Israel’s Critics Only Care about Law and Rights When It Suits Them to

While the legal case of landowners trying to evict delinquent tenants from property in Jerusalem may have little to do with the hundreds of rockets that Hamas and its allies launched into Israel in the past few days, or the mob violence in Israeli cities, it has frequently been cited as a proximate cause. The affair (explained here and here), concerns Jews who lost their property when Jordan cleansed the neighborhood of Jews in 1948, to whom it was returned through normal legal procedures after 1967. Elliott Abrams compares this case to those of works of art stolen from European Jews by the Nazis—which have similarly been returned to their owners through ordinary litigation:

The principle is not controversial: title to the property in question was not legally obtained, and just compensation was not paid. This . . . seems to be willfully ignored when it comes to the eviction cases that are now before Israel’s Supreme Court. . . . Israel’s courts, sometimes viewed as too sympathetic to—or indeed part of—the Israeli “left,” have consistently applied standard property law, as would courts in any Western country, and consistently found that the rights of ownership have not been obliterated just because people moved into these homes when the Jews who lived in them were driven out.

Now let’s return to the paintings forcibly seized from Jews by the Nazis. There is widespread sympathy for the owners of those paintings, and it is visible in newspaper accounts and in court decisions and international conventions. Why is there so little sympathy for those who own the properties in contention in Jerusalem? Why the bias in most accounts of these eviction proceedings. . . . Is the criticism of Israel here explained by the bitter old conclusion that the world likes dead Jews (and their paintings) more than living Jews who are fighting for their rights?

Here’s a theory: Israel’s critics here don’t care about law and rights. Yesterday, before his meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the Jordanian foreign minister spoke of “provocative measures against . . . the peoples of Sheikh Jarrah” to describe court cases in which ownership rights are being asserted. The theory seems to be that the Jews were downtrodden by the Nazis, so the Jews can recover their stolen paintings—but the Palestinians are downtrodden by the Israelis, so the stolen properties cannot be recovered. In other words: forget rights, forget courts.

[D]oes the rule of law apply only in Europe, when it comes to old Nazi cases where there’s no political risk in siding with the Jews?

Read more at National Review

More about: Holocaust restitution, Israeli law, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security