Stop the Occupation now!


By richmillett
February 18, 2010
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I have just bought my copy of the Current Bun (Britain’s most widely read daily newspaper) and it seems we could once again be going to war with Argentina over territory that is 8,000 miles away.

Isn’t it about time we withdrew our 3,000 citizens from the Falkland Islands and look to make peace with Argentina? This is an issue that is never going to go away.

It is an occupation similar to Israel’s in the West Bank, except we have no security reasons to be occupying the Falklands.

In 1982 war raged for 74 days and we lost a staggering 255 soldiers, while Argentina lost 649.

We even sank an Argentinian warship, the General Belgrano, while it was not enagaged in battle. 323 Argentinians went down with it.

As Wilfred Owen, out greatest war poet, asks us in Futility: “Was it for this the clay grew tall?”

No, it wasn’t.

In contrast to the often repeated, but dubious, assertion that we went to war with Iraq over oil, this really is a conflict over oil. It is believed there could be billions of barrels of oil under the coastal waters surrounding the Falklands (there are zero oil reserves in the West Bank)

Four British based drilling teams are due to start work off the Falkland Islands next week, much to the chagrin of Argentina, and we have sent HMS York, a destroyer, to guard them in the wake of the increasing tensions between the two countries.

Argentina has decreed that boats travelling through its territorial waters need to obtain special permission before doing so, which could inhibit the drilling.

Argentina still claims the Falklands and surrounding waters as their own. Maybe they are wrong but there has never been a judicial court decision as to who owns what.

We keep hearing how Israel is apparently “in breach of international law” for being in the West Bank but are we not in breach of international law for being in the Falklands?

The islands have been conquered, abandoned and reconquered successively by France, Spain, Argentina and Britain.

From 1820 to 1833 Argentinians were living there until we threw them out. Now they want them back.

Surely, the only fair thing to do would be for the International Court of Justice to convene in the Hague to try the sovereignty issue once and for all.

It would be hassle, but not overly problematic, to remove 3,000 people and to rehouse them back here (Israel withdrew 7,000 from Gaza).

No British soldier deserves to lose his or her life over a tiny piece of territory so far away from us.

Yes, the loss of the oil reserves will hit our already battered economy but then our army won’t be diverted from where it is currently needed most; fighting Islamist terrorism.

And, finally, when all is said and done we might even then have some moral authority with which to preach to Israel about ending its own occupation of the West Bank.

Full piece is at: http://richardmillett.wordpress.com/2010/02/18/stop-the-occupation-now/

COMMENTS

ibrows

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 21:13

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Rich

They are actually separate cases and in many ways quite distinct and different, despite your rather simplistic overview.

Firstly, Israel's occupation is not based upon 'security reasons' and it cannot be justified as such. Plus if you don't think the British and American's got loads of oil contracts in Iraq, then something is seriously wrong as its widely documented. I am assuming you accept the George W 'War on Terror' narrative instead?

Yes i believe the British should get out of the Falklands, but its very different to Israel's occupation, however much you try and justify it in terms of 'fighting terrorism', clearly not all Palestinians are terrorists! And claims of 'biblical rights' cannot justify it either, the occupation of others land cannot be justified. Plus to my knowledge Britain is not expelling people from their homes in the Falklands and trying to settle British citizens in the territory permanently, as Israel has in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Likewise, the British are not preventing the freedom of movement of the local population, which Israel is doing through a series of checkpoint and I.D card restrictions in the West Bank, nor are they enforcing an economic blockade against the population, as Israel is in Gaza

so no Rich, they are not that similar really are they, accept in name


richmillett

Fri, 02/19/2010 - 01:20

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That is my point. There is no law that says it is the Palestinians' land. Can you point me to the law? We presume we have a right to the Falklands and everyone assumes that Israel is in breach of international law for being in the West Bank. But where is all this written?

Your other points are arguable either way, but the law is the law.


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Fri, 02/19/2010 - 10:03

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Rich, can you point to any "law" that says it's Israel's land?


ibrows

Fri, 02/19/2010 - 12:18

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Rich,

When the British have begun expelling the Falklands population and the British government openly debates in parliment how to solve the 'demographic' problem posed by the existing Falkland population, coupled with plans to relocate them somewhere else, then we can start to see the similarities.

Palestinian lived in the land that is now Israel before 1948, and therefore have rights


richmillett

Fri, 02/19/2010 - 12:52

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moshetzarfati2 - I didn't say it is Israel's but arguably it is open to Jewish settlement with the Balfour Declaration being incorporated into the League of Nations which became the UN.

ibrows - Benny Morris does not accept your expulsion theory about the palestinians, and who are we to argue with one who has been through the archives.


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Fri, 02/19/2010 - 13:49

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Rich, under Balfour/League of Nations/UN, all Israel is really entitled to is the 1947 partition borders. And as for trawling through archives, so did David Irving... (lehavdil)


richmillett

Fri, 02/19/2010 - 14:47

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You have just about defamed every historian after that comparison! Where does one go from there, Moshe! You have stumped me.

It seems even you are unsure about the legal situation of the West Bank by stating "all israel is really entitled to". Why add the "really"? Why not say "all Israel is entitled to". Even you seem to doubt your stance.

So no one can be sure about the legal status of the settlements yet everyone screams "illegal". Just as no one is sure about the true sovereignty of the Falklands, but you don't hear anyone screaming "illegal".

It is an interesting point, no?


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Fri, 02/19/2010 - 15:20

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Obviously, Rich, you do not understand the word "lehavdil".
As for the legal status of the Israeli colonies on the West bank and in east Jerusalem, it's very clear. They are illegal.
I'm not sure why the use of "really" was confusing. But in order to remove any doubt, I don't doubt my stance.


richmillett

Fri, 02/19/2010 - 22:19

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what does it mean? sorry if i misinterpreted your comment?

Did the Jordanians illegally occupy the West Bank pre-1967?


ibrows

Fri, 02/19/2010 - 22:29

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Rich

I haved quoted Benny Morris' 'Birth of the Palestinian refugee problem' here many times, do i need to do it again. Morris concludes it was a combination of expulsion (though he argues this was not systematically directed from the top) and Palestinians fleeing, especially after events such as Deir Yassin (which again, Morris actually mentions in his book, p,240) had created fear. Morris simply argues the expulsion was not systematic and tries to attribute it to rogue elements, or what he calls 'unauthorised or excessive operations' that included 'some atrocities' (p.80) these are attributed to the IZL and LHI which Morris argues the Haganah were unable to control. Yet Morris does accept some whole villages were razed to the ground, and Morris has a whole chapter on the systematic efforts to prevent Palestinians who were made refugees during the war, from subsequently returning to their homes (chapter 5).

Plus we must remember this conclusion of Benny Morris is based only on Israeli archives, no serious historian outside of 'Jewish studies' would totally ignore 'personal testimonies' from both sides of the war and additional evidence from alternative sources


ibrows

Fri, 02/19/2010 - 22:32

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'who are we to argue with one who has been through the archives'


Jonathan Hoffman

Sat, 02/20/2010 - 13:09

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RichMillett says

"ah, those mysteriously unopened Arab archives. Yes, I agree. How interesting they would be to read. I wonder why they remain unopened?
You lefy out one key element that Morris says was important; Abandonment on Arab orders.
And more importantly, as you half-credit, there was no policy or masterplan for expulsion.
He also recognises that without such explusions there would have been a massacre of the Jewish people.
Do you choose expulsions or massacre of your own people?"


Jon_i_Cohen

Sat, 02/20/2010 - 14:37

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For ibrows, moshetzarfat2 and alll the other "trendy-lefties" attempting to distort the facts.
The Arab archives will remain unopened as they will concurr with history that shows the Arab refugee problem was of the Arabs own making.
There was no Israeli plan to expel the Arabs, they expelled themselves under direct orders from their own leaders.
Their religious leaders, most notably the Nazi collaborator The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husayni who spent the second half of World War II in Germany making radio broadcasts exhorting Muslims to ally with the Nazis. After the war in the lead up Israels War of Independence, he was broadcasting to the Arabs "to flee Israel so as to make way for the advancing Arab armies that would drive the Jews into the sea" - these broadcasts are a matter of public record.
As for Deir Yassin, not a peaceful Arab village, overrun by "Zionist Forces". But a centre of weapons trafficking. Deir Yassin was strategic in that it was on the Jeruslaem road. As Jewish traffic passed by, some of these "peaceful" Arabs from the "peaceful" villages would slice, dice and otherwise mutilate ambushed Jewish travelers. Operation Nachshon was launched on April 6, 1948 with the aim of opening up the road to Jerusalem. The village of Deir Yassin was included on the list of Arab villages to be cleared as part of that operation.
Since the 1880s leading up to Jewish statehood in 1948, the "peaceful" Arabs of Palestine were hardly "peaceful" at all the Jews suffered continuous attacks!
Between 1947 & 1948, 600 NON-combatants men and women, were captured by the Palestinian Arabs. After the war ended, only ONE made it back alive. This when they had a prisoner exchange.
All the 599 who did not make it back were slaughtered amid scenes too graphic to explain on this web site. If anyone wants the details, e-mail me and I will provide a report of what actually happened to our 599 fellow Jews.
Deir Yassin was one of those "peaceful" Arab villages that lay along the road to Jerusalem. The Jews had no choice but to remove this threat! Deir Yassin has gone down in the annals of left-wing propoganda festering a myth.
By the way, four days AFTER Deir Yassin, the Arabs massacred a bus convoy of 78 Jewish doctors and nurses heading up Mt. Scopus to the Hadassah Hospital.
My uncle was a consultant at this hospital - so believe me I know the facts.
So, please, all you trendy-lefty Guardianesque, open-toed sandal wearing, climate-change believing, George Galloway lovers, please get out the history books, read and learn the facts before you start crying those crocodile tears.


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Sat, 02/20/2010 - 18:07

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If you read Netanel Lorch's book about Israel's war of independence (I think it came out only in Hebrew), you'll see that there was a plan to ethnically cleanse Israel of non-Jews. And Lorch was a right-winger, not a "trendy lefty" who wrote under the auspices of MIsrad Habitachon (Israel's Ministry of Defence). Also, there was a system of "persuasion" to get Arabs to leave Safed, Tiberius, Lod, Ramle, Sheikh Munis (now Ramat Aviv), Manshiyyeh and Abu Kabir (both part of Tel Aviv). This whisper campaign threatening what happened in Deir Yassin would also befall the residents of other places if they did not leave.
Now I know it does not suit the current extreme right wing leadership of the Zionist Federation to admit this, but there really as no choice between ethnic cleansing and massacres. Ben-Gurion wanted as much area as possible cleared of Arabs, and that is what happened.
Also, the Haganah, Palmach, Etzel and Lechi (and later the Israeli Army with its foreignh volunteers) were made up of of well-trained, well-armed and highly motivated fighters (militants, terrorists, whatever), while the Arabs were poorly armed and badly trained.
As for archives, as soon as the Israelis realised what they had in their archives, they slammed them shut. No one has access today.


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Sat, 02/20/2010 - 18:08

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Jon-I-Cohen, I don't know where you got your information from or how much you paid for it, but I'd ask for a refund if I were you (which thankfully I am not)


ibrows

Sat, 02/20/2010 - 19:35

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the 'Arab orders' myth is that simply a myth, Avi Shlaim claims in all his investigations he has found no evidence to support this claim that 'Arab' leaders called for the Palestinian to flee

Jonathan, like i said, Morris does concede that expulsion took place, though he argues it was not systematically implimented, and massacres such as Deir Yassin, he also confirmed did occur


zachary esterson

Wed, 02/24/2010 - 13:04

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In '1948', Morris says Zionist expulsionist discourse was driven by Arab. Zionist Jews committed acts of ethnic cleansing, but ethnic cleansing, or worse, was threatened against them. It was a civil war, and similar things happened elsewhere, at the births of other states, much worse, in fact

Considering Arab Muslims drove out the Jews from Hebron and East Jerusalem, in the '30s and '48; Arafat's refusal to acknowledge Jewish sovereignty even over the western wall; or Abbas' over any part of the old city; never mind Christian and Muslim maintaining Jewish dispossession and displacement for most of the last 2000 years; I can understand why Israeli Jews would want to consolidate their position, which, historically, they are right to view as precarious. I am not sure international law has or can have much to say about it, given its converse blindness to Arab and Palestinian crimes and misdemenours.

The Geneva Accords allow for Israel's keeping some settlements in exchange for territory elsewhere.

They have no basis in international law, someone says?

Neither does Arab or Palestinian accepting partition at least 40 years late, and expecting the clock to go back to 1967 or 1947.

The only bargaining chip Israel has ever had is land and resources (as well as e.g. defeating the PLO in Lebanon; in the not so OT in 2001-2005). And, the fact is, the best and cheapest way to consolidate one's hold of land and resources, is to settle them. So long as Palestinians and Arabs dithered about coming to a negotiated settlement, the more consolidated those resources become, and the higher up in value they go.

If the Palestinians want, they have to give. And the clock can't just go back to the last missed opportunity.


Anonymous

Sun, 06/27/2010 - 23:07

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