O – Occupation

“Occupied Territories”

No, they are not. The League of Nations Palestine Mandate recognized the Jewish People’s rights to reconstitute its Jewish National Home in Palestine (including Judea and Samaria and originally including what became Transjordan, later Jordan), and called for the close settlement of the Jews on this land, where Jews had lived, claiming it as their homeland for over 3,000 years. They are at best, under international law “disputed” lands, but not occupied and certainly not “Palestinian territories.”

July 2015 UNHRC Resolution for Which Europe Voted

This is the “Gaza war” resolution that the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted on July 3, 2015, for which every European member of the Council – including Germany, France and England – affirmatively voted (emphasis added):

Resolution title: “Ensuring Accountability and Justice For All Violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”

Preamble paragraph: “… the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, which is applicable to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.”

Preamble paragraph: “Stressing the urgency of achieving without delay an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967.”

Preamble paragraph: “Deploring the non-cooperation by Israel with the independent commission of inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict and the refusal to grant access to or to cooperate with the international human rights bodies seeking to investigate alleged violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.”

Operative paragraph 6: “[The Human Rights Council] Calls upon all States to promote compliance with human rights obligations and all High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to respect, and to ensure respect for, international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem ….”

What this UNHRC’s July 3, 2015, “Gaza Conflict” resolution will be remembered, and quoted, for is not just its unjust association of the IDF with war crimes, but the joinder of the entirety of Europe, including Germany, England and France, on the side of the historicity of the Arab narrative of “the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.”

And a sobering reminder to those Westerners who did get to read this full AP report that, as ex-AP reporter Matti Friedman said in a January 26 [2015] London speech, defining the Arab-Jewish conflict as about “occupation” is simplistic. Friedman:

The occupation is not the conflict, which, of course predates the occupation. It is a symptom of the conflict, a conflict that would remain even if the symptom were somehow solved. . . .

Half of the Jews in Israel are there because their families were forced from their homes in the 20th century not by Christians in Europe, but by Muslims in the Middle East. Israel currently has Hezbollah on its northern border, alQaeda on its northeastern and southern borders, and Hamas in Gaza. None of these groups seek an end to the occupation, but rather openly wish to destroy Israel.

Media Pushed Loaded Language in December 2014 UNSC Resolution One Step Worse
Thanks partly to a fellow named Goodluck Jonathan, an amended Arab resolution calling for negotiations leading to “a sovereign, contiguous and viable State of Palestine” [paragraph 1] failed passing the U.N. Security Council in December 2014 by one vote.

The media watch aspect is the language, echoed and then some by mainstream media, in which that resolution was framed. The resolution called, inter alia, for

*** “borders based on 4 June 1967 lines with mutually agreed, limited, and equivalent land swaps” [par. 2];

*** “full and phased withdrawal of the Israeli occupying forces, which will end the occupation that began in 1967” and their replacement with “security arrangements, including through a third-party presence” [par. 2];

*** “a just and agreed solution to the Palestine refugee question ….” [par. 2]

*** “a just resolution to the status of Jerusalem as the capital of the two States ….” [par. 2]; and

*** a Security Council “demand” for immediate “complete cessation of all Israeli settlement activities in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem” [pars. 10 and 10b];

Last-minute updates to the resolution’s preamble included

*** appending to “Reaffirming the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination” the clause “and to independence in their State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital,” and

*** a reference to the International Court’s “advisory opinion “ on “the legal consequences of the construction [by Israel] of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer ran two mainstream media articles on this close call (which would almost certainly have been met with a U.S. veto), a Washington Post article Wednesday (“Palestinian-backed Measure Fails at U.N.”, Inq, Wed., 12/31/14, A10), and an AP piece Thursday (Inq, Thu, 1/1/15, A1, 9) that led with Abbas turning next to the International Court.

In most respects, these two articles echoed the U.N. resolution’s language, giving the MSM cover in using it. E.g., Wednesday’s WP article reported that the resolution called for “an end to Israeli occupation,” that “it declared that East Jerusalem would be the capital of a Palestinian state,” and that “it also demanded an end to Israeli settlement building.” Thursday’s AP article cited the resolution as “setting a three-year deadline for establishment of a Palestinian state on lands occupied by Israel,” and, in the International Court context, referenced “settlement construction on occupied lands.”

Pro-Israel media watchers have a bone to pick with this mainstream media reporting this week in the Inq, and let’s quickly address that before turning to the crux of what this week’s UN activity and its coverage reveals of our media problem.

Wednesday’s Washington Post article twice mischaracterized the UN resolution. In lead paragraph 1 the WP wrote that the resolution called “for Israel to withdraw to its 1967 borders.” In paragraph 4 it wrote that the resolution “said a final deal should be based on borders that existed before the 1967 war.” What the resolution’s paragraph 2 actually said was “borders based on 4 June 1967 lines ….” [emphasis added] There is a substantial substantive difference between ceasefire lines, which the 1949 Israel-Jordan armistice lines (“the green line”) expressly were, and internationally recognized political borders. Having been expressly declared in their defining document as dictated by military considerations exclusively, without prejudice to either side’s claims of political borders, the 1949 Israel-Jordan ceasefire lines are no holier (are indeed less holy) than their successor 1967 Israel-Jordan ceasefire lines.
Media Buys Into Arab Claim of “Occupation”

*** AP, 9/27/14: “… Mahmoud Abbas said Friday that he would ask the U.N. Security Council to dictate the ground rules for any talks with Israel, including setting a deadline for an Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian lands.” (emphasis added);

*** AP, 11/30/14: “[proposed resolution] setting a November 2016 deadline to end the Israeli occupation,” with Inq photo caption: “Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas wants to end Israeli occupation.”
*** Washington Post, 4/24/14: “… Israel, which occupies the West Bank”
*** Washington Post, 8/11/14: “… the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem….”
*** AP, 11/30/14: “[Abbas to seek Security Council resolution] setting a November 2016 deadline to end the Israeli occupation,” with Inquirer photo caption: “Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas wants to end the Israeli occupation.”