Khalidi: It’s time for Palestinians ‘to get off their knees’ and turn to Europe and ICC

Israel/Palestine
on 55 Comments
Rashid Khalidi.

Rashid Khalidi

Rashid Khalidi said today that the US opposition to the reunification of Palestinian parties exposes the “farce” that is the peace process. It is in fact a “bring them to the table on their knees process,” and the U.S. rejects a Northern Ireland model– in which George Mitchell negotiated among all parties to the conflict– because the Israel lobby won’t let it pursue that course.

And what does the future hold? Europe should put its foot down and distance itself from Netanyahu’s “obduracy and intransigence,” Khalidi said. And now that John Kerry’s promises of progress are “null and void,” the Palestinians should seek to join the International Criminal Court.

Palestinians don’t need permission from anyone to demand self-determination, Khalidi said. The US didn’t ask for permission in declaring independence. The Israelis didn’t, either.

The Columbia historian and former adviser to the PLO spoke on a conference call set up by the Institute for Middle East Understanding.

The audio is here; here are some of Khalidi’s lines.

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A two state solution was possible in the 90s. Now it is “absolutely impossible in the view of most sane observers.”

“This process can’t lead anywhere.” Netanyahu has been “absolutely obdurate and intransigent in the 8 months so far” and is “about to be even more obdurate and intransigent” in response to Palestinian reunification moves.

Netanyahu’s demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state is something he “pulled out of a hat.” Khalidi never heard it before. But then the U.S. has echoed it, demonstrating the “identity of US and Israeli positions.”

Michael Brown of IMEU asked about the American demand that Palestinian parties all commit to nonviolence: “When has the US asked Israel in turn to also be nonviolent?” Khalidi:

The brief answer is never in my memory. There’s actually a double standard here… Unending grinding violence [in the occupation] is never remarked upon by the State Department… The only people who are held to that kind of standard of course are the Palestinians.

And in another instance of the double standard, Hamas is told it must recognize Israel’s right to exist, but Israel has never recognized “the inalienable right of self determination of Palestinians in their homeland.” And the U.S. aligns with Israel:

The kind of unambiguous recognition that is demanded of the Palestinians is never demanded of Israel.

So this is not a peace process but a “bring them to the table on their knees process,” a “subjugation” process.

Khalidi observed this himself. In 1991 Secretary of State James Baker assured Palestinians there would be a settlement freeze. The U.S. never followed through on that commitment, and Obama failed on the very same promise. Baker also said that a Palestinian state would be based on 1967 borders. Obama has also nullified that promise.

Congress and AIPAC constrain what the Obama administration can do. And “Congress lives in a parallel reality on the Palestine issue,” Khalidi said. “Even staffers that know better don’t dare utter the truth because that’s a toxic environment…”

On reunification: Hamas is weak today because it banked on the Morsi government’s support in Egypt, and that’s over; and because Palestinian public opinion is not favorable toward it.

Reunification would mean “crunch time” inside Hamas, Khalidi said. Some members of Hamas are perfectly willing to allow Fatah to negotiate for a sovereign contiguous Palestinian state with a capital in Jerusalem, and a popular referendum to approve it. Other Hamas leaders don’t approve of the process. Those two wings of Hamas have to resolve that difference.

And Fatah will have to decide that it’s going to take itself off the “morphine drip of American and Israeli support for essentially being a service agency for the occupation.”

At first Obama seemed to understand that an agreement had to include all Palestinian parties, just as the Northern Ireland deal included Irish forces committed to violence. That is why he dispatched George Mitchell, who had negotiated the Irish peace.

“Basically Mitchell was sent back by Congress,” Khalidi said. He was told, “You can’t do this [talk to Hamas], this is illegal.” And Congress, driven by AIPAC, told the administration they wouldn’t allow any kind of  Northern Ireland route.

The Obama administration still smarts from that defeat.

What will change that dynamic? The EU must take a stronger role, and say, This is not the Palestinians’ fault, it is Israel’s, and we have to play a part in these talks because our security depends upon it: We’re close to the region, we need the energy, and our own Muslim population is alienated by this policy.

“We insist on our voices being heard,” Khalidi imagines Europe saying. And then the Israelis wouldn’t be able to hide themselves behind Americans, but would get a “reality check.”

Should Palestinians seek to join the International Criminal Court now?

“If I were the Palestinians, I would say that the agreement that they entered into at the beginning of the Kerry round… is now null and void because there’s been no progress whatsoever,” Khalidi said. The Palestinians had promised Kerry not to seek standing at the ICC because they were promised they’d see rapid progress in peace talks. Now we know that’s a “farce.” And so they could well conclude:

“So this thing is over, and therefore they should start joining not just the ICC but all kinds of other UN bodies. I don’t see any downside to this. The idea that the Palestinians don’t have a right to self determination is unacceptable.”

Khalidi said. Israel didn’t depend on external approval when it declared its independence, he said; it didn’t ask for Palestinian permission in 1948. A Palestinian state might well require negotiation to come into existence, but Palestinians must not “go on their knees.” He said,

“So I see absolutely no reason why the Palestinians should refrain from doing that [going to the ICC]… The Palestinians have absolutely nothing to lose.”

The downside, Khalidi said, would be the end of comfort for the Palestinians on the West Bank who have come to depend on international subsidy.

As for civil society, Khalidi said he sees Kerry’s failure strengthening the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions. It’s essential for Palestinians to strengthen their position and put pressure on Israel; BDS does so.

He said, “If you don’t want the Palestinians to use violence and you won’t approve of their using things like BDS, are you saying that they must remain on their knees for the rest of eternity?”

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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55 Responses

  1. jenin
    April 24, 2014, 3:19 pm

    I could not agree more with Khalidi. The Israelis do not want peace, as we all know, they want to continue their land grabbing and oppression in the hopes of driving Palestinians out forever. This just proves it even more–they can’t wait for an excuse to end the so-called peace process. Even if Obama and Kerry did care about justice for the Palestinians, which I seriously doubt they do, that is impossible when the Israelis real goal is to forever prolong the negotiations and in the end the US will allow them to get away with anything. I have long said, and believe now more than ever, the only hope for the Palestinians is to forget a deal with the Israelis, forget the US, take matters into their own hands and go through the international institutions.

  2. amigo
    April 24, 2014, 3:20 pm

    “So I see absolutely no reason why the Palestinians should refrain from doing that [going to the ICC]… The Palestinians have absolutely nothing to lose.”Khalidi

    Palestinians do not have a state to lose but Israel,s Jews do.All of it.

    So off to the ICC Palestine and do not delay.Enough time and lives have been wasted.
    It would be nice to watch Netanyahu cringing under threat of sitting in the dock at the Hague along with his fellow war criminals, Livni/Barak et al.

    • pabelmont
      April 24, 2014, 5:28 pm

      I always try to imagine the push for peace — from Israel! — that would follow any sufficiently hard push (sanctions, maybe merely proposed or discussed sanctions) from UNSC, EU. or other.

      Although there is no sense counting chickens before they hatch (and thus we’ll believe in sanctions when we see them), the so-called “peace process” has finally, I’d say, been shown up. It is a chicken we can indeed count, and after it hatched: it hatched out as a dead duck.

  3. David Doppler
    April 24, 2014, 3:45 pm

    Clearly put. And in what universe should it be the US’s objective to keep an oppressed people from seeking justice in the ICJ? If that is a threat to Israel it is only because they are perpetrating international war crimes and want to continue to do so with impunity. The US objective should be to end international war crimes, not enable them.

  4. GJB
    April 24, 2014, 4:05 pm

    As it happens, I’ve just been reading Khalidi’s, “The Iron Cage”. He has the credibility not just of a brilliant academic, but of one who has been involved in the political process (and been thrown under the bus by Obama, a former friend, to boot!). He is absolutely right, of course. And the deal between Fatah and Hamas, if it holds, can only help by providing some essential unity if and when the PA goes to the ICC and UN, and Israel tries to turn the West Bank into another Gaza. My sense is that if that occurs, liberal Zionists the world over will flock to support the Palestinians, because it will no longer be possible to live in denial.

    • tree
      April 24, 2014, 5:30 pm

      And the deal between Fatah and Hamas, if it holds, can only help by providing some essential unity if and when the PA goes to the ICC and UN…

      I think this was the main consideration for both Palestinian parties to the unity agreement.

    • MHughes976
      April 24, 2014, 6:13 pm

      I wish I could believe that the flock will turn the way predicted by GJB. Support for Zionism is so widespread and so prevalent within the western world that the likeliest majority reaction is a vague uneasiness – ten years ago it would have been scorn – coupled with a strong desire to think about something else. We have made progress – and the leaders of Mondoweiss have contributed to this as much as anyone, I think – but the light comes slow, how slowly!

    • American
      April 25, 2014, 1:43 pm

      GJB says…

      ”My sense is that if that occurs, liberal Zionists the world over will flock to support the Palestinians, because it will no longer be possible to live in denial.”>>>>>

      Betcha they wont.
      Denial is the middle name of Liberal Zionism.
      No matter what happens it will be justified as ‘regrettable’ but unavoidable in order to maintain the existence of a Jewish State.
      And whatever happens, it will of course….not be their fault.

  5. Kathleen
    April 24, 2014, 4:06 pm

    Off their knees and into the ICC…

  6. dimadok
    April 24, 2014, 4:31 pm

    If I may interfere here- Khalidi has nothing to loose, neither of the commenters here. Whereas Palestinians will loose everything they have, including being counter-sued for killings since the beginning of the conflict. Just my thoughts about the plausibility of ICC actions.

    • jenin
      April 24, 2014, 5:14 pm

      only states can be sued in the ICC. Palestine is, unfortunately, not truly a state. Even though the UN recognizes it as one, given that there is really no functioning government/territorial control or defined territory, I don’t see how it could possibly be held responsible as a state. And in any event, even if it were recognized as a state in the ICC, acts of terrorists (or freedom fighters, however you want to frame it) are not state/government action and so would not be actionable in the ICC.

      • Hostage
        April 24, 2014, 7:24 pm

        only states can be sued in the ICC. Palestine is, unfortunately, not truly a state. Even though the UN recognizes it as one, given that there is really no functioning government/territorial control or defined territory, I don’t see how it could possibly be held responsible as a state.

        No, the ICC’s jurisdiction is limited to natural persons. So only people, not states, can be investigated and prosecuted. Statehood only comes into play as a precondition to the exercise of jurisdiction. Only the UN Security Council, member states, or third party states – that have accepted the Court’s jurisdiction – can refer a situation to the ICC Prosecutor.

        There isn’t the slightest legal problem for an occupied state to bring charges against the responsible officials or enemy citizens of an occupying power. The Palestinian territories are defined by armistice agreements concluded between Jordan and Israel at a time when Arab Palestine was part of a political union with Transjordan. The peace treaty between Jordan and Israel was without prejudice to the status of any territory captured by Israel in 1967.

        The Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations says:

        Every State likewise has the duty to refrain from the threat or use of force to violate international lines of demarcation, such as armistice lines, established by or pursuant to an international agreement to which it is a party or which it is otherwise bound to respect.

        The armistice lines were approved by a written agreement between the parties and were formally adopted under the terms of two UN Security Council Chapter 7 resolutions (62 and 73).

      • lysias
        April 24, 2014, 8:34 pm

        Perhaps jenin was confusing the ICC with the ICJ. Plaintiff and defendant parties in ICJ cases are states.

    • jenin
      April 24, 2014, 5:24 pm

      to clarify my above comment, individuals are tried in the ICC, but only for crimes committed while acting on behalf of a state. In general, people not acting on behalf of a state are not subject to international law because it is presumed they will be tried through regular domestic criminal proceedings. The point of international law is to hold responsible those acting on behalf of a state, because otherwise they might not be held responsible. in any event, what you say is inaccurate for other reasons. Palestinians have far less to lose than Israelis. Palestinians already lack control over basic aspects of life, including freedom of movement, freedom of education, freedom of marriage, the right not to be arrested and held without charges, the right not to have their home destroyed for no reason and land taken through no fault of their own. Israel, on the other hand, is a state that has oppressed and victimized another people, taken their land, their dignity, forced them to live in refugee camps and under occupation, and gone unpunished and in fact flourished in large part due to the US. In your fantasy world where Palestinians could somehow be criminally charged and punished for some acts of violence, they would hardly be worse off than they are now (assuming the ICC is not going to jail or otherwise punish innocent Palestinian men, women and children for the acts of a few–I mean, who would do that, right?)

      • Hostage
        April 24, 2014, 7:39 pm

        to clarify my above comment, individuals are tried in the ICC, but only for crimes committed while acting on behalf of a state.

        Not at all. One of the elements of some of the offenses is that they are committed as part of a systematic or widespread campaign. Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions only apply to international armed conflicts, but even the Israel High Court of Justice has determined that the armed conflict with the Palestinians constitutes one.

        There is no bar to prosecuting the leaders or members of private organizations or militias. The only crime that requires a determination regarding statehood as an intermediate step, is the crime of aggression, which is part of the Rome Statute that hasn’t entered into effect yet. But the General Assembly, which codified the customary definition has adopted resolutions which hold that Israel’s continued occupation of Arab territories in violation of the UN Charter and resolutions constitutes aggression.

      • LeaNder
        April 25, 2014, 9:21 am

        Hostage, what Israeli High Court of Justice decision do you have in mind here?

        Concerning the Rome Statute, similarly why has “crime of aggression” not been entered into effect?

        What results could the fact that both Israel and the US never ratified it have? I have the impression from other comments around the larger issue, it wouldn’t have. It would be a purely juridical decision, at least to the extend that is possible or such decisions are “pure”.

        Now a highly speculative question. I have to admit that I am slightly skeptic as to European power. Although Khalidi’s arguments make a lot of sense. To what extend could US political pressure keep Israel immune even in the ICC (yes this is vaguely related to the purity issue above)?

      • Hostage
        April 25, 2014, 11:09 pm

        Hostage, what Israeli High Court of Justice decision do you have in mind here?

        There have been a number of cases that cited the portion of the Gaza Coast Council case which explained that the powers of the military commander are derived from public international law, not the laws of Israel. But one of the cases that specifically addresses your question is the decision in the “Targeted Killings” case. In that 2005 decision, the Israeli High Court accepted the government’s position that “a continuous state of armed conflict has existed between Israel and the Palestinian militias operating in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza since the first intifada.” The High Court said that the entire area is part and parcel of an armed conflict. See the subsection of the ruling under the heading “The General Normative Framework, A. International Armed Conflict”

      • LeaNder
        April 26, 2014, 7:39 am

        Thanks Hostage, highly interesting case. The further down one gets the more interesting. Law cases mirror a society perfectly. This will take some time. But yes, it supports your argument perfectly.

        “An armed conflict which takes place between an Occupying Power and rebel or insurgent groups – whether or not they are terrorist in character – in an occupied territory, amounts to an international armed conflict” (A. CASSESE, INTERNATIONAL LAW 420 (2nd ed. 2005), hereinafter CASSESE).

        This law includes the laws of belligerent occupation. However, it is not restricted only to them. This law applies in any case of an armed conflict of international character – in other words, one that crosses the borders of the state – whether or not the place in which the armed conflict occurs is subject to belligerent occupation. This law constitutes a part of iue (sic?) in bello. From the humanitarian perspective, it is part of international humanitarian law. That humanitarian law is the lex specialis which applies in the case of an armed conflict. When there is a gap (lacuna) in that law, it can be supplemented by human rights law (see Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, ICJ Reports 1996, 226, 240, hereinafter The Legality of Nuclear Weapons;

        Hmm, can not must. Well yes, I can see the argumentative weaknesses on the side of the petitioners. But yes, this is ultimately only the surface of the whole case, although the most important part.

      • Hostage
        April 26, 2014, 11:46 am

        Concerning the Rome Statute, similarly why has “crime of aggression” not been entered into effect?

        Individual states have been able to prosecute instances of the crime aggression since the 1940s. The Rome Statute was drafted and ratified without a definition, since the Rome Conference wanted to review the elements of the offense and possibly update them. But the 2010 review conference adopted a consensus amendment that simply employed the customary definition contained in the General Assembly’s 1970’s era codification without any revisions. It had originally been developed for the UN Security Council’s use. The amendment is like the statute itself, so it has to be ratified by a sufficient number of states. It can’t enter into effect before 2017 in any event.

    • talknic
      April 24, 2014, 5:28 pm

      @ dimadok“Palestinians will loose everything they have, including being counter-sued for killings since the beginning of the conflict. Just my thoughts about the plausibility of ICC actions.”

      As you have no idea how the ICC works it might be best if you kept your thoughts to yourself. The ICC doesn’t have the power to take anything away from the Palestinians. The ICC prosecutes individuals.

      The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an independent, permanent court that tries persons link to icc-cpi.int

      Why is it supporters of Israel’s illegal expansionism are so stupid?

      • Kathleen
        April 25, 2014, 6:21 am

        No need to call anyone “stupid” because they misunderstood, are have incorrect information or willfully ignorant. Now if they know the facts and their intent is to confuse or mislead…that is another issue.

        Some great clarifications from Hostage

      • talknic
        April 25, 2014, 7:53 am

        @ Kathleen “No need to call anyone “stupid” because they misunderstood, are have incorrect information or willfully ignorant”

        To be willfully ignorant is stupid, to spout off without knowing what you’re talking about is stupid and to lie about something that can be checked is also stupid. Those who puposefully push their empty Hasbarrows here do stupid in bulk.

      • LeaNder
        April 25, 2014, 9:37 am

        talknic, considering how long many of us have been “willfully ignorant” of matters, and as far as I am concerned still are to a large extend concerning the legal issues discussed here, stupid may indeed be the wrong term.

    • Hostage
      April 24, 2014, 5:59 pm

      Whereas Palestinians will loose everything they have, including being counter-sued for killings since the beginning of the conflict.

      The Palestinians have already accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC for all crimes committed by any party on the territory of Palestine. The ICC is a criminal court. So there are no counter-claim lawsuits. Israel, as such, has no standing to make a referral unless it also accepts the jurisdiction of the court for all crimes committed by any party on the territory of Israel.

      • LeaNder
        April 25, 2014, 9:42 am

        This answers, one of my questions above, Hostage.

        But also seems to confirm that seemingly interpreted your earlier comments in this context correctly. ;) I wasn’t completely sure, admittedly.

    • Giles
      April 24, 2014, 7:19 pm

      Seeing as how Israel has been killing 100 Palestinians for every Israeli killed over the pat 8 years, I don’t think they want to get into a lawsuit over the killings

  7. Hostage
    April 24, 2014, 6:18 pm

    Clarafication: There is no legal prohibition against funding a Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority. The President simply needs to sign a certification, like the one he does for the PLO, which is still treated like a terrorist organization. For example, 22 U.S. Code § 2378b – Limitation on assistance to the Palestinian authority http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/22/2378b
    Presidential Determination – Suspending Restrictions on U.S. Relations with the Palestine Liberation Organization; January 4, 1996
    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/pal01.asp
    Waiver and Certification of Statutory Provisions Regarding the Palestine Liberation Organization Office
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/presidential-memorandum-regarding-palestine-liberation-organization-office-40909

    The fact is that there have been numerous press reports which say that the agreements require Hamas to accept the two-state solution and that it is joining the PLO on that basis. The Fatah dominated organization has recognized Israel for two decades.
    * PA official says Hamas accepted two-state solution: Wednesday’s reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas recognizes the existence of Israel and is based on the two-state model, says Jibril Rajoub http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.587047
    * Does Hamas Joining PLO Mean It Accepts 2 States?
    http://blogs.forward.com/forward-thinking/148473/does-hamas-joining-plo-mean-it-accepts–states/

    • LeaNder
      April 25, 2014, 10:16 am

      Thanks, Hostage, for linking to J.J.’s article again. When I first followed the link it admittedly puzzled me. Now I understand why. It’s from Dec. 11, 2011. I hadn’t noticed that. If it was you using the link first, you wanted to make us aware of a déjá vue.

      An article from CNN on March 13, 2011 concerning George Mitchell’s resignation:

      The Palestine Papers proved beyond any doubt that Erekat and the PLO Negotiations Support Unit took Obama’s envoy, George Mitchell, to task over the subsequent US abandonment of the Quartet Road Map terms of reference.

      By December 2011 Mohammed Daraghmeh, J.J’s AP link, seemingly had learned the rules.

      He has been under inspection by Camera for downplaying Hamas terror.

      Since he publishes in The Times of Israel from its start in February 2012 he must have recanted. Where he now seems in charge of human interests around Palestinians and kept out of high politics.

      And his AP article on December 11, 2011, J.J. links to, apparently since it was widely used, may in fact have helped to get this job.

      There could be other nitwits like me out there. ;)

    • Rusty Pipes
      April 25, 2014, 10:13 pm

      Together with the 15 UN treaty organizations it recently signed, how does the reconciliation with Hamas contribute to Abbas’ potential actions for Palestinian sovereignty as of May 1 (assuming that Netanyahu makes no moves toward significant negotiations before the April deadline expires)? Could Abbas request the presence of UN peacekeepers in the occupied territories and Gazan waters?

      • Hostage
        April 26, 2014, 12:45 am

        Together with the 15 UN treaty organizations it recently signed, how does the reconciliation with Hamas contribute to Abbas’ potential actions for Palestinian sovereignty as of May 1

        I’ve commented in the past about the fact that the US accepted a treaty obligation under the Vienna Conventions to treat members of UN specialized agencies as states capable of acceding to the Vienna Conventions on Treaties, Diplomatic Relations, and Consular Affairs. So on May 1 its treaty obligations toward Palestine will finally be engaged right along with the EU member states that have refused to treat Palestine as a state. Likewise, I’ve commented that Israel will have to treat Palestine as a state party to the four Geneva Conventions and the 1st Additional Protocol. For example, Israel has attacked Palestinian uniformed militias and police officers, but it has never treated them as POWs under the terms of the Third Geneva Convention. Of course, Palestine will finally have undisputed standing to address those violations and violations of the 4th Geneva Convention committed on its territory.

        The PLO has announced it will seek membership in an additional 48 international organizations, treaties and conventions. There’s no motive for it to avoid going to the ICC, if the US cuts-off its foreign assistance or refuses to accept the unity agreement.

  8. weareone
    April 24, 2014, 6:44 pm

    Thank you, Professor Khalidi.

  9. pabelmont
    April 24, 2014, 7:42 pm

    I always get a kick (of a sort) out of the idea that anyone has “recognized” Israel as a state. Putting to one side that only states recognize other states, a question always arises: WHAT TERRITORY (IF ANY) is one recognizing/admitting/asserting as the territory of the state of Israel when one “recognizes” Israel?

    Perhaps none. In which case, what does “recognition” mean? No guarantee of abny particular admission of any particular territory as part of (or as all of) Israel.

    It’s goofy. But it is also dangerous, because Isral could claim (and be widely believed) that the “recognition included recognition of the pre-1967 Israeli territory (leaving to the future the division of WB&G).

    A thoroughly bad idea. And since Israel has recently suggested trading territory (some of pre-67 Israel for some settlements in WB), it makes better sense to me for PLO to say (at most) “We recognize that a state of Israel exists today and is widely viewed as having a certain territory. It is also clear that Israel itself has never made such a claim and in fact — by its settlement project — rejects that idea. Therefore we explicitly do NOT recognize any territory (within the former Mandate of Palestine) as legitimately part of the state-territory of Israel, leaving all questions of the state-territory of Israel, as also of Palestine, to the future.”

    • talknic
      April 24, 2014, 10:46 pm

      “WHAT TERRITORY (IF ANY) is one recognizing/admitting/asserting as the territory of the state of Israel when one “recognizes” Israel?”

      As Israel asked to be recognized. Effective 00:01 May 1th 1948 ME time “the state of Israel has been proclaimed as an independent republic within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947, and that a provisional government has been charged to assume the rights and duties of government for preserving law and order within the boundaries of Israel, for defending the state against external aggression, and for discharging the obligations of Israel to the other nations of the world in accordance with international law. The Act of Independence will become effective at one minute after six o’clock on the evening of 14 May 1948, Washington time” http://wp.me/pDB7k-Xk
      Israel has not since legally acquired any further territory

  10. Mayhem
    April 24, 2014, 10:05 pm

    This is talk of desperation, of a people who have f..ked up good and proper on the international stage and are now trying by whatever means they can to devise ways to keep fighting for their (lost) cause.

    • talknic
      April 24, 2014, 10:56 pm

      @ Mayhem “This is talk of desperation”

      It’s a logical and legal step. That’s why Israel and the US are desperate for it NOT to happen.

      “of a people who have f..ked up good and proper on the international stage and are now trying by whatever means they can to devise ways to keep fighting for their (lost) cause”

      Uh huh. It is Israel in breach of International Law and UN Charter.
      Israel makes demands in negotiations that have absolutely no legal basis what so ever.
      Israel who, after 65 years of building illegal facts on the ground, cannot now afford to adhere to the law.
      Israel couldn’t even afford to pay rightful reparations for dispossessing non-Jews in 1948. By now the bill is astronomical.

      At best all Israel can LEGALLY do is strike a plea bargain with the Palestinians and hope they remain so generous. The alternative is for Israel to continue to break the law, the UN Charter, a merry jaunt on the way to becoming a grimy little failed state.

      The lost cause is the vile, illegal Zionist plan for Greater Israel.

  11. frankier
    April 24, 2014, 10:23 pm

    I am going to be the devil’s advocate here. This may sound preposterous and totally unrealistic…. but…

    What if this rapprochement stems from Abbas reaching a deal with Israel whereby the PLO provides Israel a fig leaf to justify the collapse of the negotiations and put the blame on the PLO? Surely, Israel’s reaction must have not come as a surprise to Abbas.

    The question is: what would Abbas gain under this scenario? Maybe he and his core group of people get money? Something else?

    Also, what is Abbas gaining by the rapprochement?

    I hope nobody gets offended or upset… just playing some science fiction here.

    • LeaNder
      April 25, 2014, 10:24 am

      Surely, Israel’s reaction must have not come as a surprise to Abbas.

      Yes, because it happened before. But while I like devil’s advocates, your comment could serve to support the Abbas is corrupt tale.

  12. puppies
    April 25, 2014, 1:17 am

    “And Fatah will have to decide that it’s going to take itself off the “morphine drip of American and Israeli support for essentially being a service agency for the occupation.”
    Fat chance. Right now, it is regressing, i.e. dragging Hamas down with itself.

    • Hostage
      April 25, 2014, 5:09 am

      Fat chance. Right now, it is regressing, i.e. dragging Hamas down with itself.

      I doubt the US Congress is going to include any funding in the foreign assistance budget for a Fatah-Hamas-Islamic Jihad PA or PLO. So I have no idea why you think there isn’t a fat chance that Fatah already cut the morphine drip when it signed those 15 UN Human rights conventions.

  13. Walid
    April 25, 2014, 1:37 am

    “… Baker also said that a Palestinian state would be based on 1967 borders. Obama has also nullified that promise” (Phil or Khalidi?)

    It was actually Bush II that did the nullifying, which was enshrined in a non-binding Congressional Resolution 460 in June 2004. The resolution not only negated the 67 borders, it also blew away the Palestinians’ RoR.

    The pertinent parts of the “whereas” of the resolution:

    “… Whereas President Bush, as part of that dialogue, expressed the support of the United States for Prime Minister Sharon’s initiative in a letter dated April 14, 2004;

    Whereas in the April 14, 2004, letter the President stated that in light of new realities on the ground in Israel, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, but realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities;

    Whereas the President acknowledged that any agreed, just, fair, and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement will need to be found through the establishment of a permanent alternative and the settling of Palestinian refugees there rather than in Israel;

    … Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress–”

    https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/US-Israel/hconres460.html

    The “armistice lines of 1948” mentioned in the text are weasel words for the 67 lines. Arafat, Abbas & Company let this one sail right through without a peep, probably because they had never seen a weasel and they didn’t understand much English anyway. They probably didn’t understand the second part either, the one stating that the refugees would not be returning to Israel.

    • talknic
      April 25, 2014, 3:08 am

      @ Walid “The resolution not only negated the 67 borders, it also blew away the Palestinians’ RoR”

      International Law and the UN Charter trumps US law when it comes to matters outside the sovereign extent of the US

      “The “armistice lines of 1948″ mentioned in the text are weasel words for the 67 lines. “

      The opposite. There was no armistice in ’67 = the ’67 lines are weasel words. UNSC resolutions subsequent to UNSC res 242 reaffirm “that acquisition of territory by military conquest is inadmissible” and reaffirm “the overriding necessity to end the prolonged occupation of Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem;” http://wp.me/pDB7k-W8

      • Walid
        April 25, 2014, 4:06 am

        Maybe it was a simple cease-fire line, Talknic, but whatever it was, Bush agreed that the major settlements (Ariel et al) on the other side of “that line” weren’t budging. I agree that international laws trump the American ones, but legal or not, even the master snake-oil salesman, Dov Weisglass, said at the time that although the American resolution was a non-binding one, it provided Israel with the Americans’ moral assurances that they would do everything to safeguard these 2 acquired conditions and that no subsequent American President would ever overturn it. The slimebag was right.

      • Hostage
        April 25, 2014, 5:18 am

        Dov Weisglass, said at the time that although the American resolution was a non-binding one, it provided Israel with the Americans’ moral assurances that they would do everything to safeguard these 2 acquired conditions and that no subsequent American President would ever overturn it.

        Except Obama’s State Department disavowed the letter and said it isn’t official policy. FYI, Netanyahu further undermined the value of the letter at Davos when he offered to turn the settlement blocks over and leave them under Palestinian sovereignty. If you are Abbas, you just handle illegal aliens by operation of law.

      • Hostage
        April 25, 2014, 4:34 am

        “The “armistice lines of 1948″ mentioned in the text are weasel words for the 67 lines. “

        No. Ben Gurion had unilaterally declared the armistice agreements null and void, occupied the DMZs, declared Israeli sovereignty over the additional territory, and declared them closed military zones in order to expel the Arab cultivators who inhabited portions of them. There was an on-going dispute with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) before the 67 war over Israel’s compliance with UN Security Council resolutions 62 and 73 and the armistice agreements.

        So, the “4 June 1967 lines” are different in that respect from the 1949 armistice lines. Resolution 242 did not require withdrawal to the armistice lines, just to the 4 June 1967 lines, i.e. withdrawal from territories occupied in the recent conflict. The Palestinians have accepted that as the basis or starting point for negotiations.

      • talknic
        April 25, 2014, 7:26 am

        @ Hostage. Let me run this past you.

        There are no UNSC resolutions naming “Israel” until after it became a UN Member and; we do not see the phrase “Reaffirming that acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible,” in a UNSC resolution on the Question of Palestine until 1967.

        As I understand it the UN can not directly censure or direct non members. The UN can only ‘ask’ the parties to the conflict to settle their differences peacefully (per pre Israeli UN Membership UNSC resolutions) and/or tell members how they may or may not treat non-members.

        The UN could not directly censure Israel for ‘acquiring territory by war’ in the period between independence coming into effect 00:01 May 15th 1948 and Israel being admitted to the UN and signing the Armistice Agreements.

        However, in order for there to be ” respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;” (per UNSC res 242) , those territories acquired by war by Israel prior to UN Membership would still have to be legally annexed by agreement/treaty with the legitimate citizens (sans Israelis) of those territories.

        If Israel as a UN Member was to now unilaterally annex those territories would the UNSC be bound to condemn that action as it did the unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem?

        So in order to circumvent the Law/UN Charter, it is Israel who must negotiate an agreement to extricate itself from the deep illegal ‘facts on the ground’ sh*t hole it has purposefully created. The US UNSC veto vote is in essence being used to bludgeon Palestine into relinquishing most, if not all its legal rights.

        —-

        I noticed a reference the other day to Israel not being able to afford reparations even in 1948. I believe it came thru following one of your posts about something at the digicoll.library.wisc.edu I should have bookmarked it… Do you recall?

      • Hostage
        April 25, 2014, 5:06 pm

        I noticed a reference the other day to Israel not being able to afford reparations even in 1948. I believe it came thru following one of your posts about something at the digicoll.library.wisc.edu I should have bookmarked it… Do you recall?

        Nothing springs to mind in particular for 1948. Israel was broke in 1948 and still fighting. I’ve pointed out that Israel demanded the addition of the Negev, and that despite the fact that 60 percent of its total territory was uninhabited, it could never have afforded to accommodate the influx of European Jews without the homes and land it expropriated from the Arabs; the confiscated $25 million in German gold the Jewish refugee commission was given gratis by the Allies; the transport to Palestine provided by the Allied Powers; and the $100 million dollar US export bank loan. Israel refused to pay the debts and pensions incurred by Great Britain under the mandate as required by article 28 of the mandate itself and the UN partition plan. It argued that there were only 500,000 refugees, not 800,000 and deployed racist clap-trap arguments to avoid its responsibility for having turned the refugees into refugees in the first place. Its offers to pay any compensation at all were viewed as empty promises by the Arabs and the PCC – just like its declarations that it would punish those responsible for violations of minority rights. It only offered to pay compensation for “cultivated lands” owned by the refugees, which excluded all the lands used for grazing flocks or for homesteads and reserved the right to re-purpose and utilize proceeds from assets held by its custodian of enemy property as it saw fit. Most of the discussions about compensation happened in 1949 and 1950.

        There are no UNSC resolutions naming “Israel” until after it became a UN Member and; we do not see the phrase “Reaffirming that acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible,” in a UNSC resolution on the Question of Palestine until 1967.

        During the People’s Council debates on 14 May 1948, Shertok explained they had the option of either declaring a government or a state. He noted that Jacob Robinson, the Jewish Agency’s advisor on international law, had explained to him that the Jewish state was already in existence as a result of the adoption of the resolution of 29 November 1947.

        Palestine was the subject of an international trust. So the correct answer is that the rights and position of the Palestinian communities to the territories they actually owned and inhabited in the mandated state of Palestine were preserved by the terms of the mandate and Articles 73 and 80 of the UN Charter, unless the UN decided otherwise and acted to afford them better rights under a trusteeship or emancipation. In general, the Charter reflected the customary rights and duties of states, which included prohibitions against being the target of aggression or military occupation no matter the reason and no matter how temporary.

        The State Department Policy Planning Group report noted that the General Assembly resolution contained a decision to establish a trusteeship for the City of Jerusalem under direct UN administration. That is one of the General Assembly’s areas of competence, listed in Article 18 of the Charter, for which the Assembly’s decisions are binding on the member states. It also partitioned the remainder of the mandated state of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states effective the day it was adopted, and started the clock ticking on their transition to termination of the mandate regime and independence. Contrary to popular opinion, it did not create any new states on 15 May 1948. For example, it contained instructions to turn territory over to the provisional government of the Jewish state no later than 1 February 1948 and for conclusion of the terms of the plan for the economic union between the states no later than 1 April 1948. On 21 March 1948 David Ben Gurion, the Chairman of the Jewish Agency and the People’s Council, had written an article that appeared on pages 1 & 3 of the Palestine Post. http://www.jpress.nli.org.il/Olive/APA/NLI/?href=PLS%2F1948%2F03%2F21&page=1 It agreed with Robinson’s assessment and was titled “The Jewish State Exists”. Ben Gurion said “The Jewish State exists, and will continue to exist, because we defend it.” By the same token, many of the Jewish casualties were sustained in fighting beyond the partition borders with Arabs who were entitled under the terms of the resolution to defend the Arab state during the transition period.

        The UN resolution recited the customary prohibition of the threat or use of force against the political independence and territorial integrity of “any state”. That naturally included the ones named in the resolution. Unilateral annexation of territory was prohibited by the Hague Convention rules, which the OETA had applied in Palestine. It was also prohibited by the mandate system contained in the multilateral treaties of Versailles and Lausanne. They dealt with the disposition of the territory detached from Turkey, reparations & etc.

        FYI, contrary to popular belief, Palestine and Transjordan had been created as provisionally independent nations and states as a result of the conclusion of the Treaty of Versailles and the approval of the terms of the mandate, which was contained in a resolution of the Council of the League of Nations.

      • talknic
        April 25, 2014, 8:16 pm

        @ Hostage. Thx

    • Hostage
      April 25, 2014, 4:05 am

      Arafat, Abbas & Company let this one sail right through without a peep

      Walid if you are just trying to make the most misleading comments on the subject, your record is already secure. The Palestinians got Secretary Clinton to repudiate that Bush letter:

      The Israelis say they received commitments from the previous US administration of President George W. Bush permitting some growth in existing settlements.
      They say the US position was laid out in a 2004 letter from Bush to then Israeli premier Ariel Sharon.
      Clinton rejected that claim, saying any such US stance was informal and “did not become part of the official position of the United States government.”
      She reiterated the US position that Israel is obliged to follow commitments made in a so-called “road map” for peace negotiations with the Palestinians which foresaw a halt to settlement activity.
      “Those obligations are very clear,” Clinton said.

      link to ynetnews.com

      The Palestine Papers proved beyond any doubt that Erekat and the PLO Negotiations Support Unit took Obama’s envoy, George Mitchell, to task over the subsequent US abandonment of the Quartet Road Map terms of reference.

      The Mitchell report became the basis for the framework of the Quartet Road map, which was adopted in-turn by both the Security Council (resolution 1515) and the General Assembly:

      PHASE 1

      SETTLEMENTS
      GOI [Government of Israel] immediately dismantles settlement outposts erected since March 2001.
      • Consistent with the Mitchell Report, GOI freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements).

      That framework agreement was also used by the Security Council, the Quartet, and the General Assembly to bully the Palestinians into cooperating with Israel on security measures it required the PA to take in Phase I against Palestinians who were planning and carrying out violent attacks.
      The only truly astonishing revelation contained in the Palestine Papers, was when Obama’s Special Envoy, Mitchell himself, asked the Palestinians to forget about the Phase I terms of reference regarding the Israeli settlement freeze. Erekat responded: My option, the BATNA [Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement], if all goes down, is the one state.
      When pressed to uphold the terms of reference that Secretary Rice had put in the record, Mitchell said “I’m begging of you” (to forget the official Quartet and UN terms of reference for the negotiations and settlement that he had helped author in 2001) and claimed they did not reflect binding policy:

      George Mitchell: The reality is: No negotiations is not in your interest. So we are to come up with a statement to give you a ladder to climb down on this issue – just like you asked a week ago. Now you are arguing over the color of the ladder. And you are drawing unfounded inferences…
      Again I tell you that President Obama does not accept prior decisions by Bush. Don’t use this because it can hurt you. Countries are bound by agreements – not discussions or statements.
      Erekat: But this was an agreement with Sec. Rice.
      (later)
      Schwartz: It is not legally binding – not an agreement.
      Erekat: For God’s sake, she said to put it on the record. It was the basis for the maps.
      George Mitchell: You guys are now trying to come up with a history that Obama somehow invented the freeze. You and the Arabs have been calling for a freeze long before Obama. He did not pull it out of the air and impose it!
      Erekat: You wrote it in your report.
      George Mitchell: You established it as a precondition. We tried very hard, and we know what you think of us because we failed. Fine. So you can look back 10, 20, 60 years from now without negotiations or we can try to move forward.
      Erekat: I have my BATNA, Senator. People keep telling me the consequences of this, and the consequences of that … We have ongoing discussion in the PLO and Fatah Central Committee. If this is what we have, then we will no longer be talking about two states, but one state.

      link to transparency.aljazeera.net

  14. seafoid
    April 25, 2014, 5:06 am

    Israeli hasbara referring to what is legal are pointless. They bought the law.
    If Galut goes BDS Israel is toast and the law will be amended.

  15. Hostage
    April 25, 2014, 5:23 am

    They bought the law. If Galut goes BDS Israel is toast and the law will be amended.

    Correction: They made a down payment. Bushes and Clintons don’t stay bought-off without regular payments of the minimum balance due to their campaign coffers.

  16. jewishgoyim
    April 25, 2014, 5:46 am

    Not sure why Khalidi sees hope in Europe. France is as zionist as can be (it is more neoconish than the Obama administration – calling for BDS is frowned upon by the ministry of justice since 2010 (!) and France was at the forefront of the Israeli wet dream of bombing Syria). And since Germany is unlikely to take the lead against Israel, I think Khalidi’s faith in Europe outdated. That’s 1990s thinking.

    Other than that, I think this new stance from Khalidi is a breath of fresh air. But as he says, not clear how far Abbas is willing to go in upsetting his suitors. I’m sure children of the Abbas family are eager to study in the US…

  17. talknic
    April 25, 2014, 7:20 am

    Interesting! From 1948

    FOREIGN RELATION’S, 1948 , VOLUME V Page 553
    In the U.S., the position of .Jews would be gravely undermined
    as it becomes evident to the public that in supporting a Jewish state in Palestine we were in fact supporting the extreme objectives of political Zionism, to the detriment of overall U.S. security interests. http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/FRUS/FRUS-idx?type=turn&entity=FRUS.FRUS1948v05p2.p0043&id=FRUS.FRUS1948v05p2&isize=M

    • Hostage
      April 25, 2014, 2:37 pm

      as it becomes evident to the public that in supporting a Jewish state in Palestine we were in fact supporting the extreme objectives of political Zionism, to the detriment of overall U.S. security interests. link to digicoll.library.wisc.edu

      Yes, after a 25 year-long stretch that amounted to a tour de force of bellicose racist comments and demands for racial segregation, Hebrew labor, and dispossession of the inhabitants, the Zionist Organization accused Loy Henderson and George Kennan of being anti-Semites for telling Truman that partition would be a disaster and that the US should abandon the idea. http://mondoweiss.net/2014/04/judiss-landmark-zionism.html/comment-page-1#comment-660884

      The problem is the US didn’t listen and eventually doubled-down by opposing Palestinian independence, while facilitating the illegal settlement enterprise.

  18. NickJOCW
    April 25, 2014, 10:22 am

    Views of an outsider. The last nine months has seen inexorable expansion of illegal settlements, innumerable illustrations of barbaric Israeli behaviour played out against a background of their devious intransigence and insults enough to take one’s breath away, but little more than rocket fire and the odd Israeli death from Palestinian actions which, however distressing, are clearly not state sponsored. What will in the end effect change is less questions of law than global opinion reaching a certain threshold of impatience, and considerable progress in that direction is what Abbas’ patience has bought. He said he would hold his horses and coöperate in debates for nine months. And he has done just that. Even before the end of the period Netanyahu moved the posts yet again by refusing the agreed release of prisoners. Abbas responded, firing a warning shot across his bows by applying to join fifteen UN organisations. Netanyahu ignored that warning. Now Abbas has announced a potential unification in Palestinian political divisions. Netanyahu still doesn’t see it. Next, we should observe the emergence of a single Palestinian authority arising from transparent elections. With that in place and under the now opened eyes of a much more attentive world, Abbas (or his successor) will progressively approach the courts and other supra-national authorities. Up until now it has been possible to view this as some sort of game forever moving in Netanyahu’s favour. But that is now over. Netanyahu is clever but Abbas is wise. The clever are good at getting out of tight corners, the wise avoid getting into them. I have little knowledge of engineering but I imagine settlements take less time to pull down than to construct?

    • irishmoses
      April 25, 2014, 9:02 pm

      Tear down the settlements? Why? They would make nice homes for returning refugees from Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.

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