Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922

Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922
Jordan is 77% of former Palestine - Israel, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza comprise 23%.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Palestine - Merging Banks Can Reap Huge Dividends

[Published 19 October 2012]

Prince Hassan Bin Talal - Jordan’s former Crown Prince and the uncle of Jordan’s current ruler - King Abdullah - has floated a possible new diplomatic initiative by reminding the world that the West Bank was once part of Jordan.

Prince Hassan pointed out this very important historic and geographic fact whilst addressing a meeting of the Ebal charity organization in Nablus on 9 October.

That meeting had been organised by Jordanian Senate President Taher Al-Masri - indicating that the King in all likelihood would have been given advance notice and approved what Prince Hassan intended saying.

The Jordanian website reported that Prince Hassan told the meeting:
”the West Bank is part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which included both banks of the [Jordan] River”

The report added:
“The attendees understood that Prince [Hassan] is working to reunite both banks of the [Jordan] River, and commended him for it.”

The West Bank and Transjordan had existed as one territorial entity between 1950-1967 following Transjordan’s occupation of the West Bank in 1948 after the newly declared State of Israel had been attacked by six invading Arab armies.

Transjordan - as a result - changed its name to “Jordan” and named the territory west of the Jordan River as the “West Bank”. Until then - the West Bank had been known for thousands of years as “Judea and Samaria” - the biblical and ancestral homeland of the Jewish people.

These decisions were not taken in isolation by a victorious occupier against the wishes of a defeated and dispirited population - but at the request and urging of the exclusively Arab population living in Judea and Samaria. All the Jews who had been living there prior to the 1948 war had been dispossessed and forcefully driven from the area conquered by Transjordan.

A conference was held in Jericho on 1 December 1948 - attended by several thousand people including the mayors of the towns of Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah, the Arab Legion Military Governor General and military governors from districts in Judea and Samaria, and other notables.

The meeting resolved:
“Palestine Arabs desire unity between Transjordan and Arab Palestine and therefore make known their wish that Arab Palestine be annexed immediately to Transjordan. They also recognize Abdullah as their King and request him proclaim himself King of the new territory.”

Wells Stabler - America’s charge d’affaires in Transjordan - reported to the Acting Secretary for State in a confidential cable dated 4 December 1948 that following the meeting - a large delegation proceeded to the King’s winter quarters at Shuneh to present the resolution to the King and request his acceptance. The King had replied that the matter must be referred to his government and that he must also ascertain the views of other Arab states. Although usual jealousies and frictions had been apparent during the meeting, the King believed it to be of significance and might be regarded by him as his mandate from Palestine Arabs.

On 6 December 1948 Stabler sent a secret cable to the Acting Secretary for State in which he reported that UN Acting Mediator Ralph Bunche had met with the King - when the following matters had been discussed:
1. The King believed that annexation of Arab Palestine to Transjordan would be an “actual help” in reaching a final settlement.

2. Arab Palestine was then in a vacuum which needed to be filled and Transjordan was in best position to do it.

3. Basically any Palestine settlement rested with Egypt, Transjordan and Israel. Egypt and Transjordan could overcome any opposition from other Arab states.

4. Emir Abdel Majid Haidar, Transjordan observer at the United Nations General Assembly had held talks with Egyptians in Paris but without result.

5. Bunche had hinted to His Majesty that the annexation of Arab Palestine by Transjordan would probably be accepted as fait accompli in view of Transjordan’s present position in Arab Palestine.
The subsequent annexation of the West Bank by Transjordan two years later was only recognised by Great Britain and Pakistan. The failure of other members of the United Nations to recognise such annexation has prolonged a conflict that with a little bit of give and take could have been resolved more than 60 years ago by negotiations between Israel, Egypt and Jordan.

Jordan lost the West Bank to Israel in the 1967 Six Day War and renounced any claims to the West Bank in 1988.

After 19 years of fruitless negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization since 1993 - the settlement of competing claims by Jews and Arabs to sovereignty in the West Bank still remains undetermined.

Prince Hassan’s statement on 9 October clearly attempts to resuscitate Jordan’s territorial claim to the West Bank.

Writing in the 1982 Spring issue of the quarterly publication “Foreign Affairs” - Prince Hassan had asserted:
“We Jordanians must add that practically speaking a settlement must also take into account our perceptions. Small as Jordan is, our country is politically, socially, economically, militarily and historically inseparable from the Palestinian issue”

Indeed the fate of Jordan and the West Bank has been tied together ever since both these areas of the former Ottoman Empire were included in the territory covered by the 1922 Mandate for Palestine within which the Jewish National Home was to be reconstituted.

The attempt over the last 19 years to divide Jordan and the West Bank into two independent Arab states for the first time ever in recorded history has proved an abject failure - leading Prince Hassan to observe that whilst he did not personally oppose the two state solution - that solution was irrelevant at this stage since:
“both sides, Arab and Israeli, no longer speak of a political solution to the Palestinian problem.”

The vacuum existing in 1948 has returned - and once again Jordan is the party that can fill it by opening negotiations with Israel to end the the Jewish-Arab conflict by reunifying the two banks of the Jordan River - taking into account the vastly changed circumstances to those existing 64 years ago.

The dividends could be immense including:
1. The return to Jordan of a very substantial part of the West Bank lost by Jordan in the Six Day War

2. No residents of the West Bank - either Jew or Arab - having to move from his present home

3. The restoration of Jordanian citizenship to the West Bank Arab population

4. The resolution of the competing claims by both Jews and Arabs to sovereignty in the West Bank

5. Placing a political solution to the Palestinian problem in the hands of the Arabs
Seizing this rare opportunity should not be missed.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Palestine - Great Expectations That Founder On Fiction

[Published 11 October 2012]

Israeli novelist David Grossman is working with Algerian writer Boualem Sansal to launch a writers’ drive for world peace at the World Forum For Democracy in Strasbourg this week.

Their initiative is reportedly supported by some of the most respected names in literature including Claudio Magris, Antonio Lobo Antunes and Liao Yiwu.

The Forum brings together reformers and global leaders to identify democratic responses to the economic, social and political challenges which affect societies today.

The writers - in their quest to end conflict and bring peace to the world - have naturally included the resolution of the “Israel - Palestine conflict” within their purview.

However the views they express are indeed surprising - parroting Arab propaganda rather than relying on careful research - the indispensable tool normally used by writers of such distinction and undoubted repute.

They begin by stating :
"Israel maintains the Palestinians under occupation for more than 45 years, and this inhuman and immoral situation must stop."

All the Palestinian Arabs residing in Gaza are under the total administrative and security control of a Hamas dominated Government following Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005.

Our well intended authors are also apparently unaware that pursuant to arrangements mutually negotiated between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) under the 1993 Oslo Accords - 55% of the Palestinian Arabs residing in the West Bank are under the total administative and security control of the PA Government - whilst another 41% are under the total administrative control of the PA Government and joint security control of the PA and Israel.

Elections in the West Bank and Gaza were last held in 2006. Since then Hamas and the PA have been at each other’s jugulars. President Abbas’s use by date as PA president expired in 2009. Democracy is nowhere to be seen.

Suggesting Israel’s occupation is “inhuman and immoral” in the light of these facts is pure fiction

The statement continues:
Both sides are putting unrealistic conditions to resume negotiations ...

Are they serious? Israel has been offering to return to negotiations with the PA without any preconditions. It is the PA that is refusing to negotiate unless Israel stops building in the West Bank.

Grossman and Sansal continue:
"It is urgent that the international community intervenes firmly to bring the Iranian nuclear programme under control and steadily commits to the resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict, pushing the parties to immediately establish a true direct dialogue, leading as soon as possible to the creation of a Palestinian state next to the State of Israel, both with secure borders, on the basis of painful compromises for both parts though necessary for peace, as the abandonment of settlements or their exchange against land, the renouncement to the right of return of the 1948 refugees, the sharing of Jerusalem. This is still – but maybe not for long - a possible solution and there are men and women on both sides capable of achieving it. Let us help them do so."

Our well-meaning authors seem to be ignorant of the fact that Israel in 2001 and 2008 offered to cede its claims to more than 90% of the West Bank and agreed to a part of Jerusalem becoming the capitol of a Palestinian Arab State - but such offers were rejected. Even land swaps were broached in the latter offer.

They seem oblivious to the fact that no one in the PA or Hamas has the power to renounce any right of return of the 1948 refugees and expect to be alive the next day.

They also seem to overlook that what the Palestinian Arabs demand today could have been theirs - plus more - at any time between 1948-1967 with the single stroke of an Arab League pen - after all the Jews living there had been driven out.

Why the need for a state now when one was not demanded during those 19 years - and indeed rejected in 1937 when recommended by the Peel Commission or in 1947 when proposed by the United Nations?

Who are the men and women on both sides that are capable of doing what has not been able to be achieved for the last 19 years in trying to create a new Arab State between Jordan and Israel for the first time ever in recorded history? Naming them would have been great - even if it embarrassed those highly experienced negotiators from Israel the PA, and the Quartet - the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and America - who have tired endlessly for the last eight years to resolve the conflict but have got absolutely nowhere

Grossman and Sansal conclude:
"Writers have their part in this fight and we hereby express our determination to take it firmly and objectively. We urge all writers in the world to join us. Together, we can influence decision makers and public opinion and thereby also the course of events, ensuring that the values of peace are strengthened throughout the world. Our methods in this fight are literature, debate and vigilance. Maybe it is not much, but it is our way of maintaining our dignity in a world of violence and cynism."

They have been less than objective and their ability to influence decision makers and public opinion with their planned initiative is fanciful.

Samir El-youssef - a Palestinian writer - has succinctly summed up the Grossman/Sansal proposal:
"Rather than maintaining hope for peace, I see here nothing but a further attempt to renew the old failed approach to deal with the Arabic and Islamic world."

The old failed approach has certainly been an unmitigated disaster.

It is indeed time for a new approach in dealing with the Arabic and Islamic world in trying to resolve the 130 years old Arab - Jewish conflict.

Might I suggest negotiations between Israel, Egypt and Jordan to allocate sovereignty in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem - to be held under the chairmanship of the Secretary General of the United Nations with the approval of the Quartet, the Arab League and the Organization for Islamic Co- Operation.

Writers of the world - are you prepared to sign up to such an initiative?

With your active support this proposal could become a best seller in a very short space of time. It is not fiction. It is based on history, geography, demography and international law - unlike the fairy tales that form the basis for the “two-state” solution.

Maintaining your dignity in a world of violence and cynicism will certainly be heightened by supporting this proposal.

If you hesitate to get involved - exercise your undoubted writing skills to tell me why.

But please this time round - facts not fiction

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Palestine - Abbas, Attitude and Annexation

[Published 10 January 2013]

Annexation of large areas of the West Bank by Israel has now become a distinct possibility with the unilateral decision this week to scrap any trace of the existence of the Palestinian Authority by its President Mahmoud Abbas.

In a “Presidential decree” Abbas has called for all official documents - including passports, drivers’ licenses, postage stamps and car number plates - to now bear the name ‘State of Palestine’, instead of the generally used ‘Palestinian National Authority’.

Abbas has also ordered foreign ministries and embassies around the world to start using the title.

Abbas’s decree comes just a few days after he had reportedly told an Israeli politician that if there was no progress in the peace talks:
“I will take the phone and call Netanyahu and tell him: ‘Sit in the chair instead of me; take the keys and you will be responsible for the Palestinian Authority.”

His remark prompted this angry response from senior Hamas official Abu Marzouk, in a posting on Facebook:
“Why does Abbas want to hand the keys over to Netanyahu? Why not hand it over to Hamas?”

Abu Marzouk - who turned 62 on January 9 and is slated to replace Khaled Mashaal as head of Hamas - said it would have been:
“better and more effective had Abbas threatened to hand the West Bank to Hamas.”

In a fearless riposte - Jamal Muheisen, a member of the Fatah Central Council, said the Palestinians should first hold presidential and legislative elections to choose their leaders:
“Whoever wins in the elections will be handed the keys of the entire Palestinian Authority, be it Hamas or Fatah or any other Palestinian faction,”

Now it seems the keys to control of the entire Palestinian Authority have been thrown down the drain by its own President just days later - as have any hopes of negotiating a two-state solution as prescribed by the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap.

This solution has simply vanished into thin air after being flavour of the month for the last twenty years - with one of the two principal negotiating parties having gone missing in action.

We are now being subjected to the following delusional garbage being spouted on Al - Jazzera on 8 January by the now defunct chief negotiator of the now defunct Palestinian Authority - Saeb Erekat:
“Palestine is a country under occupation. What was Norway, Finland, Holland, France, Korea, Philippines between 1939 and 1945 - nation states under occupation. Today, the state of Palestine is officially a state under occupation. It has 192 member countries that recognise this and a nation state, Israel, which is the occupying power; these are the new realities.”

The comparison is totally fictitious and Erekat’s arrogance is unbounded.

Comparing States that had existed for centuries to a State that has never existed in recorded history whilst claiming statehood in an area it has never controlled is mind blowing.

Demonstrably all 192 “member countries” in the United Nations do not recognise Erekat’s outrageous statement.

Purporting to draw many of those countries into what is increasingly appearing to be a continuation of the Fatah-Hamas rivalry for control of the hearts and minds of the long suffering Palestinian Arabs is political madness.

Certainly 50 of those countries did nothing of the sort - 9 rejecting and 41 abstaining from supporting the General Assembly resolution on 29 November last granting Palestine the status of a non-member observer State at its meetings.

Abbas and Erekat should have heeded the explanations given by Singapore and Germany for abstaining - before embarking on their new flight into unreality

A summary of these two countries views was issued in a release from the United Nations Department of Public Information News and Media Division

Germany’s vote against the Resolution was summarised as follows:
“The delegate of Germany said his nation firmed believed in “two States for two peoples” and shared the goal of a Palestinian State. However, such status must be achieved only through direct negotiations. There was doubt that today’s action would be helpful for the peace process at this point in time. “It might lead to further hardening of positions instead of improving chances of a two-State solution through direct negotiations,” he said. He explicitly welcomed that today’s resolution called for a two-State solution and, hence, recognized the right of Israel to exist in peace. However, Israel’s legitimate security concern had to be addressed in a credible manner.”

To say Germany was spot on in its predictions would be an understatement.

Singapore was even more circumspect in its sober assessment made against the baying cries from those 138 states who could not see the wood for the trees.
“The representative of Singapore said that his delegation supported the right of the Palestinian people to a homeland and had, in the past, supported relevant Assembly resolutions. However, his country had abstained from today’s vote because only a negotiated settlement, consistent with Security Council resolution 242 (1967), could provide the basis for a viable, long-term solution. Both sides had legitimate rights and shared responsibilities and must be prepared to make compromises to achieve the larger good of a lasting peace. Because of those interlinked rights and responsibilities, no unilateral move could result in a just and durable outcome.”

The preparadness of especially the democratic states to vote for the General Assembly Resolution on 29 November and abandon Security Council Resolution 242 - the only internationally accepted United Nations resolution binding both Jews and Arabs to ending their conflict - was shameful.

Those democracies must now rue the day that their votes could be interpreted as giving aid and comfort to the state of utter confusion that now exists following Abbas’s Presidential decree and Erekat’s involvement of them in his latest statement.

Israel will hold elections on 22 January.

A new political party - Bayit Hayehudi - the Jewish homeland party - could possibly end up exercising a controlling vote in the next Parliament.

It’s leader Naftali Bennett has already made clear that he will be calling for Israel to annex at least 60% of the West Bank - adding in an interview in Haaretz on 28 December:
“And in the end, Jordan will be Palestine. There is no chance that, between the river and the sea, a Palestinian state will arise. The two-state solution is dead. There is no need to bury the two-state solution because it is already buried.”

Abbas has helped advance this possible outcome because of his inane Presidential decree consigning the Palestinian Authority to the dustbin of history.

Ave atque vale - Palestinian Authority.

Others less charitable might say - “good riddance”.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Palestine - Creative Compromises Can Conquer Conflict

[Published 4 January 2013]

t has taken less than a month for the euphoria generated by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution conferring non-member observer status on the “State of Palestine” to dissolve into a farcical denouement.

Mahmoud Abbas’s folly in unilaterally approaching the United Nations in breach of the Oslo Accords has been neatly summed up by CBS News foreign affairs analyst Pamela Falk in her article “Is Palestine now a State?”
“In the end, the Resolution does not change the Palestinians lives on the ground, and it does not “recognize” Palestine as a state.”

UN Special Rapporteur for the West Bank - Professor Richard Falk - offered his own prognosis on 2 January on his blog page:
” At this point, I do not believe that the two-state consensus can be implemented, nor is the one-state alternative politically feasible.”

Demise of the two-state solution is confirmed by the following recent developments:

Firstly - Jamal Muheisen, a member of the Fatah Central Council, has reportedly told the Jerusalem Post that Hamas is conducting secret negotiations in an Arab country to reach agreement with Israel over the establishment of a Palestinian state with temporary borders in the Gaza Strip and Sinai.

Muheisen has claimed that the negotiations were being held under the auspices of the US claiming that:
“Hamas is seeking to establish its own emirate while leaving the West Bank as cantons that are separated by settlements. Hamas’s goal is to foil the establishment of a Palestinian state on all the territories that were occupied in 1967.”

Secondly - The 2003 United States Roadmap proposing a two- state solution has disappeared off the radar with State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland only being able to offer this vision:
“As we turn the calendar to 2013… now is the time for leaders on both sides to display real leadership, to focus on the work that’s necessary to return to direct negotiations,”
That option is unlikely to happen.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority have not held direct high level talks since September 2010 - at the tail end of a 10- month Israeli settlement freeze to which Abbas failed to respond until the freeze had nearly expired.

The Palestinian Authority still demands that settlement construction stop once again before they engage in talks - which they have said should pick up where they left off with Israel’s then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008.

These demands will certainly not be met by Israel in the aftermath of November’s General Assembly Resolution.

Abbas has now become firmly stuck on his high horse with no way to get down without considerable loss of face and prestige.

Thirdly - Attempting to salvage something from the wreck - Abbas has let it be known that he would be prepared to consider a confederation with Jordan once a Palestinian State was recognised in the territory lost by Jordan to Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.

If the creation of such a state has not reached first base after twenty years of tortuous negotiations - then it certainly will not do so after Abbas’s foray at the United Nations.

Creative compromises are now urgently needed to determine the allocation of sovereignty in the West Bank and Gaza that do not involve the creation of a State between Jordan, Israel and Egypt for the first time in recorded history.

Seeds for some such compromises appear to be sprouting from two different sources.

Firstly - Reports emanating from Gaza suggest that discussions are underway with Egypt to supply electricity and natural gas to Gaza to reduce its dependency on Israel.

Egypt has also been permitting freer access and egress to and from the Gaza Strip.

Such moves would materially assist in restoring the close relationship Egypt had with Gaza when it occupied and administered Gaza from 1948-1967.

If this relationship can be creatively nurtured to enable Egypt to provide a sphere of influence that persuades Gaza to look to Egypt for its salvation - rather than targeting Israel in continuing conflict - then the prospects for an improved relationship between Israel and Gaza could well be the end result.

Secondly - Reunification of the West Bank with Jordan as existed between 1950-1967 has now been raised as a possibility by the well respected and well connected Palestinian Arab commentator Daoud Kuttab in his article published in the Atlantic on 26 December - “Are the Palestinians ready to share a State with Jordan?”

Kuttab recalls his exclusive interview in 1993 with Israel’s then Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin - the first ever given to a reporter working for a leading Palestinian newspaper.

Kuttab writes:
“I asked Rabin for his vision as to the ultimate political status of the West Bank and Gaza in 15 or 20 years. Rabin, who at the time, we later discovered, had approved the Oslo back-channel, took a puff at a cigarette given to him by one of his aides, and answered that he envisions it being part of an entity with Jordan.”

Kuttab has also dismissed the confederation idea proposed by Abbas:
“Confederations are political systems that include two independent countries. For some time in the 1980s, this was the most talked-about term in the region. The late Salah Khalaf (Abu Iyyad), the former head of intelligence for the PLO, was quoted as saying that what Palestinians wanted was five minutes of independence and then they would happily agree to a confederation with Jordan. However, the issue became politically poisonous as soon as the late King Hussein of Jordan said publicly that he doesn’t want anyone to ever utter the term “confederation.” And so it has been for the past two decades.”

And so it will apparently continue - no matter what Abbas says.

Kuttab concludes:
“While it is unclear if Jordan will ever end up having any sovereign role in the West Bank, support for a greater role for Jordan in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will no doubt increase in the coming months and years if the current decline of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority continues. The one determining factor in all of the discussions will have to come from the Israeli side, which has yet to decide whether it will relinquish sovereignty over the areas occupied in 1967 to any Arab party, whether it be Palestinian or Jordanian.”

Israel has already agreed to cede its claims to sovereignty in more than 90% of those areas in 2000 and 2008 and only needs a willing Arab partner to close the deal.

Jordan is rapidly readying itself to fill that role.

Creative compromises can indeed conquer conflict as a means of resolving even the most intractable and long running disputes.

Palestine - Violating Vatican Vows

[Published 27 December 2012]

Diplomatic relations between Israel and the Vatican are set to considerably cool following the Pope granting a private audience to Mahmoud Abbas on 17 December.

Their meeting came at a time of growing political crisis engendered by the passage of the UN General Assembly resolution on 29 November that reaffirmed
“the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to independence in their State of Palestine on the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967;"

The Pope seemingly overlooked any discussion of the implications of this integral part of the resolution that also recognised the State of Palestine as a non-member observer state in the General Assembly - a view confirmed by the following communique issued by the Vatican
“The cordial discussions made reference to the recent Resolution approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations by which Palestine was recognised as a Non-member Observer State of the aforementioned Organisation. It is hoped that this initiative will encourage the commitment of the international community to finding a fair and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which may be reached only by resuming the negotiations between the Parties, in good faith and according due respect to the rights of both.”

The Pope was apparently unaware that the only matter left to be negotiated between the parties as a result of “this initiative ” was the timing of the eviction of 600000 Jews currently living in this ” State of Palestine” as defined by the General Assembly.

Abbas had made this racist view very clear on 28 July 2010 when Wafa - the official Palestinian news agency - reported the following remark by Abbas in Cairo:
“I’m willing to agree to a third party that would supervise the agreement, such as Nato forces, but I would not agree to having Jews among the Nato forces, or that there will live among us even a single Israeli on Palestinian land.”

Could the Pope have failed to understand that the Resolution also left no room for negotiating the boundaries of this “State of Palestine” - that the General Assembly had preemptively determined that it should comprise 100% of the territory won from Jordan by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War?

Would cordial discussions have occurred had the Pope taken the opportunity to urge Abbas to recognise Israel as the Jewish National Home and offer Palestinian citizenship to those Jews who did not want to leave their current homes?

Resumption of negotiations by “the Parties in good faith and according due respect to the rights of both” in such circumstances is a pure pipe dream.

The Abbas audience was a papal faux pas for several reasons.

Firstly - the Pope should not have blessed the audience with overt political significance by accepting from Abbas the gift of a mosaic of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem bearing the inscription that it was presented to him by “the President of the State of Palestine” - a farcical nomenclature that had only been sanctioned that very day by the Chief of Protocol at the UN - Yeocheol Yoon.

Secondly - the Pope was clearly violating clause 11(2) of the 1993 Fundamental Agreement Between The Holy See And The State Of Israel which provides:
“The Holy See, while maintaining in every case the right to exercise its moral and spiritual teaching-office, deems it opportune to recall that owing to its own character, it is solemnly committed to remaining a stranger to all merely temporal conflicts, which principle applies specifically to disputed territories and unsettled borders.”

Remaining a stranger to this temporal conflict would have allowed the Pope to escape any criticism as a result of this inappropriate audience.

Thirdly - Article 2.2 of the Fundamental Agreement further avers:
“The Holy See takes this occasion to reiterate its condemnation of hatred, persecution and all other manifestations of antisemitism directed against the Jewish people and individual Jews anywhere, at any time and by anyone”

Failing to condemn the “President of the State of Palestine” during the audience for his known manifestations of anti-semitism makes a mockery of the Fundamental Agreement.

Fourthly - The Pope’s political foray no doubt inspired his own appointed nominee as the top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land - the Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal - to also make a political statement in his annual pre-Christmas homily.

Archbishop Twal told his followers at his headquarters in Jerusalem’s Old City that this year’s festivities were doubly joyful, celebrating:
“the birth of Christ our Lord and the birth of the state of Palestine. The path (to statehood) remains long, and will require a united effort,”

Archbishop Twal - who was born in Jordan - had told Vatican Radio on 21 June 2008:
“The majority of our priests, nuns, schools families are in Jordan. We need a link to Jordan…,”

That link will certainly not come from the State of Palestine designated by the UN General Assembly - since its realisation is simply not going to eventuate.

Archbishop Twal also told in an interview on 22 June 2008:
“If you want to touch Jews, Muslims, Christians, Jordanians, Palestinians, Cypriots, Europeans all together ..then you have to consider every comma”

The Archbishop would have done well to have remembered this sage advice before uttering his Christmas Eve message - understanding that what he said would not touch at least 600000 Jews - but cause them immeasurable hurt.

Indeed those who are playing charades with the newly crowned President of the State of Palestine are engaging in a world of make believe - where the words and commas in the Mandate for Palestine, the Montevideo Convention, Article 80 of the United Nations Charter, Security Council Resolution 242, the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap - are apparently no longer worth the paper they are written on.

One can now add the Fundamental Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Israel to these discarded international agreements.

This does not bode well for any possible peaceful resolution of the long running conflict between Jews and Arabs.

The last Pope to bear Pope Benedict’s name - Benedict XV - enthusiastically endorsed the Jews’ right to reconstitute their national home in what was then Palestine when he told Zionist leader Nahum Sokolov at an audience in 1917 :
“Nineteen hundred years ago Rome destroyed your homeland and when you seek to rebuild it, you seek a path which leads via Rome…Yes this is the will of Divine Providence, this is what the Almighty desires.”

Violating Vatican vows this time round is certainly not going to entice Israel to beat a path to Rome as it continues to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in its ancient, biblical and internationally sanctioned homeland.

Palestine - Reunification Trumps Confederation

[Published 20 December 2012]

Reunification of the Arab populated areas of the West Bank with Jordan - as existed between 1948-1967 - has again emerged as the most viable solution to the Jewish-Arab conflict.

This follows revelations in the London- based Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper that Palestinian Authority (PA) President and PLO Chairman - Mahmoud Abbas - has asked senior Fatah leaders to prepare for the formation of a confederation between a Palestinian State and Jordan.

Abbas has reportedly instructed his advisors to provide him with detailed strategic reports about the best way to conduct negotiations with Jordan to revive the confederation plan - first discussed in 1988 under very different political circumstances to those now existing.

Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, has told the Jerusalem Post (“Abbas mulls forming confederation with Jordan” - December 13) that the confederation idea would be discussed with Jordan - but only after the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yusef has also told the Jerusalem Post that any talk about the confederation plan now would hinder efforts to establish an independent Palestinian state within the pre-1967 lines “because Israel is hoping that a Palestinian state would be part of Jordan.”

The creation of such a state will not occur.

Jordan appears to have been positioning itself to replace the Palestinian Authority as Israel’s negotiating partner - as indicated by the following recent events:
1. King Abdullah’s uncle - Prince Hassan - stated in October that the West Bank was part of Jordan.

2. PLO heavyweight Farouk Kaddumi followed by pointing to the advantages that could follow Jordan’s return to the West Bank.

3. The Jordanian Education Department produced a map in a text book not showing the West Bank as a separate territorial entity.

4. Prince Hassan gave a public address to the Board of Deputies of British Jews at a gala black tie affair in London seven days before Abbas took to the podium at the United Nations on 29 November.

Jordan’s return to centre stage has been further strengthened by Abbas’s decision to proceed with unilateral action to have the “State of Palestine” admitted as a non-observer State at the United Nations with its claim to sovereignty in 100% of the West Bank being recognised at the same time.

Abbas has already paid dearly for his precipitate action in abandoning negotiations with Israel and going it alone to the United Nations - unleashing the following consequences:
1. Hamas leader Khalid Meshaal defiantly opposing a Palestinian State being created anywhere but on the ashes of Israel.

2. Four hundred million dollars in taxation revenues collected by Israel for the Palestinian Authority being withheld over the next four months to meet unpaid water and electricity bills owed by the PA to Israeli utility companies.

3. Israel announcing plans to revive building another 3000 housing units - kept on hold since 2004 to placate and induce the PA to continue negotiations with Israel

4. Abbas being forced to go cap in hand to Arab countries begging to be helped out to the tune of One hundred million dollars a month to stay afloat

Many of those 138 Nations that voted to admit the State of Palestine as a non-observer state must now be shaking their heads in amazement at the latest announcement by Abbas of a possible confederation of that state with Jordan once statehood has been achieved.

It makes a mockery of their decision to grant non-observer status to a state whose chief proponent has now admitted still does not exist.

Even worse Abbas is now flagging that this State - when it achieves its independence - will immediately be prepared to surrender that independence and enter into a confederation with Jordan.

The two-state solution to the Jewish-Arab conflict proposed under the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap is rapidly turning out to be nothing but a chimera

Abbas’s confederation proposal is unlikely to resonate with Jordan - which is well aware of the provision in the PLO Charter proclaiming that Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and Jordan is “an indivisible territorial unit”. Confederation would give the PLO a foothold and possible opportunity to repeat its 1970 attempt to overthrow the Hashemite monarchy in pursuit of this stated objective.

The King would also be cognisant of the following resolution supporting reunification of the West Bank and Jordan passed at the 8th meeting of the Palestinian National Council in February- March 1971:
“Jordan is linked to Palestine by a national relationship and a national unity forged by history and culture from the earliest times. The creation of one political entity in Transjordan and another in Palestine would have no basis either in legality or as to the elements universally accepted as fundamental to a political entity. .. In raising the slogan of the liberation of Palestine and presenting the problem of the Palestine revolution, it was not the intention of the Palestine revolution to separate the east of the River from the West, nor did it believe the struggle of the Palestinian people can be separated from the struggle of the masses in Jordan…”

This resolution - unlike the November 29 General Assembly resolution - still has relevance and meaning 41 years later for both Jordan and the PLO.

King Abdullah could do worse than reaffirm his agreement with this resolution and rebuff any attempts at confederation - making it clear at the same time that he is prepared to enter into negotiations with Israel to reunify the West Bank with Jordan and restore the status quo so far as is now possible since Jordan occupied the West Bank 45 years ago.

The Hashemites by their astute and diplomatic rule in Jordan for the last 93 years have preserved 78% of former Palestine as an exclusive Arab State in an area originally proposed by the League of Nations for the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home.

The peace treaty signed between Jordan and Israel in 1994 has survived intact despite, many occasions when Jordan may have been tempted to end it.This peace treaty already contains negotiating parameters for dealing with such thorny issues in the West Bank as water, refugees and Jerusalem.

Hopefully Israel and Jordan could successfully conclude negotiations where no one - Jew or Arab - would have to leave his present home or business in the West Bank.

Abbas’s provocation of both Israel and Hamas in approaching the United Nations has clearly backfired and his proposal to confederate with Jordan can only have further embarrassed and disaffected many countries that supported him.

In the upcoming diplomatic manoeuvring that is now being undertaken regarding the future of the West Bank there is no doubt that reunification with Jordan certainly trumps confederation.

Palestine - Democracies In Diplomatic Disarray

[Published 13 December 2012]

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.

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?