Palestine: Democracies In Diplomatic Disarray

December 14, 2012 by David Singer
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It has only taken 10 days for 22 of the top 25 leading democratic nations listed in the Democracy Index 2011 to fall into abject diplomatic disarray…writes David Singer.Their acute discomfort follows the rush by 17 of them to vote to admit Palestine as a non-observer state at the UN General Assembly on November 29 – whilst the other 5 abstained.

Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Ireland, Austria, Germany, Malta, United Kingdom, Costa Rica, Japan, South Korea, Belgium, Mauritius and Spain – should have all joined the remaining three – Canada, United States and the Czech Republic – who cast a ” NO” vote.

Instead they swallowed the following assuring statement by PLO Chairman and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas prior to the vote:

“We did not come here seeking to delegitimize a State established years ago, and that is Israel; rather we came to affirm the legitimacy of the State that must now achieve its independence, and that is Palestine.”

It mattered not to their democratic sensitivities that President Abbas was a lapsed

President whose term of office had expired in January 2009 – a situation that would

never be tolerated in their countries.

It mattered even less that Abbas was purporting to speak on behalf of a territorial

entity he did not control – even as a tyrannical despot.

It was of no consequence that Abbas claimed to represent a population that was hopelessly split in its allegiances between the PLO and its arch rival Hamas.

It was irrelevant that no elections had been held for the last six years to give the people any say on which one of these protagonists – or anyone else who might want to throw his hat into the ring – should represent them.

Foolishly they gave Abbas their vote supporting:

“the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their State of Palestine on the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967”

Their votes were cast in the full knowledge that they were adding their voices to those who saw nothing dishonourable in jettisoning the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap to the political scrap heap by endorsing the PLO’s unilateral approach to the United Nations in breach of those internationally negotiated agreements.

These democracies were happy to undermine any need for further negotiations to determine the future sovereignty of the territory in dispute between Israel and the Palestinian Authority – effectively limiting any negotiations to when and on what terms 600000 Jews would leave their homes in which they had lived for the last 40 years.

Indignation and shock horror greeted the news that Israel should have the temerity – just three days after their vote – to announce its intention to revive its stalled plans to build 3000 housing units in part of the disputed territory bearing the amorphous title E1 – which these democracies had just determined should be vested in the Palestinian Authority.

This was the catalyst for all diplomatic hell to burst forth.

These democracies did what all good democracies do to show their displeasure at those who treat their decisions with contempt.

Britain, Spain, Sweden and Denmark called in Israel’s Ambassadors and gave them a diplomatic dressing down.

The British Foreign Office issued a statement that the E1 project was a  serious violation that threatened the two-state solution.

Speaking from Papua New Guinea, Australia’s Foreign Minister Senator Carr said the Australian Government had made clear its call to all sides not to exploit or overreact to the vote and called in Israel’s Ambassador to deliver the message.

Senator Carr had reportedly railroaded the wishes of Australia’s Prime Minister who had wanted to cast a “No” vote – forcing its replacement with an abstention after threatening the Cabinet might  demand  a “Yes” vote if his recommendation was not accepted.

“I am extremely disappointed with these reported Israeli decisions.

Australia has long opposed all settlement activity. Such activity threatens the viability of a two-state solution without which there will never be security in Israel. Israel’s reported decision to unfreeze planning of the area known as E1 is especially counter-productive. Australia has also conveyed these concerns to the Israeli authorities in Jerusalem. The Australian Government urges both sides to return urgently to the negotiation table in good faith,”

Good faith? Surely the prospect of any such negotiations had already gone out the window when most of  the world’s 104 democracies had voted as they did.

Three days later these democracies received their come uppance when Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal made a triumphant first visit to Gaza.

Addressing a crowd estimated at hundreds of thousands who braved the rain to hear him – Meshaal declared:

“We will never recognize Israel’s occupation of legitimate Palestinian lands, and we will not recognize Israel… Palestine is our land from the Mediterranean Sea to the River Jordan, and we will never give away an inch of it… As long as Palestine is ours and Palestine is the land of Arabism and Islam, we can never recognise the legitimacy of Israel’s occupation of it ..There is no legitimacy for occupation. Hence, there is no legitimacy for Israel, however long time lasts.”

The centrepiece of the rally was a huge replica of a type of rocket terrorists from Gaza fired indiscriminately into Israel’s civilian population reaching as far as  Jerusalem and Tel Aviv just a few weeks before the General Assembly vote.

The crowd responded enthusiastically:

“We swear by the name of almighty God and his great Prophet to renew our pledge of allegiance and loyalty to Hamas.”

Have any Palestinian diplomats been called into any foreign capitals and given a dressing down? There are plenty of them working in democratic states representing this Mickey Mouse United Nations “state”.

Has there been any revulsion expressed at the statements made during this rally or any indication that the the flow of billions of dollars into Gaza to assist its baying-for -blood population will cease?

Has Mahmoud Abbas been asked to express his disgust at the rejection by Meshall of the two-state solution laid out by Abbas at the General Assembly just 8 days earlier?

These 22 democracies and the other democracies who joined them in voting as they did have done untold harm to resolving the Jewish-Arab conflict. Their subsequent inability to take concerted action following Meshaal’s visit to Gaza is appalling.

And that is just 10 days into the life of this infamous Resolution.

Foreign Minister Carr and the other 21 Foreign Ministers – where are you hiding, when will you wake up and wipe the egg off your collective faces?

 

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

Comments

18 Responses to “Palestine: Democracies In Diplomatic Disarray”
  1. Ben says:

    David,

    Adopting your numbering I can respond to your points as follows:

    1. The argument in the Levy Report is tenuous. More concerning is the logical conclusion of Levy that the Palestinian’s never had and, so long as Isr determines, never will have rights to land – not even in the WB. You will know that this flies in the face of world opinion. You are fighting an uphill battle with an overly legalistic and complicated argument that is based on outdated international agreements. Some brief observations on Levy:

    a. The Levy report seeks, through Art 80, to revive various 90 year old agreements that do not in and of themselves confer any sovereign rights.

    b. The San Remo Convention and Treaty of Sevres which lead to the 1922 Mandate, spoke only of the need for “a national home” for the Jewish people in Palestine which is not the same as conferring sovereignty.

    c. The agreements need to be seen in context. They were aspirational at best. They did not say where in Palestine the “home” would be or that the home would be in “all” of Palestine.

    d. The Mandate was temporary and, like all class A mandates were intended to be in place until the inhabitants could stand on their own. For Palestine, the 1922 Mandate contemplated, naively, a nation where both Jews and Arabs could live together (“nothing should be done to prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”). That intent of the Mandate failed (spectacularly) and so too a substantial underpinning for it.

    f. The Mandate expired, partition became necessary and Israel declared independence. It is doubtful that the rights that Levy seeks to dredge up (whatever those rights might be) to the whole of the WB could have survived these momentous events – notwithstanding Art 80.

    g. Even if it could be said that they do survive, the agreements have to be interpreted in good faith and in the context in which they were drafted (Vienna Convention). Under these rules of interpretation, a tribunal is unlikely to construe the instruments in a way that would give a windfall to Isr merely because of a decision by the Arabs to reject partition – which as a matter of law they were entitled to do no matter how fool hardly. A tribunal is even less likely to come to the conclusion in Levy when the Palestinians were never represented by any of the signatories to these documents and therefore not parties to them: Pacta sunt servanda.

    2. I don’t see what your point 2 has to do with whether Isr is “occupying” the WB for the purposes of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

    3. Yes, the Palestinians in the West Bank cannot vote in elections for the Knesset because they are not citizens of Israel. And this is why it is so absurd to suggest that Isr has sovereignty over the WB; unless of course you’re advocating Apartheid.

    4. Justice Burgenthal: (Paragraph 9, pg 244) “Paragraph 6 of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention also does not admit for exceptions on grounds of military or security exigencies. It provides that “the Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”. I agree that this provision applies to the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and that their existence violates Article 49, paragraph 6.” .

    You can assume that he was familiar with the views in Levy which have around for some time as well as writings of Julius Stone and Eugene Rostow, as well as Art 80, San Remo, Treaty of Sevres and the 1922 Mandate. You are also aware that in 1967, Theodor Meron, legal counsel to the Israeli Foreign Ministry considered the settlements illegal and in 2007 as a Judge in Isr reiterated this view.

    Many of Isr’s staunchest supporters reject the Levy view. I have already referred you to Dershowitz.

    5. The argument that Arab rejection of partition revives San Remo, the Treaty of Sevres and the 1922 Mandate is addressed above.

    6. I did not say that the ICJ opinion directly binds Isr but advisory opinions, particularly when made by distinguished and respected judges, are often regarded as an authoritative statement of the law, more so when a point is accepted by a large majority – as it was with the ICJ in the application of the Geneva Convention (unanimous in fact).

    7. Israel made submissions on jurisdiction which traversed the merits. On jurisdiction, it could have argued that the question framed by the ICJ failed to take into account the argument now put by Levy.

    8. Bias by a tribunal is a perfectly valid ground for questioning its composition or the validity of a decision – Isr raises this frequently, although I agree that it is at times unseemly. However in this case, it is extraordinary that Judges nominated had such close connections to the settlements. No different to a judge having an interest in property over which it is adjudicating.

    9. There is no basis for saying the GA gave the PA 100%.

    10. Please refrain from calling my assertions meaningless when you have not read the papers that I’ve referred you to. You can find Saul’s article on line. There is this thing called Google….nevertheless, here is the reference – Saul, B, ‘Julius Stone and the Question of Palestine in International Law’ in H Irving, J Mowbray & K Walton (eds), Julius Stone: A Study in Influence, Federation Press: Sydney (2010) 238-261

    11. Israel could have made these points in its submissions but elected not to. If the remit of the ICJ was deficient this was an obvious jurisdictional point for Isr to raise. In any event, you are also assuming that that the Judges of the ICJ do not know the law. This is not the same as factual evidence which may have to be brought to their attention.

    12. The fact that I may or may not be a lawyer is neither here nor there. You can check the law and the sources yourself and don’t need legal credentials from me to be satisfied.

    As for your point about my dismissive comments, I’m only dismissive of arguments when there appears to be no basis for them. There is some pejorative material on this site about Carr that you may want to apply your high standards to.

    Ben

    • david says:

      I did not respond to this post because it was the last in a series of posts that had begun with your following statement;

      “As far as the settlers are concerned, the world has very little sympathy for many of them, given the widely accepted view that they are illegally occupying the WB. I note that you take no issue with the ICJ opinions and those of other scholars on the issue of legality. The Palestinians accept that some settlement will have to stay, even though, as a matter of law, they are not obliged to accept anything built after 1967.”

      Since you gratuitously and misleadingly suggested I took no issue with the ICJ opinions or the claim that the settlements were illegal – I gave you a response and this was continued with further exchanges until your last response.

      What I believe that series of posts reveals is that:

      1. I clearly take issue with the ICJ opinions since they were based on an incomplete examination of the international law dealing with the right of the Jewish people to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in Palestine

      2. I dispute the claim often made by you and others that “the settlements are illegal in international law” and I maintain that the legal situation is not as open and shut as such a statement implies.

      It is an opinion only – not a statement based on any definitive legal judgement to back it up.

      As they say in the classics – “See you in Court mate”

  2. Geoff says:

    David Singer’s article make clear how the UN GA vote, with the Australian abstention, has made a peaceful 2-state solution less likely and has and will further damage Israel, irrespective of how Netanyahu responds.
    The options are that Bob Carr is stupid at failing to predict that this would happen, or malevolent because he anticipated and welcomed this consequence, or both. I would argue that he is both stupid and malevolent. His stupidity is exemplified by the shallowness of his argument justifying the abstention e.g. he failed to consider the effect of uprooting the Oslo Accords. His malevolence is illustrated by his subsequent one-sided criticism of Israel.
    Isn’t it lucky that he is part of “friends of Israel”. Too bad it extends only to giving talks on Synagogues in Venice.
    Fortunately his stupidity and pomposity is not just restricted to Israel and will hopefully lead to a recognition that he is not up for the job.

  3. Liat Nagar says:

    That’s great news, Shirlee. I wonder who is in his place? Still, Falk’s removal from the UN won’t change his opinions or efforts to promote them.

  4. Shirlee. says:

    Liat

    Richard Falk has been ‘removed’ from his position at the UN.

    http://www.unwatch.org/cms.asp?id=3665777&campaign_id=63111

  5. Liat Nagar says:

    Ben,
    In the end countries have to go their own way and make decisions in their own particular interests – all countries. Israel is no different. So, please don’t waffle on about international opinion and international law in this regard. As to my reading matter, you’re not in a position to know what I’ve read and what I haven’t. Listing a few well known Jewish names in the matter at hand to support your view is neither here nor there. We can all do that.

    Generally speaking, international laws, just like statistics, can be used selectively to support one’s case, and unless elements specific to an issue are considered in whole, then these kinds of opinions are rendered pretty useless – certainly they miss the mark and are unhelpful. Citing the learned men you do in relation to international law and therefore its resultant validity, also misses the point. For example, there is one Professor Richard Falk, a Professor in International Law and Relations at Princeton University no less, also a Jew (although has a pretty weird definition of himself as such) – he also happens to be the UN Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories – this same Professor Falk, with all his qualifications and one would suppose knowledge, as well as his UN position, sports the most outlandish opinions on the Israeli/Palestinian situation, and bases his statements and opinions on inaccuracies. So you see, particular numbers of learned gentlemen pontificating behind the safety of their credentials is not something I find impressive. Moreover it is a quite shocking abuse of their positions and educational privileges.

    Most of us like to read or hear opinions that concur with our own. I am no different there. However, I will be swayed otherwise if the evidence is presented in such a way that is fair and honourable. ‘Honourable’ is an old-fashioned word, much out of use these days, just as honour itself is. I define ‘honourable’ as nobleness of mind and/or magnanimity – precious little of that around. You ask David Singer why he has such attachment to the settlements. I have often wondered why you have such attachment, in such a total and obsessive way, to the Palestinian people to the extent where you appear to derive pleasure from deriding others on this website for their different opinions.

    The plight of the Palestinian people is a real one, however the mythology that has been constructed to utilise that plight by the Arab peoples, in order to decimate the Jewish people of Israel and claim eventually the whole territory of Israel and the Territories, is a lie, holding some truths within the lie. And the world is swallowing it. The fundamental truths associated with the history of the Israelis and the Palestinians are long forgotten, and nobody wants to be reminded of them. Until that is rectified, there is no basis for talk. In the meantime everyone gets on the bandwagon, brandishing their swords, unleashing their tongues, spouting ‘international law and opinion’, organising BdS campaigns and protests … and, what do you know, before long the Palestinian ‘issue’ becomes fodder for the anti-Semites, inextricably linked, and we also have a new brand of anti-Semitism raging through the world. What next, I wonder …

  6. Liat Nagar says:

    Ben,
    What on earth are you on about with your reference to ‘the weight of legal authority against the settlements’? That very general term ‘legal authority’ you refer to is made up of negative opinions and proclamations brought to bear internationally against Israel in relation to misunderstood or artificially conceived ideas of ‘the settlements’, without the legal authority to make same binding. Israel has been operating thus far within the boundaries of actual existing laws in relation to this subject.

    • Ben says:

      Liat,

      By legal authority I mean the opinions, advices and views of the worlds most highly respected scholars and judges on the subject of international law. I suggest you read them before assuming they contain “misunderstood or artificially conceived ideas”.

      Their opinions, although not directly binding, contribute significantly towards the body of customary international law and become directly binding when they are followed by tribunals such as the ICJ and ICC. Contrary to what you say, they therefore form part of “actual existing laws in relation to the subject”.

      The ICJ, the world’s highest court on Int law, issued an opinion in 2004 and although it dealt with the discrete matter of the separation wall in the west bank, it held unequivocally that all the settlements violated the 4th Geneva Convention.

      If you perhaps regard all 14 Judges who handed down this opinion as biased, then read the opinion of Judge Thomas Buergenthal who agreed with the majority on this particular point (dissenting on sep issue). He is a renowned US Judge, an expert on Int law, a Jew and a holocaust survivor. See also what Alan Dershowitz, one of Isr’s most strident supporters, thinks of the settlements.

      No government (other than Israel) has ever proclaimed the settlements legal – most, in fact, abhor them. Israel of course appears not to care much about Int law or what the world thinks on this issue.

      However it may have to now because if the matter comes before the ICC over E1, the ICC will, in all probability, follow the 2004 ICJ opinion, including the views of Buergenthal, making any Isr government official liable to arrest.

      My money is on Isr not touching E1 until a final status agreement with the Palestinians.

      Ben

      • david says:

        Ben

        The International Court of Justice indeed relied on the Fourth Geneva Convention – but totally ignored any consideration of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the UN Charter.

        The Egyptian appointee to the International Court in the 2004 case – Judge El-Araby – cautioned the other 14 Justices against ignoring an examination of the legal effect of the Mandate when stating:

        “The international legal status of the Palestinian Territory (paras. 70-71 of the Advisory Opinion), in my view, merits more comprehensive treatment. A historical survey is relevant to the question posed by the General Assembly, for it serves as the background to understanding the legal status of the Palestinian Territory on the one hand and underlines the special and continuing responsibility of the General Assembly on the other. This may appear as academic, without relevance to the present events. The present is however determined by the accumulation of past events and no reasonable and fair concern for the future can possibly disregard a firm grasp of past events. In particular, when on more than one occasion, the rule of law was consistently side-stepped. The point of departure, or one can say in legal jargon, the critical date, is the League of Nations Mandate which was entrusted to Great Britain.”

        Regrettably Judge El-Araby’s sage advice was ignored – and the Levy Report makes very clear why considering the Mandate and article 80 of the UN Charter could have led to a very different decision.

        In one respect the International Court could be excused for failing to consider the Mandate and Article 80 – since the then Secretary General of the United Nations – Kofi Annan – had failed to include these vital documents in the dossier of 88 documents he was required to submit to the Court that were “likely to throw light upon the question” – as he was legally required to do under Article 65 of the Court‘s statute.

        The International Court’s decision – non binding anyway – was fatally flawed as a result.

        If you only submit half the relevant documents – you are sure to get only half an answer.

        Those persons who prepared the dossier of documents and Mr Annan himself now need to explain how documents – deemed so relevant by the Levy Committee and judge El Araby – were omitted from the dossier submitted to the International Court.

        Don’t hold out any hopes of ever getting an answer.

        I have raised the question and been met by a wall of silence. They just don’t want to even try and justify their decision to omit these documents from the brief submitted to the Court.

        • Ben says:

          David,

          Please name one respected non-far right wing legal scholar and one international government (other than Israel) who gives credence to the Levy Report.

          The report through a form of legal gymnastics tries to argue that Article 80 of the UN Charter revives the San Remo convention of 1920 which called for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” and therefore constitutes a binding international commitment to make all of historic Palestine as under the British mandate into a Jewish state forever. It does nothing of the sort.

          The San Remo convention has very little legal credibility in this day and age. It was hardly a document that represents world consensus given that it was drawn up by the old colonial powers after WW1 with no regard for the opinion of the indigenous arab population. By the way it also says that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”. Can Palestinians in the WB vote in the Knesset ?

          The convention was in any event superseded by the GA Partition Plan of 1947 and by countless GA resolutions that have called for a 2 state solution. You have as much chance succeeding on the San Remo/Article 80 point in the ICC as the bible.

          The contemporary and respected academic view on the settlements and the application of the Geneva Conventions is reflected in the ICJ opinion and in the opinion of Judge Thomas Buergenthal. See also Professor Ben Saul’s opinion from Sydney University who cogently challenges the view of the late Julius Stone.

          The San Remo / Article 80 argument did not feature in the ICJ opinion because it is simply wrong. Not even Israel dared to run it in its submissions to the ICJ. Not even Alan Dershowitz who wrote “A Case for Israel” supports it. Judge El Araby obviously does not support this view because the rest of his opinion directly contradicts the notion that the whole of the WB forms part of a Jewish State.

          According to the Jewish Daily Forward, the Levy report’s claim, contradicting the world community’s interpretation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, is based on “an eccentric legal doctrine that’s been circulating for years on the fringes of the far right”.

          According to Haaretz, the “members [of the Levy Committee] were meticulously chosen”: Levy was the single minority justice to oppose the 2005 unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip, declaring that it violated the rights of the Jewish settlers, Baker who is a resident of the West Bank settlement Har Adar was on the payroll of a settlers’ organization which advocates legalization of illegal outposts, and Shapira, the daughter of former Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren, is a sister-in-law of right-wing ideologue Israel Harel”.

          As for the settlement that the Palestinians will accept, Arafat agreed to 3%. at Taba. That’s probably too low but it ought to be between 3-6%.

          You dont explain what the relevance is of the “88 documents” not provided to the ICJ but if they have anything to do with the Article 80/San Remo theory then they are irrelevant.

          • david says:

            Ben

            Not sure where you got your information from but let me state the following:

            1. Article 80 on the UN Charter preserved the rights of the Jewish people to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in Palestine conferred by the unanimous decision of the 51 members of the League of Nations under the terms of the Mandate for Palestine. The San Remo Conference and the Treaty of Sevres were the building blocks that led to the Mandate but the Mandate and Article 80 remain the definitive legal documents.

            Your constant references to the “San Remo/ Art 80 argument” is misleading and wrong.

            The correct reference is the “Mandate/Art 80 argument”.

            There is a big difference – and I suspect you know it

            2. The Arabs were perfectly aware of the proposal to create a Jewish National Home in Palestine and actively opposed it. They were not satisfied to receive 99.99% of the captured Ottoman Empire. They hung out – and still hang out – for the extra 0.01%. Their attitude -and their voracious appetite -has brought them and the Jews nothing but grief.

            3. Palestinians in the West Bank cannot vote in elections for the Knesset because they are not citizens of Israel.

            4. Quote the sections of Justice Burgenthal’s opinion if you wish to rely on it as I have quoted Judge El-Araby’s opinion. General statements are meaningless.

            5. The GA Partition Plan of 1947 was non- binding resolution and a recommendation only and had no effect especially after the Arabs rejected it.

            6. The ICJ judgement was non-binding.

            7. Israel made no submissions to the ICJ. It only lodged a Written Statement
            setting out detailed objections to the jurisdiction of the Court and the propriety of the Court responding to the request. As an element relevant to the Court’s discretion under Article 65(1) of the Statute, the statement also detailed the on-
            going terrorist threat faced by Israel from Palestinian terrorism directed at Israeli civilians.

            8. Personal denigration of any members of any tribunals whose verdicts one doesn’t agree with is par for the course. Do you want the same kind of arguments against the ICJ Judges to be ventilated as a reason for making the decision they did? Its an argument that gets you nowhere – unless a Court makes a determination..

            9. How do you believe Abbas can be persuaded to abandoning any claims to 6-9% of the West Bank after the General Assembly just voted to give him 100%?.

            10. Your suggestion that the views of Prof Saul are cogently opposed to those of Prof Stone are unsubstantiated and lack any means of verification. Again a meaningless assertion.

            11. If the Mandate and article 80 of the UN Charter were left out of the brief Kofi Annan sent to the ICJ for its advisory opinion because they were irrelevant as you claim – why didn’t the UN simply answer me to this effect? Who made that decision still remains a mystery to this day.

            12.. To help understand the veracity of your claims – are you a lawyer? You should surely be aware that in every case there are two opposing lawyers with two different opinions. The judge determines who is right in his opinion – and he can subsequently be overruled on appeal. Making dismissive comments about the strength of your opponents legal arguments has brought more than one lawyer to grief. A little more humility can go a long way.

  7. Liat Nagar says:

    David,
    Have you sent this to Senator Bob Carr and Julia Gillard? If not, you should. I don’t care if it’s a voice crying out in the wilderness that will be ignored due to the lack of clear thinking and lack of vision in regard to the whole sad and sorry scenario. It’s a voice of eloquence and passion and high intelligence, and needs to be heard and read as widely as possible.
    I understand Gillard’s position ended up being politically impossible and that Bob Carr, as her relatively new Foreign Minister, put her in that position, which in itself is a further disgrace. I do bear in mind she actively sought his services, possibly with back up for herself in mind, well, it’s working out differently to what she envisaged and methinks she’ll be up against more than she bargained for in the future.
    However, what is more important is the grave damage done in regard to Israel and the even more impossible situation that presents in regard to the Israel – Palestinian debacle.

    • David says:

      Liat

      I have not sent the article to Bob Carr – but you are at liberty to do so.

      I have found my correspondence with Foreign Affairs to be a complete waste of time in the past.

      I guess anyway that their advisors subscribe to J Wire and will,read the article. They are more than welcome to state their views here.

      They surely must have seen the wreck coming with the passage of this particular Resolution. If they didn’t then they should be looking for other jobs.

      A firm and principled NO vote was called for from Australia and all the other world democracies.

      Rolling Julia Gillard has proved to be wrong within just ten days of the Resolution being passed.

  8. Ben says:

    David,

    It is wishful thinking on your part to assume that those 22 nations received some form of “come uppance” through the recent pronouncements of Hamas. If you detect an iota of regret from these countries do let me know – I am genuinely curious. I would however suggest to you that the blindingly obvious reason this will not happen is:

    1. All 22 countries distinguish between Hamas and the PA. In fact, the resolution would not have seen the light of day were this not so.

    2. Abbas has been very careful to maintain that distinction. See this report in Jerusalem Post of Abbas criticising Meshall – http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=295757

    And before you mention those Fatah flags seen at the Hamas rally, is this is really surprising given the likely disillusionment of the palestinian people right now as Israel continues it settlement policy and its general lurch to the right ?

    If E1 ever proceeds, Israel will find itself in the ICC with the blessing of those 22 nations you referred to. As you are no doubt aware, there are many respected international lawyers who have disputed the legality of all the settlements (see ICJ opinion on The Wall and Professor Ben Saul’s paper) and the odds are very high that the ICC will concur. This will have serious but, in my view, deserved ramifications for Israel.

    Given the weight of legal authority against the settlements I’m puzzled that you have such an attachment to them and that you assume the world does too ?

    Ben

    • David says:

      Ben

      I am afraid you are living in a wonderland – a little like our Foreign Minister.

      The article you cited says this:

      ““I don’t agree with Khaled Mashaal’s statement on the non-recognition of Israel, because we, in fact, recognized it in 1993,” Abbas told reporters in Ankara following a two-day visit to Turkey.

      “A four-article agreement between [Fatah and Hamas] stipulates a two-state vision.

      And Mashaal approved of this agreement,” he added, according to the report.”

      Tut tut. Poor Abbas has apparently been labouring under a misapprehension.

      So has Foreign Minister Carr – in believing a two- state solution would be possible if the General Assembly resolution was passed.

      I would say the Foreign Minister and his advisors did not carefully read the resolution and the poison pill that was in it.

      In their rush to at least not appear to be on the wrong side of an assured majority queued up to admit Palestine as a non-member State observer – they overlooked that the abstention vote would send an encouraging signal to Abbas of the General Assembly’s endorsement of the right of the Palestinian Arabs to get 100% of the West Bank.

      Nineteen years of negotiating a two-state solution disappeared down the drain with that decision taken at the General Assembly – which left only negotiations to take place to remove 600000 Jews out of their homes and businesses and no negotiations on the respective claims by Jews and Arabs to sovereignty in the West Bank.

      Israel will never be a party to any negotiations designed to achieve such outcome.

      Prime Minister Gillard had the right call in wanting to vote NO to let Abbas know Australia would regard the proposed resolution as a prescription for disaster.

      Senator Carr must now take responsibility for Australia along with other democracies sharing criticism for what has happened within just ten days of the General Assembly resolution being passed.

      Their stupid decision has unleashed a series of unilateral actions that cannot advance the cause of resolving the Jewish-Arab conflict.

      More such actions are set to follow.

      • Ben says:

        David,

        I think you may be reading far too much into the resolution.

        Not sure what you mean by “poison pill” but there is nothing in that resolution that can jeopardise negotiations. All the resolution does is expose Isr to ICC proceedings if it continues building settlements; something that even Canada and the US criticised Isr over. So I think you have a long way to go before Carr is going to see the resolution in the same light as you do. Still, I’d be interested to hear what he has to say so keep us all informed.

        As far as the settlers are concerned, the world has very little sympathy for many of them, given the widely accepted view that they are illegally occupying the WB. I note that you take no issue with the ICJ opinions and those of other scholars on the issue of legality. The Palestinians accept that some settlement will have to stay, even though, as a matter of law, they are not obliged to accept anything built after 1967.

        • david says:

          Ben

          You obviously missed the following post by me above – so I will repeat it here for you:

          “Ben

          The International Court of Justice indeed relied on the Fourth Geneva Convention – but totally ignored any consideration of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the UN Charter.

          The Egyptian appointee to the International Court in the 2004 case – Judge El-Araby – cautioned the other 14 Justices against ignoring an examination of the legal effect of the Mandate when stating:

          “The international legal status of the Palestinian Territory (paras. 70-71 of the Advisory Opinion), in my view, merits more comprehensive treatment. A historical survey is relevant to the question posed by the General Assembly, for it serves as the background to understanding the legal status of the Palestinian Territory on the one hand and underlines the special and continuing responsibility of the General Assembly on the other. This may appear as academic, without relevance to the present events. The present is however determined by the accumulation of past events and no reasonable and fair concern for the future can possibly disregard a firm grasp of past events. In particular, when on more than one occasion, the rule of law was consistently side-stepped. The point of departure, or one can say in legal jargon, the critical date, is the League of Nations Mandate which was entrusted to Great Britain.”

          Regrettably Judge El-Araby’s sage advice was ignored – and the Levy Report makes very clear why considering the Mandate and article 80 of the UN Charter could have led to a very different decision.

          In one respect the International Court could be excused for failing to consider the Mandate and Article 80 – since the then Secretary General of the United Nations – Kofi Annan – had failed to include these vital documents in the dossier of 88 documents he was required to submit to the Court that were “likely to throw light upon the question” – as he was legally required to do under Article 65 of the Court‘s statute.

          The International Court’s decision – non binding anyway – was fatally flawed as a result.

          If you only submit half the relevant documents – you are sure to get only half an answer.

          Those persons who prepared the dossier of documents and Mr Annan himself now need to explain how documents – deemed so relevant by the Levy Committee and judge El Araby – were omitted from the dossier submitted to the International Court.

          Don’t hold out any hopes of ever getting an answer.

          I have raised the question and been met by a wall of silence. They just don’t want to even try and justify their decision to omit these documents from the brief submitted to the Court.”

          Does this sound as though I take no issue with the ICJ decision?

          Please refrain from making assumptions you cannot support.

          What settlements do you have in mind that the Palestinians accept will have to stay? Name me one.

          And the poison pill was these words contained in the resolution:

          “the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their State of Palestine on the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967″

          Guess Senator Carr was too busy lobbying against Prime Minister Gillard to read the fine print.

          Guess you also missed it as well.

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