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  • Regurgitating Israeli talking points, Amanpour lectures Meshal that 'int'l agreements' bar right of return
    • A reasonable and moral compromise would be that the state of Israel settle a certain amount of Palestinians within its borders and compensate the other.

      True.

      That is what the Arab Peace Initiative proposes, but Israel rejected it.

      Also true.

    • If the moral right is not legally recognised, then the law is faulty.

      I agree. And the law IS often faulty-- as is reality.

    • Hostage:

      The resolution used the term final “settlement” and did not establish a completely unqualified right of return. A good faith interpretation requires as a minimum a clear relinquishment of any belligerent rights on the part of the repatriated individuals as a condition of return.

      The General Assembly established a new subsidiary organ, the PCC, charged with facilitating 1) repatriation; 2) resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of refugees; and 3) the payment of compensation.

      People who are repatriated are no longer refugees. Any arrangement regarding compensation for citizens is a matter essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of the State. People who are resettled elsewhere and provided with economic and social rehabilitation are still considered refugees. Any arrangement for compensation of refugees is essentially an international matter that has to be addressed in a settlement.

      Resolution 194 (III) does not address the subject of subsequent generations. While they remain refugees and are entitled to opt for resettlement and compensation, it isn’t clear if family unification remains a determining factor for purposes of right of return after displaced parents have passed away or in cases where no other close family members remain in Palestine.

      International law favors repatriation over resettlement in third countries. But in the case of territories divided by revolution or civil war, the right of return is not guaranteed.

      . Resolution194 contains an algorithm with conditional branches. The first sieve in the algorithm limits the RoR to non-belligerents willing to live in peace with their neighbors. It makes the final decision to either opt for return or payment of compensation a matter of private discretion that is not in the hands of the state parties.

      FYI, 972 Magazine ran an article which said that polls conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research indicated 90 percent of the refugees preferred compensation in lieu of the right of return to Israel.

    • The right to return is the moral right to return to the homes they were driven from.

      A moral right is one thing; a legal right is another.

  • Brzezinski challenges Obama to put world peace ahead of 'specific constituencies'
    • Zbigniew Brzezinski -2003 Soft Zionism?

      http://www.newamericanstrategies.org/transcripts/Brzezinski.asp

      Palestinian terrorism has to be rejected and condemned, yes. But it should not be translated defacto into a policy of support for a really increasingly brutal repression, colonial settlements and a new wall.

      Let us not kid ourselves. At stake is the destiny of a democratic country, Israel, to the security of which, the well-being of which, the United States has been committed historically for more than half a century for very good historical and moral reasons. But soon there will be no option of a two-state solution.

      Soon the reality of the settlements which are colonial fortifications on the hill with swimming pools next to favelas below where there’s no drinking water and where the population is 50% unemployed, there will be no opportunity for a two-state solution with a wall that cuts up the West Bank even more and creates more human suffering.

      Indeed as some Israelis have lately pointed out, and I emphasize some Israelis have lately pointed out, increasingly the only prospect if this continues is Israel becoming increasingly like apartheid South Africa -- the minority dominating the majority, locked in a conflict from which there is no extraction. If we want to prevent this the United States above all else must identify itself with peace and help those who are the majority in Israel, who want peace and are prepared to accept peace.

  • A funeral in Nabi Saleh signals new political consciousness in West Bank
    • West Bank Palestinians are beginning to shed the discourse of two-states and reflect on new options.

      Perhaps, but Allison Deger doesn't provide us any examples of reflection on these "new options."

  • AP's Matt Lee confronts Nuland: 'You're staying silent while people are dying left and right'
    • Chris Hedges:

      The impending collapse of the international economy

      Stagnation, for sure, but "impending collapse"?

      As the U.S. empire implodes...

      "Implodes"? That seems like an overstatement.

      Chris Hedges makes a lot of insightful points, but I think his analysis is marred by a predilection for apocalyptic rhetoric. YMMV

    • Matt Lee is clearly saying that he thinks the US is insufficiently supporting Israel here.

      Exactly. Some folks here are wildly missing the point.

    • Lee was trying to goad State Department spokesperson Nuland into repudiating Turkey's labeling Israel a "terrorist state."

      LEE: [Y]ou won't stick up for your ally Israel when the Turks, another one of your allies, say that they're engaged in terrorism in Gaza.

      NULAND: We have been extremely clear about our concern for Israel's security, about the fact that Israel has a right to self-defense, but I am not going to go further than that today.

      LEE: Why can't you say that you don't agree with the Turks.

  • Israel's choice to inflict violence on civilians and ignore political offers violates 'just war morality'
    • mondonut:

      The obvious oversight is that the Palestinians have never conceded their spurious claim to the non-existent right of return.

      God is in the details. "Right of Return" can be interpreted in many ways. (see Hostage's posts on the meaning of RoR in international law).

      Palestinian negotiators at Taba and subsequently (2008) adopted a position that a negotiated RoR agreement would entail severe restrictions on the actual number of refugees that could return to Israel along with compensation, symbolic statements of responsibility etc.

      Critically, polls show that 90 percent of the Palestinian refugees in question want to exercise their right to compensation, not their right to return to Israel.

      Hostage writes:

      Most refugees were not born in Israel and have never lived there. Even the ones who were originally from what is now considered Israel have a perfect right to opt-out of returning there under the explicit terms of UN General Assembly resolution 194(III) regarding compensation in lieu of return.

      Actual surveys of Palestinian refugees are rare, but the few that have been conducted indicate that 9 in 10 want compensation and have no desire to live among Zionists in Israel. link to 972mag.com

      The current PA officials have stated that all of the refugees will have the option of citizenship and taking-up residency in the new Palestinian state. For example, the current President of the State of Palestine was born in Safed, beyond the borders that he, himself has proposed for the new state of Palestine.

  • Israel has already lost this war
    • And when Israel doesn't "flatten all Gaza," it can be concluded that the Israeli government is more moderate and reasonable than extremists like Gilad Sharon.

  • On the Jewish Israeli street, there's no solution to Palestinian issue but more violence
    • Hostage:

      ECHR specifically found that the intent to commit genocide within the meaning of Article 220a of the German Criminal Code did NOT require physical or biological destruction ...

      1) You are repeating yourself.

      2) I made that point myself--several times-- which you will see if you read my post just above where I write:

      the ECHR, in line with a minority of legal scholars, ruled that that *no physical or biological destruction is required to sustain a conviction of genocide.

      Do we really need to go over these points again and again?

    • Annie :

      . this idea israel is a less guilty because it’s aims were innocent is such bs

      Annie,

      Zionists' aims were NOT innocent

      "Massacres, death marches, destruction of hundreds of entire villages and their crops, and the planting of land mines in the rubble of those villages and their fields afterward "--all these actions and others constituted serious war crimes and crimes against humanity at the minimum, and all were conducted with criminal aims. There is no about impunity or going light on these crimes.

    • Hostage:

      I wonder why you keep arguing about Palestine as if the massacres, death marches, destruction of hundreds of entire villages and their crops, and the planting of land mines in the rubble of those villages and their fields afterward were only unintended threats to the survival of the group?

      I've never argued that. Full stop.

      If you wish to keep this thread going by creating strawman, that's your right, but I don't see the point.

    • Hostage:

      The lengthy discussion here started when he claimed that forcible transfer rules out a charge of genocide

      I never said that. I've said numerous times: forcible transfer/ethnic cleansing is not *necessarily* genocide. It *can* rise to the level of genocide, but *only if* genocidal acts AND genocidal intent are involved. Ethnic cleansing as such, therefore, is not genocide.

      This contrasts to your assertion that forcible transfer/ethnic cleansing is *always* genocide.

      You asserted that:

      every single plan, policy or actual case of transfer or forced expulsion should be referred to with the term genocide

      That is simply wrong: genocidal intent is not necessarily present in every single case of transfer/forced expulsion.
      There is little dispute on that point.

      The ECHR quoting the ICJ:

      Neither the intent, as a matter of policy, to render an area “ethnically homogeneous”, nor the operations that may be carried out to implement such policy, can as such be designated as genocide.

      The ICJ approved of the ICTY Trial Chamber judgment in Stakic, which held that

      a clear distinction must be drawn between physical destruction and mere dissolution of the group

      and that the

      expulsion of a group or part of a group does not
      in itself suffice for genocide

      The second disagreement we had was on the question of whether or not the destruction of a group had to be physical or biological. Here I pointed out that there were different legal opinions and different court rulings, in contrast to your position that this issue had been settled.

      On the one hand:

      ... in line with a majority of legal scholars, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) have ruled that, in order for actions to be deemed genocide, there must be physical or biological destruction of a protected group

      On the other hand, the ECHR, in line with a minority of legal scholars, ruled that that *no physical or biological destruction is required to sustain a conviction of genocide.* This ruling was consistent with several rulings by German courts and with a resolution by the United Nations General Assembly.

      Finally, I pointed out that the "in whole or in part" clause was open to multiple interpretations, and that the ICJ had

      effectively *spatialized* the meaning of that phrase. The “part” of the targeted group was deemed to be a geographical part. The court ruled that destruction “in part” refers to the total destruction of a part of group targeted as such *within a limited geographical area*–rather than partial destruction of a target group over a wider geographical area.

      I argued that this “geographical” interpretation of “in part” was unfortunate and that it is a direct result of the shortcomings in the UN definition of genocide.

      Sibiriak said that the ICJ could hold states responsible for genocide.

      Yes, that's true. The ICJ did hold that the massacre at Srebrenica was genocide, and that the Serbian state had failed in its duty to prevent that genocide. But I also pointed out very serious problems with the ICJ decision in the Serbia case.

      ------------
      I've made my arguments for my position, and you have made yours.
      I see no reason to continue this debate.

    • Hostage:

      I wonder why you and Sibiriak are bothered by the idea that Pappe’s layman’s view doesn’t settle the open legal questions.

      Why would I be bothered by an idea I fully agree with?

      Am I glad, though, that you are now accepting that there are open legal questions regarding what constitutes genocide, which has been precisely my position all along.

    • Hostage,

      If Ben Gurion & Company only wished to drive out the inhabitants, why did their propaganda stress that they were repeating the genocidal conquests of ancient Palestine and make extravagant claims and comparisons between the acts of the modern militias and the ancient events recorded in the books of Joshua and Samuel? Pardon me if I infer a genocidal intent from that sort of thing.

      Yes, I pardon you. Do you really think Biblical references would suffice in court as proof of genocidal intent?

      In any case, I wouldn't hold your breath on Ben Gurion getting prosecuted for genocide.

    • Hostage:

      I wrote:

      The ECHR did not express the opinion that transfer/expulsion was *necessarily* genocide.

      it ....ruled that genocidal intent is required to sustain a conviction of genocide , and that because not all transfer/expulsion involves genocidal intent, not all transfer/expulsion constitutes genocide.

      Therefore, my statement holds true.

      You reply:

      No it does not.

      You say:

      This is not to say that acts described as ‘ethnic cleansing’ may never constitute genocide ETC.

      But that is exactly my position. By saying that acts of ethnic cleansing only *sometimes* constitute genocide, you are confirming Pappe's view and mine (which is widely held and supported by international law)--that ethnic cleansing, as such, is not genocide.

      As you write, ethnic cleansing, to rise to the level of genocide, MUST be

      carried out with the necessary specific intent (dolus specialis), that is to say with a view to the destruction of the group, as distinct from its removal from the region.

      That has been one of my key points.

      You are, thus, contradicting your previous assertion that:

      EVERY single plan, policy or actual case of transfer or forced expulsion should be referred to with the term genocide

      (emphasis added)

      Since you now are affirming the position I have been arguing for, I see no further point in continuing this debate, which, btw, has been an interesting and informative one, imo.

      HOSTAGE: It is completely disingenuous to ignore that the object of the terror campaigns, local massacres, the demolition of four hundred entire villages and the destruction of their crops, sexual crimes, death marches, summary execution of prisoners, the establishment of closed zones, martial law, and prison camps was not simply transfer.

      I've never ignored those campaigns or argued that all those crimes were "simply transfer". If that is what you are saying, that's a strawman, frankly.

      You know very well that I have read Pappe's book and have not questioned a single account in it.

      We agree on the facts of what was done.

      We disagree on whether forced expulsion/ethnic cleansing--even with multiple crimes against humanity-- necessarily constitutes genocide.

      We've both made our arguments. Any one reading this thread can come to their own judgment--as will the courts, if and when Zionists (or the state of Israel) are charged with crimes related to those events.

    • Hostage:

      There can be no doubt in our case that thousands of Palestinian Arabs were the targets of atrocities and that they were killed, even according to Pappe’s account.

      We can certainly agree on that point.

      Not sure, though, why you say "even" according to Pappe's account.

      You make it sound as if Pappe had some reason to downplay the atrocities inflicted on Palestinians. I don't see any basis for that insinuation.

    • Hostage,

      I wrote:

      According to the ICJ decision, the massacre at Srebrenica rose to the level of genocide because it involved the actions and intention to destroy a group, in whole or in part.

      You responded:

      they had no criminal appellate jurisdiction to overturn the ruling of the ICTY to that effect.

      The IJC ruled that the massacre at Srebrenica was genocide-- what do you mean by "overturn the ruling of the ICTY to that effect"?

      In any case, those IJC and ICTY have *different* jurisdictions, so I don't get your point. (It's late where I am, so I may just be missing something).

      Because the Court adopted a rule that was not required by either the Genocide Convention or the facts of the case that it should deal with the matter on the basis that the targeted group must in law be defined “positively”, and thus not “negatively” as the “non-Serb” population.

      Article II defines four categories of groups protected by the Convention: national, ethnical, racial, and religious. This list is exhaustive. It excludes other all other groupings, whether based on politics, economics, sexual orientation etc.

      As I wrote before:

      There are other problems with the UN definition of genocide, such as ambiguity in the word “destroy”, failure to state adequate reasons why national, racial, ethnic and religious groups can be the target of genocide, but not gays, lesbians, adherents to a particular political philosophy or party etc., the arbitrariness of the list of acts included in the definition, etc.

      But you correctly point to another problem: the abstractness of the terms national, ethnical, racial, and religious. Article II gives no guidance in how to deal with the numerous questions that arise when interpreting these abstract terms in relation to the complex concrete forms actually existing group identities (often overlapping) take.

      The ICJ Court in dealing with these interpretive issues ruled that the "group" had to be defined according to positive characteristics.

      The Court correctly recalled that ‘ the drafters of the Convention also gave close attention to the positive identification of groups with specific distinguishing characteristics in deciding which groups they would include and which (such as political groups) they would exclude ’ . Such an understanding does not only require a positive identification of the group, but also an essentially objective one. (Claus Kreß)

      You don't like that IJC decision--you are certainly entitled to that opinion.

      But the IJC did rule the way it did, reasonably so, and in doing so set a precedent in interpretation of international law regarding genocide.

    • Hostage:

      I am quoting him verbatim:

      On the basis of the tragic events of Bosnia and Herzegovina and taking into consideration the many reports and analyses of all aspects of so-called ethnic cleansing, very precise violations of international law can be recognized: from intolerance and discrimination, ethnic and religious exclusivity, dominance and the sense of superiority of one group to crimes against humanity and genocide.

      But that quote does not say what YOU said:

      Genocide was one of the precise violations of international law that he cited as an example of so-called ethnic cleansing.

      Nowhere in that quote does he say that genocide was an *example* of ethnic cleansing.

      He says that genocide could be an *aspect* of ethnic cleansing.

      But nowhere does he say that genocide is everywhere and always an aspect of ethnic cleansing. In other words, he does not conflate the terms, as you are attempting to do.

      Thus the point stands: ethnic cleansing as such is not genocide.

      There can be ethnic cleansing WITHOUT it constituting genocide.

      Petrovic made that clear.

    • Hostage:

      [Sibiriak: ]The ECHR did not express the opinion that transfer/expulsion was *necessarily* genocide. [...]

      *It ruled that no physical or biological destruction is required to sustain a conviction of Genocide.*

      Yes, but it also ruled that genocidal intent is required to sustain a conviction of genocide , and that because not all transfer/expulsion involves genocidal intent, not all transfer/expulsion constitutes genocide.

      Therefore, my statement holds true.

    • Hostage:

      Sibiriak, I don’t believe that the ICJ has ever said that what happened in Srebrenica wasn’t an example of ethnic cleansing

      I never made that claim.

      According to the ICJ decision, the massacre at Srebrenica rose to the level of genocide because it involved the actions and intention to destroy a group, in whole or in part. The phrase, "in part", as I wrote earlier, was given a geographical interpretation:

      The court effectively *spatialized* the meaning of that phrase. The “part” of the targeted group was deemed to be a geographical part. The court ruled that destruction “in part” refers to the total destruction of a part of group targeted as such *within a limited geographical area*–rather than partial destruction of a target group over a wider geographical area.

      The court found that in the entire campaign of murderous ethnic cleansing against Bosniaks, *only* the massacre at Srebrenica constituted genocide.

      All the other actions of the Serbian ethnic cleansing campaign, even though they involved 10 or 20 times more deaths, were deemed to be NOT genocide.

      Conclusion: ethnic cleansing as such is not genocide. There must be the added element of intent to destroy a group, in whole or in part.

    • Hostage:

      Genocide was one of the precise violations of international law that he cited as an example of so-called ethnic cleansing.

      Correction: you have it exactly backwards.

      Petrovic writes:

      could we consider extreme examples of
      ethnic cleansing as crimes of genocide?

      So, certain extreme forms --but not all forms-- of ethnic cleansing could be examples of genocide, not vice versa, as you stated.

      Petrovic shows that ethnic cleansing as such is not genocide.

      Petrovic:

      It is apparent that a policy of ethnic cleansing, aimed at the elimination of a population from a given territory, without precise designation of the target group and WITHOUT ANY CLEAR INTENTION OF THEIR DESTRUCTION as a group, could fit into the
      definition of crimes against humanity.

      (emphasis added).

      Read that carefully, please. Ethnic cleansing can exist without any clear intention to destroy a group, thus it can exist *without constituting genocide.*

      Petrovic and Pappe agree on that point.

    • Hostage:

      I fail to follow your logic. Legal scholars and the ICJ didn’t write or ratify the genocide convention and they don’t exercise criminal jurisdiction.

      No. The ICJ has jurisdiction over states that are a party to the Court's statute. They can also give advisory opinions. The ICJ jurisdiction is a critical one, though, when it comes to genocide, as genocide is more often than not a matter of the *coordinated* activities of states. The ICJ has the power to hold states responsible for genocide (not just responsible for preventing genocide).

      It is interesting to note that Raphael Lemkin already stated that ‘ [g]enocide is intended to signify a *coordinated plan of different actions* aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves ’ .

      (Claus Kreß)

      But it is not just the ICJ:

      In September 2006, former Bosnian Serb leader Momcilo Krajisnik was found guilty of multiple instances of crimes against humanity, but while the ICTY judges found that there was evidence that crimes committed in Bosnia constituted the criminal act of genocide (actus reus), they did not establish that the accused possessed genocidal intent, or was part of a criminal enterprise that had such an intent (mens rea).

      http://www.factualworld.com/article/Bosnian_Genocide

      And the ECHR quoted the ICJ:

      Neither the intent, as a matter of policy, to render an area “ethnically homogeneous”, nor the operations that may be carried out to implement such policy, can as such be designated as genocide..

      The intent behind expulsion/ethnic cleansing is NOT necessarily the same as the intent behind genocide. This is the crucial point (also stressed by Pappe in his definition of ethnic cleansing).

      Thus the ICTY and the ECHR as well as the ICJ have taken the postion that forced expulsion/ethnic cleansing, *as such*, cannot be designated as genocide.

      Even genocidal acts do not constitute the crime of genocide if they are lacking genocidal *intent*.

      Ethnic cleansing, therefore, absent of genocidal intent is not genocide.

      You asserted that:

      every single plan, policy or actual case of transfer or forced expulsion should be referred to with the term genocide

      But that position is NOT supported by the court decisions I have referred to above, it is not supported by the great majority of legal scholars, and is not supported by historians and sociologists such as Pappe, Kimmerling, and Masalhna, et al.

      That is has been my main point.

      Nothing would prevent a State from prosecuting an individual for genocide after the ICTY had convicted them of crimes against humanity for the same underlying conduct.

      I have not asserted otherwise.

      ethnic cleansing in Bosnia satisfied all of the elements of the crime of genocide is legally relevant.

      If the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia rose to the level of genocide, it was genocide.

      The point is: not all ethnic cleansing necessarily rises to that level. Not all ethnic cleansing has *genocidal* intent.

      Therefore, despite your assertion, ethnic cleansing, *as such*, is not genocide. Ethnic cleanisng/expulsion can occur without genocidal intent. The two terms are not synonymous. They cannot be conflated.

    • No I’m saying that the ICTY charges defendants, like Radovan Karadžić with counts of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes based upon the same underlying conduct so long as the crimes have different elements. All of them include murder, killing, or extermination. link to icty.org
      with multiple offenses

      Yes, that's true.

    • Hostage, I think we are getting closer to agreement.

      The argument has never been that plans and actions involving transfer/expulsion/ethnic cleansing can never be a “modality” of genocide, but that they are not * necessarily *such a modality.

      In fact you cited a comment by Pappe which claimed that ethnic cleansing is not genocide

      There is no contradiction there. When Pappe --and the ICJ, other courts, and the majority of legal scholars--say that ethnic cleansing is not genocide, they mean that they are two different concepts that cannot be conflated, and that ethnic cleansing, *as such*, has a different intention than genocide. When and if ethnic cleansing includes genocidal acts AND genocidal intentions, then, and only then, can it then be judged to be genocide.

      Rape is not murder. But if an incident of rape includes murder (act and intention), then the incident rises to the level of murder. When someone says "rape is not murder" they are not saying that acts of rape can never include or rise to the level of murder.

      once you exceeded the in-place “administrative measures” (which amount to apartheid or persecution), and begin using armed force to either terrorize or exterminate part of the members of the group you’ve cross the threshold which makes it a crime susceptible to prosecution as genocide.

      Not quite. In addition to the genocidal acts, such as you mention, there must be the genocidal *intention* to destroy a group, in whole or part. Petrovic is clear on that, as is international law.

      If genocidal acts AND genocidal intentions are evident, then it is genocide under international law.

      It is not a given that forced expulsion/transfer/ethnic cleansing includes genocidal intention.

      Therefore, you were wrong to argue that ethnic cleansing *always* should be called genocide.

      They are two different concepts involving two different intentions. Only in certain cases are both intentions present, or the intentions collapse into a genocidal one, and only those cases can be construed as genocide.

      I do think you are correct now, however, to point out the category of "persecution" that can involve grave violations of international law and human rights, yet not constitute genocide.

      (Also note that the majority of legal scholars, the ICJ, and other courts state that the destruction of a group, in whole or in part, must be physical or biological. A minority of legal scholars, and certain court decisions (the German courts et al) have taken a broader view. This question is not really settled law, as you suggest).

    • Hostage,

      You have also claimed that there is little disagreement or controversy regarding the definition of genocide.

      I have shown that not to be the case.

      You point to a resolution by the United Nations General Assembly that equates ethnic cleansing with genocide.

      The General Assembly said that ethnic cleansing was a form of genocide

      Fair enough. But you fail to acknowledge that, as quoted above:

      ...in line with a MAJORITY of legal scholars, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) have ruled that, in order for actions to be deemed genocide, there must be physical or biological destruction of a protected group and a specific intent to commit such destruction. To date, only the Srebrenica massacre has been found to be an act of genocide by the ICTY, a finding upheld by the ICJ.

      (emphasis added)

      You, of course, are entitled to make the case for the minority opinion. However, it is simply wrong to suggest that the minority opinion is actually a *consensus opinion*--it is not.

      You also point to the U.S. State Department statement that:

      Genocide in Srebrenica is not a subjective determination—it is a defined criminal act which the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has confirmed in final and binding verdicts in multiple cases. The International Court of Justice also has concluded that genocide occurred in Srebrenica. It cannot be denied.

      But you fail to point out that the ICJ ruled that the NONE of the rest of the Serbian campaign of ethnic cleansing constituted genocide.

      Thus the ICJ ruled that ethnic cleansing is not necessarily genocide, explicitly repudiating your position.

    • Hostage, thanks for the link to the Petrovic article.

      You write:

      [Pappe] drafted [a definition of ethnic cleansing] that deleted references to genocide in the original source, presumably to harmonize it with his conclusion that ethnic cleansing is not genocide.

      My response:

      1) Petrovic was not "the original source" for Pappe's definition of ethnic cleansing. Petrovic was only one of various sources that were used as points of comparison. Pappe, of course, never claimed that his definition of ethnic cleansing was *identical* to all those various sources, or that he agreed with those sources on all points.

      2) Pappe did not "delete" references to genocide. He simply didn't quote those parts of Petrovic's text, since he was focused on the definition of ethnic cleansing, not genocide--two different concepts.

      3) Pappe did not need to misrepresent Petrovic's text in any way in order to "harmonize" it with his own definition of ethnic cleansing, because they ARE, in fact, fundamentally harmonious.

      Let's recall our basic point of difference.

      I asked you:

      Are YOU saying that every single plan, policy or actual case of transfer or forced expulsion should be referred to with the term genocide?

      And you replied:

      Of course I am

      I have argued that that position lacks logical coherence and is not consistent with international law. Although not central to my argument, I also pointed out that Pappe did not think that expulsion/ethnic cleansing was *necessarily* genocide.

      Now you claim that Pappe's definition of ethnic cleansing is fundamentally different than Petrovic's.

      But Petrovic, like Pappe, argues that ethnic cleansing is NOT necessarily the same as genocide.

      Petrovic (in the article you link) says that:

      On the global level, the aim [of ethnic cleansing] could be defined as an irreversible change in demographic structure, creation of ethnically-homogenous regions, and achieving a more favourable position for a particular ethnic group in ensuing
      political negotiations based on the logic of division along ethnic lines.

      [...]It is the present writer's view that ethnic cleansing is a well-defined policy of a particular group of persons to systematically eliminate another group from a given territory on the basis of religious, ethnic or national origin.

      On the other hand, Petrovic reminds us that:

      The Genocide Convention defines genocide as the intentional destruction of a group, in whole or in part.

      For Petrovic, as with Pappe, ethnic cleansing does NOT automatically mean genocide. They are two separate concepts.

      Petrovic:

      It is apparent that a policy of ethnic cleansing, aimed at the elimination of a population from a given territory, without precise designation of the target group and without any clear intention of their destruction as a group, could fit into the
      definition of crimes against humanity.

      Read that closely. Petrovic says that ethnic cleansing can occur *without* any clear intention to destroy a group (in whole or in part). Thus ethnic cleansing can occur and yet NOT amount to genocide, which *requires* the specific intention to destroy a group. Ethnic cleansing, without such genocidal intentions, then becomes a matter of other crimes against humanity.

      Petrovic:

      The majority of ethnic cleansing policies in
      former Yugoslavia appear to correspond to crimes against humanity

      But he asks:

      .... could we consider extreme examples of
      ethnic cleansing as crimes of genocide?

      He answers, yes--but only if there is genocidal intent along with genocidal acts.

      Clearly, by referring to "extreme examples" of ethnic cleansing, Petrovic implies that there are less extreme examples of ethnic cleansing that would NOT be genocide.

      Petrovic:

      In order to differentiate genocide from other crimes against humanity, it is essential to establish an intent to destroy a certain group.

      Petrovic is interested in *differentiating* non-genocidal crimes against humanity, including acts of ethnic cleansing, from genocide.

      He is not interested in *conflating* those terms, as you are.

      We can conclude then that Pappe and Petrovic are in fundamental agreement that ethnic cleansing, as such, is not genocide. Only if ethnic cleansing involves genocidal acts AND genocidal intentions can it be said to rise to the level of genocide.

      Their position is in fundamental opposition to yours, in which:

      every single plan, policy or actual case of transfer or forced expulsion should be referred to with the term genocide

      It is true, however, that although they *shared a similar definition* of the term ethnic cleansing, Petrovic did not approve of its use, preferring existing terminology, while Pappe did .

    • Hostage:

      The European Court of Human Rights decision in Jorgic v. Germany upheld a conviction for genocide

      The ECHR did not express the opinion that transfer/expulsion was *necessarily* genocide.

      Furthemore, the ECHR decision in that case by no means represents a consensus in international law on what constitutes genocide. In fact, that decision represented the view of a minority of legal scholars:

      In the 1990s, several authorities, in line with a minority of legal scholars, asserted that ethnic cleansing as carried out by elements of the Bosnian Serb army was genocide. These included a resolution by the United Nations General Assembly and three convictions for genocide in German courts, (the convictions were based upon a wider interpretation of genocide than that used by international courts). [4] In 2005, the United States Congress passed a resolution declaring that "the Serbian policies of aggression and ethnic cleansing meet the terms defining genocide". [5]

      However, in line with a majority of legal scholars, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) have ruled that, in order for actions to be deemed genocide, there must be physical or biological destruction of a protected group and a specific intent to commit such destruction. To date, only the Srebrenica massacre has been found to be an act of genocide by the ICTY, a finding upheld by the ICJ.[6

      http://www.factualworld.com/article/Bosnian_Genocide

      Your argument that transfer/expulsion *always* means genocide, and that that international law is clear on that, is simply not true.

    • seanmcbride:

      In any case, I am definitely not impressed with the intellectual quality of Israel Charny or his supporters on the issue of defining genocide. I have no interest in aligning myself with that camp.

      I have no interested in aligning myself with Charny et al. either. He has no intellectual honesty--the commitment to defend Israel overrides everything. I despise that.

      I base my argument on my own critical thinking, first of all, and I find support in the arguments of Pappe and many others, including a majority of legal scholars.

      I also think Hostage is just wrong on the position of expulsion always=genocide in international law.

      If you look at the ICJ decision I discuss in other posts in this thread, you can see that Hostage's notion that expulsion/transfer *always* and *necessarily* means genocide is completely rejected by the court, rightly or wrongly. Things are far more controversial and in flux than Hostage suggests.

      I have the utmost respect for Hostage, but I believe he has the tendency to overstate his case sometimes and then take great offense at anybody who questions his judgment. He is hardly infallible.

      The recent discussion about the influence of dissident Jews on the Jewish Establishment/Democratic Party is a case in point.

      By the way, do you recall this?

      Yes. An infamous statement, for sure.

    • What danger arises from conflating one crime with another, when both carry the same life sentence?

      This argument makes no sense to me. Are you saying that there would be no problem if every single crime that involves a life sentence were labelled "genocide" ? Would it be okay to call certain instances rape "murder", simply because they might be subject to the same punishment?

      And please note, words have huge significance in human discourse *outside* the legal sphere. To lump all kinds of disparate acts together in a single concept is a surefire recipe for confusion, not to mention the demagogic abuse of language.

    • Hostage:

      You still haven’t explained why the definitions and elements of crimes that they have adopted are undesirable or illogical.

      Previously, I drew attention to the "in whole or in part" clause, which I claimed was overbroad.

      Article II states:

      in the present convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such.’

      There are other problems with the UN definition of genocide, such as ambiguity in the word "destroy", failure to state adequate reasons why national, racial, ethnic and religious groups can be the target of genocide, but not gays, lesbians, adherents to a particular political philosophy or party etc., the arbitrariness of the list of acts included in the definition, etc.-- but let me focus just on the "in whole or in part clause," for now.

      The UN definition gives us no guidance on exactly what would constitute a "part’’ of a national, ethnic, racial or religious group. Is it a matter of percentage of the total numbers? Is it a matter of a functional sociological "part"? Is it a geographical part?

      Of course, there have been reams and reams of analysis and argument on what constitutes such a "part," but the fact remains that the definition is extremely lacking in logical-analytical clarity.

      Such lack of logical-analytical clarity is undesirable for a whole host of reasons. I won't bore you by listing the obvious drawbacks of vague legal definitions.

      Instead, let's look to the ICJ's groundbreaking decision in Bosnia and Herzogovina v. Serbia and Montenegro for a clear and concrete example of the undesirability of such a vague definition.

      In that case, the ICJ ruled that in the entire campaign of murderous ethnic cleansing under consideration, *only* the massacre at Srebrenica constituted genocide (and the court did not find the state of Serbia guilty of genocide).

      The numbers of people killed and the crimes committed in other areas, in their aggregate, far outweighed the killings in Srebrenica alone--yet they were not judged to be genocide. In the campaign of ethnic cleansing some 100,000 to 200,000 people were killed in total, but only the killing of the 8,000 people in Srebrenica qualifed as genocide.

      This makes no sense, in my opinion and in the opinion of many others---there is no logical consistency there.

      How did the ICJ arrive at this rather strange--but precedent-setting-- ruling? How did the court distinguish the killings in Srebrenica from all the other killings in the conflict?

      The answer involves the "in part" clause. The court effectively *spatialized* the meaning of that phrase. The "part" of the targeted group was deemed to be a geographical part. The court ruled that destruction "in part" refers to the total destruction of a part of group targeted as such *within a limited geographical area*--rather than partial destruction of a target group over a wider geographical area.

      I would argue that this "geographical" interpretation of "in part" is quite undesirable and that it is a direct result of the shortcomings in the UN definition of genocide.

      (The ICJ also ruled that the form of the destruction of the targeted group must be physical and biological, and not only sociological or cultural, pace Lemkin and Hostage-- but that's another issue.)

    • Hostage:

      After all Pappe is talking about thousands of deaths that resulted from what he describes as atrocities and a life sentence for murder or wanton killing has the same consequences whether it is deemed to be genocide, a crime against humanity, or a war crime.

      Yes, that is an important point. There is no question of going light on Zionist perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. The perpetrators of these crimes do not need to be charged with genocide for them to receive the most severe punishment possible under the law.

    • Hostage:

      The definition of ethnic cleansing that Pappe borrowed from Drazen Petrovic’s 1994 article can’t really be employed to exclude genocide,

      The argument has never been that plans and actions involving transfer/expulsion/ethnic cleansing can never be a "modality" of genocide, but that they are not * necessarily *such a modality. If such actions, seen in their full context and fully taking in the question of intent, do constitute such a modality, then they should be labeled genocide. Otherwise, the genocide label is not appropriate.

      Pappe:

      Ethnic cleansing is a crime against humanity, and the people who perpetrate it today are considered criminals to be brought before special tribunals.

      So there is no question of impunity, or going light on the perpetrators of ethnic cleansing. The issue is conceptual clarity, and not just in the legal sphere.

      I'm not necessarily endorsing Pappe's conceptual and terminological position in its entirety. I do think Pappe, Kimmerling, Masalha and many other writers have made the right decision to use terms such as forced expulsion, ethnic cleansing, and politicide and not argue that those crimes *as such* constitute genocide.

      Pappe warns us that he is not using the normal definition of ethnic cleansing, but does not mention the source that he is relying upon to define genocide.

      Please provide a quote to support that assertion.

      Pappe, in fact, says his definition of ethnic cleansing IS the normal one, and is fundamentally in accord with scholarly, legal, and popular understandings of the term.

      Pappe begins his section on the definition of ethnic cleansing with the statement, "Ethnic cleansing is today a well-defined concept" and proceeds to explain that concept:

      The Hutchinson encyclopedia defines ethnic cleansing as expulsion by force in order to homogenise the ethnically mixed population of a particular region or territory. The purpose of expulsion is to cause the evacuation of as many residences as possible, by all means at the expeller’s disposal, including non-violent ones, as happened with the Muslims in Croatia, expelled after the Dayton agreement of November 1995.

      This definition is also accepted by the US State Department. Its experts add that part of the essence of ethnic cleansing is the eradication, by all means available, of a region’s history. The most common method is that of depopulation within ‘an atmosphere that legitimises acts of retribution and revenge’. The end result of such acts is the creation of a refugee problem.

      The State Department looked in particular at what happened around May 1999 in the town of Peck in Western Kosovo. Peck was depopulated within twenty-four hours, a result that could only have been achieved through advance planning followed by systematic execution. There had also been sporadic massacres, intended to speed up the operation. What happened in Peck in 1999 took place in almost the same manner in hundreds of Palestinian villages in 1948.1

      When we turn to the United Nations, we find it employs similar definitions. The organisation discussed the concept seriously in 1993. The UN’s Council for Human Rights (UNCHR) links a state’s or a regime’s desire to impose ethnic rule on a mixed area – such as the making of Greater Serbia – with the use of acts of expulsion and other violent means.

      [...]Such references to ethnic cleansing are also the rule within the scholarly and academic worlds. Drazen Petrovic has published one of the most comprehensive studies on definitions of ethnic cleansing. He associates ethnic cleansing with nationalism, the making of new nation states, and national struggle. From this perspective he exposes the close connection between politicians and the army in the perpetration of the crime and comments on the place of massacres within it. That is, the political leadership delegates the implementation of the ethnic cleansing to the military level without necessarily furnishing any systematic plans or providing explicit instructions, but with no doubt as to the overall objective.3

      [...]the encyclopedia definition outlined above appears to be consonant with the more scholarly attempt to conceptualise the crime of ethnic cleansing. In both views, ethnic cleansing is an effort to render an ethnically mixed country homogenous by expelling a particular group of people and turning them into refugees while demolishing the homes they were driven out from.

      [...] Popular Definitions The electronic encyclopedia Wikipedia is an accessible reservoir of knowledge and information. Anyone can enter it and add to or change existing definitions, so that it reflects – by no means empirically but rather intuitively – a wide public perception of a certain idea or concept. Like the scholarly and encyclopedic definitions mentioned above, Wikipedia characterises ethnic cleansing as massive expulsion and also as a crime. I quote:

      "At the most general level, ethnic cleansing can be understood as the forced expulsion of an ‘undesirable’ population from a given territory as a result of religious or ethnic discrimination, political, strategic or ideological considerations, or a combination of these."

      Nowhere does Pappe suggest he is employing an unusual definition of ethnic cleansing--just the opposite.

      I see no evidence that he was aware of what he was doing.

      You are entitled to your opinion of course, but Pappe's analysis, agree with it or not, is well-thought out and coherent, and I find it rather ludicrous to think he was not aware of what he was doing.

    • @seanmcbride:

      Martin Shaw on the ICJ "Genocide" ruling:

      First, while recognising that the Bosnian Muslims constituted a "protected group" in the terms of the convention, it denies the genocidal character of the Serbian campaign against them. True, the judges find it "established by overwhelming evidence that massive killings in specific areas and detention camps throughout the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina were perpetrated during the conflict. Furthermore, the evidence presented shows that the victims were in large majority members of the protected group, which suggests that they may have been systematically targeted by the killings."

      However the court was "not convinced, on the basis of the evidence before it, that it has been conclusively established that the massive killings of members of the protected group were committed with the specific intent (dolus specialis) on the part of the perpetrators to destroy, in whole or in part, the group as such."

      This reasoning is maintained when the ICJ considers actions other than killing, "causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the protected group" and "deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part", which also constitute genocide according to the convention.

      Once again, the court accepts that "it has been established by fully conclusive evidence that members of the protected group were systematically victims of massive mistreatment, beatings, rape and torture causing serious bodily and mental harm, during the conflict and, in particular, in the detention camps."

      Yet it finds that "it has not been conclusively established that those atrocities, although they too may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, were committed with the specific intent ... to destroy the protected group, in whole or in part."

      http://www.opendemocracy.net/globalization-institutions_government/icj_bosnia_serbia_4392.jsp

      True, the ICJ doesn’t exercise jurisdiction over individual criminal cases, nevertheless, that was a landmark decision involving the interpretation of international law regarding genocide. Genocide almost always involves a state and coordinated collective action, rather than merely individual action.

      The ICJ is the highest court within the UN judicial system, and is often thought of as the highest court in the world. It's views on genocide--which starkly contrast with Hostage's--certainly cannot be easily dismissed.

    • seanmcbride:

      Sibiriak, Thanks for that concise summary of your respective positions. Ok — Hostage has persuaded me that the term “genocide” can reasonably and justifiably be used to describe some Israeli policies and actions over the span of several decades (and perhaps even for its entire existence).

      I'm glad the discussion has been of some benefit. I myself am still on the fence on this issue, although I've argued from one side.
      I still think Hostage has overstated his case with the claim that expulsion/ethnic cleansing *always* means genocide.

      I do think IJC rulings are very important, even if they deal exclusively with states and not individual criminal acts.

      In Bosnia and Herzogovina v. Serbia and Montenegro it is rather stunning that the court found that in the entire campaign of murderous ethnic cleansing *only* the massacre at Srebrenica constituted genocide (and the court did NOT find the state of Serbia guilty of genocide).

      You might want to look at that case.

      The court held that killing substantial parts of a group and committing all kinds of crimes in pursuit of ethnic cleansing may still not constitute genocide because of a lack of intent as defined in the law.

    • seanmcbride:

      Top Genocide Scholars Battle Over How To Characterize Israel’s Actions

      Coincidentally, I just read that, and some articles by Shaw.

      Shaw, btw, although he sides with Hostage more or less on a very broad definition for genocide, also, like myself, sees the importance of definitions --conceptual clarity-- outside the legal sphere.

      Shaw writes:

      This, of course, is a sociological rather than a legal approach to the question. Political discussions of cases like Bosnia and Darfur often get tangled up trying to interpret historical situations in terms of a legal definition (which was itself the result of political compromises in the 1940s).

      While the legal definition is still very important, because it lays down obligations on states, a broader, more coherent sociological approach to genocide can clarify the public debate and cut through some of the problems that have arisen from an excessive reliance on the law.

      http://www.opendemocracy.net/globalization-vision_reflections/genocide_4309.jsp

      Shaw also, unlike Hostage, fully recognizes that the definition of genocide is controversial within the legal sphere:

      Lemkin had originally argued that genocide was comprehensive social destruction, attacking the economic, political and cultural foundations of the life of particular nations and groups as well as, often, their physical existence.

      In the adoption of the genocide convention, however, this idea was narrowed to groups' physical and biological destruction, and attacks on social and cultural forms were only seen as genocidal when they led to killing and physical harm. To reinstate a broader understanding, lawyers have had to interpret the convention's terminology creatively, for example seeing a reference to "mental harm" as outlawing expulsions.

      Many academic commentators only accentuated the narrowing trend, until for some genocide became simply and solely "mass killing...

      Regarding Charny et al.-- they seem to me like typical apologists for Zionist crimes, whatever label is put on them, and strike me as intellectually dishonest.

    • seanmcbride:

      Sibiriak — think especially of this. Zionists have often tried to rationalize and justify their behavior towards Palestinians on the grounds that Europeans treated Native Americans the same way. Isn’t this an open admission and confession of committing genocide? If Zionists want to define their activities within that framework, why quibble with them? Let them own their own words.

      OK, you are now talking about the practical advantages of charging Zionists with genocide. You make a good point. But there may be a downside as well. If a large majority of people intuitively reject the notion that Israel (or specific Zionists) are guilty of genocide, given the popular understanding of that term, then the charge will not stick in the "court of public opinion" and may be counterproductive. Then again, maybe not.

      I don't think it is so clear, unlike Hostage, that Zionists are going to be brought to trial soon on charges of genocide. It certainly doesn't look like the state of Israel will be, given the ICJ rulings and the status of state responsibility in international law. Again, this post is rushed---don't hold me too these statements, they are tentative thoughts.

    • Hostage:

      Sibirak thinks that Ilan Pappe can change or challenge the operation of law simply by writing a book that expresses the mistaken view that ethnic cleansing is not genocide.

      That is neither what I wrote, nor what I think. I would also point out that both the European Court of Human Rights and the ICJ have issued decisions that assert that ethnic cleansing is NOT *necessarily* genocide, which is the argument I have been making.

      It's past midnight where I am, so I will have to provide more detail on this another day. Consider this post incomplete and rushed, please.

      In reviewing the case in the judgement of Jorgic v. Germany on 12 July 2007 the European Court of Human Rights selectively quoted from the ICJ ruling on the Bosnian Genocide Case to explain that ethnic cleansing was not enough on its own to establish that a genocide had occurred.

      (Wikipedia)

      The ECHR quoting the ICJ:

      Neither the intent, as a matter of policy, to render an area “ethnically homogeneous”, nor the operations that may be carried out to implement such policy, can as such be designated as genocide..

      The ICJ itself, dealing with states not individuals, ruled that even deliberately massacring members of a ethnic etc. group for being members of that group did not necessarily qualify as genocide.

      Claus Kreß writes:

      One of the most important aspects of the Genocide judgment is probably its clear distinction
      between forcible deportation or expulsion, and the infliction of conditions
      calculated to bring about a group’s physical destruction. 29 In this context, the Court
      cites with approval the ICTY Trial Chamber judgment in Stakic, where it was held
      that a ‘ clear distinction must be drawn between physical destruction and mere dissolution
      of the group ’ , and that the ‘ expulsion of a group or part of a group does not
      in itself suffce for genocide ’

      (The European Journal of International Law Vol. 18 no. 4 © EJIL 2007)

    • Sibiriak: Pappe makes a clear, unequivocal distinction between forced expulsion/ethnic cleansing and genocide:

      Hostage: No he does not

      Pappe writes:

      Ethnic cleansing is not genocide

      How much clearer would you like Pappe to be?

    • Annie Robbins,

      this is my opinion of your position.

      Your opinion blatantly misrepresents my position. You said I support " letting war criminals go unpunished." That is false.
      I think all war criminals should be prosecuted.

      On the issue of ethnic cleansing and genocide, I agree with Illan Pappe.

      I also believe that inflating the term genocide so that it becomes synonymous with ethnic cleansing and various war crimes can be counterproductive and harmful.

      This is a serious, legitimate issue.

    • seanmcbride,

      I think this: historically Zionism has always aimed at “transfer” (i.e., expulsion, ethnic cleansing) and not genocide; ethnic cleansing is not always genocidal.

      Hostage thinks this: "forced transfer/expulsion was on the agenda, means that ethnic cleansing and genocide were too;" ethnic cleansing is always genocidal.

    • Annie Robbins:

      i’m tired of arguing with someone who supports letting war criminals go unpunished.

      I do not support any war criminals going unpunished. Please, have the decency not to put words in my mouth.

    • Annie Robbins:

      not really, only by supporters of israel, so what?

      That is simply false.

      there is no controversy about the definition of the crime of genocide tho

      Again, simply false.

      As I mentioned above, according to Pappe:

      Ethnic cleansing is not genocide, but it does carry with it atrocious acts of mass killing and butchering.

      Clearly, the definition of genocide is contested.

    • Hostage:

      In the first chapter Pappe says that a search for comparable cases only turned-up the Armenian genocide, the Nazi Holocaust against the Roma or Sinti people, and the expulsion of non-Hungarians (Roma) at the end of the 19th century. All of those cases of ethnic cleansing, including Palestine, have been the subject articles in the Journal of Genocide Studies

      According to Pappe:

      Ethnic cleansing is not genocide, but it does carry with it atrocious acts of mass killing and butchering.

      Ilan Pappe, "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (Kindle Locations 4099-4100).

      He could not be clearer. I agree with that position. I disagree with any attempt to conflate, by definition, genocide and ethnic cleansing. I've already expressed my criticism of the UN definition's "in whole and in part" clause.

      Pappe also writes:

      Petrovic and others draw our attention to the distinction between massacres that are part of genocide, where they are premeditated, and the ‘unplanned’ massacres that are a direct result of the hatred and vengeance whipped up against the background of a general directive from higher up to carry out an ethnic cleansing.

      Thus, the encyclopedia definition outlined above appears to be consonant with the more scholarly attempt to conceptualise the crime of ethnic cleansing.

      In both views, ethnic cleansing is an effort to render an ethnically mixed country homogenous by expelling a particular group of people and turning them into refugees while demolishing the homes they were driven out from. There may well be a master plan, but most of the troops engaged in ethnic cleansing do not need direct orders: they know beforehand what is expected of them.

      Massacres accompany the operations, but where they occur they are not part of a genocidal plan: they are a key tactic to accelerate the flight of the population earmarked for expulsion.

      Later on, the expelled are then erased from the country’s official and popular history and excised from its collective memory. From planning stage to final execution, what occurred in Palestine in 1948 forms a clear-cut case, according to these informed and scholarly definitions, of ethnic cleansing.

      I agree with Pappe's analysis.

    • Hostage,

      You made a comment that ethnic cleansing had occurred but not genocide.

      I agreed with Stephen Shenfield's statement:

      Historically Zionism has always aimed at “transfer” (i.e., expulsion, ethnic cleansing) and not genocide. Nur Masalha demonstrates this in his classic study “Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of ‘Transfer’ in Zionist Political Thought, 1882-1948.”

      I still believe that statement is accurate.

      You replied with the assertion that:

      forced transfer/expulsion was on the agenda, means that ethnic cleansing and genocide were too.

      You thus asserted that any kind of forced transfer/expulsion, in and of itself, without any other considerations, is equivalent to genocide.

      I've contested that assertion.

      You've acknowledged that:

      genocidal “intent” has to be established beyond a reasonable doubt.

      But you have NOT shown that genocidal intent is *inherent* in every single instance of ethnic transfer/expulsion. The fact that genocidal intent may exist in some instances of transfer/expulsion does not prove that such intent exists in all instances of transfer/expulsion.

      You argued that:

      every single plan, policy or actual case of transfer or forced expulsion should be referred to with the term genocide.

      I argue that that kind of collapse of meaningful terminological distinctions constitutes a form a verbal inflation the results in the banalization of the term genocide. I stand by that.

      That of course is contradicted by the non-legal definition of the term genocide by Lemkin himself.

      1) I've shown that Lemkin's definition in fact does not make the complete equation of transfer/expulsion with genocide that you do. Transfer/expulsion may be a "modality" of genocide in specific cases, but it is not *necessarily* such a modality.

      2) Lemkin may have coined the term "genocide", but once a term enters human discourse it is no longer the property of its inventor. Meanings change, often radically. Interpretation of terms is open to dispute. This is not a controversial proposition.

      Rabin himself confirmed in his own autobiography and the deliberate massacres that caused the mass flight of the refugees.

      The reality of horrible massacres during the Nakba has been confirmed again and again. But was the intent behind them genocidal, or was the intent to cause a "mass flight of refugees"? That is a legitimate question. It may be that the intent was genocidal, but we cannot simply assume that.

      Massacres may well be acts of genocide in some cases, but they cannot be said to be so *by definition*, as you seem to suggest.

      For the same reason, not every war crime in and of itself constitutes genocide.

    • Annie Robbins,

      do you think your ‘issues’ have not already been considered?

      These are not "my" issues, and of course, they have already been considered. There is great controversy about the definition of genocide, in and out of the legal sphere. It's an important issue.

    • Hostage,

      You asked for an example of Jewish dissenters influencing the Democrats and I gave you one.

      No, you did not. You gave NO evidence that the influence of "Jewish dissenters" has been a major factor determining the Obama administration's position on Jerusalem.

      Just as importantly, you have yet to show how that position on Jerusalem represents any significant change in US policy.

    • Annie Robbins:

      perhaps the legal decisions and international law transcend your ‘issues’

      If you think legal decisions and international law transcend all other considerations, you are certainly entitled to that opinion.

    • Hostage,

      I repeat my request:

      The U.S. position on Jerusalem has not fundamentally changed for years.

      If you disagree, please explain the major, status quo-altering position Obama has taken on this issue. I won’t hesitate to admit my error if you can do so.

    • The term is certainly in play in the field of language surrounding Pappe’s writings.

      No doubt. But the first hit on that Google search, for example, is to Pappe's article on Gaza. As I already pointed out, in that article Pappe makes a clear distinction between Israel's past ethnic cleansing and Israel's actions in Gaza, which may qualify as genocide.

      I've made the argument that that distinction between ethnic cleansing and genocide is a valid one. The two terms cannot be collapsed into one. I still hold to that.

    • Hostage:

      ... it’s a fact that ethnic cleansing can be one of the acts for which an individual can be prosecuted under the terms of the genocide convention.

      No one has denied that fact.

      You really seem to be incapable of understanding that the issue being raised transcends the legal sphere and cannot be resolved by reference to legal decisions or international law.

      Surely, you don't hold that legal decisions and international law are beyond question, that they are some kind of absolute authority?

      To repeat, if the definitions of genocide in international law are under question, as they are in this discussion, merely pointing to those definitions in response is circular reasoning.

      The question is: are those definitions logical and desirable?

    • seanmcbride:

      But the more I look into Lemkin’s writings (I am doing it now), and Israeli behavior overall, I lean to the belief that Israel is in fact committing slow-motion genocide against the Palestinians. On its current trajectory, that slow-motion ethnic cleansing and genocide could easily escalate into full-scale and blatant genocide.

      I don't fundamentally disagree with that assessment. I am, however, inclined to think that if an "escalation'" is taking place, it involves the distinction between the current slide toward genocide and the previous ethnic cleansing --the distinction Pappe made in his article on Gaza.

      From a political standpoint, I am concerned that the problematic use of the term genocide in relation to past Israeli actions could backfire.

    • Hostage:

      Neither of you have cited a single authority who contradicts that. In short you’re both being very illogical.

      With all due respect, you don't seem to realize the I have not been arguing from authority, but rather from logic and facts.

    • Hostage

      According to Ilan Pappe, “Genocide in Gaza”, The Electronic Intifada, 2 September 2006:

      A genocide is taking place in Gaza.

      And he may well be right about that. That does NOT however indicate that he considered "apartheid to be *synonymous* with genocide", which was what I asked about. And please recall that this discussion began with the assertion:

      Historically Zionism has always aimed at “transfer” (i.e., expulsion, ethnic cleansing) and not genocide. Nur Masalha demonstrates this in his classic study “Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of ‘Transfer’ in Zionist Political Thought, 1882-1948.”

      Please note the word "historically".

      Critically, Pappe makes a clear, unequivocal distinction between forced expulsion/ethnic cleansing and genocide:

      The conventional Israeli policies of ethnic cleansing employed successfully in 1948 against half of Palestine’s population, and against hundred of thousand of Palestinians in the West Bank are not useful here.

      You can slowly transfer Palestinians out of the West Bank, and particular out of the Greater Jerusalem area, but you can not do it in the Gaza Strip - once you sealed it as a maximum-security prison camp.

      As with the ethnic cleansing operations, the genocidal policy is not formulated in a vacuum.

      .

      His distinction between ethnic cleansing and genocide is clear and precise and derived from a factual/logical analysis.
      He is drawing a distinction between Israel's historical use of ethnic cleansing and the current slide into genocide in Gaza.

      He does NOT support your contention that forced transfer/ expulsion/ethnic cleansing is *synonomous* with genocide.

      He has also written about the fact that Israeli apartheid includes “atrocities”

      Including atrocities--yes; being synonymous with genocide--no.

      Baruch Kimmerling concluded in Politicide that Israel had become a Herrenvolk democracy and noted that it was a term coined to describe South Africa under Apartheid. The term he coined, politicide, corresponded to Lemkin’s definition of genocide

      I have Kimmerling's book and have quoted from the same passage as you in this very thread.

      Kimmerling went out of his way to coin the term "politicide" because he felt the term "genocide" was NOT appropriate for the actions he was subsuming under that term.

      Nur Masalah illustrates that Zionists developed plans for the compulsory transfer and exile of the Palestinians with the objective of bringing about a “radical ethno-religious-demographic transformation of the country” through the various modalities outlined by Lemkin, including terror, massacres, and deportations.

      Ethno-religioius-demographic transformation, terrorism, massacres, deportations--none of these terms are *synonymous* with genocide, although the may be *included* in genocidal campaigns.

      Nur Nur Masalha never claims that genocide was "on the agenda" in the time period he covers in his book.

    • challenges Hostage without researching his posting history first to know who they’re dealing with

      Personally, I have a whole file filled with Hostage's posts.

      But if you think he is infallible--an absurd proposition-- then you haven't followed all his posts as closely as I have.

      That statement is particular valid in relation to issues, such as the one I've been discussing here, that transcend questions of legality, international law etc.

    • Death marches were part of the Nakba

      Indeed they were, as were horrendous massacres, brutal murders, terrorism, summary executions, inhuman treatment etc. I've read Pappe's book. I don't recall him referring to these actions as genocide. Please, correct me if I am wrong.

    • @ Sibriak,
      Well, we can’t all be suave knights in shinning armor like you. Enjoy your high horse.

      I'm just expressing my opinions, which are always subject to revision; I don't assume any superiority as you suggest.

    • Yes, exactly, you want the discussion to take with no reference to facts.

      Legal opinions, the opinions of courts, etc. are not facts. (Unless you are referring to the fact that they exist, a truism I've never denied, of course.)

      I'm very interested in facts.

    • Hostage:

      Apartheid is not synonymous with genocide.

      Yes it is.
      Article II

      I was, among other things, questioning the reasonableness and desirability of the definition of genocide given in Article II.

      You point to Article II to refute my points. That's what's called circular reasoning.

      The definition of genocide in Article II is only one of MANY. Which of them is the most logical and preferable? That's the question. Quoting from article II proves nothing, in that regard.

      Try again. Try making an argument that doesn't simply consist of referencing a legal decision, international law, a UN document etc.

      From a logical standpoint all those are "authorities" and an "appeal to authority" is nothing other than fallacious reasoning.

      The issue I have raised from the beginning--and which you refuse to address--is NOT what the definition of genocide *is* in international law, but what the definition of genocide *ought* to be.

    • Hostage:

      the offense included terrorism, vandalism, provocation of catastrophes and any action that would permanently “cripple a human group”.

      Inclusion of any of those elements does NOT mean that any one of those elements in and of themselves constitute genocide.

      Vandalism, per se, for example, is not synonymous with genocide.
      Likewise for forced expulsion of a group.

      Lemkin himself makes this clear with his statement:

      All these actions are subordinated to the criminal intent to destroy or to cripple permanently a human group.

      So it must be proved that some individual action is subordinated to the criminal intent to destroy or cripple a group. The existence of the individual action alone is not enough, despite your claim that it is.

      You obviously are not familiar with the writings of Lemkin on the subject of population transfer and its role in genocide.

      1) His writings do not support your position that *any* form of transfer/forced expulsion is *synonymous* with genocide.

      2) Lemkin expressed his opinion. That's not the final say on the matter. He is just one person. For your position to be accepted as valid, it must be shown to be so via logic and facts.

      Quoting another person's opinion may be enlightening, but from a logical standpoint it is simply an *appeal to authority* which carries no logical weight whatsoever..

      3) "Having a role in genocide" is clearly NOT the same as being synonymous with genocide.

    • Annie Robbins:

      ... everyone here already knows there are people on both sides who genuinely want peace. however, the fact they are relatively few and far between in israel outside of the palestinian-israeli community

      At first glance, I agreed with that. But upon further reflection, I realized it is not entirely accurate.

      I think there are actually many Jews in Israel that genuinely want peace. But due to how they have been socialized and propagandized--due to their deeply inculcated belief systems--they are not willing to support policies and actions that would actually lead to peace. (Of course, there ARE those who genuinely do not want peace).)

      Illan Pappe explains:

      According to the hegemonic narrative in Israel there are two malicious forces at work. The first is the old familiar anti-Semitic impulse of the world at large, an infectious bug that supposedly affects everyone who comes into contact with Jews.

      According to this narrative, the modern and civilised Jews were rejected by the Palestinians simply because they were Jews; not for instance because they stole land and water up to 1948, expelled half of Palestine’s population in 1948 and imposed a brutal occupation on the West Bank, and lately an inhuman siege on the Gaza Strip.

      This also explains why military action seems the only resort: since the Palestinians are seen as bent on destroying Israel through some atavistic impulse, the only conceivable way of confronting them is through military might.

      The second force is also an old-new phenomenon: an Islamic civilisation bent on destroying the Jews as a faith and a nation. Mainstream Israeli orientalists, supported by new conservative academics in the United States, helped to articulate this phobia as a scholarly truth. These fears, of course, cannot be sustained unless they are constantly nourished and manipulated.

      From this stems the second feature relevant to a better understanding of the Israeli Jewish society. Israel is in a state of denial. Even in 2010, with all the alternative and international means of communication and information, most of the Israeli Jews are still fed daily by media that hides from them the realities of occupation, stagnation or discrimination.

      This is true about the ethnic cleansing that Israel committed in 1948, which made half of Palestine’s population refugees, destroyed half the Palestinian villages and towns, and left 80% of their homeland in Israeli hands.

      And it’s painfully clear that even before the apartheid walls and fences were built around the occupied territories, the average Israeli did not know, and could not care, about the 40 years of systematic abuses of civil and human rights of millions of people under the direct and indirect rule of their state.

      Nor have they had access to honest reports about the suffering in the Gaza Strip over the past four years.

      http://www.zcommunications.org/what-drives-israel-by-ilan-pappe

      I don't seek to exonerate Israeli Jews-- not at all. But given the widespread belief in the hegemonic narrative described by Pappe and others, I don't find it unreasonable to think that many Israeli Jews sincerely desire peace, yet have such a false view of the world that it makes such peace virtually impossible.

    • Hostage:

      You are constantly arguing about the law, then complaining that you aren’t.

      Wrong. My initial points were not confined to the legal sphere. My complaint was that YOURS were. I only touched on legal matters in response to YOUR arguments, which consist of little more than references to legal cases, and international law.

      1) The ECHR is an international court. Its decisions are final and are not subject to any appeal.

      So what? That doesn't make them right, or logical, or the final say on the definition of terms, particular outside the legal sphere, but inside that sphere as well.

      2) No person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed.

      Did anyone claim otherwise? I certainly didn't.

      . So each state is free to define the necessary elements of the offense(s) in its own legislation.

      How certain states define genocide has no logical bearing on how genocide *should* be defined.

      If many states adopt illogical, overbroad definitions of genocide, those definitions don't thereby become any less illogical or overbroad.

      4) Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales has always advised that Wikipedia articles are not a reliable source of information.

      I suggest you not rely on them then. I don't. Did I quote anything that was false? If so, please explain.

      So the case that I cited does settle the matter (res judicata) for the purposes of the State of Germany, and the EU.

      It may settle the matter legally in those places but 1) it doesn't settle the matter outside that narrow legal field, and 2) it doesn't settle the matter outside those places--in short, it doesn't settle the matter in any meaningful sense.

    • Hostage:

      The status of Jerusalem in any final settlement is a deal breaker for the Israelis. To call it a minor exception only demonstrates your failure to grasp political realities of the divisive nature of the problem for Jewish communities

      You are engaging in sophistry. I did NOT refer to the status of Jersusalem itself, but to the Obama administration's position on that status.

      The U.S. position on Jerusalem has not fundamentally changed for years.

      If you disagree, please explain the major, status quo-altering position Obama has taken on this issue. I won't hesitate to admit my error if you can do so.

      Look dummy....

      Name-calling is beneath you.

      ...70+ percent of the Jewish voters supported the Administration, which refused to alter its position on MBZ v Clinton during the hearings on remand in the lower court.

      70+ percent of Jewish voters just voted for a President whose views and actions on the Israeli/Palestine conflict are in fundamental accord with the views of the “Jewish Establishment”.

    • Hostage:

      you were writing about specific instances of genocide and ethnic cleansing, which as a matter of fact, happen to be subjects of on-going Palestinian-Israeli legal disputes

      But I made no reference to those legal disputes and no statements about the law.

      I pointed out that experts, like the UN Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, have noted that the term ethnic cleansing can be considered synonymous with the crime of genocide.

      The notion that ethnic cleansing is synonymous with genocide is an opinion, not a fact (and it happens to be a distinctly minority opinion).

      You can't show that I "misstated the facts" by pointing to a terminological opinion.

      Opinions are not facts.
      So I ask you, what facts did I misstate?

    • @ Hostage

      According to Lemkin:

      [Genocide] is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, WITH THE AIM OF ANNIHILATING THE GROUPS THEMSELVES.

      (emphasis added).

      Lemkin also stated:

      I became interested in genocide because it happened so many times. First to the Armenians, then after the Armenians, Hitler took action.

      Now you, Hostage, would have us believe that forced expulsion of a population, in and of itself, is genocide.

      But clearly, by itself the forced expulsion of a group, however terrible and criminal, does not *necessarily* have the aim of annihilating that group. Thus, forced expulsion is not synonymous with genocide.

      Lemkin's definition of genocide simply does NOT support your misuse of the term.

    • Hostage,

      human beings were suffering from the obvious symptoms of malnutrition, i.e. shortened life expectancy, stunted growth, and permanent mental and learning disabilities

      Terrible, of course. Not genocide though, by any logical definition of the term.

      . Do you have any evidence that Nur Masalha, Illan Pappe, and Bruce Kimmerling eschew the use of the synonymous term apartheid?

      Apartheid is not synonymous with genocide.

      Apartheid, ethnic cleansing, forced deportation, forced expulsion, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, war crimes, massacres, collective punishment, oppression, politicide--none of these terms are synonymous with genocide (which isn't to say that genocide may not involve them).

      the conditions in Gaza many years ago as “a prelude to genocide”

      A "prelude" to genocide is not genocide, anymore than a prelude to murder is murder.

      The construction of the wall...

      The construction of the wall constitutes genocide? No, it doesn't. That's what I and many others object to--"verbal inflation." Every and all forms of oppression then potentially can be labelled "genocide" and the term loses all precision.

      the deliberate imposition on a group of living conditions calculated to cause its physical destruction in whole or in part

      As I wrote earlier, legal scholars have objected to the overbroad clause, "in whole or in part". Without further definition of "in part", it's logically meaningless.

      Such actions constitute measures of collective punishment.

      No doubt about it. But collective punishment is not synonymous with genocide.

      Israel had deliberately cut-off populations from their sources of sustenance and denied them the right to adequate supplies of food and water (paragraphs 132-134). In my opinion, that’s pretty dispositive evidence of a genocidal intent.

      You are entitled to your opinion, of course, but I strongly disagree, as would most people, including legal scholars.

      If you forcibly deport the population, the refugees can become “stateless”. That process is exactly the sort of thing Raphael Lemkin described as genocide.

      Forcible deportation leading to statelessness is not genocide. That would best be described in those exact terms, or possibly put under the label "politicide".

      Do you have any evidence that Nur Masalha, Illan Pappe, and Bruce Kimmerling consider apartheid to be *synonymous* with genocide?

    • LaraS:

      My apologies for being a rational human being who hopes that a peaceful solution will happen. Obviously by not sufficiently conforming to your stereotype of every Israeli as a demented violent racist lunatic,

      Lara, please ignore the personal attacks you are receiving here. That just comes with the territory. There are a lot of angry, caustic people here, but they are not necessarily the majority--and there are certainly more readers than posters here.

      I for one appreciate your candor, despite whatever disagreements we might have.

    • Hostage:

      So if Obama’s refusal to recognize Jerusalem as a city in Israel, much less its capital, is in complete accord with the Jewish establishment, why did they file an amicus brief with the Supreme Court opposing the President’s policy position?

      They are in fundamental accord; minor exceptions prove the rule.

      As I stated before, if that is the most compelling example you can come up with, then your case is feeble, to but it mildly.

      Let me draw your attention once again to the main issue under discussion (and no, this is not "reframing"):

      Seanmcbride: The issue is not whether there are a quite a few dissidents “speaking out” within the Jewish world, but whether their words are having any meaningful influence on the Israeli government, the Israel lobby, the Jewish establishment, the Republican and Democratic Parties and the mainstream media. And the truth is, they are having none.

      You still have yet to show:

      1) How Jewish dissidents influenced the Jewish organizations which filed amicus briefs in the case you site.

      2) How the Obama adminstration's position on that case, and on the recognition of Jersualem as a city in Israel etc., constitutes any significant change in the status quo in Israel/Palestine, or in U.S. /Israeli relations.

    • Hostage,

      The European Court of Human Rights decision in Jorgic v. Germany upheld a conviction for genocide, while exonerating the defendant of all but 8 murder convictions

      With all due respect, you just can't get it through your head that I am not confining my remarks to the legal sphere. The conviction of someone the European Court of Human Rights hardly addresses my point.

      Obviously, the number of people killed by that particular defendant is not the issue; he was part of a much wider Serbian ethnic cleansing campaign, and it is that wider campaign which would have to be taken into consideration regarding the "in whole or in part clause."

      Actually, the case you site just begs the question: did this person commit genocide by being part of Serbia's ethnic cleansing campaign? (If he had acted alone murdering 8 people, without there being a wider campaign, then there wold be no question of genocide-- or would that "part" be big enough to qualify?).

      In the 1990s, several authorities, along with a considerable number of legal scholars, asserted that ethnic cleansing as carried out by elements of the Bosnian Serb army was genocide.[8] These included a resolution by the United Nations General Assembly and three convictions for genocide in German courts, (the convictions were based upon a wider interpretation of genocide than that used by international courts).[9]

      However, in line with a majority of legal scholars, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) have ruled that, in order for actions to be deemed genocide, there must be physical or biological destruction of a protected group and a specific intent to commit such destruction. To date, only the Srebrenica massacre has been found to be a genocide by the ICTY, a finding upheld by the ICJ.

      (Wikipedia)

      It should be clear to you the the case you cite hardly settles the matter-- and is indeed part of the dispute--in the legal sphere, let alone in terms of logic , ethics and semantics.

      Let's get back, though, to the main point.

      Do you think Jews have committed genocide against Palestinians?

      If so, how do you distinguish that genocide from the genocide against Armenians by Turks and Jews by Nazis? Would you propose different grades of genocide?

      And, again, please *do not confine these questions to the legal sphere*.

      Hostage:

      So the point that forced transfer/expulsion was on the agenda, means that ethnic cleansing and genocide were too.

      You still have not substantiated that assertion.

      By your own admission:

      genocidal “intent” has to be established beyond a reasonable doubt.

      So, even assuming the UN definition with its broad "in whole or in part" clause, how do you propose to argue that "genocidal intent" is always inherent in *any* plan for transfer/expulsion?

    • Annie Robins, I was asking for evidence regarding specific, formal *instructions * never to use force against settlers.

    • are you saying that the Armenian genocide should only be viewed as a case of transfer/expulsion

      No.

      Are YOU saying that every single plan, policy or actual case of transfer or forced expulsion should be referred to with the term genocide? (And I'm not asking about the law).

      Recall the assertion which you are attempting to refute:

      Historically Zionism has always aimed at “transfer” (i.e., expulsion, ethnic cleansing) and not genocide. Nur Masalha demonstrates this in his classic study “Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of ‘Transfer’ in Zionist Political Thought, 1882-1948.”

      Do you have evidence that historically Zionism had aimed at genocide, via "death marches" or any other method, as opposed to transfer, forced expulsion, or "ethnic cleansing"?

      Why should I not follow the example of scholars like Nur Masalha, Illan Pappe, Bruce Kimmerling et al. who eschew the use of the term "genocide"?

    • Hostage,

      I’ve only taken exception when you’ve misstated the facts and the law on a particular subject.

      But in this case, I made NO statements about the law and misstated no facts-- yet you replied ONLY with references to law, international court rulings, legal definitions, etc., and implied that that evidence from that narrow legal sphere was somehow sufficient to answer the points I raised. It wasn't--not by a long shot.

    • seanmcbride:

      I think Miller was always there — and I came to that conclusion only recently, especially after a piece he wrote for Foreign Policy last year which was rife with neoconservative attitudes and language.

      I asked because back in 2004 or so I was researching the Camp David negotiations and the "myth of the generous offer" and I found that Ross and Indyk had a clear, malicious agenda and were hooked into a rightwing talking point machine pushing falsehoods to blame Arafat for everything. Miller sounded much less polemical and one-sided --much more of a "liberal zionist".

    • Hostage:

      I take it that neither of you experts have read the Solicitor General’s arguments in M.B.Z. v. Clinton...

      I don't see anything there that refutes seanmcbride's basic point:

      The issue is not whether there are a quite a few dissidents “speaking out” within the Jewish world, but whether their words are having any meaningful influence on the Israeli government, the Israel lobby, the Jewish establishment, the Republican and Democratic Parties and the mainstream media. And the truth is, they are having none.

      Please explain how Jewish dissidents speaking out relate to the Solicitor General's arguments and how those arguments prove "meaningful influence."

      In any case, if that is the most compelling example of "meaningful influence" you could come up with, then clearly seanmcbride's point stands.

    • Hostage,

      Btw, when someone makes a statement on a issue, I respectfully suggest you stop making the assumption that that person is only referring to the *legal* dimension of the issue. For example, when I wrote about genocide, I in no way meant to limit my comments to legal definitions, court rulings, international law etc. I know that world is your world, but its not the whole world--not even close.

    • Legal definitions of the term "genocide" are, of course, highly problematic and disputed. The "in whole or in part" clause in the UN definition, for example, is notoriously overbroad and unworkable.

    • So the point that forced transfer/expulsion was on the agenda, means that ethnic cleansing and genocide were too.

      Your entitled to your opinion, but in my view, conflating transfer/expulsion, ethnic cleansing, politicide and genocide results in conceptual, moral and legal confusion. Subjecting the term genocide to verbal inflation and banalization is objectionable.

      If genocide was on the agenda, that needs to be proved on its own terms. Plans, policies and actions involving expulsion/ethnic cleansing do not by themselves constitute such proof.

    • Hostage:

      So yes, it would make soliciting tenders or deporting Palestinians much more difficult.

      And that's it? That confirms my point.

      the Obama administration gave Zionists a raspberry and refused to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as a matter of official policy

      And that has achieved what? Was there something fundamentally new there?

      And 70+ percent of Jewish voters supported Obama, Secretary Clinton,

      And, as we know, Obama and Clinton are in fundamental accord with the "Jewish Establishment" regarding the Israel/Palestine conflict.

    • Hostage:

      Herzl’s draft charter for the Ottoman Palestine Land Company reserved the Zionist’s rights to involuntarily transfer Palestinians to other parts of the Ottoman Empire. There is very little doubt they would have remained penniless beggars....

      No doubt, but the point stands that transfer/expulsion was on the agenda, not genocide.

    • Hostage,

      I don’t think that the members of the group you named are going to attack the officials of other civilized countries for simply bringing responsible Israeli officials to court to explain their acts...

      You are entitled to your opinion, of course, but it seems rather far-fetched given the realities of U.S. politics.

    • Hostage:

      70+ percent of the Jewish voters obviously don’t care whether the so-called “Jewish Establishment” stands by their decisions in the polling booths or not.

      70+ percent of Jewish voters just voted for a President whose views and actions on the Israeli/Palestine conflict are in complete accord with the views of the "Jewish Establishment."

    • Stephen Shenfield :

      The Israeli soldiers are under strict instructions never, under any circumstances, to use force against Jewish settlers.

      That may be true--but can you cite evidence for that assertion?

    • Hostage:

      the party that booed the amendment to its platform on Jerusalem and failed to adopt it during several embarrassing voice votes prevailed

      But it WAS adopted. (And in any case, party platforms are not particularly meaningful when it comes to actual party policy.)

      Their candidate for President garnered 70+ percent of the Jewish vote, despite all the money and effort that was poured into right wing/Likud political campaign advertisements & etc.

      Your logic is specious here. From the fact that Obama was the chosen candidate of delegates that booed the Jerusalem amendment it does not follow that Obama and the party leadership reflect those delegates views on Israel/Palestine.

      And since Obama has made NO significant moves whatsoever that threaten Israel's continued expansion in the West Bank and nullification of a two-state solution--and during the recent Gaza attacks, said little more than "Israel has a right to defend itself against terrorism"--it does not follow that a 70% Jewish vote for Obama represents any fundamental shift in attitude toward Israel.

      The status quo is unsustainable.

      That assertion is essentially meaningless unless you put a time frame on it. Can the status quo not last another 10 years, 20 years, fifty years?

      Those figures are not going to waste their precious political capital on efforts to shield corrupt Israeli officials from western courts that provide the accused an opportunity to defend their actions...

      What makes you think it would not be politically popular to trash those "western courts" if they were to begin looking into Israeli crimes?

      And if "western courts" were suddenly to start prosecuting Israeli individuals, why would you think that would just as suddenly make the status quo in Israel/Palestine unsustainable?

      And just what do you think the reaction of "the West" would be to such action by "western courts"? You don't think it would be supportive, do you?

      And suppose a few Israelis were eventually convicted of violations of international law---then what? Why would you think that would effect some fundamental change in Israeli policy and "facts on the ground"?

    • seanmcbride:

      How has this dissident faction within the Democratic Party managed to exert any influence on the policies of the Obama administration or the Democratic Party?

      Exactly.

    • Judaism never has been seamlessly blended with the government of Israel.

      One sees Jewish religious leaders, all across the Jewish religious spectrum, defending the Israeli government all the time and attacking critics of outrageous Israeli government policies.

      I think there is an important difference between the idea of Judaism being "seamlessly blended" with the government of Israel (and militarist-expansionist Zionism) and that of Judaism being temporarily allied with the government of Israel etc., no matter how deep and wide that alliance.

    • seanmcbride,

      I used to think Aaron David Miller was quite a bit more moderate and even-handed than Ross and Indyk. Did he swing over to the Ross/Indyk side, or do you think he was always there?

    • Ritzl:

      Each time this Israeli killing spree happens, I see Palestinians increasingly humanizing themselves

      Perhaps, but I also see this kind of brutality hardening hearts, increasing hatred, and turning people toward religious fundamentalism--which, for the most part, plays into Israeli militarist-expansionist hands.

      the grossly negative optics for Israel, give the Palestinians the ability to make their case (at which, imo, they’re getting better) compelling enough to move that public sentiment in their direction

      That's true. I'm just not sure the movement is deep or fast enough to justify a positive view of these events, as expressed by many people here. In the meantime, the Greater Israel juggernaut rolls on.

      I think it’s also irreversible at this point,

      The change in world public opinion may be irreversible, but that doesn't mean the position of various Western states is going to change anytime soon, let alone Israeli expansionist policy. The movement toward UN recognition of Palestine means that the two-state concept will be strengthened--yet that concept can only lead to a very unjust two-state reality, at best. Nevertheless, such a two-state reality could lessen the daily oppression and violence inflicted on Palestinians, and open up space for a very long term transformation of the region.

      think one of the hashtags to trend in this, or at least would have been at the onset, is #IsraelAttacksFirst

      Agree.

    • Israel doesn’t need anything more than stones, or even dirty looks and muttered curses.

      Israel may not, but the world does. And the world matters, believe it or not.

    • So the Palestinians must limit themselves to waiting for the world to rescue them?

      Non sequitur.

      And you know it.

    • The zionists will be kicking the Palestinians around, rockets or no rockets.

      But the rockets make it much easier. Their propaganda value for Israel is colossal.

    • This is a lose-lose-lose scenario for them now.

      Another view:
      http://www.jeremiahhaber.com/2012/11/israels-pre-election-war.html

      I spoke with an expert on the Israeli military shortly after "Operation Cast Lead," and when I told him that many argued that the operation was a reaction to Hamas rocket-fire, he laughed. He said that Hamas rocket-fire was deliberately provoked when Israel broke the cease-fire so that Israel could do a little "spring cleaning," deplete Hamas's arsenal of weapons. He told me that this happens every few years, and that I should expect it to happen in another few years. Israel will assassinate a Hamas leader, Hamas will have to respond (wouldn't Israel, under those circumstances?) and Israel will perform a "clean up" operation. If Hamas is smart and doesn't play into Israel's hands, then Israel will also come out ahead, because it will be weakened in the eyes of the Palestinian public. It's win-win for Israel. That's what having control means.
      ---
      The only thing that will restrain Israel is world-wide, and especially US and European, condemnation.

      Obama:

      U.S. "Fully Supportive Of Israel's Right To Defend Itself"

    • Taxi, Betsy, gamal.... enlightening posts. Thanks.

    • Historically Zionism has always aimed at “transfer” (i.e., expulsion, ethnic cleansing) and not genocide. Nur Masalha demonstrates this in his classic study “Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of ‘Transfer’ in Zionist Political Thought, 1882-1948.”

      This is entirely accurate. Early schemes envisioned "voluntary transfer" involving substantial payments to other Arab countries to take in Palestinians. These plans were utterly unrealistic and went nowhere, so the Israel's Zionist leaders turned to the planning and execution of violent "forced transfer", aka ethnic cleansing. Genocide, properly defined, was not on the agenda.

      In addition to ethnic cleansing, Israeli forces have engaged in concrete acts of oppression, aggression and terror against the Palestinian people in what Jewish Israeli sociologist Baruch Kimmerling has labeled "politicide".

      Politicide is a process that covers a wide range of social, political and military activities whose goal is to destroy the political and national existence of a whole community of people and thus deny it the possibility of self-determination.

      Murders, local massacres, the elimination of leadership and elite groups, the physical destruction of public institutions and infrastructure, land colonization, starvation, social and political isolation, re-education, and partial ethnic cleansing are the major tools to achieve this goal.

      --"Politicide: Ariel Sharon's War Against the Palestinians" p.4

  • Palestinians circulate draft resolution at UN as Barak implores US to help Israel delay bid
    • Or will we?

      No, we won't.

    • And it also means that Obama will have to make some very difficult decisions over this vote.

      I think the decisions have been made long ago: the Obama Administration is squarely behind Israeli expansionism.

      As for Israel, expect an acceleration of the annexation of Area C, and movement toward recognizing a Palestinian "state" in what little remains.

    • Hostage:

      States have attributes that organizations do not – like populations, and legal jurisdiction within recognized frontiers.

      Would the UN be recognizing specific frontiers for Palestine?

    • Watching them in the dock would be orgasmic

      If they ever get there---but it won't ameliorate, let alone end, the Occupation, nor slow don't the settlement expansion and ethnic cleansing.

  • 'A vision seen in a dream': A leading religious Zionist's 1956 call for the Palestinian refugees to return
    • "Hooded informers"-- standard practice during the ethnic cleansing of 1947-8.

      Ilan Pappe, "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine":

      Mashvitz went along with a local collaborator, hooded as at Ayn al-Zaytun, and picked out individual men – again, in the eyes of the Israeli army, ‘men’ were all males between the ages of ten and fifty – and took them out in small groups to a spot further away where they were executed. The men were selected according to a pre-prepared list drawn from Tantura’s village file, and included everybody who had participated in the 1936 Revolt, in attacks on Jewish traffic, who had contacts with the Mufti, and anyone else who had ‘committed’ one of the ‘crimes’ that automatically condemned them.

      ---

      The women and children fled in panic while the men stayed behind and, soon enough, saw the Jewish troops entering the village.19 The ‘men’ were ordered by the occupying forces to gather in one place, as was the routine throughout rural Palestine on such occasions.

      The informer, always hooded, and the intelligence officer soon appeared. The people watched as seventeen of them were selected, largely for having taken part in the 1936 Revolt, and killed on the spot. The rest were expelled.20 On the same day, a similar fate befell the sixth village in this pocket of resistance, Jaba.

      ---

      Kalman’s forces entered the village towards noon. Women, children, old people and a few younger men who had not left with the Syrian volunteers came out of hiding waving a white flag. They were immediately herded into the village centre.60 The film then re-enacts the search-and-arrest – in this case the search-and-execute – routine as performed by the special intelligence units of the Hagana.

      First, they brought in a hooded informer who scrutinised the men lined up in the village square; those whose names appeared on a pre-prepared list the intelligence officers had brought with them were identified. The men selected were then taken to another location and shot dead. When other men rebelled or protested, they were killed as well. In one incident, which the film captured extremely well, one of the villagers, Yusuf Ahmad Hajjar, told his captors that he, like the others, had surrendered and thus ‘expected to be treated humanely’. The Palmach commander slapped him in the face and then ordered him, by way of punishment, to pick thirty-seven teenagers at random. While the rest of the villagers were forced into the storage room of the village mosque, the teenagers were shot with their hands tied behind their backs.

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