I complained earlier about the sensationalism around the recent Levy Committee Report in Israel. I am looking in more detail at the parts that have been translated into English, and the more I see, the more vindicated my gut reaction seems to have been (ie this was completely blown out of proportion).
I also just went back and read the New York Times editorial that the anti-Israel left have been raving about since it slammed the report. What I saw was a little embarrassing for a paper of the Times‘ repute:
Most of the world views the West Bank, which was taken by Israel from Jordan in the 1967 war, as occupied territory and all Israeli construction there as a violation of international law. The world court ruled this way in 2004. The Fourth Geneva Convention bars occupying powers from settling their own populations in occupied lands. And United Nations Security Council resolution 242, a core of Middle East policy, calls for the “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.”
- There is no “world court”. The editorial must be referring to the International Court of Justice, which issued an advisory opinion (not a ruling) in 2004 that related to the security barrier being built by Israel and only tangentially to the construction of settlements. There are a lot of other issues with the judgment, but they are beyond the purview of this post.
- The Fourth Geneva Convention prevents civilian populations from being forceably transferred onto land that is under belligerent occupation. That is not the same as “settling”.
- That is what you call selective quoting. Res 242 did call for that, but the next paragraph called for this:
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.
It’s funny how the anti-Israel crowd likes to forget that part. There is also the fact that the Resolution called for withdrawal from “lands captured”, not “all lands” — Israel has already withdraw from “lands” and has committed to withdrawing from other lands if a viable deal is reached. The other parties to the 1967 conflict? Well, Egypt complied with that second condition… 12 years later. It took Jordan another 15 years after Egypt and we have yet to see Lebanon or Syria even consider it, never mind the Palestinian Authority or Hamas.
Whatever else may be said about the Levy report, this is just sloppy journalism from the Times. Shame really.