David R. Henderson  

Great Moments in Property Rights

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If a Libertarian Gave a Sermon... The Light of Day?...
My back yard is empty, but that does not give Netanyahu the right to put up an apartment complex on it.

This is from Juan Cole's article, "Top Ten Reasons East Jerusalem does not belong to Jewish-Israelis." The whole thing is worth reading, as is much of Cole's work. I don't vouch for its accuracy because I'm not informed enough. But the few times I've read about it and the one forum I attended at which the issue was discussed, run by Dan Klein at Santa Clara University in Spring 2002, seem consistent with the general tenor of his article. The person who laid out some of the same things was Jeff Hummel, a very careful historian as well as economist.


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CATEGORIES: Property Rights



COMMENTS (50 to date)
Les writes:

David Henderson wrote: "The whole thing is worth reading, as is much of Cole's work. I don't vouch for its accuracy because I'm not informed enough. But the few times I've read about it and the one forum I attended at which the issue was discussed, run by Dan Klein at Santa Clara University in Spring 2002, seem consistent with the general tenor of his article."

My question is: "If you don't vouch for its accuracy because you are not informed enough, why are you wasting your energy and our time posting it?"

David R. Henderson writes:

@Les,
It's not a waste. A blog post is not a refereed journal article. We often post about things we think are true and one of the benefits of doing so is learning from commenters, as I did yesterday in my post on Canadian health care, about facts that we didn't know.
Best,
David

Joey Donuts writes:

It seems most of the argument is directed towards Israel's claim of historical ties. Almost all the arguments against the historical ties, claim some other entity other than the Jewish people were in "charge" of the area and thus the Jews have no claim.

I guess the next time Netanyahu makes a statement about East Jerusalem, he should state un-equivocally that Israel is now in charge and thus has a right to do what it wants.

You can't have it both ways. i.e.,You don't have a claim because historically you've never been in charge. You don't have a claim now just because your are in charge.

Lance writes:

E. Jerusalem is Israeli land. Therefore, the Israeli state has the sole responsibility for deciding property rights on that territory. Mexico does not decide property rights for California, nor vice-versa.

There has to be some manner to allocate property, just as there was some manner to decide property rights when people began to migrate westward.

Jim writes:

There has to be some manner to allocate property, just as there was some manner to decide property rights when people began to migrate westward.

@Lance

Exactly correct. And in both cases the manner in which this was done was first to conquer and kill the people who were already living there, then steal and divide their land ("allocate") among the new settlers and oppress the survivors.

Lance writes:

Jim,

That's a gross misrepresentation of the situation. Israeli's did have a presence in East Jerusalem before the 1967 war, when the territory was taken over by Israel after Israel was attacked.

I think is a larger system of the problem that does exist with property rights within contested parts of Jerusalem: The lack of an organizational structure defining and enforcing property rights.

The individual quoted may feel he has a right to exclude in "his background", but that right is probably nowhere defined, and most likely not enforceable.

Lance writes:

D'oh,

"I think is a larger system"

should be "I think it is a larger symptom"

jlpsquared writes:

"You don't have a claim now just because your are in charge."

Yes you do. Israel is the overwhelming military force in the area. They most certainly are "in charge".

about the article however, I agree with it mostly. I think it is fair to see the Israelis exaggerate their claim to the historical area of israel. that being said, Juan Cole, is clearly anti-Israel when in the last paragraph he implies that it really is the modern palestinians who are the ancient jews, and that the modern Jews are in some sense, a conquering European force.

There is probably some kernel of truth in the Palestinian side, but his "history" of jeruselm conviniently left out the expulsion of Jews in 70AD after the destruction of the second temple. This was the DIRECT cause of the modern diaspora, and there is a good argument that the modern jews are in fact descendants from that ancient diaspora. Nor does he mention that there has been a Jewish presence in jeruselum for at least 1800 straight years.

The jews may exagerate their claim, but they certainly have one.

Brian writes:

Considering 160 years ago California was sovereign territory of Mexico and the U.S. took it in a war. There is no difference between that and E Jerusalem other than the time period is less with Israeli.

I knew I heard of Cole before in some other blogs over the years. He has a history of being very anti-Western in thought. I would not take him as a very credible source or great scholar.
Check out this New Republic Article http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/1945
and this http://www.meforum.org/789/juan-cole-and-the-decline-of-middle-eastern.

Patrick R. Sullivan writes:

The Cole piece is ridiculous. Israel took the West Bank from JORDAN, in the 1967 war. As far as I know Jordan hasn't even asked to talk about regaining it. They've had their fill of the Palesinian Arabs.

A little history is in order. We have plenty of first hand accounts of what Palestine was like before the Jews returned in the late 19th century. All agree--Mark Twain, Herman Melville, the travel entrepreneur Thomas Cooke--that there was nothing there. It was a backwater; Cooke had to take everything his clients needed; food, utensils, stoves, tents, beds and bedding. The only law was a handful of bored Turkish soldiers--it was then a province of Ottoman Turkey.

After WWI Turkey lost its empire and the British found themselves running Palestine under a League of Nations mandate. There was no 'Palestinian state'. Never.

The development of Palestine came from Jews who emigrated there with the permission of the Turkish government. That development eventually attracted Arabs; they enjoyed economic opportunity never before imagined.

Israel offered an olive branch in 1948 to those Arabs in a famous speech by David Ben Gurion (partly excerpted by the Lee J. Cobb character in the movie 'Exodus') on the eve of the establishment of Israel under UN auspices.

Israel has gone several extra miles, over many decades, to accommodate Arabs. They lost the West Bank thanks to their own belligerence. Tough.

Brendan writes:

Love the blog, but this post not so much. If you're gonna venture outside of economics, at least make it worthwhile.

Juan Cole had a recent blog entry which can be summed up as: The US and pre-revolution Iran were led by free-market ideologues who, by definition, hate poor people. Post revolution Iran is led by relatively more compassionate people.

Here's the post: http://www.juancole.com/2010/03/can-us-catch-up-to-iran-in-providing.html

So, as Iran is busy executing protesters, is this really a guy worth promoting?

Nick writes:

@Brian

Considering 160 years ago California was sovereign territory of Mexico and the U.S. took it in a war. There is no difference between that and E Jerusalem other than the time period is less with Israeli.

International law has changed since then.

If descent from people who lived in a land in the distant past gives you the right to the land, then Jews own Israel.

If holding a land in the present gives you the right to the land, then Jews own Israel.

If holding a land for four decades (which is forever by American standards), then Jews own Israel. (Here in the United States, events that occurred more than four decades ago are regarded as part of the "dead past" and relegated to museums.)

Which is it?

Required reading: The Gray Prince by Jack Vance.

Beefcake the Mighty writes:

Wow, Joseph, talk about Heads-I-Win-Tails-You-Lose! Way to go. Bet you wouldn't care to see my required reading list.

The speciousness of debate when the subject turns to Israel never ceases to amaze me.

Doc Merlin writes:

Israel doesn't have private property ownership of land. If it did, land wouldn't be such a political issue. Because all land is owned by the state and leased out to people can it become such a huge political topic.

In short, my recipe for peace in israel: private property ownership. Then it won't be the governments business who owns or doesn't own the land.

marty steinberg writes:
If descent from people who lived in a land in the distant past gives you the right to the land, then Jews own Israel.

Jews are ashkenazis and Palestinians are the real descendents of sem

If holding a land in the present gives you the right to the land, then Jews own Israel.

And how did they hold it for 4 decades? did they do it peacefully? Did they violate anyone's property rights 4 decades ago? A hollywood murder was solved 50 years after the incident and the perpetrator was found and punished. Why is 4 decades the magic figure?

What happens to the non-jews who have been living there for 4 decades? Do they get to do to the Israelis what Israelis have been doing for 4 decades? If they do it for 4 decades will that become legitimized? or Do they get shut out behind 30ft walls?

guthrie writes:

You know, I've always been confused by this. California, Istanbul, Northern Ireland, etc., are examples of possession by conquest. The West Bank, Golan Heights, and Sinai were all 'occupied' by Israel but never... what's the word... declared?... a 'possession' (I realize Sinai was relinquished back to Egypt).

Can anyone give me an idea as to how this particular circumstance never seemed to cross that line between 'occupation' and full 'annexation'? Who (or what entity) makes such designations (or perhaps has done so in this case)? Would there be any difference regarding these issues if the West Bank were simply understood as 'Israel' and not 'occupied by Israel'? I realize global politics have changed over the past century, but what change precipitated this particular quirk?

This is respectfully notwithstanding what I'm fairly certain is Dr. Henderson's objection of the use of force by any state in obtaining territory. :)

This is also respectfully notwithstanding the allegations (real or not) of Israel's adherence to democratic/classically liberal policies and politics.

Jim writes:

That's a gross misrepresentation of the situation. Israeli's did have a presence in East Jerusalem before the 1967 war, when the territory was taken over by Israel after Israel was attacked.

@Lance

Yet you've admitted by what you've written here that this is an entirely accurate representation of the situation; that the Israeli government's authority to define and enforce property rights in the territory in question is a result of it military conquest of the land in the '67 war. That it has subsquently exercised this authority by forcing Palestinians out of their homes to be replaced by Israeli settlers, is clear.

This is indeed the same system under which property rights were allocated by the US government as people migrated westward, over here. The problem is not an absence of a mechanism to define and enforce property rights, but that the guiding principle being employed to do so is "might makes right".

FC writes:

I happen to know a few things about the subject, which obviously makes me unqualified to to discuss it, but I'll try anyway.

First, Israel does recognize private ownership of land. The situtation is extraordinarily complex and not at all in keeping with anarcho-capitalist principles, but there it is.

Second, the real property in question at the former Shepherd's Hotel, is owned free and clear by a Jew.

Les writes:

David Henderson dismissed my question of why he posted on a topic he admitted he was ignorant about.

Socrates had an approach to that issue.

SOCRATES AND GOSSIP
The Greek Philosopher Socrates was widely respected for his wisdom.

One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance that ran up to him excitedly and said, "Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students called Plato?"

Wait a moment," Socrates replied. "Before you tell me I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test".

"Triple filter?"

"That's right," Socrates continued. "Before you talk to me about my student let's take a moment to filter what you're going to say. The first Filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"

"No," the man said, "actually I just heard about it and..."

"All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know if it's true or not. Now let's try the second filter, the Filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?"

"No, on the contrary..."

"So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him, even though you're not certain it's true?"

The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.

Socrates continued. "You may still pass the test though, because there is a third filter - the Filter of usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?"

"No, not really..."

"Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither True, nor Good, nor even Useful, why tell it to me at all?"

Patrick R. Sullivan writes:
Can anyone give me an idea as to how this particular circumstance never seemed to cross that line between 'occupation' and full 'annexation'? Who (or what entity) makes such designations (or perhaps has done so in this case)?

It was entirely Israel's (Moshe Dayan in particular) decision to be magnanimous in victory in 1967 that is the source of today's problems.

Hundreds of thousands of Arabs were packing up to leave the conquered West Bank, but they were encouraged to remain. Israel held out the opportunity for them to live autonomously there, if they would simply live peaceably alongside Jews. Instead, they decided to use the West Bank as a base for guerrilla operations (including suicide bombers). Had Israel simply let them go and declared the West Bank part of Israel there would be a log fewer problems today.

Patrick R. Sullivan writes:
What happens to the non-jews who have been living there for 4 decades? Do they get to do to the Israelis what Israelis have been doing for 4 decades?

The 'non-jews' tried to do much worse in 1948 and 1967. Those were wars launched with the specific intention of driving the Jews into the sea (at least those they hadn't first slaughtered).

What the Israelis have been trying for four decades is to get the Arabs to agree to let them exist alongside in peace. Any time the 'non-jews' accept that the problems are over.

Marty Steinberg writes:

Patrick,

That's really terrible for the Israelis. I'm sure the conquest was a wonderful experience for the Arabs, and Israel did it out of their magnanimity.

Marty Steinberg writes:
at the Israelis have been trying for four decades is to get the Arabs to agree to let them exist alongside in peace.

I'm sure they did. Jews have co-existed with Christians and Muslims in much of middle east for the greater part of the last 3 millenia. What caused the sudden disruption in that co-existence?

Marty Steinberg writes:

Some other ignored facts about the religious composition of the area:

Estimates of the number of Arab Christians in the Arab world vary. Christians today make up 9.2% of the population of the Near East. In Lebanon they now number around 39% of the population, in Syria about 10 to 15%. In Palestine before the creation of Israel in 1948, estimates ranged up to as much as 40%,Template:Factdate=February 2010 but mass emigration has slashed the number still present to 3.8%. Palestinian Christians in Israel constitute 2.1% (or roughly 10% of the population of Arab citizens of Israel). In Egypt, they constitute between 9-16% of the population (the government claims 6%). Around two-thirds of North and South American and Australian Arabs are Christian, particularly from Lebanon, but also from the Palestinian territories, and Syria.

The Palestinian Christians are Christians of any denomination who have ethnic or family origins in Palestine. In both the local dialect of Palestinian Arabic and in classical or modern standard Arabic, Christians are called Nasrani (a derivative of the Arabic word for Nazareth, al-Nasira) or Masihi (a derivative of Arabic word Masih, meaning "Messiah").[1] Christians comprise less than 5% of Palestinians living within the borders of former Mandate Palestine today and an estimate of 30% of all Palestinians in Palestine and worldwide.

konshtok writes:

Mr. Cole is saying that east Jerusalem belongs to the arabs collectively
that it is the arabs "backyard"

And that therefore jews should be excluded from this area even on land privately owned by jews or state owned

That is an arab nationalist argument and NOT an argument based on individual property rights

Nick writes:

@guthrie

I believe they have declared rights (annexation) over the golan region but basically the world community does not recognize it as legal or legitimate.

Mr. Econotarian writes:

So was this land in East Jerusalem privately owned before 1967? How about today?

Patrick R. Sullivan writes:
That's really terrible for the Israelis. I'm sure the conquest was a wonderful experience for the Arabs, and Israel did it out of their magnanimity.

As I've already explained above, the Israelis conquered the West Bank when they were attacked by Jordan--the sovereign at the time--in 1967. I don't imagine it is much fun to have your aggression thrown right back at you. Maybe Jordan should have thought it through a little better.

Patrick R. Sullivan writes:
Jews have co-existed with Christians and Muslims in much of middle east for the greater part of the last 3 millenia. What caused the sudden disruption in that co-existence?

Again, as I've already said, the Arabs started attacking the Jews, not the other way around. Perhaps the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire had something to do with it?

Marty Steinberg writes:
Again, as I've already said, the Arabs started attacking the Jews, not the other way around. Perhaps the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire had something to do with it?

That's not true. On June 5th, 1967 Israel attacked Egypt. It is true that Egypt and Syria had expelled the UNEF force in May 1967, but they hadn't launched an attack on Israel.

As for Ottoman empire, may be. But it is more likely that, the partition of British Palestine at the hands of "United Nations" had more to do with it. Jewish immigration to Palestine started in earnest at the end of WWI, certainly after it became a british territory.

Year Source Total Moslems Jews Christians Others
(No.) (No.) (%) (No.) (%) (No.) (%) (No.) (%)
1922 Census 752,048 589,177 78.34 83,790 11.14 71,464 9.50 7,617 1.01
1931 Census 1,033,314 759,700 73.52 174,606 16.90 88,907 8.60 10,101 0.98
1937 Estimate 1,383,320 875,947 63.32 386,084 27.91 109,769 7.94 11,520 0.83
1945 Survey2 1,845,560 1,076,780 58.35 608,230 32.96 145,060 7.86 15,490 0.84
19471 Projection 1,955,260 1,135,269 58.06 650,000 33.24 153,621 7.86 16370 0.84


Moreover, it is misleading to see these conflicts in isolation. 1967 is not a standalone incident, it is to be seen in the context of all the simmering tensions and other "minor" skirmishes in that region.

That region was populated overwhelmingly by Palestinians prior to the partition which the Arabs never agreed to

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jewish_zones_12147.PNG

Tom West writes:

Les, would you care to point out which of the ten points are not factual. As for Good, that would be a matter for debate. As for important, I would claim that these are a matter of quite some import for both the Palestinians and the Israelis.

If the Israeli government wants to make it clear that this is a case of "might makes right", then the article is irrelevant. But if they're trying to justify their actions through historical record, then article such as Cole's would seem extremely apropos. And if the article is inaccurate, I would like to know how. (Point 3 seems more a claim than a fact, but he others seem pretty falsifiable if they are indeed false.)

I'll admit, I'm automatically leery of any attempt to shut down inquiry into a fairly controversial topic, no matter where my sympathies lie.

Francis writes:

Juan Cole's post is very strange. A conflation of History, genetic lineage, etc. to deny the "Jews" their "claim" to Jerusalem, but so what?

If my city was to deny the right of Jews to inhabit one neighborhood or another, an outrage would erupt and rightly so, and no historical or genetic explanation would be needed to justify the outrage. Cole does not come close to seeing it in those terms; instead, he sees it only in terms of "claims" by social groups.

And this is the root cause ot the problem in the first place. It stems from the forced re-allocation of land by the Israeli State. They used every trick in the book to coerce the transfer of land from Palestinians to Jews: "security concerns" (which were spectacularly quashed by the Israeli supreme court), eminent domain, old registers from Jordan and even before, etc.

The State of Israel is guilty of those tricks, for sure, but that has nothing to do with any fanciful "claim" by a "group" over a "territory". The latter is just statist thought, and Juan Cole falls head first into the trap.

JGalt47 writes:

I checked some of the facts that Cole cites. Items 5 thru 10 are essentially all the same items focusing on Archeological and historical questions of history of the area. I couldn't comment on the assertions, but like most discussions of things that happened a long time ago, they are subject to lots of interpretations.

I checked #4 against Wikipedia and the name Jerusalem seems to be derived from Semitic bases which might be interpreted Abode of Peace, but this is a modern name. There are earlier forms at least one of which has been interpreted as Cole does. What do you call facts?

The most interesting point was about the Geneva Conventions. Some UN resolutions of the General Assembly have taken Cole's interpretation. Israel rejects this saying it was a defensive war and not covered by the provisions. Jordan, who cllaimed the land by right of conquest before 1967, has renounced authority over the area. There is no extant government to return the West Bank to even if Israel thought it was a good idea to do so.

Francis writes:

By the way, the claim that "Rabin was assassinated by the far right" is not true. The law student who killed Rabin was from the far right indeed, but acted alone; the assassination was not a conspiracy.

Saying after that "elements of which [far right] are now supporting Netanyahu's government" is useless unless he implies guilt by association, which is of course a fallacy.

Francis writes:

@les

"...why are you wasting our time..."

Please speak for yourself. You don't have a mandate by this blog's readers to represent them.

By putting a disclaimer, Mr. Henderson just says some readers might be interested by Juan Cole, that's all. And that's the whole fun of the Internet: thanks to hyperlinks we get from one place to another easily and effortlessly, and we come to know interesting things we wouldn't otherwise.

Patrick R. Sullivan writes:

Mark Twain, from Innocents Abroad (published in 1869):

Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes. Over it broods the spell of a curse that has withered its fields and fettered its energies. Where Sodom and Gomorrah reared their domes and towers, that solemn sea now floods the plain, in whose bitter waters no living thing exists -- over whose waveless surface the blistering air hangs motionless and dead -- about whose borders nothing grows but weeds, and scattering tufts of cane, and that treacherous fruit that promises refreshment to parching lips, but turns to ashes at the touch.

Nazareth is forlorn; about that ford of Jordan where the hosts of Israel entered the Promised Land with songs of rejoicing, one finds only a squalid camp of fantastic Bedouins of the desert; Jericho the accursed, lies a moldering ruin, to-day, even as Joshua's miracle left it more than three thousand years ago; Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and their humiliation, have nothing about them now to remind one that they once knew the high honor of the Saviour's presence; the hallowed spot where the shepherds watched their flocks by night, and where the angels sang Peace on earth, good will to men, is untenanted by any living creature, and unblessed by any feature that is pleasant to the eye.

Renowned Jerusalem itself, the stateliest name in history, has lost all its ancient grandeur, and is become a pauper village; the riches of Solomon are no longer there to compel the admiration of visiting Oriental queens; the wonderful temple which was the pride and the glory of Israel, is gone, and the Ottoman crescent is lifted above the spot where, on that most memorable day in the annals of the world, they reared the Holy Cross.

The noted Sea of Galilee, where Roman fleets once rode at anchor and the disciples of the Saviour sailed in their ships, was long ago deserted by the devotees of war and commerce, and its borders are a silent wilderness; Capernaum is a shapeless ruin; Magdala is the home of beggared Arabs; Bethsaida and Chorazin have vanished from the earth, and the "desert places" round about them where thousands of men once listened to the Saviour's voice and ate the miraculous bread, sleep in the hush of a solitude that is inhabited only by birds of prey and skulking foxes.

Palestine is desolate and unlovely. And why should it be otherwise? Can the curse of the Deity beautify a land?

Palestine is no more of this work-day world. It is sacred to poetry and tradition -- it is dream-land.

All of which (and there are plenty of other witnesses from roughly the same time) make Juan Cole's babbling irrelevant.

Gian writes:

Property rights (and worse) of millions of Hindus and Muslims were violated in 1947 (Partition of India) by State-sponsored violence.
But nobody cares about it now.
What is so special about Palestinians?

Tim R. writes:

Joseph Hertzlinger wrote:

"Required reading: The Gray Prince by Jack Vance"

That is by far the least successful of Vance's "political" novels, not least because the characters are unlikeable and the antagonist is a caricature.

I suspect the book can be best understood as a not-so-veiled apologia for Ian Smith and white colonialism in Zimbabwe -then Rhodesia.

Les writes:

Francis writes:

@les

"...why are you wasting our time..."

Please speak for yourself. You don't have a mandate by this blog's readers to represent them.

Les responds:

By your standards, the blind are leading the blind - and both will fall into the ditch.

jlpsquared writes:

A point and a question.

Point. I think every post is skirting around the same issue. Perhaps it WAS wrong to create the Jewish State in 1947, and YET they now have a right to exist. Plus, again, even if morally they are wrong they are still the dominant military in the area, which by definition gives them "property rights". I don't mean to be crass, but to make a historical point.

Question. What is the deal with Israel and property rights? I have not been able to find anything on that. Does anyone have a link?

MikeDC writes:

My problem with this post is that you can only overlook a source so much.

If it were my back yard and a bunch of Palestinians who were setting up the apartment building, Cole would be cheering them on.

Lauren writes:

jlpsquared writes, about some of the interesting claims in this thread about government ownership of Israeli land and complexity:

What is the deal with Israel and property rights? I have not been able to find anything on that. Does anyone have a link?

I don't ordinarily recommend or rely on Wikipedia as a definitive source, but their article on Land and Property Laws in Israel seems very informative about the complexity.

Doc Merlin, who above says

Israel doesn't have private property ownership of land.... Because all land is owned by the state and leased out to people can it become such a huge political topic
does not seem to be correct; FC, who says
First, Israel does recognize private ownership of land. The situtation is extraordinarily complex and not at all in keeping with anarcho-capitalist principles, but there it is
does seem to be correct.

Brian writes:

One, the reason Israeli occupies Gaza and the west bank is because if they did not, they would be (and are currently) be attacked and civilians would be killed. If Mexico was launching rockets at U.S. Citizens, destroying U.S. propriety, endangering its citizens, and terrorist were using it as a base of operations to attack America. Guess what, we would go to war with Mexico and occupy it to protect U.S. Citizens.


Secondly, everyone forgets the Parliament of Israeli has 10% of its member of Arab decent (20% of the population is Arab and can vote). Also Palestinian’s are the only group of refugees that the UN has ever still given the legal status of Refuges after the first generation. Once you are born into a country you are not consider a refuge you are a citizen of that nation. So the Palestinians do have a state it is just not an "Ethically Pure" state or were they dominate.

I do think Israeli has a problem of treating all Arabs the same regardless of how the Arabs treats Israelis. Fore example Palestinians Christians do not for the most part hate Jews (resent yes) and want Jews wiped off the map in the Middle East (most Palestine Muslims believe this per surveys). Yet they are treated in occupied territories as if they are enemy citizens. Add to the fact the they are also prosecuted by Muslims and it is no wonder so many left.

One needs to take this into prospective when considering property rights.

As far as international law I could care less, I do not think any sovereign nation is under any obligation to recognize any UN treaty(international Law) especially if their enemy does to obey the same treaty let alone if the nation has not signed the treaty. Also when someone spouts off a Geneva convention clause make sure the nation has actually ratified the specific clause. There have been revisions that even the U.S. has not ratified.

guthrie writes:

@ Patrick & Nick,

Thank you for addressing my questions, I appreciate it!

William Barghest writes:

What is a libertarian solution to the problem to state violations of individual property rights? Petitioning (or voting) for the US Government to use its even greater state power to compel the state of Isreal to respect the property rights of Palestinian does not sound very libertarian to me. Perhaps voluntary individual economic sanctions are libertarian (If I have a problem with the state of Isreal I refuse to engage in commerce with anyone who pays taxes to them), but has that ever worked?

Patrick R. Sullivan writes:

I see I missed this bit from Marty:

That's not true. On June 5th, 1967 Israel attacked Egypt. It is true that Egypt and Syria had expelled the UNEF force in May 1967, but they hadn't launched an attack on Israel.

Yeah, Israelis, being no dummies, recognized Egypt and Syria's intentions, and beat them to the punch. However, we're talking about the West Bank, and Israel did not attack the Jordanian forces until after they'd launched their assault FROM THE WEST BANK.

Israel even warned the King of Jordan not to get involved. He ignored that warning. That Jordan lost part of its territory--the West Bank--is entirely its own fault.

Marty Steinberg writes:
Property rights (and worse) of millions of Hindus and Muslims were violated in 1947 (Partition of India) by State-sponsored violence. But nobody cares about it now. What is so special about Palestinians?

Pakistan is 97% Muslim. A small minority of Sikhs, Christians and Hindus live there. Most of the Hindus cross the border into India, so did Sikhs. Large number of Muslims crossed over into Pakistan, yet, a large number of them was still left in India. India has world's second largest Muslim population, behind Indonesia. India has not built walls around Muslim population.

To the question whether anyone cares, the answer is a resounding yes. India-Pakistan have fought 3 wars since the partition, and still exchange fire everyday across line of control in Kashmir. Pakistan sponsors militants in Kashmir to fight a guerrilla war against the Indian security forces.

Patrick R. Sullivan writes:

Also from Marty:

As for Ottoman empire, may be. But it is more likely that, the partition of British Palestine at the hands of "United Nations" had more to do with it. Jewish immigration to Palestine started in earnest at the end of WWI, certainly after it became a british territory.

Obviously not. The Arab attacks began in the 1920s long before the UN even existed.

And, guess what, Arab immigration into Palestine began in earnest at the same time. As I've already told you (and provided evidence to support it) Palestine was a backwater until the Jews came in, with the permission of the sovereign authority--the Turkish sultan--and began draining the swamps and developing the territory. That created economic opportunity for Arabs as well as Jews.

Marty Steinberg writes:

Patrick,

Those are good points. I will end this exchange here on that note. Thanks,

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