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Talks will fail because Palestinians shouldn’t negotiate with ‘a thief,’ Israel supporter concedes

Israel/Palestine
on 24 Comments

Excellent piece in the Jewish Journal by David Suissa, a rightwing columnist who believes that Israel has a right to the West Bank, stating that the talks will fail because Israel has “the mark of ‘thief’” on its forehead and therefore the Palestinians will never compromise with it, and who can blame them. Suissa laments this mark, but says that a global campaign has been successful in affixing it. 

there’s an underlying emotional reason why these talks are doomed to continue the failures of the past.

No one wants to negotiate — let alone compromise — with a thief.

For several decades now, the Palestinians have successfully sold the world and themselves on the narrative that Israel stole their land. This has given them zero incentive to compromise.

Over time, as this unchallenged narrative has taken on the aura of accepted truth, it has undermined all attempts to reach a final peace agreement, as well as expose Israel to a global campaign of boycotts and condemnations.

To make matters worse, whenever there is more settlement construction, the perceived level of “criminality” has only gone up….

As long as you enter negotiations with the mark of “thief” on your forehead, good luck trying to get the other side to compromise.

Much of Suissa’s column is dedicated to his argument that Israel has the right to Judea and Samaria, and it has failed to defend that right. It can’t win. It’s not Palestinian marketing that’s undermined his position, it’s that the rest of the world does not accept the Israeli interpretation of the Geneva Convention on transfer of populations.

The article demonstrates how much is at stake with the European stance on unlawfulness of the settlements. Israelis have undertaken negotiations in some measure because they are seeking a EU fig-leaf compromise on that stance. So as to escape the thief label.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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24 Responses

  1. Citizen
    August 12, 2013, 2:58 pm

    “It’s not Palestinian marketing that’s undermined his position, it’s that the rest of the world does not accept the Israeli interpretation of the Geneva Convention on transfer of populations.”

    In fact, even the original UN partition borders did not entail any Palestinian representation, and that partition itself was by the UN GA, and never secured as legitimate by UN SC vote. That Israel won’t accept those borders, but wants more land on the land it conquered by war in ’67, just reveals how rogue Israel is; it Israel was smart it would accept the armistice green line, which gave the Jews more than they deserved in the first place. Further, the original UN recognition of Israel came with a condition subsequent, that is, Israel promised to ASAP allow the return of the natives who were scared off their land. Nobody will make Israel account for its actions, it’s failure to conform to the gift the world powers gave them at the expense of the innocent Palestinian people. It’s disgusting, not just the chutzpah, but the Gentile world’s buying into it as a righteous just cause.

    • Hostage
      August 12, 2013, 9:24 pm

      In fact, even the original UN partition borders did not entail any Palestinian representation, and that partition itself was by the UN GA, and never secured as legitimate by UN SC vote.

      The General Assembly didn’t have to consult the wishes of the inhabitants before emancipating them or establishing a UN Trusteeship. The now senescent terms of Articles 80, 81, and 85 of the Charter – together with Article 18 – explicitly conferred the necessary power on the General Assembly to conclude agreements on the emancipation or trusteeship of non-self-governing territories in cooperation with the states concerned, or on behalf of the Organization itself. In this case, that was the British Mandatory and the Trusteeship Council that it directed to author the Statute on the Corpus Separatum. See:
      * The British memorandum on the “Legal Meaning of the Termination of the Mandate” and announcement that the United Nations Palestine Commission will be the Government of Palestine after 15 May 1948 in so fas the Mandatory Power is concerned. http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/B8A884629259C43885256A570067C00E
      *Statute for the City of Jerusalem, 4 April, 1950
      http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/CFB4E24B399E8EFD8525644A007972E1

      The only case in which the Security Council’s consent was required were the Japanese mandates in the Pacific. Article 83 of the Charter placed those strategic areas within the scope of the Security Council’s exclusive area of responsibility.

      The General Assembly’s Declaration Granting Independence to Colonial Peoples rendered all of those provisions of the Charter obsolete.

    • Talkback
      August 13, 2013, 5:35 pm

      Citizen says: “In fact, even the original UN partition borders did not entail any Palestinian representation, …”

      96 years of denial of the rights to self determination and majority ruling by Zionists or on their behalf.

  2. Hostage
    August 12, 2013, 3:08 pm

    Talks will fail because Palestinians shouldn’t negotiate with ‘a thief,’ Israel supporter concedes

    That simple truth destroys the US talking points on the settlements. You can’t say the settlements have no legitimacy or are illegitimate, while demanding that the Palestinians negotiate for their removal.

    For decades the Israeli Supreme Court employed the legal fiction that the military commander could not establish facts on the ground that were more permanent than the occupation itself. The Court said that he could not convey a better title to expropriated property than the one he possessed under international law: none at all. See the Elon Moreh and Gaza Coast Council cases.

    It’s axiomatic that Palestinian land, homes, or other property expropriated on the grounds of “military necessity” during the occupation, would automatically revert to the Palestinian owners when the hostilities and the occupation come to an end.

    Prior to the Clinton era Camp David summit, the Palestinians were only required to negotiate the terms of the peace in exchange for the return of all their territory. But the Clinton proposals ushered in a new era where the USA explicitly began to suggest that the Israelis could acquire some of the territory by war, despite the customary and conventional prohibitions.

  3. eljay
    August 12, 2013, 3:22 pm

    For several decades now, the Palestinians have successfully sold the world and themselves on the narrative that Israel stole their land. This has given them zero incentive to compromise.

    Over time, as this unchallenged narrative has taken on the aura of accepted truth, it has undermined all attempts to reach a final peace agreement, as well as expose Israel to a global campaign of boycotts and condemnations.

    More correctly:

    For several decades now, the Israelis have successfully sold the world and themselves on the narrative that Israel is entitled to as much of Palestine as it wants. This has given them zero incentive to compromise.

    Over time, as this narrative has been forced down the gullet of humanity, it has undermined all attempts to reach a final peace agreement, and it has enabled the supremacist “Jewish State” – with the aid of the United States and other Western nations – to continue to oppress, torture, kill and otherwise humiliate and vilify Palestinians.

  4. American
    August 12, 2013, 3:41 pm

    The overwhelming majority of the world see Israelis as theives because they are theives…..no way they can change that fact based opinion.
    I think the world and Palestine would accept or ‘forget’ their 65 year theivery if Israel went back to it’s assigned UN parcel and minded it’s own business for the next for 65 years—-giving people time to get over it.
    But nope they are too greedy to do that…their greed is gonna end up destroying them imo.

  5. HarryLaw
    August 12, 2013, 4:00 pm

    The question of ownership of property , rights and interests within occupied territory was addressed at the 1943 International conference in London, its mandate was to upgrade the Hague Regulations since they were not specific enough on property transfers, particularly because of the Nazi depredations in much of occupied Europe, these resolutions were put together by the leading jurists of their time and represent the latest and definitive word on the transfer of property rights and interests, the USA, USSR, China and the UK and Dominions amongst others adopted them, here are Resolutions 1, 2 and 3.

    (1) The rules governing the validity in third countries of the acts of belligerent occupants and of transfers of, or dealings with, property, rights and interests of any description whatsoever derived from such acts, are rules of international law the non observation of which entails international responsibility.
    Note: In courts of third States cases may be decided according to a variety of legal considerations, but the result must be in harmony with the rules of international law, the main contents of which are set out below. The Conference has not discussed the conditions under which a third State that does not give effect to the said rules is liable to pay damages to the injured party and/or his State.
    (2) The occupant does not succeed, even provisionally, to the status or rights of the sovereign whom he displaces. The occupant has at most, under international law, only limited rights or jurisdiction and administration; acts in excess of these limited rights are null and void in law and are not entitled to legal recognition in any country.
    (3) The rights of the occupant do not include any right to dispose of property, rights or interests for purposes other than the maintenance of public order and safety in the occupied territory. In particular, the occupant is not, in international law, vested with any power to transfer a title which will be valid outside that territory to any property, rights or interests which he purports to acquire or create or dispose of; this applies whether such property, rights or interests are those of the State or of private persons or bodies. This status of the occupant is not changed by the fact that the annexes by unilateral action the territory occupied by him.
    This resolution is quoted in full in Von Glahn, “The occupation of enemy territory” [1957] pp 194-195. It was also used by Yesh Din in the recent Quarries case.
    It would appear to be the case that the occupant nor his associates has the right to transfer a title of any property rights or interests whether private or public to a third country in breach of International Law.
    The illegal nature of these property transfers means that the settlers only have physical possession of the property rights and interests [in effect illegal possession] which is obviously insufficient in law to acquire good title. The legitimacy of possession together with the ‘right to property’ is also required. The uniting of all these factors in the same person[s] is necessary for good title to pass. It follows that in the chain of sales”possession” is all that has been transferred to the settlers [the nemo dat quod non habet rule applies] no-one can give a better title than he has got.So because the military commander cannot transfer these property rights or concessions to illegal settlers under Hague Regulations 43 and 55, also Geneva 49.6 the transfers are incompatible with International Law and make the resolutions detailed in the 1943 Resolutions above applicable.

    • Sherri Munnerlyn
      August 13, 2013, 11:04 am

      It seems to me these rules of law have application no matter what happen in peace talks. But the problem lies in how do we get these laws enforced, so as to transfer lands in the OPT back to their lawful owners. When nations refuse to recognize and abide by intl law, how does the international community enforce those laws? Our refusal to deal with shortcomings in intl law is operating to substantially undermine all international legal authority.

      • Hostage
        August 13, 2013, 7:04 pm

        When nations refuse to recognize and abide by intl law, how does the international community enforce those laws?

        I think the Palestinians are doing a pretty god job of illustrating that nothing short of criminal indictments and arrests will ever stop the colonial project. I think they and the BDS movement are building the necessary political will for states to collectively take that next step to end Israeli impunity.

      • just
        August 13, 2013, 7:14 pm

        I do think that you are correct, Hostage.

        I only wish that we in the US would be one of those “states”. How in the heck we can stand alone with Israel, the Occupation, and violations of international law ad nauseam is truly unbelievable……..it’s frightening. We will and have paid dearly for our own blindness to the rule of law. History will judge neither Israel nor us kindly at all.

        1S1P1V. End the US veto @ the UN. End the Occupation of Congress by AIPAC.

        PS– EU, please do not back down.

  6. Patrick
    August 12, 2013, 8:23 pm

    “Israelis have undertaken negotiations in some measure because they are seeking a EU fig-leaf compromise on that stance. So as to escape the thief label.”

    I think this is correct. But they are undermining their own efforts by announcing a big expansion of the settlements on the eve of the talks.

  7. Patrick
    August 12, 2013, 8:28 pm

    This is the inescapable conundrum for Suissa and his ilk: Either

    (a) East Jerusalem and the West Bank are occupied territories (as virtually the entire world maintains) and Israel is a land thief, or

    (b) These territories belong to Israelis to do as they please, in which case Israel is an apartheid state.

  8. southernobserver
    August 13, 2013, 12:21 am

    This is all bulldust. The Palestinians compromised with the thieves by giving up 78% of Palestine, and compromised further by agreeing to give the thief recognition, repeated security guarantees and so forth. I think that it is still unclear whether the remaining 22% would be economically viable if they were not being ceaselessly destroyed and stolen by the occupation. Maybe, perhaps, with endless help.

    any more compromise and there would be no viable state. If they agree to any of what the thief wants, we have geographically divided prison statelets, with no aquifers, no control over borders, no control over internal commerce, airspace, spectra, and subject to constant punitive raids and bombing. This cannot possibly work no matter what promises are made. The ‘promise’ of investment, is ephemeral as we all know, but if there is no freedom of commerce it won’t start or it will flee after the first clamp down by the occupiers.

  9. gingershot
    August 13, 2013, 6:07 am

    Marwan Barghouti to be released?!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Haaretz reporting: http://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page/.premium-1.541149?trailingPath=2.169%2C2.216%2C2.217%2C

    ‘The same official said the final decision will be influenced by what happens on Tuesday with respect to Israel’s planned release of Palestinian prisoners.

    “Abbas sent messages on Monday, reassuring the families of prisoners whose names did not appear on the list of 26 to be released on Tuesday, saying he is certain all 104 of the veteran prisoners – those who have been in jail since before the Oslo Accord was signed in 1993 – will eventually be released. Their release does not depend solely on progress in the talks, he explained, since in exchange for their freedom, the PA has agreed to freeze all plans to seek action against Israel through UN institutions.

    If Wednesday’s talks go forward as planned, Haaretz has learned that the Palestinians plan to demand the release of additional prisoners on top of the 104 to which Israel has already agreed. These additional prisoners will include senior Fatah official MARWAN BARGHOUTI and Ahmad Sa’adat, the secretary general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine”
    =============

    The release of MARWAN BARGHOUTI is the only prisoner release which is important STRATEGICALLY important for Palestine.

    How much longer can the Vichy-Palestine government of Abbas last with Barghouti on the loose?

    Time for Palestinian elections and have Marwan Barghouti on the ‘negotiating team’ up against Indyk and the rest of the Israelis

    • just
      August 13, 2013, 6:14 pm

      Oh such welcome news!!!!!!

      (I pray for his safety)

  10. amigo
    August 13, 2013, 8:00 am

    Kerry claims that the latest Illegal settlement expansion (2000 units) should not stop the Peace talks.

    Fine , so the Palestinians should go to the UN/ICC/ICJ and carry out some unilateral actions of their own.Of course Kerry will tell his friends in Israel that such actions should not stop the peace talks??.

    Note in Kerry,s speech he refers to his friends in Israel but Palestinians in Ramallah.

    Bias.

  11. Ramzi Jaber
    August 13, 2013, 10:07 am

    Negotiations just for the sake of talking. The zionists want peace TALKS, not PEACE. While they continue their colonialization of the State of Palestine and the theft of its land.

    I cannot believe the total capitulation of the PA. How can they talk today after all the zionist colonialist government did with the new colonies just authorized and the small selective release of a few prisoners. How dare they???

    Time to demand Mr. Barghouti’s release NOW.
    Time to demand all prisoners released NOW.
    Time to go to the ICC and ICJ NOW. (If the zionists can build colonies while they are “talking peace”, we must to to the ICC/ICJ while we are “talking peace”.)
    Time to apply for all UN agencies NOW.
    Time to submit request to UNSC for full statehood NOW.
    Time to fully support and propel the BDS movement NOW.
    Time to travel the world and advocate BDS NOW.
    Time to shut down the PA NOW.
    Time to start the Palestinian Spring NOW.

    Anything short of that means total and unconditional shameful PA surrender and subjugation by the zionists and for the zionists interests.

    1S1P1V.

    • seafoid
      August 13, 2013, 11:20 am

      Israel is more and more of a pariah these days.
      Pariah states don’t tend to thrive. Kissinger gave Israel 10 years.

    • MHughes976
      August 13, 2013, 12:23 pm

      Well, I think they have a plan, based on the evolution of a western consensus in favour of a 2ss. They think that the ‘generous offer rejected’ ploy on the part of Israel won’t work this time and that even with all the hampering and humiliating conditions that Israel and America would impose on the vestigial Palestinian state they would still have gained something, ie general recognition that Palestinians are in Palestine by right, which would sap and hamper Zionist convictions and morale a little bit more every day.
      Maybe the plan will work to some extent. I don’t think it’s completely irrational, though the willingness of the United States to sabotage any deal at the last minute rather than offend the Zionist lobby is legendary, of course.

  12. LanceThruster
    August 13, 2013, 1:20 pm

    One side cuts the cake, the other side chooses the slice.

    If you were Israel, how would you divide the land knowing that too lopsided a balance would leave you with far less than you might obtain being an honest broker?

    And if you were Palestine?

    If you could pick whether you would be the one to divide or choose, which one would you prefer?

    It would be nice to see a negotiation where Israel was not holding all the aces.

  13. James Canning
    August 13, 2013, 2:41 pm

    Palestinians have “zero incentive to compromise”? Wrong. Question is: what compromises.

  14. Ludwig
    August 13, 2013, 3:58 pm

    Its simply terrible that these murderers are going to be released. Even in the framework of negotiations, these killers of innocent men, women, and children, they have to serve their sentences! It’s not right and it isn’t fair to their victims.

  15. Talkback
    August 13, 2013, 5:55 pm

    From the original article:
    “Legally, the clause in the Geneva Convention that they use to say that settlements are illegal was not intended to refer to cases like our settlements, but to prevent the forced transfer of populations by the Nazis. This is not relevant to the Israeli settlements.”

    According to the Hasbara clowns humanitarian law doesn’t protect an occupied population from colonialization, if the settlers (protected by the occupying power) are not forced to colonialize. Who cares about the right to self determination of the occupied as long as they are not Jews.

  16. Bing Bong
    August 13, 2013, 7:13 pm

    “Talks will fail because Palestinians shouldn’t negotiate with ‘a thief,’ Israel supporter concedes”

    Sounds like you mean that the Israel supporter is conceding that Israel is a thief. He’s not.

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