In his latest article in Time Magazine titled “Roadmap to Reform” Joe Klein has made several malicious allegations. He claimed that the U.S. can support democracy and redress historic wrong in Egypt only if Israel respects the territory and demographic rights of the Palestinians. He went on to claim that the West Bank settlements are illegal. He was wrong on both accounts.
Joe Klein and others like him who are obsessed with Israel’s “wrongdoings” find reasons to blame Israel for any natural or political disaster regardless of whether there is any logical connection. Shark attacks, bombing of Christian churches in Egypt, the global great recession, the Iraq war, even 9/11 are all claimed to be Israel’s doings by these “experts.” How one can link the Egyptian revolt — the citizens’ call for democracy, the insistence on better standard of living, the desire for elimination of corruption — to Israel’s policies in the West Bank, is beyond reason.
Does Joe Klein even know that Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza strip brought about a huge immigration by Arabs to that territory, tripling its population from 950,000 to 3,000,000+ between 1967 and 1994 due to an Israeli “Marshal Plan” which brought about an exponential increase in the area residents’ standard of living?
Does he know that in the years of 1967-1994 there were no roadblocks, there was free movement by Arabs, who traveled to Israel for work, shopping, and pleasure?
Does he know that it all ended following the Oslo Accords and Yasser Araft’s return to the area, his taking control of a Palestinian autonomy and his initiation of a terror war?
Does he know that in consequence of Araft’s rule, corruption, and terror management, the West Bank’s GDP in 2003 was reduced by 90 percent comparing to its 1992 level?
Klein’s conjectures are not only contrary to logic; they are the perfect reversal of common sense. The PA regime is more like Mubarak’s, given its leaders’ corruptive culture and the impact of their terror atmosphere on their residents’ standard of living, while, on the other hand, Israel’s influence and control in 1967-1994, in the absence of the PA’s incitation and encouragement of terror activities has been a blessing to the Palestinian Arabs.
Klein’s assertions regarding the illegality of Israeli settlements in the West Bank are simply incorrect.
Israel conquered the West bank in a defensive war. International law, spelled out by the charter of the League of Nations, states that the status of territories occupied in consequence of a defensive war shall remain in dispute as long as there is no peace agreement between the warring parties. Accordingly, the conquered territory is disputed rather than occupied. And Israel’s control over the West Bank is legal.
What’s more, international law states that a territory conquered in a defensive war may be used to maintain security in the absence of a peace treaty. The conquering party may resettle it if it had been driven out of the area (like East Jerusalem, Hebron, Gush Etzion) in an earlier war. Besides, UN Resolution 242 states clearly that in the absence of peace between Israel and the Arabs, Israel may develop and settle any public unoccupied land.
This public unoccupied land was never owned by a Muslim Palestinian state, since no Muslim Palestinian state had ever existed. Four hundred years prior to the end of Word War I in 1917 this land was occupied and owned by the Ottoman empire; then between 1917-1948 it was controlled by the British, and following the 1948 war between Israel and the Arab states, the kingdom of Jordan occupied — and, I must say, illegally absorbed — the same territory.
An Arab Palestinian authority has never owned public land in Judea and Samria, (a.k.a. the West Bank) or the Gaza strip. The Jews were the only legitimate local resident owners before the Roman Empire’s conquest of the land. After the Romans drove the Jews out of Israel and renaming the territory, the only owners were foreign imperialists who took control of Palestine after defeating a former imperialist occupier.
Public unoccupied land in Judea and Samaria had never been in possession of a Palestinian Arab authority or government. Israel captured the land from its illegal possessor, the Jordanian Hashemite kingdom, in a defensive war.
In the absence of peace between Israel and any Palestinian authority, it has been Israel’s legally justified right to maintain its sovereignty over these territories, develop and settle them, as long as the Israeli government has not deported or displaced the original residents.
It should be noted here that Palestinian Arabs were able to challenge the Israeli government concerning land use and ownership and that several of these challenges were successful. Consequently, the Israeli Supreme Court ordered the Israeli government to reverse position and hand the land over to its rightful owners whenever it found such land grab illegal or unjust.
Klein should do his homework before publishing his erroneous conclusions. He was not only wrong when it came to the question of legality; he was dishonest when it came to the issue of logical reasoning. He did not understand international law concerning legality of Israel’s sovereignty over territories captured in a defensive war, and he conditioned U.S. support for democracy in Egypt on Israel’s ceasing its “occupation” of the West Bank.
The only part Joe Klein has forgotten is the fact that the U.S. foreign policy is driven by self-seeking interests rather than distorted morality. If any moral conditions are needed for U.S. support of an Egyptian democracy it is a call for democracy in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Syria, Jordan, Iran and any other Muslim dictatorship that enjoys American support
Dr. Avi Perry, a talk show host at Paltalk News Network (PNN), is the author of "Fundamentals of Voice Quality Engineering in Wireless Networks," and more recently, "72 Virgins," a thriller about the covert war on Islamic terror. He was a VP at NMS Communications, a Bell Laboratories - distinguished staff member and manager, a delegate of the US and Lucent Technologies to the ITU—the UN International Standards body in Geneva, a professor at Northwestern University, as well as an Intelligence officer at the IDF and the Israeli Government. He may be reached through his web site www.aviperry.org