Palestine: Quartet and UNESCO In Head-On Collision

April 20, 2012 by David Singer
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UNESCO’S  recognition that Palestine is a State has now been totally refuted by the Quartet – America, the Russian Federation, the European Union (EU) and  the United Nations (UN)…writes David Singer.

The Quartet – in its latest statement – has now endorsed the view of the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (OTP) just a few days earlier – that Palestine is not a State.

“The Quartet reaffirmed its commitment, as expressed in its 23 September 2011 statement, to examine possible mechanisms it can actively support going forward, individually and together, to advance peace efforts and strengthen the Palestinian Authority’s ability to meet the full range of civil and security needs of the Palestinian people both now and in a future state.”

The Quartet’s use of the words – “both now and in a future state” – was clear and unambiguous .

If the Quartet and the OTP are correct – then Palestine’s admission to UNESCO as a State is indeed unlawful – since only States can be members of UNESCO under Article II paragraph 2 of UNESCO’S Constitution.

Yet the Russian Federation and many other member states of the UN and the EU – 107 to be precise – voted to recognize Palestine’s claim to be a State – thereby qualifying it to be granted admission to UNESCO.

How then can their representatives in the Quartet be now saying Palestine is not a State?

The remaining 87 UNESCO member states – including America and Israel – did not vote for Palestine‘s admission. Yet none of these States has done anything in the last six months to protest the illegality of Palestine’s admission to UNESCO – although several courses of action were open to them.

Firstly – they could have attempted to have the decision reviewed by lobbying UNESCO to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the constitutional propriety of its decision to recognize Palestine as a State – under Article XIV Paragraph 2 of UNESCO’s Constitution which states:

“Any question or dispute concerning the interpretation of this Constitution shall be referred for determination to the International Court of Justice or to an arbitral tribunal, as the General Conference may determine under its Rules of Procedure.’

Secondly – they could have suspended their membership or the payment of their membership dues or refused to attend meetings when Palestine was represented by its accredited spokespersons.

America and Israel suspended their dues –  not to protest UNESCO’S recognition of Palestine as a State – but to protest that this recognition was achieved unilaterally outside the negotiations prescribed by the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap.

So having by their conduct over the last six months done nothing to voice their opposition to UNESCO recognizing that Palestine is a State  –  how can their Quartet representatives now be claiming to do just that by claiming there is no existing State of Palestine?

The Quartet’s statement sounds an even more discordant tone when it asserts:

“The Quartet encouraged the parties, in this context, to cooperate to facilitate the social and economic development of Area C, which is of critical importance for the viability of a future Palestinian state as well as for its Palestinian inhabitants to be enabled to lead a normal life. The Quartet asked Quartet Representative Blair to continue his intensive work with the parties toward this end.’

Again the words “ a future Palestinian State” are carefully chosen – a clear negation of the UNESCO vote recognizing Palestine is a State.

But even stranger – “Area C “ is a specific creation of the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap negotiating processes – instituted in 1993 and 2002 between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization through its then newly constituted negotiating entity – the Palestinian Authority.

“Area C “ comprises 61% in area of the West Bank and is home to only 4% of the Palestinian Arabs living in the West Bank. It also happens to be the location where pre-existing Jewish settlements were destroyed in the 1948 Arab-Israel War – and were subsequently re-established after the 1967 War.

“Area C “ also contains most of the new Jewish settlements built since 1967 – where close settlement by Jews was to be encouraged under article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

Israel currently holds full security and administrative control in “Area C“. Sovereignty has remained unallocated between Jews and Arabs since Great Britain handed back its Mandate to the United Nations in 1948.

In going behind Oslo and the Roadmap to unilaterally achieve statehood at UNESCO – Palestine has cut itself completely adrift from Oslo and the Roadmap.

It surely is wishful thinking for the Quartet to have any expectations that further negotiations on the future of “Area C” can be conducted within the framework of Oslo and the Roadmap – once the two-state solution contemplated by Oslo and the Road Map had been achieved at UNESCO.

If there are to be any negotiations over Area C – where Palestine does not have and never has had effective control – a new Roadmap – agreed to by Israel and the Palestinian Authority – will first be needed to replace both Oslo and the Bush Roadmap.

That no doubt is what the Quartet wants to avoid – and provides a good reason for the Quartet to continually claim that there is no state of Palestine existing at the present time.

Perhaps the Quartet is preparing us to get ready to listen to a new composition – the Obama Roadmap,

For that to happen however – the Quartet must encourage UNESCO to high tail it to the International Court – to clarify whether its decision to recognize Palestine as a State is lawful or not.

The current disharmony caused by UNESCO and the Quartet playing from different scores needs to be resolved without delay.

Is Palestine now a state – or it is not?

The UNESCO decision has not only created a growing global humanitarian crisis caused by the loss of 22% of its budget in suspended American dues.

That decision has now also become crucial in determining whether :

  1. Oslo and the Bush Roadmap have any further relevance at all and
  2. The Quartet disappears ignominiously off the international stage into permanent retirement as the most powerful diplomatic negotiating team ever assembled in history that failed to achieve anything after eight years of trying.

Until the International Court gives its advisory opinion – the Quartet is going to look decidedly foolish claiming  there is no such State yet in existence – when UNESCO says there is.

This head-on collision is certain to claim a lot of casualties.

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


22 Responses to “Palestine: Quartet and UNESCO In Head-On Collision”
  1. singer says:

    As so often happens the subject matter of my articles tend to get buried in an avalanche of totally irrelevant material and comments – which I believe are intended to avoid a full and frank discussion of the issues I have raised.

    May I point out that the issues arising from my article are:

    1. The 194 member states of UNESCO recognized the existence of the State of Palestine on 31 October 2011 – resulting in the two-state solution envisaged by Oslo and the Roadmap being achieved.

    2. The Quartet and the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court do not accept that Palestine is a State.

    3. The only way to resolve these differences of opinion is by the International Court giving an advisory opinion on the legality of the UNESCO decision. Until the Court does so – the UNESCO decision stands.

    4. All 194 member states of UNESCO cannot now assert that the Palestinians lack a state or are stateless any longer.

    I believe the conflict between Jews and Arabs took a dramatic turn on 31 October 2011 with Palestine’s admission to UNESCO that cannot be ignored – irrespective of the views of the Quartet or any of us – including myself – on whether Palestine is a state or not.

    194 countries have done nothing to reverse the UNESCO decision – and don’t appear likely to do so.
    That is the reality – and its consequences need to be understood and dealt with whilst that decision remains unreversed by the International Court.

    If anyone wants to discuss any of the above – I am prepared to answer them.

    I don’t intend to respond to any other comments.

  2. Ant says:

    I share everyone’s desire to see a comprehensive peace in the Middle East but Israel’s current Prime Minister Mr Netanyahu continues to build settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

    Last November, there were a further 6 UN Resolutions on Palestine and the Middle East. There are over 150 UN Resolutions (including 181, 191 and 194). Furthermore the ruling of the International Court of Justice in the Hague pertaining to the ‘security barrier’, which is 3 times the length of the Berlin Wall, has been ignored by Mr Netanyahu.

    At present I cannot envisage a two-state solution, if settlements and the ‘security barrier’ are finally completed. Palestinian communities will be separated into pockets of territory that lack contiguity, surrounded by settlements only accessible by settler only roads. ‘Natural growth’ settlements too were not acceptable as part of Phase I of the internationally agreed Road Map (2003) either. Both Israelis and Palestinians deserve peace and security, but how is this possible with Mr Netanyahu’s refusal to end these policies and to reject the US President’s 1967 lines.

    There are 130 nations in the world that recognise Palestine including India, China, Russia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brazil. Day by day, the ‘security barrier’ and settlements erode the possibility of a two-state solution, the viability a comprehensive peace, the contiguity of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (including Arab East Jerusalem) and the relevance of the Palestinian National Authority.

    Nevertheless, UNESCO’s recognition last year of Palestine (supported by France, Spain, Ireland and Norway amongst many European nations) was a step forward and a counter balance to those who deny Israel or Palestine’s right to exist. Dignity and peace is paramount for both peoples and recognition of both states ensures that the rejectionist camp is marginalised even further.

    Thank you and God bless you.

    Resolution 478 (1980)
    of 20 August 1980

    The Security Council, recalling its resolution 476 (1980); reaffirming again that the acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible; deeply concerned over the enactment of a “basic law” in the Israeli Knesset proclaiming a change in the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, with its implications for peace and security; noting that Israel has not complied with resolution 476 (1980); reaffirming its determination to examine practical ways and means, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, to secure the full implementation of its resolution 476 (1980), in the event of non-compliance by Israel ; Censures in the strongest terms the enactment by Israel of the “basic law” on Jerusalem and the refusal to comply with relevant Security Council resolutions;

    • Paul Winter says:

      Please don’t waste our time listing resolutions by an anti-Israel and largely antisemitic UN, nor a politicised international court.

      Just to answer two of your points. Any court that criticises Israel’s security barrier while ignoring the reason that it was built – over 1000 Jews murdered by homicide bombers – is not worth listening to. In fact, such a callous sadistic disregard for life – yes, even Jews are living human beings – is something that will forever be a mark of shame for the court.

      The coercing of Israel to accept the cessation of natural growth is a mark of shame on the international community, reminiscent of Nazi ideology to exterminate Jews; even under threat and deprivation in concentration camps and ghettos, Jews children were born. The very notion that Jewish villages in Judea and Samaria should age and wither is obscene, the more so as the “settlements” occupy only 1.7% of the areas that the Arabs want for the PA part of their state. The notion is also antisemitic, because it advances the Arab demand that any future “Palestine” be free of Jews. This, when about 1/5th of Israelis are Muslims and the Arabs demand the return of the “Paletinian” diaspora to Israel! And all this from a person who calls for peace and a two state solution!

      I reject pseudo-legal rulings against Israel because they lack context, justice and precedent. I reject all those pompous resolutions because the Arabs rejected them and they now want the international community to compel Israel to accept their perverted interpretation of those resolutions. I reject those resolutions because they make Israel a Jew among the nations. I reject those resolutions because they are merely non-binding General Assembly grunts emanating from at best cynical nations, but mostly from hypocritical, antisemitic, brutish regimes. Why any thinking person supports those, is beyond me.

      • Ben says:

        Hello Winter

        Ine cannot have it both ways. Using the UN agencies to question a palestinian state, using a GA resolution to force a state on Palestinians and expel them from their land and now smearing the UN.

        • Paul Winter says:

          Ben, please read and do your best to comprehend the issues stated in easy point form by David Singer.

          Please note in particular David’s points 3 & 4.

          Your assertion about Palestinian land is baseless, but in the legal sphere can be argues both ways.

          Your championing the UN in the face of its antisemitic bias, hypocrisy, racism and pretense for law and human rights, is the best comment on the value of your attitude to the Jewish state.

      • Lynne Newington says:

        Well Paul, you just have to stand your ground.
        It took decades to have the Vatican to start paying their property taxes and you won that one.

  3. Ben says:

    Hello Winter

    There may not have been a Palestinian state, but there is a Palestinian nation. Nations have existed without states, The Irish, the Scottish, the Welsh, the Kurds, the Sri Lankan Tamils to name a few.

    • Paul Winter says:

      The Irish, Scottish and Welsh speak variants of Gaelic and have lived in a particular area for centuries. These ancient inhabitants of the British Isles believe in various differing forms of Christianity. They have a history and an identity. The Kurds are an ancient people with their own language and customs and they too inhabit ancient lands. TheHindu Sri Lankan Tamils were brought to the then Ceylon from Tamil Nadu, an Indian state to work the tea plantations for which the native Buddhist Sinhalese were not found to be suitable.

      The “Palestinians”? They have no distinct language, religion or culture. No one spoke of “Palestinians” until 1964 and the reason for referring to them as other than just Arabs, was because that was when the KGB invented them according to Rumanian intelligence chief Ion Pacepa. Now Pacepa defected to the West so he may be doubted. But in fact his revelations are confirmed! In 1977 Zuhair Mohsen an executive officer of the PLO admitted that the “Palestinian people” were invented only to harm Israel. Around 1999, before he became an MK and later a traitor, Azmi Bishara stated on Israel’s channel 2 that “The Palestinian people do not exist. the creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity.” Just last month Hamas minister Fathi Hammad stated on Al-Hekma TV that “Half of the Palestinians are Egyptians and the other half are Saudis”; he was chiding his Arab brothers for not helping the Gaza regime overcome the self-imposed fuel shortage.

      Now you may be happy to support a fake folk concocted to undermine the Jewish people’s hold on their ancient homeland and its right to self-determination, but I am opposed to that. The world may support a “Palestinian people”, for self interest, for a commonality with “coloured people” against the “white” Jews (even the Ethiopian ones), but that is something I, as a Jew oppose. The Left may see a blow against Israel as a blow against the Right, but no believer in democracy and the right of people to self-determination can support that. Certainly Islamists oppose any Jewish nation on land they regard as Muslim, but that opposition I despise.

      The Arabs living in Judea and Samaria have had several opportunities to create a state, even if they are not a people. They declined various Jewish gestures of good will and demostrations of a desire for peace. And the reason they declined and continue to reject peace is that that fake folk do not want not a state, but a state of continual war until they can destroy the Jewish state and in doing so reassert the superiority of Islam, where the Jew is an inferior. And that Ben, is what you and your ilk support. Shame on you.

      • Ben says:

        The Palestinians do nto have distinct culture and language? ANd Sri Lankan Tamils were brought from India? BY whom ? Presumably you are not aware of stateless plantation Tamilians. Please look at the history of Palestinin struggle for freedom from British rule and the history of Zionist collaboration with the British and you will see the beginnings of Plaestinian nationalism and the assertion of their culture.

        • Ben says:

          Sorry to add this, There were no Australians before the name Australia was coined. There were no Germans before the unification of Germany, nor were there Italians before Italian unification, only people of diffeenet locations who evenetually emerged into a nation. The people who are called Palestinins are the same, living in the land. Disputing a name is pathetic, they ma choose to call themselves Melbournians or Maritians, it does not disprove the fact that their societies existed on the land for cnturies.

          Holocaust denial is blasphemy and even a crime in some countries. Denying the existance of a living people is not racism for some curios reason!

        • Paul Winter says:

          Ben, this is tedious. You keep ignoring statements made by Arabs who maintain the pretense that they are a people. Why you, presumably a non-Arab non-Muslim, should be a fiercer defender of a malevolent myth of “Palestinianhood” than the Arabs who wear that mantle as a patrimony and a pay-cheque, is beyond comprehension. Facts do not enter the rigid ideological cavern in your cranium. You scream out your distorted drivel of reality, pretending that the Goebbelian big lie will drown out the truth. You forget the second portion of Goebbel’s dictum: the big lie will succeed as long as the state supports it. Your state of mind is a state only in your mind.

          Now just for completeness. Tamils were taken to the then Ceylon by the British, just like other Indians were taken to work plantations in Fiji. The Tamils have a state in India and if they are stateless it is because they rejected Sri Lankan citizenship. The “Palestinian” struggle against British rule was in the context of pan-Arabism and those Arabs who rioted , and killed Jews by the way, saw themselves as southern Syrian. Even Hafez Assad and Yasir Arafat jested with each other about Syria being northern Palestine and Judea and Samaria being souther Syria. They both knew something that you and your ilk deny and spoke about openly, but only in Arabic, a language almost no useful idiot has had the interest in learning.

          • Ben says:

            Great work winter.
            Either total ignorance or delibreate denial. You seem to be aware that Sri Lankn tamilians are quite distinct rom plantation Tamils. Sri Lanka Tamils are not just Hindus, they are Hindu, Christian and Muslim. They live in the north and east of the country. The plantaion Tamils live in the central highlands in estates. And they chose not recieve citizenship ! When it was the Sinhalese dominated government that stripped them of citizenship. Great whitewash of genocide.

          • Ben says:

            There waas rioting against Jews but in the wake of expulsions from land , deliberate policy of racists exclusion from farms and collaboration with the British imperial rule in terrorising the Palestinian freedom movement. AS I said what they call themselves is not very important – Palestine was under the Damascus and Beirut provincial rule under the Ottoman empire – but the presence of a society on the land they were expelled from.

  4. Ben says:

    Hello Singer

    Let us leave aside powers of comprehension, I may not be able to match legal verbiage. The statement was “…..strengthen the PA’s ability to meet the full range of civil and security needs of Palestenian people both now and in a future state. The quartret encouraged the parties in this context, to cooperate to facilitate the social and economic development of area C, which is of critical importance for the viability of a future palestinian state as well as for its Palestinian inhabitants to be enabled to lead a normal life….”

    Concern for “normal life” for Palestinians in area C is evident. and for the the viability of a future state – obviously including area C.

    Any one with power of comprehension can make out that inhabitants of area C are worse of than those under limited PA control. Does it imply that the quartret denies there is a state extant, however limited ? Personally, I am agnostic about the full legal existance of such a state, but a denial by the quartret ?

  5. Ben says:

    I remeber a little logic from university. B
    “Both now and in a future state” COuld mean both in the present state and in a future state or both in the present situation and in a future state.

  6. David
    Isn’t “Ben” cute and entertaining ?
    The text you made available repeatedly AVOIDS the terms Palestinian State, Plestinian Government, even Plestinian nation, but our (!) Ben no and no, he keeps coming back with his hilarious stuff. I Ilike Ben and hope he never goes away or, G-d forbid, sees a specialist.

    ALL diplomatic documents contain extremely carefully selected words.
    ALL Ben’s comments contain the opposite.

    C’mon Henry, how much of a hair cut do I need before becoming unbearably … bald !

    • Ben says:

      Hello Waldman

      Thank you for a not so cute reply. However carefully worded diplomatic documents cannot avoid referring to an issue in contention. They may rfer to a war as conflict or disturbance but cannot avoid mentioning the isuse even through euphemisms. Please use your great speacilist skills here – presumably you have been a diplomat or have promixity to them – and show the world where in the document mentions – however elliptically – the issue of UNEso and statehood. I await revalation.

      • In his circus of futility Ben reckons that deficient thinking concocted in reasonable synthax may result in reson. It works in hollow humour, baseless rirdicule cum frustrations of a sterile mind.
        The reason Ben is consistently wrong is that his mind fails to detect logical consequences, ergo the acceptance, the afirmation of the definition of one distinct cathegory for a definitive subject denies the existence of ANOTHER definition for the same subject.

        Just watch how Ben will continue to make us feel good about the paucity of wit we are confronted with.

  7. Paul Winter says:

    Very clearly there is no such state as “Palestine” and there never was one. The admission of “Palestine” to UNESCO was law as practised by nations that pretend to be civilised. The Quartet endorsed the legal position of the OPT and exposed the respect for law in the Putin plutocracy. But the Quartet is still hostile to Israel while praising the PA for state building visible only to the vision impaired. The Quartet makes demands on Israel while ignoring Arab backsliding, lawfare and rule beyond their mandate in Gaza and in Judea and Samaria. It looks like the nation state of Israel is not negotiating with its murderous, mendacious, mendicant enemy but with its “civilised” sponsors, the Quartet. This is a unique situation. The Vietnamese, the Algerians, the South Sudanese faught from territories to which they were native until a foreign occupier departed in defeat. There are no native “Palestinians”, they are a KGB concocted gang, they have no native soil and as invaders, they cheekily demand concessions from a victorious defender of its existence. Israel must put an end to this charade. It must annex Area C and reduce non-Jewish self-determination of entities in some form of the 8 state solution proposed by Mordechai Kedar.

    Now Ben, you clearly fail to comprehend David Singer’s point about the meaning of the OPT’s decision. Why don’t you be a good boy and stop scoring political points. Against yourself, that is.

  8. David

    Your perception and subsequent comments are both accurate and perfectly logical.
    Indeed, the Quartet affirms terminologies consistent with the ABSENCE of a “Palestinian State”. The are is refered to s “West Bank” NOT as a Pelstinian State, the local administration is refered as “Palestinian Authority” NOT Palestinian Government, again, consistent with the notion of a STATE and, indeed, the clear qualifiction of temporally conclusive status, NOTattributed to a currently EXISTENTquality, through the clear use of the terms “future” Plestinian State, confirm to any normal mind, also capable of comprehending basic English, tht the Quartet very consciously used terms which reflect a clear reality and its respective formal, logical approach.
    It is, therefore, inconsisent, as you point out, that in the same forum, Russia would contradict these realities. This is why your efforts are worthy and most hopeful.

    Incidentally, isn’t Ben cute and entertaining in the way he pops his/her head with that now famous vacant space between his/her years, begging for someone to apply that hilarious sauce pan upon its surface, creating that merry sound of vacuous abandonment. Sorry, I got crried away, but how can you not, Ben is our friend and inovatour, he is the one that introduced successfully the ” Hello” as the standard introduction to his commedy routine. Kids love him and I believe he was very popular at the Royal Easter Show where he is double acted with a cow suffering from indigestion which constantly covered Ben in that “matter” on cue, each time Ben said “Hello”, the cow…splash right on his face ! You should have been there, but, hey , you didn’t have to, Ben’s doing the honours and, just like room service, he surfaces right here each time the “sate” of Palestine comes out, just like the now famous cow does it.

    Ben, we love you and hope that you’ll never leave us. “Hello ” Ben, I must be going !

  9. David says:


    Are your powers of comprehension limited?

    I have quoted two paragraphs verbatim from the Quartet statement which refer to a future Palestinian state – not an existing Palestinian State which UNESCO has recognised on 31October 2011.

    Either UNESCO or the Quartet has got it wrong – and the International Court of Justice is the only judicial body that can decide who is right. Until it does – the UNESCO decision stands and all194 members of UNESCO can only proceed on the basis that they have recognised the existence of a Palestinian State and that the claim of the Palestinian Arabs to be stateless no longer exists.

  10. Ben says:

    The statement doesn’t ever mention a state. It merely makes a string of bland comments about working together, not launching rockets and not expanding settlements. Curious that this is an endorsement of the OTP position, which is nothing more than to refer the case of statehood to the UN.
    Something wrong either in the link or mere hasbara.

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