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

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Palestine - Time To Tell The Truth

[Published 15 December 2011]

Republican front runner for next President of the United States - Newt Gingrich - has done himself and his campaign great credit in branding the Palestinians as an invented nation.

Gingrich stirred up a real hornets’ nest when he said in an interview with the Jewish Television Network:
"Remember there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman empire. I think that we’ve had an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs and who were historically part of the Arab community. And they had a chance to go many places, and for a variety of political reasons we have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940s, and it’s tragic"

Gingrich has subsequently refused to back down and has now gone even further in stating:
"The fact is, the Palestinian claim to a right of return is based on a historically false story. Somebody oughta have the courage to go all the way back to the 1921 League of Nations mandate for a Jewish homeland, point out the context in which Israel came into existence, and “Palestinian” did not become a common term until after 1977. This is a propaganda war in which our side refuses to engage. And we refuse to tell the truth when the other side lies. And you’re not gonna win the long run if you’re afraid to stand firm and stand for the truth."

This propaganda war has been successfully waged by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) since its creation by the KGB in 1964.

Ion Mihai Pacepa, former acting chief of Communist Romania’s espionage service in an interview with Front Page Magazine on 1 March 2004 spilt the beans on the PLO and its connection to the Soviet regime when he said:
"The PLO was dreamt up by the KGB, which had a penchant for “liberation” organizations. There was the National Liberation Army of Bolivia, created by the KGB in 1964 with help from Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Then there was the National Liberation Army of Colombia, created by the KGB in 1965 with help from Fidel Castro, which was soon deeply involved in kidnappings, hijackings, bombings and guerrilla warfare. In later years the KGB also created the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which carried out numerous bombing attacks on the “Palestinian territories” occupied by Israel, and the “Secret Army for Liberation of Armenia,” created by the KGB in 1975, which organized numerous bombing attacks against US airline offices in Western Europe.

In 1964 the first PLO Council, consisting of 422 Palestinian representatives handpicked by the KGB, approved the Palestinian National Charter—a document that had been drafted in Moscow."

The language used in the 1964 version of the PLO Charter was slick - designed to establish that “Palestine belongs to the Palestinians”. Who could possibly disagree with that motherhood statement - especially if it was repeated ad nauseum?

The problem was that the Charter’s definition of “Palestinians” included only the Arab residents of former Palestine and a limited number of Jews.
"Article 6. The Palestinians are those Arab citizens who were living normally in Palestine up to 1947, whether they remained or were expelled. Every child who was born to a Palestinian parent after this date whether in Palestine or outside is a Palestinian.

Article 7. Jews of Palestinian origin are considered Palestinians if they are willing to live peacefully and loyally in Palestine."

It didn’t take long for this gratuitous acceptance of some Jews to virtually vanish when the 1968 edition of the Charter declared:
"The Jews who had normally resided in Palestine until the beginning of the Zionist invasion will be considered Palestinians."

Non-Arab Christians and non-believer residents of former Palestine were totally rejected as being Palestinians. Their descendants as well as the descendants of any of the Jews who had lived in Palestine since the beginning of the Zionist invasion were persona non grata in their homeland of their birth.

If that seems like racism,smells like racism and is still contained in the PLO Charter today - then it is racism.

Article 24 in the 1964 version of the Charter also excluded any claim by the Palestinians to the West Bank and Gaza - and by inference to Jordan - which together had comprised about 80% of former Palestine
"This Organization does not exercise any regional sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or the Himmah Area."
This article was subsequently deleted from the Charter following Jordan’s loss of the West Bank and Egypt’s loss of Gaza in the Six Day War in 1967.

The significance of that deletion - and indeed the invention of the Palestinians in 1964 - was underscored when the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Zuhair Mohsen told the Dutch newspaper Trouw in 1977:
“The Palestinian people does 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. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct Palestinian people to oppose Zionism.

“For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.”

Total rejection of international law by the Palestinians was also part and parcel of this invented nation - since the League of Nations in 1922 and the United Nations in 1946 had already recognized the legitimate right of the Jewish people to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in Palestine whilst the United Nations had admitted Israel as a member on 11 May 1949.

Article 17 of the 1964 Charter expressed this view in the following manner:
"The Partitioning of Palestine in 1947 and the establishment of Israel are illegal and false regardless of the loss of time, because they were contrary to the wish of the Palestine people and its natural right to its homeland, and in violation of the basic principles embodied in the charter of the United Nations, foremost among which is the right to self-determination."

By 1968 Article 17 had been excised and replaced by Article 20 which declared:
"The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void. Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood. Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong."

Gingrich’s statements are indeed the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

The PLO has seen its propaganda campaign succeed to a stage where “Palestine” has been admitted as a member “state” of UNESCO in apparent contravention of the UNESCO Constitution, the Montevideo Convention and customary international law..

The PLO’s stated intention of liberating and replacing both Israel and Jordan in the United Nations as its 192nd member still remains unrevoked in the PLO Charter.

Seventeen years of fruitless PLO negotiations with Israel have now been virtually abandoned - with the two-state solution envisaged by the Oslo Accords and advocated by President Bush in his Roadmap now in its death throes.

Gingrich’s message to the PLO is clear - return to the negotiating table and hammer out a deal with Israel or face the consequences if this has not happened and Gingrich becomes America’s next President.

The PLO cannot say it was not warned.

Palestine - "End The Occupation" And "Right The Wrongs"

[Published 8 December 2011]

I don’t think there has ever been any Arab propaganda slogan as powerful and successful as “End The Occupation”.

These three little words have managed to turn Israel’s miraculous victory in the 1967 Six Day War and its triumphal return to parts of the biblical and ancestral land of its forefathers - as something to be reviled and reversed.

Those mouthing the slogan have not sought to have the “occupation” ended in favour of Jordan - the previous Arab occupant during the period 1948-1967.

Rather they are insisting it all be given - albeit with mutually agreed land swaps - to another group - the “Palestinians” - who did not exist
(i) in 1937 - when the Peel Commission issued its Report
(ii) in 1947 - when the United Nations recommended the partition of western Palestine into an Arab State and a Jewish State.
(iii) Between 1948-1964 - when no claim was made by any such group to territory that any Arab claimant could have gained by the stroke of an Arab League pen - after such territory had been ethnically cleansed of every single Jew who had been living there prior to 1948

The “Palestinians” only first saw the light of day in 1964 when the PLO Charter was promulgated and Article 1 declared:
"Palestine is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people; it is an indivisible part of the Arab homeland, and the Palestinian people are an integral part of the Arab nation"

Article 5 went on to elaborate:
"The Palestinians are those Arab nationals who, until 1947, normally resided in Palestine regardless of whether they were evicted from it or have stayed there. Anyone born, after that date, of a Palestinian father - whether inside Palestine or outside it - is also a Palestinian."

No recognition was given to the fact that groups other than Arabs had lived in Palestine from time immemorial - long before the Arabs had ever conquered and occupied the area.

Ten years later - on 13 November 1974 - the leader of this newly created entity - Yasser Arafat - told the United Nations General Assembly:
"The PLO has earned its legitimacy because of the sacrifice inherent in its pioneering role, and also because of its dedicated leadership of the struggle. It has also been granted this legitimacy by the Palestinian masses, which in harmony with it have chosen it to lead the struggle according to its directives. The PLO has also gained its legitimacy by representing every faction, union or group as well as every Palestinian talent, either in the National Council or in people’s institutions. This legitimacy was further strengthened by the support of the entire Arab nation, and it was consecrated during the last Arab Summit Conference, which reiterated the right of the PLO, in its capacity as the sole representative of the Palestinian people, to establish an independent national State on all liberated Palestinian territory."

In 2011 the legitimacy of the PLO leadership role is in tatters. A new boy on the block- Hamas - has emerged to challenge the PLO’s claim and reconciliation between these two competing power bases is still not in prospect after six years of bitter internecine conflict.

The effort to reach a resolution of the 130 years old Arab-Jewish conflict has been stymied by the refusal of the PLO to sit down in direct face to face negotiations with Israel - but even if this were to occur tomorrow the prospects of any successful outcome would be extremely unlikely to eventuate.

Jordan sits on the sideline having abandoned any claim to Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and East Jerusalem in 1988. Jordan shows no interest in attempting to try and restore - as far as is now possible - the status quo existing in these areas at 4 June 1967.

Israel’s attempts to “end the occupation” of these areas in 2000/2001 and 2008 were rebuffed by the PLO.

Perhaps it is time for a new slogan - “Right the Wrongs” - to enter into the lexicon of international diplomacy in the Middle East.

The wrongs involve the failure of the United Nations to acknowledge the following incontrovertible facts:
(i) that the provisions of Article 80 of the United Nations Charter reserve to the Jewish people the right to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem in accordance with the provisions laid down in article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine
(ii) that Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 remain the only internationally accepted basis for resolving the conflict in former Palestine

The failure of the United Nations to insist on these basic tenets of international law being implemented, respected and observed has proved to be the main stumbling block to resolving the Jewish-Arab conflict.

Yasser Arafat himself declared before the United Nations on 13 December 1988:
"Our people do not want any right to which they are not entitled and which is not compatible with international legality and laws. They are not seeking any freedom that encroaches upon the freedom of others or any destiny that negates the destiny of another people"

Bowing to extreme pressure from the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference - the United Nations has succumbed to a myriad of General Assembly resolutions since then that have virtually buried such “international legality and laws”.

It is time for international law to be resurrected, debated and enforced as the only basis for ending the conflict in former Palestine.

The sooner this process is begun - the sooner some sanity will return to the Middle East.

Palestine - Jordan Juggles And Jockeys

[Published 29 November 2011]

Jordan’s King Abdullah must now be very concerned at the prospect of the Hashemites possibly seeing an end to their 90 years uninterrupted rule in Jordan.

This can only be the rational explanation for the King’s sudden helicopter flight to Ramallah to meet PLO and Fatah head Mahmoud Abbas last week and his announcement that Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal will visit Jordan for discussions within the next two weeks.

With negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority at a dead end, reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas at a standstill, Mubarak toppled in Egypt, Gadaffi shot dead in Libya and Assad facing removal in Syria - King Abdullah is keen to make sure that neither the PLO or Hamas have any designs for taking over Jordan.

Meshaal owes his life to the swift action of Abdullah’s father - the late King Hussein - after a bungled attempt by Israel to assassinate Meshaal im 1996. Getting Israel to swiftly reveal the antidote for a deadly poison injected into Meshaal - in return for the release of the Israeli agents caught in the act - is certainly something for which Meshaal will be greatly indebted to the Hashemites. No doubt King Abdullah will be calling in the favour when they meet. Meshaal is more than likely to assure the King that he has enough on his plate in Gaza.

The Jordanian Islamists will foment a few demonstrations but Meshaal will make sure the King will not be dethroned and sent packing.

Abbas is a different kettle of fish.

He heads an organization that is dedicated to liberating and reuniting into one indivisible territorial unit what is today called Israel, Gaza, the West Bank and Jordan - a goal that has remained unchanged and unmodified since the promulgation of the PLO Charter in 1964.

Jordan’s relation with the PLO has always been uneasy - ever since Yasser Arafat tried to takeover Jordan in 1970 resulting in thousands of dead and wounded on both sides. The PLO remains absolutely committed to its Charter. If the PLO sticks to its guns and refuses to negotiate with Israel - then frustration might well see the PLO again turning its sights on Jordan.

Israel is also very concerned to ensure the continued stability of the Hashemite regime and has given King Abdullah the clearest signals of such intention.

Firstly - Israel’s Foreign Minister - Avigdor Lieberman - stated that:
“regional turbulence” is bringing Islamist parties to power “that all share an anti-Israel message.”

“Instability in the Middle East is not good for anyone,” he said, emphasizing that it is “a major danger for Jordan.”

“Those who say that Jordan is Palestine are mostly harming Israel,” Lieberman added. “That would create a continuous Palestinian state which would endanger us. It’s in our interest for this not to happen.

“Stability in Jordan is in Israel’s interest.”

Our shared border is the longest and quietest. Both sides enjoy the benefits of peace and economic cooperation.”

Lieberman’s warning to Abbas to not meddle in Jordan’s internal affairs was clear and uncompromising.

Although Jordan does comprise 78% of former Palestine - any thought that an attempt would be made by the PLO to reunite it at any time or in any way under PLO rule with any part of the remaining 22% would cross a red line that would be resisted by Israel.

Secondly - Lieberman’s statement of support was followed by a visit to King Abdullah by Israel’s President Shimon Peres on 28 November.

A news release issued by Media and Communications Directorate of the Royal Hashemite Court declared:
“The King emphasized that the end of the decades-long Palestinian-Israeli conflict can only be achieved through resolving all final-status issues, foremost of which are refugees, borders and Jerusalem, leading to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side with Israel in peace and security.”

Interestingly, eighteen years of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority have not got to first base in resolving these outstanding issues. Yet, agreed solutions to refugees and Jerusalem are set out in the 1994 peace treaty between Jordan and Israel. A solution to redrawing the boundary between Israel and Jordan so as to return to Jordan the major part of the West Bank it lost to Israel in the 1967 Six Day War could be achieved with relative ease in direct negotiations with Israel.

Abbas needs to get back to negotiating with Israel without delay if he does not wish to see yet another opportunity slip through the fingers of the Palestinian Arabs because of stubborn and intransigent leaders.

Should Abbas fail to do so - King Abdullah will be waiting on the sidelines to step into his shoes and negotiate with Israel.

No doubt King Abdullah will strongly resist being pressured into re-occupying a large part of the West Bank. But if his failure to negotiate with Israel could mean the loss of Israel’s continuing support of the Hashemite regime - then a change of heart could be reasonably anticipated.

One wild card that could let Abdullah off the hook would be the return of Abbas to the negotiating table with Israel.

In this regard, President Obama holds one trump card - the release of Jonathan Pollard from prison after 26 years of imprisonment in return for Israel imposing a fixed period during which it will cease building houses in the West Bank. Talks between American Jewish leaders with Vice President Biden taking place now could possibly lead to such a proposal.

President Obama also needs a boost to his falling popularity. Releasing Pollard may be the bitter medicine he needs to take with the Presidential election season starting to hot up.

All in all - some interesting times ahead in the next three months.

Palestine - Abbas Flirts With Political Suicide

[Published 21 November 2011]

Palestinian Authority President - Mahmoud Abbas - is inviting political suicide and an end to the two-state solution - should his planned meeting with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Cairo this coming Friday lead to the creation of a new unity government to end the division of power between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza.

Luckily for him the chances of that happening are virtually non-existent.

False hopes of such a reconciliation occurring have been prompted by the current Prime Minister Salam Fayyad stating he would resign his position should Hamas and the Fatah faction of the PLO - both of which Abbas also leads - reconcile their six long years of internecine struggle.

Fayyad’s position has been jealously guarded by Abbas up to now - and Palestinian gazers see his intention to resign as removing the greatest obstacle to reconciliation.

They are mistaken.

Far more serious divisions exist between Fatah and Hamas as can be gleaned from a report prepared by the Cairo Institute For Human Rights Studies in December 2009 titled:
"Bastion of Immunity, Mirage of Reform” :
“Under the cover of the war in Gaza, Hamas embarked on several repressive measures targeting Fatah members, figures who oppose Hamas’ rule, and suspected collaborators with Israel, and it is suspected that dozens of people were killed, either shot to death or as a result of torture. Hamas personnel also broke the legs and arms of dozens of other people to compel them to stay in their homes. Also, some government employees in Gaza were replaced with Hamas loyalists.

In the West Bank, under the authority of Fatah, hundreds of Hamas sympathizers remain in detention; it is thought that at least two of the detainees have died as a result of torture. The West Bank authorities fired civil servants and teachers suspected of Hamas sympathies, while the salaries of thousands of employees of the Palestinian authority inside the Gaza Strip were suspended. Licensing for associations and companies in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip is now preceded by a security check,and those organizations that have affiliations with the “wrong” party are refused Licenses.”

Rectifying this reprehensible conduct on both sides is virtually only mentioned in passing in Article 4B5 of the 4 May reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas in these bland and impersonal terms:
“To resolve the civil and administrative problems that resulted from the division.”

An unknown number of political prisoners held by both sides continue to languish in prisons as a result of Hamas and Fatah being obviously unable to agree on their release.

Matters such as compensating families for the loss of their family members murdered and tortured or who lost their jobs will also need to be resolved if true reconciliation is to be achieved.

Other fundamental doctrinal issues also indicate the unrealistic possibility of reconciliation.

They centre around the provisions of Article 13 and Article 27 of the Hamas Covenant 1988

Article 13 declares:
“There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavours.”

Hamas could hardly agree to be part of a Government seeking to create a Palestinian Arab State in only 5% of former Palestine. Abandoning its stated goal of securing sovereignty in 100% of former Palestine would defeat the raison d’etre for its very existence.

Article 27 poses even bigger problems for the mooted reconciliation by making it clear that Hamas is opposed to a secular State of Palestine as endorsed by the Palestine Liberation Organization - of which Fatah is the controlling factional member - whilst Hamas is not even a member:
“Secularism completely contradicts religious ideology. Attitudes, conduct and decisions stem from ideologies.

That is why, with all our appreciation for the Palestinian Liberation Organization - and what it can develop into - and without belittling its role in the Arab-Israeli conflict, we are unable to exchange the present or future Islamic Palestine with the secular idea. The Islamic nature of Palestine is part of our religion and whoever takes his religion lightly is a loser. The day the Palestinian Liberation Organization adopts Islam as its way of life, we will become its soldiers, and fuel for its fire that will burn the enemies.”

The struggle for the hearts and the minds of the Palestinian Arabs is set to continue for a long time - whilst these fundamental differences of philosophy divide Hamas and Fatah. Reconciling these two conflicting viewpoints in a united Government seems impossible to achieve.

Officials in Israel and the United States have also greeted news of the meeting with Mashal with trepidation. Israel has warned that an agreement with Hamas would have grave consequences for its relations with the Palestinian Authority, both in terms of security and the transferral of funds.

Speaking anonymously, an Israeli official stated:
“The prime minister [Binyamin Netanyahu] has said repeatedly, the Palestinian Authority must choose between peace and Hamas. They cannot have both. Our security co-operation with the Palestinian Authority, for example, has been based on the commitment of both sides to fighting terrorism. If Hamas is in the government, what will this mean?”

America has already threatened to cut funding should the reconciliation proceed. The US is one of the Palestinian Authority’s most significant donors, having invested more than $3.5bn (£2.2bn) since the authority was established in the mid-90s

Abbas is grasping at straws and putting the two state solution in jeopardy in going to Cairo to meet Mashal - rather than travelling to Jerusalem to resume direct negotiations with Israel.

Abbas is lucky that his last attempt at moving unilaterally to join the United Nations ended in ignominy. Success would have had serious repercussions for the two state solution.

He seems set to have his luck continue by failing to achieve anything in his meeting with Meshaal this Friday.

Palestine - UNESCO Membership May Be Unconstitutional

[Published 16 November 2011]

Palestine’s membership of UNESCO could be under serious legal threat - as the vote approving such admission comes under increasing scrutiny.

The decision to admit Palestine has come at great financial cost to UNESCO and has threatened the abandonment or postponement of many of its worthy and worthwhile programs.

UNESCO notes in a Press Release on 10 November:
"The U.S has withheld its contributions following the admission of Palestine to UNESCO on 31 October. They were required to do so by U.S. laws dating from the 1990s. This leaves UNESCO with an immediate shortfall of US$65m to the end of 2011, and a further gap of 22 percent in its US$653m budget for 2012-2013. Israel has now followed suit and withheld its contribution of US$1.5m (0.3 percent of UNESCO’s budget) for 2012-2013.

UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova has now launched an Emergency Multi-Donor Fund to help find the very large shortfall resulting from dues withheld by the United States. It has left an enormous black hole to fill - given the financial crisis enveloping the European Union and its members."

One way of rescuing UNESCO from its current predicament would be to approach the International Court of Justice seeking an Advisory Opinion on the legality of Palestine’s admission to UNESCO.

Two questions need to be answered - even more urgently now - following the UN Admissions Committee failing to agree on whether Palestine qualified for membership of the UN as a “peace-loving State” as specifically required by Article 4 (1) of the UN Charter.

I. Is Palestine a State enabling it to be admitted to UNESCO under Article II 2 of the UNESCO Constitution?

Article II 2 provides:
"Subject to the conditions of the Agreement between this Organization and the United Nations Organization, approved pursuant to Article X of this Constitution, states not members of the United Nations Organization may be admitted to membership of the Organization, upon recommendation of the Executive Board, by a two-thirds majority vote of the General Conference."

Palestine’s applications to both UNESCO and the UN required that in each case it be a State to qualify for membership.

The UN Admissions Committee appears to have been divided on whether it so qualified.

One could reasonably infer that this was also one of the issues that was uppermost in the minds of the UNESCO General Conference where only 51 out of the 137 non-Islamic states voted in favor of Palestine’s admission to UNESCO.

In customary international law as codified in the Montevideo Convention 1933 - it would appear that Palestine did not possess the four necessary legal requirements to call itself a State.

UNESCO is required to ensure its Constitution is faithfully observed at all times.

Since the UN interpretation appears to contradict the UNESCO interpretation - legal clarification by approaching the International Court of Justice for an Advisory Opinion is justified and indeed necessary.

II. Was Palestine’s admission to UNESCO unconstitutional because the majority vote required for its admission under Article II 2 of the UNESCO Constitution was not reached?

The vote for Palestine’s admission to UNESCO was 107 for, 16 against and 52 abstentions (which do not count as votes).

There are 194 members of the UN - so a two thirds majority vote required would be 129. As only 107 votes were in favour - Palestine’s admission to UNESCO did not satisfy the provisions of the Constitution and should be declared invalid.

This viewpoint is further strengthened by the provisions of Article II 3 :
"Territories or groups of territories which are not responsible for the conduct of their international relations may be admitted as Associate Members by the General Conference by a two-thirds majority of Members present and voting, upon application made on behalf of such territory or group of territories by the Member or other authority having responsibility for their international relations. The nature and extent of the rights and obligations of Associate Members shall be determined by the General Conference."

Clearly the Constitution makes a significant distinction in the specific section of the Constitution dealing with Membership between the vote needed to admit Members and the vote needed to admit Associate Members

This clear difference is however clouded by the provisions of Clause IV B 8(a):
"Each Member State shall have one vote in the General Conference. Decisions shall be made by a simple majority except in cases in which a two-thirds majority is required by the provisions of this Constitution, or the Rules of Procedure of the General Conference. A majority shall be a majority of the Members present and voting."

The International Court of Justice needs to be urgently approached to reconcile the apparent inconsistencies and uncertainties posed by these contradictory provisions in UNESCO’s constitution.

I put some questions on these issues to UNESCO’s Director of Liaison Office in New York ten days ago - but have been met by a wall of silence despite sending him a reminder.

Approaching the International Court of Justice could prove to be the financial lifeline UNESCO so desperately needs - since a ruling that Palestine’s admission was unconstitutional would assuredly restore America’s financial commitment to UNESCO.

Will political or financial pressure win the day? Will the political fallout involving the possible removal of Palestine from UNESCO dissuade UNESCO from approaching the International Court of Justice for its advisory opinion - thereby allowing its financial woes to continue and its projects to founder ?

Either way UNESCO cannot be seen to create the impression that any of its actions are not in strict accord with its Constitution and that it is prepared to act in possible contravention of its own Constitution.

To do so - whilst the above two questions remain definitively unanswered by the International Court of Justice - could well persuade those 86 non-Islamic member states who did not vote for Palestine’s admission to UNESCO to also cut or withhold their financial contributions to UNESCO until the Court’s ruling is obtained.

That would surely be the beginning of the end for UNESCO- which cannot be seen as a law unto itself and certainly cannot financially afford to do so.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Palestine - War Monger Not Peace Lover

[Published 8 November 2011]

Amid all the hogwash that passes for political commentary - it is apparent that the 15 members of the Security Council are facing a huge dilemma in deciding whether to recommend the admission of Palestine to the United Nations as its 194th member - after deliberating on the application now for more than six weeks.

The lengthy delay has nothing to do with the supposed closeness of the vote. Rather it has to deal with proper scrutiny of the application in accordance with the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice delivered on 28 May 1948.

Palestine’s application to the UN under Article 4(1) of the UN Charter has been made by Mahmoud Abbas as President of Palestine and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization - which is entirely different to that made to UNESCO under Article II (2) of the UNESCO constitution

Stringent conditions must be complied with when seeking to join the UN - as the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice clearly set out:
“The requisite conditions are five in number: to be admitted to membership in the United Nations, an applicant must
(i) be a State;
(ii) be peace-loving;
(iii) accept the obligations of the Charter;
(iv) be able to carry out these obligations; and
(v) be willing to do so. “

The Court further drew attention to Rule 60 of the Provisional Rules of Procedure of the Security Council which states:
“The Security Council shall decide whether in its judgment the applicant is a peace-loving State and is able and willing to carry out the obligations contained in the Charter, and accordingly whether to recommend the applicant State for membership.

The Court declared that:
“It does not, however, follow from the exhaustive character of paragraph 1 of Article 4 that an appreciation is precluded of such circumstances of fact as would enable the existence of the requisite conditions to be verified.

Article 4 does not forbid the taking into account of any factor which it is possible reasonably and in good faith to connect with the conditions laid down in that Article. The taking into account of such factors is implied in the very wide and very elastic nature of the prescribed conditions; no relevant political factor-that is to say, none connected with the conditions of admission-is excluded.”

Clearly there are at least two critical issues that the Security Council must in its judgement determine - taking into account any political factor connected with the admission - that should sink this application:

1. Is Palestine a state?

By any standards of customary international law - as codified in the Montevideo Convention 1933 - Palestine is not a state since it fails to comply with article 1 which declares:
“The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications:
a ) a permanent population;
b ) a defined territory;
c ) government; and
d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.”

The Security Council ignores international law at its peril should it decide to depart from these well understood and universally accepted legal principles required for statehood.

2. Is Palestine a warmonger or a peace lover?

On even the most cursory inquiry Palestine is a war monger - not in any way peace loving - for the following reasons:
(a) Since 1 January 2011 to date 379 rockets and 225 mortars have been indiscriminately fired into Israeli population centers from Palestine killing many Israeli citizens, injuring hundreds of others and causing vast property damage.

Responsibility for these attacks have been claimed by a number of organizations including
(i) Fatah
(ii) Hamas
(iii) Popular Front For the Liberation of Palestine
(iv) Abu Al-Qumsa Brigades
(v) Tawhid and Jihad
(vi) Abdullah Azzam Brigades
(vii) Al Aqsa Brigades
(viii)Al Mujahadeen Brigades
(ix) Al Quds Brigade
all of which are allowed to operate freely from Palestinian territory with impunity and free of arrest or prosecution

(b) The PLO Charter still calls for the liberation of Israel and Jordan - two member states of the UN - and their reunification with the West Bank and Gaza into one indivisible territorial unit.

(c) Clause 9 of the PLO Charter declares:
“Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. Thus it is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase.”

(d) Clause 10 of the PLO Charter asserts:
“Commando action constitutes the nucleus of the Palestinian popular liberation war. This requires its escalation, comprehensiveness, and the mobilization of all the Palestinian popular and educational efforts and their organization and involvement in the armed Palestinian revolution.”

(e) The Charter of Hamas calls for the destruction of the State of Israel by waging a holy war

The only wonder is why it has taken the Security Council so long to determine the fate of Palestine’s application.

The decision should have been arrived at much earlier. Apparently some of those 15 nations must have strange notions of what the terms “state” and “peace loving” mean.

Make love - not war. Get back to negotiating - not grandstanding. Stop engaging in fiction - face the reality

Palestine - UNESCO Rebuffs, PLO Huffs And Puffs

[Published 2 November 2011]

The PLO application seeking admission of Palestine to the UN has been dealt a serious blow - after 86 of its 193 members failed to support a mirror application for Palestine to join UNESCO.

The poor UNESCO majority vote recorded in favor is even more remarkable when one excludes the 56 Islamic member States - whose vote to recognize Palestine’s admission to UNESCO was always assured. Only 51 of UNESCO’s remaining 137 members were prepared to publicly out themselves in support of the PLO application.

Any of the four following reasons could be possible explanations for this rebuff to the PLO and could signal a similar disastrous outcome when the UN deals with the Palestine issue later this month:
1. Member States were concerned that any favorable UNESCO decision would be in breach of Article II (2) of UNESCO’s constitution- which only provides for States to be admitted to full membership.
2. Palestine does not possess the attributes for statehood required in customary international law and codified in article 1 of the Montevideo Convention 1933.
3. Palestine could have chosen an easier and less controversial option by applying for associate membership of UNESCO as a territory which was not responsible for the conduct of its international affairs under Article II (3). Such an application - however - would have been an admission that Palestine was not a state - dooming the UN application to almost certain defeat.
4. The UNESCO vote came just days after PLO Chairman - Mahmoud Abbas - sought to appease the UN by admitting that the Arab refusal to accept the 1947 UN Partition Plan was a “mistake“.

Non-supporters of Palestine’s admission to UNESCO would have had serious reservations after hearing Abbas’s untruthful and misleading remarks to Israel’s Channel 2 on 28 October:
“At the time, 1947, there was [General Assembly] Resolution 181, the partition plan for Palestine and Israel. Israel existed. Palestine diminished.”

Arafat was clearly misrepresenting the situation in 1947 since:
(i) The partition plan was not for Palestine and Israel. It was for partition into a Jewish State and an Arab State
(ii) Israel did not exist in 1947.

Abbas however had every reason for stressing that Palestine had been diminished by 1947 - since 78% of Palestine had been granted independence by Britain in 1946 when it was permanently placed under Hashemite control and re-named the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan.

Britain’s action was in flagrant violation of article 5 of the Mandate for Palestine - which required Britain to see that no Palestine territory should be ceded or leased to or in any way placed under the control of, the Government of any foreign Power.

The PLO has never accepted Britain’s decision.

Article 2 of the PLO Charter still insists that Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and Jordan is one separate and indivisible territorial unit that must be liberated.

Not content with reminding those listening that the PLO still coveted all of this area - Abbas then attempted to ameliorate its intransigent stance in rejecting the 1947 partition plan by stating:
“It was our mistake. It was an Arab mistake as a whole. But do they punish us for this mistake for 64 years?”

This statement must have sent shudders through the UNESCO waverers.

Abbas was being totally untruthful in failing to acknowledge that the Arabs had from 1948 to 1967 to correct their 1947 mistake - after six Arab armies had invaded a “diminished Palestine” and Jordan had ended up occupying the West Bank and East Jerusalem whilst Egypt had occupied Gaza and all the Jews then living in those areas had been driven out.

Blaming Israel for 19 years of Arab failure to do anything to create Palestinian statehood could explain why many states did not support the push to recognize a fictitious Palestine now.

Abbas had already blotted his copybook when he told Dream 2 TV on 23 October:
“First of all, let me make something clear about the story of the ‘Jewish state.’ They started talking to me about the ‘Jewish state’ only two years ago, discussing it with me at every opportunity, every forum I went to – Jewish or non-Jewish – asking: ‘What do you think about the “Jewish state”?’ I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I will never recognize the Jewishness of the state, or a ‘Jewish state.’

This clear repudiation of the 1947 UN Partition Plan calling for a Jewish state indicated a resolute refusal to ever live in peace with its Jewish neighbour - making the possibility of the two state solution an impossible dream to accomplish.

Such a display of unadulterated racism and hatred could have also weighed heavily on the minds of many UN member states as they failed to support Palestine‘s admission to UNESCO.

The preamble to the UNESCO Constitution requires the Governments of the State Parties to declare on behalf of their people:
“That since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed;
That ignorance of each other’s ways and lives has been a common cause, throughout the history of mankind, of that suspicion and mistrust between the peoples of the world through which their differences have all too often broken into war; “

Believing Palestine could ever respect and honor these lofty principles after Abbas’s remarkable statements during the few days prior to the UNESCO vote could have been the final nail in the coffin for so many states voicing their displeasure and failing to support Palestine’s admission to UNESCO.

The fact that the PLO still was refusing to enter into direct negotiations with Israel to peacefully resolve the creation of a Palestinian State- preferring instead to take unilateral action at UNESCO and the UN - could be another explanation for the poor vote recorded in UNESCO.

Whatever happens from here on in at the UN - the UNESCO vote shows that the UN vote will not be the cakewalk predicted by the PLO.

The PLO can huff and puff - but a large number of the UN members have made it clear they are not prepared to be blown down in the process.