Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dan Williams fishes for a red herring and catches a non sequitur

In a story on Israeli actors and playwrights refusing to perform in Jewish communities beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines (the "Green Line"), Reuters correspondent Dan Williams explains what he views as the difference in position between those who believe Jews have no right to live outside of the Green Line and those who believe otherwise:
The settlements have been branded as illegal abroad. Many Jews say they have a biblical birthright to live there.
While it's true that many religious Jews living in settlements in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") feel that the first millennium of the 3,000 year Jewish presence in the area as documented in the Bible constitutes a legitimate ancestral claim to the land, Williams is deliberately omitting a much more contemporary and juridical claim: the Palestine Mandate:
The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.
Adopted by the League of Nations and grandfathered across by the United Nations, the Mandate has never been abrogated.  Thus, the relevant and appropriate contrasting view to, "the settlements have been branded as illegal abroad", is not a reference to a "biblical birthright", but rather, "the settlements are viewed as entirely legal in Israel".

Williams of course, will not frame the argument this way because to do so would require him to acknowledge that contemporary international law stands behind Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria -- something the Palestinian advocates at Reuters will never do.

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