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MK says advocating for two-state solution is treason

Freshman Jewish Home MK Yinon Magal accuses a former Israeli Foreign Ministry director of committing a capital offense: advocating for a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Jewish Home MK Yinon Magal. (Photo by Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Jewish Home MK Yinon Magal. (Photo by Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Right-wing elements in Israel have long claimed that the two-state solution is national suicide. Logically, it follows that advocating for such an outcome would constitute treason.

That was exactly the view espoused by former journalist and high-profile freshman Knesset Member Yinon Magal of Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party on Tuesday.

On his Facebook page, Magal posted a video published on +972 Magazine last month, in which former Israeli Foreign Ministry director-general Alon Liel discusses how he is lobbying European countries to recognize the State of Palestine.

By advocating for a Palestinian state — with East Jerusalem as its capital — Liel is encouraging ceding “sovereign” territory that the world doesn’t recognize as Israel’s, to a “state” that Israel doesn’t recognize as existing. At least that is Magal’s logic.

“In addition to the fact that, in my opinion it is reckless behavior, it violates section 97(b) of the penal code,” Magal concluded.

Section 97(b) is the first subsection defining treason in the Israeli penal code.

If a person commits an act liable to remove any area from the sovereignty of the State or to place it under the sovereignty of a foreign state with the intention to bring that about, then he is liable to the death penalty or to life imprisonment.

Magal clarifies that he does not think Liel should be sentenced to death, but is adamant that he has committed treason — for advancing the two-state solution.

Because of the drawn-out process of forming a new coalition there have not been many opportunities for freshman MKs to make headlines since the elections. But it is indicative of the type of rhetoric we can expect to see over the next four years in the fourth Netanyahu government.

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    1. Yeah, Right

      Hmmm, perhaps he needs to understand that Israel doesn’t actually claim to possess the “sovereignty of the state” over any of that territory.

      Not even East Jerusalem, where the proclamation in 1967 merely claimed that Israel would extend Israeli Law to all the territory within the (unilaterally expanded) Municipal border of Jerusalem.

      But that’s “jurisdiction” (aka “my rules apply here”) which is quite a different thing to “sovereignty” (aka “I own this”).

      His comments would, however, tie any Israeli Prime Minister’s hand w.r.t. any land swaps, since such swaps would involve ceding “sovereign” Israeli territory for the settlement blocks.

      Reply to Comment
      • MuslimJew

        “Not even East Jerusalem”

        Nor “West” Jerusalem; nor any part of Jerusalem.

        Reply to Comment
        • Yeah, Right

          Well, so you say.

          What I’m pointing out is what the ISRAELIS actually claim.

          They have always claimed that the portion of Jerusalem that they seized in 1948-49 is Their Sovereign Territory.

          And since 1967 they have also claimed that Israeli Law can and is being applied to that portion of Jerusalem that they seized in 1967.

          You can argue that both claims are without foundation. Feel free to do so.

          But at least understand what Israel’s argument actually is, since the Israelis have spent nearly 50 years talking out both sides of their mouth.

          At no time did the state of Israel ever proclaim the annexation of East Jerusalem.
          Not once. Not ever.

          All they ever did was proclaim that they would apply Israeli Law to all of Jerusalem, both east and west, and then a decade later they declared that Jerusalem is indivisible.

          Big deal. Neither is a proclamation that This Territory Has Now Become Ours.

          That’s “annexation”, and Israel just goes around pretending that it has annexed East Jerusalem, and hoping that nobody notices that they didn’t actually ever get around to doing that.

          Reply to Comment
          • Eliza

            Just how does one normally profess formal annexation? Is there really an established process? What boxes have to be ticked?

            I would have thought that the extension of Israeli law to cover the expanded municipal area of Jerusalem plus the initial offer of citizenship to resident Palestinians would have constituted annexation – at least in Israeli eyes.

            Anyone, for the purpose of Israeli law, East Jerusalem has been annexed. It follows that Section 97(b) would cover the ceding of EJ to another State. Isn’t this just another example of an Israeli law that really can’t be sensibly applied? It would be possible to argue that an act that only need to be conducive of ceding, ie, it only need be ‘liable’ to ceding, rather than actually result in ceding.

            If so, then Magal does have some legal grounds for accusing Leil of treason. The real pity is that there will be no charges – its difficult to imagine a more silly and damaging case than criminalizing dialogue regarding the outcome of EJ within a 2SS.

            Reply to Comment
          • MuslimJew

            “Just how does one normally profess formal annexation? Is there really an established process? What boxes have to be ticked?”

            An occupying power cannot de jure annex territory it is occupying.

            Reply to Comment
          • Yeah, Right

            “An occupying power cannot de jure annex territory it is occupying.”

            Quite correct, which is exactly why Israel hasn’t **actually** annexed either East Jerusalem nor the Golan Heights.

            It can’t, precisely because it’s illegal for an occupying power to do that.

            So it does the next best thing: it insists on playing a kindergarten game of pretendies, and wonders why nobody else will jump in the sandpit and play along.

            Reply to Comment
          • Yeah, Right

            “Just how does one normally profess formal annexation? Is there really an established process? What boxes have to be ticked?”

            You need a formal proclamation that From This Point On this is now your sovereign territory.

            The “process” or the “paperwork” isn’t important.

            What is important is that the proclamation be unambiguous i.e. you have to state that This Is Now My Territory, it isn’t enough to simply claim that From Now On I’m Going To Treat This Territory *As* *If* I Already Own It.

            “I would have thought that the extension of Israeli law to cover the expanded municipal area of Jerusalem plus the initial offer of citizenship to resident Palestinians would have constituted annexation – at least in Israeli eyes.”

            Well, no.

            When the Knesset was debating the Golan Heights Law (which similarly extended Israeli Law to that territory) the opposition claimed that this amounted to annexation. Menachim Begin refused to accept that “annexation” was the correct description for what this law entailed.

            And, again, when Israel proclaimed the extension of Israeli Law to all of Jerusalem in 1967 (note: done by proclamation, not by legislation) the Israeli government insisted to the UN that this was being done solely for administrative purposes.

            That’s why I said that Israel deliberately obfuscates this issue i.e. it wants everyone to simply assume that the territory has been annexed.

            As for your “plus the initial offer of citizenship to resident Palestinians” statement then, well, gosh, doesn’t that give the game away.

            When a state annexes a territory then the people who are resident in that territory become citizens of the annexationist state i.e. the people living there quite literally “come with the territory”.

            It isn’t a matter of “offering them citizenship”. If they stay where they are then they BECOME your citizens, just as much as the territory has just BECOME your territory.

            You may offer them the option of leaving, sure (though you are prohibited from using force to make them leave).

            But if they don’t leave then, so sorry, they become “your citizens”, and the annexationist state becomes “their state”, and if Israel is “offering them citizenship” then that’s a very good indicator that this territory hasn’t been annexed.

            “Anyone, for the purpose of Israeli law, East Jerusalem has been annexed.”

            No, again, that is completely untrue.

            For the purpose of Israeli Law East Jerusalem has become a place where Israeli Law now has jurisdiction.

            Nothing more.
            No less.

            But “jurisdiction” is not the same thing as “sovereignty”, and when you annex a territory then you are claiming “sovereignty” over that territory.

            Don’t get me wrong: that “jurisdiction” follows from “sovereignty” is a given (it is axiomatic that a sovereign’s laws has jurisdiction in their sovereign territory).

            But the reverse is not true i.e. claiming that you now have “jurisdiction” over a territory is not sufficient for that to be a claim that you are now the “sovereign”.

            It is easy to become confused over that distinction.

            Indeed, Israel is *relying* on everyone becoming easily-confused.

            That’s actually their game-plan, Eliza.

            “It follows that Section 97(b) would cover the ceding of EJ to another State.”

            Again, quite untrue.

            What Israel now contends to be Jerusalem “complete and united” became that way purely by administrative fiat i.e. in June 1967 the “municipal boundary” of Jerusalem was expanded, and that was done by an administrative order, not by any Knesset legislation.

            Since that boundary can be expanded by simply pushing a pen then it must be equally-true that this same boundary can be shrunk by a decision by some modern-day pen-pusher.

            So if a future Israeli PM decides to concede the Arab neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem and someone shouts “Section 97(b)! Section 97(b)! Traitor!” he can just shrug his shoulders and say “Nope. That’s no longer ‘in Jerusalem.’ “

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            That’s very informative and clarifying. I think untold numbers of people have some vague idea that Israel annexed East Jerusalem. Which vagueness as you say is the game plan.

            “It is easy to become confused over that distinction. Indeed, Israel is *relying* on everyone becoming easily-confused.
            That’s actually their game-plan, Eliza.”

            That pretty much captures the tenor snd spirit of the occupation

            The Wikipedia entry for The Golan Heights Law is interesting:

            “The Golan Heights Law is the Israeli law which applies Israel’s government and laws to the Golan Heights. It was ratified by the Knesset on December 14, 1981. The law was not recognised internationally[1] and determined null and void by United Nations Security Council Resolution 497.[2][3]

            The law was passed half a year before Israel’s withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula. Unusually, all three readings took place on the same day. This procedure was heavily criticized by the centre-left opposition.

            While the Israeli public at large, and especially the law’s critics, viewed it as an annexation, the law avoids the use of the word. Prime Minister Menachem Begin responded to Amnon Rubinstein’s criticism by saying: “you use the word ‘annexation’, I do not use it” and noting that similar wording was used in a 1967 law authorizing the government to apply Israeli law to any part of the Land of Israel.”

            Reply to Comment
          • Yeah, Right

            That’s exactly right, Ben. Israel is playing games because it’s greed for territory trumps its knowledge that what it is doing is illegal.

            An occupying power can’t unilaterally annex an occupied territory (that’s covered by “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war”).

            So an occupier merely has “authority” over an occupied territory, it does not – and can not – possess “sovereignty” over that territory.

            But without “sovereignty” the occupying power can not extend its “jurisdiction” to that territory, precisely because a state’s jurisdiction does not extend outside of its own borders.

            So for as long as it remains an occupying power then its “authority” consists of military orders issued by the commander of the army of occupation i.e. the occupier’s “authority” is granted to it by International Humanitarian Law, not by its own domestic legislation.

            Catch-22.

            Israel tries to get around that with a ludicrous pea ‘n’ thimble trick: the Knesset insists that it **has** extended its own domestic laws to this territory (even though that is “null and void”), and then Israel just….. expects everyone to accept that Israel just…. gains sovereignty over that territory via some unexplained process of osmosis.

            It is all a nonsense, and is entirely dependent upon everyone being fooled by a cheap bit o’ misdirection.

            And it’s not an “error”. Far from it.

            Israel knows perfectly well that what it is doing is illegal.

            Israel. Just. Does. Not. Care.

            Thieves seldom do.

            Reply to Comment
          • MuslimJew

            “They have always claimed that the portion of Jerusalem that they seized in 1948-49 is Their Sovereign Territory.”

            No, they initially claimed that the portion of Jerusalem they occupied in 1948 was outside their sovereign territory, then in February 1949 they changed their tune and unilaterally declared that they no longer considered occupied “West” Jerusalem to be occupied territory, then in December 1949 they formalized their illegal “annexation” of occupied “West” Jerusalem after the Knesset voted to declare Jerusalem “Israel’s eternal capital”.

            Reply to Comment
          • Yeah, Right

            Then I stand corrected on the details, but no more than that.

            According to you the state of Israel DID declare the annexation of that portion of Jerusalem seized by them in 1949.

            Fine.

            That still does not affect my point, which is that the state of Israel DID declare that the portion of Jerusalem seized in 1948-49 was annexed to the state it DIDN’T declare the annexation of that portion of the (unilaterally enlarged) “municipal Jerusalem” that was seized by it in June 1967.

            It declared only that henceforth Israeli Law would be applied to all of Jerusalem, which is an altogether different thing i.e. that is a declaration of “jurisdiction”, not of “sovereignty”.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Bruce Gould

      In fact the two state solution has been dead as a doornail for a long time; look at a map.

      There needs to be a theme song that describes the situation: I nominate Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows”:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lin-a2lTelg

      Reply to Comment
    3. Weiss

      Another Psycho member of the Knesset…

      Fascism is just plain disgusting…

      Reply to Comment
    4. Ben

      The average intelligence level in the government is dropping…no more fig leafs…US is watching…

      Reply to Comment
    5. Ben

      More absurdity in the occupied territories — the Republican Party I mean. Note the language: the former United States Secretary of State is “out of line:”
      http://www.haaretz.com/news/world/1.654206

      Reply to Comment
    6. John Welch

      OK. One state from the Sea to the Jordan, equal rights for all. Everyone votes. Simplifies everything. Until then, we boycott the occupied territories.

      Reply to Comment
    7. James Henry

      UN and rest of civilised world guilty of treason?

      Reply to Comment