Mahmoud Abbas Tries to Take Israel’s Legitimacy to Court

July 27 2016

In the latest move in his campaign to obtain a Palestinian state (or make a pretense of doing so) without negotiating with Israel, Mahmoud Abbas has declared his intention to sue Great Britain in the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the damage allegedly inflicted on the Palestinian people by the Balfour Declaration. Dan Margalit comments:

But the Balfour Declaration didn’t exist in a vacuum. The world supported it. Even King Faisal of Iraq, whose family originated in [what is now] Saudi Arabia, reached an agreement with [the Zionist leader Chaim] Weizmann on its terms. The declaration was approved in 1920 by an international conference that met in San Remo after World War I. The approval of the mandate by the Council of the League of Nations in 1922 gave the Balfour Declaration international validity, almost like the 1947 UN resolution to establish a Jewish state in part of the land of Israel. . . .

If the ICC discusses the matter, it will have to address the question of whether Israel’s existence is legitimate in the eyes of the world, while ignoring the world’s decisions on that subject thus far.

It might be that Abbas . . . is hoping that if he can put Britain on trial for the 1917 document, the justice of Zionism will be called into question hereafter. That approach certainly doesn’t fall into line with his pretense of supporting a two-state solution.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Balfour Declaration, Chaim Weizmann, ICC, International Law, Israel & Zionism, Lawfare, Mahmoud Abbas

Syria’s Druze Uprising, and What It Means for the Region

When the Arab Spring came to Syria in 2011, the Druze for the most part remained loyal to the regime—which has generally depended on the support of religious minorities such as the Druze and thus afforded them a modicum of protection. But in the past several weeks that has changed, with sustained anti-government protests in the Druze-dominated southwestern province of Suwayda. Ehud Yaari evaluates the implications of this shift:

The disillusionment of the Druze with Bashar al-Assad, their suspicion of militias backed by Iran and Hizballah on the outskirts of their region, and growing economic hardships are fanning the flames of revolt. In Syrian Druze circles, there is now open discussion of “self-rule,” for example replacing government offices and services with local Druze alternative bodies.

Is there a politically acceptable way to assist the Druze and prevent the regime from the violent reoccupation of Jebel al-Druze, [as they call the area in which they live]? The answer is yes. It would require Jordan to open a short humanitarian corridor through the village of al-Anat, the southernmost point of the Druze community, less than three kilometers from the Syrian-Jordanian border.

Setting up a corridor to the Druze would require a broad consensus among Western and Gulf Arab states, which have currently suspended the process of normalization with Assad. . . . The cost of such an operation would not be high compared to the humanitarian corridors currently operating in northern Syria. It could be developed in stages, and perhaps ultimately include, if necessary, providing the Druze with weapons to defend their territory. A quick reminder: during the Islamic State attack on Suwayda province in 2018, the Druze demonstrated an ability to assemble close to 50,000 militia men almost overnight.

Read more at Jerusalem Strategic Tribune

More about: Druze, Iran, Israeli Security, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy