Op-ed: UN vote may actually accelerate Israeli sovereignty in Judea-Samaria

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The Security Council votes on resolution reiterating its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities. The vote was 14 in favour, with one abstention (United States). UN Photo/Manuel Elias.

The UN condemnation of “settlement activities” may actually accelerate Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria – and rightfully so, because the correct interpretation of international law reveals the so-called settlements are, in fact, legal.

By Richard Mather – Israel News Online

The message is loud and clear. Despite residing in the land of Judea and Samaria for millennia, UN Security Council Resolution 2334 says Jews are forbidden to live on their own land. Arabs, on the other hand, are endowed with a natural entitlement to “Palestine.” The fact that the United States – under the guidance of Obama – allowed the vote to go ahead adds insult to injury.

However, it is plausible that the shameful vote at the UN may actually accelerate Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, especially as the incoming US president, Donald Trump, is staunchly pro-Israel and will probably not oppose Israel if the Jewish state formally annexes Judea and Samaria. Naftali Bennett, Tzipi Hotovely and others are publicly calling for the application of Israeli law in most or all of the so-called West Bank.

Indeed, Hotovely sums up the mood of many Israelis and Jews when she says that “History shows there are events which create drastic changes in Israel’s response. History will remember the UN Security Council’s Resolution 2334 as the one which brought about Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria. No decision will cause Israel to stop building on its own land.”

Obama is on his way out. With nothing better to do, he should take the opportunity to educate himself on the legality of Israel’s position in Judea and Samaria, as well as in east Jerusalem.

Israel’s appropriation of land is both practically and legally comprehensible. If Obama knew his history (and he obviously doesn’t), he would already know that the “West Bank” is unclaimed land. Contrary to popular opinion, Israeli settlements are entirely legal as long as they are within the parameters of the 1922 Mandate of Palestine. This is the same mandate that legalized and encouraged the immigration of Jews to all parts of historic Israel.

Israel’s critics may be surprised to know that the 1922 Mandate has never been superseded in international law, not even by the United Nation’s 1947 partition plan. Because the Arabs refused to recognize the partition of “Palestine,” the legal status of Judea and Samaria reverted back to the 1922 law . The capture of Judea and Samaria from Jordan in 1967 was the first step in the restoration of the territory’s true legal status. It also means that Israel’s settlements are actually the fulfilment of the original 1922 Mandate.

Quoting the Fourth Geneva Convention to argue that the settlements are in fact illegal is nonsensical. The Fourth Geneva Convention pertains only to cases of occupation of a sovereign entity. Because of the Arab refusal to reach an agreement between 1947 and 1949, the area popularly referred to as the West Bank never became the legal territory of any sovereign entity – not even Jordan, despite its occupation of the territory until 1967. Only Israel has a legal entitlement to Judea and Samaria.

If anyone is in any doubt, they would do well to consult a document boasting the signatures of over 1,000 respected diplomats and legal experts from around the world, ranging from South Africa and Canada to Norway and Brazil. The file was delivered to the EU’s then foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in the form of a petition around three years ago.

According to these legal experts, it is factually incorrect to refer to the settlements as illegal for the simple reason that the term “1967 lines” does not exist in international law. The pre-1967 lines are in fact 1949 armistice lines, and are not recognized lines or security lines. Moreover, the issue of borders is on the agenda of the peace talks and is subject to final status negotiations.

All of which means that the Palestinian/UN claim that Palestinian statehood is an unassailable right should not be taken at face value. Arab hatred of Israel has never been about the settlements or even about land. The primary obstacle is an ideological refusal to recognize the Jewish people’s deep-rooted historic, cultural and legal connections to the entire land of Israel.

Jews have an inalienable and legal right to live in east Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, and no number of sordid anti-Jewish UN resolutions can change this fact.

Resist or submit: Europe’s dilemma in the face of Islamist malice

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Turning the other cheek in the face of Islamist malice is a kind of enslavement – the enslavement of Europeans by Muslim extremists who think Westerners and Jews are pigs, apes and whores.

By Richard Mather

The present age is one of Palestinianism, antisemitism, liberal hypocrisy, ‘safe spaces’ and Islamism; an age that lacks historical understanding, devoid of common sense, an age that flies into enthusiasm over Gaza, only to decline back into indolence when the bodies of Jews and Europeans are broken.

The present age is an age of ressentiment, a French word adopted by Kierkegaard and Nietzsche to denote a sense of bitter malice directed at a scapegoat (usually the Jews) in order to insulate themselves from self-responsibility. Who are the most resentful people on earth today? The Palestinians, left-wing liberals and Islamists.

The spirit of revenge that fires the Palestinianist desire to overthrow Israel – as well as the liberal’s desire to overturn Brexit or Trump’s victory – also colors and warps his view of the past. The past is judged and found guilty for not being what it should have been.

And so the Arabs say that the Balfour Declaration should never have happened. And liberals in Britain and the United States say that Brexit and Trump should never have happened. But since the past cannot be changed, the resentful individual settles his scores by wreaking revenge on the present by murdering Jews or trying to sabotage the outcome of democratic decisions made by ordinary people in the UK and United States.

Meanwhile, Islamists everywhere resent the fact that Islamic empire building has come to nothing. Every caliphate in history has failed. Moreover, there is not a single really successful Islamic country anywhere in the world. And so resentful jihadists drive trucks into crowds of people in France and Germany out of revenge for their own failings.

The West, which has become increasingly secular in recent decades, is blind to this kind of religious resentment. Western Europeans, in particular, are inept in their understanding of current conflicts. They misread the Israeli-Arab dispute as a clash over land, and they think that acts of terrorism on European soil are symptomatic of capitalism’s failure to cater for the global poor.

Both views are wrong. What westerners (particularly those on the Left) fail to see is that Islamist terrorism is rooted in religiously-inspired rancor and malice. This is where the Islamists have the advantage. They understand only too well that the war against Jews and the West in general is not just a religious conflict, but one that is born from utter malice and failure. If the Islamists ever do defeat Western democracy, it won’t be out of strength, but simply because Europe proved weaker and sicker than the Islamists.

Actually, such a scenario is possible. Since the end of the Second World War, Europe has rid itself of its Judeo-Christian-Enlightenment heritage and burdened itself with so much colonial guilt that Angela Merkel and her EU sidekicks now lack the political will to protect their own citizens because they no longer think Europeans are worth saving.

Israel, by contrast, embarrasses the European Union by insisting on its own ethnocultural heritage and by protecting its own citizens. This is why Israel is strong and Europe is weak.

Of course, the situation might not be so bad if Europeans had embraced a robust humanism, which emphasises critical thinking, freedom and progress. Unfortunately, many in the West have become politically-correct automatons who tolerate the intolerable by creating ‘safe spaces’ on campuses for unpleasant people who wish to kill Jews and Europeans, and who undermine pluralistic values by allowing Islamist supremacists to flood into our towns and cities.

Just as one might say about the Cold War that we knew how to make distinctions between what worked (democracy, capitalism) and what didn’t (totalitarianism, communism), the present age does not make distinctions at all: there is no difference anymore, it seems, between the murdered Berliner and the terrorist who carried out the atrocity. Why do I say this? Because liberals argue that the terrorist is also a victim – the victim of borders, of capitalism, of Israel, of colonialism, a victim of everything except the failed ideology of Islamism.

Even in the face of terrorism, left-wing liberals and globalists continue to call for an end to borders because they do not make a distinction between an Islamist from Tunisia and a secular Berliner. And yet anyone with any common sense can see that there is a distinction to be made, and that making sensible is a desirable thing to do. It is not racist.

By declaring that refugees are welcome after mass sexual attacks in Cologne or truck attacks in France and Germany, the West is showing itself to be weak and sick; that Europeans have given up on their own values and relinquished their own culture, out of fear of appearing racist or colonialist. But when we no longer believe in anything, we may end up believing anything.

Kindness, humility, and sympathy are all well and good, but if resentful Islamists exploit these virtues, then there will be nobody left to extol these virtues. Turning the other cheek in the face of Islamist malice is a kind of enslavement – the enslavement of Europeans by Muslim extremists who think Westerners and Jews are pigs, apes and whores.

Who will stand up for Europe? Not Angela Merkel. Not the EU. Who will stand up for Europe? The answer is clear: Like the Israelis, we Europeans must stand up for ourselves.

 

 

Palestinianism: When people of all faiths (and none) conspire against Israel

People who call for Jews to be exiled from the Land of Israel are evangelists for a new quasi-religion called Palestinianism, which has positioned itself as the most contemporary of interfaith ideologies.

For Christians, Muslims, atheists and even radical left-wing Jews, Palestinianism offers a new kind of replacement theology in which Palestine is the True Israel and Israeli Jews are cast out of the family of nations because they remain loyal to their historic homeland.

By Richard Mather  

Replacement theology or supersessionism is the Christian teaching that the Church has replaced Israel regarding the plan, purpose and promises of God. It has been a core tenet of the Christian faith for the best part of 2,000 years and it holds that the Church replaced the Israelites/Jews as the Chosen People and that the New Covenant replaced God’s covenant with Moses.

From very early on, the Church Fathers taught that the Mosaic Covenant had been fulfilled and replaced by Christ. Tertullian, for example, taught that the “old law” and “carnal circumcision” had been “obliterated” by the “new law.” One of the implications of this theological standpoint is that the Jews are seen as an accursed people stubbornly clinging to an outmoded set of rituals that serve no divine purpose.

In fact, so the argument goes, just by continuing to exist, the Jews are recalcitrant sinners. Worse, their refusal to embrace Christ is an obstacle to God’s salvational plan for the world.

After the Shoah, some Christian theologians started to de-emphasise supersessionism. But replacement theology has never gone away. Far from it. In fact, it has re-emerged in a new guise, with all the evangelical fervor of a brand new religion. That religion is Palestinianism. I don’t just mean Christian Palestinianism which ludicrously seeks to “de-Zionize” the Tanakh and “Palestinianize” Jesus. Nor do I merely mean the Islamic tendency to use the Palestinian issue as a recruiting sergeant in the mosques.

Rather, I am talking about Palestinianism in its fullest sense: a wide-ranging quasi-religious ideology that appeals to all faiths and none. It appeals to Christians, Muslims, and even some Jews. It appeals to hardcore communist atheists and religious fanatics alike. It is the belief system of anti-Semitic movements like BDS and the International Solidarity Movement. It is a unifying belief system that blames all the world’s problems on the Jews and promises salvation by promising to eradicate Zionism and establish a State of Palestine between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

This new religion can be traced back to one man – Yasser Arafat, Palestinianism’s anti-apostle to the nations. Arafat toured the world, converting people to his cause, acquiring recognition and financial backing until his movement was a global phenomenon. As with Christianity, Palestinianism has become an almost-universal faith that appeals to gentiles and even some Jews, who are usually the most fanatical converts. It is because of Arafat (with the help of the Soviet Union) that contemporary Zionism is portrayed in much the same way that the Mosaic Covenant was/is depicted by some Christians – as corrupt, outdated, superstitious, carnal, evil.

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Following Emperor Constantine’s declaration of Christianity as the religion of the Roman Empire, theologians began to teach that Jews were solely responsible for the crime of murdering God, of deicide. John Chrysostrom (354-407), Archbishop of Constantinople, stated that Jews were murderers and destroyers, a people “possessed by the devil.”

If hostility to the Torah motivated early anti-Semitism, it was the Talmud that soon became an object of anti-Jewish hate. Full-scale attacks on the Talmud began in France during the thirteenth century. The Talmud was said to make Jews stubborn and superstitious. If only the Jews would relinquish their superstitious rituals, argued their opponents, then they’d convert to Christianity and conform to societal norms.

In the midst of all this anti-Talmud hysteria, Christian anti-Semites were accusing Jews of using the blood of Christian children for ritual purposes. It began in England in 1144 when the Jews of Norwich were accused of ritual murder after a boy was found dead with stab wounds. Thomas of Monmouth erroneously claimed that there was a Jewish prophecy that stated the killing of a Christian child each year would ensure Jewish restoration in Eretz Yisrael. This must be one of the earliest instances of a Jew-hater using the blood libel to smear the Jews for their dream of national restoration. In fact, the blood libel, or variations thereof, continue to this day.

After Israel committed the cardinal sin of winning the 1967 Six Day War, Jews have been routinely described in the language of medieval Christian theologians: Jews as satanic murderers, baby-killers, well-poisoners, harvesters of organs and stealers of land. The charge of deicide has been resurrected in modified form and is now presented as the charge of genocide against Palestinians. Of course, such claims made against the Jewish people are scandalous nonsense, propaganda designed to demonise and then to kill. But in the minds of Palestinianists, any justification to kill Jews or force them into permanent exile will suffice.

So: First the Torah and the polemical arguments against the Mosaic covenant; then the Talmud and the blood libel as justifications for persecuting Jews. Now, the object of hate is Zionism and the State of Israel. Under the banner of the new Palestinianist theology, Palestine is portrayed as the True Israel, just like the Church was described as the True Israel.

While Christian covenant theologians claim that Jews have been cast off and are no longer pre-eminent in the plans of God because they continue to abide by their Mosaic traditions, so the State of Israel is to be cast out of the family of nations because it stubbornly clings to the “carnal covenant” of Zionism. There is an eschatological aspect at play that demands the passing away of the old heaven and earth (Zionism) and the arrival of the new heaven and earth (the State of Palestine).

The sooner Zionism and the Israeli state pass into history, say the Palestinianists, the sooner there will be peace in the Middle East. Despite the obvious drawbacks to this scenario, such as the oppression of women and minorities in a Palestinian state, the imprisonment of journalists and dissidents, and the political legitimisation of far right Islamist groups like Hamas, Palestinianists remain zealous in their commitment to the creation of a twenty-third Arab state.

III

And then there are the Jewish apostates. Once upon a time we had to endure people like Titus Flavius Josephus, the writer-historian who defected to the Romans in 69 CE during the First Roman-Jewish War; and Nicholas Donin, a Jewish convert to Christianity, who pressed thirty-five charges against the Talmud to Pope Gregory IX; and Abner of Burgos, the fourteenth-century Jewish philosopher who converted to Christianity and wrote Mostrador de Justicia, one of the longest polemics against Judaism ever written.

Now we have people like Ilan Pappe, Paul Eisen, Shlomo Sand, and Noam Chomsky, who spend their days writing anti-Zionist and/or anti-Jewish polemics in order to ingratiate themselves to the non-Jewish world. It seems that some Jews, both then and now, are unable to resist the lure of either Christianity or Palestinianism.

(To complicate matters, there are some very religious Jews who believe that continued exile is part of God’s plan. The Christian view that the destruction of the Second Temple was a punishment for killing Christ has been absorbed in a modified way by some ultra-Orthodox Jews such as Neturei Karta who believe that because of their sins, the Jewish people went into exile and that human recapture of the Land of Israel is a violation of divine will. If Christians believe in replacement theology, it seems some Jews, both religious and secular, subscribe to what might be called displacement theology – the displacement of themselves.)

Because it appeals to many Christians, most Muslims and a minority of Jews, Palestinianism is the latest example of the postmodern exercise in interbelief cooperation, which can be defined as the (de)constructive interaction between people of different religious traditions and/or spiritual or humanistic beliefs. In a sense, Palestinianism is the most democratic and egalitarian of faiths. It doesn’t matter where you come from or which god you may (or may not) worship; all that is required is that you express genocidal disdain for Jewish political autonomy.

Indeed, Palestinianism is now a substitute faith for post-Christian European liberals. It offers all the benefits of mainstream religion, such as community and social action, but without any of theological baggage such as the Trinity or Islam’s Pillars of Faith. Even the quasi-religion of Marxism can be included within the framework of this new interfaith ideology because it, too, turns a finite, limited ideal (a world without Zionism/the classless society/the end of capitalism) into an object of absolute and murderous godlike devotion.

Given that Palestinianism draws on Christianity and Islam, it is perhaps no surprise that it borrows heavily from Abrahamic salvation history. This helps explain the Palestinianist preoccupation with the status and fate of the Jews, with ownership and boundaries of the land of Israel, with the importance of Jerusalem, with the identity of Jesus, and with the messianic goal of peace in the Middle East. Even the concept of “original sin” is employed to describe the creation of the State of Israel, as if pre-Zionist Palestine was the Garden of Eden!

In other words, Palestinianism offers the world a set of religious symbols that are reassuringly infused with the comfort of Bible imagery (“new wine in old skins”). Hence the myth of a Palestinian lineage that goes all the way back to the Canaanites; the “Satanic” intrusion of Zionism; the “crucifixion” of Palestine and the arrival of “Isra-hell”; and the awaited return of Palestine as a land of milk and honey. All these concepts and word-ideas are used in Palestinianist discourse.

In this salvation story, the Jews may have a role to play, but only as a people who are about to be expunged from history as the prelude to the arrival of a new world. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, “Salvation is of the Jews.” But for many people – Christian, Muslim or atheist – it seems that salvation is not of the Jews, but of the Palestinians. It is a terrifying thought.