Thursday, November 29, 2012

Palestinian statehood and the U.N.

Update, vote: 138 Yes, 9 No (including Czechia), 41 Abstain
The State of Judenfrei Palestine was painfully accepted to UNESCO one year ago. Today, another vote of this kind is expected. It's almost certain that a vote will determine that the Israeli Arabs will win the same status in the U.N. that the Vatican enjoys – the status of a non-member state recognized by the U.N.

It doesn't seem fortunate to me that just weeks after the Israeli Arabs launched a missile campaign against Israel, the world's "peace organization" is going to declare by a vote that they're a suppressed group of victims who may be living on an occupied territory. If the opposite of occupation is that they are free to throw rockets to any neighbor they find, then occupation is a necessary condition for peace.

Most U.N. members will support the wannabe "state". Also, almost 1/2 of the EU member states will support it and almost everyone in the rest will abstain.

Israel, the U.S., and Canada have said they will oppose the bid. The list of other supporters sounds like a joke, Micronesia and Guatemala. I hope it's still likely that the Czech Republic (along with one or two Baltic states) will belong to this group, too. The leading politicians as well as most of the population opposes the Israeli Arabs' political projects.

But I can imagine there is some pressure from the West. Until very recently, Germany was thought to vote "No" as well but it may have changed its mind and it will probably abstain. I am sure that there are pressures – including pressures from Czechs for whom the mindless obedience to the EU is the greatest political value - that are trying to align the Czech attitude with the prevailing group think in the EU.

A red heart of Europe is still pulsating at the heart of Europe.

And much like in the 1930s, anti-Jewish sentiments have become fashionable in the EU again. The European Union wants to ban Jewish settlers in Europe because they're "violent" or "aggressive" and their products have to be labeled by a yellow star (or another "politically correct" equivalent; symbols evolve but the basic logic is still exactly the same, namely the opinion that the Jews are a special nation that doesn't have the right to settle anywhere). When I heard about these things, I thought they were jokes but they're apparently and unfortunately not.

I hope that the pressures attempting to make Czechia neutral in this vote will lose. We're surely less potent an ally, but I would say that the Czechia is an even more determined and reliable ally of Israel than the U.S. and Canada.

Update: Around 5 pm our time, foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg leaked that we will vote against the statehood bid (assuming Mr Schlafenberg won't fall asleep) because we our policy including opposition to all unilateral steps should be consistent. It seems that the official Iranian agency's claim that Czechia would abstain was based on no real data whatsoever (typical shameful propaganda), just someone's vague "guess" that we should always mimic Germany. But despite our proximity and dense relations, since 1945, we don't have to, you know. ;-)

At any rate, I don't expect this vote to be game-changing because of many precedents I remember. Sometime in the late 1980s, during the last months of communism in Czechoslovakia, there was a similar vote in the U.N.

My classmate V.K. – who later became the president of Patria Finance – was immensely excited that we were just living on a special day when a new state, and it was Palestine, was born. Needless to say, the situation remained exactly as muddy for the following 20+ years as it had been previously.


  1. Totally off topic, but I can't help sharing this link to a New Yorker article.

    You start out floundering in a void, plagued by questions. And then,
    little by little, you begin to find answers. You build gradually on your
    knowledge, or make mistakes and double back, and pretty soon you find
    that everything is connected to everything else. But if crosswords can
    be addictive—if some people love them nearly to the point of folly—it
    may be because real life hardly enters into them. Here every problem has
    a solution, and pain, disease, violence, and despair never make it to
    the grid.

  2. It's absurd to talk about a Palestinian rocket attack against Israel; while no Israelis were killed by rockets for more than a year before "Operation Pillar of Cloud", about 80 Palestinians in Gaza were killed by Israeli air strikes and shelling in the same period, the latest round of fighting starting when an Israeli helicopter shot a 13 year old Palestinian boy (Hameed Abu-Daqqa) playing football. If anyone is defending themselves, it is the Palestinians.

    It's the position of every state in the world except Israel (yes, even the US) that settlements are illegal under international law; it's obscene to compare banning ill-gotten settlement goods to the crimes of the Nazis.

  3. With regard to the EU, Israel's problem isn't violence or aggression, their problem is they are not violent or aggressive enough.

    It was random acts of senseless violence that induced the Euro's to celebrate the fiction of a self supporting Palestine.

    If the Israeli's would grow some balls, they would start a bombing campaign of their own. Drive those Palestinians back to Cairo where they came from, the EU would shortly afterward bend over backward to kiss Israeli ass.

    With history as my guide (and I am sorry for the insult to my European friends) but that's the way it is.

    First move I would make would be the total and complete obliteration of the Dome the Muslims erected on the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

    I suggested the same on a Jewish forum once, and the answer posted in response was that Euro's would demolish Jewish Temples in Krakow Poland., which are every bit as old and historical as the Dome of the Rock.

    But the Temple in Krakow wasn't built with spite. It wasn't built as the cherry on top of a multi century campaign of murder by a medival Muslim warlord.

    Telling you, If it were me I wouldn't let the fear of a cur dog's howl stop me from kicking him off my porch.

  4. I tend to agree. The Israeli could just scream how harassed and victimized they are and make an attack similar to the Palestinian attacks, and they could have a chance to get some support from the naive PC EU-like folks.

  5. The casualties per strike are lower in Israel mostly because Israel has a more sophisticated defense while the terrorists aren't that hi-tech. But this Arabs' being lo-tech doesn't make them innocent, and if they were given more room, they could increase the amount of harm they're doing even with their lo-tech tools.

    The idea that "settlements are illegal under the international law" is a piece of breathtaking anti-Semitic pseudoscience. What the hell can be illegal about settlements? A settlement is a community where people live, check all meanings of the word at Wikipedia:

    Making settlements "illegal under the international law" is something that is only addressed against the Jews, and it is only being done by the anti-Semites.

  6. Is the opposite of "anti-Jewish sentiments of 1930s" to unconditionally support Israel? Sorry but I miss the point of your considerations...

  7. Yes, it's obviously a necessary condition of the "opposite". Questioning the sovereignty of Israel over questions that belong under the control of state in the case of all other territories in the world *means* to return to the anti-Semitic mode of reasoning of the Third Reich.

  8. Settlements are illegal under international law because of the way in which they were created, i.e. Israel put the territory under its military rule in 1967 and instead of coming to a peaceful agreement with the people who live there, just started building its own towns. The Israelis who live in the settlements live under Israeli civil law while the Palestinians who are their neighbours live under Israeli military law and have done for 45 years. That sounds like apartheid to me. People only say this about Israel because as far as I know Israel is the only country which has kept a territory under military rule long enough to start building towns on it.

  9. Do you mean that pseudolegislation usually referred to as the geneva conventions?

    (Article 49, of which Israeli settlement in occupied territories are an obvious breach, and article 53 due to the bulldozing of privately owned homes.)

  10. Yes, especially this one, but more generally any legislation detached from reality that isn't codified along with credible mechanisms to enforce it.

  11. what about Nuremberg trials? Questioning the sovereignty of 3rd Reich? Sorry I have made a mistake making a comment in your blog...

  12. Apologies, Tomek, but you're deeply confused about very basic facts concerning the history, I would say "elementary school level" things.

    In particular, the Nuremberg Trials didn't take place in the Third Reich which would indeed violate the sovereignty of the Third Reich - and it would be physically impossible, too.

    The Nuremberg Trials took place in the American Occupation Zone of Germany, not the Third Reich, and the representatives of this authority - one of the successors of the Third Reich - of course approved of the trials.

    Your analogy between Israel and the Third Reich says a lot about you. But whether or not one tolerates these negative labels against the Jews - I won't tolerate them again - there is one key difference - a "detail", using a satirical language – between the Third Reich and Israel and unhinged fanatical anti-Israel activists of your type seem to overlook: unlike the Third Reich, Israel hasn't been defeated in a crucial war.

    So indeed, if you want to make "trials" against the Israeli, the right analogy is one with similar attempts before May 1945, and you shouldn't be surprised if such activity is viewed as a security risk for the state of Israel and if your throat is cut.

  13. They are most certainly not 'in dispute'. They are occupied, according to the international courts, as well as the Israeli High Court of Justice. (June 2005 was the last time that the court reaffirmed this.)

  14. If someone has used this word, which I can't verify, it makes no impact. It's still clear that the territories are de facto in dispute and they're not fully occupied - after all, that would make it impossible for the "Palestinian Authority" to play the game that they have a state over there.

    What I primarily mean by "in dispute" is that every other squared mile of that territory has unclear status when it comes to who is in charge over there. Look at the last map of the West Bank on a pro-Palestinian "Occupied Palestine" web:

    It's a complicated network of strips of several colors. Saying that the status of all the territory is uniform, along the 1967 borders, and it's "occupied" means to totally overlook the current reality and deny the last 45 years of the history, too.

  15. If the EU really wants to be constructive it might consider acknowledging Europe's responsibility for causing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the first place, and offer to accept any and all displaced Palestinians and their descendants as immigrants.

  16. Could you please be more specific about how Europe "caused" the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? ;-)

  17. Dear Sam, quite on the contrary, the Six Day War in 1967 ended with a ceasefire which *is* a peaceful agreement between the two sides of the conflict, check the basic facts:

    Of course, the agreement was more advantageous for the victorious side of the war - that's the asymmetry that represents the very reason why wars exist.

    What you call "apartheid" is normally called "victory in a war". Our side (not too much "we" in person) defeated Germany in 1945 which also meant that the Germans lost the rights on significant territories of Poland and Czechoslovakia and were, in fact, expelled under the new civil law. The Arabs have always had this option as well but they decided to keep on living on a territory whose security is largely controlled by Israel, and this decision has certain unavoidable implications.

    The Palestinians have been living under special legal conditions because they haven't left and they haven't been willing to negotiate different conditions - and because Israel, unlike many other countries that waged wars in the history, decided to keep the hostile population alive and, in fact, on the original territory. So it's surely unfair to use this special arrangement against Israel.

  18. Luke, I only have one thing to say to you. I have to say it: what the hell ?

  19. Dear Lubos and Shannon,
    My comment was inspired in part by a book I read some years ago, The Question of Palestine 1914-1918, by Friedman, in which he documents the diplomatic background of the Balfour Declaration during WWI. It was essentially a story of intrigue in which Britain, France, and Russia agreed to solve their "Jewish problem" by giving someone else's land away and, in the process, help secure America's entry into the war, which at the time was opposed by three of the most influential immigrant groups in the country, namely, the Germans (for patriotic reasons), the Irish (who hated the English), and the Jews (who hated Russia but would favor a Jewish homeland outside Europe. This was the same kind of realpolitik that caused Germany to ship Lenin to Russia in a closed railroad car and the Allies to bargain away Germany's Chinese colony to the Japanese in return for Japanese support during the war. All three of these maneuvers had major consequences later in the century, and, in fact, are with us still.

    There is no need to dwell on the history of European anti-Semitism -- an extremely widespread phenomenon -- as a factor driving the Jews out of Europe.

    I might add that the US also signed on to the Balfour agreement rather late in the game, so maybe we should also open our doors to Palestinian refugees. Our population is large enough, as is Europe's, to absorb the relatively small number of Palestinians in the world.

    I think this is something we owe the Israelis as well as the Palestinians as otherwise both sides are in an impossible situation with no end in site. It would make a final settlement much easier to reach. At least this is the motivation of the proposal.

  20. Dear Luke, you must have never heard of the concept but the idea of creating a modern Jewish state isn't an invention of some obscure declaration during the World War I. Instead, it's an old program called Zionism that goes back to the 19th century. See

    Otherwise I don't understand what, except for your deeply held anti-Semitism, selective negative treatment of Jews, you see wrong about someone's aid to the Jews' efforts to regain some of their (only) land that they used to have but they were gradually expelled.

    Indeed, instead of the obscure declaration, you may have mentioned Czechoslovakia's arm shipments to Israel during its war on existence:

    It involves tens of millions of cartridges, tens of thousands of guns, dozens or aircraft, and other things. I have personally nothing to do with that because I wasn't born yet but you don't doubt that my country had done the right things, do you?

  21. Regarding your idea of accepting palestinians in Europe: don't Palestinians want to stay in Palestine ? Are you sure they all want to come to Europe ? (If so, ok. We'll just have to build new prisons). Then of course Israelis will have all the space to expand...
    "Corporate responsibility" ? I see Corporate repentance instead.

  22. Exactly, Shannon, if it were as simple as giving some replacement homes to the Palestinian Arabs, it would be easy. But as the suicidal brainwashed Palestinian kids sing here

    they will never forget about the Palestine even if they were given the whole world. It's this fanaticism that's the source of the long-term problems.

  23. I will say there is no other people in the world who would have behaved half so well as the Israelis have under the circumstances. They are in an impossible situation. Therefore I support them.

  24. "...because there had never been any functioning Arab Palestinian state..."

    Well, it was and is - Jordan:

    Founded in 1921 as the Hashemite Emirate, and it was recognized by the League of Nations as a state under the British Mandate for Palestine in 1922 known as The Emirate of Transjordan. In 1946, Jordan became an independent sovereign state officially known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. After capturing the West Bank area of Cisjordan during the 1948–49 war with Israel, Abdullah I took the title King of Jordan and Palestine, and he officially changed the country's name to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in April 1949.

  25. Yes, they are brainwashed. I had a Palestinian guy telling me, that Israel behaves just like Nazis did. I pointed out to him, that just Auschwitz peak capacity was to kill over 20,000 people a day, and given number of Palestinians in 1948 around half a million, they would not last a month. Yet 50 years later their population is growing. So the treatment is obviously not quite the same. I got just blank stare back.

  26. Dear Lubos, I am be no stretch of the imagination an anti-Semite and I am deeply hurt and offended that you would say otherwise. No one has ever done it before. If anything I am an active philo-Semite and defender of the Jewish people, having converted to that religion thirty years ago. I am also a long-time, steadfast supporter of the state of Israel. Google my name and see for yourself. I am also a long-time student of the history of Zionism, a movement which I have long admired. If I may say so you are jumping to conclusions unfairly. I wish you would apologize. thanks,

  27. Some background info and a great link for anyone looking to know the history.
    After World War I, the League of Nations created four "Mandates" out of the defeated Ottoman Empire: Mesopotamia (later Iraq), Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine (subsequently divided into Jordan and Jewish Palestine or Israel).

    Since the mandate process created these countries, it is valid for all or none. Syria, for example, cannot claim that its borders and very existence as a nation state are valid but Israel's are not. The same legal process that created Syria created Israel. Both are as legal - or illegal - as the other.

  28. Dear Luke, I do not for a minute believe that you have an antisemitic bone in your body (although, as you know, it is possible to be a Jew and an antisemite).

    However -- and please forgive me for being so blunt -- you sound like a broken record. Didn't we have this conversation about a year ago? And didn't I point you to this article by John Derbyshire?

    But here we are again, with you peddling your idée fixe, sounding every bit like one of the innumerable physics crackpots whose daily postings to TRF our Esteemed Host quietly trashes before they offend our eyes. They ignore laws of physics, you ignore history and facts on the ground.

    I know that you have invested a great deal of thought and passion into this proposal of yours, but consider that the reactions you are getting from people are not entirely due to their thickheadedness or lack of imagination. Maybe... the problem is you.

  29. Dear Luke

    This proposal will not work even if people tried to implement it. You are ignoring that originally the displaced Palestinians should have been absorbed by the arab countries around them. After all they are of the same race, same religion, same language. I have said this before:

    Before socialism became the religion of freedom, there were freedom movements all over the Balkans . In 1821 mainland Greece Greeks revolted and with the help of western allies freed a part of the country. A lot of Turks were displaced then.

    In 1922 when the then King of Greece heady with desire for conquest started invading Anatolia wanting to reclaim ancient greek lands, the support of allies stopped because "they did not want to resurrect a Byzantine empire instead of an Ottoman one" and the disaster for Greeks happened. What you may not know is that about 1.500.000 anatolian greeks were displaced to mainland greece, while about 800.000 moslems from mainland Greece were displaced to the lands and homes left by the departing people.

    That experiment worked. It worked because neither the Greeks nor the Turks organized the displaced people into ghettos with revolutionary fervor in claiming back their land. In Greece the people absorbed the incoming flow, 3 million people absorbed 1.5 million refugees back in 1922.

    The experiment with Palestine failed because communist interests nurtured the idea of keeping displaced people in ghettos and fomenting a revolutionary generation that wanted back their fatherland. My father was born in Cappadocia deep in Anatolia. He always called it "patrida", fatherland, but never wished to go back and free it from the Turks because people accepted the situation .

    What you are proposing is now not relevant since this Palestinian generation has been raised to fight to the end for their fatherland. They will not emigrate.

  30. If I may generalize in a rough sort of way, I think Lubos's defense of Israel is framed in terms of the right of conquest, whereas mine is in terms of the right of self-preservation.

  31. I agree that not all Palestinians would choose to immigrate. I have no idea how many would. I do know that the West Bank and Gaza not big enough to absorb all the Palestinians, though if you threw in Jordan (figure of speech) there might be enough room. You can see that I foresee an eventual two-state solution as the only possible one.

    In any case, and for the same reasons already stated above, I think the Europeans should agree to a generous program of reparations to the Palestinians -- in the form of an ongoing program of investment, old age assistance, free public education -- as part of any final deal that might be freely arrived at through negotiations with Israel. The continuation of such an ongoing program (would last at least a generation) would be contingent upon the Palestinian side honoring the terms of any final agreement it has reached with Israel. That is a key thing -- a leveraged incentive. The aim should be to build up the Palestinian economy to a point where there was rough parity with the living standards in Israel. It would cost around a trillion dollars.

    Of course I realize this is not about to happen. Not in this generation, either in Europe of the Middle East. This current suicidal Islamic madness will have to burn itself out. And Europe will have to become prosperous again. But in the long run the only peace that will ever stick is one that gives ordinary Palestinians a real stake in the deal. Oslo didn't do that.

    You and Lubos may laugh at the unreality of this proposal if you like. But have you projected demographic trends in Israel -- including not just Arabs in Israel and West Bank and Gaza but also the Haredes (ultra-Orthodox Jews)? I don't see how Israel can survive unless some kind of a deal is reached.

    OTH, if Israel fails . . . Well, I find the idea unthinkable. But if it happens I think all Israeli Jews should be allowed to emigrate to the US -- I suppose they wouldn't be welcome in Europe or much want to go there -- and we can try to build the new Jerusalem in America.

    But, you know, a trillion dollars doesn't sound to me like a very high price for peace in that area. I hope Europe comes around to that view in another generation or two. If we make it that far.

  32. Fanaticism doesn't last forever necessarily. It is the impotence of rage. Will burn itself out.

  33. There is no hope for the moment. That is for sure. Meanwhile I will replay my record -- with new variations -- whenever it seems appropriate. What looks like chicken shit today may look like chicken salad tomorrow.

  34. In this conflict both point of views are intricate and justified. No matter which side you're in. Christianity is the only religion that would never have this type of problem because we are the only ones who are able to forgive. It's difficult to teach that to these rough-hewn religions ;-)

  35. Dear Luke, I think that this discourse of yours is "humanrightists". To conquest something isn't necessarily a "right" but it is an event that inevitably sometimes occurs.

    In my understanding, it only makes sense to talk about "rights" and "bans" that someone may actually enforce. If there's no one who may enforce such laws - for example no one to violate the laws of physics - it makes no sense (i.e. it is a sign of a complete lack of realism) to think about the world as a place where these unenforcable laws hold.

  36. Once I read the " only makes sense to talk about "rights" and "bans" that someone may actually enforce." I could not resist - look at this (Life of Brian/Loretta)

  37. That's British cuisine already Luke ;-)

  38. Thank you for this comment, I was just about in tears, reading these other peoples' comments... as though the Palestinians are not human beings. You people disgust me, excusing these horrific killings. I hope you can sleep at night, supporting people who blow innocent children to pieces.