Justice for Some: Noura Erakat - a Great Book!


Noura Erakat’s: Justice for Some:  Law and the Question of Palestine is an incredibly well written complement to Rashid Khalidi’s The Hundred Years War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917-2017 (https://www.georgemarx.org/2024/02/the-hundred-years-war-rashid-khalidi.html + Tareq Baconi’s Hamas Contained: The Rise and Pacification of Palestinian Resistance (https://www.georgemarx.org/2024/02/hamas-contained-tareq-baconis-excellent.html).

The book is tremenously well researched!   It explains how Israel’s leadership has consistently over multiple decades used international law as a “weapon”.   The Holocaust is one bullet.  The (generally not reality based) Israeli (and other) Jews  fears of Palestinians are a second bullet.  Empathy for “poor” (sic) Israel is a third bullet.    Deeply woven in are the grossly racist narratives of the Palestinian People which Israel and its close “buddy”, the leadership of The United States (and many others in our country) readily put forth.

What is so devastating in reading this book is the thorough, methodical, consistent patterns of Israeli actions, in contrast to the simplistic, often focused (solely) upon the moments actions of Palestinian leadership.   The United States is the enforcer of the distorted reality put forth by the Israeli narrative which comes from the government and the media.

There are moments recurring over and over again that imply that Israel might have done something wrong.   Such moments are rapidly quashed by American financial support as well as UN vetoes and behind the scenes pressure and much, much more.

Unlike populations in other former Ottoman territories, Palestinian’s native population would neither be groomed for self-government nor forcibly removed.    … Britain would protect the civil and religious rights of Native Palestinians while fostering the growth of the settler Jewish population both through immigration and by conferring  economic and political advantages on the settlers (43) (p.32)

The 1920 Treaty of Sevres, for example, which delineated the fate of the former Ottoman territories, set Palestine apart from the others with the specific intent of realizing the Balfour Declaration’s goals.  While the stipulations regarding Iraq and Syria recognized their provisional independence, it did not recognize the provisional independence of Palestine … (p.37)

Related to the 1917 Balfour Declaration, Jews had rights to The Land – The Country.  Palestinians had no rights to what logically should have been either their country or to a non-ethnic/non-religious based nation being created.

Erakat totally destroys the (false) narrative that Israel’s leadership was open to a multi-ethnic/ multi-religious, fully democratic state. 

In February 1948, David Ben-Gurion … traveled to the emptied and destroyed village of Lifta, a suburb of Jerusalem, and reported to the Mapai Council, a major Israeli Labour Party  that same evening: ‘When I come now to Jerusalem, I feel that I am in a Hebrew (Ivrit)  city … through Mahoneh, Yeuda, King George Street and Mea Shearim – there are no Arabs, one hundred percent Jews.. (p.48)

Ben-Gurion, in a 1937 letter to his son, stated:

We must expel Arabs and take their place… and if we have to use force – not to dispossess the Arabs of the Negev and Transjordan, but to guarantee our own right to settle in those places – then we have force at our disposal 129 p.149

When we hear these days about how horrible Netanyahu is, the implication is made that “The Zionist Cause” has been a “good cause”.  It is implied then that the problems that exist relate to current leadership.  This is comparable to saying that “Donald Trump is the problem” in the United States.

Eraqkat utterly destroys this simplistic reasoning!   She shows the continuing patterns that have gone on since well prior to both 1967 and 1948.

A continuing them in this book is that “the law” and “the interpretation of the law” have been revised to rationalize changes that Israel desires to make.   Together with this international law has no enforcement mechanism comparable to a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court (or at least the way it was prior to recent activities in the U.S).   The United States, as the strongest country in the world, has a very strong influence on what can and can not go on.

Related to the removal of Jewish citizens from Gaza circa 2005:

Upon its unilateral disengagement, Israel argued that it no longer occupied the territory, and therefore could no longer conduct police operations there, making necessary the use of military force as a measure of first resort; in effect, Israel declared war on Gaza 96  … Then, and in order to justify assassinations, Israel had argued that its withdrawal from Area A diminished its effect control in that territory, permitting its use of military force.  Since it was still in control of the majority of the territory, however, it would have to balance the laws of war and the humanitarian provisions of occupation law to quell unrest. 97  Whereas Israel argued that the Al Aqsa intifada was “armed conflict short of war,” in 2005, it argued that its confrontation with Palestinians in Gaza was explicitly warfare because Israel had ended its effective control when it withdrew from the entire territory (and not just part of it) thus ending its occupation.  (p.194-5)


From Her Own Website


Noura Erakat is a human rights attorney and an Associate Professor at Rutgers University, New Brunswick in the Department of Africana Studies and the Program in Criminal Justice. Her research interests include human rights law, humanitarian law, national security law, refugee law, social justice, and critical race theory.  (http://www.nouraerakat.com/bio.html)

 


My review of the February 23, 2024 interview is at:

https://www.georgemarx.org/2024/02/palestine-important-noura-erakat.htm

I would recommend watching the actual interview of Noura Erakat at The University of Callifornia – Berkeley – Law School of February 23, 2024 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPYoYGgi2bg .

One soldier explains that the rules of engagement became incredibly lenient and his commander had instructed him and the others soldiers that

'[a]nything you see in the neighorhoods you're in, anything within a reasonable distance, say between zero and 200 meters - is dead on the spot.  No authorization needed. "We asked him: "I see someone walking in the street, do I shoot him?"  He said yes. "Why do I shoot him?" "Because he isn't supposed to be there.  Nobody, no sane civilian who isn't a terrorist, has any business being within 200 meters of a tank.   And if he places himself in such a situation, he is apparently up to something." (p.198-9)

It should be noted that this is how things had evolved in 2005, NOT 2023!  In referencing how "terrorists" are presumed "guilty" simply by being in public (again in 2005) based upon Israeli legal advisors.

Kasher and Yadlin proposed expanding the temporal scope of this participation in hostilities so that a civilian involved in hostilities is "presumed to be involved in terror for an additional half year (or some other period, to be determined on professional intelligence grounds)."  In effect, a Palestinian civilian who participated in hostilities would be a legitimate target for several months after the direct participation unless there was evidence to definitively rebut the presumption of continued involvement.  (p.200)

Let's presume, in discussing a potentially comparable situation in the U.S. that a Black Parent has a 15 year old son who has run from a Police Patrol Officer and been stopped and warned about future "bad behavior".   A month later a different Patrolperson sees him on the street after dark "in the hood" and shoots him dead because "he shouldn't be here in the dark".   There is a presumption that this is NOT a crime at all!

Moreover because Hamas members can be targeted at any time and not just when they take up arms, the likelihood increases that they will be surrounded by uninvolved civilians at the time of targeting, as when individual political leaders are asleep in their homes surrounded by their families, o r when they eat at a restaurant or walk in the street.   When civilians are killed during Israeli assassination attacks, Israel accuses Hamas' leaders of using them as human shields, thereby absolving itself for those civilian casualties. (127)  Israel's High Court considered this dilemma in its 2006 decision and demanded that the military advantage gained by assassinating a Hamas operative be proportionate to the civilian casualties and destruction caused.

This call for restraint based on military deference has been negligible precisely because of Israel's radical modifications of proportionality. (128)  During Israel's 2008 to 2009 winter military offensive, for example, Israeli aerial and ground attacks killed 1,400 Palestinians, including more than 300 children.  Palestinian forces killed 9 Israelis, 3 of who were civilians (129)  Under a traditional proportionality assessment these figures create a presumption of Israel's disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force.  However, Israel's revised military doctrine regarding force protection upends this logic because it shifts responsibility for Palestinian casualties onto Hamas, and it ascribes a higher value to the lives of Israeli soldiers.  (p.203)

I would like to be clear in discussing quotes such as is stated above.  Over decades increasingly the "law" changed more and more towards increasingly  demonizing Hamas and through it Gaza and through it also The West Bank's Palestinian population.

Meanwhile, the U.S Government's leadership under George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and now Joe Biden (in addition following similar U.S. leadership going back decades),  occasionally criticizes Israeli leadership.    U.S. presidents and Congress NEVER ceased direct military assistance (and even increased it over time).

We hypocritically say that Netanyahu in threatening to invade the final part of Gaza where "Hamas has not been defeated", against  its own interests and threaten to hold back some minimal military assistance.   Israel's horrific leadership, more radically oppressive than prior similar leaders, is following a direct pathway that has been consistently supported by the United States!

Joe Biden talks of Hamas being "the problem"!   While one may debate about October 7th, though personally I think that it was "logical" and "inevitable" - even if not "the right way", I would like to propose a similar - totally preposterous analogy.

Germany after World War I was punished for being the "losing side" in a war that at best was "more its fault" than those of the Allied Forces.   It was ordered to pay reparations, which were totally impossible for it to pay, without demolishing its own economy.

A loaf of bread in Berlin that cost around 160 Marks at the end of 1922 cost 200,000,000,000 or 2*10^11 Marks by late 1923.[14]   

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperinflation_in_the_Weimar_Republic

One could argue that the policies put forth by The Treaty of Versailles created a situation which made a polarization between radical right and radical left forces in Germany moving towards the 1930's.   Related to this, it seems obvious that the "radical left" forces over time were "defeated" the the forces from "the right".

This all seems very, very logical and consistent to me!

To then conclude that the rise of Hitler to power in 1933, and the Holocaust was a "logical conclusion", and more significantly that the killing of six million people was really Not the Fault of the German People, because of how "logical" much of this was, seems a HUGE, not justifiable stretch!

The U.S. Government did a lot that indirectly failed to prevented the Holocaust.   It, however, did not "cause" the Holocaust!   The German Government and its People were and are those who are and were responsible!

Joe Biden and the Democratic politicians who support him can deny a lot!    When they deny the overwhelming evidence of not only the current genocide in Gaza, but its historic roots, it has its "head in the sand"  100%!

I'm not even going to bother noting the hypocrisies of The Republicans!

--

Israel has had an ongoing problem!   After the 1967 and then 1973 Wars, it could conceivably have withdrawn its forces from The West Bank and Gaza and negotiated a fair solution dealing with Jerusalem.

This would NOT have been easy!   Some of the Palestinian residents of Palestine-Israel then would have no doubt killed more Israeli's because they didn't recognize fully that Israel was and is "here to stay" and that seeking "peace" had different meanings to those with opposing views.

At the same time, the realities of the time also included continued horrific oppression of the Palestinian People.  This oppression, even then, was far, far more significant than any grievances that the Israeli's had.

Since then The West Bank has been carved up as Israeli Settlements and governmental policies have Decimated any potential for a reasonable "Two State Solution"!   Unless one requires Israeli Jews to leave an major, large number of Settlements, one is left in viewing a Two State Solution as a possibility, it could only result in either:

1. A significant number of Israeli Jews living within a future Palestinian State, or

2. A token - Apartheid limited "Palestine" with communities - cities surrounded by major Israeli territory and a "Palestine" that might be for example "5% of Palestine" with 95% of formerly Palestine being within a future proposed "Israel".

At the same time, a "Single State Solution" has two possibilities:

1. One similar to the status quo - where the Jewish leadership continues to lead Israel, except that now "Israel" includes Palestine within it or:

2. A truly "Democratic State" - where Jews and Palestinians have equal voices - equal votes.

1. Directly Above is - simply Apartheid!

2. 2. directly above - will result in a State where the majority of the population will increasingly be Palestinian and not Jewish.

Gaza - immediately - has a direct relevance!   The Two Million plus Gazan People - IF "subtracted" delay the "majority" being Palestinian temporarily.  A problem remains of the millions of Palestinian People who are in exile, not living in Israel or Palestine.

Clearly, the Israeli leadership wishes to divide the Palestinian People and find a "way out" of its clear issues.

October 7th - brought all of this to the forefront!!!!!!

I will omit discussing Erakat's extensive discussions of The Palestinian Authority, the PLO, the leadership of Arafat and Abbas and similar.    This adds more and more and more - to the horrific realities of today!

There is no - consensus among the Palestinian People - relating to what they want beyond the clear desire for:

J U S T I C E.

What is amazing in the words of Noura Erakat, is that she is NOT seeking the destruction of Israel!   She talks of the compassion and desires for a just peace!  She is not Anti-Semitic.  She does not hate Jews!

Justice for Some - is an incredibly good book!   I hope that a lot of us will read it and take in the depth of both her research and the heart-felt compassion she has for justice and a lasting peace.

This book was written before October 7th.   It adds to the voices that help show how the narratives that we've taken for reality have made Something HUGE - like October 7th - having been an inevitable outcome of the continued oppression of the Palestinian People, particularly in Gaza!

One can oppose Hamas!   When one denies both the reality of Hamas's existence, and the oppression of the Palestinian People which vastly dwarfs anything that Hamas has done, one inevitably perpetrates the FEAR - the reality of continued Fear, and the likelihood of (eventual) much more horrific violence - which could eventually become a threat to the survival of Israel.

Israel - has an opportunity now - to help create a lasting peace!   It is now coming from a position of power.   When Oil is no longer ruling over "strategic interests", the U.S. will be much, much less likely then to "have Israel's back"!

To rely upon Israel's Nuclear Weaponry- as its ultimate defense - is a threat to destroy our entire world!   We, in the U.S., can do what we can do!   As we pursue - the continuation of our Empire - which we are now "in charge of", we should pay heed to the fact that it won't last indefinitely (either)!

Please listen to Noura Erakat!   She may make you uncomfortable!   She has no choice - unlike you and I (where we are not Palestinian People)!

I am Jewish!   I am not ashamed of being Jewish!   I am personally trying not to be complicit in both Genocide and continued Oppression - of the Palestinian People (along with Black and other oppressed People, as well as women and gender-non-binary people...)!

Silence - is NOT okay!

Thanks!


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Big Girls Don't Cry

Table of Contents and More

Palestine-Israel-Judaism Posts - Links (My Writings)