David Friedman the newly installed U.S. Ambassador to Israel did something few diplomats do, he commented on the status of Jerusalem falsely claiming that, “It has always and will always be part of Israel”. So I promptly provided him with the facts in a two-part comment at Politico I will update this space when he replies. What follows is my verbatim comment without the break:
Ambassador Friedman, that is simply not true and never has been true and certainly, you must be being disingenuous, you surely can’t be serious. There is utterly no doubt that Jerusalem is not within the legal borders of Israel. And the sad fact is Israel is an Apartheid state that was created to be that way, it is inherent in being a Jewish supremacist state. This makes millions of American Jews massively uncomfortable because supporting Israel and Jerusalem is a reflex, but using ethnic cleansing and Apartheid to accomplish this already illegal colonial belligerent occupation (a critical distinction under international law that even the Israeli High Court recognizes as fact) is simply a step too far for most except for the most radical right-wing activists who have a great disdain for the rule of law.
The state of Israel never existed prior to May 15th, 1948 in a legal sense. This “Israel reborn” stuff based upon mythical times thousands of years ago have no bearing whatsoever on the legal position of the state of Israel.
Were it so, Islamic State, therefore, would have every right to “recreate the Caliphate” and impose Islamic law wherever it could, just like Israel has done with the Palestinian people. I suggest you have your boss look at the British Census of Palestine in 1922, the year of the British Mandate for Palestine. In November of that year there were eight times as many indigenous Muslim Palestinians as there were Yishuv Jews, and in that same year Winston Churchill made clear in the British White Paper of the same year, five years after the Balfour Declaration where Arthur Balfour himself recognized Palestine as a “country”, the following:
“Unauthorized statements have been made to the effect that the purpose in view is to create a wholly Jewish Palestine. Phrases have been used such as that Palestine is to become “as Jewish as England is English.” His Majesty’s Government regards any such expectation as impracticable and have no such aim in view. Nor have they at any time contemplated, as appears to be feared by the Arab delegation, the disappearance or the subordination of the Arabic population, language, or culture in Palestine. They would draw attention to the fact that the terms of the Declaration referred to do not contemplate that Palestine as a whole should be converted into a Jewish National Home, but that such a Home should be founded `in Palestine.'”
This bit of historical fact is important to the lead up to the “partition” resolution known as UNGAR 181, surely you know it. In that resolution from November 29th, 1947 it clearly states that Jerusalem is to be an international city under a corpus separatum, Latin for “separated body”.
On May 14th, 1948 Israel of course, said the following in the declaration of independence:
“On the 29th November, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz-Israel; the General Assembly required the inhabitants of Eretz-Israel to take such steps as were necessary on their part for the implementation of that resolution. This recognition by the United Nations of the right of the Jewish people to establish their State is irrevocable.”
And yet it is most obviously revocable as the Likud being in power for the last four decades and indeed from the very first inkling of an idea of a Jewish state the entire idea is to have all of Palestine with a minimum of indigenous Palestinians, those who were already there, on their land, eight to one, in that mythical land that Hasbara taught us all was “a land for a people, for a people without a land.”
The status of Jerusalem is clear under well-established international law. Sure Ronald Reagan made some artful changes to the language of diplomacy during those years but that has never changed the US position, the colonies are illegal under international law.
Indeed, with Jerusalem, it is unlawful for any UN nation to help Israel in any way break international law or the UN Charter, in particular in UNSCR resolutions 465, 476 and 478, in the latter it clearly states:
“3. Determines that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular the recent “basic law” on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith…”
(a) All Member States to accept this decision;
(b) Those States that have established diplomatic missions at Jerusalem to withdraw such missions from the Holy City…”
I reckon you know this because this is one of the main reasons the US Embassy cannot possibly be moved, it would be illegal to do so under international law. Now those pesky UN resolutions are thirty-seven years-old. It is old news, everyone who has spent even a small amount of serious study of Palestine knows these facts.
More recently in 2004, the International Criminal Court of Justice found that these resolutions have a solid foundation under international law. The court wrote in part:
“75. From 1967 onwards, Israel took a number of measures in these territories aimed at changing the status of the City of Jerusalem. The Security Council, after recalling on a number of occasions ‘the principle that acquisition of territory by military conquest is inadmissible’, condemned those measures and, by resolution 298 (1971) of 25 September 1971, confirmed in the clearest possible terms that:
“all legislative and administrative actions taken by Israel to change the status of the: City of Jerusalem, including expropriation of land and properties, transfer of populations and legislation aimed at the incorporation of the occupied section, are totally invalid and cannot change that status”.
Further sir, I direct your attention to the most recent UN Security Council resolution 2334 which also states:
“Reaffirming its relevant resolutions, including resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 446 (1979), 452 (1979), 465 (1980), 476 (1980), 478 (1980), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003), and 1850 (2008), Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and reaffirming, inter alia, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force…
…1. Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;
2. Reiterates its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard;
3. Underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations…”
Now, sir, I ask you, in the face of these undeniable facts and truths about this matter, with the copious documentation on full view for the public in easily accessible documents, would you like to now retract this statement, “It [Jerusalem] has always and will always be part of Israel” since it clearly is not true?
Would you like to now recant and quickly backtrack and instead face the truth? Or are you going to go down the road the boss is currently going down? That does not seem like such a productive road given that it was Israeli intelligence that your boss provided to the Russians.
But you do have the chance in the face of the evidence to retract your statement and repair the record or perhaps you will go the way of other appointees of your boss, ruining their careers and reputations forever by being caught in lies due to scrupulous observance of a rather odious alt-right wing ideology both here in the US and in Israel well before.
Your move. Your reputation.