In today’s New York Times, Ethan Bronner writes that the United States AND JAPAN consider the settlements legal.
The United States and Japan take no stand on the settlements’ legality, according to spokesmen of their embassies in Israel, although they oppose them on policy grounds.
I checked with the Japanese Embassy, which proceeded to check with the Japanese government. It got back to me a few minutes later [on Friday afternoon]: Of course it’s a lie: the Japanese government considers the settlements illegal. Poor Bronner, sitting in his Jerusalem office, calling up every consulate in the phone book starting with the A’s trying to find just one other country that considers the settlements as legal. He gets to the J’s, calls Japan, and you know how polite the Japanese are. So, Bronner probably pleads, “Don’t you agree with the United States that the settlements are legal, although OF COURSE they are an obstacle to peace?” And the Japanese are just too considerate to hurt Bronner’s feelings, so they say, “Well, yes, they are an obstacle to peace.” Bronner, thrilled that he’s finally found ONE other country that agrees (sort of) with the U.S. (even if the U.S. judge on the ICJ [International Court of Justice], Thomas Buergenthal, agreed with the other 14 judges on the court that the settlements are illegal) rushes into print that the U.S. AND JAPAN say the settlements are legal. But it ain’t so Ethan. You’ll just have to go back to the phone book and start ringing up more embassies. Here’s a hint: you might have better luck with the N’s, as in…Nauru. By the way, Ethan, when you issue the correction, you might also mention that according to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the settlements are not just illegal but a WAR CRIME. So every time your son protects a settlement, he’s an accessory to a war crime.