V-raad beslist maandag over verzoek Palestijnen

De aanvraag van de Palestijnen voor een volledig lidmaatschap van de Verenigde Naties is doorgestuurd naar de Veiligheidsraad. De Veiligheidsraad komt maandag bijeen om het verzoek van de Palestijnen te bespreken.

De Verenigde Staten hebben inmiddels herhaaldelijk aangegeven hun vetorecht te zullen gebruiken om het Palestijnse voorstel in de Veiligheidsraad af te schieten. Een terugkeer naar onderhandelingen met Israël is volgens de Amerikaanse regering de beste en enige manier om het vredesproces nieuw leven in te blazen.

De verwachting is dat het nog weken of zelfs maanden kan duren voordat er een besluit wordt genomen.

(www.parool.nl / 23.09.2011)

Lieberman warns Netanyahu of coalition break-up if punitive measures aren’t taken against the Palestinians

Israel’s Foreign Minister has warned Benjamin Netanyahu that the governing coalition will fall part if the Prime Minister doesn’t take punitive measures against the Palestinian Authority for its decision to bid for independent statehood at the United Nations. A report in Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper claims that Avigdor Lieberman has demanded that Netanyahu responds to the unilateral Palestinian step by cancelling the Oslo Accords, annexing the large West Bank settlement blocs and withholding tax transfers to the Authority.

Earlier reports said that Lieberman had threatened the Palestinians with “very serious” consequences in the event of a UN vote in favour of an independent state. Israel, claimed Lieberman, “won’t stand still” if a Palestinian state is recognised by the UN. Lieberman’s deputy, Danny Ayalon, backed the call for punitive measures, although he expects the UN to reject the Palestinian application.

According to Netanyahu’s deputy, Silvan Shalom, the Palestinian bid constitutes a violation of the agreements signed between the two sides.

(www.uruknet.de / 23.09.2011)

Palestine 23.09.2011 II

‎23/09/2011 22:53:29 Hundreds rally in Venezuela in support of Palestinian state
23/09/2011 22:44:18 Ban Ki-moon submits Palestine application to Security Council
23/09/2011 21:40:50 Fatah official: Palestine has 9 votes needed to pass Security Council
23/09/2011 21:18:18 Netanyahu says willing to restart immediate peace talks here at UN
23/09/2011 21:17:42 Netanyahu: Jews have long history in Jerusalem, not strangers
23/09/2011 21:16:52 Netanyahu: UN recognized Jewish state, now Palestinians` turn
23/09/2011 21:16:13 Netanyahu: Every country must demand immediate release of Shalit
23/09/2011 21:14:25 Netanyahu: Israel would be first to recognize Palestine after peace
23/09/2011 21:10:23 Interfax: Russia to vote for Palestinian UN membership
23/09/2011 21:01:49 Netanyahu: Settlements are a result of the conflict
23/09/2011 21:01:16 Netanyahu: Palestinians must recognize `Jewish state`
23/09/2011 20:57:22 Netanyahu: World around Israel is `definitely getting more dangerous’
23/09/2011 20:56:12 Netanyahu: Palestinians should first make peace with Israel
23/09/2011 20:10:30 Abbas: The clock is ticking on the Palestinian Spring
23/09/2011 20:04:11 Abbas: Palestine being `reborn,` I call on world to stand with us
23/09/2011 20:03:25 Abbas: Palestinian state will be enormous contribution to world peace
23/09/2011 20:02:34 Abbas: Loss of hope greatest threat to peace, despair serves extremism
23/09/2011 20:01:59 Abbas: PLO willing to resume talks on basis of intl legitimacy
23/09/2011 20:01:24 Abbas: Palestinians reject violence – especially settler violence
23/09/2011 20:00:48 Abbas: We affirm goal of statehood on 1967 borders with Jerusalem

(Facebook / 23.09.2011)

 

Bill Clinton: Netanyahu isn’t interested in Mideast peace deal

Former U.S. President says a cynical perspective of Prime Minister’s calls for negotiations ‘means that he’s just not going to give up the West Bank’.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is responsible for the inability to reach a peace deal that would end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, former U.S. President Bill Clinton said on Thursday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Clinton Global Initiative conference in New York, the former U.S. president was quoted by Foreign Policy magazine as claiming that Netanyahu lost interest in the peace process as soon as two basic Israelis demands seemed to come into reach: a viable Palestinian leadership and the possibility of normalizing ties with the Arab world.

“The Israelis always wanted two things that once it turned out they had, it didn’t seem so appealing to Mr. Netanyahu,” Clinton said, adding that Israel wanted “to believe they had a partner for peace in a Palestinian government, and there’s no question — and the Netanyahu government has said — that this is the finest Palestinian government they’ve ever had in the West Bank.”

Furthermore, the former U.S. president is quoted by Foreign Policy as saying that Israel was also on the verge of being recognized by Arab nations adding that the “king of Saudi Arabia started lining up all the Arab countries to say to the Israelis, ‘if you work it out with the Palestinians … we will give you immediately not only recognition but a political, economic, and security partnership.”

“This is huge…. It’s a heck of a deal,” Clinton said, adding: “That’s what happened. Every American needs to know this. That’s how we got to where we are.”

“The real cynics believe that the Netanyahu’s government’s continued call for negotiations over borders and such means that he’s just not going to give up the West Bank,” he added.

Clinton also said he felt the Palestinians would accept the deal rejected by former PA President Yasser Arafat in 2000 negotiations with then Prime Minister Ehud Barak, saying that Palestinian leaders “have explicitly said on more than one occasion that if [Netanyahu] put up the deal that was offered to them before — my deal — that they would take it.”

“For reasons that even after all these years I still don’t know for sure, Arafat turned down the deal I put together that Barak accepted,” he was quoted by Foreign Policy as saying. “But they also had an Israeli government that was willing to give them East Jerusalem as the capital of the new state of Palestine.”

Clinton also added, as to the chances of Mideast peace being achievable in the foreseeable future, in light of past failures, saying that the “two great tragedies in modern Middle Eastern politics, which make you wonder if God wants Middle East peace or not, were [Yitzhak] Rabin’s assassination and [Ariel] Sharon’s stroke.”

Clinton’s comments come as a Palestinian delegation headed by Abbas is planned to officially submit its statehood bid to the United Nations later Friday, with both Palestinian President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu scheduled to address the General Assembly.

Despite heavy pressure from the West, Abbas remained determined to formally apply for UN recognition of a Palestinian state Friday.

U.S. President Barack Obama met with Abbas Thursday night in an effort to convince him not to seek Security Council recognition, warning that the U.S. would use its veto power to block it. Lower-level American officials also met with Abbas several times, but to no avail.

Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, reiterated on Thursdays  that Abbas’ statehood bid will not contribute to the peace process and will merely delay the start of negotiations – which, she added, are the only way the Palestinians can actually achieve independence.

American officials also continued their effort to mobilize enough Security Council votes to defeat the statehood bid without a U.S. veto. Germany has already announced it won’t vote yes, and Rice said she is convinced other countries will do the same. America, she said, is not the only country to realize that the UN gambit is unproductive.

(www.haaretz.com   / 23.09.2011)

Israel Objects to Palestinian Statehood to Avoid War Crimes Investigations

A WikiLeaks cable reveals drones were used in Gaza, as well as Israel’s true reasons for objecting to PA statehood

A secret State Department diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks has revealed that one of the primary reasons behind Israeli objections to Palestinian statehood is that lack of statehood keeps Palestinian territories outside the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which prosecutes war crimes.

Military Advocate General for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Avichai Mandelblit met with US Ambassador James B. Cunningham in February of 2010 to discuss investigations into allegations of misconduct during Israel’s attacks on Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009, called Operation Cast Lead.

Mandelblit noted to Cunningham that Palestinian Authority Justice Minister Ali Kashan had requested that ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo investigate alleged Israeli war crimes in the occupied territories since 2002, up to and including Operation Cast Lead. The cable reads: “Mandelblit said several legal opinions had been delivered to Ocampo noting that the ICC had no legal jurisdiction due to the PA’s lack of statehood…”

The dialogue is unusually blunt, since Israel’s public objections to Palestinian statehood at the United Nations, to be voted upon this month, have been mundane and political in nature.

After requesting multiple times that the US “state publicly its position that the ICC has no jurisdiction over Israel regarding the Gaza operation,” Mandelblit “warned that PA pursuit of Israel through the ICC would be viewed as war by the GOI [Government of Israel].”

Mandelblit seems to deflect allegations of war crimes, not by denying they took place, but by dismissing them via a legal technicality. Accompanying Mandelblit was IDF Head of the International Law Department Col. Liron Libman who “noted that the ICC was the most dangerous issue for Israel,” reads the cable.

Mandelblit also dismissed the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, called the Goldstone report after its chief judge, which found both Israel and Hamas guilty of war crimes. “The GOI hopes that eventually Goldstone would ‘vanish,’” the cable reads. He also pointed to the IDF’s own investigations of the conflict, but dismissed the possibility of an independent “commission of inquiry to review IDF investigations,” saying “nobody thinks we should do it.”

The cable also reveals the first official recognition found within the WikiLeaks cables of Israel’s use of unmanned drone aircraft in Operation Cast Lead. In a bombing by one of these drones, up to 16 civilians were killed. “A UAV [drone aircraft] shot at two Hamas fighters in front of the mosque,” reads the cable, “and 16 casualties resulted inside the mosque due to an open door through which shrapnel entered during a time of prayer.”

In a cable from a year earlier in February of 2009, Israeli Ambassador Benny Dagan admitted to US official Robert J. Silverman that “The current strategy is to use disproportionate force to respond to attacks by Hizballah and Hamas, noting it may take repeated strikes in both cases.”

Up to 1,400 Palestinians were killed in attacks by Israeli forces during Operation Cast Lead between, while some 5,000 were injured. Hundreds of those killed, up to half by some estimates, were unarmed civilians, including some 300 children, more than 115 women and some 85 men over the age of 50. Billions of dollars of infrastructure damage and numerous incidents of IDF attacks on civilian facilities, among other crimes.

(news.antiwar.com / 23.09.2011)

Fatah official: PLO has votes to pass Security Council

Muhammad Shtayyeh, a Fatah official and former PLO negotiator, speaks at a briefing for journalists in the West Bank (MaanImages/George Hale, File)
UNITED NATIONS (Ma’an) — A resolution admitting Palestine as a member state of the United Nations has the support of a majority of the Security Council, a top Fatah official said Friday.

“We need the nine votes plus no veto. The nine votes are already there. We hope there will be no veto,” said Muhammad Shtayyeh, speaking after President Mahmoud Abbas’ address to the General Assembly.

Shtayyeh said the Palestinian leadership would only make a decision on whether to take the matter to the General Assembly after the Security Council has had a chance to consider the issue.

“You cannot go to two places at the same time,” he said.

“You have to settle the issue first. We are here. We have one single mandate to go to the Security Council, because the admission of Palestine does not come through the General Assembly.

“The only body that is authorized to give admission to any new state is the Security Council,” he added.

Shtayyeh declined to say how long Abbas would wait for the Security Council to come to a decision. “We’re not here to bluff. We’re not here to play games,” he said.

Abbas submitted Palestine’s application for UN membership to secretary-general Ban Ki-moon earlier Friday. The US has vowed to veto any Security Council resolution recognizing Palestine as a state.

(mideastnews-danmike.blogspot.com / 23.09.2011)

Why Palestinians have a right to return home

A thorough examination of the legal rights of all those displaced by the
creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

There are approximatley 6 million Palestinians who live
outside the pre-1967 borders
[EPA]

 

Mark LeVine asked three leading scholars of the “refugee problem” – Karma
Nabulsi (lecturer in international relations, Oxford University), Susan Akram
(Boston University Law School and founder of the Asylum and Human Rights Clinic
at Greater Boston Legal Services) and Ingrid Jaradat Gassner (Director of BADIL,
Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights) – to address some
of the key arguments surrounding the right of return. Some of the answers are
quite detailed and technical, but given the importance of this debate, we have
not edited them, so as to offer the most complete information possible on this
issue.

ML: Can you explain at its base what “right
of return” means? Is is merely a political concept or is it an accepted legal
concept as well? Is there one definition accepted by all Palestinians or is the
term contested within Palestinian society?

Everyone has the right to leave any
country, including his own, and to return to his
country.

– Article 13(b)
UDHR

KN: The right of return is a universal right that is binding
under international law, enjoyed by every people regardless of where they come
from. The idea of universal rights is an ancient one, but one of its first
international expressions is found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(UDHR), which was proclaimed by the United Nations in 1948 “as a common standard
of achievement for all peoples and all nations”. One of the core rights set out
in the UDHR is the right of return. Article 13(b) of the UDHR states: “Everyone
has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his
country.” Palestinian refugees are entitled to this binding universal right, in
the same way that all other refugees are, whether they come from Bosnia, Rwanda,
South Africa or anywhere else.

In spite of ill-founded – and quite
frankly racist – arguments concerned with denying this universal right to them,
the United Nations has frequently insisted on its particular applicability to
Palestinian refugees, who constitute the world’s largest refugee population. For
instance, General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 2535, passed in 1969, recognises
“that the problem of Palestine Arab refugees has arisen from the denial of their
inalienable rights under the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights”. In the same vein, UNGA resolution 3236 reaffirms
“the inalienable right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property
from which they have been displaced and uprooted, and calls for their
return.”

UNGA Resolution 194

What is particular to the Palestinian case is the exceptional frequency with
which the right of return was insisted upon, time and again, by the United
Nations and the international community. UNGA Resolution 194 clearly resolves
that “the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their
neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and
that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to
return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of
international law or in equity, should be made good by the governments or
authorities responsible”. Israel’s admission as a member of the UN was made
conditional on its acceptance and implementation of resolutions including UN
Resolution 194; this demonstrates that without question, the UN and the
international community saw Israel as fully responsible for the complete
implementation of this right. This right was further reaffirmed by the UNGA on
more than 135 occasions, clearly reflecting the consistent will of the
international community on this matter.

The majority of the Palestinian people
were forcibly displaced and uprooted from their homes and lands in
1948
.”

– Karma
Nabulsi

Of course, as well as being a universal right that
is clearly applicable to Palestinian refugees on an individual basis, the right
of return is conceptualised and understood by most contemporary international
jurists as a collective right. The most recent expression of this can be found
in Professor Guy Goodwin Gill’s recent opinion piece and further note of August and September 2011,
on the issue of refugees’ representation at the UN. As one of the world’s
leading international lawyer for refugee rights, he emphasised the commonly
understood legal position that the Palestinians’ inalienable right of self
determination and their right of return are both collective rights.

Broad consensus

Of course, the right of return is also a political and moral concept holding
enormous importance for the Palestinian people. There is broad consensus that
the right of return, along with the right of self-determination, is the
foundation of the 63-year-old struggle of the Palestinian people. The majority
of the Palestinian people were forcibly displaced and uprooted from their homes
and lands in 1948 and modern Palestinian politics begins with the establishment
of popular movements, parties, and associations concerned with claiming and
struggling for the right of return. Dozens of these groupings, voluntarily
founded and supported by thousands of refugees, had the term Al-Awda
[“return”] in their name. The foundation document of every major
Palestinian party, regardless of its ideology – ranging from Fatah’s Bayan
Harakatuna
(1958) and the Declaration of the Foundation of the PFLP (1967)
to the Hamas Charter (1988) – enshrines return as its first and foremost
principle. Above all, the PLO’s Palestine National Covenant, the basis of all
Palestinian law, defines the Palestinian people’s struggle as striving for the
following objectives: “to retrieve its homeland, liberate and return to it and
exercise the right to self-determination in it…” (Article 26).

The
principle of return goes well beyond politics and extends to the realm of
culture. The Palestinian artistic canon – comprising countless works, from the
novels of Ghassan Kanafani to the paintings of Ismail Shamout – created and
shaped what is commonly known as Thaqafat al-Awda [the “culture of
return”]. In this cultural realm, as with the political one, the right of return
is understood as return to the original homes, lands, cities and villages found
in the entirety of historic, mandate Palestine.

The national Palestinian consensus on this
matter cannot be doubted.

– Karma
Nabulsi

Finally, Palestinians throughout the world have
responded to the perceived threat to the right of return posed by the Oslo
process by founding hundreds of civic associations concerned with defending this
right wherever Palestinian refugees now live across the world, as well as active
legal committees and resource centres, such as Badil. The unwavering
commitment of refugees to this simple right has been illustrated time and again,
most comprehensively in the Civitas Register of 2006– which engaged the mobilisation of
thousands of Palestinian refugees in 26 countries, all reaffirming their
unwavering commitment to this right. In short, the national Palestinian
consensus on this matter cannot be doubted.

Contextualising

ML: Can you put the right of return into the context
of the expected UN vote to recognise Palestine as a
state?

KN: Palestinian legal advisors,
associations, and movements have highlighted various concerns pertaining to the
right of return that arise out of the September initiative at the UN as it is
currently formulated. In particular, they have asserted the need for maintaining
the PLO’s status as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people
at the UN, and have warned of the dangers of replacing it with the state of
Palestine as its representative in the seat. The legal aspects of these concerns
have been discussed in detail in a significant opinion by Professor Guy Goodwin-Gill. One of the world’s
foremost authorities on refugee law, this issues have been further clarified by
him in a subsequent brief.

The right of return per se
is not threatened by the current initiative. It is, as highlighted earlier,
an inalienable universal right enshrined in international law and held fast to
by the Palestinian people. The concern is that changing the representative at
the UN from the PLO to the State of Palestine would adversely affect the ability
of Palestinian representatives at the UN to claim and advocate that right, and
that all Palestinians [should] have their representation at the UN. The PLO is
the national representative of the Palestinian people as a whole, representing
those inside and outside the 1967 occupied Palestinian territories. Being
confined to the 1967 boundaries, the State of Palestine (which is yet to attain
actual sovereignty on the ground), cannot claim to represent the refugees,
unlike the PLO.

Since the Oslo process began, the PLO has
been consistently undermined
.”

– Karma
Nabulsi

This is not a question
of names nor of titles. Indeed, the designation “Palestine” is currently used by our representatives at the UN. In
its resolution 43/177, the UNGA acknowledged “the proclamation of the
State of Palestine by the Palestine National Council on 15 November 1988” and it
decided that, “effective as of 15 December 1988, the designation ‘Palestine’
should be used in place of the designation ‘Palestine Liberation Organisation’
in the United Nations system, without prejudice to the observer status and
functions of the Palestine Liberation Organisation within the United Nations
system…” Significantly, this wording ensured that the status of the PLO as the
sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people was preserved and
reaffirmed by the UN. This formulation can be preserved by the leadership,
whether or not it chooses to seek an upgrade to our representative status at the
UN.

In any case, recent events, including the September
initiative, have raised the vital question of representation and democracy.
Since the Oslo process began, the PLO has been consistently undermined, and
political fragmentation has been imposed upon the Palestinian people through the
establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA). In theory and on paper, the
Palestinian Authority is a subsidiary body of the PLO – and the West Bank and
Gaza’s Legislative Council is incorporated into the Palestinian National Council
(PNC) so there is one legislative body for all Palestinians, and all are equal
politically under the law. In practice however, the PA is emerging as a parallel
structure which excludes the refugees who constitute the majority of the
Palestinian people. It is essential that this parallel structure not take the
PLO seat at the UN, as the Palestinian refugees would be politically
disenfranchised and legally and institutionally disempowered from making their
claims to their rights at the only place that matters, the United
Nations.

The PLO and the PNC

Furthermore, it is essential that the PLO and the PNC recover their
legitimate role in Palestinian politics. Article 7(a) of the Fundamental Law of
the PLO states: “The Palestine National Council is the highest authority of the
Palestinian Liberation Organisation, and it is the body that draws the policy of
the PLO and its plans and programs.” Moreover, Article 5 of the Fundamental Law
states that the PNC is to be directly elected by the Palestinian people. The
electoral system, issued on 17 July 1965, states: “Every Palestinian has the
right to vote in PNC elections if he/she is 18 years old, if his/her name has
been recorded in the final electoral registers, if he/she is of sound mind, and
has not been convicted of a crime against national honour.”

In line with
these fundamental laws of the Palestinian people, there has been broad Palestinian mobilisation in recent months, and especially in
the wake of the Arab Spring and in response to the September initiative , to reclaim and democratise the PLO and the PNC . In particular, there is a growing movement
for holding direct elections to the Palestine National Council, which is the
highest Palestinian legislative body, and which represents all Palestinians,
whether they are refugees or not. The PNC is the body that creates the national
strategies, platforms and policies of the Palestinian people, which the PLO
executive committee should implement. Only a rejuvenated, democratically elected
PNC can lay the foundation for effective representation of Palestinian rights,
including the right of return.

A young demonstrator bears
the Arabic numerals ‘194’ on his forehead, referring both to Palestine becoming
the 194th UN member and UNGA resolution
194 [EPA]

 

 

ML: When Palestinians demand that Israelis recognise
the right of return it is not always clear whether what is being demanded of
Israel is that it merely “recognise” that Palestinians have this right, without
committing to actually letting hundreds of thousands – or millions – of
Palestinians move into Israel, or whether Palestinians are demanding the actual
implementation of this right? Is there agreement among Palestinians on this
issue and if not, where are the issues?


KN
: Palestinians do not simply demand
the recognition of their right to return, but also its implementation, its
exercise, and its translation into reality. This is not merely a moral
theoretical stance, but a lived and concrete one, agreed upon by both the
Palestinian people and the many host countries in the Arab world which they
currently live, including Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon and the Gulf. In accordance
with international law, all refugees must be allowed to return. Whether they
choose to exercise that right or not is a matter for each individual refugee to
decide for themselves.

ML: If the broad consensus
is to demand an implementation of the right, is there a general understanding of
which and how many Palestinians would be expected to move within Israel’s 1967
border? Which groups would be prioritised?

IJG:
The right to return is a right held by all Palestinians who were forced to leave
their homes and properties, as well as their descendants. Two groups of
Palestinians would exercise their right of return in what is today Israel: the
so-called 1948 refugees who live outside Israel’s pre-June 1967 borders
(approximately 6 million persons today), and Palestinians who have become
internally displaced persons (IDP) since 1948 (approximately 300,000 persons
today).

There is no understanding of how many Palestinian refugees and
IDPs would actually decide to return to their homes and properties in Israel,
because such understanding would require that these refugees and IDPs are
offered an opportunity to make a free choice about whether or not they want to
return, based on detailed information about the conditions of return, including
the procedure for reclaiming their property and available support, and other
options available for them. No such opportunity has ever been offered to
Palestinian refugees or IDPs since 1948.

The question of whether certain
groups would be prioritised during return is part of the numerous technical
matters that could be agreed upon by the PLO and Israel in conjunction with the
international agencies responsible, with the aim of ensuring a smooth and
sustainable process of return and absorption.

ML:
Would Palestinian returnees who became Israeli citizens also have Palestinian
citizenship?

IJG: In a scenario where the right
of return is implemented, all 1948 Palestinian refugees who decide exercise
their right to return are entitled to Israeli citizenship. The question whether
they should also be offered Palestinian citizenship is outside of the scope of
the right to return. It is a sovereign matter of the state of Palestine, and its
practical legal implications for Palestinians who opt for such dual citizenship
would be subject to bilateral diplomatic agreements with
Israel.

SA: Although it is true that citizenship is an
internal matter for the Palestinian state, it does have ramifications for
Palestinian refugees, Palestinians in the diaspora, and those who are Israeli
citizens. There are many options for defining who is entitled to citizenship,
each with its own set of ramifications. The main criteria for determining
nationality are set out in the Nottebohm (Guatemala v Lichtenstein) case, which
focuses on a “genuine link” between the individual and the territory. Palestine
would have great latitude under international law in defining the scope of the
link for its nationals, and what the criteria would be for obtaining or claiming
citizenship.

Defining nationals

Consider some of the ramifications, however, of the state defining its
“nationals” in one of the two main ways that states grant citizenship: by
jus sanguinis, blood relationship, or by jus soli, birth on
the territory. As to the first, Palestine might define as its nationals anyone
whose parent, grandparent or great-grandparent was born on the territory of
historic Palestine, or whose ethnic origin was Palestinian during any (defined)
period. If these were the criteria, without more, the risk is that states in
which Palestinians fitting that criteria reside could determine that they are
Palestinian citizens, remove whatever temporary status they have in that state,
and deport them to the Palestinian territory. In the worst-case scenario, if
Palestinians who are citizens of other states are subject to laws disallowing
dual citizenship, or disallowing dual citizenship with states that have a
conscription law, they could also be deprived of their second-state citizenship
and removed to Palestine. As a matter of international law, this would be legal,
as no individual has a “right” to more than one citizenship.

The citizenship/nationality question also
has a significant bearing on the refugee issue.

– Susan
Akbar

Consider some of the ramifications of the state defining its “nationals” as
including those born in the territory of Palestine. Under international law, a
successor state (or a new state) must grant citizenship to all habitual
residents of the territory, and it cannot arbitrarily withhold citizenship or
denationalise any segment of the population habitually residing on the territory
(“arbitrary” is defined on the basis of race, sex, ethnicity or religion). If
Palestine were to be consistent with international law, it may be required to
confer citizenship on Israeli settlers, if they are considered “habitual
residents of the territory” – this, however, is highly ambiguous when settlers
already have Israeli citizenship, and the uncertainty of whether prolonged
occupation and settler implantation can “ripen” into habitual
residence.

The citizenship/nationality question also has a significant
bearing on the refugee issue, as I will discuss
further.

ML: Let’s look at some of the key Israeli
objections to the right of return. First, Israelis argue that there is in fact
no “right” of return because: 1) UN General Assembly Resolution 194 is
non-binding since it’s only a GA and not a Security Council Resolution, and 2),
the language of the resolution itself merely states that Palestinians “should
be” allowed to return, rather than what they argue is the more forcible and
legally binding “shall be” allowed to return. Indeed, the phrase “right of
return” was, according to the documentary record, removed from an earlier draft
of 194 – precisely because the GA would not pass a resolution with that
language. In trying to counteract this claim, an article by Salman Abu Sitta
argues that UNGAR 194 “has been affirmed by the international community 135
times in the period 1948-2000. There is nothing like it in UN history. This
universal consensus elevates the weight of this resolution from a ‘recommendation‘ to an expression of the determined will of the
international community”. But this language doesn’t actually challenge the
argument that it’s non-binding. “Determined will” is not the same thing as
international law, is it?

IJG: Israeli arguments
of the above kind are flawed mainly because the right of return is not some
“special right” claimed by Palestinians, but rather a universally recognised
human right of all persons, irrespective of the reason why they have left their
country. The right of return is not created by this or that UN resolution, but
enshrined in numerous bodies of international law, including customary and
treaty law. For refugees, who are persons who left their country involuntarily,
this right is so widely respected and recognised as key to resolving refugee
situations, that it is hardly ever questioned. Israeli efforts to argue that
Palestinians are different have, therefore, no basis in international law. The
language of UN General Assembly Resolution 194 and the more than 100 UN
resolutions which affirm the right to return of Palestinian refugees, including
UN Security Council Resolution 237 of 1967 which affirms this right for the 1967
Palestinian refugees, must be understood in this context. The real problem is
the lack of political will of powerful UN member states to enforce Israel’s
respect of the right of return of Palestinians. Israel has used this kind of
flawed argument in order to deflect debate about its own legal responsibility
towards the Palestinian refugees.

SA: Argument one
misconstrues the significance of General Assembly versus Security Council
resolutions. The binding nature of any resolution from the UN depends, not on
whether it is issued by the GA or the SC, but whether it rests on existing
international law. The difference between GA and SC resolutions is a matter of
the way powers are allocated within the UN organs. Only the SC can “enforce” a
resolution through the use of armed intervention – the GA has no such power.
That has nothing to do with the binding nature of international law, however,
and if a GA resolution rests on binding principles of law, then whether those
are enforced or not through the UN is a political, not a legal, issue.

Customary law

Palestinian refugees have an absolute
right to return to their original places of origin and obtain full
restitution.

– Susan
Akbar

Resolution 194 incorporated what was already
customary international law in 1948, and has become an even stronger set of
principles through widespread state practice to the present. Paragraph 11 of
UNGA resolution 194 means that Palestinian refugees must be permitted to return
to their precise homes and lands if they so choose. This is obligatory because
only the return to one’s place of origin is required of a state, since no state
is obliged to absorb or resettle a refugee in a place not of his origin. That
was law in 1948, and remains the state of the law today. Paragraph 11’s
requirements that Palestinian refugees have an absolute right to return to their
original places of origin and obtain full restitution and compensation for
properties taken or destroyed, were all binding legal principles at the time the
resolution was drafted, and were meant to preclude political solutions that did
not meet these legally required criteria for Palestinian refugees.

It is
curious that states such as the United States now challenge the ‘legality’ of
resolution 194. When the original draft of paragraph 11 was submitted to the
General Assembly, the United States delegate confirmed that no new rights were
being created. He commented that 194, paragraph 11, “endorsed a generally
recognised principle and provided a means for implementing that
principle”.

Quite aside from 194 being a specific source of the right of
return for Palestinian refugees, the right of return in general represents a
complex interrelated set of rights grounded in distinct bodies of treaty and
customary international law. The right of return is found in the major treaties
and rules protecting individuals and groups in times of armed conflict under
humanitarian law and the laws of war; it is found in treaties and principles
governing issues of nationality and state succession; and it is found in the
core human rights conventions governing state obligations in both war and
peacetime, particularly in refugee provisions.

State practice

Since 1948, the evidence is overwhelming that the right of return for
refugees – as an aspect of nationality, humanitarian, human rights and,
specifically, refugee law – has become one of the strongest of existing state
obligations. The widespread incorporation of the principle in international
treaties and regional instruments has been reinforced by incorporation in peace
agreements and state practice in virtually every part of the globe. State
practice reflects this in the millions of refugees that have returned to their
countries and homes of origin on the basis of bilateral and tripartite
agreements involving both states and specialised agencies such the Office of the
UN High Commissioner for Refugees, without states questioning their right to do
so.

As for Argument two, this is inaccurate. Resolution 194 requires that
refugees be allowed to return immediately as a matter of right, and without
preconditioning such return on a general peace agreement or other criteria.
Earlier proposed language intended to weaken, rather than strengthen, the notion
of absolute right to return, was rejected by the drafters. This is apparent in
the drafting history, in which amendments to make return contingent, for
example, on the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement, were
rejected.

The UN Secretariat, answering the question: “What is the
meaning of the term ‘at the earliest practicable date?’ reviewed the record of
UN proceedings. The proceedings reflect that the UK draft resolution included
the word “possible” rather than “practicable”. The Guatemalan delegation
proposed the phrase “after the proclamation of peace between the contending
parties in Palestine, including the Arab States…” In opposing this amendment,
the UK delegate and the US delegates stated that proclamation of peace should
not be prerequisites to the refugees’ right to return, as their return must be
immediate and obligatory. As the US delegate stated: “these unfortunate people
should not be made pawns in the negotiations for a final settlement”. The word,
“practicable” was substituted for “possible”, and the Guatemalan amendment
watering down the absolute and immediate right to return was rejected by 37
votes to 7. The UN Secretariat concluded that there could be no doubt that once
the Armistice agreements were signed, the conditions of stability required the
return of the refugees.

Population
transfer has happened before, but almost all such forced migrations have been
regarded as illegal [EPA]

ML: Another objection is that the international
humanitarian law, such as the fourth Geneva Convention or the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, which recognise the right of people fleeing war to
return to their homes after cessation of hostilities, were enacted after 1948
and referred to “international conflict” rather than intercommunal/civil war,
and therefore do not cover Palestinian refugees from that war. Can a Palestinian
be considered “denationalised” or possessing the right to return to “his own
country” when he or she was not living in a recognised state in
1948?

IJG: Palestinian refugees can be considered
to be “denationalised” and possessing the right to return to their “own country”
because they held the citizenship of Palestine under the British Mandate. They
were citizens of their country, and their country was to be led to independence
by the British, in line with the mandate of the League of Nations. Israel is the
“successor state” in part of British Mandate Palestine, and under international
law governing state succession, Israel is obliged to permit return and grant
citizenship to all Palestinians who had lived there previously and to respect
their right to their property.

‘Israel’s ethnic
cleansing’

Moreover, although drafting and enacting the fouth Geneva Convention and the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights coincided with Israel’s ethnic cleansing
of Palestine, a strong legal argument can be made for the applicability of their
provisions, due to Israel’s continuing policy of forcible displacement of
Palestinians, and because all wars in Palestine since 1948, including Israel’s
occupation since 1967, are recognised as international armed conflicts by the
United Nations. The drafting history of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights, moreover, indicates that the language on “the right to leave and to
return to one’s country” was adopted because the drafters were conscious of the
coinciding tragedy in Palestine.

SA: These are actually
separate arguments: 1) whether the Fourth Geneva Convention (GC IV) applies to
Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory (on several grounds); 2) whether
Palestinians were ever “nationals” of “Palestine” for purposes of their
citizenship/nationality status for application of the right of return. As to the
first, Israel and a few Israeli academics have argued that GCIV is not
applicable to the West Bank, East Jerusalem or Gaza because these were not
territories under the sovereignty of any state, hence when they were captured by
Israel, they were not captured from a recognised sovereign. They thus did not
fall under GC IV provisions and should not be considered occupied
territories.

This view has never been accepted by legal consensus and was
firmly rejected by the International Court of Justice in its 2004 Advisory
Opinion on the Wall. The High Contracting Parties to GC IV in December 2001
reaffirmed their position on this, stating that they “have always affirmed the
… applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the territories occupied
since 1967 by the state of Israel, including East Jerusalem”.

The law of state succession required that
all persons who are habitual residents of a territory be granted
citizenship/nationality in a successor state.

– Susan
Akbar

As to the second, this relates to the interpretation of two provisions, Art.
13(2) of the UDHR and Art. 12(4) of the International Convention on Civil and
Political Rights (ICCPR), which states that everyone has the right to return to
“his own country”. But the drafting history of these provisions shows that the
phrase “one’s country” was chosen precisely to include those persons who are not
nationals of that country de jure but fit the established criteria of
the “genuine link” that, by that time, was the criteria for determining
“nationality” under the Nottebohm case. The phrase “the country of which one is
a national” was specifically rejected in favour of the phrase “one’s own
country” for that very reason.

As noted above, the law of state
succession required that all persons who are habitual residents of a territory
be granted citizenship/nationality in a successor state, and that such successor
state could not legally “denationalise” such habitual residents on arbitrary
grounds. These principles have been incorporated into treaties to which Israel
is a party, including the ICCPR and the Convention on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination (CERD).

ML: Israelis also argue,
based on the 1952-67 UN Convention on Refugees, that the internationally
accepted definition of a refugee does not include their descendents – or to
refugees who have taken on another nationality (eg, Jordanian, British, or
Canadian). Is this true?

IJG: The notion that the
1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol do not cover the descendants of
refugees has no basis in these instruments and international law in general. In
fact, UNHCR as the responsible agency, treats all descendants of refugees as
refugees, until they have obtained voluntary durable solutions, including
revolutionary repatriation (return), integration in host countries and
resettlement in third countries.

Different refugees

SA: In addition to this, Palestinian refugees have a
different status under international law than other refugees, by reason of their
distinct definitions in the relevant treaties, resolutions and agency mandates.
The first definition is that incorporated into UNGA resolution 194, which
defines the population for whom the UNCCP was given responsibility and the
obligation to find durable solutions. This is the definition incorporated into
the “Palestinian clause” of the Refugee Convention, Article 1D, and which
applies to the global population of Palestinian refugees, no matter where they
were located. This definition is linked to paragraph 11 of resolution 194, which
requires the durable solution of return, restitution and compensation, and
maintains refugee status (regardless of generation) until that solution is
accomplished. This definition is also incorporated into the second definition,
meeting UNRWA’s eligibility guidelines.

UNRWA’s definitions of “refugee”
and “displaced persons”, but with the additional criteria of “need”, that
applies to the approximately 5 million UNRWA-registered refugees. This
needs-based definition is also not generationally linked, but continues as long
as the person remains a 194-defined refugee, who is in need of assistance.
Because of the unique character of Palestinian refugees under international law,
there is no generation-limitation to the
status.

ML: They also argue, variously, that the
right of refugees to return to their homes is an individual right, not a
collective right. Moreover, the example of large scale population exchanges –
Poland and the Soviet Union after World War II, India and Pakistan after
Partition, Greece and Turkey after World War I – point to the international
legitimacy of forcibly transferring people outside a new state, in order to
ensure demographic coherence of that new
state.

SA: As to your first point, in all of the
provisions in which aspects of the right of return are found, no distinction is
made between its applicability to individuals or groups.

As to your
second point, although transfers of populations have taken place historically,
they have been almost universally considered illegal under modern principles of
international law. A concise statement of the state of the law on this issue is
that of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Prevention of Discrimination and
Protection of Minorities: “International law prohibits the transfer of persons,
including the implantation of settlers, as a general principle.”

The
governing principle is that the transfer of populations must be done with the
consent of the population involved – because [these transfers are] subject to
consent, this principle reinforces the prohibition against such transfer. Aside
from the historical-factual question of whether there ever was a “population
exchange”, any prior justification for population exchanges involving coerced
movement of peoples was put to rest by the entry into force of the International
Military Tribunal which established the Nuremburg Tribunal, and the Fourth
Geneva Convention. These established forced movement of populations as a “grave
breach” [of law]. Since then, the International Criminal Court has classified
forced population transfers as a war crime.

(english.aljazeera.net / 23.09.2011)

Palästinenserpräsident: «Es ist genug, genug, genug»

Palästinenserpräsident Mahmud Abbas hat in einer Rede vor der UN-Vollversammlung Israel vorgeworfen, seit einem Jahr «alle Bemühungen um Frieden» blockiert zu haben. «Alle internationalen Bemühungen und Initiativen um Frieden sind zerschellt an der Haltung der israelischen Regierung, die rasch alle nach der Wiederaufnahme der Verhandlungen vergangenen September aufgekommene Hoffnung zerschlagen hat», sagte Abbas.

Die israelische Siedlungspolitik in Ostjerusalem und im Westjordanland zerstöre die Grundlage für eine Zwei-Staaten-Lösung, wie sie von der internationalen Gemeinschaft befürwortet werde, sagte Abbas. Zudem drohe sie auch die Struktur und die Existenz der palästinensischen Autonomiebehörde zu zerstören. Unter der Bedingung der
«vollständigen Beendigung des Siedlungsbau» und auf der Grundlage der Grenzen
von 1967 seien die Palästinenser aber zur Rückkehr an den Verhandlungstisch
bereit.

Der Palästinenserpräsident betonte zudem, der UN-Antrag solle Israel nicht isolieren oder delegitimieren. Abbas war beim Betreten des Plenums von vielen Vertretern mit stehenden Ovationen empfangen worden. Er hatte zuvor UN-Generalsekretär Ban Ki Moon den Antrag auf Aufnahme eines Palästinenserstaats übergeben. Ein UN-Sprecher sagte, Bans Büro werde den Antrag «rasch» bearbeiten und an den UN-Sicherheitsrat weiterleiten. Die israelische Regierung erklärte, sie «bedauere» den Antrag.

Die Initiative der Palästinenser ist innerhalb der Weltgemeinschaft heftig umstritten, ihr werden aber kaum Chancen eingeräumt. Im UN-Sicherheitsrat müssen mindestens neun der 15 Mitglieder für den Antrag stimmen. Zudem darf keine der fünf Vetomächte dagegen stimmen. Die Vetomacht USA lehnt eine Vollmitgliedschaft der Palästinenser ohne eine Verhandlungslösung mit Israel ab. Deutschland ist derzeit nicht-ständiges
Mitglied im UN-Sicherheitsrat und hat sich ebenfalls gegen einen palästinensischen Alleingang ausgesprochen.

Aus der Rede:

Abbas ist auf der Rednerliste des Tages von Platz 14 auf Platz 11 vorgerutscht; das hatte aber nur protokollarische Gründe. Die Position 14 hat nun Israels Ministerpräsident Benjamin Netanjahu; er soll somit eine knappe Stunde nach Abbas sprechen. (afp)

Abbas tritt ans Rednerpult.

Abbas begrüsst die Anwesenden. Er gratuliert dem Sudan zu seiner UN- Mitgliedschaft

«Wir traten in die Verhandlungen mit Hoffnung ein. Doch unsere Vorschläge wurden von den Israelis zunichte gemacht.»

Abbas spricht die israelischen Siedler an: «Trotz unserer Warnungen hat die israelische Regierung ihnen keinen Einhalt geboten.»

Israel habe seine militärische Macht massiv ausgebaut, sagt Abbas. «Israel konfisziert unser Land und unser Wasser», so der Palästinenserpräsident weiter.

Abbas bezieht sich auf das berühmte Zitat Arafats: «Heute bin ich gekommen, einen Olivenzweig und die Pistole eines Friedenskämpfers zu überbringen. Lasst den Olivenzweig nicht aus meiner Hand fallen!»

Das Ziel der Palästinenser sei ein Palästinenserstaat innerhalb der Grenzen von 1967, sagt Abbas.

Abbas betont, dass die Bedingung für Aufnahme der Friedensgespräche das Ende der
israelischen Siedlungspolitik sein müsse.

«Der Staat, den wir wollen, soll durch Frieden und Demokratie gekennzeichnet sein.»

Die Palästinenser zweifelten das Existenzrecht Israels nicht an, sagt Abbas. Er strecke Israel seine Hände in Frieden entgegen.

Die Palästinenser zweifelten das Existenzrecht Israels nicht an, sagt Abbas. Er strecke Israel seine Hände in Frieden entgegen.

«Unser Volk will die Antwort der Welt hören. Wird die Welt Israel erlauben, uns für immer zu besetzen?»

«Es ist genug, genug, genug» Es sei Zeit für den palästinensischen Frühling, sagt
Abbas.

Eine Annahme des Antrags sei der grösste Beitrag der Weltgemeinschaft zum Friedensprozess

Abbas sagt offiziell, dass er beim Generalsekretär der Vereinten Nationen, Ban Ki-moon, die Vollmitgliedschaft Palästinas bei der UN beantragte. Er zeigt eine Kopie des Antrags. .

Die Rede von Abbas ist zu Ende. Applaus!

(www.freunde-palaestinas.de / 23.09.2011)

 

Palestine 23.09.2011

#Poor little israel maybe the #US could give them some drones … ohhh wait! #FAIL

The generous offer in 2000 was to push Palestinians into non-contiguous Bantustans, control Palestinian resources & occupy East Jerusalem

LOL! Israel left Gaza hoping for peace?!!?!? bahahahahahhaa ohhhhh your F-16s don’t say that Nutanyahoo, you psychotic war criminal bastard.

at was the #Gaza disengagement?

Netanyahu  Who are you to give the “keys of Gaza” to #Abbas ? …and by what right?  #FAIL

Watching Netanyahu’s speech, I’m not sure is it real life, or am I watching a scene in a Hollywood movie “End of Times”! Soon in Cinemas!!

Ramallah: Not sure if parade of UN bid supporters will reach Qalandia , but it is a very loud procession. Loudest in years.

Whenever Netanyahu uses the word “peace” replace it with “Jewish supremacy in a land without Palestinians”

#Netanyahu – the truth is  YOU a LIAR!

Netanyahu talkng about supporting democratic nations in the Arab world after crying over the removal of Mubarak #Zionism #FuckIsrael

Blown away by Mahmoud Abbas’s speech  Every one deserves an equal opportunity in the world and so does #Palestine!

#Netanyahu #SICK !

Bibi talked about 1 soldier, Gilad Shalit, held in #Gaza, but doesn’t mention 1000s of Palestinians in Israeli dungeons without rights

 

 

 

Full Official Text of President Mahmoud Abbas’ Speech at the UNGA

Mr. President of the General
Assembly of the United Nations,

Mr. Secretary-General of the
United Nations,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, I wish to extend
my congratulations to H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser on his assumption of
the Presidency of the Assembly for this session, and wish him all success.

I reaffirm today my sincere
congratulations, on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the
Palestinian people, to the government and people of South Sudan for its deserved
admission as a full member of the United Nations, wishing them progress and
prosperity.

I also congratulate the
Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, on his election for a new term at the
helm of the United Nations. This renewal of confidence reflects the world’s
appreciation for his efforts, which have strengthened the role of the United
Nations.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Question Palestine is
intricately linked with the United Nations via the resolutions adopted by its
various organs and agencies and via the essential and lauded role of the United
Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East – UNRWA
– which embodies the international responsibility towards the plight of
Palestine refugees, who are the victims of Al-Nakba (Catastrophe) that
occurred in 1948. We aspire for and seek a greater and more effective role for
the United Nations in working to achieve a just and comprehensive peace in our
region that ensures the inalienable, legitimate national rights of the
Palestinian people as defined by the resolutions of international legitimacy of
the United Nations.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A year ago, at this same time,
distinguished leaders in this hall addressed the stalled peace efforts in our
region. Everyone had high hopes for a new round of final status negotiations,
which had begun in early September in Washington under the direct auspices of
President Barack Obama and with participation of the Quartet, and with Egyptian
and Jordanian participation, to reach a peace agreement within one year. We
entered those negotiations with open hearts and attentive ears and sincere
intentions, and we were ready with our documents, papers and proposals. But the
negotiations broke down just weeks after their launch.

After this, we did not give up
and did not cease our efforts for initiatives and contacts. Over the past year
we did not leave a door to be knocked or channel to be tested or path to be
taken and we did not ignore any formal or informal party of influence and
stature to be addressed. We positively considered the various ideas and
proposals and initiatives presented from many countries and parties. But all of
these sincere efforts and endeavors undertaken by international parties were
repeatedly wrecked by the positions of the Israeli government, which quickly
dashed the hopes raised by the launch of negotiations last September.

The core issue here is that the
Israeli government refuses to commit to terms of reference for the negotiations
that are based on international law and United Nations resolutions, and that it
frantically continues to intensify building of settlements on the territory of
the State of Palestine.

Settlement activities embody the
core of the policy of colonial military occupation of the land of the
Palestinian people and all of the brutality of aggression and racial
discrimination against our people that this policy entails. This policy, which
constitutes a breach of international humanitarian law and United Nations
resolutions, is the primary cause for the failure of the peace process, the
collapse of dozens of opportunities, and the burial of the great hopes that
arose from the signing of the Declaration of Principles in 1993 between the
Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel to achieve a just peace that would
begin a new era for our region.

The reports of United Nations
missions as well as by several Israeli institutions and civil societies convey a
horrific picture about the size of the settlement campaign, which the Israeli
government does not hesitate to boast about and which it continues to execute
through the systematic confiscation of the Palestinian lands and the
construction of thousands of new settlement units in various areas of the West
Bank, particularly in East Jerusalem, and accelerated construction of the
annexation Wall that is eating up large tracts of our land, dividing it into
separate and isolated islands and cantons, destroying family life and
communities and the livelihoods of tens of thousands of families. The occupying
Power also continues to refuse permits for our people to build in Occupied East
Jerusalem, at the same time that it intensifies its decades-long campaign of
demolition and confiscation of homes, displacing Palestinian owners and
residents under a multi-pronged policy of ethnic cleansing aimed at pushing them
away from their ancestral homeland. In addition, orders have been issued to
deport elected representatives from the city of Jerusalem. The occupying Power
also continues to undertake excavations that threaten our holy places, and its
military checkpoints prevent our citizens from getting access to their mosques
and churches, and it continues to besiege the Holy City with a ring of
settlements imposed to separate the Holy City from the rest of the Palestinian
cities.

The occupation is racing against
time to redraw the borders on our land according to what it wants and to impose
a fait accompli on the ground that changes the realities and that is
undermining the realistic potential for the existence of the State of
Palestine.

At the same time, the occupying
Power continues to impose its blockade on the Gaza Strip and to target
Palestinian civilians by assassinations, air strikes and artillery shelling,
persisting with its war of aggression of three years ago on Gaza, which resulted
in massive destruction of homes, schools, hospitals, and mosques, and the
thousands of martyrs and wounded.

The occupying Power also
continues its incursions in areas of the Palestinian National Authority through
raids, arrests and killings at the checkpoints. In recent years, the criminal
actions of armed settler militias, who enjoy the special protection of the
occupation army, has intensified with the perpetration of frequent attacks
against our people, targeting their homes, schools, universities, mosques,
fields, crops and trees. Despite our repeated warnings, the occupying Power has
not acted to curb these attacks and we hold them fully responsible for the
crimes of the settlers.

These are just a few examples of
the policy of the Israeli colonial settlement occupation, and this policy is
responsible for the continued failure of the successive international attempts
to salvage the peace process.

This policy will destroy the
chances of achieving a two-State solution upon which there is an international
consensus, and here I caution aloud: This settlement policy threatens to also
undermine the structure of the Palestinian National Authority and even end its
existence.

In addition, we now face the
imposition new conditions not previously raised, conditions that will transform
the raging conflict in our inflamed region into a religious conflict and a
threat to the future of a million and a half Christian and Muslim Palestinians,
citizens of Israel, a matter which we reject and which is impossible for us to
accept being dragged into.

All of these actions taken by
Israel in our country are unilateral actions and are not based on any earlier
agreements. Indeed, what we witness is a selective application of the agreements
aimed at perpetuating the occupation. Israel reoccupied the cities of the West
Bank by a unilateral action, and reestablished the civil and military occupation
by a unilateral action, and it is the one that determines whether or not a
Palestinian citizen has the right to reside in any part of the Palestinian
Territory. And it is confiscating our land and our water and obstructing our
movement as well as the movement of goods. And it is the one obstructing our
whole destiny. All of this is unilateral.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In 1974, our deceased leader
Yasser Arafat came to this hall and assured the Members of the General Assembly
of our affirmative pursuit for peace, urging the United Nations to realize the
inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people, stating: “Do not let the
olive branch fall from my hand”.

In 1988, President Arafat again
addressed the General Assembly, which convened in Geneva to hear him, where he
submitted the Palestinian peace program adopted by the Palestine National
Council at its session held that year in Algeria.

When we adopted this program, we
were taking a painful and very difficult step for all of us, especially those,
including myself, who were forced to leave their homes and their towns and
villages, carrying only some of our belongings and our grief and our memories
and the keys of our homes to the camps of exile and the Diaspora in the 1948
Al-Nakba, one of the worst operations of uprooting, destruction and
removal of a vibrant and cohesive society that had been contributing in a
pioneering and leading way in the cultural, educational and economic renaissance
of the Arab Middle East.

Yet, because we believe in peace
and because of our conviction in international legitimacy, and because we had
the courage to make difficult decisions for our people, and in the absence of
absolute justice, we decided to adopt the path of relative justice – justice
that is possible and could correct part of the grave historical injustice
committed against our people. Thus, we agreed to establish the State of
Palestine on only 22% of the territory of historical Palestine – on all the
Palestinian Territory occupied by Israel in 1967.

We, by taking that historic
step, which was welcomed by the States of the world, made a major concession in
order to achieve a historic compromise that would allow peace to be made in the
land of peace.

In the years that followed –
from the Madrid Conference and the Washington negotiations leading to the Oslo
agreement, which was signed 18 years ago in the garden of the White House and
was linked with the letters of mutual recognition between the PLO and Israel, we
persevered and dealt positively and responsibly with all efforts aimed at the
achievement of a lasting peace agreement. Yet, as we said earlier, every
initiative and every conference and every new round of negotiations and every
movement was shattered on the rock of the Israeli settlement expansion
project.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I confirm, on behalf of the
Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole legitimate representative of the
Palestinian people, which will remain so until the end of the conflict in all
its aspects and until the resolution of all final status issues, the
following:

1. The goal of the Palestinian
people is the realization of their inalienable national rights in their
independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on all the
land of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, which
Israel occupied in the June 1967 war, in conformity with the resolutions of
international legitimacy and with the achievement of a just and agreed upon
solution to the Palestine refugee issue in accordance with resolution 194, as
stipulated in the Arab Peace Initiative which presented the consensus Arab
vision to resolve the core the Arab-Israeli conflict and to achieve a just and
comprehensive peace. To this we adhere and this is what we are working to
achieve. Achieving this desired peace also requires the release of political
prisoners and detainees in Israeli prisons without delay.

2. The PLO and the Palestinian
people adhere to the renouncement of violence and rejection and condemning of
terrorism in all its forms, especially State terrorism, and adhere to all
agreements signed between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel.

3. We adhere to the option of
negotiating a lasting solution to the conflict in accordance with resolutions of
international legitimacy. Here, I declare that the Palestine Liberation
Organization is ready to return immediately to the negotiating table on the
basis of the adopted terms of reference based on international legitimacy and a
complete cessation of settlement activities.

4. Our people will continue
their popular peaceful resistance to the Israeli occupation and its settlement
and apartheid policies and its construction of the racist annexation Wall, and
they receive support for their resistance, which is consistent with
international humanitarian law and international conventions and has the support
of peace activists from Israel and around the world, reflecting an impressive,
inspiring and courageous example of the strength of this defenseless people,
armed only with their dreams, courage, hope and slogans in the face of bullets,
tanks, tear gas and bulldozers.

5. When we bring our plight and
our case to this international podium, it is a confirmation of our reliance on
the political and diplomatic option and is a confirmation that we do not
undertake unilateral steps. Our efforts are not aimed at isolating Israel or
de-legitimizing it; rather we want to gain legitimacy for the cause of the
people of Palestine. We only aim to de-legitimize the settlement activities and
the occupation and apartheid and the logic of ruthless force, and we believe
that all the countries of the world stand with us in this regard.

I am here to say on behalf of
the Palestinian people and the Palestine Liberation Organization: We extend our
hands to the Israeli government and the Israeli people for peace-making. I say
to them: Let us urgently build together a future for our children where they can
enjoy freedom, security and prosperity. Let us build the bridges of dialogue
instead of checkpoints and walls of separation, and build cooperative relations
based on parity and equity between two neighboring States – Palestine and Israel
– instead of policies of occupation, settlement, war and eliminating the
other.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Despite the unquestionable right
of our people to self-determination and to the independence of our State as
stipulated in international resolutions, we have accepted in the past few years
to engage in what appeared to be a test of our worthiness, entitlement and
eligibility. During the last two years our national authority has implemented a
program to build our State institutions. Despite the extraordinary situation and
the Israeli obstacles imposed, a serious extensive project was launched that has
included the implementation of plans to enhance and advance the judiciary and
the apparatus for maintenance of order and security, to develop the
administrative, financial, and oversight systems, to upgrade the performance of
institutions, and to enhance self-reliance to reduce the need for foreign aid.
With the thankful support of Arab countries and donors from friendly countries,
a number of large infrastructure projects have been implemented, focused on
various aspects of service, with special attention to rural and marginalized
areas.

In the midst of this massive
national project, we have been strengthening what we seeking to be the features
of our State: from the preservation of security for the citizen and public
order; to the promotion of judicial authority and rule of law; to strengthening
the role of women via legislation, laws and participation; to ensuring the
protection of public freedoms and strengthening the role of civil society
institutions; to institutionalizing rules and regulations for ensuring
accountability and transparency in the work of our Ministries and departments;
to entrenching the pillars of democracy as the basis for the Palestinian
political life.

When division struck the unity
of our homeland, people and institutions, we were determined to adopt dialogue
for restoration of our unity. We succeeded months ago in achieving national
reconciliation and we hope that its implementation will be accelerated in the
coming weeks. The core pillar of this reconciliation was to turn to the people
through legislative and presidential elections within a year, because the State
we want will be a State characterized by the rule of law, democratic exercise
and protection of the freedoms and equality of all citizens without any
discrimination and the transfer of power through the ballot box.

The reports issued recently by
the United Nations, the World Bank, the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) and the
International Monetary Fund confirm and laud what has been accomplished,
considering it a remarkable and unprecedented model. The consensus conclusion by
the AHLC a few days ago here described what has been accomplished as a
“remarkable international success story” and confirmed the readiness of the
Palestinian people and their institutions for the immediate independence of the
State of Palestine.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is no longer possible to
redress the issue of the blockage of the horizon of the peace talks with the
same means and methods that have been repeatedly tried and proven unsuccessful
over the past years. The crisis is far too deep to be neglected, and what is
more dangerous are attempts to simply circumvent it or postpone its
explosion.

It is neither possible, nor
practical, nor acceptable to return to conducting business as usual, as if
everything is fine. It is futile to go into negotiations without clear
parameters and in the absence of credibility and a specific timetable.
Negotiations will be meaningless as long as the occupation army on the ground
continues to entrench its occupation, instead of rolling it back, and continues
to change the demography of our country in order to create a new basis on which
to alter the borders.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a moment of truth and my
people are waiting to hear the answer of the world. Will it allow Israel to
continue its occupation, the only occupation in the world? Will it allow Israel
to remain a State above the law and accountability? Will it allow Israel to
continue rejecting the resolutions of the Security Council and the General
Assembly of the United Nations and the International Court of Justice and the
positions of the overwhelming majority of countries in the world?

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I come before you today from the
Holy Land, the land of Palestine, the land of divine messages, ascension of the
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the birthplace of Jesus Christ (peace
be upon him), to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people in the homeland and
in the the Diaspora, to say, after 63 years of suffering of the ongoing Nakba:
Enough. It is time for the Palestinian people to gain their freedom and
independence.

The time has come to end the
suffering and the plight of millions of Palestine refugees in the homeland and
the Diaspora, to end their displacement and to realize their rights, some of
them forced to take refuge more than once in different places of the world.

At a time when the Arab peoples
affirm their quest for democracy – the Arab Spring – the time is now for the
Palestinian Spring, the time for independence.

The time has come for our men,
women and children to live normal lives, for them to be able to sleep without
waiting for the worst that the next day will bring; for mothers to be assured
that their children will return home without fear of suffering killing, arrest
or humiliation; for students to be able to go to their schools and universities
without checkpoints obstructing them. The time has come for sick people to be
able to reach hospitals normally, and for our farmers to be able to take care of
their good land without fear of the occupation seizing the land and its water,
which the wall prevents access to, or fear of the settlers, for whom settlements
are being built on our land and who are uprooting and burning the olive trees
that have existed for hundreds of years. The time has come for the thousands of
prisoners to be released from the prisons to return to their families and their
children to become a part of building their homeland, for the freedom of which
they have sacrificed.

My people desire to exercise
their right to enjoy a normal life like the rest of humanity. They believe what
the great poet Mahmoud Darwish said: Standing here, staying here, permanent
here, eternal here, and we have one goal, one, one: to be.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We profoundly appreciate and
value the positions of all States that have supported our struggle and our
rights and recognized the State of Palestine following the Declaration of
Independence in 1988, as well as the countries that have recently recognized the
State of Palestine and those that have upgraded the level of Palestine’s
representation in their capitals. I also salute the Secretary-General, who said
a few days ago that the Palestinian State should have been established years
ago.

Be assured that this support for
our people is more valuable to them than you can imagine, for it makes them feel
that someone is listening to their narrative and that their tragedy and the
horrors of Al-Nakba and the occupation, from which they have so suffered,
are not being ignored. And, it reinforces their hope that stems from the belief
that justice is possible in this in this world. The loss of hope is the most
ferocious enemy of peace and despair is the strongest ally of extremism.

I say: The time has come for my
courageous and proud people, after decades of displacement and colonial
occupation and ceaseless suffering, to live like other peoples of the earth,
free in a sovereign and independent homeland.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to inform you that,
before delivering this statement, I submitted, in my capacity as the President
of the State of Palestine and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the
Palestine Liberation Organization, to H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of
the United Nations, an application for the admission of Palestine on the basis
of the 4 June 1967 borders, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, as a full
member of the United Nations.

I call upon Mr.
Secretary-General to expedite transmittal of our request to the Security
Council, and I call upon the distinguished members of the Security Council to
vote in favor of our full membership. I also call upon the States that did not
recognized the State of Palestine as yet to do so.

Excellencies,Ladies and
Gentlemen,

The support of the countries of
the world for our endeavor is a victory for truth,freedom, justice, law and
international legitimacy, and it provides tremendous support for the peace
option and enhances the chances of success of the negotiations.

Excellencies,Ladies and
Gentlemen,

Your support for the
establishment of the State of Palestine and for its admission to the United
Nations as a full member is the greatest contribution to peacemaking in the Holy
Land.

I thank you.

(mideastnews-danmike.blogspot.com / 23.09.2011)