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Thursday, June 23, 2011


If an immigrant community of, say, Papua New Guineans settled in Australia buying up large tracts of land, would they then be able to demand that the land they have bought title to be turned over to Papua New Guinean sovereignty subject to PNG laws, government and judiciary?

If the Papua New Guineans (or whoever) were to follow neocon Zionist Daniel Pipes’ logic then the answer is ‘yes’ they would be able to – not, of course, that the Australian government would accede to such demands.

In a recent article in National Review Online titled Not stealing Palestine, But Purchasing Israel, Pipes argues that Israel has been created as much as a result of Zionists purchasing land before the UN partitioned Palestine to create Israel in 1948, as was by occupation after a period of war.

Pipes argues that during the war of 1948/49 most Arabs fled their lands” and that “exceedingly few were forced off”. This is typical Pipes chutzpah. Why did they flee their lands? They fled because they feared being killed as the Israelis moved in, which in many places, as historians like Illan Pappe documents, is exactly what happened to many Palestinians. Fleeing before an advancing enemy with no right of return is the same as being ‘forced out’.

Pipes confines his argument to the purchase of lands prior to the creation of Israel when those lands did indeed revert to Israeli sovereignty. But he frames his argument in a somewhat deceitful way. He infers that Zionists bought all of the lands that became Israel in 1948 “acquiring property dunam by dunam, farm by farm, house by house”. This is complete nonsense. In reality only a small proportion of the land was purchased by Zionists. The rest was acquired by intimidation and force of arms. In short, it was the Arab states that attempted to put a hold on Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people rather than the Israelis being attacked by them. Right-wing Zionists have been pushing the lie that Israel was ‘attacked’ by the Arab states around them for years but, as Pappe shows, history and the facts tell an entirely different story.

During the period since the 1967 war, the Israeli government, through the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and the Israeli Lands Administration, purchased land in the Occupied Territories. At first, private purchasers were not allowed to purchase land in the Territories in order to avoid speculation but by 1979 these rules were relaxed and Israeli and Jewish developers were allowed to purchase land in the Occupied Territories. Many cases of trickery and outright intimidation as a means of purchasing land have been reported since. However, by far the greatest amount of land ceded to Israeli hands is that which Israel has acquired by simple expropriation and by military requisition.

The question now is: Does Israel intend at some stage in the future, possibly just prior to the Palestinian Authority’s attempt to get Palestine unilaterally recognised as a sovereign state at the UN, to annex all of the West Bank settlements to Israeli sovereignty based on title ownership or will the Israelis invade and fully occupy the West Bank under Israeli military governance, or will they do both.

The point here is; regardless of how much land people from one nation own elsewhere in other nations, title to that land does not, as Pipes and other Zionists suggest, confer sovereignty to the nation that the owners of that title are nationalities of.

Many Paua New Guineans live in communities in Australia but they live here either as permanent residents retaining their own nationality or as Australian citizens; either way they are subject to Australian sovereignty and Papua New Guinean.

One wonders what makes Zionists think that they are exempt from these norms?


Folks interested in reading further on this subject should read George E. Bisharat’s in-depth scholarly article: Land, Law and Legitimacy in Israel and the Occupied Territories linked to above and here.

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