[Published 8 November 2011]
Amid all the hogwash that passes for political commentary - it is apparent that the 15 members of the Security Council are facing a huge dilemma in deciding whether to recommend the admission of Palestine to the United Nations as its 194th member - after deliberating on the application now for more than six weeks.
The lengthy delay has nothing to do with the supposed closeness of the vote. Rather it has to deal with proper scrutiny of the application in accordance with the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice delivered on 28 May 1948.
Palestine’s application to the UN under Article 4(1) of the UN Charter has been made by Mahmoud Abbas as President of Palestine and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization - which is entirely different to that made to UNESCO under Article II (2) of the UNESCO constitution
Stringent conditions must be complied with when seeking to join the UN - as the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice clearly set out:
“The requisite conditions are five in number: to be admitted to membership in the United Nations, an applicant must
(i) be a State;
(ii) be peace-loving;
(iii) accept the obligations of the Charter;
(iv) be able to carry out these obligations; and
(v) be willing to do so. “
The Court further drew attention to Rule 60 of the Provisional Rules of Procedure of the Security Council which states:
“The Security Council shall decide whether in its judgment the applicant is a peace-loving State and is able and willing to carry out the obligations contained in the Charter, and accordingly whether to recommend the applicant State for membership.”
The Court declared that:
“It does not, however, follow from the exhaustive character of paragraph 1 of Article 4 that an appreciation is precluded of such circumstances of fact as would enable the existence of the requisite conditions to be verified.
Article 4 does not forbid the taking into account of any factor which it is possible reasonably and in good faith to connect with the conditions laid down in that Article. The taking into account of such factors is implied in the very wide and very elastic nature of the prescribed conditions; no relevant political factor-that is to say, none connected with the conditions of admission-is excluded.”
Clearly there are at least two critical issues that the Security Council must in its judgement determine - taking into account any political factor connected with the admission - that should sink this application:
1. Is Palestine a state?
By any standards of customary international law - as codified in the Montevideo Convention 1933 - Palestine is not a state since it fails to comply with article 1 which declares:
“The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications:
a ) a permanent population;
b ) a defined territory;
c ) government; and
d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.”
The Security Council ignores international law at its peril should it decide to depart from these well understood and universally accepted legal principles required for statehood.
2. Is Palestine a warmonger or a peace lover?
On even the most cursory inquiry Palestine is a war monger - not in any way peace loving - for the following reasons:
(a) Since 1 January 2011 to date 379 rockets and 225 mortars have been indiscriminately fired into Israeli population centers from Palestine killing many Israeli citizens, injuring hundreds of others and causing vast property damage.
Responsibility for these attacks have been claimed by a number of organizations including
(i) Fatahall of which are allowed to operate freely from Palestinian territory with impunity and free of arrest or prosecution
(iii) Popular Front For the Liberation of Palestine
(iv) Abu Al-Qumsa Brigades
(v) Tawhid and Jihad
(vi) Abdullah Azzam Brigades
(vii) Al Aqsa Brigades
(viii)Al Mujahadeen Brigades
(ix) Al Quds Brigade
(b) The PLO Charter still calls for the liberation of Israel and Jordan - two member states of the UN - and their reunification with the West Bank and Gaza into one indivisible territorial unit.
(c) Clause 9 of the PLO Charter declares:
“Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. Thus it is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase.”
(d) Clause 10 of the PLO Charter asserts:
“Commando action constitutes the nucleus of the Palestinian popular liberation war. This requires its escalation, comprehensiveness, and the mobilization of all the Palestinian popular and educational efforts and their organization and involvement in the armed Palestinian revolution.”
(e) The Charter of Hamas calls for the destruction of the State of Israel by waging a holy war
The only wonder is why it has taken the Security Council so long to determine the fate of Palestine’s application.
The decision should have been arrived at much earlier. Apparently some of those 15 nations must have strange notions of what the terms “state” and “peace loving” mean.
Make love - not war. Get back to negotiating - not grandstanding. Stop engaging in fiction - face the reality