ARTICLE 51 - SELF DEFENSE
Article 51 of the UN Charter states that States have a right to act in self defense against an armed attack. That has been a basic argument of Israel for its actions throughout its history and specifically over the past 32 months. While it is straight forward and should be obvious, it is not always accepted by the international community. The Palestinian legalists try to mention a right to opposed (incuding via violent action) occupation to defend its actions against soldiers and settlers. However, consensus legal opinion is that the right of opposition does not include a right to violent action - certainly against any civilians, including settlers. I've argued before that these legal polemics are not especially relavant to the real issue which is direct non-violent negotiations.
Speaking of self-defense look at this terrific item
that was apparently distributed by the HIllel at the University of California at San Diego. A little laughing at the situation never hurt. Here is another funny link
that may answer the question about where Saddam is lately. Could he really be in Bnei Brak?
It seems that the issues of illegal outposts will be part of the PM's speech on Wednesday. See article
. That is certainly a good thing, I have been arguing for closing of illegal outposts for awhile. At the same time, there is some fiction involved. Were many of them created (or allowed to stay) as a red herring to allow the "legal" settlements to continue to build and grow? Note that I used the quote marks for "legal". That is a neat PR trick to differentiate between the real issue (the main settlements) and a bunch of hilltop outposts which are not the main story. It will also somehow try to legitimize the main settlements. My view of an ultimate solution is that the largest settlements would remain in a land swap keeping about 70-80% of the settlers in their homes. At the same time, a key aspect of the process is a perception of good faith. Playing three card monte between illegal outposts and regular settlements is bad news.
Interestingly, I spoke with (at a softball game last night) a settler aquaintance who said jokingly - "we need to get rid of him", meaning the PM. When I made a scared face (thinking he was making a terrible joke about past Israeli history), he quickly said - "not that way, through politics". The fact that he understood my scared look without explaination is even scarier. I don't think that this is a risk but the settlers are certainly in shock from the perceived huge change in Sharon's views. I don't thing he's changed but one can hope...
Also last night I met with a group here as part of the Birthright
program. Its a cool program and fun to see American college kids here. Many of the kids were quite vocal about their lack of hope about the situation here. A number of kids spoke up about needs for drastic solutions if the road map doesn't work. Others were more realistic and hopeful but were generally shouted down by the "right". Just like home... Haaretz had an article a few days ago about a recent survey which found disturbingly low numbers about ties to Israel of young American Jews. Another reason (as if one was needed) to end the violence and work for peace and security.