Why is it so Hard for the New York Times to Accept International Law in Regards to Palestine and the Palestinians?

As the date of the Palestinian bid at the United Nations looms nearer various people, myself included (just look at most of my past articles), have decided to give a last ditch effort to revive the two state solution (this is where you will not find me writing about). I was passing through the New York Times and found this fantastic article (sarcasm) about possible land swaps for a two state solution.

Now the post is written by David Makovsky which gives great insight to its utter ignorance and ignoring of international law. Mr. Makovsky wrote a book with Dennis Ross, the American’s main negotiator when a peace deal is nowhere in sight. He was appointed after George Mitchell realized the Israelis are not serious, he was shut out of many meetings during Camp David II when negotiations were failing, and was greatly ignored in Taba and the Geneva Initiative (the two closest settlements for the two state solution). Makovsky beings his piece by saying:

A two-state solution is the only viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and therefore negotiators must take a close look at the land swaps necessary for a negotiated settlement. These maps outline three possible land-swap scenarios, followed by a map of the Geneva Initiative for comparison.

First, how is the two state solution (American and Israeli interpretation of the two state solution) with its blatant disregard for international law, the only viable option? Second, why are land swaps necessary, since ALL, yes ALL, international organizations agree on what needs to be done. UN Resolution 242 was very specific and worded more carefully than any other UN resolution. No territory acquired by war, in the 1st paragraph. It was there for a reason because under international law, its illegal, plain and simple. Only 1 country has ever been able to retain territory by war and that was Israel in 1948, so we are supposed to allow them to do it again? Next he says:

The core principle of these swaps is to reconcile the Palestinian demand for a return to the pre-1967 lines with Israel’s desire to include as many of the West Bank’s 300,000 settlers in Israel proper as possible.

Wow, just plain wow. 300,000 is such a strange number, seems so low in 2011. Maybe in 1997 this made sense, but then you realize he does not count the 200,000+ settlers in Occupied East Jerusalem (international court’s term) as settlers, well that is convenient. All one has to do is read the 2004 ICJ’s ruling on the legality of the wall and they explicitly say all land conquered in the June 1967 war including the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Occupied East Jerusalem. Ok well 40% of the settler population ceases to exist and are just granted to Israel along with their illegally build and subsidized houses. Ok, what is next?

Any feasible scenario must include Israel’s granting Palestinians arable land from within Israel’s pre-1967 border in exchange for annexed settlement blocs (clusters of settlements). It is essential that, for any land annexed by Israel as part of a deal, Palestinians receive equal amounts of land.

Oh ok, nice, land swaps, also unfounded in UN resolution 242 except in regards to straightening out the “irregular” border and only for mutual and respective swaps of equal land. Oh well, let’s look at where most of the land is being added for the “Palestinian state” that Makovsky proposes…oh around Gaza Strip, how nice. That nice sandy land that has no resources, this must be equal to Ariel which is maintained in ALL proposals and is sitting on top of a water aquifer, solid logic. Sandy desert=mountain aquifer. What is great also is that in every proposal Israel keeps the Latrun, named No Man’s Land, (which is almost the size of Gaza and has no settlements) without a question. The last important thing he says is:

Contrary to popular belief, most Israeli settlers are concentrated near the 1967 boundary. As a result, the scenarios outlined below could spare 68 percent to 80 percent of settlers dislocation from their homes by annexing 3.72 percent to 4.73 percent of the land. This would establish a contiguous Palestinian state equal in size to the area of the West Bank and Gaza Strip combined.

First, what is this popular belief and whose says this? I have never heard anyone says that most settlements are located in the Jordan Valley or in Hebron. Dislocation from homes is a nice Zionist way of saying “we don’t want to ethnically cleanse Jews from their subsidized and illegal homes” (yes that latter part is my cents). His last sentence is also mighty curious as all land swaps need to be MUTUAL and EQUAL in value and size. Also it is curious because how is this contiguous considering it has all of these settlement fingers (Ariel Sharon’s term) cutting through a Palestinian state. What state would agree to have these fingers in their state, which are illegal? If to Israeli apologists this seems normal and necessary, let us propose the same thing for Israel. Let Qalqiliya or Tulkarem almost reach Tel Aviv or Haifa. This would be the same as Ariel or the Qedumim bloc north of it. Or better is that Ma’ale Adumim is accepted as given to Israel in all proposals, although to be fair, only in 2 of the 3 does it reach Jericho which cuts the West Bank in half. (sarcasm again)

Dear New York Times and all its pundits who are trying to get Israel more land, there is an international consensus that 95% of the world agrees to for a two state solution. It involves FULL evacuation/removal of ALL settlements/settlers, giving Occupied East Jerusalem to the Palestinians for their capital, and a just solution to the refugee issue (compensation or return). Instead of wasting precious paper and ink on your fairy tale Israeli apologists and supporters’ fantasies, you actually follow international law. It is not complicated, it is not controversial.


MA student who actually reads on the issue and does not try and justify gross breaches of international law.


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