Friday, September 21, 2012


  1. “You stole our land!”

No land was “stolen”. At first it was bought from Ottoman Landowners who controlled Palestine at the time. Then when the British gave the Mandate to the UN in 1947, the UN Special Committee on Palestine recommended by majority the creation of independent Arab and Jewish states, with Jerusalem to be placed under international administration. On 29 November 1947, the UN General Assembly voted 33 to 13, with 10 abstentions, in favour of the Partition Plan. The Jews accepted the vote; the surrounding Arab nations did not and invaded.

  1. Israel is always aggressive, it does not want peace”

Dennis Ross was at Camp David (2000) in the US negotiating team. If you go to Dennis Ross’s book “The Missing Peace” you will learn that the Palestinians turned down an offer of 91 percent of the West Bank in contiguous territory plus an additional 1 percent in land swaps (there was to be a continued Israeli security presence along 15 percent of the border with Jordan). Furthermore, Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia was extremely critical of Arafat’s refusal to accept Barak’s generous offer. Israel signed peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt; withdrew from Sinai, uprooting Jewish settlements; withdrew from Gaza, uprooting Jewish settlements.
A Palestinian State was also on offer in 1948. Prime Minister Olmert made an even more generous offer, of just under 94% of the West Bank and an exchange of 5.5% of territory from Israel and a divided East Jerusalem.

  1. “Israelis are Colonialist and Imperialist”

Israel is a State comprising primarily refugees and their descendants exercising their right to self-determination. Unlike colonial settlers serving the expansionist commercial and military goals of imperial nations such as Great Britain and France, the Jewish refugees were escaping from countries which had oppressed them for centuries.

  1. “You killed thousands of innocent women and children in Gaza

500,000 Israelis live within range of Hamas's missiles. The piercing warning siren dominates the daily routine in towns like Sderot, Ashkelon and Ashdod. Anywhere within 40km of Gaza, communities raise their children in bomb shelters. Israel cannot sit back while Hamas improves the size and range of its arsenal.
No democratic government in the world would tolerate this. No population would permit it. No army would allow an implacable foe to launch missiles at its citizens and improve its capabilities. 8000 rockets in six years.

Moreover, Hamas has shown little respect for their own Palestinian citizens. Hamas often fires rockets and mortars from civilian areas including houses and farms, on top of using individuals as human shields. It appears from this that their hatred of Israel is stronger than their love for the Palestinian people.

As the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has pointed out, the loss of life in Gaza was "avoidable". Without the destructive actions of Hamas there would have been no reaction from Israel.

There is an unprecedented low civilian casualty rate. While males over age 15 make up approximately 25 percent of the Gaza population, they made up over 74 percent of the fatalities.  Half Gaza’s population are estimated to be children. The Israelis dropped leaflets and made mobile phone calls to warn the civilian population of Gaza.

  1. “Israelis build illegal settlements on stolen land so they cannot want peace”

Not all states (other than Israel) take the view that Israeli settlements in areas captured or recaptured in 1967 are illegal under international law. In particular, the United States government has not taken that view since Ronald Reagan became President in 1981. The US government regards them as an obstacle to peace, but that is a different point.

Additionally UN Resolution 242 of 1967 calls the territory “disputed” and says that Israel only has to leave “territories” not “all territories”.

The 4th Geneva Convention does not apply because East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza strip were not previously the territory of any High Contracting Party to the Convention (ie not sovereign territory). As part of Mandatory Palestine, Judea and Samaria never belonged to any sovereign state, but were occupied and administered illegally by Jordan and Egypt between 1948 and 1967, after the Arab war of aggression against Israel in 1948. And East Jerusalem was captured by Jordan in the war of 1948.

Article 49(6) of the 4th Geneva Convention does not apply because Israel and the PLO agreed in the Oslo agreements that the final status of Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Israeli settlements were to be addressed in final status negotiations, with no provisions in these agreements prohibiting the construction of settlements or of buildings within towns or settlements in the meanwhile by either side within the areas under their respective administrative control. Israel has as much right to build housing in Jerusalem as the Palestinian Authority has to build housing in Bethlehem pending a final resolution of their status.

Article 49(6) of the 4th Geneva Convention does not prohibit the voluntary movement of Israelis who wish to live in Jerusalem or the West Bank, since this does not constitute a deportation or transfer within the meaning of that provision. The Geneva Convention was designed to prohibit the forcible transfer of population into occupied territories, such as was practised by the Nazis and USSR before and during the Second World War. But the Israeli settlers in the West Bank made a free choice to move there. And as a country that was attacked, Israel is entirely within its legal rights to retain territory that continues to be used as a base for attacks against it.

Article 49(6) of the 4th Geneva Convention does not apply to Jerusalem and the West Bank because they remain subject to the special provisions of the League of Nations Mandate, including in particular its article 6, which requires the encouragement of “close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes”. The rights of the Jewish people to return to their ancient homeland, recognised by this and other provisions of the Mandate were expressly preserved by article 80 of the UN Charter. This was the view of Professor Eugene Rostow, US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs in the Johnson administration, 1966-9, who participated in the drafting of Resolution 242 and was influential in the Reagan administration.

Article 49(6) of the 4th Geneva Convention does not prohibit the construction of housing in a mixed city, such as Jerusalem, with an Israeli and Palestinian population, particularly as any permanent resident of Jerusalem, Israeli or Palestinian, is entitled to purchase or rent a flat anywhere in the city.

Whatever land Israel may choose to give up in its own interests, under international law Jews are entitled to live anywhere in the West Bank. There is no such thing as Palestinian land and never was. The West Bank and Gaza never belonged to any sovereign ruler after the British withdrew from Mandatory Palestine; before that it was part of the Ottoman Empire.  Israel’s ‘borders’ are in fact merely the ceasefire lines from its victory in 1948 against the Arab armies that tried unsuccessfully to exterminate it at birth. It is therefore more correct to call the West Bank and Gaza “disputed territory”.

The Jews alone have been granted the legal – as well as moral and historical – right to settle within the West Bank and Gaza, a right awarded to them by the Great Powers after the First World War on account of the unique historical claim by the Jews to the land then called Palestine. This Jewish right to “closely settle” anywhere in that land was entrusted to Britain to deliver under the terms of the Mandate for Palestine, a matter of international law.

Jews have lived in Judea and Samaria – the West Bank – since ancient times. The only time in recent decades when Jews were prohibited from living in the West Bank was during Jordan’s rule from 1948-1967.

  1. “The settlements are the key to peace. If Israel stopped building settlements there would be peace”

The claim that the “settlements” are the key to resolving peace is incorrect. First, they take up no more than one or two percent of West Bank territory. Second, even when Netanyahu froze such new building for ten months as a sign of goodwill, Abbas still refused to negotiate.

  1. “Jews exploit the Holocaust for money and to justify Israel’s illegal acts”

Sections of the Palestinian leadership actively supported and assisted the Holocaust and Nazi Germany and bears political culpability for the murder of many Jews.

The entire Middle East would have become a Jew-free German protectorate called "Greater Arabia" had Rommel's Afrikakorps not been defeated at el-Alamein 66 years ago on November 4, 1942. The "Einsatzkommando Ägypten" (SS Task Force Egypt), a subgroup of the Afrikakorps, was under the command of SS Obersturmbannführer Walter Rauff, infamous for his large trucks converted into mobile gas chambers which murdered hundreds of thousands in an excruciatingly painful manner in Russia and Serbia the previous year. Rauff was given the authority to carry out "executive measures on the civilian population," which was the Nazi euphemism for the mass murder of the Palestinian Jews. The move was agreed upon with Grand Mufti Haj Amin el-Husseini, a friend of Hitler and Himmler, and the Arab population was supposed to actively participate.

  1. “Israelis are War Criminals and should be arrested when they land at Heathrow”

It is the primary duty of a government to defend its citizens from attack. Israel faces the same threat every day that London faced on 7 July 2005 when Muslim terrorists murdered 52 people and injured over 700 others. Those who serve in the IDF have committed no crime, any more than those who served in the British Army in World War Two committed a crime.

  1. “The Wall is an Apartheid Wall, built to make facts on the ground and keep Palestinians out of Israel. It goes the wrong side of the Green Line in several places.”

The fence affects around 1.6% of the Occupied Territories. Israel has set up a compensation fund of around $60 million. 60,000 olive trees destroyed in the construction have been replanted. It's not nice of course. But it saves a lot of lives.

Additionally, the idea of a Security Fence was first proposed by Amran Mitzna, a former leader of the Labour Party and a “dove”. The Security fence can also be seen as a step towards peace as it delineates a future Palestinian state.

  1. Israel is an apartheid, racist State. Jews who have never lived there can become citizens under the ‘Right of Return’ while the 750,000 Palestinians who were forced out in 1948 have no “Right of Return” “

Israel’s 20 percent non-Jewish minority that is made up of Bedouins, Christians, Druze and Muslims has since 1967 had equal voting and other political rights as outlined in the Israeli Declaration of Independence. Arab Israelis were elected to the first Knesset in 1949 and have won as many as 12 Knesset seats in a single election. Some hold important positions in the government, court system, Ministries and the IDF. There has been an Arab Vice Consul (in San Francisco) and an Arab Minister.  Contrast that with the position of blacks in South Africa under apartheid.

As in all countries there remain valid concerns about the treatment on minorities but Israeli Arabs and Palestinians have acknowledged the protection afforded them under the law, for example:

Israel has proved that for fifty years its real power is in its democracy, guarding the rights of its citizens, applying laws [equally] to the rich and poor, the big and small.”

- Dr. Talal Al-Shareef, Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds, May 27, 1999

Israel rescued tens of thousands of Ethiopian Jews and welcomed them. Israel also rescued the boat people from Vietnam and has been saving the lives of thousands of Sudanese refugees, including Darfuris, who escaped from Sudan through Egypt. What other Middle Eastern country has given refuge to Darfur refugees? Certainly not Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, or Saudi Arabia. Israel is the lone oasis of safety for those who are persecuted in the Middle East. 77 percent of Israeli Arabs say they prefer living in Israel to any other country in the world (Ha’aretz, 23 June 2008). 

The rights of Arab citizens of Israel have been vigorously upheld in the Israeli Courts. A clear demonstration was in January 2003, with the decision of the Israeli High Court in favour of two Israeli Arab politicians, Ahmed Tibi and Azmi Bishara, who challenged the ruling of Israel's Central Election Committee (CEC) disqualifying them from running in the Israeli general election. Such an episode could never have happened in an “apartheid state”.  And Israel has a Communist Party whereas the Nationalists in South Africa banned it.  Arabs in Israeli society get all the opportunities of Israelis. Take healthcare - the standard of healthcare available to all in Israel is far higher than in the neighbouring Arab States, and Arab life expectancy is considerably higher.

In April 2000 Nelson Mandela came to London and spoke to the Board of Deputies of British Jews. He spoke of the need for Israel to leave the lands taken in 1967 but not unless there was first recognition of the Jewish State by the Arab States: “I added a second position, that Israel cannot be expected to withdraw from the Arab territories which she legitimately conquered when the Arab States wanted to whip her out of the map of the world.” No mention of ‘apartheid’ in Israel - from a man who spent 27 years as a prisoner of the loathsome apartheid regime in South Africa.

Many countries have an ethnicity preference for someone who wants to become a citizen. EG Germany: Article 116(1) of the German Basic Law (constitution) confers a right to citizenship upon any person who is admitted to Germany as "refugee or expellee of German ethnic origin or as the spouse or descendant of such a person." At one time, ethnic Germans living abroad (Aussiedler) could obtain citizenship through a virtually automatic procedure. Since 1990 the law has been steadily tightened to limit the number of immigrants each year. It now requires immigrants to prove language skills and cultural affiliation.
Now the refugees. Please read Efraim Karsh:, in “Commentary”:
“By the time of Israel’s declaration of independence on May 14 1948, the numbers of Arab refugees had more than trebled. Even then, none of the 170,000-180,000 Arabs fleeing urban centres, and only a handful of the 130,000-160,000 villagers who left their homes, had been forced out by the Jews.”

The Mayor of Haifa begged them to stay and many fled on instructions from their leaders

  1. “Far more Palestinians than Israelis have died in the conflict. This is disproportionate.”

Colonel Richard Kemp CBE, former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, on the Gaza situation (10/1): "Despite Israel's extraordinary measures a tragically high number of innocent civilians have been killed and wounded.  That is the inevitability of Hamas's way of fighting. Avoiding civilian casualties when fighting among the people is always difficult. When combating an enemy that uses human shields it is impossible."

Under international law, proportionality does not mean that you can only inflict similar casualties to those which you sustain. It means that the force used must not be more than is reasonably required to achieve the legitimate objective, in this case the termination of the war crime of bombarding innocent civilians in Israel. The force being used by Israel was not disproportionate because Hamas did not stop the rocket fire (and has not shown an unequivocal intention not to resume it).

  1. “Israelis teach their children to hate Arabs”
Simply untrue. What is true is that Palestinian TV teaches Palestinian children to hate Jews. Just look at MEMRI. There are many examples of school textbooks and TV shows in the Palestinian territories promoting hatred of Jews. This is documented extremely well by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW)
  1. “The Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara was an attack on a boat with innocent peace activists taking food and medicine to starving Palestinians in Gaza
Peace Activists Don't Use Clubs or Knives. Like Rachel Corrie, they goaded an Israeli response. We were sorry to see the loss of lives, but we blame those organizations that put them in harms way. Israel’s actions were backed by the BBC panorama programme on the Flotilla that showed that those on the Mavi Mamara had links to Islamic extremist and provoked an Israeli response.
 The IHH who had a number of people on board has links with Al-Qaeda – Danish Study – Kohlman. Helps to raise cash for Hamas.
IHH refused a request from Gilad Shalit’s family to take a package to him.
The San Remo Manual on International Law of War at Sea: Can attack on high seas when the vessel is believed to be breaching a blockade. After warning. Sailed into closed military zone.

  1. “Gilad Shalit was exchanged for over 1000 Palestinian prisoners. That shows that Israel values Jews 1000 times more than Palestinians – it’s immoral”

If Israel could have got Gilad Shalit out by releasing just one prisoner, do you not think they would have done it?

  1. You always accuse people who criticise Israel of being “anti-Semitic”

This charge is false. No-one who makes it can ever give any evidence. And it is racist because it belittles the right of Jews to object to genuine racism directed against them.

  1. Israelis think they can do what they want because they are the Chosen People.

“Chosen” in the Bible means responsibilities not privileges.

  1. Jews think they were justified in settling in Israel because they say it was “a land without a people for a people without a land”

A false quote from the “Israel Bashers’ Greatest Hits” is ‘A Land Without A People, For A People Without A Land’. (This phrase was not coined by a Zionist. It was coined and propagated by nineteenth-century Christian writers. See Diana Muir, Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2008, pp. 55-62

  1. Israel defies UN Resolutions

UN Abba Eban: “If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions.”
  1. Arabs are Semites too so anti-Semitism cannot be hatred of just Jews

The term ‘anti-Semitism’ was specifically coined in the 19th Century to denote hatred of Jews. That is why there is no hyphen in it. To make this argument is itself anti-Semitic because it denies to Jews the right to respond to racism against themselves.