We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East. (From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Snippets Of Stone: "Occupied Territory" & misuse of the Fourth Geneva Convention

Born in Leeds, Yorkshire, to immigrant parents from Lithuania, Julius Stone (1907-85), proved a brilliant scholar, graduating from Oxford with first-class honours in jurisprudence, and later becoming a Rockefeller Foundation fellow at Harvard.  Subsequently, he became an academic in New Zealand, where he was president of the League of Nations Union, and afterwards (1942-72), following a controversy in which antisemitism played its dismal part, Challis Professor of Jurisprudence and International Law at the University of Sydney.

A proud Jew and a staunch supporter of Israel, Stone vigorously combated, during the 1940s, the anti-Zionist stance of Australia's first native-born Governor-General, another proud Jew and brilliant scholar, Sir Isaac Isaacs (1855-1948), who, believing that advocacy of a Jewish State was disloyal to Britain, attacked "political Zionism" in the columns of the Sydney-based Hebrew Standard.  Stone's main counter-blast against Sir Isaac, a typical "Briton [Australians in those days were regarded as overseas Britons, and most referred to Britain as "Home"] of the Mosaic persuasion," was contained in his 1944 pamphlet "Stand Up and Be Counted!" An Open Letter to the Right Honourable Sir Isaac Isaacs ... on the Occasional of the Twenty-Sixth Anniversary of the Jewish National Home , which brought upon him opprobrium from Jews of Isaacs's ilk – whose influence in a demographically changing Australian Jewish community was, though, on the wane – and conferred on him hero-status in the eyes of others.  His pro-Zionist arguments influenced Aussie politician  Dr H. V. Evatt (1894-1965), who as I described here played a pivotal role in ensuring support at the United Nations for the creation of Israel.

An eminent figure in his field, Stone penned numerous works including several specifically pertaining to Jewry and to Israel, such as The Eichmann Trial and the Rule of Law (1961), Soviet Jewry (1965), Self-Determination and the Palestinian Arabs (1970), and Israel and Palestine: An Assault on the Law of Nations (1981).
   
A champion of Israel to the end, Stone denied that the "settlements" violate international law:
"Irony would...be pushed to the absurdity of claiming that Article 49(6), designed to prevent repetition of Nazi-type genocidal policies of rendering Nazi metropolitan territories judenrein, has now come to mean that...the West Bank...must be made judenrein and must be so maintained, if necessary by the use of force by the government of Israel against its own inhabitants. Common sense as well as correct historical and functional context excludes so tyrannical a reading of Article 49(6) [of the Fourth Geneva Convention"
As Eli E. Hertz wrote yesterday, in a piece entitled "Inappropriate Use of the Fourth Geneva Convention."
"The language of Article 49 was crafted in the wake of World War II and the Nazi occupation – an occupation that led to a war of aggression in which Nazi Germany attacked its neighbors with impunity, committing a host of atrocities against civilian populations, including deportation and displacement of local populations in occupied Europe. Millions were sent to forced labor camps and those of particular ethnic origin, most notably the Jews, were sent to their deaths in the gas chambers. The drafters of Article 49 were concerned with preventing future genocide against humanity.
Critics and enemies of Israel, including members of the UN and organs such as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) have come to use the Geneva Convention as a weapon against Israel, even when statements by authoritative analysts, scholars and drafters of the document contradict everything said by those who distort history for politically motivated reasons.
It is common knowledge that from its birth, Israel follows customarily international humanitarian law without being told or forced to do so by outside authorities....
The term “occupied territory,” which appears in the Fourth Geneva Convention, originated as a result of the Nazi occupation of Europe. Though it has become common parlance to describe the West Bank and Gaza as “occupied territories,” there is no legal basis for using this term in connection to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Professor Julius Stone, a leading authority on the Law of Nations, categorically rejected the use of the term “occupied territory” to describe the territories controlled by Israel on the following counts:
(1) Article 49 relates to the invasion of sovereign states and is inapplicable because the West Bank did not and does not belong to any other state.
(2) The drafting history of Article 49 [Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War] – that is, preventing “genocidal objectives” must be taken into account. Those conditions do not exist in Israel’s case.
(3) Settlement of Jews in the West Bank is voluntary and does not displace local inhabitants. Moreover, Stone asserted: that “no serious dilution (much less extinction) of native populations” [exits]; rather “a dramatic improvement in the economic situation of the [local Palestinian] inhabitants since 1967 [has occurred].”....
Arab opposition to Jewish settlements is based on the last paragraph of Article 49. The “Occupying Power” may not “Deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
One can hardly believe this baseless ICJ assertion that Israel, the only free and democratic country in the Middle East, used “deportation” and “forced transfer” of its own population into “occupied territories.” ....
Article 2 of the Fourth Geneva Convention applies only to conflicts that “arise between two or more high Contracting Parties,” which is not the case at hand, as Israel is the only High Contracting Party (or state) in this conflict, and Jordan never was. Thus, the Fourth Geneva Convention is inapplicable!
Professor Julius Stone, one of the twentieth century leading authorities on the Law of Nations touches on the applicability of Article 49 of the Geneva Convention, writing on the subject in 1980:
"That because of the ex iniuria principle [unjust acts cannot create law], Jordan never had nor now has any legal title in the West Bank, nor does any other state even claim such title. Article 49 seems thus simply not applicable. Even if it were, it may be added that the facts of recent voluntary settlements seem not to be caught by the intent of Article 49 which is rather directed at the forced transfer of the belligerent's inhabitants to the occupied territory, or the displacement of the local inhabitants, for other than security reasons"....'
Read all of Eli Hertz's synopsis, which cites authorities who concur with Stone, here

Hertz's piece should be required reading for the BBC, with its infuriatingly unexplained mantra that frequently tells its readers of website reports:
"The settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this".

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for this Daphne

    It has prompted me to post on the same subject

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  2. So they need to tell us why Libya's 15% Arab minority successfully oppressed their 85% Berber minority, why Turkey has ethnically cleansed Turkish Kurdistan for decades, Sudan openly occupies Darfur and attempted to exterminate South Sudan while replacing their populations with their own and a hundred other cases while our fat lazy better moral angels on every 'international law' court smugly sits there nodding approval?

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