The Global Hypocrisy about Israel’s “Occupation” of the West Bank

Based on disingenuous legal reasoning, European governments, the United Nations, and many other institutions and individuals believe that Israel’s presence in any territory gained during the Six-Day War is a violation of international law. Yet there are numerous occupations around the world that don’t receive even a fraction of the negative attention and condemnation directed at the Jewish state. Eli Lake comments:

[W]hen was the last time you heard about a campaign to boycott, divest from, or sanction Armenia for its occupation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan? . . . The example of Russia is [especially] instructive. [Currently] Russia occupies Ukrainian territory in Crimea and Donbass, the Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, [and] the Moldovan territory of Transnistria.

But Russia is paying a price only for its occupation and annexation of Crimea, which has caused the U.S. and its European allies to sanction sectors of the Russian economy. Russia was initially sanctioned for its occupation of Georgian territory, but those sanctions were lifted in 2009 following a flimsy cease-fire agreement that Russian-backed separatists have since violated. The EU treats Transnistrian goods as if they were Moldovan. There are no restrictions on trade from the Georgian territory that Russia occupies.

Part of the problem, according to the report, is that states which choose to occupy territory through proxy forces, such as the Turkish regime in charge of northern Cyprus or the Russian-backed separatists in the Donbass, are rarely treated the same as states that occupy territory with their own armed forces. Another problem is that some UN institutions are composed of states that have a political interest in demonizing Israel.

That said, Israel is a unique case. It won the West Bank from a UN-recognized state in a war. But no one today argues that Israel should return that land to Jordan. Rather, Israel is expected to turn over the land it won to create a new state.

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Read more at Bloomberg

More about: Azerbaijan, International Law, Russia, West Bank

 

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism