In an illustration of the editors’ own extreme prejudice, the New York Times on Wednesday published on op-ed titled “Israel’s Settlers Are Here to Stay” by Dani Dayan, whom the editors describe as “the chairman of the Yesha Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria”, which are, of course, the labels Israelis use to describe what is under international law the “occupied Palestinian territory” (International Court of Justice) of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), implying that it is Israeli land.
It is one thing for a newspaper to publish an op-ed in which a writer expresses his own personal opinion on a topic. It is quite another for the editors to exercise such extreme prejudice by allowing their publication to be used as a mouthpiece for a person who spews lies and hatred. People are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. Dayan simply makes up his own history to justify Israel’s policy, and the Times editors have no problem at all publishing his fictions. Dayan begins:
WHATEVER word you use to describe Israel’s 1967 acquisition of Judea and Samaria — commonly referred to as the West Bank in these pages — will not change the historical facts.
Dayan’s point is perfectly valid; after all, using the word “acquisition” and the terms “Judea and Samaria” will not change the fact that the West Bank is “occupied Palestinian territory” under international law. The “facts” Dayan then lays out as follows:
Arabs called for Israel’s annihilation in 1967, and Israel legitimately seized the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria in self-defense. Israel’s moral claim to these territories, and the right of Israelis to call them home today, is therefore unassailable.
It is certainly beyond dispute that Egypt’s President Nasser, Jordan’s King Hussein, and others engaged in much bellicose rhetoric prior to the June 1967 war. It is also beyond dispute that that war began on the morning of June 5, when Israel launched a surprise attack against Egypt (then known as the United Arab Republic).
It also happens to be an admitted fact that the threat of an Egyptian attack on Israel was virtually nonexistent. Israel’s current ambassador to the U.S., for example, Michael B. Oren, documented in his book Six Days of War that there was no imminent threat of an Egyptian first-strike on Israel, much less a genocidal threat to Israel’s very existence. “By all reports Israel received from the Americans, and according to its own intelligence,” Oren admitted, “Nasser had no interest in bloodshed”. To launch an attack on Israel, “Nasser would have to be deranged”, and the conditions under which a Nasser judged to be sane might do so were “most unlikely” to occur.
The Israeli assessment was shared by the U.S. intelligence community, which judged that Egyptian forces were in defensive positions in the Sinai and that if war was going to break out, it would be started by Israel.
As Prime Minister Menachem Begin, who had been a member of the Israeli cabinet during the war, admitted in 1982, after recalling that Israel had launched a war of aggression against Egypt in 1956, “In June 1967 we again had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”
And both Dayan’s and the Times editors’ understanding of international law is sorely lacking. The argument that if a war is fought in “self-defense” that a country may therefore acquire territory from its enemies has no basis in international law, in no small part due to the simple reason that every aggressor nation claims its wars are launched in “self-defense”, Israel’s ’67 war being no exception.
In November ’67, the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 242, which emphasized “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war”—“by war”, period—and called for “Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict”. It is a standard Zionist lie that the absence of the definite article “the” before “territories occupied” means that we may interpret this to mean “from some of the territories occupied”, patently idiotic and self-defeating logic. U.N. Security Council resolutions are not open to private, unilateral interpretation, and the Council members were clear in their deliberations over the resolution that this meant Israel must withdraw to the pre-June 5 ’67 lines, a.k.a. the 1949 armistice lines, a.k.a. “the Green Line”.
The fact that the Times editors would publish any article containing a statement that “the right of Israelis” to build settlements in the West Bank is “unassailable” is very instructive about their lack of concern for informing readers of actual facts, as opposed to ridiculous lies. The fact that it is completely uncontroversial that every inch of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is under international law “occupied Palestinian territory” is apparently not relevant to the Times. There is not a nation on planet Earth that rejects the international consensus that Israel’s settlements are illegal, a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, apart from Israel itself.
From the above fictional foundation, Dayan concludes:
Giving up this land in the name of a hallowed two-state solution would mean rewarding those who’ve historically sought to destroy Israel, a manifestly immoral outcome.
The truth is that permitting Israel to steal even more land with impunity means rewarding and aggressor nation that has historically sought to destroy Palestine and has occupied and illegally colonized Palestinian territory, oppressing the Palestinians who call that land home, for more than four decades—a manifestly immoral outcome.
Dayan with much chutzpah defies international law and the world community by declaring, “we aim to expand the existing Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria”, which is a simple question of “inalienable rights and realpolitik”, since “uprooting them would be exponentially more difficult than the evacuation of the Gaza Strip’s 8,000 settlers in 2005.” The Israeli “presence in all of Judea and Samaria”—that is, its occupation of the West Bank—is “an irreversible fact” and “[t]rying to stop settlement expansion is futile” and “only makes the negotiations more likely to fail.”
Never mind that negotiations under the U.S.-led so-called “peace process” have failed already, precisely because Israel has been unwilling to demonstrate a modicum of good faith by ceasing its illegal settlement activities, which prejudice the rights of the Palestinians and the outcome of any negotiated final peace agreement.
Dayan’s hypocrisy is on full display when the states that “the fact that the great-grandchildren of the original Palestinian refugees still live in squalid camps after 64 years is a disgrace that should be corrected by improving their living conditions”—a criticism of the neighboring Arab countries who have taken on the burden of Palestinian refugees, a problem created when Israel ethnically cleansed three-quarters of a million Arab Palestinians from Palestine beginning in December 1947 and continuing until the final armistice agreements were concluded in 1949. Further expulsions accompanied the ’67 war and occupation, and despite the Palestinians’ internationally recognized right of return, Israel has for 64 years refused to allow Palestinians to return to their homes.
Dayan concludes, “The settlements of Judea and Samaria are not the problem—they are part of the solution.” Israel’s own Final Solution, which began with the ethnic cleansing of Palestine to make way for the creation of the “Jewish state” and continues with the theft of Palestinian land and demolitions of Palestinian homes to make way for Israeli Jews.
The New York Times editors ought to be ashamed for having allowed their newspaper to become a mouthpiece for such arrogant, hypocritical, lying, racist garbage.