A New Direction for the Palestinian People

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(The author served as Legal Adviser to the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East peace Negotiations from 1991 to 1993. The viewpoints expressed here are his own.)

Just before the September 13, 1993 Oslo Agreement signing ceremony on the White House Lawn, I commented to another high-level official of the Palestine Liberation Organization: “This document is like a straight-jacket. It will be very difficult to negotiate your way out of it!” This P.L.O. official agreed with my assessment, and responded: “Yes, you are right. It will depend upon our negotiating skill.”

Of course I have great respect for Palestinian negotiators. They have done the very best they can negotiating in good faith with the Israeli government that has been invariably backed up by the United States. But there has never been any good faith on the part of the Israeli government either before, during, or after Oslo. The same is true for the United States.

Even if Oslo had succeeded, it would have resulted in the permanent imposition of a bantustan upon the Palestinian People. But Oslo has run its course! Therefore, it is my purpose here to sketch out a NEW DIRECTION for the Palestinian People and their supporters around the world to consider as an alternative to the Oslo process.

First, we must immediately move for the de facto suspension of Israel throughout the entirety of the United Nations System, including the General Assembly and all U.N. subsidiary organs and bodies. We must do to Israel what the U.N. General Assembly has done to the genocidal rump Yugoslavia and to the criminal apartheid regime in South Africa! Here the legal basis for the de facto suspension of Israel at the U.N. is quite simple:

As a condition for its admission to the United Nations Organization, Israel formally agreed to accept General Assembly Resolution 181(II) (1947) (on partition and Jerusalem trusteeship) and General Assembly Resolution 194 (III) (1948) (Palestinian right of return), inter alia. Nevertheless, the government of Israel has expressly repudiated both Resolution 181(II) and Resolution 194(III). Therefore, Israel has violated its conditions for admission to U.N. membership and thus must be suspended on a de facto basis from any participation throughout the entire United Nations System.

Second, any further negotiations with Israel must be conducted on the basis of Resolution 181(II) and its borders; Resolution 194(III); subsequent General Assembly resolutions and Security Council resolutions; the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions of 1949; the 1907 Hague Regulations; and other relevant principles of public international law.

Third, we must abandon the fiction and the fraud that the United States government is an “honest broker.” The United States government has never been an honest broker from well before the very outset of these negotiations in 1991. Rather, the United States has invariably sided with Israel against the Palestinians. We need to establish some type of international framework to sponsor these negotiations where the Palestinian negotiators will not be subjected to the continual bullying, threats, harassment, intimidation, bribery, lies, and deceptions perpetrated by the United States working in conjunction with Israel.

Fourth, we must move to have the U.N. General Assembly adopt comprehensive economic, diplomatic, and travel sanctions against Israel according to the terms of the Uniting for Peace Resolution (1950). Pursuant thereto, the General Assembly’s Emergency Special Session on Palestine is now in recess just waiting to be recalled.

Fifth, the Provisional Government of the State of Palestine must sue Israel before the International Court of Justice in The Hague for inflicting acts of genocide against the Palestinian People in violation of the 1948 Genocide Convention!

Sixth, we must pressure the Member States of the U.N. General Assembly to found an International Criminal Tribunal for Palestine (ICTP) in order to prosecute Israeli war criminals, both military and civilian, including and especially Israeli political leaders. The U.N. General Assembly can set up an ICTP by a majority vote pursuant to its powers to establish “subsidiary organs” under U.N. Charter article 22. This International Criminal Tribunal for Palestine should be organized by the U.N. General Assembly along the same lines as the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) that has already been established by the U.N. Security Council.

Seventh, concerned citizens and governments all over the world must organize a comprehensive campaign of economic divestment and disinvestment from Israel along the same lines of what they did to the former criminal apartheid regime in South Africa. This worldwide divestment/disinvestment campaign played a critical role in dismantling the criminal apartheid regime in South Africa. For much the same reasons, a similar divestment / disinvestment campaign against Israel will play a critical role in dismantling its criminal apartheid regime.

These seven steps taken in conjunction with each other should provide the Palestinian People with enough political and economic leverage needed to negotiate a just and comprehensive peace settlement with Israel. By contrast, if the Oslo process is continued, it will inevitably result in the permanent imposition of a Bantustan upon the Palestinian People living in occupied Palestine, as well as the final dispossession and disenfranchisement of all Palestinian People living in their Diaspora. Consequently, I call upon all Palestinian People living everywhere, as well as their supporters around the world, to consider this NEW DIRECTION that I have sketched out here today.

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