Believe it or not, the only source where I could find the complete unedited text of the Palestinian resolution placed before the UN Security Council objecting to Israeli settlement activity this past week was from the Palestinian MAAN News Agency. It wasn’t reported fully in ANY US newspaper that I read, and I read a lot of them, nor even in UN reference archives.
So, thank you Maan agency.
“The Security Council,
Recalling its relevant resolutions, including resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 446 (1979), 452 (1979), 465 (1980), 476 (1980), 478 (1980), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003), and 1850 (2008),
Reaffirming the applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the other Arab territories occupied since 1967,
Reaffirming that all Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of peace on the basis of the two-State solution,
Condemning the continuation of settlement activities by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of all other measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Territory, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions,
Bearing in mind also the obligation under the Quartet Roadmap, endorsed by its resolution 1515 (2003), for a freeze by Israel of all settlement activity, including “natural growth”, and the dismantlement of all settlement outposts erected since March 2001,
Reiterating its vision of a region where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders,
Taking note of the strong support expressed by the Quartet for the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations for the resolution of all final status issues within one year,
Stressing the urgency of achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace on the basis of the relevant resolutions, the Madrid terms of reference, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet Roadmap,
Reaffirms that the Israeli settlements established in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;
Reiterates its demand that Israel, the occupying Power, immediately and completely ceases all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard;
Calls upon both parties to act on the basis of international law and their previous agreements and obligations, including under the Roadmap, aimed, inter alia, at improving the situation on the ground, building confidence and creating the conditions necessary for promoting the peace process;
Calls upon all parties to continue, in the interest of the promotion of peace and security, with their negotiations on the final status issues in the Middle East peace process according to its agreed terms of reference and within the timeframe specified by the Quartet in its statement of 21 September 2010;
Urges in this regard the intensification of international and regional diplomatic efforts to support and invigorate the peace process towards the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East”
The ONLY word that I object to in the whole resolution, the only word of disagreement that I bear, is the word “THE settlements” in 8th paragraph.
And, oh what a critical word.
Many dissenters have reasonably (and some unreasonably) criticized the US veto of the resolution. Jerry Haber (a pseudonym, I forgot his real name) posted two articles on the veto. http://www.jeremiahhaber.com/2011/02/forty-four-years-of-us-hypocrisy-on.html and http://www.jeremiahhaber.com/2011/02/thank-you-mr-president.html.
He makes excellent points supporting every word in the resolution except for the word “THE” that I’ve bolded.
He speaks of the absence of consistency of US policy on the settlements, specifically, that the US supported a 1969 resolution insisting that Israel cease and renounce settlement creation in East Jerusalem, and then later in the West Bank. Since that time, the US has verbally opposed Israeli settlement activity, but voted no on all (I actually don’t know if it is “all”) general assembly resolutions, and vetoed security council resolutions on settlements.
It was ONLY in George W Bush’s administration that the US policy towards settlements officially and overtly changed to more than turning a blind eye acceptance. He was the first US president not to condemn the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem. I don’t remember his wording.
Back to the word “THE”. The problem with the word is that it becomes law. Every other line in the resolution refers to current settlement expansion. That word is the sole reference to a blanket statement that all settlements, and by extension all Jewish/Israeli residence in the West Bank is illegal, and by UN decree.
According to Jerry Haber’s reasoned presentation, the nature of Israeli obligation as an occupying power (still, following the 67 war) is to maintain temporary administration and to maintain the demographic status quo, and to not prejudice the ultimate settlement patterns of the occupied regions. Further, that according to the 1949 Geneva conventions, acquisition of territory in war and certainly subsequent to war, is legally inadmissable.
The duration of the Israeli occupation, and the difficulty in maintaining a static relationship of population and land use for that time period, is inevitably strained, nearly impossible to maintain (including prohibiting Palestinian expansion of territory in use), thereby putting the whole law into question. That is a much bigger topic, and subject to all kinds of opportunism, which I prefer to avoid and prohibit even.
There is though a double standard at play with regard to the settlements. The majority of settlement land is expropriated. I don’t dispute that. A minority however was land purchased and owned by Jewish Zionist organizations that were taken in war by Jordan in 1948, and Jewish residence was prohibited. The land was ethnically cleansed of Jews, Jewish owners, a legally inadmissable action per the 1949 Geneva Accords.
To claim that THE settlements are illegal are then to flaunt that law that Palestinians seek the protection of. It declares that those residents are not returning to their homes after wartime, but are prohibited from doing so.
The period from 1948 to 1967 (and the 69 resolution that Haber referred to) was around 20 years. In that short 20-year time period, the acquisition of territory during war was accepted as admissable by Jordan, Egypt, US, France, England, Germany, China, Soviet Union, etc.
Its stone in my shoe.
The US ambassador to the UN didn’t mention this reasoning as the basis of the security council veto, the establishment of a general legal judgment incorporated into the resolution.
They cited the realpolitik of proceeding towards a two-state agreement, which I support very strongly. I support the reasoning of creating and nurturing the conditions by which a successfully negotiated reconciliation are achievable.
If the word “THE” hadn’t appeared in the paragraph cited, in exception to the careful earlier language, then I would be one of the critics of the US veto. I would conclude that the resolution would have furthered the successful formation of an agreement, rather than distracted or hindered it.
I wish that the US vetoed the resolution for the word “THE” for the legal principle. Words matter. I really wish that they had approached the PA and asked them to change the wording to tone that was consistent with every other word of the resolution, and then voted for it. “We object to the action of settlement expansion.” (My paraphrase).
Israel NEEDS that reality check.
One frigging word.