that presence.

A “past agreement,” Mr President. And, under both international law and US domestic law, a present one as well—as will shortly be made clear.

CREATION OF THE MANDATE FOR PALESTINE had been commanded (along with the entire, post-Great War, Woodrow Wilson-inspired, mandate system):  by Article 22 of the League of Nations Covenant—another “past agreement,” if you will—which held each of the Mandates “a sacred trust of civilization.”  Pursuant to that declaration, it will bear observing, as did Rostow in a later paper:  wherein he had occasion to cite, for illustrative purposes, the 1970 Namibia Case before the World Court in The Hague?—that a trust (sacred or otherwise) does not automatically end merely “because the trustee dies, resigns or [even] tries to steal the trust property.” [xi]

The Palestine Mandate was a fully binding and obligatory, international instrument—to which this countryalthough never itself an actual member of the League,Ñ nonetheless, did deliberately go out of its way to specifically and unreservedly bind itself thenceforth in law. 

This was because, as Americans, We-the-People of the United States (in the person of that same Senate) recognized in ourselves a compelling duty toward, and a unique affinity for, world Jewry:  particularly as identified with the historic Land of Israel—which attachments, moreover, outweighed, and stood independent of, even our differences with (and which modified, further, our responsibilites toward) our great-power allies in the then-recently concluded, massive global conflict remembered today as the First World War.

America’s rigorous and special contractual obligation to this particular Mandate—and to the preexisting, non-terminating, exclusive Jewish national rights in Palestine that the Mandate’s Charter pointedly recognizes and guarantees—was in fact unique, never replicated in any manner or degree, in relation to any of the other mandates, and was, furthermore, knowingly, advisedly and quite willingly incurred:  by way of yet another agreement—the senatorially-ratified (also by unanimous vote), presidentially-signed and -proclaimed, Anglo-American Convention of 3 December 1924,[xii] whose text incorporated verbatim, by way of reference, the entire 28 Articles and Preamble of the Mandate Charter (and which Convention’s purpose and thrust will be revisited briefly, later in these pages). 

Thus was the Charter rendered, via the Convention’s linkage, constitutionally (like all other Senate-endorsed treaties) the “Supreme Law of the Land”—i.e., of this land, the United States.[xiii]  And to the consequent and continual defense and  upholding of the Mandate’s provisions thus each-and-every federal US official, elected or appointed (and actually, every single state judge and state justice, as well), was formally and gravely bound by oath or affirmation.

Moreover, even today, the legal doctrine of estoppel operatively and collaterally prohibits each such official from presuming to subsequently abrogate, contravene or so much as temporarily suspend the inalienable and imprescriptible RIGHTS lodged within the Mandate Charter—as these are already acknowledged and protected (by the Senate’s ratification of the Convention)—and those who are charged with upholding the laws of this country are “estopped” from reversing, abrogating or otherwise nullifying those rights.

Estoppel, as applied here [see Appendix, infra], means we do not presume to ‘end forever’ what we previously acknowledged—and agreed to protect—forever.  Catching my drift, are we, my dear Mme Secretary of the Fog? 

THE PALESTINE MANDATE, specifically, was commissioned at the post-Versailles, Inter-Allied San Remo Peace Conference on the Italian Riviera: where the the Supreme Council of the war’s victorious Principal Allied Powers had held hearings, received evidence, deliberated carefully and issued determinations.  Their formal Resolution had vested full de jure sovereignty over the entirety of Palestine with the world’s dispersed Jewish People,j as an entity: not solely with those 85,000 Jews already domiciled in the land, but rather (and sui generis), with the whole (then 14 million-strong) Nation of Israel—thus effectively creating the “Deed of Trust” in their name on the 24th and 25th of April, 1920.

Still another agreement, Professor Hope’n’change, binding in international law, and thus rendering the question of who owns—viz., is entitled to sovereignty over —Judea & Samaria, arguably, res judicata, “a matter decided.”  The principle of law here is that once decided is finally decided.?

So good of you to broach the subject of agreements (a discussion, regrettably, too-long delayed, till now); your admiring correspondent here wouldn’t’ve wanted to appear at all presumptuous by taking the initiative himself.  (Most gratifying, then, that it was Your Anointedness who stepped forward to open that door.)

This San Remo Resolution—issued at the same conference during which 99 percent of the hectarage of the former Ottoman territorial possessions was placed in trust for the Arabic-speaking, Islamic peoples of the region—had assigned and entrusted the remaining one percent, constituting the Palestine Mandate, for the duration of the Jewish people’s in-country preparation for reconstituted de facto sovereignty? in, and over, their restored and universally acknowledged, ancestral home—a home which was never regarded as excluding the historically earliest part of that home, the heartland provinces—to the government of Great Britain as League Mandatory.?


The controversy about Jewish settlements in the West Bank is not therefore about legal rights but about the political will to override legal rights...

The Jewish right of settlement in the area is equivalent in every way [at minimum—ed] to the right of the existing Palestinian [Arab] population to live there …[and] is conferred by the same provisions of the Mandate under which Jews settled in Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem before the State of Israel was created.[xiv] [emphases added] 

So saying, Dean Rostow had reference to Article Six [and within it, as will be noted, the first paragraph of Article Four, as well] of what was, in essence, to be (and in due course became), the constitution for the then-planned and -projected Jewish state—the Mandate Charter—the text of which Article had provided that Jewish “settlement” throughout Palestine was, in fact, “legitimate” enough to be not only permitted, but also, actually promoted and assisted—indeed expedited:

The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitateJewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in cooperation with the Jewish Agency referred to in Article 4, close [i.e., dense] settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands not required for public use. [xv] [emphases added]

What’s more, 18 months later, the Undersecretary went to still greater lengths to detail and underscore the ironclad, legal whys-&-wherefores of ongoing, durable, non-expiring Jewish legitimacy in all those parts of the original Land of Israel that had been among the Mandate areas liberated in the 1967 conflict—by way of his subsequent piece in the same, aforecited journal, TNR:

The British Mandate recognized the right of the Jewish People to ‘close settlement’ in the whole of the Mandated territory. It was provided that local conditions might require [or, in any event, permit—ed] Great Britain [upon authorization by the League Council—ed] to ‘postpone’ or ‘withhold’ Jewish settlement in what is now Jordan. This was done in 1922 [albeit, even at that, with only divided support of the Council (as Dean Rostow had already noted elsewhere in the earlier article); thus, arguably, with but dubious legality—ed].

But the Jewish right of settlement in Palestine [everywhere to the] west of the Jordan river—that is, in Israel, the West Bank, [any and all parts of] Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip—was made unassailable. That right has never been terminated and cannot be terminated except by a recognized peace between Israel and its neighbors.

AND PERHAPS NOT EVEN THEN, in view of Article 80 of the UN Charter, “the Palestine article,” which provides that “nothing in the Charter shall be construed... to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or any [identified] peoples or the terms of existing international instruments [e.g. (among others), the Mandate—and the earlier, San Remo Resolution that ordered the Mandate—ed] to which members of the United Nations may respectively be parties.” [xvi]   [emphases added] 

Thus grandfathering-in—indefinitely (clear enough, Mme Secretary? “forever”)—the rights acknowledged in, and protected by, those instruments of international jurisprudence, and endorsed by the state signatories to said considered and binding undertakings (hearing the music, Mahatma? “agreements”):  and conversely, ruling out, everlastingly, by law (if simple human decency be itself found unequal to the task), any move by the (apparent) metaphysical heirs of the Third Reich—or the sympathizers of such moral legatees—to render the area, or any other part of the therein-identified, historic Land of Israel, effectively judenrein [“clean of Jews”]—a gross legal travesty characterized by Prof. Stone as “turning international law on its head.” [xvii]

THOSE WHO PERSIST in characterizing the inhabitants of the reestablished Jewish communities in the disputed lands as “settlers” contribute, be it inadvertently or wittingly, and whether cordially or maliciously, to a mistaken impression of the true status of Jews throughout the entire Palestine Mandate domain—an impression, moreover, tiresomely credulous and half-baked:  flawed in conception—that for too long has been allowed to dance without discipline from the bizarre to the grotesque and back again in its dimly-lit view of the Zionist proposition as something on the order of, at best, the initially alien colonies of Jamestown and Plymouth that were founded on the eastern seaboard of the North  American continent early in the 17th century.   

Yet such a lazy man’s approach to history is readily confuted by a patient attention to the facts—most tellingly as noted under the influence of that felicitous faculty on which modern-day, pluralistic democracies rely (and actually depend)common sense—a faculty, alas, lately all-too-uncommon. As political psychologist Irwin Mansdorf has noted, the expression, “settler” carries a measure of

  • while you simultaneously threaten to refuse re-supply of Israeli forces with spare parts or ammunition in the event of any Israeli attack on the Iranian facilities?
  • their Jews expelled,
  • all 58 synagogues demolished,
  • their Jewish cemeteries desecrated (the headstones uprooted and confiscated to build and pave Jordanian military latrines),
  • lands which, it should be noted, are no way ‘peripheral’ to the Jewish state,

validity only if it is assumed that the "settlers" have no indigenous roots and rights in the area. As such, this [i.e., trying to throw the “alien-implant” jacket around the Zionist venture—ed] is yet another use of language to shape perceptions and another example of psychological manipulation for political purposes.  [emphasis added]

Unlike any other “settler-colonial” state in history, Israel stands alone in that there is no identifiable foreign power that can be identified as the colonial en-tity. It goes without saying that the notion of "settler" dismisses any historical or biblical connection of Jews to the area…  [xviii]  

Contrary to the circumstances attendant to colonial or imperial enterprises—whose partakers had previously been unconnected in any way to the regions they settled—the Palestine roots of the Jews were virtually mingled with that land’s bedrock.       

It is most significant thus that in ratifying the Palestine Mandate Charter (and, in point of fact, doing so without so much as a solitary dissenting vote amongst their often fractious lot), the League Council, acting on behalf of the entire 51-member Assembly of the organized world community of nations (and together with the nonmember, United States of America) formally recognized that the Jews had maintained an abiding and ongoing occupancy in the Land of Israel for some four thousand years, but that for many centuries of those millennia, their continuing deprivation of sovereignty had left them open and vulnerable to every malevolent and predatory assault, both there and throughout much of the world.

Indeed the blunt fact is that, notwithstanding the fondly, fatuously entrenched fantasies peering out in recent decades from the venerated talking points and assembled catechisms of the politically correct, the determinedly malign and the comfortingly lobotomized, it remains a durable, iron-clad and readily verified (am-ply documented)[xix]—albeit, for the foregoing parties, ideologically incommodious and decidedly inconvenient—item of history that Jewish domiciliarity in the Land of Israel: in every part of the Land of Israel, the Promised Land, the subsequently much-renamed Holy Land (“Syria-Palaestina,” “CisJordania,” etc), had humbly and modestly, yet staunchly and resolutely, persisted—in varying numbers, proportions and configurations—right up until the modern era.[xx]

Remnant or multitude, the Jewish People had continued in all circumstances to cling bravely and tenaciously to the Land, sustained as they were only by the immutable Promise of its steadfast Landlord [Ge 17:7-8, 28:13-15, 35:12, Ex 6:7-8, Qur 5:20-21, etc, etc], and the bright, sweet, unsullied Hope of its redemption, linked to their own freedom:  as attested and foretold—arguably, ordained—in the very Oracles entrusted unto their care along with the Land when yet the world was new.

Their presence had enduredfrom the final, desperate gasp of antiquarian, Judean sovereignty in AD 135,[xxi] thenceforth and continuously (sometimes, even, with great dynamism) throughout the succeeding centuries. Yet—shorn of the implements of sovereignty, the blade and buckler of now-forbidden, Jewish dominion (thus perennially wanting in the societal harborage, ordered liberty and territorial control ensured by a vigilant, muscular, independent, self-directed, national polity)—it was a presence ragged and fouled, often as not.  Stunted and misshapen.  Battered and broken. Anxious and tentative.  Heartstricken.  Bowed.  Cowed. 

The life of the Jews was seen as cursed,? the nation itself, a clever beggar (and a none-too-savory one)—ever the supplicant, never the player, world without end—and the world saw nothing wrong with that. Indeed, many were disturbed (some privately, some not so privately) at the prospect that it might ever be otherwise for the Children of Israel. Their ongoing reality, as perceived by the human family, was lost in memory, frozen in time, leaving in its former place—and as their place—only a grotesque spectacle and eternal caricature of themselves.  

Yet their protracted agony notwithstanding, it is perhaps less maudlin than astounding to reflect that invariably, inescapably, even in the best of times, this most prodigiously gifted of nations, they that had spawned the very Prophets—blessed blood kindred to the peripatetic Nazarene himself—had existed only at peril, frequently hanging on by agonized fingernails:  strangers, as it were, in their own land as much as abroad§—and, in the end, for much the same reason….

Hardly because they didn’t “belong” there.

THE COHORTS OF MUHAMMAD [AD 570-632] having first wiped out (by the edge of the sword)å the most prominent and flourishing Jewish communities on the Arabian Peninsula, then driven out of the region by main force many lesser ones—and having then proceeded to plunder their property (now conveniently free for the taking) in order to finance the attacking armies of jihad—the fractious Arabian tribes, long acclimated to raiding and being raided but united now under the banner of an appetite-indulgent Islam, and aroused and rampant at the prospect of spoil, had stormed explosively northward, bursting out of the peninsula and into the Levant.

Four years after “The Prophet’s” death, the newly-Muslim Arabs, commanded by Khalid bin al-Walid, the Blade of Islam, at the Battle of the Yarmuk River,? decisively defeated (and then proceeded to massacre the surrendering forces of) the Byzantine [Eastern Roman] Empire that had “inherited” the Land of Israel? from pre-Diocletal (viz., still administratively unified) Rome:  thereby ending, after 636, Byzantine rule south of the Anatolian Peninsula.

Unlike earlier occupiers, however, the (contemporaneously named) “Ishmaelite conquerors,” or sarakenoi [hence, “Saracens”], promptly set about systematically colonizing the Jewish homeland militarily. Wave after wave of Ishmaelite warrior adherents of the Prophet—together with their proliferous and fast growing, four-wife (and limitlessly concubinous) families—followed the victors of the Yarmuk, and proceeded to pillage the countryside and smother the land like a pestilence. Half of all homes in the cities of Tiberias and Beit She’an were expropropriated—confiscated and given to the Islamic battalions for armed settlement, without compensation (let alone, consent) of the owners.[xxii] The new Arab government went even so far as to deliberately separate the Jews from their native soil.

The dispossession, progressive marginalization and displacement of Palestine’s non-sovereign,δ and thus exceedingly vulnerable, Jewish community, was a prolonged affair, and over time became an accomplished fact through the routine seizure of Jewish land and dwellings, and the conscription of Jewish labor.[xxiii]

These were facilitated by implementation of the Pact of Omar—an early but integral part of shari’a law (and to this day, never yet ‘repealed’)—which imposed upon non-Muslims of non-paganv faith, viz., non-converting Jews and Christians, the Twelve Laws of the Dhimma [“compact” or “covenant”].  The dhimmi were informally characterized as “protected” classes.  (Protected from what? one might well ask.)[xxiv] The Laws of Dhimma were indeed contractual, and were enforced upon these protégés of Islam on pain of death. 

Among the dhimmi laws attributed to Khalif Omar bin al-Khattab, Commander of the Faithful—who eventually succeeded Muhammad after a brief transitional period presided over by the deceased Messenger’s still-living father-in-law, Abu Bakr?—were a head tax [jizya] and a land tax [kharaj], accompanied by related exploitative measures, as well as a raft of bigoted and economically crippling restrictions and deliberate, undisguised humiliations.[xxv]

A prohibition was enforced against Jews or other dhimmis riding—or owning—a “noble” beast like a horse or camel:  and thus not only (and unacceptably) appearing “higher” than a Muslim who might be on foot—but also having the independent assistance of such creatures in pulling a plow or transporting chattels. Nor could they employ a saddleΘ to ride—on anything. Wearing a sword was strictly forbidden the dhimmi, as was the bearing, or carrying, of arms of any sort.

They were required to state their agreement  to “not manifest our religion publicly nor convert anyone to it”—and at the same time, to “not prevent any of our kin from entering Islam if they wish it.”

Not only was the testimony of a Jew against a Muslim not permitted in Islamic courts, but also his oath itself, as that of a Jew, was unacceptable. For a Jew to defend himself in court obliged him to purchase Muslim witnesses, typically at enormous expense. The crime of murder was punishable by death—but not if the victim had been a Jew and the culprit, a Muslim.  “The inferiority*of infidels,” writes present-day, Egyptian-born, Bat Ye’or, “is a fundamental principle of Islamic law, inscribed in every aspect of their status.”[xxvi] (The attitude continues unchanged even into the modern age.)

Moreover, reviling or disparaging or belittling “The Prophet”—or openly challenging his veracity, his sanity or his prophethood—constituted but a few of the offenses for which a dhimmi could be condemned to death (burning, beheading or crucifixion)—and from which sentence there was no possibility of reprieve—except through the one escape route from dhimmi status itself:  conversion to the Religion of Peace.

The pact of “protection” articulated and facilitated a policy of subjugation—and the net effect, over time, was to render the Jews henceforth an inconsequential minority in their own land. Indeed within a few years of its enactment, the system thereby created would make existence, for the yahudi, a walking imprisonment.  From the standpoint of sheer magnitude and dimension, the racially odious, humanly burdensome and civilly insulting, US post-Reconstruction, Jim Crow statutes[xxvii] would appear, by contrast, like a library society garden party—complete with Brie, Chardonnay, petits fours and a string quartet.

Yet for all the Arab effort at dispossession and displacement of the Jews, these invaders created no new Arab or Islamic polity in their place. (Little wonder, in retrospect:  they had not come to create—they had come to conquer; truly they lived for conquest.)? What’s more, no other subsequent occupier—or migrating collectivity—ever created a polity of its own there either. Indeed, “[f]or nearly two thousand years, [and] though the Jews were powerless to prevent it, no other people had made Palestine its national home.”[xxviii]?

For centuries the Holy Land would remain a largely derelict land, a fact confirmed again and again, and from age to age, by multitudes of visitors from Mark Twain to Alphonse de Lamartine to Pierre Loti to Count Volney to Lord Shaftesbury to the post-presidential Ulysses S. Grant.  Gawkers or students of life, what all the turistas had found was less a country than a museum piece.  A sad and sacred ruin.

You’d think the land were waiting for something.  Or someone.

Continue reading "On Settlements, Agreements and Legitimacy: Part II"

?The central provinces of the Land of Israel—where Jewish life was summoned and commanded into existence when the world was yet deep in the Age of Bronze—have been known as Judea & Samaria for, quite literally, thousands of years and well into the modern era. They are so designated in the Tanakh [the “Old” Testament]—and one notes not only that Christ refers directly to them by name in the Gospels and that Matthew’s 2nd chapter opens by uncomplicatedly and unambiguously identifying the Master’s birthplace as “Bethlehem of Judea” (as prophesied in Micah 5:2), but also that they figure prominently thus in the Acts of the Apostles. Anyone hoping to uncover so much as a solitary mention anywhere in the Scriptures of a so-called “West Bank” will have an easier time finding  himself a ‘kosher pork chop.’

Nor does an exhaustive archival search of 20th century newspapers of the Mideast (and the world) disclose either hint or breath of suggestion of any “West Bank” territory anywhere in Southwestern Asia before the year 1950.  (Perhaps in some parallel universe?)

? While we’re noting the locus of the vehicle  along the political spectrum, it would be perhaps even more ironic (to say nothing of unfair) to overlook that the author, Eugene V. Rostow—grandson of socialist immigrants and son of socialist parents, was himself named for the Terre Haute-born godfather of the American Left, Eugene Victor Debs [1855-1926].

?   Formally designated the International Court of Justice (ICJ)—also known as The Hague Court—primary judicial organ of the UN.

Ñ  Since the Senate, pace Pres. Wilson, had declined [twice:  19 Nov 1919, & 19 Mar 1920] to ratify the Treaty of Versailles—requisite to League membership, and the jurisdictional fons et origo of the League's authority.The state of war between America & the Central Powers—viz., Imperial Germany & Austro-Hungary (the US hadn’t fought Ottoman Turkey)—was instead ended by the Knox-Porter Joint Congressional Resolution of 1 Jul 1921, signed by Pres. Warren G. Harding the next day.

The US bound itself to the Palestine Mandate despite the fact that it never signed the League Covenant and never joined the world body.

j The document identified here as the San Remo Resolution was ironically (though not unsuitably) conceded by Britain’s virulently anti-Zionist Foreign Secretary, Lord George Nathaniel Curzon, to constitute modern-day Jewry’s “Magna Carta.”

?  In brief:  a matter acted upon with respect to its merits by a court of competent jurisdiction & settled by judgment is conclusive as to the rights of the parties (& their privies; i.e., any developing parties-in-interest, as by inheritance, succession, purchase or assignment). As res judicata, the judgment constitutes an absolute bar to subsequent action involving the same claim, demand or cause of action between the same parties.  [Black’s Law Dictionary (full cite at Appendix, infra), 1305-06, 1200]

?  That is, manifest, direct, independent self-rule.

? Regent, designated agent, temporary guardian, tutor and trustee.

? The consequences of that perception are fairly limned in Malcolm Hay’s Europe and the Jews: The Pressure of Christendom Over 1900 Years(Academy Chicago Publishers, 1992; orig., The Foot of Pride, Beacon Press, Cambridge, MA, 1950). It’s hardly exhaustive, but a suitable start (and not merely, as noted, as to Christianity or to Europe).

§   For what it’s worth…. It has been estimated that, worldwide, of all the Jews to have ever lived —in the perhaps-200 generations spanning the 40 centuries since Abraham—fully half of them have died violently at the hands of their fellow men:  one out of every two.  Make of such isolated factules what you will. Yet, as Israeli Foreign Minister [1966-74], Abba Eban, had more than one occasion to note, “Many things in Jewish history are too terrible to be believed, but nothing in that history is too terrible to have happened.”  [emphases added]  [Abba Eban: An Autobiography (full cite in endnote 8, infra), 333]

å  Typically the men would be beheaded, the women & children sold into slavery.

? Largest tributary of the Jordan River, and which flows westward into the latter from a location near what is now the Syrian border.

? Since AD 135, renamed, on order of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, “Syria-Palaestina.” See also endnotes 21 and 23, infra.

δ  By ongoing order of (what had been) the existing Byzantine administration.

v   Pagans who would not convert were often killed on the spot.

? Abu Bakr’s daughter, A'isha, Muhammad’s “favorite wife,” had shared the now-deceased Messenger’s bed for a decade:  from the age of nine (having been given to him at six—when he was in his 50’s).

Θ A saddle technologically facilitates the securing and maintenance of a rider’s balance—thus freeing him to do other things while mounted.

*  In the estimate of journalist & former White House foreign policy advisor for the Mideast, Joan Peters, the ingrained Arab & Islamic expectation of superiority to Jews, and their compulsive disinclination to relate to Jews as equals, constitutes “perhaps the most powerful factor in the Middle East conflict today, and certainly at the core the ‘Palestine’ question—the true heart of the matter.”  [emphases added]  [From Time Immemorial (full cite, endnotes, infra), 173-74]

The Nazis did not originate or even ‘pioneer’ the requirement that all Jews in their domain wear the distinguishing yellow Star of David.  The Third Reich—and its Western, judeopathic antecedents, beginning with the 1215 Fourth Lateran Council and the 1227 Synod of Narbonne [canon 3]—adopted the practicefrom the 9th century Islam of the Khalif of Baghdad.

? It is hard not to be struck by the extreme irony reflected in the intro to the earlier-cited SC Res. 242 of 22 Nov 1967, wherein is asserted the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war”—by which proposition the descendants of those who, in historical fact, took possession of the land in question by aggressive war now seek, with elaborate solemnity & swelling sanctimony, to bar the legitimate recovery and retention of that selfsame land by the descendants of those whom their warlike, plundering forebears wrested it from.  In sum:

We took it from you by force of arms. 

But you don’t get to take it back by force of arms.

(Or, if you do, you don’t get to keep it afterward.)

Because the rules have changed.

Now it’s “inadmissible” to acquire—or (by extension) recover—territory by war

(even defensive war).


? Then too, as Peters notes, “[i]t was only politically that the Jews lost their land… “  [emph. in original]

As a people, “[t]hey never abandoned it physically, nor did they renounce their claim to their nation—the only continuous claim that exists. The Jews never submitted to assimilation into the various victorious populations even after successive conquerors had devastated the Jewish organizational structure.”  [emphasis added]   [Peters, Op. cit., 82]



[i] “A diplomat,” noted Talleyrand [1754-1838], “is a statesman sent out to lie for his country.”  And he would’ve known.

Actually he seems to have adopted the adage (or adapted it) it from Henry Wotton, Sr [1568-1639], English author & diplomat—not the personage of the same name in Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray—who characterized an ambassador as “a man of virtue sent to lie abroad for his country” (and “a news-writer [as] a man without virtue who lies at home for himself”).

[ii] Entitled “A New Beginning,” it had the presumption to include, among other things, an equating of the (largely self-inflicted) travails of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel, and in her disputed, unincorporated provinces, with the 1933-45 European Judaeocide, broadly known ever since as the Holocaust.  Such squalid rhetorical dislocations from reality by customers of this caliber are of course anything but ‘new’ as ‘beginnings’ go. 

Shoddily fabricated symmetry as a vehicle for positing an implicit moral equivalence—never far from the true-to-turnspeak, recasting of victim as villain, and vice versa (often for reasons of political expedience, but wherever Jews are involved, invariably, it seems, with added, if unstated, reachings for the insolence of “cosmic identity theft,” to boot)—is by now an old story:  hoary and insipid enough to prompt a yawn, were it not, in the present instance, so insulting to common intelligence, so outrageous to human history, so contemptuous to the memory of the innocent who were lost.  It simply will not do to let it pass.

[iii] Addressing healthcare ‘reform’ in a campaign speech at Rhode Island College, Providence, RI, 24 Feb 08.

[iv]  Mr Erekat’s imprecision enjoys a certain dubious fame deriving from, among other things, a hopeless case of “premature exclamajaculation”—i.e., his hair-trigger priming for excited utterance, especially of untimely—and notably slanderous—import.

This was noted, for example, in his minimally pondered and widely reported, 2002 declaration, as an Arafat aide, that the Israel Defense Forces’ nine-day incursion into the West Bank town of Jenin [“Suicide City”] that April—to halt the extended rash of Palestinian-Arab suicide bombings (of Israeli noncombatants in Israel) persisting since the outset of the Oslo-Al Aqsa Intifada (upon breakdown of the hopeless Camp David talks) the previous summer, and perpetrated by culprits originating in the “Qandahar Refugee Camp” in Jenin—had produced a “massacre” involving “520 or more” civilian, Palestinian fatalities.

Figures issued by the UN, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Time Magazine  (none of these, by any stretch of the imagination, a friend to Israel) later confirmed a tenth that many, and no massacre of civilians whatsoever—though CNN & the BBC (which hadn’t yet done their own, independent legwork) blithely continued repeating, and embellishing, the rot for weeksusing Erekat’s figures, while labeling the subsequent devastation “like Hiroshima” and “a moonscape”—and indulging Arafat’s straightfaced allusion to “Jeningrad” (aerial photos plainly showed barely six percent of the camp destroyed), as well as, when it suited them, the claim by Nabil Shaath (Arafat’s then-chief negotiator) of  “3000 deaths, mostly civilians killed in cold blood.”

Even as much as four months later, when the UN released its findings [Aug 1 ], Mr Erekat—rejecting the report—insisted to BBC News World Edition that an “Israeli massacre in Jenin's refugee camp clearly happened… and crimes against humanity also took place."

Nearly all of the Palestinian fatalities were, in fact, of active, hardcore combatants—some of whom deliberately fought to the death—and several of whom were victims of their own booby-traps:  inadvertently activated after the troops’ withdrawal.  The camp’s fighters had prepared long and well for the battle, and had very obviously received expert technical assistance in their preparations, as evidenced in (among other things) many of the bombs found afterward:  which were identical in both makeup and manner of placement to mines & other explosives used by the IRA against British security forces.

IDF’s Operation Defensive Shield had, in fact, been resorted to only reluctantly, and was substantially delayed—its drawn-out implementation known to have been extraordinarily meticulous in its care to avoid civilian casualties:  even at the cost of IDF deaths, of which there were some 23 as a result of carefully staged Palestinian ambushes and booby-traps of buildings, these coordinated with suicide bombings by a number of ten-year old children expressly recruited for the project.

“It was like hunting… like being given a prize,” said Thabet Mardawi [senior Islamic Jihad commander in Jenin] to CNN.  “I couldn’t believe it when I saw the soldiers. The Israelis knew that any soldier who went into the camp like that was going to get killed.”  And ‘Omar’ bragged about how the Palestinian terror organizations exploited the Israelis’ reluctance to hurt innocent civilians.

Those developments could have—and would have—been foiled or prevented altogether, had the IDF not used the infantry but simply called in tanks and gone on the killing spree that Mr Erekat alleged.  These and other aspects of the battle’s true parameters are clearly laid out in Yossef Bodansky’s The High Cost of Peace: How Washington’s Middle East Policy Left America Vulnerable to Terrorism (Forum-Prima Pblg/Random House, NY, 2002), 534-36.

The primary point of departure for the present little excursion, however, is to illustrate that notwithstanding the eventual availability of accurate information, the appeal of bearing false witness against his neighbor was, and is, apparently so enticing to Mr Erekat’s delicate ego that it is tightly—perhaps inextricably—mingled with his fragile grasp on reality. Hence his undiscerning readiness to take the Mahatmabama’s cue to hear ‘illegitimate’ as ‘illegal.’ 

Unless, of course, this kind of intellectual dishonesty is simply what it takes to rise in the hierarchy of the Palestinian Arab leadership (a distinct possibility, not, by any means, to be overlooked).

[v]  Apparently this $60B deal is the Administration’s way of (among other things) signaling its intention of not preventing Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weaponry.

The idea is to allay Sa’udi fears of Iranian nuclear ascendancy—by massively upgrading the Sa’udi airforce: in an obsessively myopic attempt to avert the inevitable nuclear arms race that will most surely follow Iranian acquisition—a scramble which is bound to draw in not only the Sa’udis (despite these blandishments & briberies to hold off), but then, also, the Egyptians, the Turks, etc—once the mullahs get their Bomb.

Cairo is already taking bids to build the first of 4 nuclear power plants, which (together with developing LNG reserves) are projected to replace Egypt’s maturing oil fields and the hydroelectric output of the culturally & environmentally problematic Aswan High Dam as main energy sources.

An Iranian Bomb will surely augment the appeal to add military applications in the nuclear power plants.

Some scraps in the Riyadh deal will probably be tossed eventually to the Israelis as well—to give things a veneer of ‘balance,’ and also to create a bargaining chip with which to induce further freezes on Israeli construction in the heartland provinces and eastern Jerusalem—but it’s all primarily about persuading the Sa’udis to rely on the US (and the American nuclear umbrella), in order to further the President’s top-level objective:  to prevent a nuclear arms race. 

But this would not be an issue if Obama & Co did not intend to let Tehran join the Big Toy Club after all….

The Anointed One may well have persuaded himself that such a course will bring the world nearer to a “nuclear-free” zone in the Mideast, but by failing to take the hard-yet-necessary step of stopping the Islamic Republic cold, he’s headed instead toward a multipolar Mideast—which is certain also to drive a stake through the heart of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). He is compulsively creating the very scenario he wishes most to avoid.

[vi] Ankara, 6 Apr 09, Speech to the Turkish Parliament, in Mr Obama’s first visit to a Muslim nation as president.

[vii] Julius Stone, Israel and Palestine: Assault on the Law of Nations (John Hopkins U. Press, Washington, DC, 1981), 5.  Professor Stone taught also in this country—at both Harvard Law School and the U. of Calif., Hastings College of the Law [SF].

[viii] The sheer perversity of the war—and its aftermath—was captured, some months after the shooting stopped, in the televised remarks of Israel’s then-foreign minister [1966-74] Abba Eban, as recalled in his subsequently published Abba Eban: An Autobiography, (Random House, NY, 1977):

This is the first war in history which has ended with the victors suing for peace, and the vanquished calling for unconditional surrender. [446]

[ix]  Sponsored by the UK Ambassador to the UN, [former Governor of Cyprus] Hugh Mackintosh Foot, Lord Caradon; unanimously endorsed [22 Nov 67] by the 15-member Council.

[x] “Pacific” settlement, that is, as distinguished from imposed settlement—as would have been the case if the Resolution had been issued under the Charter’s Seventh chapter (“Action with Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, Acts of Aggression”—Art. 39-51):  in which event, the Resolution would have been legally binding, mandatory.

[xi] Eugene V. Rostow, “The Future of Palestine,” Nov 93, McNair Papers, No. 24, Institute of National Strategic Studies; from the paper originally delivered at the American Leadership Conference on Israel & the Middle East, 10 Oct 93, Arlington, Virginia.

[xii] Signed 2 Mar 25, by the 30th President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge; ratified by the British Cabinet 18 Mar 25, and officially proclaimed, by President Coolidge on 5 Dec 25]:

Now, therefore, be it known, that I, Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States of America, have caused the said Convention to be made public, to the end that the same, and every article and clause thereof, may be observed and fulfilled with good faith by the United States and the citizens thereof.

[US Dept of State, Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the U.S., 1924,Vol. 2 (USGPO, DC, 1939), 212-22]

[xiii] U.S. Constitution, Art. 6, Par. 2 [the “Supremacy Clause”].

[xiv] Eugene V. Rostow, "Bricks and stones: settling for leverage; Palestinian autonomy," TNR, 23 Apr 90.

[xv] Council of the League of Nations, Charter, Mandate for Palestine, London, 24 Jul 22, Art. 6.

[xvi] Eugene V. Rostow, “Resolved:  are the settlements legal? Israeli West Bank policies,” TNR, 21 Oct 91.

[xvii] Stone, Op cit., 181.

[xviii] Irwin J. Mansdorf, “Is Israel a Colonial State? The Political Psychology of a Palestinian Nomenclature,” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Issue Brief No. 576, Mar-Apr 10.

Moreover, the extreme irony in the historically false indictment of Israel as “remnant of the ‘colonial legacy’ “ is driven sharply home by the observation by Tobin & Ybarra that

"Israel is a state comprising primarily refugees from Europe, Arab countries, and the former Soviet Union, and their descendants. In fact they were victimsof the colonialist European powers, making their escape from Europe, rather than agents of the colonial powers. For the most part the major European colonial powers were rarely hospitable dwelling places for Jews.

"Relatively short periods of full acceptance and integration into European society were outweighed by the far more numerous eras of persecution and subjugation. The loyalty of Jews to their home countries was constantly under suspicion by national authorities and the common people alike. The mass movement of Jews to Poland from Western Europe, the expulsion from Spain, and the Holocaust were the most notable examples of the creation of large numbers of Jewish refugees in the history of the European colonial powers."

[Gary A. Tobin and  Dennis R. Ybarra, The Trouble With Textbooks: Distorting History and Religion (Lexington Books, Div. Rowman & Littlefield Pblrs, Lanham, MD, 2008), 111-12]

Even further in the way of irony, in his trenchant chronicle of 20th century tyranny, Modern Times, historian Paul Johnson is unhesitant in slamming the  presumptuousness attending the now-familiar, confused, politically correct narrative of Israel’s ‘imperialist’ birth: “The notion that Israel was created by imperialism is not only wrong but the reverse of the truth. Everywhere in the West, the foreign offices, defense ministries and big business were against the Zionists.“  [emphasis added]    [Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties,Revised (Harper Perennial Modern Classics, NY, 2001)]

[xix] Two works of the Rev. James William Parkes commend themselves readily to the reader’s attention and are most helpful in this regard:

          A History of Palestine from 135 AD to Modern Times(Victor Gollancz, NY, 1949), and

          Whose Land? History of the People of Palestine(Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, UK, 1970)

In more recent years, journalist & CBS News Producer Joan Peters’ landmark opus, From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine (Harper & Row, NY, 1984) has proven a virtual cornucopia of documentary sources, both original and secondary.

[NoteSome occasional footnotes & statistics may be a bit garbled—hardly surprising in such an exhaustive tome—incorporating a dozen pages of bibliography & 120 pages of notes, in addition to its 400 of text & another 30 in appendices—the product of seven years of exacting & exhausting research (which ended up changing the author’s original perspective 180 degrees). Indeed sometimes the data & detail are so fulsome as to even overwhelm her. Future editions will doubtless clarify & reconcile these surface distractions from a superb, vital piece of work.]

[xx] It is quite true that the Jews were subjected to genocide and divested of their sovereignty by the Roman Empire. It is, further, true that Rome prohibited Jews from entering the renamed Jerusalem-qua-“Aelia” after the AD 135 collapse of the Bar Kokhba Revolt [see also herein infra].  However, it is a misstatement of history—an all-too-common-one, alas—to assert that the Jews were also flatly ‘exiled’ from all of Judea (now “Palaestina”) by the Mistress-on-the-Tiber or any of her agents, envoys or delegates. There simply was no such policy. 

Many were deported to the Galilee region [Tiberias, Tz’fadt (Safed), etc], the northernmost part of the Land, where the Mishnah and the Jerusalem Talmud were later completed. The Negev and the Jordan Valley also acquired greater focus of Jewish activity in the wake of the upheaval. But the actual Jewish dispersion—out of the Land altogether—had another source. And did not occur till centuries later.

The myth of a Roman-imposed exile is one which acquired purchase as developing Christianity —having lost its Jewish roots (and with it, arguably, its authenticity) and, in place of that loss, acquired a pagan overlay in its bid for broader acceptance—was seeking to promote itself as a separate, fresh and distinctive faith:  the “new & improved”rendition of Judaism and “inheritor” of the original article (and the much-vaunted Promises attendant thereto). Convenient (if not essential) to the narrative was that the “demise and dispersion abroad” of the Jewish People were evidence of the Almighty’s final displeasure with, and ultimate rejection of, His original choice for the Chosen——notwithstanding that “the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” [Rom 11:29]—whereby of course the field could now be seen as open for a new ‘choice.’  Handy, to be sure.

Therein lay the basis for Replacement Theology [AKA “Covenant Theology”]: Supersessionism, which (operationally) holds that the Infinite Intelligence and Creator of the Universe is really no better, in the end, than His finite creation, man—when it comes to keeping His word….  (‘God as Indian-giver’—no offense to our Native American friends).

Either that, or that “everlasting” doesn’t mean everlasting:

At the outset of of Gen. 17 the Almighty identifies Himself by the name of El Shaddai [“Almighty God”]—and for the first time-ever in the scripture, of the 48 such usages of the name. (Until now, He has been referred to only as Adonai [“the Lord”], or Elohim [“God”], or Adonai Elohim.)

He then proceeds promptly to explain and establish His Covenant, which He bases not on the performance or non-performance of anyone other than Himself.  There is no ”if you, then I”—it is strictly and entirely (and repeatedly) I will.”  Full stop.

No fewer than 13 times in Gen. 17 alone does the Almighty use the term b’rit [“covenant”]. While commands & directions to Avram/Avraham—and his anticipated descendants—are also clearly in evidence here, they are not provisional to His Covenant and its Promise, which is flatly unconditional and explicit toward Avraham (and his line through Isaac).

Three of those 13 times—Gen. 17: 7, 13,19—He characterizes His intention as b’rit o-LAHM, “an everlasting covenant” (and in the same discourse, makes [17: 8] one of His oft-repeated promises of the Land, la’ah-khuZAHT o-LAHM, “as a possession”likewiseeverlasting,” reserved to Avraham & heirs. 

At bottom, Replacement Theology is an attempted end-run around that pesky Commandment forbidding the indulgence of…. covetousness.

Somehow, though, it does seem inescapable that every new cult, communion or creed that comes down the pike will take a crack at asserting its entitlement to supplanting the Jews—as those to whom the celebrated assurances of the Most High were committed—while setting about getting its feet on the ground.  Some versions of faith of course (and/or their respective votaries) have never outgrown that species of acne, no matter how far past adolescence they’ve gotten.

In any case—and to return to the point—it was not the Romans that saw to the Jewish dispersion.  As will be shown, it was, in fact, the Arabs.

[xxi]  Having been forced to call in his best generals from Britain and his best Legions from beyond the Danube—

  • having indeed committed literally half the entire, far-flung imperial Roman armed establishment to winning the “Second Jewish War”:  the spunky, Bar Kokhba Revolt [AD 132-36] that had engaged, for much of its four-year course, the united participation of Judea’s two-and-a-half million Jews —
  • and having been caused to sustain, on the Empire’s behalf, staggering losses in blood, treasure and diplomatic prestige to accomplish its suppression

—a spiteful Emperor Hadrian [AD 76-138] had soaked the Judean countryside in gore, sold great numbers of surviving Jews into slavery, or packed them off to the Colosseum to die in the increasingly popular, lethal gladiatorial games (clamoured after by a corrupted Roman populace)—and abolished the renewed Judean state into which the Revolt had breathed life for two-and-a-half of those four years.

Effectively appropriating the City of Jerusalem to himself, the vainglorious Hadrian took away its name and gave it his own:  “Colonia Aelia Capitolina” [his full name, Publius Aelius Hadrianus].

He declared the City & environs off-limits to all circumcised [“mutilated”] persons—even Christian Jews (like the then-Bishop of Jerusalem), thus unwittingly cutting loose the yet-still-Judaic sect of Christian Judaism from its Jewish moorings, and effectively handing over Judean Christianity to gentiles: who had no problem (then or ever since) in viewing the Messiah as ‘God.’ 

The philhellenic Emperor then proceeded to erect a temple there, right on the Temple Mount—on the very site of Solomon’s Temple, upon the ruins of Herod’s massive and enhanced restoration of same, that had been destroyed by Flavius Titus in AD 70, and never permitted to be rebuilt, despite Hadrian’s earlier promise to do so.  Now he would build a temple of his own. (Ever since the completion, a couple years earlier, of Hadrian’s Wall [AD 122-128, in northern Britain, to keep out the Picts], the Emperor had fancied himself an architect.) Both the temple and the pagan cult he installed within it would be dedicated to the worship of Jupiter.

Hadrian went to extraordinary lengths (in what turned out to be a fruitless attempt) to crush the Jewish religion:  which he perversely (though accurately) recognized as the source of perennial Jewish resilience, renewal and cohesion. Hoping against history to erase forever the already long-legendary tenacity of Judaic attachment to the Land of Israel, he even went so far as to rename the Jews’ own country:  Henceforth, Judea—the Land of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—was to be known as the “Consular Province of Syria-Palaestina” [more herein, infra].

[xxii]  Moshe Gil, A History of Palestine, 634-1099 (Cambridge U. Press, Cambridge, UK, 1992), 43; cited in Dore Gold, The Fight for Jerusalem:  Radical Islam, the West, and the Future of the Holy City (Regnery, DC, 2007), 95. 

[xxiii] [Benzion Dinur,Israel in the Diaspora (Dvir, Tel Aviv, 1960), Hebr, Vol. 1, “From the Conquest of the Land of Israel by the Arabs to the Crusades,” 27-30; cited in Benj. Netanyahu, A Durable Peace:  Israel and Its Place Among the Nations (Warner Books, NY, 2000), 27]

A much-overlooked fact is that Arab and Muslim claims to “Filastin” are, at best, non-Qur’anic (at worst, anti-Qur’anic):  reflecting, as to Muhammad ibn Abdullah himself, nothing more than hadithic sayings conveniently attributed apocryphally to “The Prophet” (viz., after he was dead and unable to contest them). The Qur’an itself, on the other hand, is most emphatic in bearing witness to Muhammad’s unambiguous recognition of the Jews’ entitlement to the Holy Land [e.g., Sura 5, al-Ma’ida (“The Table Spread”): 20-21].

Indeed the Messenger’s quarrel with the Children of Israel, as reflected in the Qur’an, plainly had nothing to do with their ownership of, their settlement in OR their sovereignty over, the Land—but, rather, and solely, with their disinclination to swap their ancient, venerable faith for his new and trendy version of religion.

Also overlooked, and most curious indeed, is that neither the Arabs nor the Muslims ever discovered (or, apparently, even devised) a name of their own for the land that they now claim, in recent generations, to be their very own.  “Filastin” is hardly an Arabic-language name (Arabic doesn’t even have a “P” sound), but merely an Arabicized corruption of the Greek-language rendering, Pelistinoi—which, in turn, was a corruption of the Latin [i.e., Roman], Palaestina.  

And the latter designation was [the Roman Emperor] Hadrian’s post-135, Latinized corruption of the Israelites’ Hebrew-language epithet, P’leshet [Philistia: ~ “domain of the invaders”], for the southern maritime, Gaza District pentapolis of the intrusive (and derisively labeled) P’lishtim  [“Philistines,” in the King’s English of James the First]“intruders,” “invaders,” “encroachers,” etc.  These were formely marauding, piratical Sea Peoples [the Shekesh, the Denyen, the Tjeker, etc] originating in the Aegean region, loosely affiliated with each other, yet well-organized for short-noticed military endeavors.

They had exterminated and supplanted the existing Gaza occupants, the Avim—and after the Hebrew tribes’ Egyptian Exodus and return to Cana’an (in an overland,counterclockwise trek from the South, then the East), the P’lishtim enjoyed an initial dominance over the latter—this owing to

  • the carefully guarded Philistine monopoly on the new, Iron Age technology [1 Sam 13] which the P’lishtim had brought with them [ca 1400-1300 BC] upon their own arrival at the eastern end of the Mediterranean (in waves—during and after a series of unsuccessful, i.e., repulsed, attacks on the Egyptian coast);  as well as
  • the Israelites’ self-absorption, fractiousness and general absence of political union until such time as its necessity became apparent to them.

The P’lishtim were ultimately absorbed (as a polity, a people and a culture) by the Israelites after a dozen generations of struggle and strife—some centuries before the advent of Christ, nearly a full millennium before the birth of “The Prophet.”

Throughout the ancient era, nobody—not Romans, not Jews, not Greeks, not Christians, not Arabs: NOBODY—called the Holy Land, as an entity, “Palestine” (or anything linguistically resembling that name) until more than 100 years after the death & resurrection of Jesus—who is recorded in the gospel as referring  to “the cities of Israel” [Mt 10: 23], but speaks not a word therein about any “Palestine.” 

Anybody calling the Land before AD 135 by the designation of “Palestine” is either wallowing in blissful ignorance or grinding an ax and counting on his listeners’ own ignorance and gullibility.

[xxiv]  As the “protection” of the mafia means protection, effectively, from the organization’s mafiosi—the protection of Islam meant, in practice, protection (unfacetiously stated) from Muslims.

[xxv]  Peters, Op. cit., 34, ff, passim.

[xxvi]  Bat Ye’or, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis (Fairleigh Dickinson U. Press, Madison, NJ, 2005), 199.

Note:  The name, Bat Ye’or [< Hebr:“daughter of the Nile”], an obvious pseudonym—sadly, a necessary one, that helped keep her alive for years before she came to prominence—belongs to the world’s foremost scholar on the dhimmi, the dhimma and “dhimmitude,”Gisèle Littman [née Orebi].

“I was born in Egypt, in Cairo, into a family of the Jewish bourgeoisie, of an Italian father and a French mother. My grandfather, to whom Egyptian nationality was accorded by exception, was crowned Bey by the Ottoman sultan.

“My father decided to renounce Italian nationality as a result of Mussolini's racist laws, but when Nasser came to power, my mother's goods were confiscated because she was French and my father's because he was Jewish. We were forced to stay home, we were chased out of public places and at that moment we decided to flee Egypt. Many fled secretly from fear of being imprisoned.

“We were forced, like all Egyptian Jews [25,000, who became refugees after the Suez-Sinai War of 1956—ed] to sign papers according to which we renounced all our goods, our passport and our nationality, for those who had it (since the Jews had been for the most part Ottoman subjects and not Egyptian). The Jews promised in writing not to demand anything of the Egyptian State.

“The only right we had was to take one suitcase—which was searched and thrown to the ground—and 20 Egyptian pounds that were taken from us anyway by the customs officials, not to mention the insults and acts of terror in front of my parents, both of whom were invalids….”

[André Darmon, Israel Magazine, Jul 07, “Interview With Bat Ye'or,” www.galliawatch.blogspot.com/2007/06/bat-yeor-interview.html]

Most of her books are written originally in French, then translated into a multiplicity of languages; Eurabia (the work cited above) is the first to have been composed directly in English.

“I wrote these books because I had witnessed the destruction, in a few short years, of a vibrant Jewish community living in Egypt for over 2,600 years and which had existed from the time of Jeremiah the Prophet.

“I saw the disintegration and flight of families, dispossessed and humiliated, the destruction of their synagogues, the bombing of the Jewish quarters and the terrorizing of a peaceful population. I have personally experienced the hardships of exile, the misery of statelessness—and I wanted to get to the root cause of all this. I wanted to understand why the Jews from Arab countries, nearly a million, had shared my experience.”

[John W. Whitehead, “Eurabia:The Euro-Arab Axis, An Interview With Bat Ye’or,” Oldspeak, The Online Journal of the Rutherford Institute, 9 Jun 05, www.rutherford.org/oldspeak/Articles/Interviews/Bat-Yeor.html]

[xxvii] Segregation codes imposed [1877-1965] against lawfully emancipated black slaves & their descen-dants by culturally recalcitrant, Democratic Party-dominated, American southern states (of the defeat-ed, 11-state, Confederate Rebellion), in the wake of the withdrawal of post-Civil War, federal troops of occupation.

[xxviii]  Samuel Katz, Battleground: Fact & Fantasy in Palestine (Bantam, First Pub. 1973, 3rd Updated Ed., NY, 1985), 129

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