Juan Cole debunks Israeli arguments denying Palestinian statehood

Professor Juan Cole

In a recent article on his website, JuanCole.com, Dr. Cole analysis the different excuses that Israel uses to deny statehood to Palestine and reject the 1967 borders. It is an excellent read and especially relevant in light of  president Obama’s recent speech and endorsement of the 1967 borders for the basis of a Palestinian state. I’m including a couple of excerpts below:

Why Israel needs to retreat to the 1967 borders:

…the annexation of territory from a neighbor through warfare is illegal according to the United Nations Charter, which is a treaty to which Israel and the United States are both signatories. ‘Greater Israel’ apologists attempt to get out of this difficulty by saying that countries used to conquer land away from their neighbors all the time. This is a bogus argument, since countries used to do a lot of things, including sponsor the slave trade; Britain even insisted on China allowing the sale of opium in the early 19th century. The world changed when World War II ended and the countries of the world established the United Nations to forestall any recrudescence of Axis techniques of conquest and rule. If Israel does not believe in the UN Charter, it should renounce its UN membership.

On Israel’s security concerns:

Netanyahu’s argument for not going back to 1967 borders is that it is inconvenient. He says that the 1967 borders are indefensible. This assertion is a logical fallacy, known as special pleading. You can’t launch a war and annex your neighbor’s territory because you fear that your own presents security challenges. Lots of countries are unhappy with their borders. Saddam Hussein annexed Kuwait in 1990 in part because he felt that the British had erred in not giving modern Iraq a deep water port, which made Iraq ‘indefensible’ and put it at an economic disadvantage. Pakistan believes that its failure to secure the headwaters of the Indus Valley rivers in Kashmir in 1947 puts it at a permanent disadvantage vis-a-vis India and makes the country overly vulnerable (‘indefensible’). Netanyahu’s immoral argument that a country just has to take by main force whatever it feels will make it more secure is astonishing and is a standing danger to world peace if it were taken seriously by other countries.

The full article can be read here: What lies Behind Netanyahu’s Bluster on ’1967 Borders’

Tell TIAA-CREF to Divest from Israeli Occupation

Please SIGN the petition and forward to your friends to sign it also! You can sign online here: http://www.petitiononline.com/asusjp/petition.html

We will be visiting the TIAA-CREF Phoenix office on December 10 as part of Jewish Voice for Peace’s national divestment campaign:http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/tiaa-cref


We are participants and investors in TIAA-CREF funds who are deeply concerned that TIAA-CREF invests in many companies that profit from Israelʼs occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Some of these companies provide weapons and covert surveillance supplies that maintain the occupation by force. Others take or exploit Palestinian resources, including scarce water and even the land itself. All are profiting from Israelʼs violations of international law and international human rights standards.
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U.N. report: Israel “summarily executed” U.S. citizen on flotilla

Glenn Greenwald reflects on the UN Report that concludes Israel executed one US citizen and 5 Turkish citizens on-board the aid flotilla to Gaza on Salon.com. Even more jarring than the Obama administration’s lack of outrage over the finding, is the almost absolute silence in the U.S. media over the matter. That’s probably for the best though, because as Glenn notes the only thing they are likely to attack is the report itself.

The report has been largely ignored in the American media despite the fact (or, more accurately: because) it found that much of the Israeli force used “was unnecessary, disproportionate, excessive and inappropriate and resulted in the wholly avoidable killing and maiming of a large number of civilian passengers”; that “at least six of the killings can be characterized as extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions”; and that Israel violated numerous international human rights conventions, including the Fourth Geneva Conventions (see p. 38, para. 172).

Even more striking in terms of U.S. media and government silence on this report is the fact that one of the victims of the worst Israeli violations was a 19-year-old American citizen. As Gareth Porter documents in an excellent article at The Huffington Post, the report “shows conclusively, for the first time, that US citizen Furkan Dogan and five Turkish citizens were murdered execution-style by Israeli commandos.”

The full article can be found here.

Gaza Postcard Action

Amnesty International has launched a Gaza Postcard Action. The plan is to send 10’000 postcards to the White House and call for the lifting of the blockade in Gaza. They have already met the goal of 10’000 postcards which they will be sending but are asking for people to continue sending emails or postcards directly.

The postcard can be printed from here: http://www.amnestyusa.org/pdf/gazapostcard2010.pdf

The email template can be accessed here: http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/siteapps/advocacy/index.aspx?c=jhKPIXPCIoE&b=2590179&template=x.ascx&action=14376

New Israeli army chief led Gaza offensive

Aljazeera reports:

Israel has named a new army chief, choosing for the military’s top job a general who led troops in the Gaza offensive less than two years ago.

The Gaza offensive was called by Amnesty International “22 days of Death and Destruction” and resulted in the killing of 1400 Palestinians, almost a 3rd of them women and children.

It seems the Israeli Defense Minister felt the general in charge needed a pat on the back.

Read the full news story here: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2010/08/2010822142946395226.html