Sovereignty and a New Reality

August 11, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Palestinian Recognition at the U.N.

By Geoffrey Cook, TMO

Washington–Your reporter has devoted much time to the (progressive) Israeli position on any possible peace discussion with the rightful Arab claimants to the Holy Land.  The Palestine Center, housed in the American capital city, has given your narrator the opportunity to voice the opposing Palestinian position on their march to recognition towards their legitimate status at next month’s meeting at the United Nations.

“Ambassador” Maen Areikat gave a formal speech on his “country’s” formal position on a potential declaration next month of his country’s independence in New York City a month ago here in the District of Columbia with the most knowledgeable legal expert on Ramallah’s right for national agency, Professor John Quigley.  

This, presented in July, was part of the Palestine Center’s public examination of what they termed “The Arab Spring becomes the Palestinian Autumn” — something your scribe does not as yet subscribe.

“Ambassador” (your raconteur only puts parenthesis around his title because Areikat represents a stateless State, and his credentials may not be officially recognized here in D.C.) Mean Areikat is the main PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) representative in the U.S. officially commissioned with the rank of Ambassador by President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian National Authority (PA). 

He has held high positions in negotiating teams and delegations with the Israeli occupiers.   Maen, also, served as Desk Officer over English-speaking powers within the PA’s Orient House’s International Relations Department.

From your author’s recent research on Israel, the attitude of the Palestinians going directly to the U.N. on Manhattan’s River for an official acknowledgment of their natural entitlement is anathema to Tel Aviv.  As John Quigley pointed out, the Israeli parliament (or Knesset) recognized the PLO as  representing a State by recognizing the legitimacy of the Oslo Accords or the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arraignments or more succinctly the Declaration of Principles (DOP) of September 13th 1993.  Further, under the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, the Turks under their then Ottoman Empire ceded their former territories (including Palestine) as States to the (former) League of Nations who gave them in trust to the victorious (post-)World War I European Empires as temporary Mandates. 

Erekat noted, whatever,  the Security-Council does not have the right to recognize or deny nationhood, but it must be passed by two-thirds of its members to be sent on to the General Assembly (GA) , but, if it does pass the initial hurdle, it will most likely be bureaucratically shunted into a Committee.  Here, this Committee can be slowed down in referring it to the General-Assembly. 

The leading legal expert on this process this process is Professor John Quigley of Ohio State University in Columbus.  Besides the law, Quigley’s interests includes human rights; and, thus, Palestine.

Professor Quigley simply states that, after the matter has been referred to the General-Assembly without obfuscations, the Security-Council has to defend their position on whether to grant Statehood or not to the G.-A.   This can actually go back and forth between the two bodies for some time.

The Ambassador showed that it is only the G.-A. that can bestow the legal status of Statehood, and that standing can have several different levels.  Under the U.N. Charter the U.S. can’t say  “We don’t like it [our bid], or give Israel more time to make peace.”  Both of these are invalid under the United Nations’ Charter. 

There is a question of what exactly is legally binding because the Charter is ambiguous here:  It is not clear whether the General Assembly has the authority to admit a country into the U.N. without the Council’s approval to do so, and there has been no precedent to establish it one way or the other.  To continue the pun we are proceeding on uncharted ice.

Only Israel is claiming that this move is unilateral.  It is not so, as the Ambassador declares, “ We are going for full admission into the United Nations to be acknowledged as a sovereign entity!”    In the General Assembly the Palestinians only require a plurality of fifty (percent) plus one.  Debate is proceeding back home in Ramallah on which course to proceed.  According to the District of Columbia, the U.S. insists that Palestinian State’s status should only come through negotiation, but negotiations for Tel Aviv denotes the avoidance of the two-country agreement whereas Palestine advocates a dual realm resolution by fighting against the unjust Settlements.  The real cost of the Occupation is borne by the international commune.  This is “Not an effort to isolate Israel,” for “We are committed to non-violent peaceful resistance, but we shall not tolerate the Occupation!”

The Right Honorable Maen Areikat continued, “The only way we shall reconsider [this bid for recognition] is if the community of nations can guarantee our security; then, discussions can go on in good faith.”

Quigley, further, adds that, if Palestine achieves its place amongst the family of sovereign states, the War Crimes committed against the Canaanites can be brought before the International Court under the Treaty of Rome of 2003.

If Palestine would be welcomed into that august body on the Hudson, then, as a sovereign nation, “We would have [to have] responsibilities,” too, Areikat stated.  “We would [then] have to follow the U.N. Charter,”  Conversely, “The Quartet [the  nations acting as interlopers between Tel Aviv and Ramallah – the United States, the United Kingdom (U.K.), the Russian Federation, the European Union (EU) and the United Nations  as a coordinator] is concerned about [this forthcoming] September[‘s confrontation], for [it is bound] to be more favorable to the Arabs.  It is a foregone conclusion that Ramallah will gain the fifty plus one in the General Assembly guaranteeing a Palestinian nation, but alternatively, they can merely grant Observer  Status; but, thereby, we shall gain international legality,” also.

Areikcat said, “We may just be headed for New York  as a rouse..[but we have the ]the right to tell…people our options!”  Concluding, “We can move towards independence!…We have rights under the U.N. “  Then, “We can move forward towards [true] Independence…We’ll have our rights under the U.N.!”  There “will be a change in international relations.  In 1948,Israel agreed to be a neighbor of a bordering Arab State.  The PLO’s position is a two-State solution!”  Ultimately, the agreement will be made between the Palestinians and the Israelis.  Although there is EU support, His Excellency felt the European vote is in question.

13-33

V. Postscript

July 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Geoffrey Cook, TMO

Medford (Ore.)–As chronicler starts out (June 23rd) from Southern Oregon, the news coming from the Middle East is principally from Libya.   Although the Colonel is maintaining his fasces, the analysis is that Colonel Khadafy’s hold on power is loosening even though the outgoing head of the Arab League has renounced his prior endorsement of NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s) intervention while Italy has herself, a participant in the assault and the former Colonial power there, asserted that the Libyan contest should be halted.  On the other hand the Islamist government of Turkey has called (JuJy.3rd) for the Colonel to step down promising material aid to the Benghazi rebels while the Greek, Ankara’s traditional “enemies,“ the Greeks have  refused to permit (on the second of this month) the first relief ship’s for Gaza to exit Hellenic waters.

The IDT (Israeli Defense Force’s )General Sharoni (retired), a supporter of the two-State solution,  rejoined, “We should press for solutions by September [when the Palestinians are going to the United Nations – U.N. – for approval for their Statehood]…we have negotiated previously, and we shouldn’t have to start at stage one again…We should start negotiating [again] because the clock is ticking.”  The Israeli position – and even their Left – is that Palestinian Statehood should be through bi-lateral agreement – with the help of external actors — rather than an international dictate.  (Your author’s opinion is that Tel Aviv has to make just concessions this summer if there would be any hope of mutual agreement; otherwise, it will be Ramallah who will achieve independence solely on their own terms in league with international acclamation!)

Taras Hassan asserted that “… [a] third of [the Jewish] Settlers [in the Occupied Territories] can be brought back] to Israel [itself].”  Hasan believes that “…many Israelis do not support the annexation of the West Bank because they [the Palestinians there] would [receive] protection under Hebrew law, and [would have the right to] vote, and [Tel Aviv would]would  cease to be [the capital of] a Jewish State.”

Sharoni interjected, “…who is the enemy, and who are you [we] defending yourself [ourselves] from?..I am [more] concerned over my nation’s isolation…In order to survive we have to become part of the community of nations!”  (It is very true that Israel has become a pariah in most of the civilized world!)

Hassan adds:  What would happen if the two-State option fails?  Major-General Natan Sharoni replies, we “…can’t have a one-State alternative… [for the General, it] won’t work…because there would be two different peoples living within one State.  (The example of the U.S., Canada et al. would counter this argument) “One side or the other would dominate.”  (Curiously, the progressive Israeli argument – and most recently — it appears that most of their upper military  commanders –  favor a dual-national conclusion, (but the time might  have transpired over peace on those terms.  Your commentator still stands behind this domestic path, but, if a justful compromise is not made soon, such a one-State route must be explored!)

Hassan exclaims:  It would destroy (the ideology of)Israel!

Jeremy Ben Ami from Washington entered his voice to the call, if  “…the issues aren’t resolved between the parties involved,..[unfortunately for Jewish Jerusalem]…[and] a U.N. understanding is… made before a [bilateral] arrangement is finalized, it will impact Israel as a sectarian State”  negatively, (and the winners demographically would be the Muslims in a one-State solution).

The general stated that “…Common sense should prevail…We have to have a regular [regulated] peace!”   He, further, alleged the Israeli (along with the American) bugaboo over Iran was a mere charade.

Hassan remarked that “It is a very sensitive time for the Arab “Spring”… (In fact, your columnist has uttered the success or failure of that “Spring” depends upon the reaction within the Israeli nation!  That is why your narrator is dedicating so much of his energy looking at the interior “soul” of the Jewish terrain.   Hassan noted, “…American Jews can…influence…opinion in Israel.”  (Your commentator adds that it, also, is important for liberal American Jews and Muslims to establish better communication to solve the dangers within this most dangerous of international theaters.)

“We [the Hebrews] have to be the initiators!”  (This is a very serious issue, though.)  Although the negotiations must not be dominated by one side or the other, here, Ms. Hassan is advocating Israeli dominance without any international diplomatic intervention which  would bolster the weakened Palestinian positions.  This will not work. The negotiations must be between equals, and that is where the international nations – especially the United States because of its history of enablement for the crisis itself – to create an equal “pitch.”  Taras Hassan declaimed that “Otherwise, we [Tel Aviv shall] only be reacting… It is in Israel’s interest to split [divide the land.”  That is, the liberal Jews’ position is a two-State solution to save their State as a Jewish dominated one.  It is very different than the Arab (or even the mainstream politically liberal American) vision of a two-State outcome.

Ben Ami “hits it on the nail’’ when he says, the “Jewish…State cannot be based on permanent occupation!…”  This is a refutation to (former) Prime Minister Sharon’s policy of Permanent War which, incidentally, was picked up by the (last U.S.) President George W. Bush’s Neo-Conservative advisors who gave the American Republic the tragedy of the Iraq War! 

This five-segmented study has become an important one, for it has established a basis for negotiation.  Your investigator has already pointed out this composition to two decision-makers in the American government, and  he hopes to get their aides to look at it, for there are people on both sides of the Middle Eastern conundrum who could seriously talk to each other along with their neutral  international friends in a constructive manner.

Time is running out, and your author has even proposed a Constitutional framework for a one State Solution should it come to that, but he still holds onto a two-State solution — for different reasons than our Israeli colleagues — for the best outcome.

13-28