- Previous articles discussed likely Palestinian statehood
and full UN membership if proper procedures are followed.
- They also suggested Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
will belie his supportive rhetoric by betrayal at the 11th hour.
- When the General Assembly meets later in September, we'll
know which Abbas shows up - a leader representing his people or an Israeli
collaborationist like so often before. Smart money says the latter.
- A September Anne Suciu and Attorney Limor Yehuda Association
for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) paper headlined, "Human Rights in
the Occupied Territories: Possible Implications of the Recognition of Palestinian
Statehood," explaining future possibilities under statehood.
- They depend on what course Abbas and the Palestinian
Authority (PA) choose, how Israel and Washington respond, and which side
Western, regional, and other countries support.
- ACRI agrees that full de jure UN membership is unlikely.
Nonetheless, "the very recognition of Palestinian statehood"
by a decisive General Assembly two-thirds majority "would have significant
- In fact, if statehood and full UN membership are granted,
Palestine would "become party to international conventions and international
courts." As a result, it would have new tools to uphold its rights
as do all other recognized nations.
- Conditions for Statehood Recognition
- ACRI cites four 1933 Montevideo Convention criteria:
- a permanent population;
- a defined territory;
- an effective government; and
- the ability to have diplomatic relations with other states.
- In his important book titled, "Palestine, Palestinians
and International Law," Law Professor and former PLO legal advisor
Francis Boyle also discussed them, explaining that:
- "A determinable territory" doesn't have to
be fixed and determinate. Its borders may be negotiated. The new state
would be comprised of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Palestinians
have lived there for millennia. As a result, they're entitled to all of
it (22% of historic Palestine) as their nation state.
- A fixed population as stated above.
- A functioning government. In 1988, Yasser Arafat declared
the PLO Palestine's Provisional Government.
- The capacity to have diplomatic relations with other
states. Up to 140 nations recognize Palestine, easily enough to qualify.
Others haven't because occupation deprives it of effective territorial
- Still others disagree, saying Israel isn't in control.
It's an occupier. On December 15, 1988, The General Assembly recognized
Palestine's legitimacy, according it UN observer status.
- Palestine easily satisfies the above criteria. All UN
Charter states (including America and Israel) provisionally recognized
Palestinian independence in accordance with UN Charter article 80(1) and
League of Nations Covenant article 22(4).
- Further, as the League's successor, the General Assembly
has exclusive legal authority to designate the PLO as Palestine's legitimate
- The Palestine National Council (PNC) is the PLO's legislative
body, empowerered to proclaim Palestine's existence. According to the binding
1925 Palestine Citizenship Order in Council, Palestinians, their children
and grandchildren are automatically citizens of the new state.
- In addition, diaspora Palestinians no longer would be
stateless. Their right of return would be guaranteed and enforced.
- Those living in Israel and Jordan would have dual nationalities.
Others in the Occupied Territories would remain "protected persons,"
according to the Fourth Geneva Convention - until a final peace settlement
- The Proclamation of Independence must then create the
Government of Palestine (GOP). As a final step, it should direct the GOP
to claim Palestine's right to UN membership. It requires Security Council
and General Assembly approval, according to five conditions. Applicants
- a state;
- peace loving;
- accept the Charter's obligations;
- be able to carry them out; and
- be willing to do it.
- America provisionally recognized Palestine as an independent
nation. According to UN Charter Article 80(1), it's barred from reversing
its position by vetoing a Security Council Resolution, calling for Palestine's
- Any veto would be illegal and subject to further Security
Council action under the Charter's Chapter VI. Ultimately, the Security
Council only recommends admissions. The General Assembly affirms them by
a simple two-thirds majority.
- If Washington invokes its Security Council veto, the
GA can override it under the 1950 Uniting for Peace Resolution 377.
- In days, we'll know what actually happens, its implications
and early stage repercussions.
- ACRI said an entity meeting the above four criteria qualifies
as a state, "and does not require the recognition of other states.
The difficulty, of course, is that without....recognition....it cannot
fully realize its sovereignty. According to the constitutive model, on
the other hand, the act of recognition by others states is what bestows
- However, if it's granted exclusive of recognition by
Israel, Washington and other Western states, "its ability to realize
its sovereignty will be limited."
- At least initially it's true, but that can later change,
especially with key allies like China, Russia, Brazil, India, and other
major ones - plus the weight of supportive numbers.
- ACRI also suggests if two-thirds or more member states
afford Palestine recognition, with or without Security Council approval,
"the General Assembly could invite it to be party to various international
- Normative Framework Applicable to the West Bank and Gaza
- "According to the laws of occupation, statehood
is irrelevant in determining whether a territory is occupied or not."
As a result, Israel's standing in international law as an occupier may
not be affected.
- However, as Boyle explained, the League of Nations in
1919 provisionally recognized Palestinian statehood in its League Covenant
Article 22(4) and its 1922 Mandate for Palestine - awarded to Britain.
- After proclaiming its independence in November 1988,
the PNC began working for a comprehensive peace settlement. Its Declaration
of Independence accepted the General Assembly's 1947 Partition Plan, thus
reaching an historic accommodation for a good faith two-state solution.
- It also declared:
- its commitment to the UN Charter's purpose and principles;
- the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), policy,
and principles of nonalignment;
- its natural right to defend the Palestinian state and
to reject "the threat or use of force, violence and intimidation against
its territorial integrity and political independence or those of any other
- its willingness to accept UN supervision on an interim
basis to terminate Israel's occupation;
- its call for an International Peace Conference on the
Middle East based on UN Resolutions 242 and 338;
- its asking for Israel's withdrawal from occupied Palestinian
lands, including East Jerusalem;
- its willingness to accept a voluntary confederation between
Jordan and Palestine; and
- its "rejection of terrorism in all forms, including
- As a result, on December 14, 1988, the Reagan administration
began dialogue. In June 1990, the Bush administration suspended it, alleging
the PLO violated its pledge.
- From then until now, US administrations call self-defense
"terrorism" even though it's an inherent (individual and state)
right under "customary international and humanitarian law, including:"
- Article 51 of the UN Charter;
- the four 1949 Geneva Conventions; and
- the 1907 Hague Regulations on Land Warfare.
- The PNC accepts them. Israel doesn't, violating fundamental
laws with impunity. Other nations are also culpable. Under Geneva's Common
Article 1, all countries are obliged to pressure Israel to comply.
- America is especially culpable as Israel's paymaster/partner/supplier
of weapons, equipment, supplies, generous handouts, loans, grants, and
various other benefits.
- Without them, Israel couldn't wage aggressive wars or
be strong enough to intimidate neighbors. At least not like now. Today
no country threatens Israel (or America) despite claims to the contrary.
- In contrast, Washington and Israel pose major threats,
including to Occupied Palestine.
- Nonetheless, the same day the General Assembly recognized
Palestine, it called for a UN-sponsored Middle East Peace conference based
on the following principles:
- ending Israel's occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and
- guaranteeing security for all regional states;
- resolving the Palestinian refugee problem;
- dismantling illegal Israeli settlements;
- placing Palestine under interim UN supervision; and
- requesting the Security Council consider measures to
convene an International Middle East Peace Conference.
- The PLO was willing to cooperate and negotiate in good
faith. It agreed to be flexible, including over Jerusalem's final status.
The 1947 Partition Plan called for an international trusteeship administered
separately from Jewish and Arab territories.
- Israel and Washington blocked efforts from the start.
They obstruct regional peace. Without their cooperation they'll be none.
This must end. The world community must no longer tolerate it. The fate
of millions of Palestinians and Arab peoples are at stake.
- Following Israel's summer 2005 disengagement, the IDF
regional commander declared Israel's rule over the Territory ended, but
it never worked out that way with Israel maintaining control under siege.
- As a result, "Israel bears legal responsibility
for what takes place" in Gaza, but without international enforcement
it's meaningless, as Israel literally gets away with murder with impunity.
- Area A
- Israel transferred area control to the PA. However, its
complete West Bank/East Jerusalem occupation continues, so "control"
excludes sovereign authority, rendering it meaningless.
- Israel maintains responsibility for "security"
- code language for real control, including over Area A.
- Israel's Military Court of Appeals ruled the entire West
Bank/East Jerusalem areas remain under belligerent military occupation
as "a single territorial unit."
- Unless that changes, Palestinian statehood won't affect
Israel's de facto control as an occupying power unless World Court redress
- Oslo Accords
- ACRI believes independence "contravenes this agreement,
and opens the door to a declaration of the non-validity or revocation of
the accords." However, absolute revocation needn't happen.
- At the same time, Oslo only benefitted Israel, not Palestinians,
so revocation would change little, just like Israel's Gaza disengagement
afforded no rights, only siege after Hamas was democratically elected.
- Changes in the Legal and International/Institutional
Framework - Becoming a Party to International Conventions
- With statehood comes access to them, as well as the ability
to sue Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for repeated
crimes of war and against humanity, as well as other issues.
- They include:
- regular border infringements and incursions into Palestinian
- lawless arrests, prosecutions in military tribunals,
imprisonment and torture;
- Israel's illegal 44 year occupation;
- land theft to expand settlements;
- Separation Wall to steal up to 12% of the West Bank when
- defined borders for East Jerusalem as Palestine's capital,
as well as for the West Bank and Gaza to assure 22% of historic Palestine
is retained; and
- other illegal acts under recognized international law.
- Palestine could also ask the International Criminal Court
(ICC) to prosecute Israeli war criminals - specifically high-ranking government
officials and military commanders.
- Under the Rome Statute's Article 125(3), all signatory
states may use this option. So may non-UN member states by ratifying the
- The ICC restricts prosecutions to instances where states
don't exercise appropriate jurisdiction, including proper investigations
and trials for individuals believed guilty.
- A welter of evidence proves numerous present and past
Israeli officials culpable for crimes of war and against humanity, as well
as other offenses.
- Notably, with statehood come obligations to respect human
rights and other international conventions - for its own citizens and those
of other states.
- Besides benefits, in other words, statehood brings the
legal and moral imperative to do the right thing. It also means bearing
the full legal burden for failure.
- Weighing all pluses and minuses, failure to use all legal
procedures and avenues for statehood and full de jure UN membership no
longer can be tolerated or delayed.
- Doing so now, in fact, constitutes betrayal.
- Is that challenging Abbas to do the right thing? You
bet it is!
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
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