This time around, though, we get none of that. Ruebner is here to pretend to be an international law scholar and that only the human rights of Arabs matter. The subject is (wait for it) THE OCCUPATION, as usual, and how evil it is. Far more evil than suicide bombings, rockets onto kindergartens, or blowing up of airplanes. In his article Ruebner rewrites history like a boss. The Six Day War started for absolutely no reason, did you know that? Apparently wars in the Middle East are like spontaneous combustion or reality shows: they just happen without any kind of warning or buildup. Nor does the rewrite of history stay there:
"Forty-five years after Israel occupied the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip and the Syrian Golan Heights, Israel's grasp upon these territories is firmer than ever..."A question for Mr. Ruebner and his supporters: Who, in 1967, considered the West Bank/East Jerusalem/Gaza to be "Palestinian territories?" Answer: Nobody. Not a single person, not even the PLO. And considering that Ruebner works really hard to quote President Johnson and other leaders who were around at the time, it seems like an oversight. Except that we know it's not an oversight, because if he were to admit that at the time that Israel's soldiers moved into the West Bank it was considered occupied by Jordan, the whole basis of his article would be at risk. Even though it really didn't have to be, if only he had entered from a moderate position.
This is what I find so strange about these Palestinian supporters: If you want to go with the argument that the occupation is not sustainable and that the settlements are illegal, okay I can work with that. And if you want to say that the Palestinians need territory on which to build their state, sure no problem. But when we get this pseudo-history in which East Jerusalem magically becomes "Palestinian" as soon as the Jordanian soldiers leave, I'm not so sympathetic. If the only way you need to make your point involves lying, your point is probably not a good one to start with.
Having taken his first shot at rewriting history, Mr. Ruebner then attempts to cherry-pick UNSC Resolution 242, a time honored tradition when it comes to people speaking about the Arab-Israeli conflict:
"The resolution, which has formed the cornerstone of Israeli-Arab peacemaking efforts ever since its adoption, emphasizes the "inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war" and calls for the "withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.""What Mr. Ruebner fails to mention is that it also says that Israel must have "defensible borders," and that there must be, "Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force." No one section of the resolution has priority over any other, so it's really very disingenuous for him to say that Israel must end the occupation but that the Arabs don't have to make peace with it. The way the the UN intended the resolution was as a mutual "land for peace," deal. Without peace, Israel doesn't have to give up land. Without land, the Arabs aren't obligated to make peace (though of course that would be nice, as Jordan did).
So for Mr. Ruebner to pretend that the resolution only says what he wants to say is not unusual, but still very dishonest. Though I don't know what else we would expect from a head honcho of "the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation."
(And of course let's not get into the whole translation argument over "all the territories," vs "territories," vs "some of the territories" because we've all heard it before. Except maybe for Mr. Ruebner.)
Anyway after misconstruing the 4th Geneva Conventions on "transfer," he then starts lying about other kinds of laws:
"Despite the Arms Export Control Act restricting the use of U.S.-supplied weapons to "internal security" and "legitimate self-defense," Israel systematically violates this law with impunity to commit grave human rights abuses of Palestinians living under military occupation."This is what I like to call the "big lie." Make a grandiose claim and then run like hell so that no one will call you on it. Can Mr. Ruebner please explain why he thinks that Israel is not using the weapons in question for "legitimate self-defense?" I'm sure that most Palestinians supporters would sneer at the claim that Israel is defending itself, but if Ruebner wants to claim that Israel is "violating this law with impunity" he needs to give us something a little bit better than just his opinion. Ditto with these "grave human rights abuses." What kinds of abuses does he mean? Can he specify what sort? What makes them human rights abuses and not legitimate self-defense?
I'm guessing he got to this point, looked through some Palestinian blogs, and then thought "eh, that's a lot of work and it's not like anyone is going to challenge me at the Huffington Post anyway." If he is just going to move on without backing up his claims so will I. Especially since there is so much more to see, as we conclude with a couple examples of wordplay:
"A prerequisite for any just and lasting Arab-Israeli peace is for Israel to end its military occupation of all Arab land conquered in 1967"Ah, but by the same token any prerequisite for any ending of military occupation is for there to be a just and lasting peace! How do you like them apples? Mr. Ruebner's timing adds an additional level of irony seeing as how Mahmoud Abbas just came out against unilateral withdrawal, something that Mr. Ruebner unquestionably desires. Wouldn't be the first time actual Palestinians on the ground and their so-called supporters have a disconnection of interests. (There is more bad timing as he references Amnesty International just a day before they have been exposed once again as completely unreliable.)
Also I should point that there is no such thing as "Arab land," as land does not have an ethnicity. I doubt that Mr. Ruebner would be so sympathetic if a Zionist were to claim that Israel exists on "Jewish land" and all Arabs have to leave. But hey hypocrisy among Palestinian supporters is also not a new concept.
Now this is interesting:
"Despite Johnson and Goldberg interpreting UN Resolution 242 as not requiring a full Israeli withdrawal to its 1949 armistice lines, the resolution restates a clear principle of international law: territory cannot be acquired by force."So Mr. Ruebner admits that people he was relying on above agree that Israel does not have to leave the West Bank entirely (or anywhere else), he just proceeds to ignore them once they no longer tell him what he wants to hear. Regardless, this old talking point won't fly anymore. Why? Because if Israel were to get the Palestinians to agree to a state on 95% of the West Bank, or a land swap, they wouldn't be acquiring land by force. They would be acquiring land by negotiation.
See how that works, Mr. Ruebner? But wait, I forgot, like many armchair Palestinian supporters, he wants the Palestinians on the ground to not be satisfied until they get everything that Mr. Ruebner thinks they deserve. And why not? He's not the one suffering under the occupation so he can afford to be as intransigent as he likes. I guess that bleeding heart isn't as big as it seems.