Je débats avec Marius Schattner au sujet de Trump et Jérusalem

Au sujet de Marius Schattner, voir l’article de Meir Ben-Ayoun sur Facebook.

2 Responses to Je débats avec Marius Schattner au sujet de Trump et Jérusalem

  1. Charlie in NY says:

    Richard: It was a very interesting and civil debate, but I think that the overall framework – by which I mean allowing the phrase “Occupied Palestinian Territories” – remains loaded against Israel. That framework assumes that Israel took something that did not belong to it and therefore they have no right to retain any of it. It also assumes, since every Israeli living in the former Jordanian-occupied lands of the Mandate are viewed as “settlers” or “colonists”, that they too have no right to be there.

    There are two answers – and I assume you know both, one is quick the other no so much and I apologize in advance for the length (it could have been far longer). The first is to remind everyone that until 1948, Jews lived throughout those lands and did so in many cases for centuries (and in some instances even before the Arab imperial invasion). Jordan ethnically cleansed these Jewish populations, and ethnic cleansing is a war crime. So to call the area “Palestinian” and assert that Jews have no right to settle there (or even reconstitute their old communities, such as in Hebron), is to support the results of ethnic cleansing – a position, I suspect, that no Western intellectual will support although The NY Times bizarrely refered to pre-1967 East Jerusalem as an Arab city. Should the other side argue that both Jews and Arabs were ethnically cleansed by the other side, then you can simply point out that (a) Israel has a 20% Arab population versus 0% by the time Jordan and Egypt were done in 1949, and (b) this proves that charges against Israel of ethnic cleansing are either in large part false as a matter of history or “ethnic cleansing” has been conveniently redefined to fit the facts against Israel.

    The second answer is a bit legalistic, and longer, but as many advocate for “rights” and “justice” it is just as important. We start with the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine of 1922. It accomplished two major things. One, it delineated for the first time in modern history the borders of the historical homeland of the Jewish people and called it Palestine. Two, it provided the only example of a “right of return” under international law (because the Mandate has the status of an international treaty and so is a basis for the creation of international law, as opposed to, say a non-binding UN resolution). That right gave the Jewish people the power to closely settle throughout the Mandate lands. 1923 saw the first partition of the Mandate lands with 78% being closed off to the Jews to create the Emirate of Transjordan (today’s Jordan). It could just as easily have been called East Palestine – just as the League of Nations could have chosen a name more closely associated with Jewish history than Palestine, but things don’t work out so neatly. In any case, the Mandate after 1923 is now what is known as “historic Palestine”, a designation that would be amusing were the consequences not so dire.

    When the Mandate terminated in 1948, the legal issue was where are the internationally recognized borders of Israel as the successor state to the Mandate? Under the 19th century international law doctrine of uti possidetis juris (created to identify the borders of the newly independent countries in South America and still used by international courts), sovereignty extends to the last recognized lines of demarcation whether or not the country could effectively control the entire area. To do otherwise, as in the competing doctrine of possidetis facto which never gained acceptance, would be to invite and reward conflict. So, here, “juris” means that all the land of the Mandate as it existed in 1948 became sovereign Israeli land with the end of the Mandate. Had “facto” been the accepted doctrine, then Jordan and Egypt would at least have had an argument, though a weak one, over having acquired sovereign rights from their conquests. Note, the “Palestinians” do not come into play at all as they were not even recognized at the time as a separate people.

    As a final note, Article 80 of the UN Charter prohibited the UN from diminishing the rights of peoples that were granted under earlier Mandates (of which Palestine was one). So, the 1947 UN resolution could only suggest but not impose any solution. Similarity, the Security Council was deprived of power to impose any solution (as for Jerusalem, for instance).

    That seems to be the applicable law (which is different from the politics surrounding the issues) and, from asking around, it seems that no country that speaks so confidently of of “international law” has developed any argument addressing these specific issues.

    The point of this exercise, though, is to reframe the discussion. Israel is not a land thief that has no right to hold anything it seized in 1967. Instead, Israel always had the better legal claim to the lands of the former Mandate as it existed in 1948 and in the search for peace has shown a willingness to give to a third party part of what rightfully belongs to Israel. There are not “Occupied Palestinian Territories” – that is a political statement not a legal one, and one that certainly prejudges any outcome. In truth, the lands are not even disputed. What you have are lands that Israel liberated from illegal Jordanian and Egyptian occupation in 1967, and there should be no shame in pointing that out, especially because Palestinian Arabs were never sovereign there at any point in history. If anything, one could say that in liberating these lands, Israel also liberated the Palestinian Arabs (who didn’t know they needed to be liberated, apparently) from Jordanian and Egyptian oppression. That is why since 1967, their life expectancy has about doubled, they have a university system built from scratch and have potable water and electricity among other things.
    For good measure, you can also point out to Article 24 of the 1964 PLO Charter expressly denies any Palestinian sovereign rights to the Mandate lands occupied by Jordan and Egypt – obviously after 1967, they amended this article, but such intentional relinquishment of right (not that they actually had any such rights) under international law cannot be undone so casually. Also, there is the following factoid that goes to “justice”. Today, about 99.75% of the Middle East holdings of the former Ottoman Empire are ruled (would that one could say “governed”) by Arabs. Israel, from the river to the sea, accounts for the remaining 0.25%. That is what the fight is over, the Arabs want it all.

    • Richard Landes says:

      thank you for this long and valuable response. (I’ve added paragraphs for easier reading.)

      I must say that although Marius is a charming fellow (like so many French intellectuals), his thinking reflects what Jennifer Dyer characterized as the “The mainstream media – the sort of idiot Greek chorus of our eroding culture…”

      After stating as obvious fact that beyond the Green Line was unjustly occupied territory (as if the Palestinians ever recognized the Green Line as legitimate), he confidently assured me: “And the entire international community agrees with me.” Shades of both the blood libel and the Jenin “massacre” – can the whole world be wrong and the Jews (not him) be right? Impensable!.

      See the analysis of Schattner’s extreme left views by Meir Ben-Ayoun added to the post above.

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