Pace Sheldon Adelson: Top 5 Signs West Bank is Occupied Territory

(By Juan Cole)

New Jersey governor and presidential hopeful Chris Christie used the term “Occupied Territories” to refer to Gaza and the West Bank in his talk this weekend to Sheldon Adelson’s “Republican Jewish Coalition” in Las Vegas. He was forced to apologize to the uber right wing Adelson.

Now the far right billionaires want to buy language itself!

And this, on Palestine Land Day!

Here are the top 5 signs Palestine might be occupied:

1. The UN General Assembly partition plan for British Mandate Palestine in 1947, which was extremely generous to the Jewish settlement community of the time, did not award them Gaza or the West Bank, where there were at that time virtually no Jews!

2. Israel militarily conquered Gaza and the West Bank only in 1967. Typically you refer to territories not belonging to a country, which it holds during wartime, as “Occupied Territories”

3. Israel is in violation of [pdf] over 30 United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding what the UNSC explicitly calls the Occupied Territories. Israel has cited other UNSC Chapter VII resolutions as justification for its own actions, i.e. the 2006 war on Lebanon, but declines to take them seriously with regard to its own behavior toward the Palestinians.

4. This is what the Palestinian city of al-Khalil (Hebron) looks like:


Sheldon, that ain’t Bugs Bunny.

Hebron has 180,000 Palestinians and some 500 fanatic Jewish settler families whose presence is illegal by the 4th Geneva Convention, and for the sake of the latter the Palestinians are regimented by the Israeli army.

5. There are 4.4 million Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. They are stateless. Those in Gaza are besieged by the Israeli military and forbidden to export most of what they produce, and also prevented from importing many needed goods, and denied both a sea harbor and an airport by the Israeli military. Those in the West Bank are under Israeli military rule, denied basic human rights and self-determination, and routinely have their land and resources stolen by illegal Israeli settlers. The Geneva Convention of 1949 forbids occupying powers from flooding their own citizens into militarily occupied territories conquered in war.

Denying that the Palestinians are occupied is a form of linguistic genocide, an attempt to wipe them off the face of the map in mind and language.


Related video:

Land Day demonstration in Bil’in

19 Responses

  1. There is what’s called a profile in courage. What we witnessed however from mr tough guy Christie and other Republicans supplecants were profiles in cowardice. If you can’t stand in a room and tell zionists, who if the world turned its back would expel Palestinians, the truth; they have no business laying claim to the title of most powerful man in the world. They were pure cowards to prostrate themselves before an international gambling mogul. It was a discussing display of gutless behavior, politicians putting the interests of zionists, who in no way speak for the majority of Jews here or in Israel ahead of the National Interest of the US. I don’t want to hear anymore talk about tough Christie. What I’ll take away is Christie kneeling and kissing the feet of a billionaire ardent Zionist who makes his money off of hapless gamblers.

  2. The simplest retort to the argument that the West Bank isn’t occupied is this: each and every “law” that Israel passes in the West Bank is promulgated by means of an IDF Military Order issued in the name of the IDF commander in the West Bank.

    Ariel wants a University?

    OK, sure, but that decision isn’t gazetted by the Israeli Minister for Education.

    No, that decision is made via a Military Order issued by the IDF Commander, who does so because he has been instructed to issue it by the Israeli Minister of Defence.

    Every decision – every single one, no matter how trivial – is carried out because the IDF Commander issues a Military Order that makes it happen.

    Every. Single. Decision.

    There’s a name for such a system: a “belligerent occupation”.

    • The West Bank has been ruled by the “Civil Administration” a division of the Israel Defense Forces led by a brigadier general.

      The most powerful political figure in the West Bank is Brig. Gen. David Menachem, who was appointed almost one year ago. He directs the Civil Administration under the guidance of the IDF chief of staff. Very few outside of Israel are aware of the identity of this leader as his name appears only sporadically in Israeli newspapers – an then as part of IDF management coverage.

      The Civil Administration was created in 1981 by Menachem Begin as part of the Camp David Accords. The Civil Administration vacated the Gaza Strip in 2005.

  3. No.4 illustrates well the hole Israel is digging for itself. The more settlers set up home in the West Bank, the more stretched the IDF becomes, trying to shield them. That results in poorer military performance, both in the form of brutality on the streets and ineptitude in larger-scale operations (such as the tactics of Israeli armour in Lebanon in 2006). Ever more money will be required to subsidise the growth and manufacture of products that are increasingly becoming impossible to export.

  4. Adelson may have been delighted to learn that Christie had reversed himself to conform to Adelson’s wishes and the possibility of getting campaign donations (bribes) out of him, but it isn’t likely this gained Christie any respect from anyone witnessing this spectacle – including Adelson.

  5. Isn’t Adelson still under suspicion of bribing Chinese officials in relation to his gambling interests in Macao? How much confidence could we have that President Christie would persuade investigation and, if appropriate, prosecution for violation of federal law? How much faith should we have in the judgment of Christie (and others) when they set themselves up for potential pressure, even blackmail?

  6. The occupation is the consequence of three failed “wars of aggression (1948-49, 1967 and 1973),” intended to eradicate Israel. At the post 1967 “Six Day War” Khartoum Conference, the Arabs adopted the infamous “Three No’s (No negotiation, recognition, or peace with Israel).” Thus, they preferred to leave captured lands in Israeli hands, rather than trade peace for their return. Since then, in 2000 and again, in 2008, Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, respectively, walked away from offers to return most of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and all of Gaza, in return for peace. Taking an “all, or nothing” perspective has not served the Palestinians well. At some point, Israel will argue that the captured lands have been abandoned and are thus now available for settlement. Under International Law, the victorious belligerent in war may retain captured lands, until otherwise modified by treaty. See: link to

    So far, it seems that Palestinians would rather forfeit the lands than accept a treaty providing for their return to Palestinian sovereignty. They need to reject the arrogant self-centered sense of entitlement to “all the land between the river (Jordan) and the sea (Mediterranean)” and adopt a working compromise in which both parties make considerable sacrifices in the interest of peace, but neither sacrifices everything!

    • Mike, in May 1948 the expeditionary armies of five – count ’em, 5- Arab armies advanced into the territory that had been allocated to …. the “Arab state”.

      They did not advance into the territory that had been allocated to…. the “Jewish state”.

      Q: Why did they advance into the territory that had been allocated to the “Arab state”?
      A: Because that’s where the armed forces of the “Jewish state” were.

      Q: And why were the armed forces of the “Jewish state” deep inside the territory of the “Arab state”.
      A: Well, they weren’t lost, if that’s what you mean.

      Q: So what was the Haganah doing there?
      A: Invading that “Arab state”.

      • Johnboy,

        Under UNSCR 181, adopted November 29, 1947, the former British Mandate was to be divided between two states, one Arab and one Jewish. The portion of the former Mandate which was to become the Arab state was invaded by those 5 armies, as well as the part that was to become Israel. At that time, the Arab League had no intent to create the Palestinian state, but rather to divide all of the former British Mandate among themselves. The effect of the 1967 “Six Day War,” was only to substitute Israeli occupation for that of Egypt and Jordan. If Egypt and Jordan were interested in Palestinian self-determination, they could have established the Palestinian state anytime between 1949 and 1967. Note that it was not until the 1993 Oslo Conference that the Arab league first recognized the right of Palestinians to a state of their own., which resulted in creation of the Palestinian National Authority. At that time, Israel also recognized a right to Palestinian statehood, which is the basis for current negotiations.

        What was the Haganah doing in Israel in 1948-1949? They were exercising Israel’s right under Article 51 of the U.N. Charter to “individual, or collective self-defense,” in other words, “armed self-defense,” which is the right of every U.N. member nation-state. When, and If, Palestinians obtain statehood, they will acquire that same right!

        • “Under UNSCR 181, adopted November 29, 1947, the former British Mandate was to be divided between two states, one Arab and one Jewish”

          Correct. Well Done!

          “The portion of the former Mandate which was to become the Arab state was invaded by those 5 armies,”

          Errr, nooooo, because they were asked by the leaders of that “Arab state” to come to their assistance in the face of ongoing aggression from the Haganah.

          That’s perfectly legal under the doctrine of “collective self-defence”.

          “, as well as the part that was to become Israel. ”

          Noooooo, actually. The UNSC sent a letter to the Israeli provisional govt just a week into that war, and one of the questions they asked was, simply put: what part of your state is being “invaded”?

          The answer: errrr, well, ummm, some Egyptian planes have bombed Tel Aviv and, ummmm, errrr, we *think* some Egyptian troops have cut corners in the Negev so they could link up with the Jordanian Army. But we can’t be sure.

          I can give you a copy of that letter, if you want it.

          It makes very interesting reading indeed regarding Who was invading Whom.

          “At that time, the Arab League had no intent to create the Palestinian state, but rather to divide all of the former British Mandate among themselves.”

          True of Jordan, but not true of the other four.

          Egypt didn’t even want to join the fight, and had to be taunted into it.

          Syria sent a token effort (5,000 troops in the beginning, and never more than 10,000 at any one time), while Lebanon and Iraq were hardly in it at all.

          Only Jordan was in the “carve-up” business, mainly because King Abdullah had cut a deal pre-war with Golda Meir.

          But you knew that, right?

          “If Egypt and Jordan were interested in Palestinian self-determination, they could have established the Palestinian state anytime between 1949 and 1967.”

          True enough, but please explain to me how that invalidates the Palestinian’s right to self-determination, or extinguishes any rights granted to them by UNGAR 181?

          Because I’d suggest it doesn’t, precisely because neither Egypt nor Jordan were Sovereign Powers anywhere west of the River Jordan.

          “At that time, Israel also recognized a right to Palestinian statehood, ”

          No, they didn’t. All that Israel “recognized” was the right of the PLO to represent the “Palestinian people” in final status negotiations.

          But Israel definitely did **not** recognize “a right to Palestinian statehood”.

          Not in 1993, not now, not ever.

          They are willing to *discuss* the possibility of a Palestinian state, but they do not recognize that such a state has a *right* to exist.

        • Ahh, here it is: google up UN Security Council document S/766 of 22 May 1948.

          The question was: “Have Arab forces penetrated into the territory over which you claim to have authority?”

          The answer was: “Arab forces have penetrated into the territory of the State of Israel in certain corners of the Northern Negev and in the Jordan Valley south of Lake Tiberias. In addition, planes of the Royal Egyptian Air Force have repeatedly raided Tel Aviv and southern Jewish settlements”

          Not much of an “invasion” of Israel, is it?

          Basically, those dastardly Egyptian soldiers were using the Negev desert as a way of “cutting corners”, and some Jordanian forces were toolin’ around south of Lake Tiberias and – somehow, and it’s not explained how – that’s meant to represent an attempt to Throw The Jews Into The Sea..

          Apparently their heart just wasn’t into it.

    • Mike: “1967 and 1973”

      Israel attacked the neighbouring Arab states in 1967, Mike.

      They started that war with a sneak attack on the Egyptian airforce (who were doing nothing more than sitting out in the open on their airfields) and then immediately followed that up with an armoured blitzkrieg against Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai (who were doing nothing more than hunkering down in foxholes).

      At no time had those Egyptian planes been ordered to attack Israel, and at no time had those Egyptian soldiers been ordered out of their foxholes and told to advance into Israel.

      Israel. Attacked. Them. They. Did. Not. Attack. Israel.

      And as for the events of 1973, ahem, you might want to look at who’s territory the fighting took place i.e. in the South those Egyptian forces were fighting to retake…. Egyptian territory. And in the North those Syrian soldiers were fighting to retake…. Syrian territory.

      Fancy that: soldiers fighting to reclaim territory from a foreign army of occupation that had seized that territory at the point of a gun and was absolutely, positively, come-and-make-me-if-you-dare refusing to withdraw.

      Oh, the horror! The horror!

      • Johnboy,

        That was what is known in military parlance as a “pre-emptive strike.” Nasser had already made his intentions clear that he intended to initiate a “War of Annihilation to Drive the Jews into the Sea.” He had already closed the Straits of Tiran, closing off access to Israel’s southern port of Eilat. Blockading another nation’s ports is internationally recognized as an act of war. Nasser also ordered the removal of U.N. peacekeepers from the Israeli-Egyptian border. In such situations, one who faces imminent attack need not await the enemy to strike first, but may launch a “pre-emptive strike” to prevent the enemy attack. Nasser was rather stupid to clearly make his intentions know, a mistake which Egypt did not repeat in 1973. The Israelis nearly lost the 1973 war due to complacency over their 1967 victory, a mistake they are certain not to repeat again with other enemies, now that they have peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan! If Syria ever stabilizes and negotiates a peace agreement with Israel, it will include return of the Golan Heights. It would be to Assad’s advantage to make peace with Israel and stabilize his southern borders!

        • “That was what is known in military parlance as a “pre-emptive strike.” ”

          No, quite untrue.

          A “pre-emptive strike” (or “anticipatory self-defence”) has to fulfil the requirements set out in The Caroline Case, and there is no way that the military situation in early June 1967 fulfilled even one of those criteria.

          The Egyptian planes were lined up on the runway: they weren’t being prepped to attack anyone.
          The Egyptian soldiers were dug into their foxholes in the Sinai Desert: they weren’t being positioned to launch themselves at anyone.

          Regardless of how furiously Nasser was rattling his sabre this still remained true: there was **no** Egyptian attack being “imminently prepared” against Israel. None whatsoever.

          Therefore there was **no** justification for a “pre-emptive strike”, precisely because there was no enemy attack to “pre-empt”.

          Israel attack Egypt in June 1967 for the same reason that Japan attacked Pearl Harbour in December 1941 i.e. because they could, and because they knew that if they did then they’d wipe the floor with their opponents.

          “He had already closed the Straits of Tiran, closing off access to Israel’s southern port of Eilat.”

          Hmmm, had he now? Remind me again of the name of the ships that were “prevented” from reaching Eilat..

          Because here’s something you don’t know, but Nasser did: he announced that Egypt would not allow any ISRAELI FLAGGED ships from making passage through the Straits of Tiran (Egyptian territorial waters, btw), safe in the certain knowledge that there WERE NO ISRAELI FLAGGED SHIPS plying that trade.

          There was, indeed, nothing to “block”.
          Any other ship could – and did – sail right up that passage and into Eilat.

          Indeed, a week into the “blockade” and Egyptian naval ships weren’t even inspecting the ships as they sailed past; they’d gotten bored of the pretence.

          Didn’t you know that?

  7. i don’t expect israel would ever let palestinians have the West Bank.
    so, what is it that US is doing or wants there for the last 50 years?
    surely, no negotiations can take place between two sides when one of them appears thousands times stronger econo-diplo-militatrily than the other.
    do palestinians know this? probably!
    so, they do this charade just because US gives them bribe money to ‘negotiate’!!!!
    yes, what could they lose by letting US bribe them? i say nothing!

  8. I just loved seeing the kids with their slingshots. I learned to use one a long time ago, taught by my young neighbors in Jordan. David and Goliath all over again but this time the power is with Goliath, sadly.

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