First Kuttab praises France as a country, calling it "strong" and discussing its economic relationship with the Arab world. But it's only in the fourth paragraph that Kuttab starts to go off the rails:
In the Middle East conflict [which conflict?], the French have been slightly leaning in favor of the Arab position while maintaining its good relations with both Israel and the US. For years, Arab leaders and ideologues have romanticized France's role as the savior of Palestinians and the Arab world, only to be regularly disappointed when nothing happened.As I'm trained to do when I read Kuttab, I follow the link, especially when the link is backing up a big claim like Arab leaders considering France 'savior of the Palestinians.' What does the link go to? A speech from June 2012 by Laurent Fabius, the current Foreign Minister of France. The speech is quite long, at least 3 pages, and he mentions the Palestinians in ONE paragraph, in which he says we need to "make progress" towards a Palestinian state and there is a "right to a viable Palestinian state and the security of Israel." Wow, what a savior! Hold him back from charging in there right now and fighting Israeli soldiers right alongside the 15-year-olds!
Sounds to me like, as always, the Palestinians have waited for someone (in this case, France) to come in and solve their problems for them, and are naturally "disappointed" when that doesn't happen. Poor, poor Palestinians.
Kuttab moves on to describe Hollande's visit, which of course isn't good enough. He complains about Israel giving Hollande the "red carpet treatment," and then says this:
"Hollande also made the routine visit to Ramallah, met with Abbas and attempted to hit all the right political notes at all his press conferences.He used the word Palestine a few times when referring to his visit to the Israel-occupied Palestinian areas and repeatedly talked about the two-state solution and the need for Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel and Palestine....Hollande correctly opposed the latest settlement announcements, including the decision to build in the controversial E1 area near Jerusalem."So Hollande visits Abbas (the unelected fascist dictator), uses the word "Palestine", opposes settlement construction and even calls for Jerusalem to be the capital of Palestine, and that still isn't good enough for Kuttab!
"So despite the fact that the International Court of Justice at the Hague considers settlements illegal, and despite the fact that his own government and the EU, of which France is a founding member, also consider settlements built in occupied areas a violation of international law, and specifically of the Geneva Convention, Hollande is only worried that the announcement at this time "complicates" things."Hollande's condemnation of the settlements isn't strong enough. Oh, woe to the Palestinians! What a disappointing visit by Hollande! Of course, he also didn't talk about how Palestinian violence, such as the murder of the soldier last week, is also a violation of international law, but who cares about that? We've got hands to wring.
Kuttab finishes off with an actual attempt to prove the settlements are illegal, which he completely fails at and in fact lies through his teeth about:
"France of all countries should be familiar with the Fourth Geneva Convention, which was produced to deal with prolonged occupations. It came about after (what seemed at the time long) German occupation of France in World War II.Referring to the Geneva Conventions, the International Committee of the Red Cross states: "It is unlawful under the Fourth Geneva Convention for an occupying power to transfer parts of its own population into the territory it occupies. This means that international humanitarian law prohibits the establishment of settlements, as these are a form of population transfer into occupied territory. Any measure designed to expand or consolidate settlements is also illegal. Confiscation of land to build or expand settlements is similarly prohibited.""Note the quotation marks, and follow the link. This line is in the link: "The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies." The lines after, "This means that international humanitarian law prohibits the establishment of settlements, as these are a form of population transfer into occupied territory, etc." is NOT in the link. Yet Kuttab keeps the quotation marks around the entire paragraph! He tries to pull a fast one on his readership, by keeping the quotes around the entire paragraph, he tries to convince his readers that his interpretation of the Geneva Conventions are actually part of the Geneva Conventions. This is extremely dishonest, but typical of Kuttab's integrity.
Even beyond his "creative" quotation of the Geneva Conventions, Kuttab does not attempt to prove that Israel is "transferring" people into the West Bank, because he wouldn't be able to. He just declares that the Geneva Conventions mean what he says they mean and moves on to his final complaint:
"Instead of talking about "complicating" the peace process, the French leader should have simply said that settlements are illegal. By trying to appease Israelis on a principled issue he clearly disappointed Palestinians and Arabs and betrayed France's long standing position."Nothing is ever good enough for Kuttab and the Palestinians he speaks for, is it?