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November 28, 2014 / 6 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘sovereignty’

Assad Rejects Arab League Call to Resign

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Bashar al-Assad has rejected an Arab League plan whereby he would be replaced as president by his vice-president as a precursor for the formation of a national unity government.

“Syria rejects the decisions of the Arab League ministerial council . . . and considers them a violation of its national sovereignty and a flagrant interference in its internal affairs,” Syrian state television quoted an official source as saying.

The Arab League also announced that it would extend its largely ineffective and much-maligned observer mission in Syria despite Saudi Arabia’s withdrawal.

“Syria condemns this decision which is part of the conspiracy against Syria,” the official source said, criticizing the League for ignoring Assad’s pledge to institute reforms.

Jewish population in Judea and Samaria tops 342,000

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

The Jewish population in Judea and Samaria rose by 4.3% in 2011, reaching 342,414.

The statistic was released by the Interior Ministry, and does not count the approximately 275,000 Jews in neighborhoods in Jerusalem over which the PA demands sovereignty, but which Israel deems to be part of undivided Jerusalem.

 

Abbas Rejects Arafat’s Statehood Strategy

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Over the past several weeks the media have been enamored by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s push to obtain United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state. The media coverage has exclusively focused on the political aspects of Abbas’s effort and its relationship to the so called peace process involving the Israel and PA.

Lost in the circus-like coverage of the UN bid is virtually any mention of the applicable legal issues, despite Abbas’s deliberate departure from Yasir Arafat’s two-decade strategy of seeking approval of the PA’s statehood claim by invoking international law.

Starting in the late 1980s, the PA’s numerous legal advocates, notably led by former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark, have repeatedly tried to wrest judicial recognition of a Palestinian state in  dozens of legal proceedings in the federal courts by arguing that the Palestinians already have a sovereign state under the legal standards of international law.

Despite their best efforts, every attempt (at both the district court and appellate levels in Washington, New York, Rhode Island and Boston) has ended in utter failure.

For several obvious reasons, the strivings of advocacy groups, and even legitimate nationalities, for recognition of independence is not simply a political matter. For instance, without objective legal criteria of sovereignty, dissident groups could capriciously feign independence. Therefore universally recognized norms of international law contain criteria by which a true sovereign state can be identified and recognized.

Unlike Abbas’s current political gambit in the United Nations, Arafat urged U.S. courts to apply these norms of international law to the Palestinians. For decades, the PA’s lawyers (personally supervised by Arafat) have invoked the application of international law arguing that it meets the criteria for statehood.

This strategy began after Palestinian terrorists pushed the wheelchair-bound 69-year-old Leon Klinghoffer over the rails of the Achille Lauro and into the Mediterranean Sea. In response to a suit by the Klinghoffer family, Clark asserted that the PLO could not be held liable because it was in actuality a “State of Palestine” and thus shielded by the doctrine of sovereign immunity, an ancient legal precept that immunizes foreign states from lawsuits. The Klinghoffer court soundly rejected this argument.

Subsequently, enactment of the Anti Terrorism Act of 1990 (also known as the “Klinghoffer Act”) ushered in the modern era of terrorism litigation during which dozens of victims brought suit against the PLO and the PA.  Each time they were sued, Ramsey Clark again raised the sovereign immunity defense, trying both to ward off damage claims and to give judicial birth by obtaining legal recognition of a Palestinian state.  However, every attempt was rebuffed by the federal judges who consistently ruled that the PA did not meet the criteria of sovereignty under international law.

Ironically, in each case the terror victims agreed with Arafat and Clark that the determinative standards for statehood were based on the Montevideo Convention of 1933 as later codified in the Restatement (Third) of Foreign Relations § 201 (1987) which requires “an entity that has a defined territory and a permanent population, under the control of its own government, and that engages in, or has the capacity to engage in, formal relations with other such entities.”

The Ungar case, in which two orphans sued the PA for the murder of their parents, was the first to wind its way to an appellate court. After a thorough routing at the trial level, the PA revived its sovereignty arguments in the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. In the leading opinion on the subject, Judge Bruce Selya wrote that the PA’s statehood claim “has a quicksilver quality:  it is hard to pin down exactly when or how the defendants assert that Palestine achieved statehood.”

Theresa Lato’s Legacy

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010
            “My mother will be buried at the Yarkon Cemetary, Geula Hall, on Wednesday, March 17, at 11:30.”
The terse message from Eli Lato delivered a stunning, unexpected blow. Does “will be buried,” mean that Theresa Lato is no more? Is Theresa Lato, the frail, soft-spoken lady who was like a one-woman armada fighting simultaneously on multiple fronts -silenced forever?
Slowly, achingly the knowledge seeped into my consciousness: Theresa Lato, the gentle lady with a passionate commitment to Israel will be interred in the soil of the land she deeply loved.
My sense of loss grew as the car approached the Yarkon Cemetery near Petah Tikva, in central Israel for the funeral. Theresa’s words reverberated within me as I drove past silvery gravestones in the sprawling burial ground:        

      “I do everything in my power to ensure the survival of a sustainable Israel, and a sustainable planet,” I had heard her say with steely determination.
         “By pressuring Israel to give up land the U.S. deprives Israel of its sovereignty,” she had explained.”Surrender of land is irreversible. Loss of habitat is the chief cause of extinction,” she had warned. “For nearly two thousand years during the Diaspora Jews were subject to outrageous abuse, torture and annihilation. With no land of their own, they were defenseless. In 1929, before Israel became a state, Arabs massacred Jews in Hebron, the founding city of Judaism. These atrocities continued for decades, simply because Jews, without their land, were defenseless!”
        And: “Geologic features, like rivers, usually determine national boundaries, they are defense measures. The `West Bank,’ a 1964 terminology to obscure Israel’s historic right to Judea and Samaria, is more than a river bank–it’s territory. Arabs, now called ‘Palestinians,’ never had sovereignty over this territory.”
           Who was Theresa Lato and how did she come by this wisdom that has eluded so
many of our leaders?

          Theresa Lipton was born in the Bronx, N.Y. in 1912. After graduating from Hunter College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology,nineteen-year-old Theresa worked as a researcher. In 1946 she married Harold Lato, a successful trial lawyer who eventually became Chief of Examiners. With prophetic foresight Theresa founded the Bronx Council for Environmental Quality in 1970, long before most people knew the concept of environmentalism. As her ideas were ahead of their time, Theresa had to struggle to keep the institution alive, expending time and effort on its newsletter, researching and writing groundbreaking articles. By the time the rest of the world caught up to Theresa’s prescience about the significance of environmentalism, her foundation had developed into a strong, active organization, one of Theresa’s remarkable achievements, worthy of the Nobel Prize.

            And how about Theresa Lato’s prescient definition of “sustainable Israel?” “Tiny Israel’s surrender of territories is suicidal when you consider her vulnerability to hostile, land-rich Arab neighbors whose credit rating for keeping promises is subzero!”

        The funeral is over, the larger-than-life woman has been committed to the earth but her voice continues to thunder in my inner world:

           “Israel has a more valid claim to its land than the United States has to America,” I had heard her declare with the certainty of a prophet.
For me Theresa Lato’s legacy lives on beyond the grave.

Out With The Occupiers!

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Anti-Zionists say the Jewish claim to Israel is illegitimate because, before 1948, it had been nearly 1,900 years since Jews exercised sovereignty there – and it is absurd to argue that any group still has rights to land they last governed such a long time ago.
 
But on what basis do they say the Arabs have a legitimate claim to that same land? On the basis of the claim that the Arabs last exercised sovereignty over that land 1,000 years ago. So, while 1,900 year-old-claims are inadmissible, thousand-year-old claims are indisputable.
 
It must be emphasized here that even the thousand-year Arab claim is not the same thing as a claim on behalf of “Palestinian Arabs.” After all, the last time Palestinian Arabs held sovereignty over Palestine was … never.
 
It is true that Arabs once exercised sovereignty over parts or all of historic Palestine. There were small Arab kingdoms in the south of Palestine already in late biblical days; they were important military and political allies of the Jews, who exercised sovereignty back then in the Land of Israel.
 
After the rise of Islam, Palestine was indeed part of a larger Arab kingdom or caliphate. But that ended in 1071, when Palestine came under the rule of the Suljuk Turks. And that was the last time Palestine had an Arab ruler.
 
In any case, why does the fact that Palestine once belonged to a larger Arab empire make it “Arab” when it has also been part of larger Roman, Greek, Persian, Turkish and British empires? 
 
            Why do anti-Zionists insist a thousand-year claim by Arabs who were never ruled by Palestinian Arabs has legitimacy while a 1,900-year claim by Jews should be rejected outright, even though the United Nations granted Israel sovereignty in 1947? The anti-Zionists say it is because the thousand-year Arab claim is more recent than the older Jewish claim.
 
            But that argument can of course be turned around on anti-Zionists, because if national claims to land become more legitimate the more recent they are, then surely the most legitimate claim of all is that of the Jews to Israel, because the modern Jewish state of Israel is a mere 62 years old!
 
The other claim by anti-Zionists is that Jews have no rights to the land of Israel because they moved there from other places. Never mind that there always was a Jewish minority living in the land of Israel, even when it was under the sovereignty of Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Crusaders, Turks or British. Does the fact that Jews moved to the land of Israel from other places disqualify them from exercising sovereignty there?
 
The claim would be nonsensical even if we were to ignore that fact that most Palestinian Arabs also moved to Palestine from neighboring countries, starting in the late nineteenth century. But more generally, does the fact that a people moves from one locality to another deprive it of its claims to legitimate sovereignty in its new abode? Does this necessitate the conclusion that they need to pack up and leave, as anti-Zionists insist?
 
If it does, then it goes without saying that the Americans and Canadians must lead the way by returning to their original owners all lands seized from the Indians and the Mexicans and going back whence they came.
 
For that matter, Mexicans of Spanish ancestry also need to leave. The Anglo-Saxons, meaning the English, will be invited to turn the British isles over to their original Celtic and Druid owners while they return to their own ancestral Saxon homeland in northern Germany and Denmark. The Danes will be asked to move back to their Norwegian and Swedish homelands to make room for the returning Anglo-Saxons.
 
But that is just a beginning. The Spanish will be called on to leave the Iberian Peninsula they wrongfully occupy and return it to the Celtiberians. Similarly the Portuguese occupiers will leave their lands and return them to the Lusitanians. The Magyars will go back where they came from and leave Hungary to its true owners.
 
The Australians and New Zealanders will have to end their occupations of lands that do not belong to them. The Thais will leave Thailand. The Bulgarians will return to their Volga homeland and abandon occupied Bulgaria. Anyone speaking Spanish will be expected to end the forced occupation of Latin America.
 
It goes without saying the French will lose almost all their lands to their rightful owners. The Turks will go back to Mongolia and leave Anatolia altogether, returning it to the Greeks. The Germans will go back to Gotland. The Italians will return the boot to the Etruscans and Greeks.
 
That leaves the Arabs. First, all of northern Africa, from Mauritania to Egypt and Sudan, will be immediately abandoned by the illegal Arab occupiers and returned to its lawful original Berber, Punic, Greek, and Vandal owners. Occupied Syria and Lebanon must be released at once from the cruel occupation of the Arab imperialists.
 
Iraq will be returned to the Assyrians and Chaldeans. Southern Arabia will be handed back to the Abyssinians. The Arabs may retain control of the central portion of the Arabian peninsula as their homeland – but not the oil fields.
 
The Palestinian Arabs will of course have to return the lands they are occupying, turning them over to their legal and rightful owners (the Jews).
 

And right after all this, Israel will be most happy to implement the road map in full.

 

 

Steven Plaut, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press, is a professor at Haifa University. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.

Let’s Talk About Squatters And Usurpers

Wednesday, December 8th, 2004

So let me see if I have this straight. The anti-Zionists claim that the Jews have no right to the land of Israel because before Israel was re-created in 1948, it had been almost 1,900 years since the last time that the Jews exercised sovereignty over the Land of Israel. And the anti-Zionists claim it is absurd to argue that anyone still has rights to land that was last governed with sovereignty 1,900 years ago.

And on what basis do they argue that the Arabs have some legitimate claim to these same lands? On the basis of the claim that the Arabs last exercised sovereignty over that land 1,000 years ago.

You all with me? Claims that are 1,900 years old are inadmissible. Thousand-year-old claims trump them and are indisputable.

Now let us emphasize that even the thousand-year-old Arab claim is not the same thing as a claim on behalf of Palestinian Arabs. After all, the last time that Palestinian Arabs had sovereignty over the lands of “Palestine” was … never.

It is true that Arabs once exercised sovereignty over parts or all of historic Palestine. There were small Arab kingdoms in the south of “Palestine” already in late biblical days, and they were important military and political allies of the Jews, who exercised sovereignty back then in the Land of Israel. After the rise of Islam, historic Palestine was indeed part of a larger Arab kingdom or caliphate. But that ended in 1071, when Palestine came under the rule of the Suljuk Turks. That was the last time Palestine had an Arab ruler. After that, it was ruled by Ottomans, Mamluks, other Turks, Crusaders, British, and – briefly – French.

In any case, why does the fact that Palestine once belonged to a larger Arab empire make it any more “Arab” than the fact that it also was once part of larger Roman, Greek, Persian, Turkish, or British empires? Now it is true that historic Palestine probably once had a population majority who were Arabs, but today it has a population majority who are Jews. So if population majorities are what determine legitimacy of sovereignty, Israel is at least as legitimate as any other country.

So why exactly do the anti-Zionists claim that a thousand-year-old claim by Arabs who were never ruled by Palestinian Arabs has legitimacy, while a 1,900 year claim by Jews to the land should be rejected as absurd, even though the United Nations granted Israel sovereignty in 1947? The anti-Zionists say it is because the thousand-year-old Arab claim is more recent than the older Jewish claim. But if national claims to lands become more legitimate when they are more recent, then surely the most legitimate of all is that of the Jews of Israel to the lands of Israel, because it is, after all, the most recent.

The other claim by the anti-Zionists is that Jews have no rights to the lands of Israel (historic Palestine) because they moved there from some other places. Never mind that there was always a Jewish minority living in the land of Israel even when it was under the sovereignty of Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Crusaders, Turks or British. Does the fact that Jews moved to the land of Israel from other places disqualify them from exercising sovereignty there? The claim would be absurd enough even if we were to ignore that fact that most “Palestinian Arabs” also moved to Palestine from neighboring countries, starting in the late nineteenth century. But, more generally, does the fact that a people moves from one locality to another deprive it of its claims to legitimate sovereignty in its new abode? Does this fact necessitate the conclusion that they need to pack up and leave, as the anti-Zionists insist?

If it does, then it goes without saying that the Americans and Canadians must lead the way and show the Israelis the light, by returning all lands that they seized from the Indians and the Mexicans to their original owners and going back whence they came. For that matter, the Mexicans of Spanish ancestry also need to leave. The Anglo-Saxons, meaning the English, will be invited to return the British isles over to their rightful original Celtic and Druid owners, while they return to their own ancestral Saxon homeland in northern Germany and Denmark. The Danes of course will be asked to move aside, in fact to move back to their Norwegian and Swedish homelands, to make room for the returning Anglo-Saxons.

But that is just a beginning. The Spanish will be called upon to leave the Iberian peninsula they wrongfully occupy, and return it to the Celtiberians. Similarly the Portuguese occupiers will leave their lands and return them to the Lusitanians. The Magyars will go back where they came from and leave Hungary to its true owners. The Australians and New Zealanders obviously will have to end their occupations of lands that do not belong to them. The Thais will leave Thailand. The Bulgarians will return to their Volga homeland and abandon occupied Bulgaria. Anyone speaking Spanish will be expected to end his or her forced occupation of Latin America. It goes without saying that the French will lose almost all their lands to their rightful owners. The Turks will go back to Mongolia and leave Anatolia altogether, returning it to the Greeks. The Germans will go back to Gotland. The Italians will return the boot to the Etruscans and Greeks.

Ah, but that leaves the Arabs. First, all of northern Africa, from Mauritania to Egypt and Sudan, will have to be immediately abandoned by the illegal Arab occupiers and squatters, and returned to their lawful original Berber, Punic, Greek, and Vandal owners. Occupied Syria and Lebanon must be released at once from the cruel occupation of the Arabs imperialist aggressors. Iraq must be returned to the Assyrians and Chaldeans. Southern Arabia must be returned to the Abyssinians. The Arabs may return control of the central portion of the Arabian peninsula as their homeland. But not the oil fields.

Oh, and the Palestinian infiltrators, usurpers and squatters will of course have to return the lands they are illegally and wrongfully occupying, turning them over to their legal and rightful owners – which would, of course, be the Jews.

Steven Plaut is a professor at Haifa University. His book ‘The Scout’ is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at steven_plaut@yahoo.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/lets-talk-about-squatters-and-usurpers/2004/12/08/

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