Previous posts in this discussion:
PostA Jewish Perspective on Israel/Palestine Conflict (Ronald Hilton, USA, 11/15/04 5:00 pm)
General Robert Gard said: The Geneva Conventions of
1949 were negotiated and signed by virtually every nation state. The
Conventions prohibit the colonization of territory seized by military
force. Have a look at Security Council Resolution 242: territory
seized by military force should not be retained. Unlike almost all
resolutions involving Israel, the US did not veto 242; in fact, it voted
in favor of it with the concurrence of Israel. Following the Zionist
insurgency, which employed extensive acts of terrorism, the UN drew the
boundaries of Israel; and, contrary to Secretary of State Marshall's
strong recommendation against it, President Truman was the first head of
state to recognize the new state of Israel.
Istvan Simon replies: I am honored to respond to such an illustrious WAISer as General Gard. General Gard's argument about the Geneva Conventions of 1949 neatly divide the examples that I had given in my previous post between before and after. Of course, I believe, as a person who has a longer perspective on human events than such an artificial division of before and after would suggest, immediately raised my eyebrows on this novel concept. It is naive to think that a piece of paper, even an important one like the one that the General mentioned, signed by virtually all nations, would change human History in the slightest. For of course I have no difficulty at all in immediately coming up with a dozen counter-examples which happened AFTER 1949 and which disprove General Gard's theory. Take Viet Nam, as well as all the so-called "Wars of National Liberation", that the Soviet Union, one of the signatories of said Geneva Conventions of 1949 sponsored. As the General well knows, Vietnam was unified by force of Arms in the 70's. The North Vietnamese did not even need the previous fig leaf which they used, in which they distinguished themselves from the Viet Cong, for undoubtedly General Giap's uniformed armies and tanks took Saigon. And what about the Korean War? That happened after 1949 as well. And what about Cyprus, taken by Turkey by force of Arms. I don't much hear about that either. What about Bangladesh. It was created as the result of a War between Pakistan and India, and it happened way after 1949. What about the invasion of Tibet by China? What about Yugoslavia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, and Kosovo? The United States, and the whole of NATO, all signatories of the Geneva Accords of 1949 participated in that one. What about Syria's invasion of Lebanon, was it a legal one sanctioned by the U.N.? I think I have made my point.
RH: Laws go into effect on a certain date. To dismiss an international agreement as a scrap of paper was done with disastrous effects by Germany. There is a difference between promoting political changes in another country and annexing territory. The only cases cited by Istvan which come into this category are Tibet and North Cyprus. Even in the case of Tibet, it was recognized as being historically part of China. That leaves North Cyprus, Turkey's annexation of which is not recognized by the international community. Did a single country recognize it?