The accused: Professor Michael Lynk
Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights Council
Charge: Fraud to commit incitement
From court record before the adjournment
Professor, your job title, clear as daylight, maintains that in 1967 Israel took the territories from the Palestinians. You now tell me, no: Israel took the territories from Egypt and Jordan. Which of the two is correct? They cannot both be. Professor…?
The accused consults with his defence team, which requests, and gets, a 14 – day adjournment.
So, Professor, back to your title, ‘Special Rapporteur for the human rights situation in the Palestinian Territories occupied since 1967.’ Those territories: were they held by Egypt and Jordan or, were they held by the Palestinians? Which is the correct one?
If the question is what happened, about history, then – Clearly, Egypt and Jordan held the territories.
I thank you. Though what else could my question mean?
The law. The territories are marked for the Palestinians.
My dear Professor Lynk. Don’t think I’d deprive you of the law. On the contrary. Let me put your mind at rest – a lot of law is coming your way.
My Lord, the title of the accused is bogus. The court heard it from his lips – a bald-face lie. Israel has not occupied Palestinian territories since 1967.
An academic caught lying is normally a personal embarrassment. Reputation could be at stake, or even a career. But my Lord, here is no personal blimp. Here is a lie powerful enough to agitate world climate. Not global warming – a rise in the political thermometer. Whole populations turn on each another all because of the lie that Israel has occupied Palestinian territory since the year 1967. Half the world gives the tyrants of Gaza the right to resist a criminal occupation. Capitals from North to South, East to West, erupt every time fighting breaks out between the ‘dispossessed’ and the ‘usurpers.’
The recent mini war was typical. It produced dog whistles for genocide. Calls were made on social media to remedy the problem in the old way. Israel stood accused of crimes it couldn’t have done had it wanted to. The job title of the accused acts like a warcry. It rallies governments, the media, mobs and masses. It acts like a red flag waved at a mad bull. It pits religions against the Jewish faith. Only a week ago an Anglican Archbishop laid into the Jews for “invading Palestinian territory occupied by Israel in 1967 by Jewish settlers.” https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/307890 Professor Lynk’s fake title is the article of faith to which haters of Israel peg their zeal.
From the Bench
Eruptions, warcries and red flags put me on edge. Done with them?
Nearly my Lord. The fraudulent title kills several birds. Working under a false pretence, can the accused have personal integrity? Can he live with the lie yet be objective and impartial? Can he do an honest job? And, my Lord, to remind the court, Professor Lynk works for no pay. Here is a man on a mission. A lawyer prepared to volunteer his expensive time must be driven by beliefs, by a heart-felt attachment to the cause.
Bench: dips the head, purses the lips, nods, jots furious notes.
We have arrived at the law. Professor, you can be happy. The history of the conflict did not favour you. Israel did not occupy Palestinian territories in 1967. Law may be kinder to you. The territories, you said, are marked for the Palestinians. Then we must go in search of the law to make that true.
My Lord, Exhibit A contains the record of a May 2012 case, ‘SP Apfel vs. the Government of SA and the President of the European Union.’ The respondents made the generic claim that Israel is occupying Palestinian territory. Professor Lynk received the record.
Bench: flips through document. More professors! I hoped to get away from them. Can you not make do with plain down-to-earth jurists?
My jurists are down-to-earth, my Lord. I agree, they are professors, but foremost they are jurists able to blend down- to-earth law with down-to-earth history.
I’m going to hold you to that.
Professor Lynk, you perused the case marked ‘Exhibit A’?
A game of occupation, you might call it. One day Egypt and Jordan occupy the territories, the next day Israel occupies them. The object of the game is to find ‘The Palestinians.’ Make a computer game of it one day.
But we play no game. The foundation facts are laid out near the top of the Appendix. Egypt never claimed sovereignty over Gaza; Jordan on the other hand claimed sovereignty over Judea and Samaria and the eastern part of Jerusalem. The ‘West Bank’ was named only because it sits on that side of the Jordan River. Any arguments so far?
Now dear Professor, under Jordan the people of the West Bank became…Ha, your ears prick. No I’m sorry. Jordan did not turn them into citizens of Palestine. All got Jordanian nationality. Don’t lose heart though. The year 1967 is 19 years away. We may yet come upon law to give your Palestinians legal life.
So what happened after Jordan annexed the West Bank? You can’t simply claim a territory and the citizens therein. Your claim must be accepted. Correct? Law Professor?
I’d like you to tell the court, who accepted Jordan’s claim?
I – I don’t believe your case fully clarified that.
So take a stab. No? Well then. The whole neighborhood spat at Jordan’s claim to the West Bank. Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt demanded that Jordan be expelled from the Arab League. And the rest of the world? Any takers there? Two only: the UK and Pakistan recognized the sovereignty of Jordan. Is that in the book you co-edited?
I don’t believe it is.
Then we’ve got a problem. Plenty of Jordanians are in sight but where are the Palestinian people? For nineteen long years Jordan ruled the West Bank. From 1948 to 1967 it failed to create a state for your people. As a matter of fact it did do something for the Palestinians – the Arab hoards that fled to Jordan, to escape the 1948 war. Jordan dumped them in refugee camps where even today they live like dogs.
Well, Professor, what do you say to Jordan not lifting a finger to integrate the refugees? Seventy years later your Palestinians are stuck in refugee camps.
From the Bench. Is there a question for the accused to answer?
My Lord, I leave it up to him. A man who devotes precious time to abuse of human rights may possibly want to remedy the situation.
From the Bench. Professor Lynk, the floor is yours. If you care to, you may speak your mind.
The accused consults with his defence team. My Lord, not at the present juncture, thank you.
A timely adjournment for dinner. Court rise!
Now here’s a puzzle we have to solve, you and I, Professor Lynk. We know that Egypt washed its hands of Gaza and we know that Jordan’s claim to the West Bank failed. It left the territories orphaned. Was there really no one with a legal mandate to love and care for them? It would be unconscionable were that the position.
Now I want you to look again at the case marked Exhibit A. Would you read out what is written about the mandate Charter of San Remo.
Okay. “The territories were meant for the Jewish people’s national home by the Mandate Charter of San Remo of 1920.”
A Mandate Charter – as a Professor of law, you would know it as a binding legal instrument. San Remo in your book? Not in your book? A crying shame.
But thankfully we’ve arrived. Professor, we’re at your famous year 1967 and your wait is over . It’s the year that Israel occupied your Palestinian territories, the year stuck at the end of your long title. We could find supporting law. Why not – 1967 was a year for miracles. Israel sent a lot of armies packing in six days and won Gaza and the West Bank for its trouble. Let’s see if we can’t produce a miracle law for a miracle Palestinian people.
My Lord, if you please. I would like to call on my professor judge at this point. Judge Stephen M Schwebel is equal part academic, justice and historian. He was elected to the ICC in January 1981, afterwards re-elected twice, and served as President of the ICC from 1997 to 2000.
From the Bench. Tolerance, can I remind you, is not an elastic commodity. Mind that you make respectful use of my colleague of old.
Professor Lynk, I want you to go to Judge Schwebel’s ruling in the Annexure . Kindly read it to the court.
The whole or in part?
It is not so long. Read the whole please.
Where the prior holder of territory had seized that territory unlawfully [Jordan], the state which subsequently takes that territory (Israel) in the lawful exercise of self-defence has, against that prior holder, a better title. As between Israel, acting defensively in 1948 and 1967, on the one hand, and her Arab neighbours, acting aggressively in 1948 and 1967, on the other, Israel has the better title in the territory than do Jordan and Egypt.
Thank you, Professor. Well put, don’t you think? Israel has more right than Jordan to be occupying the West Bank and more right than Egypt to be occupying Gaza – which it no longer does.
Now look further down, to a foundation principle of international law. Kindly read what he, the learned Professor Judge, set down.
This one? “No legal right shall spring from a wrong.”
Yes, that one! It cuts off the desperados. They vow that in 1988 when Jordan formally disengaged from the West Bank and surrendered its claim to sovereignty, Jordan transferred or ceded the territory to the Palestinians to erect their State of Palestine. Of course you get no comfort from it. Your job title says that Israel has occupied Palestinian territory since 1967. That’s twenty one years too early for what Jordan did in 1988. Never mind. The principle set down by Justice Schwebel renders null and void Jordan’s supposed transfer of sovereignty to the Palestinians.
From the Bench. Can people really be that desperate for a State of Palestine?
My Lord, they can. Many would like to make the world’s 23rd Muslim state on the territory that Jordan let go of.
Is that a fact. Well, well. But we digress. Carry on looking for the Palestinian occupied territory that the accused requires.
Yes, my Lord…
Professor, be patient. It could be that the territory we’re looking for is not far ahead. Possibly your title got the year wrong. We could even stumble upon your occupied territory in 1967. The next place to look for it would be UN Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967. It made proposals for resolving, to quote, the “Arab-Israeli conflict.”
That word, “Arab.” Professor, rather a beater, isn’t it? Nowhere in Resolution 242 do we read of a party to the conflict named the Palestinians. The resolution was adopted to end the state of belligerency then existing between, I quote, the “states concerned.” What states fought the 1967 war? Must be in the book you edited: “The Middle East conflict and international law.” No? Well, I never.
My Lord, UN Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967 referred to these combatants: Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Why not the Palestinian people? Simple. They weren’t a combatant in that war. Why were they not? Professor – why were the Palestinians not in Resolution 242? Discrimination? No. It’s an impossibility: a nation that did not exist could not fight the war in 1967.
Bench taps papers together, bustles, removes spectacles, leans back. I am going to give you until after the tea break. Have your summation ready. Court rise!
Concluding statement for the prosecution
My Lord, the West Bank remains a political hotspot and legal tightrope. The accused adheres to the street narrative that Israel occupies Palestinian territory. He cannot mean Gaza. Another power occupies Gaza –the terrorist group Hamas governs the strip and wages rocket wars from it.
The problem is, Israel’s legal claim to the West Bank seems cut and dried. The territory was never under the lawful sovereignty of any nation after the British Mandate ended. That Mandate called for the territories of Gaza and the West Bank to be part of the ‘Jewish National Home.’
Then we have UN Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967. Israel is entitled to secure borders. Israel may retain some of the territory captured from Jordan, or indeed from Egypt. And then we have Judge Stephen M Schwebel again:
“Unlawful aggression by surrounding states against the independent and lawful state of Israel in 1967 cannot and should not be rewarded.”
But the accused, Michael Lynk, a professor of law mark you, does more than fight for the Palestinian Arabs; he fights with them. He seeks to reward the unlawful aggression that Justice Schwebel warned not to reward. The accused wants a state of Palestine to be erected on territories without dipping his legal toe in the water. What Lynk wants and what’s legal, my Lord, are chalk compared to cheese.
None of this stops the professor praying for a State of Palestine as per the job title: ‘Special Rapporteur for the human rights situation in the Palestinian Territories occupied since 1967’ Amen.
Lynk is not the first one. Every Special Rapporteur before him prayed for the same thing.
Why? My Lord because it’s a practical prayer. We heard the resume of the accused during the trial. He worked with UNRWA in the West Bank and Gaza. The acronym stands for, UN Relief and Welfare Agency. On tours of duty the accused would be under the auspices of that body. His reports on ‘The human rights situation’ rely heavily on it. Had he wanted to be independent, objective and impartial, he couldn’t be – not while he depends on UNRWA at the coal face.
I tell no secret, UNWRA supports the Palestinians in more than relief and welfare. It gives military support. It has terrorists from Hamas and the PLO on its payroll. No Special Rapporteur could work with UNWRA unless he and it shared one goal, and one animosity for the Jew among nations. Only last month UNRWA revealed a tunnel beneath one of its schools used by terrorists during the 11-day war. It marked the latest of many scandals. In the 2014 IDF operation, Protective Edge, rockets were discovered inside a school run by UNRWA. In that fashion a booby-trapped UNRWA clinic was detonated, killing three IDF soldiers. Aside from massive explosives hidden in the walls, the clinic stood on top of a network of terror tunnels. The evidence speaks volumes: UNRWA is closely embedded with Hamas.
My Lord, if UNWRA and Hamas are closely embedded, and the accused is closely embedded with UNWRA, then ipso facto the accused is closely embedded with Hamas.
Plea for judgment
Michael Lynk the Special Rapporteur is supposedly impartial and objective; and must have integrity. A dysfunction in one of those attributes would void them all.
My Lord, no dysfunction can be found because the attributes are not there at all. Or if they are, the attributes are in antithetical form. You look for impartiality and find prejudice. You look for objectivity and finds bias. You look for integrity and find deception. Michael Lynks’ commitment to human rights is a hollowed out coconut. Human rights is no more than a ruse. It camouflages the oldest hatred in the book.