Wednesday, August 6, 2008

On the Sanctity of Internationally Sanctioned Borders

Well intentioned folks (and also some not so well intentioned ones) have been telling us for years, indeed decades, that internationally recognized borders between nations must be respected at all costs, and in cases of differences of opinion about them, old maps drawn by whomever are the only thing that count. Anything else would be unacceptable, and acquiring territory by violence would be the most unacceptable of all. Thus spake International Law.

This was always not convincing. First, because every border in human history drawn prior to a few decades ago was either created by God (see the borders of the UK, for example), or by men backed by the power to do the drawing. When you look at Israel's borders you'll find that respectable countries such as the US of A, the UK, and others, were still hatching plans to cede Israeli territory in the promotion of their interests, at least until late in the 1950s and probably all the way up to the Six Day War in 1967. (Michael Oren has some details in his excellent Six Days of War). The moment in time at which Israel's borders were sanctified and consecrated was the moment after they changed, and the old ones took on holiness to prevent the new ones ever being accepted.

Be that as it may, when it comes to the borders with Egypt, Lebanon, and Jordan, the lines drawn by some English sahibs in 1906 or 1918 or 1920 are generally regarded as sacred, and in each case Israel has been required to respect them down to the last inch (see: Taba) so as to have peace (or, in the case of Lebanon, so as not to have peace). The lines with the Palestinians that are regarded as sacred are the armistice lines of 1949; this is the line Israel accepts with Gaza, and doesn't accept on the West Bank. This non-acceptance generates endless opprobrium from most of the so-called "International Community", though in recent years some American presidents such as Bill Clinton and his successor have stated that perhaps some other line, should both sides agree, might also be acceptable if only agreement could be reached. The folks over at the Geneva Accord, by the way, also accept this. (Some prominent Palestinians among them, and no Likudniks).

And then there are the Syrians. They don't accept the internationally sanctioned lines, nor the lines they themselves agreed to in Rhodes in 1949. The only line they're willing to accept is the one they held on June 4th 1967, after they had used post-armistice force to take territory from Israel. Shlomo Avineri has a short but excellent article outlining the issues. Syria can't accept a line drawn by imperialist Europeans after WW1, only a line drawn by its own military; it can't even compromise for peace. And the entire concept of Lebanon is likewise unacceptable, since Lebanon was invented by the French.

The implication for Israel is that borders are determined by European imperialists when that's convenient for Egypt Jordan and Lebanon, by the 1949 armistice lines when that's convenient for the Palestinians, and by the force of arms and violence when that's convenient for the Syrians. I'm not necessarily saying these lines shouldn't be acceptable, but let's be clear about the total lack of consistency of it all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


A country needs good laws.

Israel only gets good lawyers.

Not the same thing.

As to borders, without them things would be worse.

And, ALL property owners learn that they have neighbors that will fight them over inches. Or plants that extend from one yard into another. Or a dog that travels beyond a family's fence.

Meawhile, Israel's "game" now has nothing to do with other countries. It's an internal t'zuris.

America knew this stuff back in the 1960's, when LBJ escalated in Vietnam. People, by the droves, came to DC.

Nixon also had bus loads of Americans coming to DC. Just in case you thought all you had to do was write letters. No. No. Politicians never like to look out their windows and see crowds. Especially angry ones. And, ones where citizens wave signs.

You could check this out. When Yizchak Rabin was murdered, very large crowds showed up.

But now?

All you have are the police, constantly questioning Olmert; until he "admits" something or other. Totally bypassing any justice system in the free world.

So, there ya go. For "borders" to work you need a court system that's not full of bullshit artists. And, women who get elevated into positions ... where if there wasn't this advancement ... they'd be waitresses.

And, you'd have to tip them for service.

Can you tip this over?

As to Lebanon, or any arab state, they are all WEAK!

Even Saddam! When he was fighting Iran; American generals would go in and explain strategy to him. He didn't know what to do with it! He was a terrorist!

Of course, he ran into the Bush's anger. And, he's dead. And, America is deeply involved in a crappy arab state; where there won't be peace.

And, where the saud's aren't moving ahead. Though after 9/11 they sure thought Bush would "change the map of the Mideast" ... instead of just land "in it." And, the "it" is pretty poopy.

Iran wants a bomb. And, so what?

SHe's got no navy. No army. But she does have natural gas to sell. So germany's buying.

By the way, "the bomb" will be used to scare the pants of all the sunnis. ANd, it could be used to flatten Dubai.

While Israel's "deterence" is the fighting army. And, the knowledge that if the IDF "flies over" ... that it could be "over" for Nasrallah.

One clue is that Nasrallah lives in a hidey-hole.

The other clue? Assad knows Bush ordered the IDF to go into Damascus just to remove his head. So the sunnis could pick up "real estate."

Since Olmert didn't do as requested ... you'll notice that Olmert's enemies have hidden the truth from you.

In gaza? The IDF was to go in and remove hamas. And, then? Bush wouldn't let the IDF keep anything ... Not with the new rules. So Abbas was lined up and waiting for the gaza territory to be swept clean of hamas. ANd, handed off to "guess who?" Not a Jew.

I really don't care.

Olmert's done some amazing things.

Including taking out the nuke reactor in syria. THe one Assad says "wasn't there."

You've also had two successful assassinations. Suiliman, the right hand of Assad, is now "missing." And, the muga-hgga guy got blown up in Damascus; where he made a quick trip from Beirut. Never got "home."

Olmert, however, doesn't get credit.

Bibi gets credit.

That's because most Israelis have grown old and have Alzheimers. Because they don't remember Bibi being too rash; and ordering Mashaal's assassination. While he was in Amman. Getting the king there very angry. And, costing Israel "good prisoners" in an exchange just to calm Jordan's short king down. (Read Ephraim Halevy's book.)

Today, people are painting Bibi as some sort of giant.

Yet, in the spring of 2006, with Bibi heading Likud, and Olmert heading Kadima; Olmert won 29 seats. (Later counted as 31 or 32). And, Bibi just got a dozen.

Just in case you don't know how one party's #1 guy gets the prime minister's chair.

And, all the stuff now? Gee. While in Likud Olmert double-billed on some of his business deductions.

Okay. In America the IRS would collect a fine.

But the IRS can't go so far back, that tools for Likud can make up their charges ... ANd, then the police just go and run riot.

I especially love the fact that Katsav has never been charged.

But one doofus judge in Israel sent a cookie factory manager to prison for rape; where the woman admitted in court the sex was consentual.

SO, how did this freak of a judge rule? The man goes to prison because he "made a hole in the woman's soul."

Too bad the judge wasn't asked to describe what a "soul" is ... since it's faith based ... and has no rational natural evidence of existence.

No wonder you're torn about borders. What are lines, anyway? Didn't Ben Gurion say Israel was a collective?