Palestine – Statehood Supersedes Oslo Accords and Roadmap

April 26, 2012 by David Singer
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The Middle East changed dramatically with the recognition and admission of the State of Palestine to UNESCO on 31 October 2011 – resulting finally in the achievement of the two-state solution unsuccessfully sought for the last 19 years in negotiations conducted between Israel and the Palestinian Authority pursuant to the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap…writes David Singer.

Yet these seminal developments do not appear to rate a mention in Mahmoud Abbas’s latest letter of demand sent to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The contents of that letter have not been officially revealed.

However one published draft  – if eventually authenticated – contains the following material errors or omissions that will certainly not be conducive to Israel furnishing any positive reply.

1.       The letter is signed by Mahmoud Abbas as: “Chairman of the P.L.O Executive Committee and President of the Palestinian National Authority”

 

Yet Mr Abbas has another distinguished title –  “President of the State of Palestine” – which he somehow forgot to add.

This additional nomenclature appeared in the letter sent by Mr Abbas to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon when Palestine unsuccessfully applied for membership of the United Nations as a peace loving State in September 2011.

Why omit it now in this letter to Mr Netanyahu – especially as Palestine was admitted to UNESCO as its 195th member state one month later? Why omit to mention this development at UNESCO as well?

Mr Abbas‘s reluctance to sign the letter as “President of the State of Palestine” and to fail to mention the UNESCO decision is surely deliberate and not caused by mere oversight.

If Palestine has already been recognized as a State by UNESCO and Mr Abbas is its President – any negotiations for the creation of such a State – the “two-state vision“- as envisaged by the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap – are  extant.

If Mr Abbas still believes he can get Mr Netanyahu to resume negotiations for a Palestinian State under the Oslo Accords and the Roadmap by not stating he is “The President of Palestine” or mentioning the UNESCO decision  – he must believe that there are fairies at the bottom of the garden.

Mr Abbas’s unilateral approach to UNESCO to successfully procure recognition of Palestinian statehood has rendered any further negotiations under the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap to achieve that identical goal totally meaningless.

If Mr Abbas is now seeking to resume negotiations with Israel to claim further additional territory for the State of Palestine  – there must be a new negotiating process to replace the Oslo Accords and the Roadmap – with specific parameters to be determined and first agreed on between Israel and Palestine.

 

2 The draft letter contains the following self-serving statement:

 

“At the same token, I expect your understanding that settlement building is eroding the Palestinian trust in your commitment to reconciliation and the idea of the two states solution. The logic is simple: If you support the establishment of a Palestinian state, why do you build on its territory?”

Two pertinent comments on this statement are warranted.

Firstly -as stated above – the two-state solution has already been achieved. That debate has to all intents and purposes been ended – unless the UNESCO decision is reversed by the International Court of Justice as being unconstitutional. Any move by UNESCO to refer the decision to the Court for its advisory opinion appears extremely unlikely.

Secondly – the arrogant presumption that 100% of the West Bank and Gaza is the territory of the Palestinian State – and that Israel has no claim to any part of that territory – continues to plague any efforts to finally resolve sovereignty in the West Bank and Gaza – just 5% of former Palestine still remaining unallocated between Arabs and Jews.

The Jewish claim to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in the West Bank and Gaza has been specifically preserved in international law by the provisions of the Treaty of Sevres, the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter – all of which have been declared null and void by Article 20 of the Charter of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) – now headed by Mr Abbas.

Until the PLO accepts the binding effect of this body of international law – the ongoing conflict in the West Bank and Gaza is set to continue.

Now that a Palestinian state has been recognized – any restraints on Israel changing the status of the West Bank under the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap have been removed.

Mr Abbas needs to change his tune or see Israel follow his example by making unilateral changes in the status of at least those areas of the West Bank where Israel currently holds full security and administrative control.

3.       Mr Abbas continues to make the following assertion – as if repeating it often enough will turn it into fact:

“We agreed to establish the State of Palestine on only 22% of the territory of historical Palestine-on all the Palestinian Territory occupied by Israel in 1967.

Fact is that historical Palestine comprised what is today called Israel, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza. The West Bank and Gaza are 5% – not 22% of historical Palestine – whilst Israel comprises 17% and Jordan makes up the remaining 78%.

What Israel occupied in 1967 – the West Bank and Gaza – was not “Palestinian territory”.

The West Bank was “Jordanian territory” – occupied by Jordan between 1948-1967 and unified with Jordan by a vote of the Arab Parliaments of the West Bank and Transjordan in 1950 – and renamed “Jordan”.

Jordan ceded its claims to this territory to the PLO in 1988.

The PLO had no interest in it – or in Gaza then occupied by Egypt – before Israel occupied both areas  in 1967.

Article 24 of the PLO Charter made this very clear:

“This Organization does not exercise any regional sovereignty over the Western Bank in the  Hashimite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or the Himmah Area.”

Any future negotiations on the future status of the West Bank and Gaza – not currently included in the State of Palestine – must take these facts into account as well as the fact that there are now two exclusive “Arabs only” States and one Jewish State in historical Palestine .

Mr Abbas needs to take a reality check.

Whilst he persists with his revisionist views and tries to ignore the consequences of his unilateral approaches to both the United Nations and UNESCO in breach of the obligations imposed on him by the Oslo Accords and the Roadmap – any hope of further negotiations between Israel and Palestine is a pipe dream.

David Singer is a Sydney Lawyer and Foundation Member of the International Analysts Network


 

Comments

13 Responses to “Palestine – Statehood Supersedes Oslo Accords and Roadmap”
  1. While both Peter and Paul are aboslutely right regarding the legal arguments and “Ben” regurgitates political rethoric, the dynamics of political realities defy amost all legal and so called historical arguments farcically aduced by the pro Palestinin camp.
    Oslo, Road Map, even ANY UN resolutions, 242 whatever, will be superseeded by what Israel has declared repeatedly in the list of preconditions for the “conclusion” of a Palestinian state in a fully acceptable context.
    And “fully cceptable” MUST be rendered ONLY by Israeli considerations.
    UNESCO considered, a Plestinian state will not be able to take place unless Israeli prerequisites as necessary conditions will be met.
    Unilateral plestinian State declaration will only intensify, aggravate the conflict between Israel and the palestinians. As such, the international community will be, once again, confronted by a resolute and impeccably prepared Israel to REDUCE the Palestinian pretence and arrogance to its size and turn bck all attempts at impositions to a degree of reality that shall turn palestinians destructive and selfdestructive drives to a reality check that shall settle once and for all this idiotic and criminal behaviour palestinians have “enjoyed” for so long.
    By all accounts an inevtitable Romney Admnistration will be far more supportive af Israel.
    This simply means that if palestinians rely on their oft heralded unilateralism they are yet to experience the Israeli “unilateral” determination of demonstrating to their beilgerant neighbours that playing with threats and fire shall have devastating results for them.
    All should listen very carefully to all starements clearly delivered by both the Israeli PM and President each time they refer to the palestinian provocations. The signal is gentle and clear….” we shall unleash the full force of our might and determination….”
    If that is what palestinians are demanding, begging for, they shall receive it in spades !!!!

    “Ben” , in this context, is ridiculously irrelevant.

  2. Stewart says:

    David – the real issue is not whether or not recognition of Palestine invalidates the Oslo Process or the Road Map.

    What recognition of Palestine does is increase the bargaining power for the PLO and legitimacy on the international scene.

    Israel is losing the PR war. How can it win? Occupying another people is not a good look. Images of soldiers with M-16s handcuffing minors in the middle of the night does not win friends.

    Anyone who really cares about Israel will ensure that Israel gets out of the West Bank and opens Gaza to freedom of movement and economic development.

    The words of Haider Shafi spoken 21 years ago at the Madrid Peace Conference still ring true:
    “We have already wasted enough time, energy, and resources locked in this violent embrace of mutual destruction and defensiveness. We urge you to take this opportunity and rise to meet the challenge of peace.

    Settlements on confiscated Palestinian land and the expropriation of our resources will surely sabotage the process launched by this Conference, for they are major obstacles to peace. They constitute a flagrant violation of Palestinian rights and the Fourth Geneva Convention. All settlement activity and confiscation of Palestinian land must stop, for these measures constitute the institutionalized plunder of our people’s heritage and future.

    The Palestinians are a people with legitimate national rights. We are not “the inhabitants of territories” or an accident of history or an obstacle to Israel’s expansionist plans, or an abstract demo graphic problem. You may wish to close your eyes to this fact, Mr. Shamir, but we are here in the sight of the world, before your very eyes, and we shall not be denied. In exile or under occupation, we are one people, united despite adversity, determined to exercise our right to self-determination and to establish an independent state, led by our own legitimate and acknowledged leadership. The question of all our refugees will be dealt with during the permanent status negotiations under the terms of United Nations Resolution 194.”

    • singer says:

      Stewart

      1. The point of my article is that the recognition of the State of Palestine by 194 states in UNESCO has acknowledged that the Palestinian Arabs are no longer stateless or homeless – at least as far as those 194 states are concerned.

      The two-state solution was achieved on 31 October 2011. Not one of those countries since then has sought to have that decision reversed or referred to the International Court for an advisory opinion on whether its decision was lawful or not.

      Do you disagree? If so why?

      2. What you also need to come to grips with is that Israel’s right to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in the West Bank and Gaza is legitimised under article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

      Whether that right should be exercised or not is a different consideration. You are entitled to argue
      that it should not – but not that Israel has no legal claim under the above well settled international law,

      To base your argument on the idea that the West Bank is “confiscated Palestinian land ” is a load of nonsense. It comprises the remaining 5% of the Mandate where sovereignty has not yet been allocated between Arabs and Jews.

      At best – Palestine has now been recognized as a State by 194 other states in the area it effectively controls – Area A and Gaza – the minimum requirement before any entity can seek recognition as a State.

      Sovereignty in Areas B and C remain undetermined.

      If Palestine wants any of Areas B and C – it will have to come to some agreement with Israel on a new negotiating process to replace Oslo and the Roadmap.

      That negotiating process will not be about Palestinian statehood (which occurred on 31 October 2011), It will be about two states claiming the same piece of land.

      Do you disagree? If so why?

  3. Ben says:

    Here with careful typing.

    Both Winter and Singer raise interesting points, but not the obvious ones about human rights. Why is it incumbent on an indigenous people to accept a colonial partition ? The Zionist presence in Palestine, indigenous Jewish communities not included, was that of a colonial project.
    In spite of ideological differences, neither Herzel ( represented by his successors), nor Jabotinsky made any bones about the colonial nature of their project. Herzel even contemplated colonies in Argentina and was open to settling Uganda with British colonial support. The mandate and Balfour declaration were imposed on the Palestinian people by power of arms, and both were opposed by indigenous Palestinians.

    Does the right of colonisers over-ride the rights of an indigenous people to resist colonisation ? Are we talking hierarchies of rights for different people or universal human rights ?

    Let me pre-empt the predictable accusations of distortion, lies, anti-semitism, self-hatred etc and state that I am willing to show evidence that both Herzel and Jabotinsky stated their project as one of colonisation.

    • Shirlee says:

      Ben

      Please do some research before saying that Arabs are the indigenous people of the region of Palestine.

      They aren’t, Jews are.

      Arabs are a Mesopotamian people and are the native inhabitants of Iraq.

      • Ben says:

        Thank you Shirlee for your contribution. Arabs, like Turks, are a linguistic/cultural grouping extending from Yemen to Morocco. As Turkic people exist from Anatolia to China, or Latin Americans existing from Panama to Chile.

        Jews include the Berbers of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisians, Libyans, Egyptians, Baghdadis, Iranians, Ethiopians, the Himyar of Yemen, the Shanivar Teli and Cochinites of India and the Shangai Jews of China, the Yiddish Jews of Germany, Poland, Ukranians and Russians to name a few nationalaties.
        Even if you go by the bible, the Hebrew tribes that invaded Canaan were from Ur in Babylon – modern Iraq.

    • David says:

      Ben

      Here we go again with another attempt by you to do anything but discuss the subject matter of my article.

      Human rights can mean different things to different people. The law is the law. It gives the authority for people to act in accordance with it.

      The Mandate of Palestine is international law. Its terms were unanimously approved by every single member of the then League of Nations.

      Article 80 of the UN Charter is international law – approved by every member of the then United Nations.

      You need to make a decision – do you believe in the rule of law or rule of the jungle?

      The law is not necessarily perfect – but I believe it is the best system we have of regulating relations between human beings.

      The Mandate system created by international law gave the Arabs 99% of the captured Ottoman Empire and the Jews just 0.001%.

      By any standards this was a generous disposition of territory and the law confirmed it as such.

      Focusing on the 0.001% (which was even further reduced when 78% of that infinitesimal amount was also given to the Arabs to eventually become Jordan) has been the cause of the continuing conflict in the Middle East for the last 90 years – bringing death and suffering to both Jews and Arabs alike.

      Until the Arabs and people like yourself accept what the law has decreed – the conflict will not end.

      The PLO declared such laws to be null and void in 1964 because it made their claims to take over this 0.001% of territory not in Arab hands untenable under the PLO Charter. The PLO represents the perfect example of where lawbreakers eventually end up – cornered and with nowhere to go.

      Hamas and the 22 Arab States ( with the exception of Egypt and Jordan) that have refused the right of the Jews to have their own state in this tiny sliver of land being their biblical and ancestral homeland – as decreed by the Mandate and article 80 – are also in a corner and headed nowhere. Even Egypt and Jordan may be set to go the same way if they seek to annul the peace treaties they have signed with Israel or unlawfully breach their terms.

      Agitate to change the law if you feel aggrieved. But until it happens – act in accordance with it.

      I believe the admission of Palestine to UNESCO was unconstitutional and unlawful and have tried to get UNESCO to review this decision by approaching the International Court for an advisory opinion. UNESCO has refused.

      Until it is reversed – it stands – and I believe all 194 states in UNESCO now complicit in that decision are bound by that decision and its consequences. Do you?

  4. Ben says:

    Hello David

    There ae a lot of Lawyer’s opinion here but nio human rights. Art 80 makes – by inference – reference to the GA resolution on the partition of Palstine into Jewish and Arab territories, th resolution also names Jerusalem as a corpus separatum. The mandate was imposed on the Palestinian people, as was the Balfour declaration, and was opposed by Palestinian freedom fighters, incidentally with the collaboration of the Jewsih agency.
    The only reference one find here is that on partition, and a GA resolution at that. Incidentally, there are approximately 60 GA resolutions on Palestinian issues and the resolution on Jerusalem as a corpu separatum. Israeli apologists have argued that GA resolutions are un-enforcable, so how does just one GA resolution (in part if the Jerusalem is included) become enforcable in international Law ?

  5. Paul Winter says:

    Well said David. The legal position that you have so neatly outlined has confirmed, once again, Abba Eban’s observation that the Arabs never miss a chance to miss an opportunity. By being, oh so clever, and rejecting negotiations while acting unilaterally to assert their sovereignity, they have muddied the waters, undermined their own position and given Israel the right to act unilaterally as they themselves have. In other words, they are hoist on their own petard. Or, as the French more forthrightly say, they’ve been blown up by their own fart. Serves them right!

    • David says:

      Paul

      I agree with your comments.

      Turning down the offers made by Israel to the the Palestinian Arabs in 2000 and 2008 proved yet again the truth of Abba Eban’s wise observation.

      Ironically however rushing off to the UN and UNESCO to unilaterally seek statehood outside the negotiating framework established by the Oslo Accords and the Roadmap are two opportunities the Palestinians should have missed.

      I guess you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

  6. Ben says:

    The Jewish claim……. has been specially preserved ….by the treatey of serves, Article 80 of the UN charter. The treaty of Sevres was to legalise the secret partition of the ottoman empire by the Allies. The treaty was unnuled and supersed in 1923.

    Article 80 of the UN Charter states ” Except as may be agreed upon in individual trusteeship agreements, made under Articles 77, 79 and 81, placing each territory under the trusteeship system and until agreement has been concluded, noting in this chapter shall be construed in or of itself to alter in any manner the rights whatsoever of any states or people or the terms of exisiting international instruments of which members of the United Nations may respectively be parties.”

    A recognition of a Jewsih homeland!

    • David says:

      Ben

      Why did you leave out reference to the Mandate for Palestine which recognised the right of the Jewish people to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in Palestine? It was the direct outcome of the Treaty of Sevres. Yes the Treaty of Lausanne replaced the Treaty of Sevres but it did not affect the validity of Articles 95 and 96 which dealt with disposition of the captured Ottoman territory.

      There was nothing secret about the Treaty of Sevres. It paved the way for 99.99 per cent of the captured Ottoman Empire to be allocated for Arab self determination and 0.001 per cent to be allocated for Jewish self determination – something the Arabs have never accepted.

      Article 80 of the UN charter was inserted especially as a result of Jewish concerns that with the demise of the League of Nations – the objectives of the Mandate for Palestine might die also. This was smart thinking and it’s inclusion in the Charter preserved the legal right of the Jewish people to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in the West Bank and Gaza – the only remaining area of the Mandate where sovereignty remains unallocated between Jews and Arabs.

      To what extent Israel will seek to do so is another issue.

      I

    • Paul Winter says:

      Ben, your comprehension of written matter is as poor as your spelling.

      Art. 80 of the UN Charter states what you wrote, but it means that previous legal instruments apply.

      Your, oh so important, contribution, makes David’s case. Thanks.