Saturday, February 19, 2011

US Joins Security Council In Condemning Israeli Settlements as Illegal – in 1969

In 1969, the United States voted with the rest of the Security Council to condemn Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem and plans to build Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem. The Security Council "urgently calls once more upon Israel to rescind forthwith all measure taken by it which may tend to change the status of the City of Jerusalem." And it explicitly mentioned expropriation of land.

Several days earlier, the US ambassador the United Nations had said in a speech to the UN:

The United States considers that the part of Jerusalem that came under the control of Israel in the 1967 war, like all other areas occupied by Israel, is occupied territory and hence subject to the provisions of international law governing the rights and obligations of an occupying Power. Among the provision of international law which bind Israel, as they would bind any occupier, are the provisions that the occupier has no right to make changes in law or in administration other than those which are temporarily necessitated by his security interests, and that an occupier may not confiscate or destroy private property. The pattern of behavior authorized under the Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949 and international law is clear: the occupier must maintain the occupied area as intact and unaltered as possible, without interfering with the customary life of the area, and any changes must be necessitated by the immediate needs of the occupation. I regret to say that the actions by Israel in the occupied portion of Jerusalem present a different picture, one which gives understandable concern that the eventual disposition of East Jerusalem may be prejudiced, and that the private rights and activities of the population are already being affected and altered. (Cited in Separate and Unequal: The Inside Story of Israeli Rule in East Jerusalem, by Amir S. Cheshin, Bil Hutman, and Avi Melamed (Cambridge: Harvard, 1999), pp. 46-7.

I should point out that this statement was made before a single Jewish settlement had been built outside of Jerusalem. The censure was in reaction to Israel construction of Jewish settlements over the Green Line in East Jerusalem – settlements that are now the "neighborhoods" of Ramot Eshkol and Ma'a lot dafna, East Talpiyot and Neveh Ya'akov.

Over the last 43 years, UN ambassadors and consuls have fumed and chastised, but there have been zero consequences for Israel. Now there are close to half a million Jews living over the Green Line, with hundreds of thousands of dunams confiscated and expropriated, and the lives of many Palestinians a living hell, as they see their lands, resources, freedom of movement become increasingly restricted.

And the United States has the sheer chutzpah to say that the question of settlements is a matter of the (non-existent) peace negotiations, and not one of international law.


Anonymous said...

well, that us ambassador, and the international community is wrong

seems that none of them are aware of what happens to lands liberated by a former occupying country...which jordan was.

you dont seem to be either.

btw....should israel really have left the kotel area as it was? a garbage dump?

Anonymous said...

To Veto or Not to Veto – What a Question

pabelmont said...

Thanks for finding that quote. How USA's governments change! How many years before they change back again?

In 1980, after a lot of settlement building, and after the USA's DoS legal adviser had told Congress that the settlements were illegal (1978), the UNSC in its resolution 465 demanded (but without coercive sanctions to back up the demand) that Israel remove all settlers and dismantle all settlements.

How much easier the task of removing settlers/settlements would be today had this UNSC resolution been acted upon then!

(Must be a foreign-policy lesson hidden in here somewhere. How about, how much easier, etc., if weer do it today than if we continue to wait?)

Anonymous said...

Did my previous post not make it here?

A portion of the settlements in the West Bank, was on land that Jewish organizations had purchased, owned, and Jews resided on.

In 1948, those Jews were forcefully removed, ethnically cleansed, prohibited from return, their land taken by force.

In contrast to the application of international law, the US was content to admit that for that land it WAS admissable to take by force during war.

If the right of return to one's home following period of war applied in law, why was it not applied to them?

Why would the United States adopt the position that did not address cases, but only addressed a blanket "all settlements are illegal".

Its a precedent for some good things (opposing the taking of land by extra-legal methods), and a precedent for some bad things (allowing for the taking of land by extra-legal methods).

Jerry Haber said...

"A portion of the settlements in the West Bank, was on land that Jewish organizations had purchased, owned, and Jews resided on."

A infinitesimally tiny portion. Do you know how big Gush Etzion was then...and now?

And the Jewish owners retain rights to that land. But, as I wrote on your blog, under the Geneva Convention that does not give the Occupying army *any rights* to move its population onto that land...even if it was as large as Tel Aviv.

Abe Bird said...

Who cares what the US votes then.... what fix the situation at the place is the unwilling and inability of the Arab Palestinians to accept the Jewish Palestinian as righteous people to have a state on Palestine, in the midst of the "Dahr el-Islam".
The UN and the US has no stand on that issue.

Anonymous said...

And I agreed with you.

Do you have statistics on the land area in question. There was also much more land in East Jerusalem that was owned by Jews, but Jews were removed, by the same logic as the 49-50 Israeli laws.

If those areas are to be described as settlements, then they should figure in your accounting.

The significance is the term "the", in that it does not allow for exceptions or addresses the title issues in cases with equal due process.

In my post, I stated that absent that word, I would be an enthusiastic proponent of the resolution. The primary tone of the resolution was very positive, describing the settlements as an unnecessary but material obstacle to peace.

And, it is true that that was not the basis that of the US veto. It was not an assertion of the rule of law with equal due process, but compliant realpolitik.

Anonymous said...

When people speak of "the settlements", they also speak of East Jerusalem.

Preceeding 1948, there were many Jews living east of the green line in Jerusalem, who held perfected title to land, who were displaced.

My point was of the hypocrisy of asserting that forced removal and prohibition from return for Jews is acceptable in the period from 1948-67, but unacceptable relative to Palestinians.

The standard should be all, not selective, whether affirmed by activists, by governments, anyone that loves equal rights.

The selective application of law makes it not law. That so many activists speak in terms of equal rights, except.... is difficult for me to accept.

I get that your point was to suggest some hypocrisy on the 69 vote vs the vote a couple days ago.

To me, it illustrated an additional hypocrisy/confusion.

I also wish you would comment on the invocation of opposition to colonialism as a primary theme of the anti-Zionist movement.

In a short period of time, the right of return and opposition to colonialism makes sense.

60 years later, the phrase anti-colonialism is also used to urge the denial of present people their rights.

To my mind, the use of the phrase anti-colonial becomes a motivation for advocacy of ethnic cleansing, rather than a principled opposition to it.

Jerry Haber said...

liberalzionism -- neither Arabs nor Jews who were displaced should have lost their property. The hypocrisy is saying that the Jews can go back to their original property in East Jerusalem but the Arabs can't go back to their original property in West Jerusalem. That is the Israeli government's position. It is also the Israeli Supreme Court, but in fairness to them, they are only interpreting a biased law, and not making it.

Or, if you prefer, "inconsistency".

Anonymous said...

This is Richard Witty. I register to post here through one of my blogs, entitled "liberalzionism".

I am not advocating for the settlements to expand, or to remain as Israel. I personally think that the literal green line would be an acceptable boundary (with the exception of the Jewish quarter of the old city of Jerusalem, which will never be separated from Israel).

I am attempting to point out the hypocrisy of the US 1969 condemnation, which was willing to admit that peoples (the Jewish residents of the West Bank and East Jerusalem) could be removed by war (without any even noting of their right of return).

Tobias said...

"I am not advocating for the settlements to expand, or to remain as Israel."
Yeah, you're just arguing for them to remain as non-Israel. Since they are not Israel right now, and since you wouldn't be satisfied (right?) unless the Palestinian 'state' was forced to afford them the same protection they now get from Israel, you're arguing the status quo.

Another way to put it is: You advocate the Bosnian solution for the Palestinian state. Division into a Muslim/Christian Arab rump state, barely viable and not sovereign on its own, and a Republika Settlerska, hostile to the majority population, with strong nationalistic ties to (and strong paramilitary support by) a nearby, aggressive and militarily superior state.

With two exceptions of course:
- The settlers are recent colonists, not natives for centuries as the Serbs are.
- No NATO will ever keep Israel in check as it does Serbia.

Jerry Haber said...

Lordy, is the Mondoweiss comment section invading this blog?

Look, Richard, the UN Security Council Resolution doesn't say anything about refugees, Jewish or Palestinian. 194 says that, and, as you know, 194 covers both Palestinian and Jewish refugees since it simply says, "the refugees"

Tobias said...

Actually, I read and follow this blog regularly, and have commented before. It's just that this topic is understandably making waves across tbe whole I/P blogosphere.

DeWayne said...

Pres-Obama and the US-Gov did nothing but "lip service" that is as worthless as propaganda-lies it is well known for.
Did the US really agree with the (last) UN Resolution against the illegal and immoral charge of driving Palestinians off their own lands, so that the Zionist-Gov could claim it by building illegal and immoral settlements... NO in fact.