U.N. Declaring a unilateral Palestinian state would be illegal
Declaring a unilateral Palestinian state by the U.N. would be illegal
In September the Palestinian Authority, backed by the Arab League and over a hundred other countries, will try to have ‘Palestine’ declared as a state based on the ‘1967 borders’.
It will thus bypass several UN Resolutions and bilateral agreements and trigger a likely annexation by Israel of areas it will now claim as part of Palestine.
Whilst I have always conceded that a two-state solution is the only likely one to bring long-term peace, the only way this can be achieved is via negotiation.
The JCPA has published an open letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon signed by several international jurists and lawyers.
The core of this letter is reproduced below which explains the illegality of such a move:
1. The legal basis for the establishment of the State of Israel was the resolution unanimously adopted by the League of Nations in 1922, affirming the establishment of a national home for the Jewish People in the historical area of the Land of Israel. This included the areas of Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem, and close Jewish settlement throughout. This was subsequently affirmed by both houses of the U.S. Congress.
2. Article 80 of the UN Charter determines the continued validity of the rights granted to all states or peoples, or already existing international instruments (including those adopted by the League of Nations). Accordingly, the above-noted League resolution remains valid, and the 650,000 Jews presently resident in the areas of Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem reside there legitimately.
3. “The 1967 borders” do not exist, and have never existed. The 1949 Armistice Agreements entered into by Israel and its Arab neighbors, establishing the Armistice Demarcation Lines, clearly stated that these lines “are without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines or to claims of either Party relating thereto.” Accordingly, they cannot be accepted or declared to be the international boundaries of a Palestinian state.
4. UN Security Council Resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) called upon the parties to achieve a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and specifically stressed the need to negotiate in order to achieve “secure and recognized boundaries.”
5. The Palestinian proposal, in attempting to unilaterally change the status of the territory and determine the “1967 borders” as its recognized borders, in addition to running squarely against Resolutions 242 and 338, would be a fundamental breach of the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, in which the parties undertook to negotiate the issue of borders and not act to change the status of the territories pending outcome of the permanent status negotiations.
6. The Palestinians entered into the various agreements constituting what is known as the “Oslo Accords” in the full knowledge that Israel’s settlements existed in the areas, and that settlements would be one of the issues to be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations. Furthermore, the Oslo Accords impose no limitation on Israel’s settlement activity in those areas that the Palestinians agreed would continue to be under Israel’s jurisdiction and control pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.
7. While the Interim Agreement was signed by Israel and the PLO, it was witnessed by the UN together with the EU, the Russian Federation, the U.S., Egypt, and Norway. It is thus inconceivable that such witnesses, including first and foremost the UN, would now give license to a measure in the UN aimed at violating this agreement and undermining major resolutions of the Security Council.
8. While the UN has maintained a persistent policy of non-recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem pending a negotiated solution, despite Israel’s historic rights to the city, it is inconceivable that the UN would now recognize a unilaterally declared Palestinian state, the borders of which would include eastern Jerusalem. This would represent the ultimate in hypocrisy, double standards, and discrimination, as well as an utter disregard of the rights of Israel and the Jewish People.
9. Such unilateral action by the Palestinians could give rise to reciprocal initiatives in the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) which could include proposed legislation to declare Israel’s sovereignty over extensive parts of Judea and Samaria, if and when the Palestinians carry out their unilateral action.
Even though the US and other countries, including the UK, will veto this on the UN Security Council. the intention of the resolution and a vote in favour in the General Assembly is intended to isolate Israel and give a kind of de facto respectability to the Palestinian claims.
A peace agreement was intended to end the conflict. This does not end the conflict. It leaves the Palestinians still claiming that millions of descendants of refugees from 1948 should be entitled to ‘return’ to Israel and that Jerusalem is the capital of ‘Palestine’.
The PA will claim a consensus legitimacy for its ‘Palestine’ whilst still removing Israel from its maps of ‘Palestine’.
Establishing ‘Palestine’ on the 1967 borders will do absolutely nothing to further the cause of peace; in fact, it will do the exact opposite.