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17 février 2016 3 17 /02 /février /2016 10:27

France


- Audrey Azoulay : "A l'ENA, j'ai découvert l'antisémitisme vieille France" (Le JDD) - "Pendant ses vingt premières années, Audrey Azoulay [nouveau ministre de la Culture] n'a jamais eu de problème avec sa religion avant d'intégrer l'ENA".
http://www.lejdd.fr/Politique/Audrey-Azoulay-A-l-ENA-j-ai-decouvert-l-antisemitisme-vieille-France-773061
"À la regarder, ils s'habitueront. Dans un remaniement sans sens et sans saveur, elle est l'inconnue et pourtant le symbole, l'antidote à une France qui se divise. Audrey Azoulay incarne un pays ouvert, généreux où les juifs et les musulmans deviennent amis, une France du mélange, une France des valeurs, des livres.
Le nouveau ministre de la Culture se raconte pour la première fois. "J'ai grandi dans un milieu très à gauche", confie-t-elle. Un milieu "politisé sur le conflit israélo-palestinien. Mais à la maison, on ne parlait pas beaucoup de politique intérieure, plutôt de politique internationale", se souvient la fille d'André Azoulay et de Katia Brami. Son père est le conseiller du roi du Maroc, Hassan II puis Mohammed VI. [...]
Chez les Azoulay, la culture c'était les livres, point presque final. "C'était un environnement culturel engagé tourné autour des questions d'identité, du dialogue israélo-palestinien. C'était la splendeur des années 1980." Maroc et France, elle assume ce double héritage : "Le Maroc, j'y allais beaucoup en vacances, ma grand-mère y vivait. C'est un pays de cœur, celui des saveurs, de la musique. J'étais très enracinée ici, je ne parlais pas arabe. C'est une richesse d'identité, ce que permet parfaitement la France."
Ses grands-parents, ses parents n'étaient pas français. "Ce n'était pas un problème, on ne parlait jamais de ces questions à l'école. J'ai eu une meilleure amie japonaise, puis néo-zélandaise, les copines de mes sœurs étaient iraniennes." Des années bénies où le mélange était la règle. "Je n'ai aucun souvenir de querelles identitaires, aucun souvenir d'antisémitisme." On n'est jamais aussi juif que dans le regard des antisémites. Pendant ses vingt premières années, Audrey Azoulay n'a jamais eu de problème avec sa religion avant d'intégrer l'ENA : "Ce fut un choc, j'y ai découvert fortement l'antisémitisme vieille France." [...]"

- L'injuste responsabilité collective, Alain Jakubowicz (Président de la Licra) - "si Léa Salamé et Laurent Ruquier n'ont pas tort, avec leurs yeux, de reprocher à BHL de voir de l'antisémitisme de partout, BHL a raison, avec les siens, de rappeler des vérités qui dérangent".
http://www.huffingtonpost.fr/alain-jakubowicz/linjuste-responsabilite-collective_b_9234856.html
"Bernard-Henri Lévy voit-il de l'antisémitisme de partout, jusqu'à nuire à la juste cause qu'il défend ? C'est ce que Léa Salamé et Laurent Ruquier lui ont reproché samedi soir sur le plateau de "On n'est pas couché" à propos de Laurent Fabius et de Dominique Strauss-Kahn. [Voir l'extrait vidéo ici (6mn16)]
Ce n'est effectivement pas parce qu'il est juif (ou réputé tel...) que Laurent Fabius a été (injustement) accusé dans l'affaire du sang contaminé. Ce n'est pas non plus parce qu'il est juif que DSK a été outrancièrement humilié dans les affaires qui le concernent. Mais si l'antisémitisme n'est pas à l'origine de ces affaires, il s'y est rapidement invité pour justifier par leurs origines juives les turpitudes dont ils étaient accusés.
La vieille "accusation de sang", dont les juifs sont l'objet depuis la nuit des temps, comme les vieux poncifs sur les juifs et l'argent et les juifs et le pouvoir, ont alors été "recyclés" ad nauseam, au mieux sous la forme insidieuse de "bons mots", au pire sous celle d'accusations dignes des "protocoles des sages de Sion".
C'est pourquoi si Léa Salamé et Laurent Ruquier n'ont pas tort, avec leurs yeux, de reprocher à BHL de voir de l'antisémitisme de partout, BHL a raison, avec les siens, de rappeler des vérités qui dérangent. Si nul ne doute de la sincérité du regard de Léa Salamé et de Laurent Ruquier, celui de BHL dispose d'une acuité que des siècles d'atavisme ont exacerbée. La morale de cette histoire est que quand on appartient à une minorité, et particulièrement quand on est juif, on a vocation à l'exemplarité, précisément parce qu'on est comptable d'une forme de "responsabilité collective".
C'est injuste, mais c'est ainsi..."

- Le Conseil de Paris condamne le boycott d’Israël (Times of Israel) - "Le Conseil de Paris (l’assemblée délibérante de la ville de Paris, dispose à la fois des attributions d’un conseil municipal en tant que commune et celles d’un Conseil départemental) a adopté une initiative portée par la droite qui condamne le boycott envers Israël et les appels à participer à ce boycott lors de manifestations sur l’espace public, renforçant la loi française qui considère que le BDS contre Israël et les Israéliens est illégal".
http://fr.timesofisrael.com/le-conseil-de-paris-condamne-le-boycott-disrael/

- Aux origines des attaques du 13 novembre, Soren Seelow (Le Monde)
http://www.lemonde.fr/attaques-a-paris/article/2016/02/16/aux-origines-des-attaques-du-13-novembre_4866149_4809495.html
"[...] C’est dans le cadre de la filière d’Artigat que s’enracine cette petite histoire du djihadisme franco-belge. Au milieu des années 2000, Fabien Clain fait la connaissance à Bruxelles de Farouk Ben Abbes et de Farid Benladghem. Les trois hommes se retrouvent au Caire en 2007 au sein d’une petite communauté de djihadistes francophones. A l’occasion d’un dîner dans un restaurant cairote, Farouk Ben Abbes et Farid Benladghem annoncent aux frères Clain leur décision de rejoindre la bande de Gaza. Ils partent en février 2008.
Après plus d’un an passé dans les rangs de « l’Armée de l’islam », un groupe terroriste palestinien proche d’Al Qaida, Farouk Ben Abbes est interpellé à son retour en Egypte, le 3 avril 2009. Les services de sécurité égyptiens le soupçonnent, avec une autre française, Dude Hoxha, d’être impliqué dans l’attentat qui a visé un mois et demi plus tôt une classe de lycéens français en visite d’agrément au Caire. Mohamed Dahmani, intime de Dude Hoxha et frère d’Ahmed, l’ami de Salah Abdeslam, sera entendu comme témoin dans ce dossier.
Le 23 mai 2009, le ministère de l’intérieur égyptien transmet aux services français une note selon laquelle Farouk Ben Abbes aurait avoué en détention avoir été missionné pour commettre des attaques en France. Des informations font alors état d’un projet contre des intérêts juifs à Saint-Denis et la salle de spectacle du Bataclan, qui a accueilli plusieurs galas de soutien à l’armée israélienne. [...]"

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"Processus de paix"

- Proche-Orient : la France expose son initiative au gouvernement israélien, Cyrille Louis (Le Figaro)
http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2016/02/15/01003-20160215ARTFIG00168-proche-orient-la-france-expose-son-initiative-au-gouvernement-israelien.php
"[...] Le fil des négociations entre Israéliens et Palestiniens est totalement rompu depuis l'échec des pourparlers patronnés par John Kerry, en avril 2014, et l'amorce d'un nouveau cycle de violence rend leur reprise hautement hypothétique. La quasi-totalité de la classe politique israélienne est de toute façon convaincue qu'il est impossible de négocier un règlement du conflit avec l'actuelle direction palestinienne. «Mahmoud Abbas est en bout de course et les circonstances se sont rarement aussi peu prêtées à des discussions sérieuses», plaide un responsable israélien sous couvert de l'anonymat, qui précise cependant que son pays attend de connaître les détails de l'initiative pour prendre officiellement position.
Si des représentants des deux pays ont déjà eu l'occasion d'évoquer, ces derniers jours, les grandes lignes du projet français, la «réunion de travail» qui doit se tenir mardi matin à Jérusalem va les contraindre à rentrer dans le vif du sujet. Le gouvernement israélien ne fait pas mystère de son scepticisme, mais aimerait éviter d'avoir à assumer la responsabilité d'un refus. Pour l'heure, ses porte-paroles s'en tiennent d'ailleurs à déplorer que Laurent Fabius ait annoncé vouloir accorder la reconnaissance de la France à l'Etat de Palestine en cas d'échec de la conférence. «Cette promesse ne peut qu'inciter les Palestiniens à esquiver de véritables négociations», déplore un diplomate israélien.
Parallèlement aux démarches engagées vis-à-vis de l'Etat hébreu, Laurent Fabius a évoqué l'initiative française le 4 février dernier lors d'un échange téléphonique avec Riyad al-Malki, le ministre palestinien des Affaires étrangères, qui lui a fait part de son intérêt mais aussi de ses attentes. «Compte tenu de l'extrême dégradation de la situation sur le terrain, il ne saurait être question d'organiser une conférence pour le seul plaisir de se réunir», tranche un responsable palestinien, qui ajoute : «Il faut absolument que le consensus international soit rappelé en préambule de cette réunion, par exemple sous la forme d'une résolution au Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU condamnant clairement la colonisation.»
Ces premières réactions, officieuses, laissent penser que l'ambassadeur Pierre Vimont, chargé par Laurent Fabius de conduire ces préparatifs, aura fort à faire pour convaincre Israéliens et Palestiniens d'accepter un plan de travail commun. «L'une des questions cruciales, prévient une source française, sera de savoir s'ils acceptent d'endosser des termes de référence qui, sans préjuger de l'issue des négociations, permettront de les inscrire dans un cadre qui leur donne un minimum de sens.»"
- Netanyahu : L’initiative de paix française est « aberrante » (Times of Israel) - NB : le réel mot utilisé est "curious" (voir ici).
http://fr.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-linitiative-de-paix-francaise-est-aberrante/
"Le Premier ministre, Benjamin Netanyahu, a déclaré que l’initiative de paix française est « aberrante ». « Elle assure, à l’avance, que la conférence va échouer », a précisé le Premier ministre. La France a annoncé que si un nouveau cycle de négociations de paix ne donnait aucun résultat, elle reconnaîtrait unilatéralement un Etat palestinien. « [Le seul] moyen de faire avancer la paix : des négociations directes sans conditions préalables. Quiconque fait le contraire ne fera pas avancer avec succès les négociations », a asséné Netanyahu.
« Cela n’est peut-être pas le moment pour de grandes étapes mais pour de petites améliorations de la situation, » a déclaré Angela Merkel, qui accueille actuellement une délégation israélienne menée par le Premier ministre, tout en réitérant son engagement en faveur de la solution à deux Etats."
- Pas de solution à deux Etats pour le moment, selon Angela Merkel (i24) - "Des responsables israéliens ont confirmé que Merkel a tenu le même discours lors de discussions privés sur les pourparlers entre Israéliens et Palestiniens".
http://www.i24news.tv/fr/actu/israel/diplomatie-defense/103081-160216-pas-de-solution-a-deux-etats-pour-le-moment-angela-merkel
- Au sujet de la solution à 2 Etats, Merkel se range du côté de Netanyahu (Times of Israel) - « Ce n’est certainement pas le moment d’entreprendre des efforts globaux mais vous pouvez obtenir des améliorations dans certains domaines ».
http://fr.timesofisrael.com/au-sujet-de-la-solution-a-2-etats-merkel-se-range-du-cote-de-netanyahu/

- Israël fait assaut de défiance devant l'initiative de Paris pour la paix (AFP) - "Le fait qu'il n'y ait pas de négociations résulte uniquement de la décision des Palestiniens pour qui le conflit doit être réglé par un tribunal international".
https://fr.news.yahoo.com/isra%C3%ABl-fait-assaut-d%C3%A9fiance-devant-linitiative-paris-paix-163724162.html
"[...] Les responsables israéliens ont saisi l'occasion de la rencontre entre MM. Maisonnave [ambassadeur français à Tel-Aviv] et Ushpiz [directeur politique des Affaires étrangères] pour exprimer leur méfiance. "Tout le monde est contre l'initiative française, aussi bien la chef de la diplomatie européenne Federica Mogherini que les Palestiniens", a dit la ministre adjointe des Affaires étrangères Tzipi Hotovely à la radio publique. "Le fait qu'il n'y ait pas de négociations résulte uniquement de la décision des Palestiniens pour qui le conflit doit être réglé par un tribunal international", a-t-elle ajouté.
Après la rencontre entre MM. Maisonnave et Ushpiz, le porte-parole des Affaires étrangères Emmanuel Nahshon a exprimé l'opposition israélienne "à toute tentative de déterminer à l'avance les résultats des négociations". Pour autant, l'initiative française n'est "ni acceptée, ni rejetée", a-t-il précisé ensuite. Des sources françaises ont nuancé les propos israéliens, notant qu'au-delà des prises de position publiques, les Israéliens n'ont pas opposé une fin de non-recevoir définitive. [...]"

- PA: Palestinians to ‘never’ again negotiate directly with Israel (Times of Israel) - "Abbas’s FM warns IS may take over West Bank, says wave of Palestinian attacks is rooted in ‘humiliation, desperation’."
http://www.timesofisrael.com/pa-says-palestinians-will-never-negotiate-directly-with-israel-again/
- How will the world react to latest Palestinian threats and attempted blackmail? (It won't.) (Elder of Ziyon) - "Just imagine the international reaction if an Israeli official says that they have no intention to negotiate again, ever, with Palestinians. And compare it with the utter silence that this assertion gets".
http://elderofziyon.blogspot.fr/2016/02/how-will-world-react-to-latest.html
"The Palestinian leadership just said that there will be no negotiations with Israel. And no one will castigate them.
"In a striking rejection of relentless international efforts to broker new talks, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said Monday that the Palestinians will “never” return to direct negotiations with Israel. Peace talks collapsed in April 2014 and since then, the situation has deteriorated, with the prospects of fresh dialogue appearing more remote than ever. But Malki said that one-on-one talks with Israel were out of the question.
“We will never go back and sit again in a direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations,” Malki told a press conference. He is visiting Japan with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who was due to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe later Monday. Malki stressed that a multilateral framework to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is needed and he praised an initiative discussed late last month by France to revive plans for an international conference to end the conflict."
Just imagine the international reaction if an Israeli official says that they have no intention to negotiate again, ever, with Palestinians. And compare it with the utter silence that this assertion gets.
Thanks to years of coddling, the Palestinians now insist that the world impose a solution where they do not have to make any concessions. They just keep saying "no" - and launch a violent uprising every decade or so - because that strategy has helped them reach a better political position than actual pesky negotiations that involve a give and take.
But in case the world needs more of a push, Malki adds a little threat:
"And he warned that without international involvement, a vacuum will be left that may end up being filled by the Islamic State jihadist group. “If Daesh take advantage of lack of any brokers… then of course, they might come and try to fill it,” he said, referring to Islamic State. “This is very dangerous,” he added. “If the Americans are giving up and the Europeans don’t have the courage to do anything and Arabs are really worried about their own problems, what do you expect? Extremists around might take over”."
If anyone takes the time to actually think about this threat that a lack of brokers will lead to a takeover of the territories by ISIL, they would realize that this is the best argument to maintain Israel's military presence in those areas! Malki is also admitting that his people are susceptible to radicalization, meaning that the school curricula and official PA media is doing nothing to combat radical Islam. [...]
"Malki pointed to the ongoing Israeli control of the West Bank, which began in 1967, saying Palestinians born under it have seen nothing “but humiliation, soldiers’ check-points, deaths and killing”."
And the establishment of 14 universities, where none existed before 1967. And a life expectancy rate being raised from 48 to 72. And the adult literacy rate going up from 88% to 94%, with the youth literacy rate at nearly 100%. And an infant mortality rate plummeting from 60/1000 to about 15/1000. And virtually everyone joining the electrical grid. And the establishment of a "state" recognized by most countries. And an independent police force. And an Olympic team. And international awards for films and art. But for the purposes of speaking to the Western media, they have had nothing since 1967 besides death and humiliation. [...]"

- Palestinian Envoy to the UNHRC Ibrahim Khreisheh Suggests that Jews Should Return to Their Countries of Origin (Palestinian Authority TV, 4 février, Vidéo 1mn44) - "Ibrahim Khreisheh, the Palestinian envoy to the U.N. Human Rights Council, recently said that it may "be useful" to ask Arab and European countries "to allow the Jews to return to their former lands and homes." "Then we, the Palestinians, will return to be the way we were - Jews, Christians, and Muslims," he said, in a February 4, 2016 interview with the official Palestinian Authority TV channel, adding: "We never had people from Poland, the Ukraine, Switzerland, France, or England"."
http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/5321.htm

- Animated Music Video Celebrates Palestinian Terror Attacks (14 février, Vidéo 1mn06) - "This video, titled "The Men of the West Bank," celebrates Palestinian terror attacks, including stabbings, gunshots, and using cars to run over people. This animated version of the 2015 song by the Wa'ed Band has been circulating in recent days on the social media. For another music video by the band, titled "The Roof of the Bus Goes Flying," see MEMRI TV clip 5306".
http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/5322.htm

- Number of attacks in Israel steadily decreasing, but they are turning deadlier (Elder of Ziyon) - "Most of the attacks remain firebombs. However, as we have seen in recent weeks, there has been an uptick in shooting incidents as opposed to stabbings and car rammings".
http://elderofziyon.blogspot.fr/2016/02/number-of-attacks-in-israel-steadily.html

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Israël

- La Cour suprême soutient la démolition des maisons de terroristes (Times of Israel) - "Les forces de sécurité affirment que la pratique de démolitions de maison a le potentiel de dissuader d’éventuelles attaques. La Cour a accepté lundi, en annonçant que « l’abilité à prévenir de futures effusions de sang demande d’endurcir nos cœurs afin d’épargner les prochaines victimes, plus que d’avoir pitié pour les maisons des occupants. » [...] Alors que les signataires de pétition sont opposés aux démolitions de maisons qui sont une "punition injuste" pour les familles qui y habitent, la Cour a statué que le prix est justifié et ce, même si une seule vie peut être sauvée".
http://fr.timesofisrael.com/la-cour-supreme-soutient-la-demolition-des-maisons-de-terroristes/

- Folk/hip-hop : A-WA, les trois grâces israéliennes qui charment le monde en arabe, Daphne Rousseau (AFP) - "En 1949 et 1950, la quasi-totalité des juifs du Yémen, soit quelque 45.000 personnes, ont été exfiltrés vers le tout jeune Etat d'Israël" ; "Les trois soeurs n'ont pas dit qu'elles étaient juives israéliennes" ; "Avec plus de deux millions de vues sur internet, le groupe est fier d'être écouté aussi dans le monde arabe".
https://fr.news.yahoo.com/folk-hip-hop-wa-trois-gr%C3%A2ces-isra%C3%A9liennes-charment-105752046.html
"C'est dans un brûlant mélange de chants yéménites ancestraux et de rythmes hip-hop que les trois soeurs israéliennes du groupe A-WA enflamment en langue arabe aussi bien Israéliens qu'Arabes et Européens. Telles des héroïnes modernes des contes des Mille et une nuits, robes brodées traditionnelles et baskets clinquantes aux pieds, les trois soeurs recréent à chaque concert l'ambiance énergisante d'une nouba du désert. "On appartient à une tribu ancestrale, celle de nos grands-parents qui ont quitté le Yémen pour émigrer en Israël", explique à l'AFP Tair Haim, 32 ans, l'aînée du trio formé avec Liron, 30 ans, et Tagel, 26 ans. [...]
En 1949 et 1950, la quasi-totalité des juifs du Yémen, soit quelque 45.000 personnes, ont été exfiltrés vers le tout jeune Etat d'Israël, lors d'une opération clandestine baptisée "Tapis Volant". La scène culturelle israélienne, aussi bien musicale que cinématographique ou littéraire, est marquée depuis quelques années par une tendance à un retour aux racines arabes pour des artistes de la "troisième génération" d'immigrés juifs venus du Yémen ou du Maroc. Ces artistes s'attachent à montrer que les identités arabe et juive se complètent plus qu'elles ne s'opposent.
Au printemps 2015, A-WA a mis en ligne le clip du futur tube "Habib Galbi" ("l'Amour de mon coeur", en arabe). Les trois soeurs n'ont pas dit qu'elles étaient juives israéliennes, ni expliqué pourquoi elles portaient dans le clip un voile flashy sur leur chevelure de jais. "On voulait que les gens viennent à nous l'esprit ouvert, en écrivant quelque chose comme : "Nous vous apportons le vent frais du désert du Yémen"", se souvient Tair.
En une chanson, le charme d'A-WA (prononcé "Aïwa", qui veut dire "oui" en arabe) a opéré. La radio militaire israélienne, la plus écoutée du pays, en a fait le tube de l'été dans l'Etat hébreu. Une première pour une chanson arabe. Dans les mariages, les discothèques, en voiture, les Israéliens fredonnent le refrain entêtant d'"Habib Galbi" et s'essayent à la danse du clip, un mélange de danse folklorique arabe et de break-dance.
Avec plus de deux millions de vues sur internet, le groupe est fier d'être écouté aussi dans le monde arabe. "C'est incroyable qu'on ait autant de fans dans le monde arabe, tous ces messages qu'on reçoit", s'emballe Liron, la benjamine, qui dit aimer répondre à ce public habituellement frileux vis-à-vis des artistes israéliens. [...]"

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Gaza & Hamas

- Somehow, Gaza received enough concrete to build a huge auditorium and more (Elder of Ziyon) - "The concrete raft is the largest ever constructed in Gaza to date. 4,600 cubic meters of concrete were used in the casting of the foundation of the auditorium, and another 2,700 cubic metres of concrete for the casting of the foundation of the Arts building". Voir photos du bâtiment dans l'article.
http://elderofziyon.blogspot.fr/2016/02/somehow-gaza-received-enough-concrete.html

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Turquie

- Article In Radical Islamist Pro-AKP Turkish Daily: Gorillas, Chimps Are Cursed, Mutated Jews (MEMRI) - "In his January 31, 2016 column in the pro-AKP government, radical Islamist daily Vahdet, journalist Seyfi Sahin wrote that the evolutionary theory of "the Jew" Darwin contradicts Allah's word in the Koran. Claiming to be a physician, Sahin argued that humans did not evolve from monkeys, but rather that monkeys evolved from perverted Jews whom Allah cursed and punished".
http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/9008.htm

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Liban

- Nasrallah menace de frapper des usines chimiques et de tuer des milliers d’Israéliens (Times of Israel) - "Le chef du groupe terroriste libanais dit qu’une frappe sur les entrepôts d’ammoniaque de Haïfa aurait un impact similaire à une attaque nucléaire".
http://fr.timesofisrael.com/nasrallah-menace-de-frapper-des-usines-chimiques-et-de-tuer-des-milliers-disraeliens/

- So why aren't Palestinians stabbing Lebanese? (Elder of Ziyon) - "By any yardstick, Palestinians in Lebanon have it worse than Arabs in the West Bank. And as this article makes clear, they certainly have more despair and frustration than those who live in Hebron or Ramallah. But we have been told incessantly by Western experts that the impetus for the stabbing, shooting and car ramming attacks is frustration. So why aren't Lebanese being murdered by these frustrated victims? This is how oppressed Palestinians are expected to act! [...] Yet instead of stoning, stabbing and shooting Lebanese leaders, Palestinians are silent - and save their protests for UNRWA. Instead of a Lebanese intifada, they dream of emigrating to Europe (which tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, have already done.)"
http://elderofziyon.blogspot.fr/2016/02/so-why-arent-palestinians-stabbing.html


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Syrie

- Un hôpital [pour enfants] et une école bombardés à Azaz, en Syrie, 14 morts (Reuters) - ""Nous sommes en train d'évacuer de l'hôpital des dizaines d'enfants en pleurs", a déclaré un médecin, Djouma Rahal. Au moins deux enfants sont au nombre des morts".
https://fr.news.yahoo.com/un-h%C3%B4pital-et-une-%C3%A9cole-bombard%C3%A9s-%C3%A0-azaz-104234485.html
- Syrie : un hôpital soutenu par MSF détruit par des frappes aériennes, 9 morts (AFP) - "Un bâtiment qui abritait un hôpital soutenu par MSF a été entièrement détruit ce lundi par des avions, vraisemblablement russes" ; "La destruction de cet hôpital prive d'accès aux soins les quelque 40.000 personnes vivant dans cette zone de conflit ouvert".
http://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/2016/02/15/97001-20160215FILWWW00103-syrie-un-hopital-soutenu-par-msf-detruit-par-des-frappes-aeriennes.php
- Syrie : 19 morts dans des frappes dans le nord (AFP) - "Au cours de deux séries de deux attaques, menées à quelques minutes d'intervalles l'une de l'autre, l'hôpital a été touché par quatre roquettes".
https://fr.news.yahoo.com/syrie-9-morts-lors-raids-contre-h%C3%B4pital-soutenu-092314642.html
- Syrie : un hôpital de MSF bombardé (Libération) - "Des tirs de missiles ont «tué près de cinquante civils dont des enfants et fait de nombreux blessés» dans «au moins» cinq établissements médicaux et deux écoles à Alep et Idlib (nord de la Syrie)".
http://www.liberation.fr/planete/2016/02/15/syrie-un-hopital-de-msf-bombarde_1433568

- En Syrie, « les hôpitaux sont ciblés afin de faire fuir les populations civiles » (Le Monde.fr) - "Il y a une réelle volonté de détruire des hôpitaux qui offrent des services aux civils, même dans les zones où il y a peu de combattants" ; "Les hôpitaux sont ciblés afin de faire fuir les populations pour libérer les zones des populations civiles". Lorsque des missiles (peut-être du Hamas d'ailleurs) touchaient partiellement des hôpitaux (d'ailleurs utilisés par le Hamas pour cacher leurs officiers), les journaux français en faisaient leur une. La différence de couverture médiatique est assez flagrante. (NB : de nombreux hôpitaux ont déjà été visés en Syrie sans écho médiatique, et les articles actuels ne sortent qu'à cause du bilan exhorbitant des dernières frappes... sans pour autant faire la une.)
http://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2016/02/16/en-syrie-les-hopitaux-sont-cibles-afin-de-faire-fuir-les-populations-civiles_4865948_3210.html
"- Hélène Sallon (Le Monde) : Observez-vous une hausse du nombre d’hôpitaux ciblés en Syrie ?
- Obaida Al-Moufti (président et porte-parole de l’Union des organisations de secours et soins médicaux (UOSSM France)) : Oui, la situation est plus que critique. Depuis l’intervention militaire russe fin septembre, nous avons constaté une nette augmentation du nombre d’hôpitaux pris pour cible. Depuis le mois d’octobre jusqu’au 27 janvier, 29 hôpitaux ont été détruits. Cela porte leur nombre à 171 depuis 2012, ainsi que 695 personnels de santé tués. C’est un chiffre abominable et encore, nous n’avons peut-être pas réussi à documenter tous les cas. Toutes ces attaques sont des attaques aériennes, à l’exception de quelques-unes comme celles de lundi à Azaz, menées par des missiles sol-sol tirés d’une base militaire.
Il y a une réelle volonté de détruire des hôpitaux qui offrent des services aux civils, même dans les zones où il y a peu de combattants. Dans les attaques du 15 février, on ne parle pas d’hôpitaux de guerre mais, à Azaz par exemple, d’un hôpital pour femmes et enfants, où il y avait même des nouveau-nés en couveuse et des femmes enceintes. A Maraat Al-Nouman, l’hôpital a été touché une première fois puis une seconde, après l’arrivée des secours. Cela est devenu systématique de cibler aussi les secours.
Un médecin m’a raconté qu’il y a quelques jours, lors d’un bombardement dans une ville au nord d’Alep, un homme blessé a refusé d’être évacué par les casques blancs syriens - la protection civile - vers un hôpital. Il leur a dit qu’il avait peur que l’hôpital soit bombardé. Aller à l’hôpital devient un cauchemar pour les gens car ils ont peur qu’il soit visé. C’est un comble. Avant, l’hôpital était un lieu synonyme de sécurité.
- Quel est le but de ces attaques ?
- Les hôpitaux sont ciblés afin de faire fuir les populations pour libérer les zones des populations civiles. Car, les populations qui ont un hôpital dans les environs sont rassurées et se stabilisent aux alentours. Là, en tout cas, on n’est pas du tout en train de cibler Daech.
- La localisation de ces structures de santé est-elle connue ?
- Ils savent très bien où sont les hôpitaux. On a même construit un hôpital dans une cavité rocheuse qu’ils ont réussi à détruire, en le ciblant de façon très précise. Nous avons à l’UOSSM donné fin janvier les positions de tous nos hôpitaux aux Nations unies pour qu’ils les communiquent aux belligérants. Nous l’avons fait après avoir constaté que près de 30 hôpitaux avaient été ciblés depuis octobre. [...]"

- Syrie : au moins 15 civils tués dans des raids de la coalition internationale [mercredi] (AFP) - "Selon l'Observatoire syrien des droits de l'homme, 15 civils sont morts dans des raids de la coalition internationale en Syrie".
http://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/2016/02/16/97001-20160216FILWWW00398-syrie-au-moins-15-civils-tues-dans-des-raids-de-la-coalition-internationale.php

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Monde

- Thaïlande : l’armée accusée de torture « systématique » dans le Sud insurgé, Bruno Philip (Le Monde) - "dans un rapport, trois groupes de défense des droits de l’homme thaïlandais accusent l’armée de recours « systématique » à la torture dans les provinces troublées de Pattani, Yala et Narathiwat" ; "Après plus d’une décennie d’insurrection, le bilan de ce conflit – qui remonte aux années 1950, mais a pris une tournure plus violente depuis 2004 – est lourd : 6 500 personnes ont été tuées en onze ans. La plupart étaient des civils. Le rattachement, en 1909, au royaume de Siam de cet ancien sultanat proche de la Malaisie et peuplé aujourd’hui à 80 % d’une minorité malaise et musulmane, est à la racine du conflit. Celui-ci a été déclenché par une nébuleuse de groupes armés refusant la tutelle du gouvernement central". Un bilan bien plus lourd que le conflit israélo-palestinien pour la même période (onze ans), avec sans doute plus de civils tués, un séparatisme soutenu par la majorité de la population de ces régions, un "colonialisme" thaïlandais, des actes réguliers de torture policière... et pourtant, les médias n'en parlent (presque) jamais, et l'opinion mondiale s'en moque (presque) totalement.
http://www.lemonde.fr/asie-pacifique/article/2016/02/16/thailande-l-armee-accusee-de-torture-systematique-dans-le-sud-insurge_4866116_3216.html

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Analyse

- The Illegal-Settlements Myth, David M. Phillips (Commentary, 2009) - "while one may debate the wisdom of Israeli settlements, the idea that they are imprudent is quite different from branding them as illegal. Indeed, the analysis underlying the conclusion that the settlements violate international law depends entirely on an acceptance of the Palestinian narrative". Une excellente et très complète synthèse historico-légale sur la question des implantations. Vaut largement la lecture.
https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/the-illegal-settlements-myth/
"The conviction that Jewish settlements in the West Bank are illegal is now so commonly accepted, it hardly seems as though the matter is even open for discussion. But it is. Decades of argument about the issue have obscured the complex nature of the specific legal question about which a supposedly overwhelming verdict of guilty has been rendered against settlement policy. There can be no doubt that this avalanche of negative opinion has been deeply influenced by the settlements’ unpopularity around the world and even within Israel itself. Yet, while one may debate the wisdom of Israeli settlements, the idea that they are imprudent is quite different from branding them as illegal. Indeed, the analysis underlying the conclusion that the settlements violate international law depends entirely on an acceptance of the Palestinian narrative that the West Bank is “Arab” land. Followed to its logical conclusion—as some have done—this narrative precludes the legitimacy of Israel itself.
These arguments date back to the aftermath of the Six-Day War. When Israel went into battle in June 1967, its objective was clear: to remove the Arab military threat to its existence. Following its victory, the Jewish state faced a new challenge: what to do with the territorial fruits of that triumph. While many Israelis assumed that the overwhelming nature of their victory would shock the Arab world into coming to terms with their legitimacy and making peace, they would soon be disabused of this belief. At the end of August 1967, the heads of eight countries, including Egypt, Syria, and Jordan (all of which lost land as the result of their failed policy of confrontation with Israel), met at a summit in Khartoum, Sudan, and agreed to the three principles that were to guide the Arab world’s postwar stands: no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no negotiations with Israel. Though many Israelis hoped to trade most if not all the conquered lands for peace, they would have no takers. This set the stage for decades of their nation’s control of these territories.
The attachment of Israelis to the newly unified city of Jerusalem led to its quick annexation, and Jewish neighborhoods were planted on its flanks in the hope that this would render unification irrevocable. A similar motivation for returning Jewish life to the West Bank, the place where Jewish history began—albeit one that did not reflect the same strong consensus as that which underpinned the drive to hold on to Jerusalem—led to the fitful process that, over the course of the next several decades, produced numerous Jewish settlements throughout this area for a variety of reasons, including strategic, historical and/or religious considerations. In contrast, settlements created by Israel in the Egyptian Sinai or the Syrian Golan were primarily based initially on the strategic value of the terrain.
Over the course of the years to come, there was little dispute about Egypt’s sovereign right to the Sinai, and it was eventually returned after Nasser’s successor Anwar Sadat broke the Arab consensus and made peace with Israel. Though the rulers of Syria have, to date, preferred the continuance of belligerency to a similar decision to end the conflict, the question of their right to the return of the Golan in the event of peace seems to hinge more on the nature of the regime in Damascus than any dispute about the provenance of Syria’s title to the land.
The question of the legal status of the West Bank, as well as Jerusalem, is not so easily resolved. To understand why this is the case, we must first revisit the history of the region in the 20th century.
Though routinely referred to nowadays as “Palestinian” land, at no point in history has Jerusalem or the West Bank been under Palestinian Arab sovereignty in any sense of the term. For several hundred years leading up to World War I, all of Israel, the Kingdom of Jordan, and the putative state of Palestine were merely provinces of the Ottoman Empire. After British-led Allied troops routed the Turks from the country in 1917-18, the League of Nations blessed Britain’s occupation with a document that gave the British conditional control granted under a mandate. It empowered Britain to facilitate the creation of a “Jewish National Home” while respecting the rights of the native Arab population. British Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill later partitioned the mandate in 1922 and gave the East Bank of the Jordan to his country’s Hashemite Arab allies, who created the Kingdom of Jordan there under British tutelage.
Following World War II, the League of Nations’ successor, the United Nations, voted in November 1947 to partition the remaining portion of the land into Arab and Jewish states. While the Jews accepted partition, the Arabs did not, and after the British decamped in May 1948, Jordan joined with four other Arab countries to invade the fledgling Jewish state on the first day of its existence. Though Israel survived the onslaught, the fighting left the Jordanians in control of what would come to be known as the West Bank as well as approximately half of Jerusalem, including the Old City. Those Jewish communities in the West Bank that had existed prior to the Arab invasion were demolished, as was the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.
After the cease-fire that ended Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, Jordan annexed both the West Bank and East Jerusalem. But, as was the case when Israel annexed those same parts of the ancient city that it would win back 19 years later, the world largely ignored this attempt to legitimize Jordan’s presence. Only Jordan’s allies Britain and Pakistan recognized its claims of sovereignty. After King Hussein’s disastrous decision to ally himself with Egypt’s Nasser during the prelude to June 1967, Jordan was evicted from the lands it had won in 1948.
This left open the question of the sovereign authority over the West Bank. The legal vacuum in which Israel operated in the West Bank after 1967 was exacerbated by Jordan’s subsequent stubborn refusal to engage in talks about the future of these territories. King Hussein was initially deterred from dealing with the issue by the three “no’s” of Khartoum. Soon enough, he was taught a real-world lesson by the Palestine Liberation Organization, which fomented a bloody civil war against him and his regime in 1970. With the open support of Israel, Hussein survived that threat to his throne, but his desire to reduce rather than enlarge the Palestinian population in his kingdom ultimately led him to disavow any further claim to the lands he had lost in 1967. Eventually, this stance was formalized on July 31, 1988.
Thus, if the charge that Israel’s hold on the territories is illegal is based on the charge of theft from its previous owners, Jordan’s own illegitimacy on matters of legal title and its subsequent withdrawal from the fray makes that legal case a losing one. Well before Jordan’s renunciation, Eugene Rostow, former dean of Yale Law School and undersecretary of state for political affairs in 1967 during the Six-Day War, argued that the West Bank should be considered “unallocated territory,” once part of the Ottoman Empire. From this perspective, Israel, rather than simply “a belligerent occupant,” had the status of a “claimant to the territory.”
To Rostow, “Jews have a right to settle in it under the Mandate,” a right he declared to be “unchallengeable as a matter of law.” In accord with these views, Israel has historically characterized the West Bank as “disputed territory” (although some senior government officials have more recently begun to use the term “occupied territory”).
Because neither Great Britain, as the former trustee under the League of Nations mandate, nor the since deceased Ottoman Empire—the former sovereigns prior to the Jordanians—is desirous or capable of standing up as the injured party to put Israel in the dock, we must therefore ask: On what points of law does the case against Israel stand?
International-law arguments against the settlements have rested primarily upon two sources. First are the 1907 Hague Regulations, whose provisions are primarily designed to protect the interests of a temporarily ousted sovereign in the context of a short-term occupation. Second is the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, the first international agreement designed specifically to protect civilians during wartime.
While Israel was not and is not a party to the Hague Regulations, the Israeli Supreme Court has generally regarded its provisions as part of customary international law (that is, law generally observed by nations even if they have not signed an international agreement to that effect) and hence applicable to Israel. The regulations are transparently geared toward short-term occupations during which a peace treaty is negotiated between the victorious and defeated nations. The “no’s” of Khartoum signaled that there would be no quick negotiations.
Nonetheless, Israel established and maintains a military administration overseeing the West Bank in accordance with the Hague Regulations, probably the only military power since World War II other than the United States (in Iraq) that has done so. For example, consistent with Article 43 of the Regulations, which calls on the occupant to “respect, [...] unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country,” Israel has for the most part continued to follow Jordanian law in the West Bank, despite its position that Jordan itself had illegally occupied it. Israel’s stance has been criticized as contradictory, but general continuance of Jordanian law can be justified on grounds of legal stability and long-term reliance reflected in most legal systems, including international law.
Article 46 of the Hague Regulations bars an occupying power from confiscating private property. And it is on this point that the loudest cries against the settlements have been based. Israel did requisition land from private Arab owners to establish some early settlements, but requisitioning differs from confiscation (compensation is paid for use of the land), and the establishment of these settlements was based on military necessity. In a 1979 case, Ayyub v. Minister of Defense, the Israeli Supreme Court considered whether military authorities could requisition private property for a civilian settlement, Beth El, on proof of military necessity. The theoretical and, in that specific case, actual answers were affirmative. But in another seminal decision the same year, Dwaikat v. Israel, known as the Elon Moreh case, the court more deeply explored the definition of military necessity and rejected the tendered evidence in that case because the military had only later acquiesced in the establishment of the Elon Moreh settlement by its inhabitants. The court’s decision effectively precluded further requisitioning of Palestinian privately held land for civilian settlements.
After the Elon Moreh case, all Israeli settlements legally authorized by the Israeli Military Administration (a category that, by definition, excludes “illegal outposts” constructed without prior authorization or subsequent acceptance) have been constructed either on lands that Israel characterizes as state-owned or “public” or, in a small minority of cases, on land purchased by Jews from Arabs after 1967. The term “public land” includes uncultivated rural land not registered in anyone’s name and land owned by absentee owners, both categories of public land under Jordanian and Ottoman law. Inversely, the term excludes land registered in the name of someone other than an absentee owner (regardless of whether the land is presently cultivated), land to which a title deed exists (even if the deed is unregistered), and land held by prescriptive use. The last stipulation requires continuous use of the land for a period of 10 years.
Israel’s characterization of certain lands as “state” or “public” has provoked considerable controversy. In one of the most detailed and cited critiques, B’Tselem, the Israeli human-rights group, concedes that 90 percent of the settlements have been established on what is nominally “state” land but argues that approximately 40 percent of the West Bank now falls within that category. That would represent a vast expansion of the 16 percent of the West Bank that had been considered public under Jordanian control.
As B’Tselem acknowledges, however, the vast majority of this land is in the Jordan Valley, which, with the primary exception of the city of Jericho, was barely populated by Palestinian Arabs prior to 1967 (which explains why such land was both unregistered and uncultivated). The percentage may also be on the high side because of the inclusion of certain Jerusalem neighborhoods in B’Tselem’s calculations. Regardless of the gross percentage, according to B’Tselem’s own statistics, only approximately 5 percent of the West Bank is within settlement “municipal boundaries,” and a much, much smaller percentage of land, 1.7 percent, is developed. [...]
Settlement opponents more frequently cite the Fourth Geneva Convention these days for their legal arguments. They specifically charge that the settlements violate Article 49(6), which states: “The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into territories it occupies.”
Frequently, this sentence is cited as if its meaning is transparent and its application to the establishment of Israeli settlements beyond dispute. Neither is the case.
To settlement opponents, the word “transfer” in Article 49(6) connotes that any transfer of the occupying power’s civilian population, voluntary or involuntary, is prohibited. However, the first paragraph of Article 49 complicates that case. It reads: “Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.” Unquestionably, any forcible transfer of populations is illegal. But what about voluntary movements with the antecedent permission or subsequent acquiescence by the occupant?
Even settlement opponents concede that many settlements closest to Palestinian population areas, on the central mountain range of the West Bank, were built without government permission and often contrary to governmental policy; their continued existence forced the government to recognize the settlement as an existing fact. Given this history, it is questionable to claim that Israel “transferred” those settlers.
The response of settlement critics is that certain tax subsidies and other benefits conferred by the Israeli government or the World Zionist Organization that may have encouraged Jews to settle in the West Bank constructively amounts to a “transfer.” This interpretation would have greater traction under a 1977 protocol to the Geneva Convention or under the Treaty of Rome, which established the International Criminal Court, but Israel is a signatory to neither (both covenants were heavily influenced by anti-Israel nongovernmental organizations and the PLO).
To the extent that a violation of Article 49(6) depends upon the distinction between the voluntary and involuntary movement of people, the inclusion of “forcible” in Article 49(1) but not in 49(6) makes a different interpretation not only plausible but more credible. It’s a matter of simple grammar that when similar language is used in several different paragraphs of the same provision, modifying language is omitted in later paragraphs because the modifier is understood. To Julius Stone, an international-law scholar, “the word ‘transfer’ [in 49(6)] in itself implies that the movement is not voluntary on the part of the persons concerned, but a magisterial act of the state concerned.”
To understand the phraseology used in Article 49(1), “individual or mass forcible transfers,” as well as one plausible origin of Article 49(6), some background is necessary.
According to Stone, discussions at the 1949 Geneva Diplomatic Conference “were dominated [...] by a common horror of the evils caused by the recent World War and a determination to lessen the sufferings of war victims.” The various nations’ delegates considered a draft of the convention produced at a conference of the Red Cross Societies held in Stockholm during August 1948. Final Article 49 was the renumbered and revised successor to Article 45 of the Stockholm Draft.
At a legal subcommittee meeting at Stockholm seemingly attended by fewer than 10 active participants, a Danish Jew named Georg Cohn proposed the sentence, albeit with a wider scope, that became Article 49(6). Cohn’s initial sentence, in French, would have prohibited an occupying power from deporting or transferring a “part of its own inhabitants or the inhabitants of another territory which it occupies” into the occupied territory.
According to Cohn’s own report to the Danish foreign ministry, his language was directed at an event the aspects of which were little known outside Scandinavia. In the waning days of World War II, as the Russian military advanced westward through the Baltic states and the Germans retreated, the Germans rightly feared that the Russians would take retribution on all German citizens and ethnic Germans who had collaborated with the Nazis. The Germans evacuated more than 2 million people into boats, hoping to land them in northern Germany.
Many of the ports had been bombed, however, and the Germans began unloading the people wherever they could, including several hundred thousand people into Copenhagen. In the spring of 1945, German children comprised a majority of the pupils in Copenhagen’s schools. The Danes despised them and placed them in concentration camps after the war, waiting to deport them to Germany as fast as possible. That goal had still not been accomplished in August 1948, at the time of the Stockholm conference.
Cohn may also have been motivated to propose the language that later became Article 49(6) in light of his own strong Jewish identity. The original language on deportations presented to the Stockholm conference would not have prevented Germany from deporting its own Jews to slave and extermination camps in Poland and other occupied countries, nor would it have prevented the Germans from sending Danish Jews found in Germany to concentration camps in occupied territories, sending either Hungarian or Italian Jews to Auschwitz, and/or from transplanting Germans to portions of Poland and other occupied countries. Cohn’s original language would have criminalized all these practices.
Other participants in Stockholm, led by Albert J. Clattenburg Jr. of the United States, thought Cohn’s provision too broad. The phrase “or the inhabitants of another territory which it occupies” was deleted, and “civil” was inserted before “inhabitants.”
At the Geneva Conference itself, both the Final Report of the Committee charged with drafting the text of the 4th Convention for consideration by the delegates as well as comments by delegates generally differentiated between transfers that were voluntary and therefore permitted and those that were involuntary and therefore prohibited. As the Final Report to the delegates stated while explaining the differences between various articles dealing with the right of an occupying power to evacuate an area, primarily in the interest of the security of the civilian population’s security: “Although there was general unanimity in condemning such deportations as took place during the recent war, the phrase at the beginning of Article 45 caused some trouble [...] In the end the Committee had decided on a wording that prohibits individual or mass forcible removals as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to any other country, but which permits voluntary transfers.”
That is a key reason why Julius Stone termed the anti-settlement interpretation “an irony bordering on the absurd” and commented: “Ignoring the overall purpose of Article 49, which would inter alia protect the population of the State of Israel from being removed against their will into the occupied territory, it is now sought to be interpreted so as to impose on the Israel government a duty to prevent any Jewish individual from voluntarily taking up residence in that area.”
There is simply no comparison between the establishment and population of Israeli settlements and the Nazi atrocities that led to the Geneva Convention. The settlements are also a far cry from policies implemented by the Soviet Union in the late 1940s and early 1950s to alter the ethnic makeup of the Baltic states by initially deporting hundreds of thousands of people and encouraging Russian immigration.
Nor can they be compared to the efforts by China to alter the ethnic makeup of Tibet by forcibly scattering its native population and moving Chinese into Tibetan territory. Israel’s settlement policies are also not comparable to the campaign by Morocco to alter the ethnic makeup of the Western Sahara by transferring Moroccan Arabs to displace the native Saharans, who now huddle in refugee camps in Algeria, or to the variety of population displacements that occurred in the various parts of the former Yugoslavia.
All these would seem to fit the offense described in Article 49(6) precisely. Yet finding references to the application of Article 49(6) to nations other than Israel is like looking for a needle in a haystack. What distinguishes a system of “law” from arbitrary systems of control is that similar situations are handled alike. A system where legal principles are applied only when it suits the political tastes of anti-Israel elites is one that has lost all credibility. The loose use of international law, disproportionately applied to Israel, undermines the notion that this is “law” entitled to authoritative weight in the first place.
Julius Stone referred to the absurdity of considering the establishment of Israeli settlements as violating Article 49(6): "We would have to say that the effect of Article 49(6) is to impose an obligation on the State of Israel to ensure (by force if necessary) that these areas, despite their millennial association with Jewish life, shall be forever judenrein. Irony would thus be pushed to the absurdity of claiming that Article 49(6), designed to prevent repetition of Nazi-type genocidal policies of rendering Nazi metropolitan territories judenrein, has now come to mean that [...] the West Bank [...] must be made judenrein and must be so maintained, if necessary by the use of force by the government of Israel against its own inhabitants. Common sense as well as correct historical and functional context exclude so tyrannical a reading of Article 49(6)."
Stone’s pointed critique of what has since become “accepted” wisdom invites a hypothetical: Suppose a group of Palestinian Arabs who are citizens of Israel requested permission to establish a community on the West Bank. Further, assume that Israel facilitated the community’s establishment, without the loss of their citizenship, on land purchased from other Palestinian Arabs (not citizens of Israel) or on state land. Would establishment of this settlement violate Article 49(6)? If not, how can one distinguish the hypothetical Arab settlements from Jewish settlements?
Concluding that Israeli settlements violate Article 49(6) also overlooks the Jewish communities that existed before the creation of the state in areas occupied by today’s Israeli settlements, for example, in Hebron and the Etzion bloc outside Jerusalem. These Jewish communities were destroyed by Arab armies, militias, and rioters, and, as in the case of Hebron, the community’s population was slaughtered. Is it sensible to interpret Article 49 to bar the reconstitution of Jewish communities that were destroyed through aggression and slaughter? If so, the international law of occupation runs the risk of freezing one occupier’s conduct in place, no matter how unlawful.
The idea that the creation of new settlements or that the expansion of ones already in place is an act of bad faith on the part of various Israeli governments may seem without question to those who believe those settlements constitute an obstacle to the ever elusive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Whether this argument is well-founded or not, the willingness of Israel’s critics to assert that these communities are not merely wrong-headed but a violation of international law escalates the debate over their existence from a dispute about policy into one in which the Jewish state itself can be labeled as an international outlaw. The ultimate end of the illicit effort to use international law to delegitimize the settlements is clear—it is the same argument used by Israel’s enemies to delegitimize the Jewish state entirely. Those who consider themselves friends of Israel but opponents of the settlement policy should carefully consider whether, in advancing these illegitimate and specious arguments, they will eventually be unable to resist the logic of the argument that says—falsely and without a shred of supporting evidence from international law itself—that Israel is illegitimate."

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