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February 9, 2015 8:46 am

When is an Illegal Settlement Legal?

avatar by Jerold Auerbach

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A neighbourhood in Ariel. Photo: Michoel Jacobson.

Everyone knows that Jewish settlements are illegal under international law. This is one of the endlessly repeated mantras that reinforce the denigration of Israel as a loathsome pariah state. Imagine: since the Six-Day War the State of Israel has displayed the temerity to authorize the construction of settlements for Jews in the biblical homeland of the Jewish people. To be sure, that defines Zionism, the return of Jews to their ancient cities (Jerusalem and Hebron), hills and valleys (Judea and Samaria). To Israel’s legions of enemies and critics, however, settlement is the illicit conquest and colonization of someone else’s land. They claim that Jewish settlements violate Article 49 of the Geneva Convention (1949), stipulating that an “Occupying Power” may not “deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

But Jordan’s West Bank, conquered in 1948, was never internationally recognized under its legal sovereignty. Nor did Israel “deport or transfer” its citizens into that territory. Unlike the forced Nazi deportations that inspired Article 49, Israelis voluntarily chose to become “settlers.” Nearly three years ago the Israeli legal commission chaired by former Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy declared: “According to international law, Israelis have the legal right to settle in Judea and Samaria.”

If law is law, and a settlement is a settlement, the serial violator of international law, it now turns out, is none other than the European Union. Last week journalist Jake Wallis Simons broke the story in the Daily Mail that the EU has funded unauthorized Palestinian construction on land under Israeli legal jurisdiction. More that 400 EU-funded homes (along with a school and mosque) have been built without permits in 17 illegal settlements on state land in a closed military zone. Inhabited by Bedouin nomads, a.k.a. “Palestinians,” they proudly display EU flags and stickers.

Why are they illegal? Because under the Oslo Accords (1993) Israel enjoys exclusive military and civilian authority over planning and construction within Area C of the West Bank, where the EU settlements have been built. As Tom Wilson pointed out in his Commentary blog, the EU and the Palestinian Authority both signed this agreement, which is binding under international law. The EU’s settlements, according to Northwestern University international legal expert Eugene Kontorovich, are “openly in violation of international law.” International lawyer Alan Baker, who participated in drafting the Oslo agreement, concurred.

The first EU response to the exposure of its illegal actions, from its Brussels spokeswoman, was denial. But an EU spokesman on the ground acknowledged (proudly) that it was a justified attempt to secure the territory for a Palestinian state. So it is, Wilson noted, that EU officials and European governments “use accusations of settlement building to lambaste Israel” for violations of international law – while they themselves violate international law.

It is surely no coincidence that the primary illegal EU settlement cluster has occurred in an area known as E1, in the Judean hills between Jerusalem and Jericho where the major Israeli highway to the Dead Sea and the Jordan River is located. Indeed, the EU mission in East Jerusalem confirmed to Emily Amrousi, writing in Israel Hayom, that it is “very frustrated with the Israeli plans to build in the E1 zone, which will jeopardize the possibility of establishing a contiguous and viable Palestinian state.” So it built its own illegal settlements, in stark violation of the Oslo Accords, to express its frustration.

According to Regavim, an Israeli NGO that focuses on land ownership issues, the EU strategic plan is “to create a Palestinian state de facto, while avoiding the need for negotiations with Israel.” It has clearly evaded the requirement for a permit to build anywhere in E1. And it has already built some structures on nature reserves, where construction is prohibited. Israeli construction in the area has been halted under international pressure – no credit to Prime Minister Netanyahu, who backed down from his own support for E1 construction two years ago. But the Israeli government has averted its eyes from EU construction on the same land.

Perhaps the Prime Minister, if he does not reconsider the invitation he accepted to address Congress next month, will seize the opportunity to reassert Israel’s legal rights in Area C, even as he calls upon the American government to forget about Crusaders and focus on Iranian nuclear threats.

To his credit, Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon have agreed that Israel will demolish the illegal EU structures.

Jerold S. Auerbach is a frequent contributor to The Algemeiner

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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  • Local Arabs is the description of the Arabs in what was formerly known as the region of Palestine, which is the Land of Israel.
    It is an insult and it is promoting the perpetration of a fraud by calling the local Arabs nothing else than local Arabs. Prior to the mid sixties they were called Arabs all of a sudden they woke up one morning and decided in order to promote their fraud and deception to assume the title the Jews had since the Romans renamed the Land of Israel Palestine and Jerusalem Aelia Capitolina.
    YJ Draiman

    When is the Israeli government stopping in deluding itself that the Arab/Palestinians want peace? It is time to face reality and stop wasting time on a façade in the illusion of peace. The Arabs behavior and actions speak volumes, that they do not want peace. When you teach your children to commit terror and violence, honor terrorists and suicide bombers; there is no one to talk to.

    As long as you have Arabs living in Greater Israel, terror and violence will never stop. It is in their blood and in their culture. Just look around in the world and see how terror and violence is promoted in the Muslim countries and in the Muslim communities in Europe and elsewhere. They are killing each other by the tens of thousands. When is the world at large going to wake up and face the hard reality? That terror and violence must be eliminated at all costs like a cancer or we are doomed to extinction. Death to all terrorists must be applied, no exception. When the Arabs Muslims; are teaching their children from infancy to commit terror and violence. There is no alternative but elimination of the terrorists and those who promote and incite the masses to commit terror and violence.

    It is time for Israel to go in with the Army and start taking over Hebron, the second holiest city for Jews. Every terror attack another section of Hebron will be retaken by Israel the rightful owners. Since the 1920’s Hebron has and is a hotbed of terror. It is time to take some serious actions.

    When you the Arabs teach and train your children to hate and commit terror and violence. There is no one to talk to. The only solution is to expel all the Arabs to Jordan or to the homes and 75.000 sq. mi. of territory the Arab countries confiscated when they terrorized and expelled over a million Jewish families from the Arab countries. Jews who have lived in those Arab countries for over 2500 years and now live in Israel. The Arabs do not belong in Israel. The past has shown that they know only terror and violence. They are killing their own people by the thousands.
    Yj Draiman

  • Julian Clovelley

    Imagine my problem – if my family were to return to its ancient cities, hills, and valleys, this would mean returning to London and Liverpool. to the Irish Republic, Scotland, Belgium, France and Northern Germany. In addition we would have to head for Israel, our family having assimilated Jewish ancestors. My brother’s family would add the United States and Italy to their cache.

    “Returning to your ancient homeland” is baloney. Everyone over the last few thousand years has come to have Hebrew and Caananite ancestors. It may be a comforting misconception of Genealogy – and it is good for stealing someone else’s land – but that does not make it accurate

    What we have in the 1947 Partition Resolution is a compromise enforced by the UN to try to end decades of violence in the middle East. Sadly the UN rather relied on people growing up and, after a period of separation, coming together, working towards something close to a federation

    It was all a bit hopeful – but the Brits weren’t hanging about after the King David Hotel murders, and announced their unilateral abandoning of the mandate. There is nothing tangible in the writer’s claims that authority was handed to the new Israeli State in the manner suggested. What the UN did was rather trust too many people – only to be disappointed. No one had clean hands.

    1947 was a long time ago- We have to deal with the situation now – On that basis the Settlements on Palestinian land are a rude imposition, And the Occupation has gone on almost two generations beyond that which is reasonable. Most Palestinians weren’t even born and of mature age when they were initiated

    As for International Law – it isn’t perfect – but is any person imagining himself to be Jewish silly enough to believe that breaking international law and international standards is good for Jews?

    In the period ahead it is essential to make a separation between nationalist mythology and real history. Nationalist mythology – even enforced by particular religious sects – is still bosh to almost everyone else – including some of us equally descended – but not claiming to be Jewish at all or even that there is such a thing.

    One of your poster feels there is no need to support respect and obey the United Nations

    On that basis there would be no Israel….

    Bad idea

    • jeff

      The history of the world is the fact of human migrations. The Navaho walked over the land bridge from Asia to America, the Saxons from central Europe, the Chechens from afar, the Zulus from the northern perimeter to the southern, and so on.
      The Jewish people have a legitimate right to exist. the in gathering of the Diaspora is and was an act of survival.
      You seek to go back to the fact of Israeli existence to offer comments to debate the questions that were answered in 1948. You give a mixed message in your narrative. On the one hand you write words with the intent of De-legitimizing the Jewish state. You set the stage of your thoughts by letting the reader know that you may tolerate Israel’s existence as a fact as an act of your generosity, and perhaps as self perceived pragmatism.
      My response to you on that is…gee thanks oh honorable and magnificent one.[ I/we accept your gift- and put it in our our file].
      Next you go on about the British and the UN and international law. Of course you place Israel as the main culpable party for your citation for murder, the lack of diplomatic success in implementing the partition plan and for stealing “other peoples land”. Well Julian your conclusions are not based on facts but are a reflection of your biased analysis.
      Who represented a better plan for national reconciliation and peace? Was it Rabin and Perez or Arafat? And what was Israel response to Sadat and the Hashamite Kingdom? Somehow all of that modern history is conveniently overlooked.
      [Now i will return the favor of being patronizing]…But the good side, despite your non supportive views you do not sound shrill or hate filled. Considering how evil many critics of Israel are, you at least appear to be thoughtful.

  • Hugo

    I noticed that you eliminated my comments. You only publish pro Israel/Jewish
    points of view? That’s your freedom of expression.. Congratulations!

  • Gee

    Israel has allowed the claims of ‘Palestinian territory’ for many decades. Yet the Arabs cannot point to a single legal claim that supports that.

    There are three international laws that state the land west of the Jordan River are Jewish and cannot be given to anybody else.

    When it comes to real international laws – the world ignores them and invent ones that don’t exist

  • H. Givon

    In 1920 at San Remo, the promised Jewish homeland included both sides of the Jordan river-known as eastern and western Palestine. Churchill arbitrarily partitioned that land, taking 77% to create Jordan – all of ‘eastern Palestine’. The remaining 23%-all of today’s territory called Palestine was all that remained of the larger promise for Jews. This was endorsed unanimously by all 52 members of the League of Nations in 1922 and is still legal and binding. In 1947, the U.N. illegally decided to partition small the Jewish slice for a second time because the Arabs refused to accept a Jewish entity in its midst. This is still the policy of Muslim/Arab countries in the region. Another important fact: the Roman conquerors renamed Judea as ‘Palestina’ two thousand years ago and Jews were known as ‘Palestinians’ until 1948 when they became Israelis. Even then, the Arabs in the territory did not identify themselves as ‘Palestinians’ until the late 1960s when they adopted that name for political expediency since it matches the name of the territory they wish to claim as the indigenous people. Another fact: throughout several conquests there was always a Jewish presence in the land of their forefathers- Jews living on the land. They have legal ties to the 23% – today’s Palestine – and are not occupiers. ‘Settlements’ is a pejorative identity for the legal communities whose citizens are legal residents. Many of the Arabs who live on the land are descendants of Muslim/Arab immigrants from surrounding countries whom the British permitted to enter the land while curtailing Jewish immigration even during the Holocaust at the demand of their Muslim friends. Jordan is more than 60% ‘Palestinians’ in its population. It should also be recalled that nearly one million Jews who were centuries old citizens of regional Muslim countries were expelled and absorbed by Israel – refugees who soon were dignified by becoming citizens of Israel; the Arabs, on the other hand, have created an endless refugee problem for their own. Israel is surrounded by world threatening radical countries and the UN wants to create yet another terrorist/apartheid illegal state of Palestine!

    • H. Givon

      Correcting my typo error: the League of Nations had 51 countries not 52.

  • More than 10 years ago I made a short presentation on two UN organizations dealing with refugees. UNHCR organization caring for refugees from around the world.
    And UNRWA organization who cares for Arab refugees who fought against the Jewish state – Israel.
    Here is also a page of the changes made to UNRWA’s refugee definition in recent years after I published the presentation.
    Out of the work on the presentation I learned that the UN through UNRWA, which is used as an arm of the United Nations, promotes violence, is a factor for not resolving the conflict and transmits and stores actual war material against Israel.
    Is this not a crime against humanity?
    Without UNRWA, there would not exist “Palestinian refugees.”
    Without UNRWA, there would not be the requirement of the “right of return”.
    Without UNRWA, all the refugees in the world would receive the same conditions and the same treatment.
    Without UNRWA, there would not exist in the eternal warfare between Israel and the Arabs of Israel.
    UNRWA is an organization that had to be closed 66 years ago. So why is it still exists? Who and why prevents the closing of this criminal organization?
    Another important point that must be said, in January of 1948, toward the end of the British rule in Palestine- the land of Israel,
    the British made a population census.
    The result was: the number of Arabs in all this region, including the West Bank and Gaza was: – 914 000 includes Muslims, Christians, Druze, and anyone who is not Jewish.
    Any intelligent person can understand that someone in UNRWA fabricates numbers.
    After the 1948 war, 200,000 Arabs remained within the borders of Israel.
    When it comes to the number of refugees in those years it was about 350,000-450,000.
    But there is evidence that UNRWA traded with their refugee cards. Well, they put to this list also everyone who wanted to get the support of that organization at the places where they set up camps.
    What does the UN teach Palestinian children at UNRWA schools?
    Let’s talk about occupation.
    Because what is happening now in Israel will happen in your countries. Therefore, you should know about that.
    Everyone who talks about the oppression of the Palestinians. Some historical information would not hurt.
    The Arabs are Not Palestinians! The real Palestinians are Not of Arab origin.
    Do you know who are those who stole the Palestinian identity?
    Do you know that the largest mosque in Gaza was a synagogue less than a hundred years ago? Did you know that a hundred and fifty years ago, most of Gaza’s population was Jews and Christians? The Jewish population in Gaza ended with the pogrom of 1928. The last Christian Priest murdered three years after Hamas came to power. And recently, Christians in Gaza are forced to convert to Islam. Just like ISIS do it anywhere which they occupy.
    Please read this short article and visit all the links to get more information..

    And this article written by Ben-Dror Yemini: Nakba Day and the Fraud

    And also the Interior Minister of Hamas indicates that the historical facts which I present are true. From his explanation, it is understandable that was made a deception of identity theft.
    What does the UN teach “Palestinian” children at UNRWA schools?
    If so, what are the real causes of the Arab war against Israel?
    Here’s a real explanation from the mouths of imams in mosques.
    It is very important to know that Branding the Jews and their state Israel as “occupiers”, gives Arab the legitimacy to remove the occupier in any way they choose, including terrorism against civilians. Therefore they insist to preserve and to leverage this branding. But anyone who is interested in reaching a peace must be recruited for switching it off.
    And here you have a person who explains it the best way.!
    And also Sheikh Palazzi
    and Dr. Tawfik Hamid, who was a member of Alkaaida. Now he loves Israel and is trying to change Islam in order to achieve peace.
    And this precious man . Once he was a terrorist and murder people.
    One more point. During this period when UNRWA was created, there were a million refugees that the UN did everything to forget about them.
    And this is a video for those interested in delving into the subject of the relationship between Arab – Israeli conflict and the Nazis.

    Hamas’s goal is the destruction of the State of Israel. But don’t take our word for it! Read the actual Hamas Charter and see why Hamas will stop at nothing to destroy Israel and the Jewish people.

    The Palestinian National Covenant
    And an interesting series on the origins of the hatred of Jews and how the Palestinian Authority supports this hatred.
    Blaming the Jews – Muslim anti-semitism – (part 1/4)
    Blaming the Jews – Muslim anti-semitism – (part 2/4)
    Blaming the Jews – Muslim anti-semitism – (part 3/4)
    Blaming the Jews – Muslim anti-semitism – (part 4/4)

  • Peter Joffe

    The official Jewish year is 5,775 which is 3,760 years before the Christian calendar! Where did the Jewish people live before Christ? They did not live in downtown New York, they lived in Canaan, Egypt or all the area to the west of what is now Iraq, (ncluding Iraq) etc. Where did the “Palestinians” live before the birth of Christ? Where did the “Palestinians” live before 1948? There was no people called “Palestinians’ before the word was invented by Arafat. Who has been in the Middle East longer than the Hebrews? Where did the Muslims live before the birth of Christ? There were no Muslims then. Who kicked the Jews out of their promised lands in the early fist century BE. It was the Romans who did this? Where there any “Palestinians” in the land of Israel in Roman times? It is convenient to rewrite history to suit yourself and if you have the world at your mercy because you have enormous oil fields, in lands taken from the Jews you can say anything you like and the world will bow and worship. THe lands of Israel were given to the Hebrews by their God and even if you do not believe in God then you have to believe (if you are not Muslim) that they lived in the lands that they considered their God given right? No one else can claim this.

    • Julian Clovelley

      Bosh Peter – Bosh. The people we know as Jewish are a group which in isolated communities preserved a religion that had a myth of origins. These Foundation myths were myths at the time they were written down and likely have negligible factual basis.

      The myth of origins ignores the real dynamics of Genealogy in order to create a largely imaginary monolithic people – where patently there is a diverse one with diverse origins – and a uniqueness of ancestry that does not bear rational or scientific scrutiny. The myth ignores both assimilation and conversion

      No doubt there is a middle eastern origin amongst Jewish people – because it exists throughout all of the people of Europe an the Middle East. You can test for it. But for many Jews the Eastern European input is the same or greater.

      There was no Divine donation – it’s nonsense. The land was already part of the Egyptian Empire as a province and occupied by numerous other people, as well, almost certainly, by the ancestors of Hebrew clans. The myths were almost certainly cultivated to establish a claim on the land over and above everyone else. But they have no reality – and outside Jewish people most people don’t believe them in the manner many modern people claiming to be exclusive descendants do

      Were there any Palestinians in the area at the time of the Roman Empire. Well David Ben Gurion though there were – that they were descendants of those remaining in Judea after the (not entirely proven) exile

      They are the same blood as many Jewish people – DNA points that way – and just as that heritage is diluted by input from European populations into “Jewish communities” so that same heritage is diluted in Palestinians as a result of the Arab incursions over a thousand years ago.

      That is why “Jewish people have no definitive appearance and no defining Gene – the common pure heritage is a myth.

      Maybe it helps to think of a tree – how old is a tree. Well in fact only a couple of years old for what underlies the surface is dead. The living tree is very close to the surface – what underlies it, making the “tree” as we see it and understand it, is in fact ‘architecture’ created by the once living cells of the tree

      What made present people is just as dead. The shapes we perceive are cultural and diverse rather than pure inheritance. We shape and choose our culture – I “chose” to be an Australian but they’d be hard put to find an Australian Gene amongst the white people as a common Australian Gene. You might find them amongst the aborigines because they were isolated for a large part for 40,000 years with no opportunity to interbreed and intermarry

      In two hundred years of white settlement the boundaries have become blurred. That is what happens when there is no physical isolation.

  • The problem is that the international community is not asking the arabs to leave africa first. The arabisation caused problems in sudan and is creating boko haram. Let them solve the arab problem first in africa since that problem is the first one. They cannot solve the Tibet problem also. They created the north korea problem. So there is no need to obey the united nations. It is for the strong people only

  • David Zee

    If building Jewish housing in israel is wrong , I don’t want to be right

    • Live

      David, Maybe we can stop calling them settlements. Neighborhoods? Housing Developments? Communities?
      The Mandate requires Freedom of Religion, it might seem that Israel as the beneficiary of the Mandate is responsible to ensure this freedom to all residents of all of the land.
      Turning the schools over to rascist thugs was an enormous error and has come home to bite us.
      We cannot guarantee freedom of person or property when we allow the intolerrant to teach the children.
      JFK once said you cannot negotiate with someone who says ‘what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable.
      Build Israel, build. Include schools.

  • Anonymous

    It would seem to me that a good amount of Palestinian supporters insist in condemning Israel each time the name of Israel is mentioned. It is clear to me that anytime people talk about “both sides” have to “agree”, it is a double standard talk meaning that Israel is to be blamed for everything and anything that is going on in the middle East. It should be clear that Israel has never opposed a two State Solution, nevertheless, the Palestenian have been plaing games by refusing any proposal brought to the table by the Israeli side, and they refused only because they have voiced their deep desires to obliterate Israel from the surface of the earth. And I agree with them in term of only one State. Sure, there should be no two states partition, only one State should prevail, and that one State should be only Israel, a democratic, full of moral values, great history and heritage, Israel. There was never a Palestine in the Holy Land until Hedrian renamed the land Phlistia (Palestine), an extinct people who once occupied the Mediterranean coastal area and who were the bitterest of enemies of the Jews. The name survived in christian writing, and was resurrected in 1917 after world war I when the British took over the Middle East after conquering the Ottoman Empire, and named the land East and West of the Jordan River, including the country of Jordan which they created in 1923, the British Mandate for Palestine. It is from this time that the Arabs living in that area, get the name Palestinians. Clearly, Israel belongs to the Jewish people. May Hashem continues blessing and protecting the Land of Israel.

  • Jerry Hecht

    Let the EU finish building the housing and then give the houses to displaced Jews to settle in.

  • Emmett

    To his credit the PM agreed to demolish the illegal EU structures??? That would be good for Israel and appropriate action for a leader. But after all his vows, claims, and swearing, the PM has not kept his word on anything that was in Israel’s or Jew’s best interests. The poor excuse of an Israeli leader has frozen Jewish building for six years, and hasn’t ceased destroying Jewish homes and structures. At the same time, illegal Arab building continues to go on while the corrupt lefitst govt looks the other way. There is zero integrity in Israel’s government.

  • Feigue Cieplinski

    It is my understanding that Britain and Pakistan were the only two countries which recognized Jordan’s illicit land grab.
    Jordan decided to make a pact with Egypt and Syria in the Six Day War. Under those circumstances Israel recovered the land.

    The one sided concessions being asked from Israel with very little in return have made this an obstacle to peace. In reality the Palestinians do not want peace. They want Israel to disappear and this is proven by Abbas’ unity deal with Hamas.

    Yitzhak Yeranen’s last sentence needs to be challenged: there is no “genocidal rage” on the side of Israel. Israel is defending its right to survive as a a state.

  • Shalom!!
    A reading to Ariel Shavit’s book, My Promised Land would be a good option when we are talking about the Jewish settlements. Really, for most of us this is the biggest stumbling block to reach peace at Eretz Yisrael.

    • H. Givon

      Shavit’s book has been reviewed by expert historians who have cited its many inaccuracies. When reading books like this one must be aware of the author’s personal political viewpoint. Shavit has manipulated the facts for his own use.

  • Yitzhak Yerannen

    Professor Auerbach’s argument is a strong one, but his political opponents rely on an argument different from the one he is critiquing. The real problem is that the settlements over the Green Line, especially as they are now (scattered intentionally all over the territory Israel came to administer as a result of the Six Day War rather than restricted to certain strategic areas as was the case in the first decade of settlement) are an impediment to a two-state solution. And a two-state solution, however difficult an achievement it may seem, is the only alternative to continued occupation (the existential condition of the Palestinians, regardless of legal definition), violence, warfare, and rising genocidal rage on both sides.

    • Emmett

      Nobody cares about some leftist Jew hater claiming to paint a green line through Israel. The Land of Israel runs from beyond the East Bank of the Jordan River to the Mediteranean. The illegal occupiers are those leftist supported Arab terrorists & infiltrators from Arabia & Egypt. They are managed by the same group of “people” who were Hitler’s handlers. Occupy this, Yitzhack.

    • Joel Keller

      The “genocidal rage” is limited to one side only: The “Palestinians. There is no such “rage” in Israel.

    • Michael Garfinkel

      No reasonable person accepts the premise of Mr. Yerannen’s remarks: that there are only two possible outcomes to the current impasse – the embrace of a fantasy (the “two state solution”), or…”violence, warfare, and rising genocidal rage on both sides”

    • Hill

      That is all well and good if you assume the so called “Palestinians” actually want a two state solution which by all accounts appears not. Therefore, any creation of a two state solution will mean the inevitable erasure of the state of Israel the attempt to annihilate the rest of the Jews, which is clearly the aim of the EU and much of the remaining 7.1bn inhabitants of this rock.

    • Efram

      I am sure that if the Palestinians actually negotiate, the settlements can be up for grabs. However, as they have NEVER done so, Israel is under no obligation to anyone other than itself.

    • Mette Thomsen

      So, the EU seems to claim that international law should be defunct whenever it is politically inconvenient? How about Palestinian terrorist attacks and dismissals of each single proposal for a solution made since Oslo, and their refusal to take part in serious negotiation at all, is any of this politically inconvenient too?

    • Nonsense! The myth of “occupation” has blurred many minds, and it is time to jettison this falsehood and realize that Israel in no way can be considered an occupier of land that was explicitly recognized under international law as belonging to the Jewish people and intended to reconstitute their own nation there.