Eugene Kontorovich: The Many Incoherences and Hypocrisies of International Law on Jerusalem
With all of this in mind, we can now return to the question of whether international law exists. Surely it does, but not everything that is passed off as international law qualifies as international law. The UN General Assembly has, by the UN’s own Charter, no power to make any binding decisions whatsoever. The Security Council does have real power, but far less than is commonly assumed. In the case of a breach of international peace, it has the power, when acting under Chapter VII of the Charter, to authorize enforcement actions, including economic sanctions and the use of force.
In U.S. constitutional terms, this is essentially an executive function. The Security Council is emphatically not an international legislature: it does not have the power to rewrite international law, let alone to make a special law for a particular country. Nor is it an international court: it cannot make binding determinations about the content of international law. It is free to offer up, as recommendations, its opinions about the content of international law and its application to particular cases. But others, including Israel, remain free to test the validity of these claims. If the principles endorsed by the Security Council in the case of Israel contradict international law as it applies to other countries, they do not become more valid by dint of a vote in the Security Council.
Law, as Friedrich Hayek explained, is a system of general rules promulgated for unknown future cases. As we have seen, the UN’s judgments on Jerusalem do not comport with the general rules. Rather, they are at best fiats, particular decrees directed solely at Israel that are delivered ultra vires (beyond granted powers). In that respect, too, they are neither international nor are they law.
There is no parallel to the international fixation with the non-binding, long since moot, and moribund Resolution 181, and the same can be said for Security Council Resolution 470, cited by Gurfinkiel, that in 1980 denounced Israel’s parliament for a law enshrining Jerusalem as the country’s capital. In numerous other contexts where the UN has expressed an opinion about a desired resolution to a territorial conflict, that opinion is not regarded as a permanent divine dictate once events have rendered it moot.
Indeed, the same year the General Assembly adopted Resolution 181, the Security Council passed a resolution that, rather than merely contemplating an “international city,” actually created one: the “Free Territory of Trieste.” That “permanent” arrangement ended with the unceremonious annexation of the territory by Italy and Yugoslavia. Who today recalls Security Council Resolution 16 for the purpose of questioning Italian or Croatian sovereignty over the defunct Free Territory?
Similarly, Security Council resolutions from 1948 about the partition of Kashmir have been ignored in every respect and inform nobody’s present understanding of India’s borders. Kofi Annan himself, the former UN secretary general, noted that the Security Council’s Kashmir resolutions were not clear mandates and not “self-enforcing.” That much of the world sees a mere General Assembly resolution of the same vintage as binding on Israel (but not on the Palestinians) says a great deal about international politics, but nothing about international law.
Khaled Abu Toameh: The Hamas March to Destroy Israel
By choosing to hold the protests under the banner of the “Three No’s,” the organizers of the “Great March of Return” have again proven that the weekly demonstrations are not about improving the living conditions of Palestinians or easing restrictions imposed on the Gaza Strip. Instead, the message the organizers are sending to the Palestinians and the rest of the world is: “We don’t recognize Israel’s right to exist and therefore we will never make negotiate or make peace with it.”
Hamas’s two other “No’s” – no to recognizing Israel and no to making peace with Israel – do not come as a surprise. In fact, Hamas appears to be reminding Palestinians of its true objectives as outlined in its 1988 charter: “There is no solution for the Palestinian question expect through Jihad (holy war). Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors…[Hamas] believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered.”
This is all that Hamas has to offer the Palestinians 12 years after its violent takeover of the Gaza Strip? Sadly, thousands of Palestinians continue to heed Hamas’s call for trying to breach the border with Israel every Friday while ignoring that it is their leaders who are mainly responsible for dragging them from one disaster to another.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu interviewed by Brian Bennett and Joseph Hincks
In an interview in Jerusalem on June 25, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “Everybody recognizes that under any realistic peace proposal, there are areas in Judea and Samaria that have already become basically part of Israel….It’s a fact. Half of Jerusalem is beyond the proverbial green line. The ’67 separation [line]. Does anyone believe that we’ll tear up half of Jerusalem? Nobody believes that.”
“[The Palestinians] were offered just about everything in Camp David in 2000, with President Clinton and then-Prime Minister Barak, and they walked away from that. They walk away each time. They walked away with Olmert. They walked away when President Obama and John Kerry wanted to propose a framework for negotiations….They serially walk away from any negotiations that will present a workable peace.”
“The reason we can’t get peace is because nobody goes to the heart of the problem, which is the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize the Jewish state in any borders.”
MEMRI: Hamas Political Bureau Member Fathi Hammad Calls On Palestinians All Over The World To Slaughter Jews, Says If Israel Doesn’t Lift The Siege By Next Friday, We Will Kill The Jews With Explosive Belts And Knives
Fathi Hammad: “We say to the Zionist enemy that it has exactly one week – until next Friday. If it does not lift the siege by then, and if it does not implement the understandings [with Hamas]… We have many methods and means up our sleeves, and they are just waiting for the green light to powerfully explode in the face of the enemy, Allah willing. They think that we are rational people. Well, we aren’t. The people of Gaza are not rational. For 70 years in Gaza, the Zionist enemy tried to change our genes. [Our genes] have not changed. On the contrary, they have progressed even more, and they are ready to blow up in the face of the enemies, Allah willing. You have one week, oh Zionist enemy! If you do not lift the siege… Well, we will not die standing [idly by]. We will not die of starvation. If we die, it will be while we are killing you and cutting off your heads, Allah willing.
“If you don’t lift the siege, we will explode in the faces of our enemies, Allah willing. And the explosion won’t just be in Gaza – it will also be in the West Bank and abroad, Allah willing. Our brothers abroad are still preparing. They are warming up… They have been warming up for a year and a half… Oh, you seven million Palestinians abroad, enough warming up! There are Jews everywhere!
“We must attack every Jew on planet Earth – we must slaughter and kill them, with Allah’s help. Enough warming up!”
“You Can Buy Knives For Five Shekels! How Much Is The Neck Of A Jew Worth To Us – Isn’t It Worth Five Shekels, Or Even Less?”
Hamas Political Bureau Member Fathi Hammad Calls on Palestinians All over the World to Slaughter Jews, Says: If Israel Doesn’t Lift the Siege by Next Friday, We Will Kill the Jews with Explosive Belts and Knives pic.twitter.com/BGIFgA1Q7N
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) July 14, 2019
Hamas attempts to distance itself from comments a senior official in the terror group made last week calling on members of the Palestinian diaspora to kill Jews around the world.
“These statements do not represent the movement’s official positions and consistent, adopted policies that stipulate that our conflict is with the occupation which is occupying our land and sullying our holy sites and not with Jews around the world or with Judaism as a religion,” Hamas says in a statement on its website.
The Islamist terror group, which is sworn to Israel’s destruction, makes the move following a flurry of condemnations of its senior official Fathi Hammad’s comments, including from PLO secretary general Saeb Erekat and UN envoy Nikolay Mladenov.
Hammad, a Hamas politburo member known for his fiery rhetoric, made the remarks in a speech at a protest on the border between Gaza and Israel on Friday.
Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, on Monday condemned statements made by senior Hamas official Fathi Hammad last week calling on members of the Palestinian diaspora to kill Jews around the world.
“The just values of the Palestinian cause include love for freedom, justice and equality. The repugnant statement of Hamas leader Mr. Fathi Hammad about Jews doesn’t represent any of them,” Erekat tweeted on Monday. “Religion shouldn’t be used for political purposes.”
Erekat said that when he saw Hammad’s comments Monday morning, he felt disgusted.
“When I saw that statement, I couldn’t take it. So I had to go [tweet] in Arabic and English, calling it repugnant,” he told The Times of Israel in a phone call, adding that the comments made him feel like he wants “to vomit.”
Erekat has long said that he has great respect for Judaism. In an interview in June, he said that Judaism is “one of God’s great religions.”
Nikolay Mladenov, the United Nations special coordinator to the Middle East peace process, also condemned Hammad’s comments.
“A dangerous, repugnant and inciteful statement! It must to be clearly condemned by ALL. There can be no complacency with such rhetoric. Ever!” he tweeted on Monday.
Hamas has once again been trying to obtain intelligence from Israeli troops stationed along the Gaza border using online messaging applications.
Posing as fellow soldiers, Hamas operatives contacted troops on the WhatsApp text messaging service and would ask for intelligence such as troop movements.
One combat soldier serving in the Paratrooper’s brigade received a text message on WhatsApp from an unknown person asking him to send the dates of the next exercises the brigade was expecting to hold in the coming months and when the troops were scheduled to leave the area.
Despite the Hamas operative sending the soldier information on the brigade, likely taken from another soldier the operative contacted, the paratrooper did not divulge any intelligence and alerted his commanders.
According to Ynet news, an investigation was launched into how the Hamas operative got his hands on the classified information.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit acknowledged the efforts by Hamas to collect intelligence from soldiers, saying in a statement that “The IDF is aware of the enemy’s activity and is following its efforts over social media. We call on all military and civilian personnel to act carefully and responsibly.
“We would like to point out that this year marks the anniversary of Operation Heartbreaker, in which the IDF exposed Hamas activity against IDF soldiers on social networks. The operation contributed greatly to raising the awareness and alertness of the soldiers, which is also reflected in the current event,” the military added.
A Palestinian father has been challenging the Palestinian Authority over denying his daughter treatment in Israel.
Journalist Fathi Sabbah’s daughter Rima suffers from a form of blood cancer. She was one of the thousands of Palestinian patients affected by the PA’s decision to stop funding medical treatment in Israel for its citizens. The cessation of services went into effect on March 26.
According to the news website Days of Palestine, Sabbah was promised by PA prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh that he would personally follow Rima’s case to make sure that she would receive the treatments she needs. Shtayyeh contacted Sabbah via telephone after he shared his story on Facebook.
However, the medical referral that Rima received to be treated at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem only covered a checkup and not the medications she needed, according to the report.
More than 20,000 permits used to be granted to Palestinians living in the West Bank to enter Israel and receive treatment or support a patient who was receiving treatment in the Jewish state, according to numbers released to The Jerusalem Post by the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) in an interview earlier this year. That number was up by nearly 3,000 from the year before.
The coordinated cooperation was put to an end by the PA when Israel implemented the “Pay-for-Slay” Law in February, which instructs the state to deduct and freeze the amount of money the PA pays in salaries to imprisoned terrorists and families of “martyrs” from the tax money it collects for the PA. Afterward, the authority announced it would stop providing its citizens with medical treatment in Israel, and committed to finding alternative opportunities of healthcare.
A Gaza-based charity that ostensibly receives humanitarian funds from US and Western Islamist benefactors has close ties to a designated terrorist group, according to a new report by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC).
Board members for the Generosity Without Limit Association (“Generosity Association”), a charitable organization operating in the Gaza Strip since 2007, either serve as operatives or have close affiliations with an umbrella group called the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC). Israel declared the PRC a terrorist organization in 2006, and claims the PRC is funded and trained by Hamas. Its largest attack came in 2011, killing eight Israeli civilians and wounding another 20.
The Generosity Association is supported by several Islamist charities in the United States, France, Britain, Turkey, and Israel.
The ITIC report published Facebook pictures from Generosity Association and PRC accounts that showed food packages that Generosity Association distributed to “needy families” in the Gaza Strip during Ramadan. The packages were identical to ones the PRC handed out to family members of shahids (terrorist martyrs) and wounded terrorists.
“It is unclear whether the humanitarian organizations abroad are aware of the close connection between the [Generosity] Association and the PRC,” the report said, adding that “an Internet search may reveal the connection and alert donors to the possibility that funds earmarked for charity are also used for supporting terrorism.”
What could recycling, first aid, and terrorist murderers possibly have in common? Nothing, right?
But in the Palestinian Authority they are related – because they are all part of the program taught to kids at the PLO summer camps.
In a video posted by the PLO Supreme Council for Sport and Youth Affairs – an institution that arranges and runs summer camps in the PA – Palestinian kids explain what they learned at one such camp.
Young girls and boys describe that they have learned about recycling, first aid, and that sports help to keep a healthy lifestyle. But in between these positive educational messages, the kids were also taught that the Palestinians are “one hand against the enemies,” and that two terrorist murderers – Abu Jihad and Dalal Mughrabi – are among their leaders.
Significantly, one girl singled out these two killers who were involved the most lethal attack in Israel’s history – the Coastal Road massacre planned by Abu Jihad and carried out by Dalal Mughrabi – in which 37 Israeli civilians were murdered, among them 12 children. This is not surprising because both have been turned into role models for society by the PA, as documented by Palestinian Media Watch.
Toy story https://t.co/qD6ExpiDTN
— Ozraeli Dave (((דיויד לנג))) (@Israellycool) July 15, 2019
Palestinian refugees used burning tires to cut through the entrance to the Rashidieh refugee camp near Tyre in protest of the Lebanese Labor Ministry’s decision to prosecute Palestinian businesses, Ma’an reported Monday.
Back in 2005, Lebanon’s labor ministry allowed Palestinian refugees to engage in professions from which they had been barred since 1948.
Reports from Lebanon say that over the past few days, Labor Ministry inspectors have implemented recent decisions to shut down businesses owned by Palestinians.
According to Ma’an, the PLO in Lebanon was surprised by the actions carried out by the Lebanese Labor Ministry to prosecute Palestinian workers in their workplaces and to issue legal and financial restrictions against their employers as part of operation “Combating illegal foreign workers.”
“This behavior is not in line with the official Lebanese position that supports the rights of the Palestinian people and rejects the so-called ‘Deal of the Century,’” Ma’an wrote, adding: “It is also inconsistent with the unity of the official Palestinian and Lebanese position that rejects the settlement enterprise. To shut down the Palestinian refugees’ businesses, to shut the doors of life and starve them – instead of strengthening their determination and their ability to resist all projects and plots aimed at the right of return, including the resettlement project.”
In a June 18, 2019 Facebook post, Lebanese Muslim social and political activist Muhammad ‘Awwad revealed that the municipality of Al-Hadath, a Lebanese town in Beirut’s southeastern suburbs, bans the sale and rental of homes to Muslims. Al-Hadath was originally a Christian town and its municipality is still dominated by Christians, although today the majority of its residents are Muslim. ‘Awwad wrote that he tried to rent an apartment in the town, but the landlady told him that the local authority prohibited renting to Muslims, a claim that he later verified with the municipal authority itself. Subsequently, a recording of a conversation between ‘Awwad’s wife, Sara Ra’ed, and an employee at the municipality, who informed her that this ban has been in effect for many years, also went viral on social media.
Given the sensitive sectarian fabric of Lebanese society, the affair sparked an uproar on social media and responses from local leaders, as well as from Lebanese MPs and other senior officials. Many Muslims on social media attacked the ban as racist and illegal. Lebanese Interior Minister Raya Al-Hassan stated that it contravened the Lebanese constitution, which sweepingly prohibits limiting property deals on a sectarian basis.
Al-Hadath mayor George ‘Aoun, a Christian, hastened to rebuff the criticism and justify the town’s policies, explaining that the ban has been in effect for many years and is intended to preserve the sectarian character of the town, which was originally Christian. He also claimed that Lebanese President Michael ‘Aoun and leaders of the Shi’ite movements in the country support this decision. As a matter of fact, there reportedly exists an unwritten agreement between the Al-Hadath leadership and the Shi’ite Hizbullah intended to preserve the sectarian identity of communities in Beirut’s southern suburbs. The Lebanese media also claimed that sectarian restrictions on residency exist in other places in Lebanon as well.
On July 5, 2019, “The Resistance Media Network,” which is affiliated with the Hashd Al-Sha’bi (the Popular Mobilization Units, PMU) released a recording of a telephone conversation between Mahmoud Al-Falahi, commander of the military operations room in Al-Anbar, and a CIA agent with Iraqi citizenship. According to the report, during the call the CIA agent demanded that Al-Falahi provide him with the geographic coordinates of the dispersal of the Iraqi army, security forces, the PMU, and the resistance factions, with a focus on the outposts in Al-Qa’im of the Iranian-backed Hizbullah Brigades in Iraq. This information was requested as part of the preparation for attacks on these areas by the U.S. and Israeli air forces.
On June 17, 2018, Shi’ite and pro-Syrian regime forces were attacked on the Syria-Iraq border and 50 men were killed. PMU elements do not discount the possibility that this was an Israeli action that at the very least was coordinated with the U.S.
Members of the political and military wings of the Shi’ite militias affiliated with Iran described the report as further evidence of an American plot against Iraq and its security forces and called for the expulsion of the American ambassador and closure of the embassy. Hashtags expressing these sentiments were posted on social media.
On June 24 Trump admin sanctioned Iran’s Office of the Supreme Leader. The Iranians said designation ruined diplomacy “forever.”
“Forever” turned out to be a couple weeks.
They’re bluffing. They’ll cling to every last excuse to preserve the nuclear deal. It’s too good for them. https://t.co/4SHOmHWBws
— Omri Ceren (@omriceren) July 14, 2019
For two years, the U.S. has been warning the Turkish government against receiving a huge Russian missile defense system. Washington has made clear that, were that to happen, it would have no choice but to impose sanctions that could further cripple the Turkish economy, restrict Turkey’s role in NATO and forever alter the U.S.-Turkey alliance. This week the Russian equipment is arriving in Turkey.
Turkish President Erdogan’s decision to move ahead with the purchase of the S-400 Russian missile defense system – in direct defiance of the U.S. – is not just about the U.S. and Turkey. By daring the Trump team to enforce a law that promises to punish any country that does business with Russia’s defense industry, he is attacking the credibility of U.S. sanctions policy worldwide. That’s one reason the administration isn’t going to look the other way.
The decision to expel Turkey from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program seems obvious, because the most sensitive U.S. aircraft cannot share the same geographical space with the Russian system designed to detect it. Congress is on board. In June, the House unanimously passed a resolution calling on the administration to enforce tough sanctions against Turkey if Erdogan doesn’t reverse course on the S-400.
Today, we are proud to welcome 2 new F35 fighter jets to our existing fleet, bolstering Israel’s aerial superiority and operational capabilities.
These new additions are a further expression of the ever-strong military partnership between 🇮🇱 and 🇺🇸. pic.twitter.com/mrIrCNeTPA
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) July 14, 2019
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