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UN resolution on settlements is a step back for Palestinians

Israel/Palestine
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With much controversy and fanfare, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) passed UNSC resolution 2334 on December 23rd 2016 by a vote of 14-0-1 (with the United States abstaining), ostensibly re-iterating the illegality of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem). The resolution, initially proposed by Egypt only to be withdrawn under pressure after a December 22nd phone call between Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, was re-introduced by Venezuela, New Zealand, Senegal and Malaysia, essentially forcing a vote on it. The passing of the resolution was criticized by the usual suspects, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling the resolution “distorted and shameful”, and leading him to recall ten ambassadors of UNSC countries who voted for the resolution as well as halting aid to Senegal as punishment for its sponsorship of the resolution. On the other hand, the passing of the resolution was hailed by the Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiator Saeb Erekat as a “historic day and a victory for international legitimacy, international law and international documents”, and by Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, as a “big blow for Israeli policies”.

Weaker Language than prior UNSC resolutions

It is difficult to understand the Palestinian Authority’s enthusiasm for the passing of this resolution given that it uses weaker language than four prior and separate UNSC resolutions 446, 452, 465 and 478 that were passed in 1979 and 1980 and that specifically targeted Israeli settlements (these resolutions are cited in the first perambulatory paragraph of UNSC resolution 2334). Indeed, in operative clauses 5 and 6 of UNSC resolution 465, which are the main clauses dealing with settlements, the UNSC:

5. “Determines that all measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, or any part thereof, have no legal validity and that Israel’s policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in those territories constitute a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and also constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East;

6. Strongly deplores the continuation and persistence of Israel in pursuing those policies and practices and calls upon the Government and people of Israel to rescind those measures, to dismantle the existing settlements and in particular to cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction and planning of settlements in the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem”.

In comparison, clearly weaker language is contained in UNSC resolution 2334, which states in operative clauses 1 and 2 that the UNSC:

  1. “Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;
  2. Reiterates its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard”.

The wording here is important, as the language in UNSC resolution 465 “calls upon Israel to dismantle the existing settlements” as well as to “cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction and planning of settlements”, whereas UNSC resolution 2334 merely re-iterates the demand for Israel “to cease all settlement activities”. This is not a minor point, especially when coupled with operative clauses 3 and 4 of UNSC resolution 2334, which state that the UNSC:

3. “Underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations” [italics mine];  

4. Stresses that the cessation of all Israeli settlement activities is essential for salvaging the two-State solution, and calls for affirmative steps to be taken immediately to reverse the negative trends on the ground that are imperilling the two-State solution”.

When these clauses are taken in conjunction with the remaining text of the resolution, it becomes clear that the main thrust of UNSC resolution 2334 is to attempt to rescue the floundering “Two-State Solution” paradigm that the settlements threaten, while explicitly incorporating legal language that would allow Israel to keep whatever settlements already exist beyond the 1967 lines  “through negotiations”, as opposed to insisting on the widely-accepted notion within international law that all settlements are illegal, and should therefore be dismantled, as already stipulated in UNSC resolution 465.

Lack of enforcement mechanism

Turning now to the practical effects of UNSC resolution 2334, it is wildly optimistic to believe that even the limited scope of this resolution will have any material impact on the ground regarding the halting of the Israeli settlement enterprise. Indeed, despite the passing of the aforementioned stronger resolutions, the Jewish settler population in the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem) rose from 22,800 in 1983 to 406,302 as of December 31 2015, based on the latest information released by Knesset Member Yaakov Katz from the Population Registry of Israel’s Interior Ministry, while the Jewish settler population in East Jerusalem rose from 76,095 in 1983 to potentially 350,000 based on an estimate from former Israeli Minister of Construction Uri Ariel (older and more conservative estimates put Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem at 200,000). This entails that the total Jewish settler population in all of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) has risen from about 100,000 in 1983 to potentially over 750,000 today; that’s a compounded annual growth rate of 6.5% over a 30+ year period. Looked at differently, given that Israel’s Jewish population today is 6.4 million, Jewish settlers in the West Bank constitute nearly 12% of the overall Jewish population, whereas they constituted less than 3% of the Jewish population back in 1983 (based on an overall Jewish population of ~3.4 million).

The reason for this growth in the settler population despite the passing of these prior resolutions is straightforward: all of these resolutions lack a robust enforcement mechanism backed with real consequences to ensure that Israel adheres to the letter of the law, as these resolutions were adopted under Chapter VI of the UN Charter, dealing with “Pacific Settlements of Disputes” (in contrast, resolutions adopted under Chapter VII typically invest the UNSC with more robust mechanisms to enforce resolutions in order to deal with “Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression”). If we examine operative clauses 8 and 9 of UNSC resolution 465, we notice that it merely states that the UNSC:

8. “Requests the Commission to continue to examine the situation relating to settlements in the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, to investigate the reported serious depletion of natural resources, particularly the water resources, with a view to ensuring the protection of those important natural resources of the territories under occupation, and to keep under close scrutiny the implementation of the present resolution;

9. Requests the Commission to report to the Security Council before 1 September 1980, and decides to convene at the earliest possible date thereafter in order to consider the report and the full implementation of the present resolution”.

These clauses are toothless, in the sense that they are devoid of any coercive power to force Israel to comply with the resolution, let alone to see the “full implementation of the present resolution”; as such, it is no surprise to see the lack of any material impact on Israel’s settlement project. Similarly, UNSC resolution 2334 was also adopted under Chapter VI of the UN charter, and as such, also lacks a coercive mechanism to fulfill its directives (in fact, the language used to enforce the resolution is again weaker than that of UNSC resolution 465). Indeed, operative clauses 11 and 12 simply state that the UNSC:

11. “Reaffirms its determination to examine practical ways and means to secure the full implementation of its relevant resolutions;

12. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council every three months on the implementation of the provisions of the present resolution”.

As such, given the lack of a real enforcement mechanism in UNSC resolution 2334 coupled with its weaker language relative to prior resolutions that have had no practical effect on the ground regarding the halting and dismantling of Israel’s settlement enterprise, it is a mystery why anyone would be celebrating this latest iteration.

About Nicolas Sawaya

Nicolas Sawaya strongly supports the Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice and has been a member of various Palestinian solidarity groups for over 15 years. He lives in Houston, TX, and works for ExxonMobil Gas & Power Marketing. He is a member of the BDS Houston Collective, and blogs at notesfromunderground.me.

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59 Responses

  1. joemowrey
    joemowrey
    December 30, 2016, 7:30 pm

    “…it becomes clear that the main thrust of UNSC resolution 2334 is to attempt to rescue the floundering “Two-State Solution” paradigm that the settlements threaten, while explicitly incorporating legal language that would allow Israel to keep whatever settlements already exist beyond the 1967 lines “through negotiations”, as opposed to insisting on the widely-accepted notion within international law that all settlements are illegal, and should therefore be dismantled, as already stipulated in UNSC resolution 465. ”

    Thanks for this. We begin to see that this token gesture by Obama, not vetoing the resolution, is just another of his slimy cons. He gets to look like some kind of hero while actually weakening the U.N. position on settlements. Classic Obama three-card-Monty slight of hand. This guy is a master.

  2. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    December 30, 2016, 9:01 pm

    RE: “The resolution, initially proposed by Egypt only to be withdrawn under pressure after a December 22nd phone call between Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump . . .” ~ Nicolas Sawaya

    MY COMMENT: I have begun referring to the Egyptian president (i.e., dictator) as El-Sissy.

    sis·sy
    informal
    noun
    1.
    a person regarded as effeminate or cowardly.
    synonyms: coward, weakling, milksop, namby-pamby, baby, wimp;

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      December 30, 2016, 10:02 pm

      Thanks for the definition. I’m sure all MW readers need to be told what “sissy” means.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        December 30, 2016, 10:24 pm

        a person regarded as effeminate or cowardly.

        ———————

        Uh oh….

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        December 31, 2016, 12:31 pm

        “a person regarded as effeminate or cowardly.”

        Whew! That’s not me. I am appropriately gentle in a manly way, and prudent. Not ‘cowardly’.

        Distraction is the better part of velour, I always say.

  3. Sibiriak
    Sibiriak
    December 30, 2016, 10:11 pm

    Nicolas Sawaya: “[…]incorporating legal language that would allow Israel to keep whatever settlements already exist beyond the 1967 lines “through negotiations” …]
    —-

    joemowrey: Thanks for this. We begin to see that this token gesture by Obama, not vetoing the resolution, is just another of his slimy cons. He gets to look like some kind of hero while actually weakening the U.N. position on settlements. Classic Obama three-card-Monty slight of hand. This guy is a master.

    ——————-

    There’s no “sleight of hand”– it’s all out in the open. Rightly or wrongly, negotiated land swaps have been an explicit part of the international two-state consensus for a very long time. . The idea has been long been embraced by Arab states and the Palestinian leadership.

    [2013] Arab states back Israel-Palestine land swaps
    Qatari PM says Palestinians and Israel can swap land rather than stick to 1967 borders

    […]Speaking on behalf of an Arab League delegation, Sheikh Hamad appeared to make a concession to Israel by explicitly raising the possibility of land swaps.

    However, it has long been assumed that these would be part of any peace agreement.

    * * *
    […]”The Arab League delegation affirmed that agreement should be based on the two-state solution on the basis of the 4th of June 1967 line, with the [possibility] of comparable and mutual agreed minor swap of the land,” [Kerry] told reporters after the meeting at the Blair House, the US president’s guest house. [emphasis added]

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/04/20134306544952976.html

    ——————-

    [2013] The Fatah Central Committee has accepted the Arab League’s latest proposal authorizing land swaps with Israel.

    Although PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat initially said that this was not a new idea and that the proposal was presented in coordination with the Palestinians, some Fatah and PA officials have come out against the land swap plan.

    Other Palestinians said the Arab League did not have a mandate to speak on behalf of Palestinians and offer territorial concessions to Israel.

    Opponents of the land swap idea said they were against it because it would “legitimize” settlements in the West Bank by allowing them to remain under Israeli sovereignty in a final deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

    http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Fatah-accepts-Arab-League-land-swap-proposal-312913

    ———————————-

    [2014] PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas: “In principle, we do not oppose the principle of land swaps , on the condition that they [the territories] are equivalent in size and value.

    http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=925&doc_id=13704

    —————————

    [2011] “The biggest Yerushalayim” PA offered to concede almost all of East Jerusalem, an historic concession for which Israel offered nothing in return.

    The unprecedented offer by the PA came in a June 15 trilateral meeting in Jerusalem, involving Condoleezza Rice, the then-US secretary of state, Tzipi Livni, the then-Israeli foreign minister, Ahmed Qurei, PA’s former prime minister, and Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator.

    Qurei: This last proposition could help in the swap process. We proposed that Israel annexes all settlements in Jerusalem except Jabal Abu Ghneim (Har Homa). This is the first time in history that we make such a proposition; we refused to do so in Camp David.

    Erekat went on enumerate some of the settlements that the PA was willing to concede: French Hill, Ramat Alon, Ramat Shlomo, Gilo, Talpiot, and the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem’s old city. Those areas contain some 120,000 Jewish settlers. (Erekat did not mention the fate of other major East Jerusalem settlements, like Pisgat Ze’ev and Neve Ya’akov, but Qurei’s language indicates that they would also remain a part of Israel.)

    * * *

    Palestinian leaders took a more principled stand on other major settlement blocs in the West Bank. In the same meeting where he conceded East Jerusalem, Qurei told Livni that the PA “cannot accept the annexation of Ma’ale Adumim, Ariel, Giv’at Ze’ev, Ephrat and Har Homa settlements”.

    All of those (with the exception of Har Homa) are located deep in the West Bank, and their inclusion in Israel would be ruinous for the territorial contiguity of a future Palestinian state. Ariel, for example, is nearly halfway to Jordan, connected to Israel by an 18km stretch of highway 5.

    But dismantling these settlements is also not an option for the Israeli government. Ariel is a major industrial zone with nearly 18,000 residents. Ma’ale Adumim, east of Jerusalem, is a fast-growing “bedroom community” of 30,000 people “[…]

    * * *

    […]There is a third option, which Palestinian negotiators raised in several meetings: those Jewish settlements could be allowed to remain as part of the future Palestinian state. Ahmed Qurei made that suggestion to Tzipi Livni several times in 2008, including this exchange in June:

    Qurei: Perhaps Ma’ale Adumim will remain under Palestinian sovereignty, and it could be a model for cooperation and coexistence.

    Livni: The matter is not simply giving a passport to settlers.

    The Israeli foreign minister refused to entertain the idea. “You know this is not realistic,” she told Qurei in May.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/palestinepapers/2011/01/2011122112512844113.html

    • Nsaway
      Nsaway
      December 30, 2016, 11:34 pm

      Sibiriak,
      Thanks for your comment. You are of course correct that there have been numerous pronouncements about land swaps by Arab and Palestinian leaders (and beyond the quotes you’ve included above). However, there has not been, to my knowledge, any mention of such a thing in any UNSC resolution, whereas there is clear language in numerous resolutions and other international law documents (some quoted in the article) unequivocally calling all settlements illegal and some, like UNSC 465, requiring the dismantlement of all settlements. As such, from an international law perspective, I can’t but interpret this latest resolution except as a weakening of the existing resolutions on the books.

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      December 31, 2016, 8:53 am

      Who gives a rat’s ass about all those castles built entirely in thin air –by pirates and colonials and collaborators? The longer some of us take this kind of nonsense seriously, the more of a fig leaf we provide for the ongoing genocide and annexation –that’s the only purpose of the tongue-wagging.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        December 31, 2016, 11:57 am

        “The longer some of us take this kind of nonsense seriously, the more of a fig leaf we provide for the ongoing genocide and annexation –that’s the only purpose of the tongue-wagging.”

        Well, “Echin” when the tongue-wagging stops, a man still wants to look his best. What size to you take in a vest? S. M, or L or XL? You want the impermissibles on the outside or in the lining?

  4. oldgeezer
    oldgeezer
    December 31, 2016, 12:00 am

    I can’t agree that it is a step back. It explicitly legitimates nothing. It explicilty states specific things are totally illegal and in violation of IL and flagrantly in violation of GC.

    Regardless of whether it was said before or not the world is more connected now and that message is received directly by a larger number of people. It strenghtens the bargaining hand of the Palestinians which infuriates the criminal zionists. It should. The criminals shouldn’t be able to get away with their outright. Side note… it is sickenly amusing that left wing zionists are so criminal that they think commiting further crimes (illegal annexation) is a sound solution. These people are so morally depraved, and I do mean depraved, that they view their crimes as being generous on their part.

    The fact is the world is willing to concede some things in the interest of peace. This may not satisfy justice but there you have it. Just as the zionist racism and criminality brought us to this point those same character flaws will eventually be brought over the brink anf the zionist project will fail. As it should. As should any morally bankrupt project of immoral thugs fail.

    I don’t believe it will fail in my lifetime any more. And i would be happy to be wrong if it continued with acceptance of all in the region but don’t believe that can happen.

    It is imperative to drag Israel into the NPT. They are a rogue criminal state and they are crazy enough to use them. I would feel safer if the mad mullahs had nukes and Israel did not no matter how offensive I find thead mullahs to be.

    Nutty as a thug and liar is clear the world over. Let’s not forget he is better than most of the asylum leadership

    • Nsaway
      Nsaway
      December 31, 2016, 9:30 am

      “I can’t agree that it is a step back. It explicitly legitimates nothing. It explicilty states specific things are totally illegal and in violation of IL and flagrantly in violation of GC” – old geezer

      The older resolution explicitly demanded the dismantlement of settlements. The new one clearly doesn’t, and explicitly incorporates language about 67 border changes through negotiations that potentially legimitates at least some settlements staying (through naked land grabs, land swaps or other means) -> I interpret that as the international community giving up on demanding the dismantlement of all settlements, regardless of paying lip service to their illegality (otherwise, why not simply re-state what’s already been stated about dismantlement of all settlements?). So I can’t but interpret that as a weakening or a step back.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        January 1, 2017, 11:08 am

        Nsaway: I interpret that as the international community giving up on demanding the dismantlement of all settlements

        ——————–

        But the international community, the Palestinian leadership, and the Arab States gave up on demanding the dismantlement of all settlements long ago . Therefore, this resolution isn’t itself a new step backward; is only reflects that previous backward step taken more than a decade ago.

        Keep in mind that law and politics are too different spheres (closely related, of course). In terms of international law, nothing has changed whatsoever. All the settlements etc. are illegal, period.

        Keep in mind also that the principle of land swaps does not imply that ALL the settlements will be annexed, as envisioned by the Israeli leadership. Any land swaps must be agreed upon by BOTH parties. While the Palestinian leadership/Arab states have agreed to the principle of land swaps, they have never said that every settlement will be included in a swap.

        As I quoted above:

        In the same meeting where he conceded East Jerusalem, Qurei told Livni that the PA “cannot accept the annexation of Ma’ale Adumim, Ariel, Giv’at Ze’ev, Ephrat and Har Homa settlements”.

        That was in 2008. In 2016, the UNSC in Resolution 2334 makes clear that:

        […] it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations”

        This absolutely precludes unilateral Israel annexation of occupied Palestinian territory; it absolutely requires Palestinian agreement to any changes to the “Green Line” border.

        You quote UN resolution 465 passed in March 1980. In 1980 there was only a small fraction of the illegal Jewish settlers that there are today. Expansionist Zionists believed that by creating seemingly irreversible “facts on the ground” the international community would eventually have to come around to accepting the new reality in its entirety.

        But this resolution makes it clear: no changes without Palestinian agreement. Period. Decades of creating new facts on the ground have not created any new facts in international law.

        As Chaim Shalev wrote in Haaretz:

        Resolution 2334 shatters the government-induced illusion that the settlement project has been normalized, that it passed the point of no return, that it is now a fait accompli that will remain unchallenged.

        http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.761042

        ————

        That’s an important step forward.

      • Nsaway
        Nsaway
        January 1, 2017, 11:48 pm

        “But the international community, the Palestinian leadership, and the Arab States gave up on demanding the dismantlement of all settlements long ago . Therefore, this resolution isn’t itself a new step backward; is only reflects that previous backward step taken more than a decade ago” – Siberiak

        As previously mentioned, it’s a step back in the sense that land swaps and other mechanims, which until now had been discussed outside the official auspices of the UN (this is what I mean by international community) and the UNSC in particular, have now essentially been endorsed through an official UNSC resolution, as opposed to insisting on the stance of dismantling all settlements per prior resolutions. Frankly, I couldn’t care less about what PA collaborationist characters like Abbas and Erekat have to say. They won’t be there forever. This resolution will. As for the useless Arab league, again, I also couldn’t care less given that they have no mandate to dictate or enforce anything.

        “Keep in mind that law and politics are too different spheres (closely related, of course). In terms of international law, nothing has changed whatsoever. All the settlements etc. are illegal, period. […]

        You quote UN resolution 465 passed in March 1980. In 1980 there was only a small fraction of the illegal Jewish settlers that there are today. Expansionist Zionists believed that by creating seemingly irreversible “facts on the ground” the international community would eventually have to come around to accepting the new reality in its entirety.

        But this resolution makes it clear: no changes without Palestinian agreement. Period. Decades of creating new facts on the ground have not created any new facts in international law”. – Siberiak

        Here’s where we fundamentally disagree. Yes, all the settlements are illegal, as the UNSC clearly re-stated, and so in a sense, facts on the ground have not created new facts of international law. But facts on the ground have apparently created new consequences *despite* not creating new facts of international law. So yes, the UNSC can pay lip service to the illegality of settlements, but practically speaking, the UNSC has essentially accepted that *despite* such illegality, they were not going to re-insist on dismantling all of them, but instead, introduce language that would essentially allow Israel to keep whatever they could negotiate from the PA. So I ask: what use is it to insist on a principle (the illegality of settlements) without insisting on its natural consequence (the dismantling of the settlements)?

        As such, with this resolution, it’s clear to me that facts on the ground did win. Why? Because the consequences stemming from a principle (illegality of settlements) ought to be the same (dismantlement) regardless of numbers (how many settlers you have). However, that’s clearly not the case when we compare 465 (small number of settlers -> dismantlement) vs. 2334 (large number of settlers -> negotiations/land swaps etc). So what this resolution does is it introduces serious moral hazard by allowing facts on the ground (as opposed to principles) to dictate consequences. Finally, although both sides have to agree on whatever gets negotiated, surely you’ll agree that the best case scenario of land swaps through negotiations are less preferable to Palestinians than outright dismantlement of settlements. If so, then facts on the ground have indeed led to the enshrinment of a less preferable option (i.e. a step back) into an official UNSC resolution.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        January 2, 2017, 9:23 am

        Nsaway: it’s clear to me that facts on the ground did win
        ——————-

        It’s clear to me too. My point isn’t that facts on the ground didn’t win politically. They did. But they won more than a decade ago.

        This resolution doesn’t add anything to the victory. It doesn’t change the law. It doesn’t change the politics. It doesn’t do anything except reflect the unchanged law and the long-ago changed politics. If you think it somehow “enshrines” the politics in some new way, so what? They are what they are.

        A large portion of the settlements will never be dismantled. Period. Under any scenario.

      • talknic
        talknic
        January 2, 2017, 11:25 am

        The way the Zionist wheels have been spinning, they’re very much afraid of the consequences of UNSC res 2334

        The publicly available coverage afforded previous UNSC resolutions was minuscule compared to today’s reach via the internet. Today it’s clearly in the public eye, with world wide coverage.

        Now people can now easily read it on the UN website, verbatim and; make them aware of all the previous reminders to Israel of the Jewish State’s obligations to the UN Charter and International Law, which is invaluable

        It’s even brought the astute editor Nishidani out of retirement at WikI/Pedia :-)
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:United_Nations_Security_Council_Resolution_2334

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        January 2, 2017, 1:00 pm

        Nsaway,

        Thank you for seeing what should be blindingly obvious to all: this latest trick is the usual Obama Neocon three-card monte, intended to establish as “facts on the ground” illegal Zionist conquest even in violation of the UN’s own colonial illegality. It is a “go and sin no more”, probably intended to limit the range of maneuver of the next administration, should this ever feel its oats and try to force even minimal compromise onto the Zionists. The whole covered by the excellent pretext that a Chapter VI resolution can’t be vetoed by the US.

        I’m surprised that even Sibiriak, as someone who recognizes facts but conditions his approvals to those of colonial powers, can’t recognize the Neocon new fait-accompli ground broken by this resolution: is it that the obvious need for major violence has already rendered all past resolutions moot for him?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        January 2, 2017, 1:06 pm

        I don’t get this. Can Israel guarantee there will always be sufficient Jews to man the settlements? That there will always be Jews willing to live under those illegal and dangerous circumstances?
        I don’t think Israel can.

      • Maghlawatan
        Maghlawatan
        January 2, 2017, 4:25 pm

        Mooser, given the Orthodox birth rate it prolly can, but given the Orthodox work ethic it can’t guarantee they’ll be able to feed themselves

      • Nsaway
        Nsaway
        January 2, 2017, 10:49 pm

        “This resolution doesn’t add anything to the victory. It doesn’t change the law. It doesn’t change the politics. It doesn’t do anything except reflect the unchanged law and the long-ago changed politics. If you think it somehow “enshrines” the politics in some new way, so what? They are what they are”. – Siberiak

        Siberiak,
        I fully understand where the politics are today. However, I repeat that those politics were arrived at outside the auspices of the UN, were never officially enshrined into an international law document to my knowledge, and were based on political actors on the Palestinian side that I consider to be corrupt, incompetent and in some cases collaborationist. You say, so what. The politics are what they are. But like I previously said, political actors come and go. There’s no reason to believe that under different political actors, the politics would remain the same. But now, to have those politics (i.e. not insisting on dismantlement as the law should dictate, and incorporating language that potentially allows Israel to keep at least existing settlements through negotiation) be enshrined into an international law document like a UNSC resolution constrains or weakens the future politics of some theoretically different group that’s not corrupt and acting on behalf of Palestinians (or activist groups in solidarity with Palestinians), and who would like to work within the constraints of international law to insist on dismantlement of settlements, as prior resolutions dictated, and as the natural consequence of illegality of settlements should dictate. If you don’t think that matters or is important, then fine. Obviously I disagree.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        January 4, 2017, 1:26 am

        Nsaway: [in the article:][…]the language in UNSC resolution 465 “calls upon Israel to dismantle the existing settlements [emphasis added]

        * * * *
        [from comment above: ] But now, to have those politics (i.e. not insisting on dismantlement as the law should dictate , and incorporating language that potentially allows Israel to keep at least existing settlements through negotiation) be enshrined into an international law document like a UNSC resolution. [emphasis added]

        ———————–

        1) You seem to be overlooking UN resolutions that were passed after res 465 which abandoned the straight up call for settlements to be abandoned.

        Specifically, in 2003 the UNSC passed res. 1515 which endorsed the “Quartet Performance-based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” (S/2003/529).

        Res. 1515:

        “1. Endorses the Quartet Performance-based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (S/2003/529);

        “2. Calls on the parties to fulfill their obligations under the Roadmap in cooperation with the Quartet and to achieve the vision of two States living side by side in peace and security;

        http://www.un.org/press/en/2003/sc7924.doc.htm

        As you may know, the “Roadmap” calls for for a freeze by Israel of all settlement activity, including “natural growth”, and the dismantlement of all settlement outposts erected since March 2001 , and it calls for a negotiated final agreement on the major settlements .

        And notably res 2334 specifically recalls res 1515.

        The point is this:

        More than a decade before res 2334, a UNSC resolution had already explicitly adopted the “Roadmap” call for a freeze to the major settlement activity, rather than the wholesale dismantlement of ALL settlements, and for a negotiated final status agreement which would potentially allow Israel to keep at least existing settlements through negotiation. .

        ———————–

        2) The fact that the settlements are illegal has never nullified the Palestinian right to negotiate a final border agreement that could include adjustments that the parties mutually agreed to. Such a negotiated final agreement had been the legally enshrined in the UN sanctioned 1949 Armistice Agreement (negotiations originally being with Jordan, of course.)

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        January 4, 2017, 5:26 am

        Nsaway: I previously said, political actors come and go. There’s no reason to believe that under different political actors, the politics would remain the same.
        —————–

        That’s a good point. Thanks for stressing that possibility/necessity of new and better Palestinian leadership.

        —————–
        [Nsaway:] But now, to have those politics (i.e. not insisting on dismantlement as the law should dictate, and incorporating language that potentially allows Israel to keep at least existing settlements through negotiation) be enshrined into an international law document like a UNSC resolution constrains or weakens the future politics.

        This is the key point of disagreement in terms of this resolution. I think the politics of “not insisting on dismantlement …potentially allow[ing] Israel to keep…settlements through negotiation”–those politics were already enshrined more than a decade ago in international law documents such as UNSC res 1515 and others. Therefore, res 2334 is not the significant step backward you make it out to be.

        On the other hand, res 2334 is a step forward in delegitimizing Israel and legitimizing BDS.

        The furious Israeli reaction confirms this.

      • Nsaway
        Nsaway
        January 4, 2017, 2:04 pm

        “1) You seem to be overlooking UN resolutions that were passed after res 465 which abandoned the straight up call for settlements to be abandoned.

        Specifically, in 2003 the UNSC passed res. 1515 which endorsed the “Quartet Performance-based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” (S/2003/529).

        […]

        As you may know, the “Roadmap” calls for for a freeze by Israel of all settlement activity, including “natural growth”, and the dismantlement of all settlement outposts erected since March 2001 , and it calls for a negotiated final agreement on the major settlements .

        And notably res 2334 specifically recalls res 1515.” – Siberiak

        I’m disappointed that you think I overlooked anything ;) I’d rather be wrong than lazy or less than meticulous. So, no, I didn’t overlook UNSC 1515, and by extension, S/2003/529, although I will admit that this particular resolution did give me pause before penning this article (I made sure to go over every relevant resolution before writing this article; however, you seem to have hinted in your reply that there are other resolutions as well beyond S/2003/529; I didn’t see anything else, but feel free to add to this comment if there’s another resolution you think is relevant). I did not include an analysis of S/2003/529 in the article because of length and other factors, although in retrospect, that may have been wise; to be clear, I don’t believe that this changes the conclusion about weaker language being used vs. prior resolutions, but it would probably have been a good addition. So here’s my take on S/2003/529:

        1) First, as you know very well, S/2003/529 is not a “settlement-centric” resolution. Its scope is vastly beyond settlements, and as such, it’s not surprising to see settlement-language that’s not present in the resolution. For example, S/2003/529 doesn’t reiterate that settlements are a flagrant violation of international law, doesn’t refer the 4th Geneva convention, doesn’t discuss the inadmissibility of territorial acquisition by war, and many other settlement-specific statements that we see in prior settlement-specific resolutions like UNSC 465, as well as UNSC 2334. So I didn’t necessarily think that this was a true apples-to-apples comparison, whereas UNSC 465 for example vs. 2334 was (in fact, for the settlement-specific pieces, it’s almost as if they started with 465, updated it and weakened it).

        2) That’s not to say that S/2003/529 doesn’t touch on settlements at all. It does, in small parts here and there, with vague enough language given that, again, it wasn’t a settlement specific resolution. But anyway, let’s examine S/2003/529 language that does touch on settlements. You state that “the “Roadmap calls for for a freeze by Israel of all settlement activity, including “natural growth”, and the dismantlement of all settlement outposts erected since March 2001, and it calls for a negotiated final agreement on the major settlements”.

        I don’t fully agree with this. First, let’s put things in context. This was at the height of the 2nd Intifada, and the Roadmap was an attempt at a 3-phase approach to restore order, build confidence between parties, with a final goal of full peace between all parties. So, let’s be clear here.

        *In Phase 1*, S/2003/529 states:
        “GOI immediately dismantles outposts erected since march 2001.
        “Consistent with the Mitchell report, GOI freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements)”.

        My interpretation here is that this is requested from the GOI as a confidence building step for Palestinians (who were required to end violence etc in Phase 1). This is not the end of action on settlements, but solely the beginning to get the process going. Dismantling settlements in Phase 1 is illogical within context. This interpretation is buttressed by the following language in *Phase 2*:

        “Creation of an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders through a process of Israeli-Palestinian engagement, launched by the international conference. As part of this process, implementation of prior agreements, to enhance *maximum territorial contiguity, including further action on settlements* in conjunction with establishment of a Palestinian state with provisional borders”

        Here, we have a further statement on settlements, and reference to “maximum territorial contiguity, including further action on settlements”. Now, I grant that the word dismantlement doesn’t show up here explicitly, but that’s certainly a reasonable interpretation (though I grant that you could interpret it differently). You, on the other hand, state that S/2003/529 “calls for a negotiated final agreement on the major settlement”. I don’t see that anywhere in the text (neither minor nor major settlements). I see: a process of engagement that leads to provisional borders and that enhances “maximum territorial contiguity, including further action on settlements”.

        Now you might say, your interpretation is implicit in the wording, otherwise, why not call for straight up dismantlement of settlements? There are different possible reasons for that within the context of when this was passed (not a settlement specific resolution; perhaps this was purposefully ambiguous to preserve each party’s favored interpretation on settlements while encouraging them to come back to the table to negotiate, etc), but I am willing to grant that this is weaker than a call for straight up dismantlement of settlements (though again, that’s certainly a reasonable interpretation). However, regardless of how you interpret it, you’ll be hard pressed to argue that it’s not a stronger call than the language used in UNSC 2334. In fact, what’s interesting is that in the preamble of UNSC 2334, you do have reference to the settlement language of Phase 1 of S/2003/529, but not language of Phase 2 (for example, nowhere do we have the words “enhance maximum territorial contiguity” in UNSC 2334).

        So I grant that this is an interesting resolution to discuss (although perhaps less relevant than settlement-specific resolutions). As previously mentioned, I should have probably included an analysis in the text of the main article, as opposed to discussing this in the comments (perhaps I’ll add this to my blog). But I do still believe that UNSC 2334 language is still weaker than even S/2003/529.

        “On the other hand, res 2334 is a step forward in delegitimizing Israel and legitimizing BDS” – Siberiak

        As previously mentioned, given that it doesn’t add anything new but is still weaker than prior resolutions on settlement language, hard to argue it’s a step forward. As for BDS, I’ve already addressed this in a reply to you in another comment, towards the bottom of the page. But I’ll re-iterate the main points:

        1) The firth operative clause that people are referring to as legitimizing BDS is nothing new. There are mounds of international documents that say that, and which certain countries have already used to distinguish between “Israel proper” and the settlements. For example, the EU already uses that distinction to require labeling of certain products from the settlements on that basis. Now, you may argue that yes, it’s not new, but reinforces that view. Sure, but not sure that’s a step forward. Simply re-iterating what’s already well understood in other legal documents and opinions.

        2) Furthermore, this only touches on a specific, narrowly-focused, version of BDS: that against settlements; i.e. BDS ceases when Israel dismantles settlements. As you know full well, within the broader context of BDS, there is no necessary connection between achieving any of the three aims of BDS and settlement dismantlement; at best, this form of BDS could help in securing a “better” two-state solution, but it ends there. Within the full context of BDS (End the Occupation, implement RoR, equality for Jews and Arabs), that’s the least of my concerns.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        January 6, 2017, 9:11 pm

        [Nsaway:] First, as you know very well, S/2003/529 is not a “settlement-centric” resolution.
        —————–

        Thanks for your very thoughtful and detailed response.

        To be precise, S/2003/52 is not a resolution. It is a letter from Kofi Annan to the Security Council transmitting the text of the “Roadmap”.

        Letter dated 7 May 2003 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council

        I have the honour to transmit to you herewith the text of a road map to realize the vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, as affirmed in Security Council resolution 1397 (2002) (see annex). The text has been prepared by the Quartet — consisting of representatives of the United States of America, the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United Nations — and was presented to the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority on 30 April 2003. I should be grateful if you would bring this text to the attention of the members of the Security Council.

        (Signed) Kofi A. Annan

        —————–

        The “Roadmap”

        While the Roadmap is not “settlement centric”, it nevertheless marks a definitive shift from the call to DISMANTLE ALL Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory to a call for 1) a “FREEZE” in settlement activity and 2) a NEGOTIATED AGREEMENT on the settlements’ final status (excluding post 2001 “outposts”):

        Settlement Freeze:

        [The “Roadmap”:]

        GOI immediately dismantles settlement outposts erected since March 2001.

        • Consistent with the Mitchell Report, GOI freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements). [emphasis added]

        Negotiated Final Status Agreement:

        [the “Roadmap”:]

        A two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be achieved through an end to violence and terrorism, when the Palestinian people have a leadership acting decisively against terror and willing and able to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty, and through Israel’s readiness to do what is necessary for a democratic Palestinian state to be established, and a clear, unambiguous acceptance by both parties of the goal of a negotiated settlement as described below. The Quartet will assist and facilitate implementation of the plan, starting in Phase I, including direct discussions between the parties as required. A settlement, negotiated between the parties, will result in the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors.

        SECOND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE: Convened by Quartet, in consultation with the parties, at beginning of 2004 to endorse agreement reached on an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders and formally to launch a process with the active, sustained, and operational support of the Quartet, leading to a final, permanent
        status resolution in 2005, including on borders, Jerusalem, refugees, SETTLEMENTS;
        and, to support progress toward a comprehensive Middle East settlement between Israel and Lebanon and Israel and Syria, to be achieved as soon as possible.
        [emphasis added]

        ———–

        UNSC Resolution 1515 — November 2003

        Resolution 1515 endorsed the “Roadmap” stressing the bilateral negotiating process to resolve all the “core issues”, which include, of course, Israeli settlements.

        [Res. 1515:]

        2. Supports the parties’ agreed principles for the bilateral negotiating process and their determined efforts to reach their goal of concluding a peace treaty resolving all outstanding issues, including all core issues, without exception, which confirm the seriousness of the Annapolis process;

        3. Calls on both parties to fulfil their obligations under the Performance-Based Roadmap, as stated in their Annapolis Joint Understanding, and refrain from any steps that could undermine confidence or prejudice the outcome of negotiations; [emphasis added]

        http://www.un.org/press/en/2003/sc7924.doc.htm

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        January 6, 2017, 9:21 pm

        (Cont.)

        [Nsaway: ] you seem to have hinted in your reply that there are other resolutions as well beyond S/2003/529 [the “Roadmap”]
        ——————-

        Yes. In addition to res. 1515 (2003), res.1850 (2008) explicitly endorsed the Roadmap’s call for a freeze on settlement activity and a negotiated final agreement on all core issues, including settlements.

        [Res. 1850:]

        Welcoming the 9 November 2008 statement from the Quartet and the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Understanding announced at the November 2007 Annapolis Conference, including in relation to implementation of the Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,

        * * * *

        2. Supports the parties’ agreed principles for the bilateral negotiating process and their determined efforts to reach their goal of concluding a peace treaty resolving all outstanding issues, including all core issues, without exception, which confirm the seriousness of the Annapolis process;

        3. Calls on both parties to fulfil their obligations under the Performance-Based Roadmap, as stated in their Annapolis Joint Understanding, and refrain from any steps that could undermine confidence or prejudice the outcome of negotiations;

        4. Calls on all States and international organizations to contribute to an atmosphere conducive to negotiations and to support the Palestinian government that is committed to the Quartet principles and the Arab Peace Initiative [emphasis added]

        —————–

        KEY POINT: The move away from the call to dismantle all settlements, enshrined in res. 465, to calls for a settlement freeze and bilateral negotiations to determine the settlements final status was consolidated in the Quartet’s “Roadmap” and enshrined in 1515 (2003), res. 1850 (2008).

        Thus it is incorrect to say that the recently passed res. 2334 was a “step back” from res. 465. That “step back” had already occurred in 2003, more than a decade before res. 2334.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        January 6, 2017, 9:36 pm

        (Cont.)

        [Nsaway:] You […]state that S/2003/529 [the “Roadmap] “calls for a negotiated final agreement on the major settlement”. I don’t see that anywhere in the text (neither minor nor major settlements).
        ———————–

        The “Roadmap” clearly calls for negotiations for a final agreement, including the status of settlements.

        I used the phrase “major settlements” only to distinguish the settlements subject to a “freeze” from the post 2001 “outposts” which were to be immediately dismantled.

        These “major settlements” (use whatever term you wish) were NOT to be dismantled immediately, but rather have their final status determined by negotiation.

        [the “Roadmap”:] … a final, permanent status resolution in 2005, including on borders, Jerusalem, refugees, settlements [emphasis added]

        ——————-

        [Nsaway:] I am willing to grant that this is weaker than a call for straight up dismantlement of settlements (though again, that’s certainly a reasonable interpretation). However, regardless of how you interpret it, you’ll be hard pressed to argue that it’s not a stronger call than the language used in UNSC 2334.

        Not hard pressed at all. It is not a stronger call. It calls for a freezeon settlement activity; it calls for negotiations to determine the final status of the settlements.

        That is no stronger than 2334.

        If anything, res. 2334 (2016) is much stronger than resolutions 1515 (2003) and 1850 (2008) which explicitly endorsed the “Roadmap”.

        In your own words, the “Roadmap”:

        […]doesn’t reiterate that settlements are a flagrant violation of international law, doesn’t refer the 4th Geneva convention, doesn’t discuss the inadmissibility of territorial acquisition by war, and many other settlement-specific statements that we see in prior settlement-specific resolutions like UNSC 465, as well as UNSC 2334. [emphasis added]

        I think anyone who compares res. 2334’s strong anti-settlement language to the Roadmap’s lack of such language, enshrined in res. 1515 (2003) and res. 1850 (2008), will be hard-pressed not to see res. 2334 as a step forward both in tone and focus.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        January 6, 2017, 10:06 pm

        (Cont.)

        Needless to say, the “Roadmap” and the entire “peace process” has been a total fraud from beginning to end, and there will be no meaningful negotiations ever unless and until massive pressure is put on Israel to negotiate in good faith.

        Does that mean res. 2334 is meaningless?

        No. I think Norman Finkelstein explained quite well how such resolutions can “ become a political force if you know how to mobilize a public on their behalf…“, as Israel did with the Balfour Declaration etc.

        See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2017/01/breathtaking-settlements-finkelstein/#comment-174587

      • Nsaway
        Nsaway
        January 8, 2017, 12:38 pm

        Siberiak,

        You may have misunderstood some of my points, so I’ll try to be clearer (note I’ll have multiple follow-up comments to this one to address all of the points).

        1) “In your own words, the “Roadmap”:
        […]doesn’t reiterate that settlements are a flagrant violation of international law, doesn’t refer the 4th Geneva convention, doesn’t discuss the inadmissibility of territorial acquisition by war, and many other settlement-specific statements that we see in prior settlement-specific resolutions like UNSC 465, as well as UNSC 2334. [emphasis added]
        I think anyone who compares res. 2334’s strong anti-settlement language to the Roadmap’s lack of such language, enshrined in res. 1515 (2003) and res. 1850 (2008), will be hard-pressed not to see res. 2334 as a step forward both in tone and focus”. – Siberiak

        The point I was making in the statement you quoted me above as saying was to emphasize that S/2003/529 was not a settlement-centric document, but instead was a document whose scope was far broader and wider; i.e. it had a different purpose. As such, it’s unreasonable to assume that settlement-centric supporting language (e.g. reiterating the 4th Geneva Convention etc) such as that contained in UNSC 465 and 2334 should show up in a non-settlement centric document such as S/2003/529. So the omission of such language in the latter is not something meaningful since one wouldn’t have expected it to show up in the first place. Therefore, I can’t agree with your statement about this being a step forward based on the omission of such language.

      • Nsaway
        Nsaway
        January 8, 2017, 12:40 pm

        2) “The “Roadmap” clearly calls for negotiations for a final agreement, including the status of settlements.

        I used the phrase “major settlements” only to distinguish the settlements subject to a “freeze” from the post 2001 “outposts” which were to be immediately dismantled.

        These “major settlements” (use whatever term you wish) were NOT to be dismantled immediately, but rather have their final status determined by negotiation.
        [the “Roadmap”:] … a final, permanent status resolution in 2005, including on borders, Jerusalem, refugees, settlements [emphasis added]” – Siberiak

        I don’t disagree and never disagreed that the Road Map called for a final status negotiation around the major items listed above (if you were thrown off by my comment about “I don’t see that anywhere in the text (neither minor nor major settlements)”, I was talking about the wording you used: “major settlements”, which doesn’t show up in the text. Anyway, I was being facetious; yes, I understood the point around outposts vs. settlements, so don’t worry about it).

      • Nsaway
        Nsaway
        January 8, 2017, 12:43 pm

        3) The substantive point I was making, however, was that even within the context of the Road Map, when you compared the language used in Phase 2 around the borders of a future Palestinian state, you have the words “[…] to enhance maximum territorial contiguity, including further action on settlements […]” (which you didn’t comment on). In contrast, that is something you don’t see in UNSC 2334, which only states “[…] other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations”. In other words, there doesn’t seem to be any prescriptive language in UNSC 2334 regarding the negotiated borders, whereas there seems to be in S/2003/529. Now why is that relevant to our discussion on settlements? Because we all know that one of the major sticking points in the negotiations was the lack of contiguity of a potential Palestinian state because of settlements dotting the landscape all across the West Bank. I claimed that the words “to enhance maximum territorial contiguity, including further action on settlements” could be reasonably interpreted by those who wanted to as implying dismantlement of settlements, despite the lack of an explicit call for dismantlement. To be clear: there’s nothing contradictory in interpreting the Road Map as implying the dismantlement of settlements (based on aforementioned language), while expecting that process to be negotiated. Also, I re-iterate that I’m not saying that the dismantlement interpretation of that language is the only or even the best interpretation of that language; just a reasonable interpretation of that language that affords whoever wants to interpret it that way something to point to.

        For example, this is indeed the interpretation of Amr Mousa, the Secretary General of the Arab League, who stated that “the real execution of the map is the dismantlement of all settlements and not some random ones”

        http://www.kuna.net.kw/ArticlePrintPage.aspx?id=1353303&language=en

        It was also the interpretation of Kieran Prendergast, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, when he stated: “Those actions would not be a substitute for Israel’s compliance with other obligations under the Road Map, such as dismantling all settlements activity”.

        http://www.un.org/press/en/2004/sc8131.doc.htm

        That interpretation is also consistent with UNGA resolution 61/118, which was passed in 2007 (and so well after the Road Map resolution), which, in operative clause 3:

        “3. Notes the Israeli withdrawal from within the Gaza Strip and parts of the northern West Bank and the importance of the dismantlement of the settlements therein as a step towards the implementation of the road map”;

        And then reiterates and stresses the full implementation of prior UNSC resolutions, including UNSC 465 in operative clauses 6 and 8:

        “6. Reiterates its demand for the immediate and complete cessation of all Israeli settlement activities in all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, and calls for the full implementation of the relevant resolutions of the Security Council [if you look at the preamble, it states: “Recalling also relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 446 (1979) of 22 March 1979, 465 (1980) of 1 March 1980, 476 (1980) of 30 June 1980, 478 (1980) of 20 August 1980, 497 (1981) of 17 December 1981 and 904 (1994) of 18 March 1994];

        8. Stresses the need for full implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions regarding the Israeli settlements”

        https://unispal.un.org/DPA/DPR/unispal.nsf/0/F13A8CE13D19DA768525726C00569C25

      • Nsaway
        Nsaway
        January 8, 2017, 12:48 pm

        4) Now having said all of the above, your central point that a “step back” happened when UNSC 1515 passed in 2003 because S/2003/529 didn’t explicitly call for dismantlement of all settlements and called for a negotiated resolution around settlements is a fair one. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree that you can interpret the language in S/2003/529 as implying dismantlement, it clearly didn’t call for it explicitly (when it could have) and did call for negotiations. So I do agree that I probably overstated my case when comparing UNSC 465 in 1980 to UNSC 2334 without discussing UNSC 1515 (and 1850, which for me, are tantamount to the same in calling for the implementation of the Road Map within current context). I would still add that within the context of what is meaningful and comparable on an apples to apples basis between S/2003/529 and UNSC 2334 (i.e. that part that talks about what that negotiated solution could look like), the inclusion of prescriptive language around what these borders should enhance and optimize in the former as opposed to the latter is a relevant omission, and arguably, makes the former stronger than the latter (again, where it is relevant and meaningful to compare).

        At any rate, I thank you for the good discussion. I think it was useful. I will try to include the key points of this discussion on my blog (in a follow-up post, as soon as I have time), and may inquire about adding that follow-up link in the Mondoweiss article for completeness (so that folks get the full picture).

      • Nsaway
        Nsaway
        January 8, 2017, 12:51 pm

        5) Last comment around Finkelstein:

        “Does that mean res. 2334 is meaningless?
        No. I think Norman Finkelstein explained quite well how such resolutions can “ become a political force if you know how to mobilize a public on their behalf…“, as Israel did with the Balfour Declaration etc”. – Siberiak

        I read Finkelstein’s piece. Yes, if the PA leadership was not incompetent and collaborationist, that would help in pressing the case and perhaps mobilizing the masses (and I’ve already stated that the politics need to change on the Palestinian side), but by that measure, it’s not about the resolution but about the PA leadership; i.e. they can do just as much if not more with prior and stronger resolutions and international law documents. So given current circumstances and current context, a non-enforceable resolution doesn’t get you more than other non-enforceable resolutions in the past.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        January 8, 2017, 8:44 pm

        Nsaway: Thank you for the good discussion. I think it was useful

        ———

        Yes, thanks. I found it useful as well. I’m tempted to reply to some points you just made (eg. about the rather non-specific “enhance maximum territorial contiguity” language ), but I’ll let you have the last word.

    • DaBakr
      DaBakr
      January 1, 2017, 10:06 am

      @gz

      ..I would feel safer if the mad mullahs had nukes and israel did not no matter how offensive i find thead (sic) mullahs to be.”

      a) there is just one mullah who runs the whole show and

      b) your statement provides the exact rationale for why the far left is ignorant, careless, tyrannical and as dangerous to freedom as anybody on the far extreme right.

      c) your admission that israel will not fall in your lifetime but certainty it will fall is right up there with, “one day the sun will implode”.

      • amigo
        amigo
        January 1, 2017, 11:12 am

        c) your admission that israel will not fall in your lifetime but certainty it will fall is right up there with, “one day the sun will implode”.duhbakr

        Actually the sun will not implode, it will just fade away and stop being a “light unto the planets”.

        That is to say , it will run out of gas.Just like that other “light unto the nations” already has.When are you going to run out of gas .

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer
        January 1, 2017, 4:24 pm

        @dohbaker

        As usual you provide no backup for your charges. If you think that Israel is in any way a rational state or it’s leaders rational actors then you live in la la land. It is a clearly belligerent rogue state supported only by the lunatic fringe such as yourself.

        Btw in the US there is only one leader with their finger on the button. In Israel…. well we don’t know as it follows an outlaw credo.

        Shorter version… blow it out your a**.

  5. Talkback
    Talkback
    December 31, 2016, 4:57 am

    Sibiriak: “There’s no “sleight of hand”– it’s all out in the open. Rightly or wrongly, negotiated land swaps have been an explicit part of the international two-state consensus for a very long time.”

    So which side achieved an advantage in negotiation about land swaps, if the dismantlement of all settlements is not longer demanded?

  6. Maghlawatan
    Maghlawatan
    December 31, 2016, 5:23 am

    The framework is broken so the language is irrelevant. Israel will have to be made surrender by outside forces. That means 78/22 is dead.

    “The essence of dramatic tragedy is not unhappiness. It resides in the solemnity of the remorseless working of things. “– AN Whitehead

    “Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to was never there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it.” –Flannery O’Connor

    History is a record of “effects” the vast majority of which nobody intended to produce.”
    ― Joseph Alois Schumpeter

  7. Elizabeth Block
    Elizabeth Block
    December 31, 2016, 10:04 am

    You are right about the language, but I’m not sure that it matters. What matters (I hope) is that this has blown the whole issue back onto the front pages, where it belongs. Perhaps in the future it will look like a tipping point.

  8. rosross
    rosross
    December 31, 2016, 8:53 pm

    The two-state solution is dead and it is questionable that it was ever alive. Israel has never offered the Palestinians anything they could accept, and why should they settle for less than a fully independent State with exactly the same rights as Israel to defend itself and control its air, land and sea borders, contiguous borders, and with East Jerusalem either the Palestinian capital or Jerusalem an international city run by the UN, owned by neither indigenous or coloniser.

    This Resolution is not a step back for Palestinians but a step forward because it has raised world awareness of the travesty that is the Israeli occupying apartheid State, and the only just solution is one democratic state shared equally by indigenous and coloniser alike and the more settlements Israel builds, the more it sets up Jew-only homes connected by Jew-only roads, the greater will be international outrage and the sooner BDS and sanctions will bring Israel to its knees and a one-state solution.

    • Nsaway
      Nsaway
      January 1, 2017, 2:37 am

      Nothing would make me happier than seeing the death of the 2-state solution once and for all. I think it has one foot in the grave at this point, but don’t underestimate its resilience given the international consensus that sees it as the only feasible path to “peace”. As such, if the 2-state solution does get resurrected at some point and there’s serious negotiations on that basis again, given that this resolution weakens your fundamental rights that were already enshrined in prior resolutions, it weakens, by extension, your negotiating position. I don’t see any benefit here.

      As for raising world awareness, personally, I’m not willing to trade off a weakening of fundamental legal rights for a few news cycles and a hope and a prayer that people will suddenly wake up after 68 years of injustice. I hope I’m wrong, and this resolution ends up being the tipping point that shifts world opinion decisively, but I’m not as optimistic as you are.

    • chinese box
      chinese box
      January 2, 2017, 10:36 am

      I hope it’s dead too, but experience proves it’s like Jason or Michael rising repeatedly from the dead after being stabbed, shot, burned alive.

      Having said there the MSM has been at least mentioning the 1ss concept more and more. That may be a tacit signal that elites are willing to throw in the towel on 2ss at some point.

  9. punterweger
    punterweger
    December 31, 2016, 9:26 pm

    I guess it would have been better if there had been no new resolution. The papers would not have had to put Palestine all over the front pages, and editorial columns. There would have been no need for OpEds discrediting the Zionist Lobby and the Zionist community could have spared itself all that agonizing debate and could continue to present a more unified front. Netanyahu could have spared himself all those angry off-putting words that alienated a lot of the world public. Just like before, only us engaged thinkers and activists would have to bother thinking or reading much about Palestine. That would be just great. I say thank you UN and all the countries who voted for the resolution, and will be happy to entitle the next leaflet “UN Security Council condemns Israeli settlements as flagrant violations of international law – 14-0” and look forward to discussing it with the public at the next vigil of Women in Black.

    • Nsaway
      Nsaway
      January 1, 2017, 1:59 am

      “I guess it would have been better if there had been no new resolution” – punterweger

      Never said that or implied that. I’m all for a new resolution, just not this new resolution. If you’re going to issue a new resolution, I would want it, at a minimum, not to weaken fundamental rights that have already been acknowledged in prior resolutions.

      On the other hand, you seem to be ok trading off a potential weakening of these fundamental rights for press, news cycles and editorial columns. And what happens when the media moves on? What are you left with?

      • punterweger
        punterweger
        January 1, 2017, 2:27 pm

        “I’m all for a new resolution, just not this new resolution.” – Nsaway

        As far as I know Resolution 2334 was the only one on offer. Without it there would have been nothing, i.e. the status quo ante, and the fall-out I mentioned would not have happened. Sure the media will move on, but that was not my only point. The split in the Zionist lobby will deepen and that is not an evanescent matter, and awareness of the “flagrant violations” has been spread further.

        Concerning the “potential weakening” of rights: the numerous UN resolutions have not prevented the continued violation of the fundamental rights of Palestinians in the past 70 years, but, when highlighting Israeli violations, they do have at least two important functions in addition to the media effect I already mentioned:
        1. they boost the morale of the Palestinian resistance and of their supporters throughout the world, and
        2. they serve as important verbal ammunition in the struggle against zionist colonization and its promoters throughout the world.

        Only the combined pressure of Palestinian resistance on the ground and pressure from abroad will bring any real gains for Palestinians. Popular pressure on Western governments such as that mobilized by BDS and its supporters is essential.

        As Rashid Khalidi concludes in his most recent column in the NYT, Resolution 2334 “calls upon states to ‘distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.’ This provides the international legal justification for sanctions by states, boycotts of goods produced in settlements, and divestment by unions, foundations and universities of assets in companies that support the colonization of Palestinian land.” This is no minor matter as BDS is crucial in growing the movement for Palestinian rights.

        My answer to the final question, “What are you left with?” is that we will have a growing and strengthened movement to support Palestine, even as the Zionist Lobby is weakened.

      • Nsaway
        Nsaway
        January 2, 2017, 12:35 am

        “As far as I know Resolution 2334 was the only one on offer. Without it there would have been nothing, i.e. the status quo ante” -punterweger

        I have no idea whether other separate resolutions were on offer, but I do know that language and text change substantially from version to version of the same numbered resolution. This resolution is no exception (in fact, a stronger version was initially put forth by the PA), so what I meant was that I would be open to a stronger version of resolution 2334, but not to the final version voted on. From my perspective, this means that I would have preferred to see this resolution in its final form vetoed.

        “Concerning the “potential weakening” of rights: the numerous UN resolutions have not prevented the continued violation of the fundamental rights of Palestinians in the past 70 years” – punterweger

        Yes, of course. But that doesn’t imply that we should be ok with weakened language that weakens rights, otherwise, the natural terminus is to accept no rights at all.

        “Only the combined pressure of Palestinian resistance on the ground and pressure from abroad will bring any real gains for Palestinians. Popular pressure on Western governments such as that mobilized by BDS and its supporters is essential”. -punterwager

        Wholeheartedly agree.

        “As Rashid Khalidi concludes in his most recent column in the NYT, Resolution 2334 “calls upon states to ‘distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.’ This provides the international legal justification for sanctions by states, boycotts of goods produced in settlements, and divestment by unions, foundations and universities of assets in companies that support the colonization of Palestinian land.” This is no minor matter as BDS is crucial in growing the movement for Palestinian rights”.

        I thought long and hard about this one before penning this article.

        First, with all due respect to Rashid, this resolution is not needed to do what he says. There’s more than enough legal documentation and resolutions on the books already to make that call. Take the EU for example. They already clearly distinguish between Israel and the settlements in product labeling, specifically because they don’t recognize the settlements as part of Israel, and they base that on existing international law. Nothing to do with this resolution.

        Second, regarding BDS, the foundational principles of BDS as proclaimed by the BNC in 2005 are implicitly opposed to this clause, because they specifically refuse to distinguish between the settlements and “Israel proper” when calling for BDS against Israel. In other words, in some alternate universe where the UNSC imposes sanctions on Israel because of settlements, if Israel decides to dismantle all settlements, then those sanctions would end. BDS would disagree with that stance (rightfully so). Sanctions should be imposed until the end of the Occupation, the implementation of the RoR, and true equality between Arab and Jewish Israelis within P48.

        “My answer to the final question, “What are you left with?” is that we will have a growing and strengthened movement to support Palestine, even as the Zionist Lobby is weakened”. – punterwager

        As I mentioned to another commentator, if this resolution ends up achieving that, I will be very happy and tip my hat to you. However, I am skeptical about this potential outcome, and given the cost of “potential weakening of rights”, I’m not comfortable with that tradeoff.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        January 2, 2017, 10:21 am

        Nsaway: …the foundational principles of BDS as proclaimed by the BNC in 2005 are implicitly opposed to this clause, because they specifically refuse to distinguish between the settlements and “Israel proper” when calling for BDS against Israel

        ——————-

        In 2005, the BDS Movement’s first goal was:

        [Israel] Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall”

        However, in 2010 that goal was changed to:

        [Israel]: Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall. [emphasis added]

        In 2016 it was changed once again to:

        [Israel] Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall.

        [Followed by the “fine print”:]

        “International law recognises the West Bank including East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the Syrian Golan Heights as occupied by Israel. As part of its military occupation, Israel steals land and forces Palestinians into ghettos, surrounded by checkpoints, settlements, and watchtowers as supplemental to the illegal apartheid Wall. Israel has imposed a medieval siege on Gaza, turning it into the largest open air prison in the world. Israel also regularly carries out large-scale assaults on Gaza that are widely condemned as constituting war crimes and crimes against humanity.” [emphasis added]

        ———————–

        The latest version simply displaces the reference to the 1967 occupation to the “fine print”, therefore it doesn’t constitute a substantive change to the 2010 version.

        It’s fair to say then that for a decade or so, the BDS Movement has in fact distinguished between occupied Palestinian territory defined by the pre-1967 “Green Line” and Israel proper.

        In order to gain the broadest support possible, BDS does not take a position on whether there should be one or two states in the I/P territory. The demand that Israel end its “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands ” could easily have been interpreted as a call for the end of Israel and the creation of a single Arab Palestinian state. So that wording was changed to reflect BDS’ principled avoidance of the one vs. two state issue.

        Furthermore, BDS claims to be a “rights-based” approach based on international law , and international law recognizes only territory captured in 1967 as “Occupied Palestinian Territory.” Thus, the revision of the first demand was necessary in order to bring it in line with international law.

        Cf. “Why do Zionists falsely claim BDS movement opposes two-state solution?” by Ali Abunimah

        https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/why-do-zionists-falsely-claim-bds-movement-opposes-two-state-solution

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        January 2, 2017, 10:35 am

        continued:

        because they specifically refuse to distinguish between the settlements and “Israel proper” when calling for BDS against Israel

        ———————

        Of course, I agree that BDS calls for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against Israel itself, not just the settlements in occupied Palestinian territory.

      • Nsaway
        Nsaway
        January 3, 2017, 2:49 am

        “It’s fair to say then that for a decade or so, the BDS Movement has in fact distinguished between occupied Palestinian territory defined by the pre-1967 “Green Line” and Israel proper”. – Siberiak

        Ya that was sloppy writing on my part. You are correct that the BNC distinguishes between Israel and the OPT per international law in their BDS statements. And that distinction is indeed relevant to their first demand, End the Occupation.

        However, within the context of the discussion, that distinction between the OPT and Israel proper is being highlighted to distinguish between settlements in the OPT and Israel proper, which would potentially enable BDS against settlement products, companies doing business in settlements etc. Leaving aside the fact, as previously mentioned, that you don’t need this resolution to enable that, what I meant in my previous statement is that the BNC, when calling for BDS against Israel, isn’t calling for BDS because of settlements in the OPT. So if Israel dismantled the settlements tomorrow under threat of sanctions, there would still be calls for BDS against Israel because the Occupation wouldn’t necessarily end, the RoR wouldn’t be implemented and inequality between Arab and Jewish Israelis would still be there. Furthermore, the reverse is true: the three pillars of BDS can still be achieved with settlements still intact. For example, within a one state paradigm, the Occupation could end, the RoR could be implemented and equality between Jews and Arab Israelis could be achieved, all while settlements remained as is. Ergo, there is no necessary connection between ending settlements and BDS, if by BDS we mean the movement started by Omar Barghouti et al.

  10. amigo
    amigo
    January 1, 2017, 11:34 am

    Obama,s spokesman (Rhodes ) has stated that the US will not allow a UN resolution that is one sided.He was referring to a possible RES resulting from the meeting of world FM,S in Paris on the 15th Jan.

    That leaves open the possibilty of a UNSCR recognising the State of Palestine.This would not be considered as one sided , (except of course by Israel) ,as the Israeli State has already been recognised , albeit with borders beyond those declared by Israel in 1948. UNSCR 2334 recognises Israel based on the 67 borders so the US would only be reconfirming it,s agreement with that part of 2334.

    Such a resolution can be short and refer only to Recognition of The state of Palestine.No need for references to incitement or terrorism or illegal settlement expansion or far right Israeli leaders.

    • annie
      annie
      January 1, 2017, 12:16 pm

      i thought rhodes said the US would veto a UNSC resolution recognizing a palestinian state.

      edit: “WH says it would veto UN resolution recognizing Palestinian state” http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/28/politics/ben-rhodes-veto-un-resolution-palestinian-state-obama/

      • amigo
        amigo
        January 1, 2017, 1:51 pm

        I stand corrected Annie but still hope the res is put forward by the “others “, just for the record .

      • annie
        annie
        January 1, 2017, 3:07 pm

        i very much hope a resolution is put forward amigo, and just because the US would veto a resolution recognizing a palestinian state doesn’t mean they would veto a resolution that includes penalizing israel for settlement expansion. there’s a lot more options for US abstention besides just statehood recognition. lots more options. i don’t think it’s a coincidence this conference is planned 5 days before obama leaves office nor a coincidence they are going back to the UNSC directly afterwards, so i am expecting another resolution — one the US will not veto.

      • talknic
        talknic
        January 1, 2017, 5:57 pm

        “WH says it would veto UN resolution recognizing Palestinian state”

        It appears Ben Rhodes is ignorant of the process.

        FACT: The UN doesn’t recognize states!

        FACT: States are recognized by a majority of the International Comity of Nations BEFORE the UNSC recommends them for UN Membership.

        FACT: Only then does the UN either accept or refuse membership through an UNGA vote.

        AFAIK There’s no veto vote on UNGA resolutions

      • annie
        annie
        January 1, 2017, 6:29 pm

        didn’t unga already recognize palestine?

      • talknic
        talknic
        January 1, 2017, 6:45 pm

        Annie Robbins January 1, 2017, 6:29 pm

        “didn’t unga already recognize palestine?”

        No. UNGA admitted Palestine as an observer state AFTER it had been recognized by a majority of the International Comity of Nations

    • talknic
      talknic
      January 1, 2017, 5:40 pm

      @ amigo January 1, 2017, 11:34 am

      ” … as the Israeli State has already been recognised , albeit with borders beyond those declared by Israel in 1948.”

      Only one state in the world has officially recognized Israel beyond its proclaimed borders of 1948. That country is Palestine!

      • amigo
        amigo
        January 2, 2017, 5:39 pm

        Thanks for the clarification Talknic.

        It can get so confusing.

  11. amigo
    amigo
    January 2, 2017, 5:37 pm

    Looks as if Australia is not doing Israel,s bidding !!,

    http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Australian-FM-We-wont-relocate-embassy-to-Jerusalem-477231

    Didn,t dubakr tell us just a day or two ago that the world was accruing in Israel,s favour and used a statement by former Australian leader Tony Abbott who called for moving embassy to Jerusalem.

    Poor duhbakr , all Israel,s saviours are no longer in a position to kiss Israel,s a–.

  12. Nsaway
    Nsaway
    January 17, 2017, 7:18 pm

    In the following blog post, I try to address some of the interesting comments that have arisen in response to this article. This can be considered as a follow-up to the original article.
    https://notesfromunderground.me/2017/01/17/follow-up-to-unsc-resolution-2334/

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