Monday, December 28, 2009

Good Old Reuters; Bad New Obama

Good old Reuters:

Israel's Housing Ministry invited contractors to bid for the construction of 198 housing units in Pisgat Zeev, 377 homes in Neve Yaakov and 117 dwellings in Har Homa, settlements near Jerusalem.

Just in case you didn't know, those three Hebrew names, Pisgat Zeev, Neve Yaakov and Har Homa, are neighborhoods in Jerusalem.

Not by Reuters:

Israel announced plans on Monday to build nearly 700 new homes for Jews in areas of the occupied West Bank it considers part of Jerusalem
Found in NYTimes.

AP gets it reported better:

Amy Teibel, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS JERUSALEM - Israel said Monday that it will build nearly 700 new apartments in east Jerusalem, drawing tough criticism from both the Palestinians and the United States, which denounced the plan as an obstacle to peacemaking.

The dispute over east Jerusalem is the most intractable - and explosive - in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state and consider Jewish neighbourhoods there to be settlements. Israel claims all of the city as its eternal capital.

An they missed what UPI caught:

Jerusalem approves Arab housing units

JERUSALEM, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Israel has approved the construction of 500 housing units in Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood for both Arab and Jewish residents, officials said.

Israeli Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias said Monday that units have been authorized after Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat gave his approval for the building in an effort to address a housing shortage in the capital, reported.

Palestinians have accused Jerusalem officials of not allowing them to build in the city while approving hundreds of new Jewish housing units in outlying neighborhoods such as Neve Yaakov, Har Homa and Pisgat Ze'ev. said only two of the new Silwan units have been reserved by Jewish residents living in the area.

In another related Reuters story, the White House gets involved:

The White House on Monday called for Israel and the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible and for Israel to halt the construction of new homes for Jews in East Jerusalem. "The United States opposes new Israeli construction in East Jerusalem," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement.

Oh, my. My oh my.

Israel is already "at the negotiating table" fellas.

There's "frozen " Jewish communities on the menu but the Pals. won't even nibble.

Obama should get his priorities right. Jews have always lived in, around and all around Jerusalem town before the Ottoman occupation, the English occupation and the Jordanian occupation.

If he keeps trying that 'East Jerusalem trump card', he's going nowhere.


Morey Altman said...

And they always capitalize the E in east Jerusalem just to make their point. In any event, this criticism has little basis in law; in fact, international law DEFENDS new construction:
a) the Balfour Declaration, ratified by the San_Remo_Convention., and incorporated into the charter of the UN, clearly defends the right of Jews to buy land, live and build anywhere in Mandate Palestine;
b) Resolution 242, which outlines the terms of the post-Six Day War armistice deliberately makes NO mention of Jerusalem. Arthur Goldberg, the US Ambassador who helped draft 242, made it clear at the time that the resolution "in no way refers to Jerusalem, and this omission was deliberate...Jerusalem was a discrete matter, not linked to the West Bank."
c) Resolution 252, which concerns east Jerusalem calls on Israel to desist from all legislative and administrative measures, including land and property expropriation, which might change the legal status of Jerusalem. It makes no mention of Jews building on Jewish-owned land. Nor should it, since that right is enshrined in the previously cited San Remo Convention. They can complain about the incorporation of this land into the municipality of Jerusalem, but that's all. And that's a pretty petty complaint given hundreds of years of continual expansion and land expropriation by the city of Jerusalem which has nothing to do with Palestine's Arabs.

Morey Altman

YMedad said...

This: "the Balfour Declaration, ratified by the San Remo Convention, and incorporated into the charter of the UN" is not quite correct. First of all, it was the League of Nations. What was with the UN Charter was the essence of the Mandate recognition.

As Eli Hertz has written:

"The Mandate survived the demise of the League of Nations. Article 80 of the UN Charter implicitly recognizes the “Mandate for Palestine” of the League of Nations.

This Mandate granted Jews the irrevocable right to settle anywhere in Palestine, the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, a right unaltered in international law and valid to this day. Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (i.e. the West Bank), Gaza and the whole of Jerusalem are legal."

Morey Altman said...

My understanding is that the San Remo Agreement, as an international treaty, was transferred to the UN based on this UN document .

Multilateral treaities formerly deposited with the Secretary-General of the League of Nations, by virtue of General Assembly resolution24 (1) of 12 February 1946, and of a League of nations Assembly resolution of 18 April 1946 (League of Nations, Official Journal, Special Supplement No. 194, p. 57) were transferred, upon dissolution of the League of Nations, to the custody of the United Nations.

YMedad said...

San Remo devolved into the League of Nations decisions of the Mandates - there were a few - and prepared them. San Remo was a stepping stone. The transfer of treaties you refer to stem from the League of Nations, not San Remo.

Morey Altman said...

Thanks for the clarification. For anyone interested, the relevant text of the San Remo Agreement is below.

From: The Israel-Arab Reader, edited, Walter Laqueur, New York, Bantam Books, 1976, pps 34-42. [NB: This is an edited version of the complete San Remo Agreement, and the elipses found within form part of Dr. Laqueur's editorial process.]

"The San Remo Conference decided on April 24, 1920 to assign the Mandate [for Palestine] under the League of Nations to Britain. The terms of the Mandate were also discussed with the United States which was not a member of the League. An agreed text was confirmed by the Council of the League of Nations on July 24, 1922, and it came into operation in September 1923."