Zondi’s nar­ra­tive skirted le­gal­ity of the oc­cu­pa­tion

The Star Early Edition - - INSIDE - Allan Wol­man

Dr SIPHAMANDLA Zondi, in his piece in The Star on De­cem­ber 28, refers. One must agree with the doc­tor in his re­marks about Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, who has in­deed been bold in many ar­eas of his for­eign pol­icy.

The jury is still out on his Ira­nian deal and enor­mous fail­ure, not­with­stand­ing his “red line”, by al­low­ing Syria (and Rus­sia) to per­pe­trate the geno­cide that is still go­ing on.

Rus­sia has now re­gained its foothold in the Mid­dle East, re­sult­ing in a new Cold War.

The sub­ject of Zondi’s col­umn is, how­ever, the US’s about-turn in its tra­di­tional sup­port for Is­rael against the tirade of un­mit­i­gated bias that per­sists at the UN. What Zondi fails to in­clude in his nar­ra­tive is the ques­tion of the le­gal­ity of the oc­cu­pa­tion, which the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has used as its pre­text to ab­stain at the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, re­it­er­at­ing its stand that it views set­tle­ments (read oc­cu­pa­tion) as the main ob­sta­cle to peace.

Be­fore the 1967 war, Jor­dan oc­cu­pied the West Bank and East Jerusalem – ter­ri­tory that it had cap­tured in the war with Is­rael in 1948. No coun­try, not even the UN, had any ob­jec­tion to this oc­cu­pa­tion. Is­rael re­gained that ter­ri­tory in the Six Day War, and the world was, and still is, out­raged.

Pro­fes­sor John Du­gard, dean of in­ter­na­tional law at Ley­den Univer­sity (and cer­tainly no friend of Is­rael), quot­ing in­ter­na­tional law, states: “A state is al­lowed to oc­cupy a ter­ri­tory ac­quired in armed con­flict pend­ing a peace set­tle­ment. But the oc­cu­pa­tion must be tem­po­rary.”

So here you have a di­chotomy – that ter­ri­tory that is now re­ferred to as the West Bank, orig­i­nally des­ig­nated to be part of the Jewish state by the League of Na­tions and rat­i­fied at the San Remo Con­fer­ence in 1922, was not only oc­cu­pied by Jor­dan dur­ing and af­ter the 1948 war be­tween Is­rael and its Arab neigh­bours, but later il­le­gally an­nexed by that coun­try. In­ter­na­tional law was ig­nored by the world dur­ing Jor­dan’s oc­cu­pa­tion of the land.

Is­rael then re­cap­tured that ter­ri­tory dur­ing the 1967 war and was fully pre­pared to re­turn it even though Jor­dan had no le­gal sovereignty, but the of­fer was re­jected by the Arab col­lec­tive in their now in­fa­mous “Three Noes” – no peace, no recog­ni­tion and no ne­go­ti­a­tion. That was all be­fore there was a claim to that land by any Pales­tinian en­tity.

In terms of var­i­ous in­ter­na­tional agree­ments, Jerusalem was to be­come an “in­ter­na­tional city” un­der the con­trol of a “trust”. For the next 19 years af­ter the 1948 war, Jews were de­nied ac­cess to East Jerusalem, and ev­ery as­pect of Jewish life, in­clud­ing homes and syn­a­gogues, were de­stroyed by the Jor­da­ni­ans.

It’s in­ter­est­ing to note that in the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of the 1967 war, the con­quer­ing Is­raeli army handed full con­trol of the Mus­lim part of the Tem­ple Mount over to the Waqf in Jor­dan, and to this day, all ma­jor re­li­gions have free ac­cess to all the holy sites in Jerusalem.

The ques­tion there­fore that Zondi should an­swer is: Whose oc­cu­pa­tion is and was il­le­gal?

It seems how­ever that Zondi’s real is­sue is in num­bers. He writes that “thou­sands of Pales­tini­ans have per­ished in re­cent years, while only a few Is­raelis died”.

Now here’s the real prob­lem – too few Jews be­ing killed. Nearly 2000 Jews killed in the two in­tifadas doesn’t reg­is­ter on his aba­cus. It seems while Zondi wrote al­most half a page jus­ti­fy­ing the US about-turn on pol­icy, it’s only about Pales­tinian num­bers.

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