[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.The PLO Charter echoes these sentiments in refusing to be bound by international law:
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.
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.