The PA has come up with the most interesting idea in months to advance the prospects of a just settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: unilateral declaration of Palestinian state within 1967 borders with the approval of the UN Security Council. To that end, the Palestinians have appealed to the U.S. and Europeans to support their concept. Never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity, both have failed the test:
…The Palestinians have put forward a plan to seek United Nations Security Council recognition for a Palestinian state in the lands won by Israel in 1967 without Israeli agreement. Palestinian officials said they have announced the idea in an attempt to break the impasse in peace talks.That initiative suffered a setback on Tuesday…Carl Bildt, the foreign minister of Sweden, which holds the European Union presidency, was not encouraging. He told reporters in Brussels on Tuesday that a bid for international recognition of a state not yet formed would be “somewhat premature.”
The United States and Israel have already signaled their disapproval of the Palestinian initiative. State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said on Monday that the United States supports “a Palestinian state that arises as a result of a process between the two parties.” The prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, has warned that a unilateral move by the Palestinians would “unravel” existing agreements.
I’d like to ask Mr. Kelly how and when a Palestinian state can arise out of a process of negotiation when Israel doesn’t want such a process or an outcome and does everything in its power to prevent it from happening AND the U.S. administration appears powerless to do anything to stop it?
The beauty of the initiative is that it bypasses the obstinacy and recalcitrance of the Netanyahu government and immediately places it under enormous international pressure to be more forthcoming. And even if it refuses, pressure will gradually mount as the incipient Palestinian state gains added support and legitimacy over time. It will serve the purpose of gradually eroding the general Israeli position and the Occupation itself.
What are the alternatives? Here is an example of what we can expect from Israel behaving with impunity in the face of feeble U.S. and EU opposition:
U.S. ‘dismayed’ at Israel plan to build 900 homes beyond Green Line
The plan – named “Gilo’s western slopes” – will account for a significant expansion of the neighborhood. The planned 900 housing units will be built in the form of 4-5 bedroom apartments, in an effort to lure relatively well-off residents.
The plan was initiated by the Israel Land Administration, and has received an initial green light, but on Tuesday the authorization was finalized.
The additional housing units are only part of the planned expansion of Gilo. In fact, the majority of apartments slated to be built in Jerusalem in the coming years will be located in Gilo. Other building plans in various stages of approval include some 4,000 new housing units in Gilo and adjacent areas.
We could view this as a comic opera with Israel trotting out new settlements whenever it wants to step on the toes of any party having enough temerity to suggest an approach disfavored by that nation. But it isn’t comic when it destroys the chances of a viable Palestinian state and continues the murderous status quo. I think we have to declare Israel persona grata in the international community. Unless the world becomes serious, Israel will never learn a lesson other than obduracy.
This will mean the Obama administration will have to stop with half measures like settlement freezes. It will have to go to final status negotiatons and threaten Israel with withholding economic and military aid as Joe Klein suggested last week in Time. While they’re at it, it would an added statement if the administration directed the IRS to review the tax-exempt status of the numerous pro-settler American Jewish fundraising operations funding Judean militias which murder Palestinians.
Mr. Obama: it’s time to put up or shut up.
Rabbi says killing gentiles is OK because Jews are superior beings
If you recall, I told you in an earlier thread that neither the EU nor the US would support having the UN support a unilateral move by the Palestinians, but you dismissed this.
To tell the truth, I don’t believe the rest of the Arab world would support it….HAMAS certainly doesn’t.
Such a move would tear up the Oslo Agreements (which regulate many of the relations between Israel and the PA) and Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. It is for these reasons that even a more limited move by the Palestinians to have the pre-67 lines recognized as their borders would not pass, either, since no one in the world recognizes them as official political borders, they are merely the 1949 cease fire lines. 242 does not recognize them as a border, it only says that Israel should withdraw from “territories” occupied in 1967, not “THE territories”. Yes says that “acquisition of territories by force is not accepted” but that is referring to unilateral annexation, not an agreed border arrived at by negoations, which is what 242 calls for. Throwing out existing resolutions would open a huge can of worms for the whole world and the world does not want this to happen.
Richard Silverstein says
It ain’t over till it’s over, baby. And it ain’t over.
Don’t be such an eeed-jut. You tried that crap in a previous comment talking as if Oslo was God’s law fr. Sinai. Oslo doesn’t regulate anything, period. You support the settlers. You & they hate Oslo. Oslo is dead even for progressives like me who supported it. So stop blathering. I’m tired of it.
One thing I really detest is repeating yrself because you stalk so many websites you can’t remember what you write where. You said this nonsense here & Shirin shot you down but good. Go back & read her answer when you first raised this nonsense & STOP REPEATING YOURSELF. It’s the height of disrespect for you not even to be able to keep track of which failed arguments you’ve made & at which sites.
That is a blatant lie & I’m getting tired of this. You know it’s a lie. I don’t even have the cheyshek to point out how stupid this comment is. Let another reader do it for me.
You have indeed made this argument before & it has been refuted. DO NOT REPEAT YOURSELF & don’t make me repeat myself in saying this to you. You hover on the edge of losing yr comment privileges.
what i don’t get is why when you write hebrew you needlessly use y, are you trying to write hebrew with a yiddish accent?
it’s not cheyshek (desire) it’s cheshek and the usage of this word itself is pretty anachronistic, next time use aczabim (nerves) or kohach (power).
Richard Silverstein says
Lord preserve us from those who attempt to give Hebrew lessons. You don’t have a clue about Hebrew vocalization. If you were ever to see the vocalization of the word you’d understand that the pronunciation is not cheshek as you claim, but cheyshek as I correctly noted (the vowel under the chet is a tzayrayh with a long ‘a’ sound; not a segol with an ‘eh’ sound). The term cheyshek is used colloquially in Hebrew. I’d prefer that you not try to give me Hebrew lessons.
“even a more limited move by the Palestinians to have the pre-67 lines recognized as their borders would not pass, either, since no one in the world recognizes them as official political borders…”
OMG! I can’t believe you actually believe this contra factual nonsense. The reality is that virtually everyone in the word officially recognizes the Green Line (aka the 1949 armistice line) as Israel’s official boundaries – everyone, that is, except Zionist expansionists, of which you, apparently, are one.
“they are merely the 1949 cease fire lines.”
Armistice line is the term, and no, they are not “merely” that (see above).
“242 does not recognize them as a border, it only says that Israel should withdraw from “territories” occupied in 1967, not “THE territories”.”
Oh, no! Not THIS sad, tired, threadbare old canard again. Can’t you guys come up with something new, preferably something that has some basis in reality? This absurd interpretation flies in the face of the plain language, and the intent of the authors, as well as the negotiating history of the Resolution, including – no, especially – its governing principle, which is the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war. The absence of the definite article, which by the way, is present in the Resolution in languages other than English, does not by any stretch of the imagination mean that Israel gets to keep what it wants of the territories. If nothing else the second statement in the Resolution makes that absolutely clear.
“Yes says that “acquisition of territories by force is not accepted” but that is referring to unilateral annexation, not an agreed border arrived at by negoations, which is what 242 calls for.”
More contrafactual nonsense. The governing principle of the Resolution is ” the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war”, which by the way, means something rather different in plain language than your misrepresentation. The language of the resolution is not accidental. Something that is inadmissible is not merely “not accepted”, it is not permitted, which is considerably stronger. Second, the Resolution emphasizes not merely the impermissibility of the acquisition of territory “by force”, as you falsely quoted, but by war. That means that no state is allowed to acquire territory by war under any circumstances, including “by negotiation”, which would certain, as in the case of the so-called “negotiations” over the Occupied Territories, be “negotiation by coercion”, given the obvious power imbalance between occupied and occupier.
Oh, and you know, as much and as carefully, and in as much detail as I have studied UNSC 242, its negotiating history, and the statements of its authors as to the intent behind it, I cannot for the life of me find any language at all that justifies your claim that it calls for “an agreed border arrived at by negotiations”, nor has anyone ever been able to point to such language. I invite you to be the first. Please tell me exactly where and in what language UNSC 242 call for “an agreed border arrived at by negotiations”. And you get a bonus prize if you can show me where and in what language it allows any party to add to its territory as a result of these negotiations.
“Throwing out existing resolutions would open a huge can of worms for the whole world and the world does not want this to happen.”
Are you really this delusional?
“Such a move would tear up the Oslo Agreements…”
Well, then, it would have at least one worthwhile effect.
“…and Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.”
What an absurd claim. There is nothing in that action that violates or obviates either the letter or the spirit of 242 or 338, but even if it did, so what? Israel has never complied with either, so why should you care?
Richard-every single assertion I make here brings the response from you that I am a liar or an ignoramus. The fact is that I never make statements that are false…what’s the point? I am not interested in propaganda. So I’ll tell you what. I presume that you are a person who respects the truth, so why don’t you contact your friend Shammai Leibowitz and ask him to confirm four assertions that I made here in the past that you strongly objected to. You don’t have to post this or his response as far as I am concerned. Here are the four assertions:
(1) That the Oslo Agreements are considered legally binding by the two sides (whether or not I like them, which, of course is irrelevant so your attacking my statements doesn’t strengthen your case)
(2) That Hevron is indeed traditionally considered by Jews and Judaism the second holiest city. ( I was not even the first to state in the earlier thread when you objected to it, so you can’t blame me for “making it up”)
(3) That Judaism enjoins Jews to encourage other Jews to perform mitzvot, and thus to bring non-mitzvah observant Jews to adopt this observance, based on the concept of “kol Israel areivim zeh l’zeh”. Thus it is not only Chabad who recognizes this , althought they do devote the most resources to it.
(4) That Yishayahu Leibowitz didn’t believe that Stavsky and the other Revisionist suspecs were guilty of killing Chaim Arlosoroff. You said in that thread you were going to contact Shammai regarding this but you didn’t report back.
All I ask you do to is report back to me privately what he said at :
Correction- I meant to say that I never make statements that are KNOWINGLY false….obviously I make mistakes just like everybody else.
That’s not surprising. Aside from the pressure the US and Israel would no doubt put on them to not recognize a Palestinian state, the EU crowd are probably afraid of bloodshed that can and probably will result from this move, and both they and the US are invested in the negotiation process.
Of course, the Palestinians could just bypass them and take their demand to the floor of the General Assembly. I don’t think particularly highly of the UN, but one thing it most certainly is is a giant forum.
It also might serve as a “core” to pull the various fragmented Palestinian factions together into one entity. Or at the very least, force these groups to confront issues of legitimacy among their own population head-on.
Heh. Someone should have asked him if he thought the colonial US back in the 1770s should have declared unilateral independence, or whether it ought to have waited and worked with Great Britain towards a “state that arises as a result of a process between the two parties.” As is, several “processes” ended up occurring in that case, but only after a unilateral declaration of independence and statehood.
Richard Silverstein says
Seems to me there’s plenty of bloodshed virtually every day now w/o a Palestinian declaration. Not sure whether there could be more if the Palestinians did declare statehood though I’m sure the IDF could gin up a nice war or offensive military operation or two that could generate some real problems. And the U.S. & EU seem to be professing support for a non-existent “negotiation process.”
Excellent pt about the U.S. Declaration of Independence.
Arie Brand says
Bar Kochba wrote (for the second time in as many weeks) “242 does not recognize them as a border, it only says that Israel should withdraw from “territories” occupied in 1967, not “THE territories”. ”
I reacted to this but any counter-arguments seem, in the case of BK, water of a duck’s back. He claims that he is, not knowingly, coming up with false information. That might be so but I have never seen him acknowledging a mistake when it was pointed out to him. This holds also for the writings under his other alias (Y.Ben David).
Perhaps Richard will allow me to react more fully to his argument about the lacking article “THE” by drawing on one of my earlier posts elsewhere:
The most informative article I know about the international law aspects of Resolution 242 is that published seven years ago in the International and Comparative Law Quarterly (Oct 2002 Vol.51, 4) by John McHugo, then Visiting Fellow at the Scottish Center for International Law at Edinburgh University.
McHugo discusses fully the two main Israeli arguments for their interpretation of 242.
(a) of a semantic nature: ‘withdrawal from territories occupied in the recent conflict’ can or should be construed to mean that Israel is only obliged to withdraw from ‘some’ of the territories, not ‘all’ of the territories and,
(b). ‘historical’: the ‘intention of the drafters of the Resolution in the Security Council was that Israel might retain some of the territories’.
Before McHugo deals with these arguments he first clears up a misunderstanding that has bedeviled the interpretation of 242, namely that it makes a difference here whether the Six Day War was a war of aggression on the side of Israel or, rather, waged in self-defence. McHugo claims that this question is irrelevant:
“It used to be permissible for a state to acquire sovereignty over territory by right of conquest on the termination of a state of war. The right was abolished when the League of Nations was established in the aftermath of the First World War. The abolition of conquest extends to a prohibition of the acquisition of any territory by a state in actions of self defence.”
There is only one class of territory which may be annexed unilaterally by a state. This is called terra nullius, and is territory, which is uninhabited or, only, inhabited by peoples, which have no social or political organisation.
“Although the status of the different occupied territories (East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights) varies, none of them can be classed as terra nullius by any stretch of the imagination, and so they are not open to unilateral acquisition by Israel.”
Then McHugo looks at the semantic arguments. The absence of the words ‘all’ or ‘the’ before the word ‘territories’ does not necessarily mean that ‘some’ is intended. He gives here examples of legal or quasi-legal prescriptions in which similar wording clearly does not have this meaning. If, for instance, we find at the entrance to a park a sign ‘Dogs must be kept on the lead near ponds in the park’ the commonsense interpretation is: all dogs – all ponds.
Moreover the definite article or the word ‘all’ is lacking in other phrases in Resolution 242, but it is there too clear from the context that ‘all’ is meant: see par. 2 (a) which confirms the necessity of guaranteeing freedom of navigation ‘through international waterways in the area’.
There are, as McHugo points out, a number of international waterways in the area: the Suez Canal, the Straits of Tiran at the entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Bab al-mandab at the entrance to the Red Sea. Israel would have been unpleasantly surprised if Egypt had deduced from the absence of the words ‘the’ and ‘all’ here that it could thus choose to continue the blockade of the Straits of Tiran.
The same argument applies to the phrase ‘the right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries’. Here, surely, all the boundaries are meant.
It is true that there were various proposals, from inter alia Latin American, Indian and Russian delegates, to include the words ‘all’ or ‘the’ in the resolution and that partly through Israeli pressure these words did not survive in the final draft (the French version of the resolution does contain the definite article (‘des’ instead of ‘de’) but the French representative deemed it similar in meaning to the English text).
That these delegations finally consented to this final draft and that there was a unanimous vote in the Security Council was very much due to the fact that the main architect of the final draft, Lord Caradon, convinced them that, when the resolution was taken as a whole, it didn’t make any substantial difference whether the words ‘the’ or ‘all’ were included or not, because the Withdrawal-phrase was balanced by the preambular phrase ‘Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war’.
Israel, that is Abba Eban, has argued that this is merely a preambular phrase which doesn’t have the same weight as an operative one, but McHugo reasons that in view of the history of the evolution of the draft this preambular phrase has here, in fact, great weight.
Israel, has quoted a few statements by Lord Caradon, for instance on websites inspired by its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which seem to suggest that he was in favour of its interpretation of the Resolution. This view is not born out by the facts. Lord Caradon did indeed come to regard the absence of the word ‘the’ as a bonus because in this way the resolution allowed for minor border corrections on the basis of reciprocity. The armistice lines of 1949 were, after all, based on the fortuitous positions of the various armies at the time.
Many years after,as Finkelstein has described, Abba Eban and Lord Caradon came again face to face (McHugo has not mentioned this) at a symposium devoted to resolution 242. Caradon remarked then that the overriding principle in the drafting of the resolution had been “the ‘inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war’ and that meant that there could be no justification for annexation of territory on the Arab side of the 1967 line merely because it had been conquered in the 1967 war”.
Eban’s retort to this was that Lord Caradon’s recollection had “been dimmed by the passage of time”, a rather insulting suggestion which Caradon rejected out of hand.
This phrase ‘inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war’ contained an old bugbear for Eban. According to McHugo he had fought to keep it out of the resolution because he understood that it would make the (future) Israeli interpretation untenable.
Eban suffered a defeat regarding the insertion of another phrase as well. This referred to the words following ‘territories’ viz ‘occupied in the recent conflict’. He protested in a diplomatic note: “The words ‘in the recent conflict’ convert the principle of eliminating occupation into a mathematically precise formula for restoring the June 4 map.” If he understood the Resolution in this way at the time it was quite disingenuous of him to come up with a different interpretation ( centering on the absence of the article “The”) years later.
In view of all this it is rather outrageous that the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs keeps providing isolated sentences from Caradon to suggest that he fully supported the Israeli interpretation of the Resolution. It is worth noting in this context that, when the article by McHugo appeared, the son of Lord Caradon made a point of giving it his acclaim in The Guardian. He mentioned that his late father had regarded the drafting of this resolution, and the whole diplomatic process around it, as the highlight of his career. I think it is not too far fetched to assume that Foot jr was well acquainted with his father’s interpretation of it.
McHugo deals with one more Israeli argument, namely that the phrase “the right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries” implies the necessity of border corrections. For McHugo the suggestion that there should be border corrections before a negotiated peace deal comes about is turning the process on its head. If peace comes the boundaries should be automatically secure and recognized. In the absence of peace no boundary would ever be secure.
Also, says McHugo, this provision does not only apply to Israel but to every state in the area. Only the Withdrawal Provision applies directly to one party and the 1967 war. All the other ones apply to all parties. If Arab states have exactly the same right as Israel to live in peace and security, common sense dictates that this also applies to future states in the area.
I would like to add that Israel’s argument that its small size makes it especially vulnerable and that therefore it has to widen its borders applies to other small states as well. On that basis Holland could have demanded a border correction after the Second World War because the defence line of rivers, on which it relied until 1940, was easily bypassed by German paratroopers (and German rubber boats). Only the very biggest states have ‘strategic space’.
After having reviewed the various stages of the evolution of the draft resolution and the debate in the Security Council, McHugo comes up with the following summary:
“It can thus be seen that the representatives of ten of the fifteen voting members made a point of stating on the record that they considered that the Resolution provided that Israel had no right to acquire any of the territories occupied in the Six Days War, and that it followed from this that the requirement to withdraw extended to all these territories.
They can be divided into those who expressly stated that the Withdrawal Phrase was clear in requiring a total withdrawal: India, Mali, Nigeria, Bulgaria, the USSR, and France, and those who implied it was clear in the context of the Resolution as a whole: Britain, Ethiopia, Argentina, and Brazil. Britain would seem to straddle the two categories since, as we have seen, Caradon stated that the Withdrawal Phrase was clear and implied that it meant a total withdrawal.
“None of the representatives of the five remaining members made a statement on the meaning of the Withdrawal Phrase or stated that it supported the Right-wing (that is Israeli. A.B.) interpretation. Gerson and others are thus wrong in asserting that the debate in the Security Council reveals that the intention of the drafters of the Resolution did not envisage total withdrawal.”
And he adds:
“Through the application of Schwebel’s proposition that good faith requires that extrinsic evidence, in this case the records of the Security Council debate and the discarded Latin American, Non-aligned, Soviet and US drafts, should be invoked in order to confirm or correct the meaning which the drafters intended the wording to carry, any possibility of a gap between the wording and the intention disappears. It is impossible to see how an independent scholar can examine the records of the Security Council debate and claim that they support a contention that Israel had the right to retain areas of the territories occupied in 1967 save through a freely negotiated agreement.”
This interpretation of the Resolution is completely confirmed by the then Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, in his Memoirs “As I Saw It”. He also states that the definite article “The” was left out to allow for minor border corrections on the basis of reciprocity.
Rusk adds rather bitterly:
“For twenty years, since the creation of Israel, the United States had tried to persuade the Arabs that they needn’t fear Israeli territorial expansion. Throughout the sixties the Arabs talked continuously about their fear of Israeli expansion. With the full knowledge of successive governments in Israel, we did our utmost to persuade the Arabs that their anxieties were illusory.
“And then following the Six Day War, Israel decided to keep the Golan heights, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Sinai, despite the fact that Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol on the first day of the war went on Israeli radio and said that Israel had no territorial ambitions. Later in the summer I reminded Abba Eban of this, and he simply shrugged his shoulders and said, ‘We’ve changed our minds’. With that remark, a contentious and even bitter point with the Americans, he turned the United States into a twenty-year liar.”
Fantastic response, Arie! I had forgotten about Dean Rusk’s statement. Thanks for taking the time to go through this in such detail. As for Lord Caradon, he was very clear about the intent behind 242, and it was not to allow Israel to “negotiate” with the occupied parties for additional territory.
As for Abba Eban, I have little but contempt for him. He was a slippery liar who had no regard whatsoever for the truth, or the need for consistency, and would say whatever suited the moment. I will never forget how it felt listening to the BBC broadcast of his June, 1967 speech – aka brazen pack of lies – in front of the UN. Whatever youthful political naivete I may have retained evaporated in those moments.
Walter Ballin says
At my progressive Jewish congregation the Chico Havurah here in Chico California, a woman(not so progressive on this issue) told me that since Israel won the occupied lands in war, that Israel is entitled to keep them. She actually said that ‘occupied’ is the wrong word, as she was saying that those lands are part of Israel. We were about to show a film on Israeli and Palestinian children, so I didn’t get the chance to respond to her and she left during the film. What I wanted to say is that her argument was senseless. I wanted to say that going by her logic, that if let’s say the Palestinians would win the the occupied lands back and perhaps all of Israel-Palestine through war, then it’s right that all the land would belong to them. I would have told her that going by her logic, the UN should not have ever declared a state of Israel in 1947, since the Romans conquered that area centuries ago and that many Jews left. Again, this is what I wanted to say and I might still tell her that the next time I see her. This is not my view.
Richard Silverstein says
It’s amazing how pathetic & weak are the arguments of some defending the Occupation. But when you talk as she does about territory a the fruits of victory in war this essentially is the old fashioned concept of colonization. Does she want to argue that Israel is a petty colonial power seeking hegemony in the region? After all, what is hegemony if not amassing territory, influence & power at the expense of one’s neighbors/enemies?
“Not so progressive” indeed.
Walter Ballin says
Richard, She also asked why the other countries in the Middle East won’t settle the Palestinian refugees. I asked why they should be settled in other countries, when it was the Israelis who took away their homes and farms. She didn’t have an answer for that. I’m just curious. What answer would you have given her?
Richard Silverstein says
Yes, you’re right. The Palestinians refugees don’t want to be refugees. If they settled in other Arab countries they’d still be refugees. They are Palestinians and their homes were originally in Israel. That’s where they should be resettled there unless they agree to resolve their claim otherwise (which could conceivably happen w. a peace agreement). But Arab nations have no obligation to resettle refugess permanently. IT’s Israel’s problem, not theirs.
As I said before, what ignorance!
Walter, as I am sure you know, there are a lot of people – not all of them Jews – who are what have been dubbed PEP’s – Progressives Except for Palestine. You can also call them HEP’s – Humanists Except for the Palestinians (I just made that up). Somehow they have a huge blind spot when it comes to Israel, and somehow the Palestinians are the only people in the world who are not entitled to basic human rights in relation to Israel.
As for her position on the Occupied Territories, of course it is absurd on numerous levels. The principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war came into force with the League of Nations after WW I. Since then no state “wins” land in a war, period. This is simply not a debatable matter. International law is clear on this.
Walter Ballin says
Shirin, Yes I have met many HEP’s. They have blinders on. I like that term.
Walter Ballin says
Richard wrote: “Yes, you’re right. The Palestinians refugees don’t want to be refugees. If they settled in other Arab countries they’d still be refugees. They are Palestinians and their homes were originally in Israel. That’s where they should be resettled there unless they agree to resolve their claim otherwise (which could conceivably happen w. a peace agreement). But Arab nations have no obligation to resettle refugees permanently. IT’s Israel’s problem, not theirs.”
I’ll say it just like that the next time I hear that stupid and ignorant argument, that other Arab nations should settle Palestinians forced off of their land by the Israelis.