[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?