Saturday, April 3, 2010

Bastenier's double standard against Israel.

Miguel Ángel Bastenier wrote an article for Spanish daily El País, which was published on Wednesday, March 31, 2010. In the article, Bastenier claims that 21 United Nations' Resolutions call Israel to stop the so-called "judaization" of East Jerusalem and to withdraw from those territories conquered by the Jewish State in 1967. Under this premise is Bastenier advocating for a severe punishment against Israel by the United States. His article begins with this question: "What's necessary for President Barack Obama to be really annoyed with Israel instead of just saying that he is annoyed?"
Of course, Bastenier forgets those United Nations' Resolutions which were violated by the Arabs. For example, he cites the Security Council's Resolution 242, which he only applies to Israel, like most of those who criticize the Jewish State; it's of course another way to single Israel out for criticism. Let's see what the U.N.S.C.'s Resolution 242 really says in its articles 1 and 2:

"1. Affirms that the fulfilment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which would include the application of both of the following principles:
(i) Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;
(ii) Termination of all claims or state of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;"
2. Affirms further the necessity
(a) For guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area;
(b) For achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem;
(c) For guaranteeing the territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area, through measures including the establishment of demilitarized zones;"

Bastenier doesn't mention that:
1.- The U.N.S.C.'s Resolution 242, article 1, principle (i), calls Israel to withdraw from "territories occupied in the recent conflict", instead of "the territories occupied in the recent conflict"; that is, it fails to specify what of those territories are subjected to the withdrawal. So, could be said that East Jerusalem's annexation by Israel and its inherent power to construct Jewish homes there actually constitutes a violation of the Resolution?
2.- Non-recognition, threats and attacks carried out by the Arabs against Israel were (and still are) clear violations of the U.N.S.C.'s Resolution 242, article 1, principle (ii) and article 2, necessities (a) and (c).
3.- The U.N.S.C.'s Resolution 242, article 1, principle (ii) and article 2, necessity (c) have been approved on the basis that only mutual recognition and repect between those parties involved in the conflict could lead to peace. Those who prompted the conflict through non-recognition, threats and aggressions were the Arabs.
4.- The U.N.S.C.'s Resolution 242, article 2, necessity (a) has been approved in order to avoid the blockade of Eilat's port in Israel through the closing of the Straits of Tiran, an action performed by Egypt in May 1967. This action prompted Israel to strike in self defense, thus starting the Six-Day War, which led to the occupation.
5.- About the U.N.S.C.'s Resolution 242, article 2, necessity (b), please read here (at point #7).

So, taking into account the five aforementioned points, we come to these two conclusions: the Arabs are those who prompted the war which led to the U.N.S.C.'s Resolution 242, and the Arabs always were (and still are) violating it. Could Israel be exhorted to comply with this Resolution, in the absence of an Arab proper response to it?
Another interesting question is the lack of historical accuracy by Bastenier, who is a historian. He writes that Eisenhower forced Israel to withdraw from the Sinai in March 1957, a few months after the 1956 Suez Crisis. This clash began after Egypt blockaded Eilat's port (in the aforementioned way) and nationalized the Suez Canal. The United Kingdom, France and Israel agreed to attack Egypt as a response.
The international community, led by both the Soviet Union and Eisenhower himself, prompted British and French withdrawals, but Israel was not forced to withdraw from the Sinai in the way described by Bastenier. Israel only accepted to withdraw once an accord was reached in order to implement the U.N.E.F. as a guarantee for the achievement of peace. Then, in March 1957 (once Israel's demands based on security grounds were satisfied) the last Israeli soldier returned to the Jewish State.
Please notice that U.N.E.F.'s personnel was expelled by Egypt in May 1967, prior to the re-militarization of the Sinai and the Gaza Strip and the blockade of Eilat's port, prompting Israel to go to war.
But Bastenier claims that Eisenhower forced Israel to withdraw, and then he writes that the United States never performed a similar, serious pressure against the Jewish State. What about Lyndon Baines Johnson, who succeeded John Fitzgerald Kennedy in 1963? When Israel tried to obtain the green light by Washington to attack the Arabs in self defense during the 1967 Middle East crisis (Foreign Minister Abba Eban was sent to the White House by Prime Minister Levi Eshkol), Johnson refused to give the Israelis any support in a moment of a major existential threat against an isolated State of Israel (prior to his visit to Washington, Abba Eban travelled to Paris and London with the same mission; Charles de Gaulle refused to give Israel any support, while Joseph Harold Wilson gave Abba Eban the green light).
The 1967 Six-Day War is masterly treated in Michael B. Oren's Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East, while he summarizes the previous and the following periods of belligerency (that is, causes and consequences of the war).
Bastenier also claims in his article that the Palestinian National Authority is favourable to the implementation of U.N.'s Resolutions, something which is false. General Assembly's Resolution 181 was adopted in order not only to create two States for two peoples, but to put the cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem under international administration. The P.N.A. wants East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian State, and of course it will not renounce to Bethlehem. Furthermore, al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, which constantly threat and attack Israel (thus violating U.N.S.C.'s Resolution 242), belong to Fatah, the so-called moderate Palestinian faction which rules the P.N.A.
Another Bastenier's statement, a shocking one, is that Hamas "has put an end to the terrorist war" against the Jewish State, when the truth is that this is a moment of armed clashes between Hamas and Israel, due to terrorist attacks from the Gaza Strip, which affected Israelis and non-Israelis.


  1. This is high quality analysis. Good work!

    Christian T

  2. Thanks, Christian. If a Norwegian journalist or politician calls Israel to stop implementing Jewish homes in East Jerusalem or to withdraw from this place, this would be a proper response.