Tuesday, September 1, 2009


According to Zionist apologists, the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories aren't occupied, they're contested:-

"Painstakingly crafted before its final adoption, [UNSC Resolution 242 of 1967] calls for Israel's withdrawal from 'territories', not 'the territories' it won in defending itself from Arab attack in the Six Day War. The absence of the definite article... was no oversight but an acknowledgment by its formulators that Israel was indefensible within its pre-1967 borders and that territorial adjustments would be required. The West Bank... is not 'somebody else's occupied territory'. It remains contested land, the sovereignty of which must finally be decided by Arab-Israeli negotiations to end the conflict." (Letter, Merv Morris, East St Kilda, The Age, 1/9/09)

Is that so? Let's take a closer look:

An Arab attack?

Can you imagine Pearl Harbour construed as an American attack on Japan? In fact, the Israeli Air Force destroyed the Egyptian Air Force on the ground on the morning of 5 June 1967 in a surprise attack. Israel's top brass ("like bulls in rut," to use Tom Segev's memorable simile) had been itching to take on the Egyptians for yonks, and the Israelis had pushed hard for, and obtained, a green light for their aggression from Washington.

Resolution 242?

"When the General Assembly couldn't reach agreement on a comprehensive resolution, deliberations moved to the Security Council. In November 1967 the SC unanimously approved Resolution 242. [Israeli apologists cite the operative paragraph] that calls for '[w]ithdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict'. [They] omit... the resolution's preambular paragraph, which reads: 'Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war'... The main framer of 242 was Lord Caradon... In the SC deliberations on the resolution, Caradon explicitly linked these two passages... The definite article was omitted from the operative paragraph... Caradon explained, due to the irregularities of the pre-June 1967 borders, which 'were based on the accident of where exactly the Israeli and the Arab armies happened to be' at the time of the original armistace agreements ending the 1948 war. This omission did not, however, undercut the force of the preambular reference: 'Knowing as I did the unsatisfactory nature of the 1967 line, I was not prepared to use wording in the resolution which would have made that line permanent'. Nevertheless it is necessary to say again that the overriding principle was the 'inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war' and that meant there could be no justification for annexation of territory on the Arab side of the 1967 line merely because it had been conquered in the 1967 war." (Beyond Chutzpah, Norman Finkelstein, 2005, pp 287-288) [Note also that the omission of the definite article had nothing to do with making Israel more defensible.]

Contested or Occupied Territories?

Sorry Merv, old chap, that UN resolution you're such expert on refers to the West Bank and Gaza Strip as "occupied," not contested territories.


Anonymous said...

I have heard that the French version does include the definite article. Does anyone know if that is so?

MERC said...