Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Comments on Palestine's UN Failure

Comments on Palestine's UN Failure

by Stephen Lendman

Millions of Palestinians lack fundamental rights everyone deserves. Denied for decades. Subjugated by Israeli harshness. With no end whatever in sight.

Governed by longstanding Israeli collaborators. Serving repressively as its enforcer. Benefitting at the expense of their own people.

Submitting a pathetically weak statehood resolution for Security Council consideration. An embarrassment and then some.

Falling way short of what Palestinians deserve. What international law mandates.

Defeated by US pressure. Its veto power. Supporting virtually everything Israel wants. Two nations united against Palestinian liberation. Determined to prevent it.

Wanting Palestinians held hostage. Under permanent bondage. Controlling virtually all aspects of their lives. 

Denying them fundamental rights. Collectively punishing them. Leaving them isolated on their own. Longstanding injustice continues.

Palestine declared independence years ago. Previous articles explained. Law Professor Francis Boyle drafted its 1988 Declaration of Independence.

Predicting a "instantaneous success." De jure UN membership. Saying Palestine meets all basic requirements for statehood. Then and now. Including:

A  determinable (not necessarily fixed) territory. A state comprised of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. 

Where Palestinians lived for millennia. Rightfully deserving universally recognized sovereignty.

With a fixed population. A legitimate state. A functioning government. Peace loving. Polar opposite its repressive occupier.

Accepting UN Charter provisions. In 1988, Arafat declared the PLO Palestine's Provisional Government.

Prepared for relations with other states. On December 15, 1988, The General Assembly recognized Palestine's legitimacy. Gave it observer status.

Palestine satisfies essential statehood criteria. All UN Charter states (including America and Israel) at the time provisionally recognized Palestinian independence. 

In accordance with UN Charter article 80(1) and League Covenant article 22(4).

As the League of Nations' successor, the General Assembly has exclusive legal authority to designate the PLO as the Palestinian peoples' legitimate representative. 

The Palestine National Council (PNC) is the PLO's legislative body. Empowered to proclaim the existence of Palestine. 

According to the binding 1925 Palestine Citizenship Order in Council, Palestinians, their children and grandchildren automatically become citizens. So do diaspora Palestinians.

Others in Israel and Jordan are entitled to dual nationalities. Occupied Territory residents remain protected persons until final peace agreement terms are reached.

Boyle called Palestine's Declaration of Independence "determinative, definitive, and irreversible."

It recognized the UN's 1947 partition plan in good faith. Declared its commitment to UN Charter principles.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Its sovereign right to defend Palestinian independence. Rejects force, violence or intimidation against its territorial integrity.

Respects other nations' political independence. Expressed willingness to accept interim UN supervision. Until Israel's occupation ends.

Called for an international peace conference. Based on UN Resolutions 242 and 338.

General Assembly members alone affirm new member states. By two-thirds majority vote. The Security Council only recommends admissions. 

Palestinians can override Washington's veto by petitioning the General Assembly through the 1950 Uniting for Peace Resolution 377. 

Doing so renders America's veto null and void. Why hasn't Abbas done it? Why haven't other key PLO officials pressured him to do so?

Why go to the wrong authority for recognition? Why not years earlier? Why sacrifice Palestinians' fundamental rights? 

Petitioning Security Council members reflects unconditional  surrender. Acceptance of status quo harshness. Subservience to US/Israeli authority. Betrayal of longstanding Palestinian hopes and dreams.

If proper procedures are followed, official statehood is easily attainable. Why not after all these years?

Why waste time with Security Council members? Why not General Assembly ones that matter? 

With over two-thirds of its members officially recognizing Palestinian statehood, getting it is as simple as requesting it according to proper procedures.

Why let business as usual continue? After decades of Israeli repression, Palestinians remain on their own. Their inalienable rights denied. 

Unattainable under corrupted PLO leadership. Beholden to Washington and Israel. Betraying its own people.

Denying them fundamental rights everyone deserves. Benefitting at their expense. 

Putting a lie to its rhetorical support for Palestinian sovereignty. Letting Israel maintain permanent subjugation.

Mustafa Barghouti is a leading Palestinian human rights champion. "Those countries that voted against or abstained on the Palestinian resolution at the Security Council, regardless of how weak and compromised it was, are sending a strong message," he said. 

"They oppose the two-state solution and cannot be considered peace brokers."

Diana Buttu is a former PLO legal advisor. "The resolution that was defeated tonight demonstrated the PLO leadership’s inability to recognize that the Oslo negotiations process is a complete failure," she said. 

"Rather than pushing for sanctions to be imposed on Israel and attempting to charge Israeli officials with war crimes at the International Criminal Court, the resolution called for a return to the same two-decade old, fruitless negotiations process that has led to a tripling in the number of Israeli colonists living illegally on stolen Palestinian land and served as cover for the daily violence inflicted on Palestinians by Israel’s racist occupation regime."

“Despite being a flawed and weak resolution, the US and UK governments voted against it largely because it places a deadline on ending Israel’s military occupation, without even specifying what penalties Israel might face should the deadline not be met."  

"It is clear from this that the US, UK and other members of the international community will continue to provide unqualified support to Israel even as it continues to systemically violate their national policies and international law, and that their professed desire to see Palestinians live in freedom and achieve their rights is nothing more than empty rhetoric."

Yousef Munayyer formerly served as Washington-based Jerusalem Fund and Palestine Center executive director. He'll soon assume new duties as head of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

"Another United Nations Security Council vote, another day under Israeli occupation," he said. 

"Decade after decade the UN has considered, and even sometimes passed, resolutions calling for an end to Israel's occupation of Palestinian land, but it has done little to change the status quo."

“Today's vote is but another meaningless one for Palestinians living under the boot of the Israeli military." 

"Each and every episode like this, where the international community underscores its failure to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian question, is another boon to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which provides an alternative to stagnation at the UN. Perhaps that is the silver lining of this moment."

Nadia Nijab is Al-Shabaka executive director. An Institute for Palestine Studies senior fellow.

"The Palestine Liberation Organization must have been trying for a win-win: a US abstention that would send a strong signal to Israel or a US veto that would leave Palestine free to join other UN organizations and the International Criminal Court," she said. 

"The failure of the resolution to win the requisite nine votes will be seen as a big setback."

"But the PLO/Palestine never really needed this resolution to make international law work for Palestinian rights." 

"It already has the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the illegality of Israel’s Wall and its associated regime, non-member observer state status at the UN, and membership of UNESCO." 

"And yet the past few years have been, disastrously, marked by brief spurts of activism followed by inaction and backtracking." 

"Will 2015 reveal a different PLO/Palestine - one with resolution, and not just empty resolutions?" 

"The dire situation on the ground and unceasing attacks on Palestinian life, limb, and land throughout the occupied territories demand no less."

Ali Abunimah is Electronic Intifada co-founder/executive director. "I feel a great sense of relief that the UN resolution on Palestine was defeated in the Security Council," he said. 

"While the draft put forward by PA leader Mahmoud Abbas purported to call for an end to Israeli occupation, it did the opposite." 

"It attempted to insert the vague and deceptive language of the failed Oslo peace process into a UN resolution, giving it the force of international law." 

"Earlier and still valid UN Security Council resolutions - such as 465 of 1980 - are much clearer and stronger in, for example, demanding that Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land be dismantled."

“This resolution actually allowed for the settlements to remain - under the guise of 'land swaps' - a formula that was previously used by Abbas to concede most of occupied Jerusalem to Israel." 

"Similarly, the resolution would have represented a significant retreat on other key Palestinian rights and interests, especially the rights of refugees." 

"Several revisions to the draft - in an attempt to avoid the inevitable American veto - only further compromised Palestinian rights, which is why Abbas' initiative has been disavowed by every major Palestinian political faction and many figures within his own Fatah movement." 

The Palestinian people do not need more - and weaker - UN resolutions. They need existing ones to be enforced."

Law Professor/human rights attorney Noura Eerakat said:

"Tonight’s UN Security Council vote was an unfortunate affirmation of the lack of political will amongst the strongest UN member states to resolve the Palestinian-Israel conflict." 

"It is not a lack of understanding between peoples, nor age-old religious or ethnic discord, that impedes a resolution, but rather a failure of the international community to support the Palestinian people in their struggle for self-determination against Israel’s settler-colonial regime."

"The resolution reflected principles established among the UN General Assembly and Security Council over six decades of deliberation." 

"That these appeared controversial is indicative of the inability and/or unwillingness of the US and other western states to achieve a just resolution, and more reason to support the global grassroots Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement aimed at applying pressure on Israel to cease its illegal and unjust practices." 

"It is also more reason for the Palestinian leadership to place its eggs in other diplomatic baskets beyond the United States, and to launch a full-scale grassroots, media, legal, and popular campaign for Palestinian freedom and rights."

"The US’s vote is particularly telling. Combined with its 2011 veto of a resolution condemning Israel’s settlement enterprise, it makes clear that the US is still willing to shield Israel to continue its detrimental practices and to impede possible solutions to the conflict, thus demonstrating its centrality as a part of the problem." 

"There is no irony in the fact that the two votes against the resolution, the US and Australia, are also settler-colonial regimes."

Long-suffering Palestinians deserve better than they've gotten. Or will under corrupted PLO leadership. 

On their own to achieve long denied liberation. Maybe some day. Not now.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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