When Richard Falk posted his Foreword to my book Obstacle to Peace: The US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict on his blog, one Fred Skolnik left a comment dismissing my book despite not having read it. Then he headed over to Amazon.com and left it a one-star rating. Watch me wipe the floor with this Zionist apologist for Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians!
Here is the review that Fred left on my book’s product page:
It is preposterous for someone with no direct knowledge of the Middle East, its history, its politics, its people, its languages, its cultures, its ethos and its religions, and who gets all his information from watching television and reading exclusively English-language sources, to undertake to tell the “real” story of the conflict. Historians gather evidence objectively in order to arrive at impartial conclusions that have not been mapped out in advance. Mr. Hammond selectively gathers evidence to support a foregone conclusion and ignores whatever contradicts it.
His premise that Israel is intent on annexing the West Bank, or that Israel has an interest in “making war” against the people of Gaza, is false (simple logic should tell you that it is in Israel’s interest to have a quiet Gaza). It was certainly not true under Rabin, Barak and Olmert, all of whom made sincere and reasonable offers to the Palestinians, and it is not even true under Netanyahu, who is perceived by the hardliners in his own party as leaning to what they think of as the left. Certainly he is wary, we all are given the nature of Hamas, and certainly he will not dismantle settlements or withdraw troops until he is absolutely certain that Hamas will not set up its rocket launchers 15 yards from Jewish Jerusalem, and admittedly that may take forever, for reasons that should be clear to anyone who has the slightest understanding of radical Islam. The Palestinians could have had a state within a month of the Six-Day War after Israel had been begging for peace for 20 years, and they can have one today if they give up the Big Dream of a great massacre on the shores of the Mediterranean and start thinking about the welfare of their own people.
If Mr. Hammond understood the nature of the conflict, which he certainly does not, he would understand that the settlements are not the obstacle. Ideologically, from the Palestinian point of view, the obstacle is the simple fact of Israel’s existence. Politically, if the ideological hurdle is gotten over, the obstacle is the refugee question, which no Palestinian leader has had the courage or standing to resolve.
What happened next is awesome. Some other visitor saw Fred’s review and replied:
So you conclude that the book is worthless without providing a single reference to the book’s contents. All you do is proclaim, in your infinite wisdom, that the author lacks the competence to write it.
Your judgment regarding the author’s alleged lack of competence is interesting. What you are saying, in effect, is that it is “preposterous” to believe that an award-winning American foreign policy analyst is competent to write a book about American diplomacy — which is very clearly the subject matter of the book, contrary to what you falsely assert.
A remarkably high standard, although you don’t seem to adhere to it very consistently. For example, you apparently regard a person such as yourself — who presents no credentials whatsoever — to be competent to pronounce a work of scholarship written by an actual competent authority on the subject matter to be worthless without even providing evidence that you have as much as read the book.
By showing the desperate contortions one has to resort to in order to discredit the book, you have unwittingly provided the most glowing review of it yet to appear. I am sure the author is deeply grateful.
Fred replied to him:
Mr. Hammond is not a scholar, he is a polemicist. His book is based on certain false assumptions and unfounded interpretations about Israel’s intentions and the development of the conflict. Any historian who did not know the language of the country he was writing about and relied solely on secondary sources would simply be laughed off the stage. If you wish to get your teeth into something concrete, take a look at his attempt to represent Resolution 242 as a document that calls for Israeli withdrawal without reference to the immediately following paragraph. Then compare his “interpretation” with the language of Resolution 338.
So here’s the rest of the debate that followed:
Fred Skolknik has not even read Obstacle to Peace. (Which explains why he’s unable to produce any substantive criticisms about it.)
I should also point out that the book is meticulously documented, with 1,900 endnotes.
It is a completely uncontroversial fact that UN Security Council Resolution 242 calls for an Israeli withdrawal from the territories it occupied during the 1967 war. It’s instructive that you aren’t actually producing an argument here (telling people to compare two resolutions as though this would somehow result in a conclusion that what I wrote in the book is in error is not an argument, only obfuscation).
But you are not stating facts, Jeremy. You are stating interpretations that are completely superfluous. You are misrepresenting the Resolution by claiming that one paragraph is not related to the other and that what is required of Israel is not dependent on what is required of the Arabs. Of course the Resolution calls on Israel to withdraw from “territories,” no more and no less, in just that language, but it also sets out what is expected from the Arabs.
1. Affirms that the fulfillment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:
Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;
Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement 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.
BOTH. Not one before the other. Not one without the other. Not one instead of the other. BOTH. B-O-T-H. Do you see the word in the resolution? Look it up in the dictionary.
“Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and ACKNOWLEDGEMENT 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.”
Khartoum: NO RECOGNITION!
Khartoum: NO PEACE!
“Requests the Secretary General to designate a Special Representative to proceed to the Middle East to establish and maintain contacts with the States concerned in order to promote agreement and assist efforts to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement in accordance with the provisions and principles in this resolution.”
Khartoum: NO NEGOTIATIONS!
Now take a look at Resolution 338:
“2) Calls upon ALL parties concerned to start immediately after the cease-fire the implementation of Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) IN ALL OF ITS PARTS” (my emphasis).
If our argument is going to revolve around the meaning of plain English sentences, then it can only be resolved by a dictionary. I suggest that you look up the word “all” and then get back to us.
Try this for substantive criticism:
Right at the outset you repeat the nonsensical assertion that the Jews owned 5% of the land in Mandatory Palestine and the Arabs 95%, meaning that whatever wasn’t privately owned by Jews was privately owned by Arabs, which I have to assume includes, the desert, the dunes, the marshlands, the barren hilltops the rivers, the lakes, the roads, the streets, the squares. One has to wonder how the Jews managed to visit their neighbors, since the sidewalks must have been privately owned by the Arabs too. You see what I mean when I use the word preposterous with reference to your writing.
The truth is that the Jews owned (at most) 10% and the Arabs 20% of the land. The rest was Crown or State Land, mostly uninhabited arid or semi-arid territory, incuding the Negev, inherited originally by the Mandatory Government from Turkey. These lands had not been owned by Arab farmers-neither under the British Mandate nor under the Ottoman Turks.
What I provide in the book is not my own, but the UN Security Council’s interpretation of Resolution 242 — the only valid interpretation there is. As compared to you, who are presenting Israel’s own unilateral interpretation of it, which has no validity.
“You are misrepresenting the Resolution by claiming that one paragraph is not related to the other… BOTH. Not one before the other. Not one without the other. Not one instead of the other. BOTH. B-O-T-H. Do you see the word in the resolution? Look it up in the dictionary.”
Actually, it’s you misrepresenting what I wrote. I did NOT write that the two clauses are not related to each other. And as for this lecture about “B-O-T-H”, it’s actually quite hilarious. Here’s a relevant excerpt from the book:
‘As for the claim that the first sub-clause is conditional upon the second, as a simple point of fact, the extent of the withdrawal called for in sub-clause (i.) is not determined by sub-clause (ii.), but is rather determined independently from it by the words “from territories occupied”, which means the territories beyond the 1949 armistice lines that Israel occupied during the June war. The resolution states that “both” [B-O-T-H!] withdrawal and secure and recognized boundaries are a requirement for peace, conditioning neither one upon the other.’
Note that Fred claims I referred to sub-clause (i.) “without reference to the immediately following paragraph” (subclause [ii.])
As readers can now see for themselves, Fred is simply lying.
Here’s relevant part of what I actually wrote in the book, with regard to Fred’s comment concerning land ownership:
An UNSCOP survey of land ownership cited 1943 statistics showing that of Palestine’s total land area (26,320,505 dunams), Arabs and other non-Jews owned nearly 94 percent (24,670,455 dunams). By contrast, the Jews owned only 5.8 percent (1,514,247 dunams). Land ownership statistics for 1945 likewise showed that Arabs owned more land than Jews in every single district in Palestine. The district with the highest percentage of Jewish ownership was Jaffa, where 39 percent of the land was owned by Jews, compared to 47 percent owned by Arabs. Jews owned less than 5 percent of the land in eight out of the sixteen districts. Even by the end of the Mandate in 1948, according to the Jewish National Fund (a quasi-governmental organization founded in 1901 to purchase land for Jewish settlement), the Jewish community had acquired only about 6.9 percent (1,820,000 dunams) of the total land area of Palestine.
As the UNSCOP report noted, “The Arab population, despite the strenuous efforts of Jews to acquire land in Palestine, at present remains in possession of approximately 85 percent of the land.” And as the subcommittee report observed, “The bulk of the land in the Arab State, as well as in the proposed Jewish State, is owned and possessed by Arabs” (emphasis added).
And here are the endnotes:
 Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, A Survey of Palestine: Prepared in December 1945 and January 1946 for the information of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry (Washington, DC: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1991), Volume II, 566. The entire three-volume Survey of Palestine is available for purchase at www.palestine-studies.org and can also be viewed online at www.palestineremembered.com/Acre/Books/Story831.html. A dunam is 1,000 square meters, or about a quarter acre.
 Report of Sub-Committee 2, 43-44; Appendix 5: “Palestine Land Ownership by Sub-Districts (1945).” A higher quality image of the map is available at http://domino.un.org/maps/m0094.jpg. Statistics were as follows (Arab/Jewish land ownership in percentages): Safad: 68/18; Acre: 87/3; Tiberias: 51/38; Haifa: 42/35; Nazareth: 52/28; Beisan: 44/34; Jenin: 84/1, Tulkarm: 78/17; Nablus: 87/1; Jaffa: 47/39; Ramle: 77/14; Ramallah: 99/less than 1; Jerusalem: 84/2; Gaza: 75/4; Hebron: 96/less than 1; Beersheeba: 15/less than 1.
 Walid Khalidi, “Revisiting the UNGA Partition Resolution,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. XXVII, No. 1 (Autumn 1997). Khalidi writes that “Jewish-owned land on the eve of the partition resolution amounted, according to Jewish sources, to 1,820,000 dunams, or less than 7 percent of the total land area of the country” (13). This would be 6.9 percent, although Khalidi puts the total area of Palestine at the higher figure of 27 million dunams, which would put it at about 6.7 percent. His source cited is: Jewish National Fund, “Jewish Settlements in Palestine” (Jewish National Fund, Jerusalem, March 1948, Mimeographed), p. ii. See also Edward W. Said, The Question of Palestine (New York: Vintage Books Edition, 1992), 98. Said writes that, by the end of 1947, the Jewish community had legally acquired 1,734,000 dunams, or about 6.6 percent of the territory of Palestine. He cites a slightly different number of 26,323,000 dunams for the total land area of Palestine, which still rounds to 6.6 percent. Said also notes, “After 1940, when the mandatory authority restricted Jewish land ownership to specific zones inside Palestine, there continued to be illegal buying (and selling) within the 65 percent of the total area restricted to Arabs.” According to Abraham Granott, “The total area of land in Jewish possession at the end of June 1947 amounted to 1,850,000 dunams….” See: Abraham Granott, The Land System in Palestine (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode 1952), 278. This number would put the amount of land in Jewish possession at 7 percent. Israeli historian Ilan Pappé puts the figure lower, writing, “By the end of the Mandate in 1948, the Jewish community owned around 5.8% of the land in Palestine.” See: Ilan Pappé, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2006), Kindle Edition, Location 655. However, this is evidently an error; Pappé seems to have cited the statistic from 1943, which was no longer accurate by the end of the Mandate. Benny Morris likewise puts the amount of land owned by the Jewish community at “7 percent”. See: Benny Morris, 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2008), Kindle Edition, Location 957.
 UNSCOP Report.
 Report of Sub-Committee 2, 43.
If you agree that Israel’s withdrawal from territories, in any shape or form, is conditional on the simultaneous fulfillment of all the stipulations in the Resolution, I stand corrected.
A Security Council resolution is a negotiated political document. In the case of Resolution 242, the word “the” before “territories” was intentionally and explicitly removed in the final English-language draft to allow the sides to negotiate permanent borders to replace the armistice lines. If you are aiming for peace instead of looking to vilify Israel, you might note that the parameters of a settlement are clear to everyone on both sides and would include a land swap leaving around 75% of the settlements (the settlement blocs) inside Israel and involving around 5% of West Bank land. There is no reason on earth why the Palestinians shouldn’t agree to exchanging barren hilltops for barren hilltops, and might even get the bonus of Wadi Ara, that is, if its Israeli Arab inhabitants (up to 300,000 of them) consented, which we already know they won’t, preferring to live under the sovereignty of “apartheid” Israel rather than under the sovereignty of democratic Palestine. Try explaining that.
The point about the absurd 95% figure, wherever you got it from, is that you are endorsing it by presenting it is as part of your “case,” to prove that the partition was unjust. (UNSCOP nevertheless made the prime facie inequitable recommendation …) An honest scholar, which you are not, would have rejected the figure.
Fred, I fully address the errors in your arguments concerning Resolution 242 in the book. (This is what happens when you try to comment about a book before actually having read it.)
As for land ownership in Palestine, I’ve given you my sources. You’ve given none.
Common sense is the source: deserts, dunes, marshlands, swamplands, barren hilltops, rivers, lakes, roads, streets, sidewalks, squares are not privately owned land.
“Common sense is the source…”
What a remarkable argument, that the authors of the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry’s Survey of Palestine lacked common sense!
I note that you have yet to provide any sources to support your claim that Jews owned 10% and Arabs owned only 20% of the land in Palestine. As per the “Survey of Palestine”, roads, railways, rivers and lakes amounted to 135,803 dunams of the 26,320,505 dunams of total land area in Palestine (0.5%), 1,514,247 dunams of which was owned by Jews in 1943 (5.8%, as already noted). And, as also already noted, by 1948, Jews still owned less than 7 percent of the land. And as observed by the UN Special Committee on Palestine, which produced the partition plan recommendation, Arabs owned more land in every single district, including Jaffa (detailed stats already provided above).
Point being, Jews had no legal claim to any of the land they conquered by ethnically cleansing Palestine of most of its Arab population in order to establish their “Jewish state”.
You are conveniently leaving out the Negev, which constitutes half of your 26,000 dunams, and certainly was not privately owned by individual Arabs, nor was the rest of the nonarable land in the country, all of which adds up to two-thirds of the total land area and all of which was crown or state land which was legally inherited and owned by the successive sovereign powers, namely, the Ottoman Turks, the British and the State of Israel, while Jordan took over the West Bank and became the de facto owner of its public land. The trick of calling all land not owned by Jews “Arab land” fools no one. If you don’t understand the concept of public land, and sincerely believe that the desert, dunes, marshlands, barren hilltops and all the rest were privately owned by individual Arabs, then I really can’t help you. As for the enthnic cleansing, you are getting a little wild now. The State of Israel was established in accordance with Resolution 188, successfully defended against a criminal Arab attack with the declared aim of destroying it and massacring its Jewish population, was accepted as a UN member and recognized diplomatically as such. Not that the fact that public land belongs to the sovereign power in every country in the world has to be “documented,” but you can try reading “Land Ownership in Palestine, 1880-1948” by Moshe Aumann, which discusses the percentages.
No, the American-Anglo Committee’s Survey of Palestine did NOT leave out the Negev in compiling their statistics. Nor did UNSCOP leave it out. Rather, as noted in the book, they observed that if the Bedouin population inhabiting the area was considered, even within the proposed “Jewish state”, Arabs would still constitute a majority (in addition to owning more land than Jews in every single district).
As for Resolution 181 (not 188), it neither created Israel nor conferred any legal authority for the Zionists’ unilateral declaration of the existence of Israel on May 14, 1948. You would know this, too, had you actually read the book before leaving a review, since there’s a whole section explaining this. Furthermore, as also explained in the book, by the time the neighboring Arab states managed to muster a military response, 300,000 Arabs had already been ethnically cleansed from Palestine in order to establish the “Jewish state”.
I asked you for a source to support your claim that Jews owned 10% of the land. You cited Moshe Aumann, but in fact your own source notes Jews owned 1,850,000 dunams of land, which is 7 percent, not 10. We thus see your own source confirms what I wrote and contradicts your counter-claim. Ironically, with regard to the land ownership of the Arab population, Aumann cites the Survey of Palestine — the very same source I cited in Obstacle to Peace and just provided here in the comments, which source states in a table on page 566 that 24,670,455 dunams of land was owned by “Arabs & other non-Jews” out of 26,320,505 dunams of total land area.
The central point remains: the Jewish community had no legal claim to any of the land beyond the 7 percent they had legally acquired, and certainly no “right” to conquer Arabs’ land by force, rid the territory that became Israel of most of its Arab population, wipe hundreds of Arab villages off the map, and refuse to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland in order to establish their “Jewish state”.
You are confusing too many issues for your own good. The question of whether individual Jews owned 5 or 10 percent (estmates and calculations vary) of the land is irrelevant from the point of view of sovereignty. Even today in the State of Israel, Jews own less than 10% of Israel’s land privately. The issue as you are attempting to argue it is how much was public, and the Bedouin did not of course own the Negev and the State of Israel had a legal claim to all land not legally owned by Arabs or Jews:
“The greater part of this 70 per cent consisted of the Negev, some 3,144,250 acres all told, or close to 50 per cent of the 6,580,000 acres in all of Mandatory Palestine. Known as Crown or State Lands, this was mostly uninhabited arid or semi-arid territory, inherited originally by the Mandatory Government from Turkey. In 1948 it passed to the Government of Israel. These lands had not been owned by Arab farmers-neither under the British Mandate nor under the preceding regime. Thus it is obvious that the contention that 95 per cent of the land-whether of Mandatory Palestine or of the State of Israel-had belonged to Arabs has absolutely no foundation in fact.” (Aumann)
As for Arabs displaced in the war, the number is no greater than the number of Jews displaced from Arab counties in the same period and who also lost all their property.
Fascinating how the question of how much land the Jewish community owned suddenly becomes “irrelevant” after you challenge me on my 7 percent figure and claim it was 10 percent only to have me show from your own source that the figure I cited is correct.
Your claim that in 1948, Palestine legally “passed to the Government of Israel” is fiction. Once again, Resolution 181 neither created Palestine nor conferred any legal authority to the Zionist leadership for their unilateral declaration of the existence of Israel on May 14, 1948. You would have learned this had you actually read the book before commenting.
As for Jews displaced from Arab countries, what is your point? What happened to Jews in other countries doesn’t justify the Zionists’ ethnic cleansing of Arabs from Palestine for the purpose of establishing their “Jewish state”.
I wrote that the Jews owned up to 10% of the land. The issue is not the 3% difference but the 70%. UN resolutions do not confer legal authority, they recommend. What 181 recommended was a partition of Mandatory Palestine and Israel acted in its spirit and the UN confirmed its status as a sovereign country by voting it in as a member state. Your “take” on all this is meaningless. You are also too hung up on your “ethnic cleansing.” The acceptance of the resolution and the establishment of the State of Israel did not entail the displacement, replacement or expulsion of a single Arab; the war did. The Arabs chose war and attacked the State of Israel with the declared aim of destroying it and massacring its Jewish population. The war was not fought against a people called Palestinians but against the entire Arab world, of which the Arabs living in Mandatory Palestine or the Ancient Land of Israel considered themselves an indistinguishable part. As a result of this war a de facto exchange of populations occurred, precisely as in the war between India and Pakistan. To a certain extent Jews expelled Arabs and to a certain extent Arabs expelled Jews. To a certain extent Jews fled from Arab countries and to a certain extent Arabs fled from the Jewish state. Each side took up positions behind armistice lines and remained there in an unresolved conflict and continuing state of war which had created new demographic realities.
I repeat: the Zionists had no legal authority for their unilateral declaration of the existence of Israel on May 14, 1948.
The UN’s acceptance of Israel’s territorial conquest as a fait accompli and admission of Israel as a member in the wake of the war did not confer ex post facto legal authority for that declaration or justify the ethnic cleansing of the Arab population.
There’s an entire section in the book, by the way, about Israel’s UN membership, and how the UN violated the UN Charter and prejudiced the rights of the Palestinians, which you would know if you had actually read the book before rating and comment about it.
I repeat: by the time the neighboring states managed to muster a military response, 300,000 Arabs had already been ethnically cleansed in order to establish the “Jewish state”. By the time it was over, more than 700,000 Arabs had been made refugees, their villages wiped off the map, and never allowed to return.
The UN is not a body that confers legality in its resolutions. As in the case of all countries achieving independence, diplomatic recognition and membership in the UN confirms a country’s status as a sovereign state.
The surrounding Arab states did not “muster a response,” they attacked Israel the day after the British left just as they declared they would before the partition vote.
I’ve already commented on the flight and expulsion of Arabs and Jews. Most of the documented expulsions (about 100,000 from Ramle, Lod and in Operation Hiram) took place after the Arab invasion. How many Arabs were expelled as opposed to fleeing cannot really be calculated.
I’ll be happy to continue to correct your assertions if we’ve gotten your 95% out of the way. Do you understand now that the Bedouin did not own the Negev?
Once again, the international community’s subsequent acceptance of the Zionists’ territorial gains by war as a fait accompli and diplomatic recognition of Israel as a state did not constitute ex post facto legitimization of their unilateral May 14 declaration or justify the means by which the “Jewish state” came into being: the ethnic cleansing of 700,000 Arabs from Palestine.
Once again, by the time the neighboring states managed to muster a military response, 300,000 Arabs had already been ethnically cleansed in what Israeli historian Benny Morris has described as the Zionists’ “war of conquest” to establish their “Jewish state” by using force to expel the Arab population and take their land, wiping hundreds of their villages off the map to build Jewish villages in their place.
Many fled out of fear of massacres like the one at Deir Yassin, many others were expelled by Zionist forces; none were allowed to return to their homes. The fact that you are trying to justify this is highly instructive.
It’s funny you say “I’d be happy to continue to correct your assertions” — as though you had managed to point to even a single error in fact or logic on my part, and as though I have not continually shown the errors in fact and logic in your arguments. (I never said Bedouins “own[ed] the Negev”, I observed the fact that they inhabited it and that, including their numbers, Arabs constituted a majority even within the proposed “Jewish state”. But nice try to score a point by resorting to strawman argumentation — also highly instructive.)
You’re getting a little desperate, Jeremy. Children stamp their feet and repeat themselves when they don’t get what they want. But I’m glad to see you backed down from the 95%. Good luck.
So I’ll leave it to you which of us was exuding desperation (note how the best he could do for an argument in his final comment was to try to maintain his strawman; of course, I hadn’t “backed down” from anything, but affirmed what I’d actually written in the book).
UPDATE, July 30, 2016 — I had also posted here originally a comment from another Zionist defender of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine who jumped into the debate. I’ve now moved that now-expanded debate to a new post. I was going to let Fred have the last word with his weak comment above, but he jumped back in to continue, so what follows is the update.
I’ve also added two appendices regarding land ownership statistics! Find the below.
The Palestinians are not claiming self-determination as individuals but as a nation or people, to be expressed in the establishment of a Palestinian state, which they claim is their right. Resolution 242 itself, which you buy into when it suits your purposes, calls for “Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement 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.” If you don’t understand this to mean the right of the state to exist as such, there is something seriously wrong with your comprehension of the English language.
I am quoting you as saying that “the land mostly belonged to the majority Arab population,” which is a false statement. The land was mostly public land.
Once again, no state has a “right to exist”. This is a meaningless concept. The proper framework for analysis is a people’s right to self-determination, which Israel rejects for the Palestinians — a rejection manifest in 1948 with the ethnic cleansing of Palestine to establish the “Jewish state”, and manifest today with the ongoing occupation. (The necessity of Zionist rejectionists like you, then, trying to reframe it in terms of Israel’s “right to exist” thus becomes obvious.)
As for Resolution 242, we’ve already discussed its meaning here, and I discuss it further in the book. I would just point out that it calls for both the above AND “Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict”, conditioning neither requirement upon the other (which is to say, it does not require the Palestinians to negotiate with their oppressors over how much of their own territory they can keep).
As for land ownership, the facts about this, too, have already been discussed ad nauseum. Here again are the statistics (from endnote 14 in chapter one):
Report of Sub-Committee 2, 43-44; Appendix 5: “Palestine Land Ownership by Sub-Districts (1945).” A higher quality image of the map is available at http://domino.un.org/maps/m0094.jpg. Statistics were as follows (Arab/Jewish land ownership in percentages): Safad: 68/18; Acre: 87/3; Tiberias: 51/38; Haifa: 42/35; Nazareth: 52/28; Beisan: 44/34; Jenin: 84/1, Tulkarm: 78/17; Nablus: 87/1; Jaffa: 47/39; Ramle: 77/14; Ramallah: 99/less than 1; Jerusalem: 84/2; Gaza: 75/4; Hebron: 96/less than 1; Beersheeba: 15/less than 1.
As you and everyone else can see (again), Arabs owned more land than Jews in every single district in Palestine, including Jaffa (which included Tel Aviv).
The Anglo-American Committee’s Survey of Palestine, as already noted, states in a table on page 566 that 24,670,455 dunams of land was owned by “Arabs & other non-Jews” out of 26,320,505 dunams of total land area. That’s not my claim, that’s what the Survey of Palestine says. The UN Special Committee on Palestine, the body that proposed the partition plan, also stated that “The Arab population, despite the strenuous efforts of Jews to acquire land in Palestine, at present remains in possession of approximately 85 percent of the land.” The UN Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question stated that “The bulk of the land in the Arab State, as well as in the proposed Jewish State, is owned and possessed by Arabs”.
So there are three sources all making the same point. While rejecting these sources, you have yet to provide even a single source to the contrary.
Arabs also constituted a majority of the population even within the proposed “Jewish state”.
Point being, the Zionists had no legal claim to most of the land they unilaterally declared on May 14 to be part of their “Jewish state”, and certainly no right to ethnically cleanse Palestine of most of its Arab population in order to establish it.
I can see how you have constructed this crazy reasoning by jumping back and forth between arguments, from endorsing or hiding behind the statement that the Arabs owned most of the land in Mandate territory to acknowledging that they didn’t own the Negev, which constitutes half of it, not to mention the rest of the public land.
Your determination that the right of a state to exist “is a meaningless concept” is belied by the UN itself, which calls for “respect for and acknowledgement 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.” Do I have to repeat that if you don’t understand this to mean the right of the state to exist as such, there is something seriously wrong with your comprehension of the English language.
All the relevant parties, from the UN to the sovereign states that constitute it, affirmed the legitimacy of Israeli statehood and independence by voting it in as a UN member and individually establishing diplomatic relations with it.
The”ethnic cleansing” business I have already addressed.
I am not going to reply if you repeat yourself. I realize that you are desperate to have the last word, but the only people you are fooling are people like yourself, though I’m sure that even they can spot the contradictions in your reasoning.
You assert my arguments are inconsistent, but fail to demonstrate any inconsistency. I’ve given you the statistics regarding land ownership, and my sources. You’ve still given us none, just denials.
Again, the concept of a state having a “right to exist” is meaningless and the proper framework for discussion is the right to self-determination. When the UN calls for respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence, it is calling for respect for the right to self-determination. Again, it is Israel that rejects this right for the Palestinians, not vice versa.
Regarding Israel’s UN membership, I refer readers to the section titled “Resolution 194” in chapter three, “The ‘Peace Process'”. If you wish to challenge my argument in this regard, you will have to actually read the book.
Appendix 1: Land ownership statistics from the Survey of Palestine
Appendix 2: Land ownership statistics from 1945 prepared by a UN General Assembly committee
Want to empower yourself with the knowledge to take on Zionist defenders of Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians? Order your copy of Obstacle to Peace today!