Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922

Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922
Jordan is 77% of former Palestine - Israel, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza comprise 23%.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Palestine - UN Farce Promises Theatre Of The Absurd

[Published 26 September 2011]

The appearance of Mahmoud Abbas at the podium of the United Nations General Assembly on 23 September was reportedly met with “rapturous applause” by those present to witness this latest farce in the ongoing efforts to create a new Arab State between Israel and Jordan for the first time ever in recorded history.

UN Secretary General Ban KI - moon was presented with a letter signed by Mr Abbas as “President of the State of Palestine, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization“.

Mr Abbas’s letter stated that he had:
“the profound honor, on behalf of the Palestinian people to submit this application of the State of Palestine for admission to membership in the United Nations.”

He continued:
“This application for membership is being submitted on the Palestinian people’s natural, legal and historic rights and based on United Nations General Assembly resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947 as well as the Declaration of Independence of the State of Palestine of 15 November 1988 and the acknowledgement by the General Assembly of this declaration in resolution 43/177 of 15 December 1988.

“In this connection, the state of Palestine affirms its commitment to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the vision of two states living side by side in peace and security, as endorsed by the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly and the international community as a whole and based on international law and all relevant United Nations resolutions.”

Those joining in the rapturous applause should now digest what Mr Abbas is asking for - and reflect on his standing to do so.

When they do - the application should be rejected by both the Security Council and the General Assembly for the following reasons:
1. Mr Abbas falsely continues to use the title “President of Palestine” although his term of office expired on 1 January 2010 pursuant to Article 36 of the Basic Law 2003 (as amended).
2. The application does not identify the territorial boundaries of Palestine and thus would preclude any action by the UN against such a member - should the provisions of the UN Charter be breached by it in the future.
3. No State can be admitted as a member of the UN that fails to comply with the preconditions necessary for the declaration of Statehood pursuant to the Montevideo Convention 1933. The Declaration of Independence of the State of Palestine on 15 November 1988 is similarly deficient.
4. Basing the application on UN General Assembly Resolution 181(11) of 29 November 1947 is meaningless since this Resolution was rejected in 1947 and has become extant. General Assembly resolutions in any event are not binding in international law.
5. As Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) - Mr Abbas is committed to maintaining the territorial indivisibility of Israel, Gaza, the West Bank and Jordan under Article 2 of the PLO Charter. The current application contains no mention of his intention to revoke this provision in the Charter or to forgo any claims to any other parts of this territory from either Israel or Jordan.
6. Claiming that the application is based on international law and all relevant UN resolutions is contradicted by the fact that the PLO considers all such law null and void under article 20 of the PLO Charter which states:
“The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void.“
No commitment has been made by Chairman Abbas to revoke this provision of the PLO Charter as a condition of the UN approving his application for membership.
7. The PLO is no longer the sole spokesman for the Palestinian Arabs and Mr Abbas is deceiving the UN in claiming to be speaking:
“on behalf of the Palestinian people”

An unconstitutional President claiming to be the sole spokesman for the Palestinian Arabs when he clearly is not - as his unresolved power struggle with Hamas shows - applying for membership of the United Nations for a country within undefined boundaries that is not controlled by the PLO whilst claiming to respect and observe international law when the opposite is demonstrably evident - is indeed the theater of the absurd into which the UN finds itself being propelled once again..

Israel’s Prime Minister - Benjamin Netanyahu - followed Mr Abbas to the podium and was quick to point out how automatic majorities at the UN had been used to incite institutionalized hatred against Israel.
“After all, it was here in 1975 that the age-old yearning of my people to restore our national life in our ancient biblical homeland—it was then that this was braided—branded, rather — shamefully, as racism. And it was here in 1980, right here, that the historic peace agreement between Israel and Egypt wasn’t praised; it was denounced! And it’s here year after year that Israel is unjustly singled out for condemnation. It’s singled out for condemnation more often than all the nations of the world combined. Twenty-one out of the 27 General Assembly resolutions condemn Israel—the one true democracy in the Middle East.

Well, this is an unfortunate part of the UN institution. It’s the—the theater of the absurd. It doesn’t only cast Israel as the villain; it often casts real villains in leading roles: Gadhafi’s Libya chaired the UN Commission on Human Rights; Saddam’s Iraq headed the UN Committee on Disarmament.

You might say: That’s the past. Well, here’s what’s happening now—right now, today. Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon now presides over the UN Security Council. This means, in effect, that a terror organization presides over the body entrusted with guaranteeing the world’s security.

You couldn’t make this thing up.

So here in the UN, automatic majorities can decide anything. They can decide that the sun sets in the west or rises in the west. I think the first has already been pre-ordained. But they can also decide—they have decided that the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Judaism’s holiest place, is occupied Palestinian territory.

The theater of the absurd is definitely set to swing into action once again at the UN over the next few weeks. As it does so - the authority and standing of the UN is set to sink into further disrepute.

Palestine - Telling The UN Some Home Truths

[Published 20 September 2011]

Israel’s Prime Minister -Benjamin Netanyahu - has announced his intention to address the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week in connection with the proposed application by the PLO for recognition of a Palestinian Arab State along the 1949 armistice lines.

The terms of the proposed resolution remain a closely guarded secret. There still appears to be disagreement between Palestinian Arab leaders as to its final terms.

However notwithstanding such uncertainty Mr Netanyahu announced at a press conference with visiting Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas, that he will at the United Nations:
“speak the truth to those who want to hear it”

There are at least six basic truths that need to be conveyed to the delegates of the 193 member states present who are charged with voting on any proposed resolution :1.
1. Mr Netanyahu needs to repeat the following statement he made to the UN General Assembly on 11 December 1984 :
“Clearly, in Eastern and Western Palestine, there are only two peoples, the Arabs and the Jews. Just as clearly, there are only two states in that area, Jordan and Israel. The Arab State of Jordan, containing some three million Arabs, does not allow a single Jew to live there. It also contains 4/5 of the territory originally allocated by this body’s predecessor, the League of Nations, for the Jewish National Home. The other State, Israel, has a population of over four million, of which one sixth is Arab. It contains less than 1/5 of the territory originally allocated to the Jews under the Mandate…. It cannot be said, therefore, that the Arabs of Palestine are lacking a state of their own. The demand for a second Palestinian Arab State in Western Palestine,and a 22nd Arab State in the world,is merely the latest attempt to push Israel back into the hopelessly vulnerable armistice lines of 1949.”

This still remains the strategy behind the current PLO application to the UN. The Palestinian Arabs could have had their State in more than 90% of the territory situated within the 1949 armistice lines had they accepted either of the offers made by Israel in 2001 or 2008. They want 100% to deny Israel the security it needs - as was recognized by the UN in Resolution 242 This message needs to be repeated - especially for the 34 member States who were not members of the UN when Mr Netanyahu made this speech.

2. The view often expressed in the UN that Jewish settlements in the West Bank are illegal in international law ignores the fact that close settlement by Jews on West Bank land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes was to be encouraged and is legally sanctioned by the Treaty of Sevres, article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the UN Charter. Denying this vested legal right by unilaterally passing a resolution that seeks to negate the exercise of that right breaches article 80 of the UN Charter and is a denial of natural justice.

3. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 are the only legally enforceable resolutions of the United Nations binding on all parties to the Jewish- Arab conflict. These resolutions call for secure and recognized boundaries to be determined by the parties to the conflict. This can only be done in negotiations and not imposed unilaterally by any decision of either the General Assembly or the Security Council unless both Resolutions are repealed or amended. To do otherwise will bring the United Nations into disrepute, cause it to lose its authority and render its future rulings and decisions without force or effect.

4. The 1947 UN Partition Plan called for the establishment of a Jewish State and an Arab State in the balance of the area of the British Mandate still controlled by Great Britain in 1947 - after 77% of the Mandated territory had been granted independence by Great Britain in 1946 as an exclusively Arab state and was renamed the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. The Arab rejection of the UN partition proposal and the failure by the Arabs to create such a State between 1947-1967 must require the General Assembly to stipulate that recognition of any Arab state in 2011 is conditional upon recognition of Israel as the Jewish state in the balance of the land contained in the 1947 Partition Plan.

5. The PLO Charter - article 2 - declares that Palestine within the boundaries it had during the British Mandate is one indivisible territorial unit. Until this clause is unequivocally and irrevocably deleted from the Charter - the UN should not consider any application for recognition made by the PLO.

6. The Montevideo Convention 1933 prevents any consideration of the current application - since the proposed state does not fulfill the requirements of the Convention setting out the conditions for a State to possess before it can make a declaration of statehood and then seek to be recognized.

The UN should be seeking to enforce international law not subvert it.

The UN has learned from bitter experience in 1947 what can happen when the General Assembly proposes a solution to the Jewish-Arab conflict which one party accepts and the other party rejects.

Hopefully history will not be repeated in 2011. This will depend to a great degree on the final wording of any resolution. If it is not acceptable to both parties then violence and bloodshed is sure to follow.

The UN really needs to decide whether international law or the law of the jungle is to prevail.

Mr Netanyahu said in his press conference that the General Assembly is not “the place where Israel generally gets a reasonable hearing,” but it was nonetheless important to present Israel’s position.

The real question is - will anyone be listening or have they already made up their minds?

Palestine - Will Acceptance Ever Replace Rejection?

[Published 13 September 2011]

The expulsion of Israel’s ambassador from Turkey and the forced withdrawal of Israel’s entire diplomatic corps from Egypt have become the catalysts to ensure further virulent assaults on the Jewish people at the Durban 111 Conference on Racism to be held in New York next week and the UN meeting shortly thereafter to possibly consider a resolution calling for the recognition of a Palestinian Arab State.

Both of these meetings will set the stage for further violent confrontations between Israel and its neighbours unless steps are taken to end the Jewish people being singled out, vilified and dehumanised in an orgy of Jew-hatred to virtually the exclusion of any other human rights abuses taking place around the world at the very time these meetings are taking place.

In the circumstances attendees at both these meetings would do well to reflect that the world would be a very different place in 2011 - not only in the Middle East but world-wide - had the Arab League encouraged the Palestinian Arabs to accept any of the following opportunities to create a second Palestinian Arab State in former Palestine (in addition to Jordan):
1. When recommended by the UN General Assembly on November 29, 1947 pursuant to Resolution 181

2. At any time between 1948-1967 after all Jews living in Gaza, West Bank and East Jerusalem had been driven from their homes by six invading Arab armies in the 1948 War

3. When offered by Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Barak in 2001 during negotiations at Camp David chaired by President Clinton

4. When offered by Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in negotiations during 2008

The major common stumbling block that has seen these opportunities fly out the window has been - and still remains - the refusal of the Arabs to accept any Jewish sovereign presence in the Jewish people’s ancient biblical and modern day legally sanctioned homeland as designated by the League of Nations and the United Nations.

Continuing Arab hatred and resentment of the Jewish people daring to have the political and intestinal fortitude to lobby for and come home to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in their historic homeland after 2000 years of dispersion and persecution has become too bitter a pill for the Arabs to swallow.

Arab denial of any right to a Jewish homeland in former Palestine is writ large in the Hamas and PLO Charters.

Article 11 of the Hamas Charter declares:
“Palestine is an Islamic Waqf The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it. No Arab country nor the aggregate of all Arab countries, and no Arab King or President nor all of them in the aggregate, have that right, nor has that right any organization or the aggregate of all organizations, be they Palestinian or Arab, because Palestine is an Islamic Waqf throughout all generations and to the Day of Resurrection.”

Do those who call for the lifting of the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza share these views - which obviously were endorsed by Gazan Arabs themselves when voting Hamas into power?

Article 15 urges the slaughter of Jews by jihad:
“When our enemies usurp some Islamic lands, Jihad becomes a duty binding on all Muslims. In order to face the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews, we have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad. This would require the propagation of Islamic consciousness among the masses on all local, Arab and Islamic levels. We must spread the spirit of Jihad among the [Islamic] Umma, clash with the enemies and join the ranks of the Jihad fighters.”

Will this racist hatred rate a mention at Durban 111? Will those attending who have been seen embracing Hamas leaders and officials dare to utter a word of condemnation?

The PLO is scarcely better in its Jew-hating Charter.

Articles 1,2 and 3 make it clear that Jews have no national rights in former Palestine- which belongs to the Arabs and no one else.
Article 1:
Palestine is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people; it is an indivisible part of the Arab homeland, and the Palestinian people are an integral part of the Arab nation.

Article 2:
Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit.

Article 3:
The Palestinian Arab people possess the legal right to their homeland and have the right to determine their destiny after achieving the liberation of their country in accordance with their wishes and entirely of their own accord and will.

Whilst the Arabs constitute a nation, the same recognition is not extended to the Jews - as the PLO explicitly declares in Article 20:
“Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong.”

Will any member State at the UN demand the removal of this hate-filled and racist language from the PLO Charter as a condition of recognizing any Palestinian Arab State?

Featured speaker at Durban 111 will be Iranian President Ahmadinajad - who told Israel on August 26:
“Do not think that your existence will be recognized with the recognition of the Palestinian state. You have no place in our region and among our nations, and you will not be able to continue your ignominious life on even a small part of the Palestinian territories.”

Will Ahmadinajad’s appearance at the podium be marked by the same vociferous heckling that the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra received at the London Proms this week or will the delegates sit in silence as this Jew-hater extraordinaire continues his vile incitement against the Jews?

The refusal of the Arabs - and many of their allies such as Ahmadinajad - to accept the right of the Jewish people to independence in their ancient and biblical homeland will ensure the continuation of the 130 years old Jewish-Arab conflict.

Taking a stand at Durban 111 and the UN to demand Arab acceptance of Jewish rights to statehood - as the General Assembly made clear 64 years ago - must be the message that rings out loud and clear.

Unless this happens things are going to get far worse before they get better.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Palestine - Will The UN Endorse Ethnic Cleansing?

[Published 5 September 2011]

Two of the many intriguing matters facing the United Nations in dealing with any proposal to seek recognition of a Palestinian Arab State along the 1967 lines - are:
1. Who will make such application on behalf of the Palestinian Arabs?
2. What conditions will the United Nations demand to ensure that up to 500000 Jews living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem will not ultimately face arbitrary expulsion as a result of its decision?

Palestinian Authority President and PLO Chairman - Mahmoud Abbas - has stated that the PLO - not the Palestinian Authority - will be making the approach to the UN - telling a press conference:
“ Going to the UN does not mean the end of the PLO. It’s the PLO that will submit the application to the UN for recognition of a Palestinian state. The PLO will remain the protector of the rights of the Palestinians until the establishment of a Palestinian state and the complete end of occupation.”

Hamas is not a member of the PLO - but both are sworn to eliminating the State of Israel - the former by jihad, the latter by acquiring territory in stages as a prelude to a final assault on the Jewish State.

The PLO has made it abundantly clear that it is not prepared to accept the rule of international law - openly declaring in Article 20 of its Charter:
“The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void.”

Will United Nations members support such blatant and continuing disregard of international law by the PLO and fail to demand the PLO amend its Charter?

The PLO has also refused to acknowledge the connection of the Jewish people with their ancient biblical and legally sanctioned homeland by stating in Article 20 of its Charter:
“Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood. Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong."

Will the United Nations endorse any PLO approach whilst it exhibits Jew-hatred on such a scale?

The “complete end of the occupation” referred to by Abbas - even in the context of any two-state solution - means the ethnic cleansing of all Jews living in the newly recognized Palestinian State by forcibly expelling them from their homes where tens of thousands have lived for more than thirty years.

Their right to live there has been sanctioned in international law by Article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

Member States of the United Nations cannot close their ears or avert their eyes to what Abbas has made very clear:
“We have frankly said, and always will say: If there is an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, we won’t agree to the presence of one Israeli in it,”

Like Hitler - he is being truthful. Will the world be listening and responding this time round?

To make sure there was no misunderstanding or misinterpretation Abbas repeated his blunt warning:
“But when a Palestinian state is established, it would have no Israeli presence in it.”

Jews were ethnically cleansed from the West Bank and East Jerusalem following Jordan’s conquest of both areas in 1948 - until their return after the Six Day War in 1967.

Abbas has made it clear that he wants to return to the 1948 position - by doing as the Jordanians did - eliminating all signs of Jewish life in East Jerusalem and the West Bank by ethnic cleansing and by destroying Synagogues, desecrating holy sites and trashing Jewish cemeteries.

As the United Nations deliberates on a Palestinian State along the 1967 lines - it might do well to remember what happened the last time the Arabs occupied East Jerusalem from 1948-1967:
“After the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem was captured, the destruction, desecration and systematic looting of Jewish sites began and continued. 57 ancient synagogues (the oldest dated to the 13th century), libraries and centers of religious study were ransacked and 12 were totally and deliberately destroyed. Those that remained standing were defaced, used for housing of both people and animals. The city’s foremost Jewish shrine, the Western Wall, became a slum. Appeals were made to the United Nations and in the international community to declare the Old City to be an ‘open city’ and stop this destruction, but there was no response. This condition continued until Jordan lost control of Jerusalem in June 1967.

On the Mount of Olives, the Jordanian Arabs removed 38,000 tombstones from the ancient cemetery and used them as paving stones for roads and as construction material in Jordanian Army camps, including use as latrines. When the area was recaptured by Israel in 1967, graves were found open with the bones scattered. Parts of the cemetery were converted into parking lots, a filling station, and an asphalt road was built to cut through it…

The Hurva Synagogue, attributed to Rabbi Moses Ben Nahman (Ramban), was the main synagogue in Jerusalem in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries (and possibly much earlier), until the Ottomans closed it in 1589 because of Muslim incitement. It was burned by Arabs in 1721 (Hurva = destruction in Hebrew), but again rebuilt by Zionists in the 19th century, becoming the most prominent synagogue on the Jerusalem skyline. For that reason, when it was captured by the Arab Legion during the battle for Old Jerusalem in 1948, they dynamited it to show that they controlled the Jewish Quarter. When the Jews in New Jerusalem saw the Hurva burning, they knew that Jewish life in the Quarter had ended (again).”

The Hurva Synagogoue has now been rebuilt - and Israel is certainly not going to allow it to fall into hands that would seek to destroy it once again.

The United Nations faces yet another moment of truth as it is asked to replace direct negotiations by passing a resolution that does not have the approval of the conflicting parties - as last occurred in 1947.

Is the United Nations prepared to signal its willingness to endorse the expulsion of Jews from their current homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in flagrant violation of the decisions of the League of Nations and the United Nations Charter?

Those in the United Nations who would support such an outcome should hang their heads in shame.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Palestine - United Nations Faces The Music

[Published 30 August 2011]

The horrendous news of the bombing of the UN headquarters in Nigeria’s capital - Abuja - reportedly by a radical Islamist group - killing at least 19 people and wounding more than 60 other persons - has been rightly described by the United Nations Security Council as a “heinous crime”.

This is not the first time the UN has been deliberately targeted in the past decade by those who contemptuously dismiss the rule of law as the basic source governing relationships between people and states.

Seventeen U.N. civilian staff members were killed along with dozens of others in two terrorist car bombings that targeted U.N. and other premises in Algiers on December 11, 2007. The Abuja bombing came just days after the U.N. marked the eighth anniversary of the August 19, 2003 bombing of U.N. headquarters in Baghdad that killed 15 U.N. staff including top envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello and seven others.

The UN faces another particularly testing time in September as member states are forced to publicly declare their stance on a resolution calling for the recognition of Palestine as an independent and sovereign State.

If such a resolution seeks to determine the sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza - then this would amount to a total abrogation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 adopted unanimously on November 22, 1967.

Resolution 242 has underpinned all Arab-Israeli diplomacy for more than 30 years. Every major Arab-Israeli agreement refers to Resolution 242 starting from the 1979 Egyptian - Israeli Treaty of Peace.

The aim of the negotiations to be conducted by Israel with the Palestinian Authority under the 1993 Declaration Of Principles were intended to lead:
“to a permanent settlement based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). It is understood that the interim arrangements are an integral part of the whole peace process and that the negotiations on the permanent status will lead to the implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973)".
The Bush Roadmap - endorsed by America, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations itself also called for a settlement to be negotiated between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the following terms:
“A settlement, negotiated between the parties, will result in the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours.

The settlement will resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and end the occupation that began in 1967, based on the foundations of the Madrid Conference, the principle of land for peace,UNSCRs 242, 338 and 1397, agreements previously reached by the parties, and the initiative of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah - endorsed by the Beirut Arab League Summit - calling for acceptance of Israel as a neighbour living in peace and security,in the context of a comprehensive settlement.“

Israel, however, did not accept this provision and conditioned its acceptance of the Roadmap on:
“The removal of references other than 242 and 338 (1397, the Saudi Initiative and the Arab Initiative adopted in Beirut). A settlement based upon the road map will be an autonomous settlement that derives its validity therefrom. The only possible reference should be to Resolutions 242 and 338, and then only as an outline for the conduct of future negotiations on a permanent settlement.“

In a statement to the General Assembly on 15 October 1968, the PLO rejected Resolution 242, saying:
“the implementation of said resolution will lead to the loss of every hope for the establishment of peace and security in Palestine and the Middle East region”

In September 1993, the PLO agreed that Resolution 242 should be the basis for negotiations with Israel when it signed the Declaration of Principles.

Resolution 242 is therefore the lynch pin that legally binds, Israel, the Palestinian Authority and all members of the United Nations in the quest to resolve the Arab- Israeli conflict.
The Security Council,
Expressing its continuing concern with the grave situation in the Middle East,

Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security,

Emphasizing further that all Member States in their acceptance of the Charter of the United Nations have undertaken a commitment to act in accordance with Article 2 of the Charter,

Affirms that the fulfillment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:

Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;

Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;

Affirms further the necessity

For guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area;

For achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem;

For guaranteeing the territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area, through measures including the establishment of demilitarized zones;

Requests the Secretary General to designate a Special Representative to proceed to the Middle East to establish and maintain contacts with the States concerned in order to promote agreement and assist efforts to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement in accordance with the provisions and principles in this resolution;

Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the progress of the efforts of the Special Representative as soon as possible.
Adopted unanimously at the 1382nd meeting.

The main points to note concerning Resolution 242 were detailed by Dr Meir Rosenne - former legal advisor to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Member of the Israeli delegation to Camp David and a former Ambassador to France and the United States - in the following terms:
1. The USSR proposed on November 20, 1967, to include a clause requiring Israel to withdraw to the pre-war lines of June 5, 1967, but this language was rejected.

2. After Resolution 242 was adopted, the Soviet deputy foreign minister admitted:
“There is certainly much leeway for different interpretations that retain for Israel the right to establish new boundaries and to withdraw its troops only so far as the lines it judges convenient.”

3. Resolution 242 is not self-enforcing; Israel is not expected to unilaterally withdraw from territories to fulfill its terms. It requires direct negotiations between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

4. According to Resolution 242, there is no Israeli obligation to withdraw prior to the achievement of a comprehensive peace. Nor is there any requirement of Israel to withdraw fully from the territories it captured in 1967.

5. There is no reference to a Palestinian “right of return” in Resolution 242.

Additionally Article XXX1 (7) of the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip signed in Washington, D.C. on September 28, 1995 provides:
“Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations”

Should any UN Resolution by either the General Assembly or the Security Council attempt to circumvent direct negotiations as called for in Resolution 242 (and reinforced by the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap) - then the United Nations could find its authority and integrity irreparably and irretrievably damaged.

The UN would in such case be entering uncharted waters. It would be solely responsible for the consequences of its decision and open the floodgates for member States to ignore any other UN Security Council resolutions with impunity in the future.

Any such decision will be eagerly seized on as precedent by those who seek to undermine the rule of law and pursue the path of lawlessness.

The 193 members of the UN are soon to face the music in being asked to decide whether to throw Resolution 242 to the wind or stick to the written score.

Hopefully they make the right choice.

Palestine - Jerusalem Challenges The United Nations

[Published 19 August 2011]

Jerusalem’s continued existence as an undivided city will remain unaffected by any United Nations (UN) decision recognizing a Palestinian Arab State based on the June 1967 armistice lines.

This has been made very clear in a statement issued on 16 August by the Quartet - America, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations itself - which declares:
“Jerusalem in particular is one of the core issues that must be resolved through negotiations between the parties, which underscores the urgent need for the parties to resume serious and substantive talks.”

Should the UN member States disregard the Quartet’s warning, the likelihood of Israel agreeing to any subsequent negotiations over Jerusalem - or indeed any future Palestinian Arab state - would almost certainly evaporate.

The Quartet also affirmed:
“that unilateral action by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community.”
This is a clear warning to the Palestinian Authority that its unilateral quest to seek UN recognition of a State would be in breach of - and could well end any further negotiations under - the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap endorsed and fully supported by the Quartet for the last eight years.

International law is a primary concern of the UN.

The mandate for its activities in this field emanates from the Charter of the United Nations which, in its Preamble, sets the goal :
“to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained”.
There are three competing claims relating to Jerusalem that can only be resolved by direct negotiations - not unilaterally determined by the UN - if justice and respect for international law is to have any real meaning.

The three potential claimants are:
1. The Palestinian Arabs - who have never in recorded history exercised sovereign control in or over any parts of Jerusalem. They had a window of opportunity to do so between 1948-1967 - but did not make any claim during those 19 years.
2. Jordan - the last Arab occupier in Jerusalem between 1948-1967 - which relinquished all claims in 1988 - but whose 1994 peace treaty with Israel allows for a continuing Jordanian role in the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem.
3. The Jewish people - who are legally entitled to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in Jerusalem pursuant to article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the UN Charter.

On 30 July 1980 Israel’s Parliament passed a law declaring ” Complete and united Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.”

Israel’s declaration was subsequently declared “null and void” by the UN.

Jerusalem also opens up an additional legal minefield for the UN - since Jerusalem was never included in Security Council Resolution 242.

This was confirmed in a letter published in the New York Times on 12 March 1980 - written by the former US Ambassador to the UN Arthur Goldberg at the time Resolution 242 was passed - in which he stated:
“Resolution 242 in no way refers to Jerusalem, and this omission was deliberate. I wanted to make clear that Jerusalem was a discrete matter, not linked to the West Bank”

Goldberg also clarified in his letter that President Johnson’s policy at that time did not regard Jerusalem as occupied territory. That position was adopted at a later date under President Nixon at a time when there had been a change of Ambassadors at the United Nations.
“The facts are that I never described Jerusalem as occupied territory. Ambassador Yost did in his speech on July 1, 1969 under instructions from President Nixon, and his statement represented a departure from policy I, President Johnson and the Department of State pursued with respect to Jerusalem during the period of my tenure…”

Security Council Resolution 242 - calls for:
“Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;”

Even if the UN wants to dispute Goldberg’s claim and insist that Jerusalem was indeed included in Resolution 242 - then negotiations are still required to determine such secure and recognized boundaries - not unilateral declarations or resolutions by the United Nations.

Whilst America’s policy on Jerusalem and that of the Palestinian Arabs may change from time to time - Israel’s position remains unchanged.

Israel maintains that Jerusalem is - and will remain - the eternal and undivided capitol of Israel with free access to it - and all three monotheistic religions will enjoy complete freedom of worship.

President Carter’s decision to issue Sadat with a letter stating that America’s position was that East Jerusalem was occupied territory and thus the Fourth Geneva Convention would apply - almost wrecked the 1978 Camp David Accords - causing Moshe Dayan to tell President Carter:
“How could the Americans and the Egyptians argue that the Western Wall, the Hebrew University, the Hadassah Hospital, the Mount of Olives and Mount Scopus belonged to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan? Why was the Jewish Quarter of the Old City regarded as “conquered territory” held by us in contravention of international law? Simply because the Jordanian Arab Legion conquered it in 1948, destroyed its synagogues, killed or took captive the Jewish civilians who lived there? What was holy about the military conquest by the Jordanian army in 1948, and profane about our victory in the 1967 war - a war which was also started with Jordan’s attack on Israel? ( Professor Shlomo Slonim - “The Camp David Accords - A Collection of Articles and Lectures”)

Carter recanted and never issued his letter to Sadat. Instead three letters were appended to the Accords stating the respective positions of America, Israel and Egypt.

Dayan’s stirring words to President Carter and Goldberg’s revelations could become very relevant during the September sittings of the United Nations - should any attempt be made -without Israel’s agreement - to unilaterally unravel the unity of Jerusalem which has remained united and undivided since 1967.

The Quartet’s statement is therefore very timely and is to be applauded.

There is no alternative to negotiations over Jerusalem’s future - no matter how long, difficult and protracted they might be.

Risking the end of any such further negotiations by embarking on a unilateral journey to nowhere may prove once again that the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Will the UN rise to the challenge and defend the unity of Jerusalem against the latest attempt to divide it again? That is the pressing decision each of the member States of the UN will be forced to publicly declare should the matter come before the UN in September.

Palestine - Duping The United Nations

[Published 12 August 2011]

Dr Ghassan Khatib, the Special Envoy of the unelected and unconstitutional Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, last week addressed the Capital Jewish Forum in the Victorian Parliament House. He was introduced by Mr Izzat Abdulhadi, Palestinian Authority Head of Delegation to Australia.

Dr Khatib told his audience he was in Australia to lobby the Australian Government:
“ to start off the Palestinian official initiative that is bringing several Palestinians to several parts of the world.”

Hamas was apparently not part of this “Palestinian official initiative” as Dr Khatib later clarified when he said:
“the Palestinian Authority have decided to go the United Nations some time in the coming month, or few months,”

Interestingly, too - Dr Khatib seemed to be flagging that September might not necessarily be a firm date.

Dr Khatib is well aware that the person who sent him to Australia - Mahmoud Abbas- is not only President of the PA but is also Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and its largest factional member - Fatah.

The PLO makes it clear in Article 3 of its Charter that it is not interested in acquiring only a State in the West Bank and Gaza:
“The Palestinian Arab people possess the legal right to their homeland and have the right to determine their destiny after achieving the liberation of their country in accordance with their wishes and entirely of their own accord and will.”

Article 9 indicates that any approach to the United Nations is secondary to the PLO’s main objective:
“Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. Thus it is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase. The Palestinian Arab people assert their absolute determination and firm resolution to continue their armed struggle and to work for an armed popular revolution for the liberation of their country and their return to it. They also assert their right to normal life in Palestine and to exercise their right to self-determination and sovereignty over it.“

The Fatah constitution is equally strident in its terms declaring:
Article 5 - Liberating Palestine is a national obligation which necessities the materialistic and human support of the Arab Nation.

Article 6 - UN projects, accords and resolutions, or those of any individual which undermine the Palestinian people’s right in their homeland are illegal and rejected.
The PLO Charter echoes these sentiments in refusing to be bound by international law:
Article 19 - The partition of Palestine in 1947 and the establishment of the state of Israel are entirely illegal, regardless of the passage of time,

Article 20: - The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void.

So Dr Khatib’s boss wears many hats - which focus on the liberation of all of Palestine.

Yet Dr Khatib continued by stating that the first and main objective of the approach to the United Nations:
“is to try to ask the international community to have more direct and more effective (inaudible) in helping the Palestinians and Israelis achieving peace in the region.”

Given the above written objectives of the PLO and Fatah - one can only conclude Dr Khatib was being less than honest with his Australian audience.

The approach to the UN is without doubt the first step towards the stated goal of these organizations and Hamas - the elimination of the State of Israel - not the achievement of peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

Dr Khatib made it clear that the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap would be jettisoned when he said:
“But we think that the international community is invited to help launching different kind of a peace process—a peace process that has specific and that has agreed on terms of reference, including negotiating a two-state solution on the borders of 1967, and also a peace process that would enjoy a different level and kind of attention by the United Nation of the international community, whether it is the Security Council, whether it is the GA, or whatever that can be decided by the international community.”

Abandoning Oslo and the Roadmap by seeking the support of the United Nations and proposing a resolution that would circumvent Security Council Resolution 242 is a recipe for disaster that will exacerbate rather than help to end the conflict between Arabs and Jews that has gone on for the last 130 years.

Dr Khatib then expressed this view:
“I think that we over-negotiated this conflict. 19-20 years are not a short period.”

He is wrong - there is no alternative to continuing those negotiations - no matter how long they take - if a real peace is to be achieved and the threat of future war is to be averted.

If peace cannot be achieved by continuing these long running negotiations (which seems to be the PA view) then there is another alternative proposal to the two-state solution that can be readily achieved in the absence of peace - restoring the status quo as far as possible as existed at 5 June 1967 between Israel and Jordan.

Dr Khatib’s righteous indignation at alleged breaches of international law by Israel (which laws his own people are obviously free to reject) was delivered in the following manner:
“… the continued Israeli unilateral illegal activities in the Palestinian occupied territories of the kind that is violating the rights of the Palestinians, violating the international law, and more importantly, pre-empting the two-state solution, and I’m referring here particularly to the continued to the Israeli illegal settlement activities whereby the Palestinian land is being confiscated and the illegal Jewish settlements are being expanded.”

Somehow he overlooked informing his audience that:
1. The West Bank and Gaza are not “Palestinian occupied territories” or “Palestinian lands“. They are lands in which sovereignty is as yet undetermined

2. The two-state solution was rejected by the PA in 2000 and 2008 when Israel agreed to cede its claim to more than 90% of the West Bank and Gaza

3. Jewish settlement in the West Bank and Gaza is legally sanctioned by article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the UN Charter.

The road ahead is strewn with potholes. The United Nations is incapable of repairing them - only making them deeper.

Direct face-to-face negotiations between the PA and Israel - or the replacement of the PA by Jordan - remain the only ways forward.

Palestine - Is Obama Honouring The Bush Pledge?

[Published 5 August 2011]

A report this week [] claims that President Obama has now decided to honor the terms of a letter given by former President George Bush to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on 14 April 2004.

That letter can best be described as a pledge - given its contents and the circumstances in which it was written by President Bush to Prime Minister Sharon - who had also handed President Bush a letter at the same time setting out Israel’s proposal to unilaterally disengage from Gaza and part of the West Bank.

That fateful decision carried with it enormous risks to Israel’s security and possible trauma for the 8000 Israeli men women and children who were to be evacuated from their homes and businesses in Gaza where many had lived for more than three decades.

Those risks were soon translated into harsh realities as Hamas assumed power in Gaza within a few short years and indiscriminately targeted Israeli population centers with thousands of missiles. Now Hamas is busily engaged in building an arsenal of far more deadly weapons in anticipation of a future showdown with Israel.

Many of those evacuated Israeli civilians indeed experienced matrimonial and psychological breakdowns and financial ruin as a result of the disengagement.

President Bush was well aware of those risks - but appreciated at the same time the opportunity such disengagement would offer to progress his Roadmap when he told Prime Minister Sharon:
“We welcome the disengagement plan you have prepared, under which Israel would withdraw certain military installations and all settlements from Gaza, and withdraw certain military installations and settlements in the West Bank.

These steps described in the plan will mark real progress toward realizing my June 24, 2002 vision, and make a real contribution toward peace. ...The United States appreciates the risks such an undertaking represents. I therefore want to reassure you on several points.“

The reassurances President Bush gave were:
1. The United States would do its utmost to prevent any attempt by anyone to impose any other plan.

2. The United States reiterated its steadfast commitment to Israel’s security, including secure, defensible borders, and to preserve and strengthen Israel’s capability to deter and defend itself, by itself,

3. Israel would retain its right to defend itself against terrorism, including to take actions against terrorist organizations.

4. The United States was strongly committed to Israel’s security and well-being as a Jewish state.

5. It seemed clear that an agreed, just, fair, and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement would need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in Israel.

6. As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338. In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it was unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations would be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution had reached the same conclusion. It was realistic to expect that any final status agreement would only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.

The Bush letter was overwhelmingly endorsed by the United States House of Representatives and Senate on 23 June 2004 when the following Resolution was passed by a vote of 407-9:
“Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress strongly endorses the principles articulated by President Bush in his letter dated April 14, 2004, to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon which will strengthen the security and well-being of the State of Israel; and supports continuing efforts with others in the international community to build the capacity and will of Palestinian institutions to fight terrorism, dismantle terrorist organizations, and prevent the areas from which Israel has withdrawn from posing a threat to the security of Israel.”

President Obama has been very coy in publicly acknowledging that he intended to honor the Bush Pledge.

In 2009, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said there was no acknowledgment of any such agreement in the official negotiating record between Israel and the Bush administration - asserting .
“There is no memorialization of any informal and oral agreements. If they did occur, which of course people say they did, they did not become part of the official position of the U.S. government,”

Why President Obama should have got his Secretary of State to try and weasel out of honoring the Bush letter was very puzzling. That letter was given to assure Israel of America’s support as it unilaterally withdrew from Gaza and part of the West Bank. It set out clearly and unequivocally America’s position in relation to the outcome it would support in future negotiations under the Roadmap between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Having been overwhelmingly endorsed by the Congress this letter could not be dismissed as some private or secret agreement made at the whim of a President that could be negated by a subsequent President. For better or worse it had become part of American policy that would need to be honored and respected by President Obama.

Ha’aretz journalist Ari Shavit issued a warning about the failure of Obama to honor this letter when he wrote in 2010:
“When it emerges that an incumbent American president is denying a commitment given by a previous American president and adopted by a large majority of the two houses of Congress,Israel will pass from a state of moral inferiority to one of moral superiority.

This is not merely a tactical matter. To make peace with the Palestinians Israel will have to take on itself almost survival-threatening risks. For Israel to take such risks it will need solid American guarantees. If the U.S. tears to shreds its previous guarantees, there is no value to future guarantees it might provide. So the matter of American credibility is fundamental.”

Hopefully the President has now come to the same conclusion.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Palestine - Ending The Pretending - Facing The Facts

[Published 29 July 2011]

The debate in the Security Council this week on the situation in the Middle East was the last before the opening of the sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly - affording the United States an opportunity to state its position and issue a warning to those thinking of pushing for the recognition of a Palestinian State in September.

United States Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN - Rosemary DiCarlo - stated America's position unequivocally and unconditionally when she stated:
"My government has been clear all along. The only place where permanent status issues can be resolved, including borders and territory, is in negotiations between the parties-not in international fora such as the United Nations."

She warned the Security Council:
"Let there be no doubt: symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September will not create an independent Palestinian state. The United States will not support unilateral campaigns at the United Nations in September or any other time."

A viable and sustainable peace agreement can only be achieved by mutual agreement of the parties themselves. Only through serious and responsible negotiations can the parties achieve the shared goal of two states for two peoples, with a secure, Jewish state of Israel living side by side in peace and security with an independent, contiguous and viable state of Palestine.

This is the goal. This is the vision. But there are no short-cuts."

The United States has apparently given up on such a Palestinian State being democratic - contrary to the following provision of the Bush Roadmap:
"A two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be achieved through an end to violence and terrorism, when the Palestinian people have a leadership acting decisively against terror and willing and able to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty and through Israel's readiness to do what is necessary for a democratic Palestinian state to be established"

This seems a strange step backwards in the face of current calls for democracy and the end to despotic long term rulers in many Arab countries including Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Syria and Yemen.

In the absence of free and fair elections in the West Bank and Gaza - Israel is entitled to be concerned at the current - and future - political structures existing in both territories where:
1. political power is divided between separate governments headed by Hamas and Fatah and they remain unable to reconcile their political differences.
2 the constitutions of both Hamas and Fatah call for the destruction of Israel and
3. the date for fresh elections keeps being postponed and continues to remain a perpetual pipedream.

Successful negotiations to conclude a binding and enforceable peace agreement are not remotely possible until the Palestinian Arabs sort themselves out and elect a Government that is prepared to:
1. recognize Israel as the Jewish State; and
2. outlaw any political party that calls for the destruction of Israel.

Ms DiCarlo offered little comfort to the Palestinian Arabs when she stated:
“Let me also reiterate that, like every U.S. administration for decades, we do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity.“
This was a far cry from the misleading claim often made by the Palestinian Arabs and other countries that the settlements are illegal in international law.

International law - in particular article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter - is very clear on recognizing the right of the Jewish people to close settlement on the land comprising the West Bank and Gaza - including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes. These vested rights continue uninterrupted and inviolate in 2011.

Pursuing such rights whilst negotiations are ongoing is certainly a legitimate area for concern.

However Israel did place a ten month moratorium on settlement activity - which expired on 26 September 2010 - to induce the Palestinian Authority to return to the negotiating table - but they waited till the death knell to respond.

Additionally Israel’s offers to cede its legal claim to more than 90% of the West Bank and Gaza in 2001 and 2008 fell on deaf ears. Any suggestion that ongoing settlement activity is an obstacle to peace - in just 1.7% of the West Bank or 5-8% if you count the area encompassed by the security barrier - is risible.

Perhaps ominously for the Palestinian negotiators Ms DiCarlo issued this warning:
“The fate of existing settlements must be dealt with by the parties, along with other permanent, status issues.”

The Palestinian Authority has made it clear that any Palestinian State to be created must be exclusively Arab and a Jew free zone. Its call for such a State to be recognized within the 1967 armistice lines means 500000 Jews will have to pack up and leave their homes and businesses established over the last four decades. This is not going to happen as the result of any negotiated peace agreement.

Indeed what can only happen is the scenario contained in the letter from President Bush to Israel’s then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on 14 April 2004.
“As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338. In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centres, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion.

It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.”

Like it or not the Palestinian Arabs - and those who support their quest for an independent State - will have no option but to accept the division of the West Bank between Israel and any Palestinian State. The longer they dither the more likely new realities will emerge on the ground to make that division less attractive.

The Palestinian Arabs could have had their State in all of the West Bank and Gaza at any time between 1948-1967, when Jews were banned from living there for the first time in the recorded history of the West Bank and Gaza. One can only shake one’s head in disbelief at the opportunity then missed during those 19 years.

Returning to that unique situation is never going to happen again. Believing it will only prolongs the conflict between Jews and Arabs and ensures further needless death, pain, suffering and trauma on both sides.

Palestine - United Nations Needs Reality Check

[Published 22 July 2011]

Speculation continues to mount that the United Nations (UN) will be approached in September to unilaterally recognize a Palestinian Arab State in the West Bank and Gaza for the first time in recorded history - without regard to considering the right in international law of the Jewish people to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in the same area.

America is expected to veto any such move in the Security Council and the matter is then slated to go to the General Assembly for discussion and to possibly pass a resolution recognizing a 22nd Arab State.

It is absolutely vital for the UN to conduct a reality check before it makes any such decision.

It needs to be mindful that such a decision could lead to the outbreak of hostilities between Israel and the Palestinian Authority who have unsuccessfully sought to resolve sovereignty in the West Bank and Gaza for the last 17 years in accordance with the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap - and lead to the termination of both of these negotiating processes as a result of any such recognition by the UN.

The following matters need to be taken into account:
1. Any attempt to recognize such a state must accord with international law - in particular the Montevideo Convention 1933. On any reading of this Convention the conditions precedent to declaring such a state cannot possibly be met by the Palestinian Authority, the PLO, Fatah or Hamas.

2. The territory claimed is part of the territory which Jews were given the vested legal right to settle under article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the UN Charter. For the UN to act in contravention of its own Charter as well as Security Council Resolution 242 would be disastrous for world order, peace and upholding the rule of law.

3. Applying the legal principle of unjust enrichment - the UN should refrain from passing any resolution recognizing any such Palestinian Arab State for the following reasons:
(a) Such a state was rejected by the Arabs - but accepted by the Jews - when offered by the Peel Commission in 1937 and by the United Nations itself in 1947

(b) No such state was created between 1948-1967 in precisely the area now being claimed - despite all the Jews living there having been expelled in the 1948 War following the invasion of Palestine by six Arab armies. Such a state could have been created at any time in those 19 years by the simple stroke of an Arab League pen

(c) Offers by Israel in 2001 and 2008 to cede its claim to more than 90% of the territory were rejected by the Palestinian Authority

(d) Recognizing such a state without a concluded peace agreement will not end the conflict

(e) 500000 Jews presently living in the territory would be under threat of annihilation or expulsion in gross violation of their rights under international humanitarian law

(f) The Palestinian Arabs have refused to abide by international law as Article 20 of the PLO Charter makes clear:
“The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void.”

(g) Great Britain was forced to finally relinquish its Mandate in May 1948 after Great Britain’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs had declared in a speech to the House of Commons on 18 February 1947:
“His Majesty’s Government have been faced with an irreconcilable conflict of principles. There are in Palestine about 1,200,000 Arabs and 600,000 Jews. For the Jews the essential point of principle is the creation of a sovereign Jewish State. For the Arabs, the essential point of principle is to resist to the last the establishment of Jewish sovereignty in any part of Palestine. “
This racist attitude has been maintained unchanged for the last 130 years and is the root cause of the inability to end the conflict. Until the PLO and Hamas revoke their Charters calling for the destruction of Israel - the UN should refuse to entertain passing any resolution recognizing any Palestinian Arab state.

(h) The UN should reflect on the consequences of the refusal of the Arabs to accept the 1947 UN Partition Plan as detailed in the following summation by Great Britain at the time:
“This plan was accepted in principle by the majority of the Jews, but the Arabs announced their intention of resisting it by every means within their power and were promised full support in their resistance by Egypt, Iraq, the Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Transjordan and the Yemen. While this plan was still being discussed, and before the vote was taken. His Majesty’s Government repeatedly emphasised that, in the absence of agreement by both Arabs and Jews, they would not themselves enforce it and announced their intention to withdraw all British forces from Palestine by 1st August, 1948.”

The threat to world peace ever since and the hundreds of thousands of dead, injured and traumatised victims - both Arabs and Jews - over the past 63 years should not be rewarded by granting what was available and rejected in 1947 and the following 19 years.

Only direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs or another Arab interlocutor can now resolve the conflict. Too much water has passed under the bridge since the Palestinian Arabs frittered away the 20 year window of opportunity to have their own State.

The UN should insist the parties return to the negotiating table without preconditions and continue negotiating under the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap or any other proposal that is mutually acceptable as the basis for negotiations.

Attempting to unilaterally impose a solution without the consent of both parties is a recipe for disaster and will open the UN to similar demands from the myriad of independent and secessionist movements around the world that have been struggling for self-determination in the backyards of many of the UN member States for many decades.

The membership of the UN in 2011 is very different to that existing in 1947. In 1947 there were only 57 members of the UN of whom 33 voted in favour of the Partition Resolution, 13 voted against, 10 abstained and 1 was absent. Today there are 193 members and each has one vote.

They should ponder very carefully how that vote should be exercised and the consequences for world order and peace - and perhaps even the future of the UN and their own existence - if they make the wrong choice.

Palestine - Quartet Misses The Beat

[Published 15 July 2011]

The utter futility inherent in pursuing the two- state solution - the creation of a 22nd Arab State between Israel and Jordan - was brought home this week when the most powerful negotiating team ever assembled in history - the Quartet - was unable to come up with a jointly acceptable statement to persuade Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to resume direct negotiations.

The Quartet comprises America, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.

The two day meeting of the Quartet in Washington was attended by US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, and Quartet special envoy to the Middle East Tony Blair.

The player out of tune was apparently Sergev Lavrov,

He reportedly prevented the Quartet from issuing a demand that the PA acknowledge Israel as the Jewish State as the basis for negotiations in exchange for Israel’s acceptance of the 1949 Armistice lines. He also reportedly refused to refrain from raising the proposed PA statehood bid at the UN in September.

It is this kind of pussyfooting around that encourages the PA to maintain its rejectionist stance.

Israel is the Jewish State referred to in the United Nations 1947 Partition Plan which provided:
“Independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem, set forth in Part III of this Plan, shall come into existence in Palestine two months after the evacuation of the armed forces of the mandatory Power has been completed but in any case not later than 1 October 1948. The boundaries of the Arab State, the Jewish State, and the City of Jerusalem shall be as described in Parts II and III below.”

The Soviet Union voted in favor of this resolution. Russia has already seen more than one million Russian Jews of Jewish origin emigrate from Russia to Israel in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Why Mr Lavrov should be reluctant to acknowledge Israel as the Jewish State in these circumstances seems very curious indeed.

Certainly the PA has railed against making any such concession. This has been one of the major stumbling blocks to resolving the conflict that firstly the Oslo Accords and then the Quartet-sponsored Reagan Roadmap were designed to end.

PA resistance to acknowledge the existence of a Jewish State is writ large in the Charter of the Palestine Liberation Organization which contains the following racist and Jew-hating provisions:
“Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood. Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong. “ (Article 20)

“Israel is the instrument of the Zionist movement, and geographical base for world imperialism placed strategically in the midst of the Arab homeland to combat the hopes of the Arab nation for liberation, unity, and progress. Israel is a constant source of threat vis-a-vis peace in the Middle East and the whole world. Since the liberation of Palestine will destroy the Zionist and imperialist presence and will contribute to the establishment of peace in the Middle East, the Palestinian people look for the support of all the progressive and peaceful forces and urge them all, irrespective of their affiliations and beliefs, to offer the Palestinian people all aid and support in their just struggle for the liberation of their homeland.” (Article 22)

It really is time the Quartet took a stance and told the unelected and unconstitutional PA President - Mahmoud Abbas - who also is Chairman of the PLO and head of its largest faction - Fatah - that maintaining these provisions in the PLO Charter pose insurmountable obstacles to peace.

The Quartet had the opportunity to do this in Washington this week and was simply not up to the task.

Tony Blair had explained what the Quartet hoped to achieve when he stated on 26 June:
“I actually think this is a moment where we need to be quite bold, take the initiative and try and set out a framework for revitalising the negotiation. And if you did that and it succeeded, by the way, you completely transform the situation.”

Blair continued:
“What we’re working is to see whether it’s possible to get a framework of principles that could guide a negotiation. Because the problem at the moment is that the Palestinians particularly don’t want to go back into a negotiation with an Israeli government they frankly don’t really trust, unless they are assured that the negotiation is going to be steered in a way that produces something. So, the question is, and this is the relevance of President’s Obama’s speech and the various Quartet statements, the question is can we, as a – as a quartet, as an international community get an agreed situation as to – as to what’s the framework within which you then have a negotiation.”

Any such boldness and initiative disappeared down the drain this week.

Israel has already made it perfectly clear it was ready to sit down and negotiate with the PA without preconditions. The PA refuses to do so. That is its perfect right - but it must be made aware there is a price to pay.

The quickest way to get both parties to negotiate is to let the PA know in no uncertain terms that the failure to negotiate unconditionally and immediately will result in the Quartet walking away and leaving the parties to their own devices.

Seven years of failed diplomacy by the Quartet has to come to an end at some time.

The Roadmap is negotiations based. By failing to get Israel and the PA to resume those negotiations - the two-state solution, Oslo, the Roadmap and the Quartet will continue to founder to their inevitable denouement should the PA unilaterally approach the UN in September.

Only firm and decisive action by the Quartet can have any chance of stopping this happening.

Given its poor performance this week the Quartet has not done its prestige or influence any good. It has only confirmed itself as being out of tune and out of time.

Palestine - The Kiss Of Death

[Published 8 July 2011]

Jordan’s King Abdullah is clearly worried about the future direction of his country - if developments over recent weeks are any indication.

His Majesty told the Washington Post on 16 June:
“2011 will be, I think, a very bad year for peace, Although we will continue to try to bring both sides to the table, I am the most pessimistic I have been in 11 years.”

Whilst the Palestinian Authority refuses to resume negotiations with Israel - any hope of peacefully resolving sovereignty in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza will deteriorate and the King‘s pessimism will become self-fulfilling.

The absence of any such negotiations impacts on Jordan (known as Transjordan until 1950) because of its following historic, geographic and demographic ties with the West Bank and East Jerusalem:
1. Jordan comprises 78% of former Palestine - whilst Israel comprises 17%. The remaining 5% comprises the West Bank and Gaza.

2. Jordan’s population is overwhelmingly comprised of Arabs (or their descendants) who fled the invasion of Palestine by six Arab armies (including Jordan) in 1948.

3. Jordan was the last Arab occupier of the West Bank and East Jerusalem from 1948-1967 - driving out all the Jews who had lived there prior to 1948.

4. In 1950 a joint parliament comprised equally of members from the West Bank and Transjordan voted to unify the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Transjordan into one state which was renamed Jordan - and it remained so unified until the loss of the West Bank to Israel in the 1967 Six Day War. Only Great Britain and Pakistan recognized such union but it flourished unchallenged for 17 years.

5. West Bank Arab residents became Jordanian citizens and enjoyed that status from 1950 until 1988 - when Jordan finally relinquished all claims to the West Bank - but not its custodianship of the holy sites in East Jerusalem.

6. Jordan has kept its territorial claims alive to the West Bank and East Jerusalem as a result of clause 2 [A] of Annex 1 (a) of the peace treaty it signed with Israel in 1994. Sovereignty in all or part of the West Bank and East Jerusalem could be claimed by Jordan at any time under this clause - with Israel‘s concurrence - notwithstanding Jordan’s earlier repudiation in 1988. Any renewed claim would not result in a breach of the terms of Jordan’s peace treaty with Israel.

King Abdullah’s pessimism has no doubt been also heightened as Jordan has become increasingly caught up in the turbulence spreading throughout Arab countries in the region.

Thousands of Jordanians demonstrated on 1 July in the cities of Irbid, Maan, Karak and Tafileh, in addition to the capital, Amman, demanding transparency and an end to corruption. The number of participants has been increasing in recent weeks, organizers and witnesses have reportedly said, and the slogans have taken on a notable harshness.

Unrest of any kind cannot be accepted kindly by King Abdullah. It could well grow into a call for the removal of the Hashemite ruling dynasty in Jordan and its replacement by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) - as was last attempted by Yasser Arafat in 1970 when thousands of deaths and injuries occurred and the PLO was expelled to Lebanon.

The PLO claim to Jordan still remains clearly expressed in unequivocal terms in the PLO Charter which states in Clause 2:
“Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate is an indivisible territorial unit.”

Jordan remained part of the British Mandate from 1920-1946 until Great Britain purported to grant it independence in apparent breach of Clause 5 of the Mandate which provided:
“The Mandatory shall be responsible for seeing that no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of the Government of any foreign Power. “

Statements made by Arab political leaders including the late Yasser Arafat and the late King Hussein of Jordan acknowledge that Jordan is part of Palestine.

PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas however was quick to assure Jordan he had no intention of a PLO takeover when he met a delegation of Jordanian parliamentarians in Ramallah on 6 July.

Abbas reiterated the Palestinian people would turn down any proposal that involves “resettling Palestinian refugees at the expense of Jordan”, stressing that Jordan is for Jordanians and Palestine is for Palestinians.

Given the clear terms of Clause 2 of the PLO Charter - and the composition of Jordan’s population - Abbas’ statement certainly makes intriguing reading.

Abbas appears to have been motivated in giving this assurance hoping to change Jordan’s view - as expressed by a senior Jordanian official on 29 June to UAE based al-Bayan - that Jordan would vote against recognition of a Palestinian Arab state scheduled to be put before the UN General Assembly in September.

The official issued this further warning:
“Jordan’s top national interests will be in danger if the Palestinian Authority declares statehood unilaterally – especially in everything related to the issue of refugees, water, Jerusalem, and the borders,”

No doubt the Abbas assurance was hoping to change Jordan’s view - which could have disastrous consequences for Abbas should he seek United Nations recognition in September.

The Hashemites have been around far too long to fall for this sudden PLO show of affection.

The Hashemites have astutely ruled in Jordan for over 90 years and have preserved Jordan as an independent and exclusively Arab State in 78% of Palestine since 1946.

The Hashemites - together with Israel - have been the stable and constant political influences in the region which has otherwise known nothing but turmoil since the League of Nations unanimously endorsed the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home in Palestine in 1922.

Should Abbas refuse to return to the negotiating table then Jordan remains the only Arab interlocutor able to negotiate the future sovereignty of the West Bank and East Jerusalem with Israel.

As the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine and the signatories to a peace agreement that has held fast for the last 17 years - Jordan and Israel have the credentials and the clout to peacefully resolve sovereignty of the remaining 5% of Palestine that still remains unallocated between them - and to guarantee that any agreement between them is honored and enforced.

Believing any Abbas assurance that the PLO does not covet a takeover of Jordan is tantamount to King Abdullah accepting the kiss of death

Palestine - Testing The World's Patience

[Published 2 July 2011]

The Palestinian Authority headed by an unelected President - Mahmoud Abbas - and an unelected Prime Minister - Salam Fayyad - continue to live in a fantasy dream world.

Talks to replace the Fayyad Government with yet another unelected Government comprising the two arch rival Palestinian factions - Hamas and Fatah - continue to founder despite the pomp and fanfare that accompanied the signing of a heads of agreement between them in Cairo on 4 May.

On 29 June, Fatah and Hamas were reported to have agreed to delay the formation of the unity government until after the expected United Nations vote on Palestinian Arab statehood in September. The official Saudi Press Agency said PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas relayed the proposal to Hamas through Turkey, which has reportedly sought to resolve obstacles to reconciliation.

This delay comes as no surprise. Turkey is wasting its time trying to remove the insurmountable obstacles to the formation of such a unity government.

Any idea that Hamas would join a government of national unity with Fatah to seek recognition in the United Nations of a second Arab state in just 5% of former Palestine is an illusion.

For Hamas it is 100% of former Palestine or nothing.

Hamas - The Islamic Resistance Movement - makes its sworn objective of creating an Islamic State in all of former Palestine very clear in Article 11 of its Charter:
"The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it. No Arab country nor the aggregate of all Arab countries, and no Arab King or President nor all of them in the aggregate, have that right, nor has that right any organization or the aggregate of all organizations, be they Palestinian or Arab, because Palestine is an Islamic Waqf throughout all generations and to the Day of Resurrection."

Fatah on the other hand seeks to create a secular state in all of former Palestine as is made clear in articles 12 and 13 of its Constitution :
"Article 12: Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.

Article 13: Establishing an independent democratic state with complete sovereignty on all Palestinian lands, and Jerusalem is its capital city, and protecting the citizens’ legal and equal rights without any racial or religious discrimination."

The Palestinian Authority (PA) - the love child conceived by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1993 - remains captive to the objectives of the PLO - which believes the liberation of former Palestine can be achieved in stages by first regaining a territorial foothold in the West Bank and Gaza as the prelude to a final all out assault on Israel and Jordan.

This is made clear in articles 1 and 9 of the PLO Charter:
Article 1: Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit.

Article 9: Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. This it is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase. The Palestinian Arab people assert their absolute determination and firm resolution to continue their armed struggle and to work for an armed popular revolution for the liberation of their country and their return to it . They also assert their right to normal life in Palestine and to exercise their right to self-determination and sovereignty over it."

British Mandate Palestine comprised what is today known as Jordan, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza - and the PLO claims all of it.

The PA is nothing more than a negotiating front for the PLO. The PA lacks any real independent authority, political credibility or the ability to conclude a peace treaty with Israel that would be permanently binding on the Palestinian Arabs.

The PA is captive to the aims and ambitions of Hamas and the PLO - which itself is dominated by Fatah and does not include Hamas among its members.

The PA President - Mahmoud Abbas - is totally conflicted as head of both the PLO and Fatah as well..

In the face of this overwhelming commonality of interest between Hamas, Fatah and the PLO to get rid of both the Jews in Israel and the Hashemites in Jordan - one must ask why the United Nations could possibly believe that any approach by the politically neutered PA to recognize a Palestinian Arab State in the West Bank and Gaza could advance the cause of peace and end a conflict that has lasted 130 years.

The Palestinian Arabs have passed up countless opportunities to achieve their own state in the West Bank and Gaza during the last 74 years - and on some occasions in even more territory than that - in:
1937 - when recommended by the Peel Commission

1947 - when recommended by the United Nations

1948-1967 - when such a state could have been created by the stoke of an Arab League pen after all the Jews living there had been driven out

1950 - when the West Bank Arabs instead chose to unify with Jordan

2001 and 2008 - when offers by Israel to cede sovereignty in more than 90% of the West Bank were rejected by the PA

2005 - when Israel disengaged and evacuated all its citizens and military forces from Gaza

Any United Nations decision to recognize such a state in 2011 would fly in the face of international law - particularly the Montevideo Convention 1933 - and open up the United Nations to demands to recognize similar claims for independence and secession by scores of other groups agitating for self-determination within many of the member states of the United Nations.

The United Nations should make it clear that until the Palestinian Arabs speak as one and declare their intention is not to eliminate Israel and Jordan - any thoughts of revisiting a proposal made by this very organization and rejected 63 years ago will not be entertained again.

The world has bent the knee for far too long trying to do appease the Palestinian Arabs. It is time for the Palestinian Arabs to clean out the stables and get a single unified government which is prepared to sign an unconditional peace treaty declaring its readiness to recognize the sovereignty and independence of Israel and Jordan.

Until this happens the United Nations would be well advised to turn down any PA approach in September.

Palestine - Forget Reconciliation Between Hamas And Fatah

[Published 26 June 2011]

The much vaunted reconciliation between rival Palestinian Arab groups Hamas and Fatah still remains a mirage almost two months after the widely publicized signing of a reconciliation agreement in Cairo between the two groups on 4 May.

Really no more than a heads of agreement - there has still been no demonstrable progress on any of the matters to be implemented under that agreement.

Ostensibly the logjam has been caused by the parties being unable to agree on a Prime Minister to head the new government of reconciliation until fresh elections are held - supposedly on 4 May 2012.

Fatah has nominated the Palestinian Authority’s current Prime Minister Salam Fayyad - whose appointment has been vehemently opposed by Hamas - and for good reason.

Hamas’s Ismail Haniyeh was nominated as prime minister on 16 February 2006 following the Hamas victory in the elections held on 25 January 2006. He was formally presented to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on 20 February 2006 and was sworn in 29 March 2006.

On 14 June 2007, Abbas dismissed Haniyeh and appointed Fayyad in his place. This followed a bitter internecine struggle between Hamas and Fatah that resulted in Hamas gaining control of Gaza culminating in the ICRC estimating that 118 Gazans had been killed and 550 wounded in just the previous week’s struggle for control of Gaza.

The appointment of Fayyad to replace Haniyeh has been challenged as illegal, because under the Palestinian Basic Law, the President of the Palestinian Authority may dismiss a sitting prime minister, but may not appoint a replacement without the approval of the Palestinian Legislative Council. According to the law, until a new prime minister is thus appointed, the outgoing prime minister heads a caretaker government. Fayyad’s appointment was never placed before, or approved, by the Legislative Council.

For this reason, Haniyeh has continued to operate in Gaza, and been recognised by a large number of Palestinians as the legitimate acting prime minister.

Anis al-Qasem - the Palestinian constitutional lawyer who drafted the Basic Law, is among those who has publicly declared the appointment of Fayyad to be illegal.

Certainly the appointment of a mutually acceptable Prime Minister is an issue - but there are other far more critical problems threatening the likelihood of reconciliation ever being implemented.

A report prepared by the Cairo Institute For Human Rights Studies in December 2009 titled “Bastion of Immunity, Mirage of Reform” details the enormous challenges faced by Hamas and Fatah in reconciling their differences:
“Under the cover of the war in Gaza, Hamas embarked on several repressive measures targeting Fatah members, figures who oppose Hamas’ rule, and suspected collaborators with Israel, and it is suspected that dozens of people were killed, either shot to death or as a result of torture. Hamas personnel also broke the legs and arms of dozens of other people to compel them to stay in their homes. Also, some government employees in Gaza were replaced with Hamas loyalists.

In the West Bank, under the authority of Fatah, hundreds of Hamas sympathizers remain in detention; it is thought that at least two of the detainees have died as a result of torture. The West Bank authorities fired civil servants and teachers suspected of Hamas sympathies, while the salaries of thousands of employees of the Palestinian authority inside the Gaza Strip were suspended. Licensing for associations and companies in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip is now preceded by a security check,and those organizations that have affiliations with the “wrong” party are refused Licenses.”

Rectifying this reprehensible conduct on both sides is virtually only mentioned in passing in Article 4B5 of the 4 May reconciliation agreement in these bland and impersonal terms:
“To resolve the civil and administrative problems that resulted from the division.”

An unknown number of political prisoners held by both sides continue to languish in prisons as a result of Hamas and Fatah being obviously unable to agree on their release.

Matters such as compensating families for the loss of their family members murdered and tortured or who lost their jobs will also need to be resolved if true reconciliation is to be achieved.

Other fundamental doctrinal issues also indicate the unrealistic possibility of reconciliation.

They centre around the provisions of Article 13 and Article 27 of the Hamas Covenant 1988

Article 13 declares:
“There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavours.”

Hamas could hardly agree to be part of a Government seeking to approach the United Nations in September to declare a Palestinian Arab State in only 5% of former Palestine. Abandoning its stated goal of securing sovereignty in 100% of former Palestine would defeat the raison d’etre for its very existence.

Article 27 poses even bigger problems for the mooted reconciliation by making it clear that Hamas is opposed to a secular State of Palestine as endorsed by the Palestine Liberation Organization - of which Fatah is the controlling factional member - whilst Hamas is not even a member:
“Secularism completely contradicts religious ideology. Attitudes, conduct and decisions stem from ideologies.

That is why, with all our appreciation for the Palestinian Liberation Organization - and what it can develop into - and without belittling its role in the Arab-Israeli conflict, we are unable to exchange the present or future Islamic Palestine with the secular idea. The Islamic nature of Palestine is part of our religion and whoever takes his religion lightly is a loser. The day the Palestinian Liberation Organization adopts Islam as its way of life, we will become its soldiers, and fuel for its fire that will burn the enemies.”

The struggle for the hearts and the minds of the Palestinian Arabs is set to continue for a long time - whilst these fundamental differences of philosophy divide Hamas and Fatah. Reconciling these two conflicting viewpoints in a united Government seems impossible to achieve.

The dispute about who will be Prime Minister pales into insignificance compared to these fundamental and deeply held positions.

Only an election can clear the air between Hamas and Fatah and determine which should govern. The likelihood of this happening in the current circumstances is very remote.