Read on for articleIt was disappointing to hear Foreign Minister Bob Carr repeat an erroneous assertion he has made once before.
Speaking on August 8 at Eid celebrations in Sydney to end the Muslim festival of Ramadan, Carr told a crowd outside Lakemba mosque in western Sydney that “all Israeli settlements on Palestinian land are illegal under international law and should cease."
Leaving aside the contentious reference to disputed territory as “Palestinian land”, which prejudges the outcome of the current peace talks, one would not have expected a senior and respected foreign minister to make so basic an error...
Professor James Crawford, Whewell Professor of International Law, University of Cambridge, and one of the world’s most eminent international lawyers, is generally critical of Israeli policies, as is demonstrated in a legal Opinion he published in 2012. Yet he makes clear how erroneous it is for anybody to assert dogmatically that “all” settlements are illegal under international law:
“Land acquisition on the basis of military need is not necessarily unlawful under international law. Pursuant to Article 52 of the 1907 Hague Regulations, requisitions of property are permitted to meet “the needs of the army of occupation”. Until 1979, requisition for security needs was the primary mechanism for the taking of land for settlements, and some, such as the Nahal settlements, were clearly army bases and probably lawful.”
...No previous Australian Foreign Minister has said that “all” the settlements are illegal. Such dogmatic generalisations are unworthy of a respected middle power like Australia.
... such statements are also counter-productive. They make it politically more difficult for Palestinian leaders to agree to a land swap arrangement, a sine qua non of any final peace settlement, allowing them no way forward for any territorial compromise at all.
Such statements will also alienate many Israelis who will conclude that Carr is unfairly harsh in his judgements about Israel and does not really comprehend the depth and intractability of Palestinian rejectionism.
Our Foreign Minister would have done better to limit himself to well-established bipartisan principles calling for a peaceful settlement of the conflict based on “two States for two peoples”.
*Peter Wertheim is the Executive Director of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.
Also see these previous related postings:
- The Arab League destroyed, massacred and ethnically cleansed ancient Jewish settlements in the so-called West Bank, including the Jewish Quarter of the Old City.
- The 22 Arab nations neighbouring Israel have cleansed themselves of their 856,000 Jews since 1948.
Now, the PA demand for a Judenrein territory (including those areas ethnically cleansed by the Arabs as recently as 1948) to create another anti-Semitic state, reveals the PA to be unready for peaceful co-existence.
Why can't the PA tolerate co-existing with "even a single Jew" as a permanent resident of their proposed state? ...after all, Israel has 1,500,000 Arab citizens.