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Thursday, November 22, 2007

'Palestinians' demanding 'right of return', building suspension in 'East Jerusalem'

Haaretz has published on its web site a draft of the proposed 'joint declaration' of Israel and the 'Palestinians' to be signed at Annapolis. The draft was dated November 17 - this past Saturday - and it is conceivable that changes have been inserted into the draft since then. The sides are rumored to be 'far apart' on the declaration. But what is in there already ought to be enough to make an Israeli's blood boil.

In the section entitled "negotiations," the 'Palestinian' proposal includes the following:
These negotiations will be based on the agreed terms of reference and principles herein, including the Road Map as endorsed by UNSC Resolution 1515 (2003) [without Ariel Sharon's fourteen reservations to which Israel's acceptance of the road map was made subject. CiJ] which embodied President Bush's vision and which called for an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967; the Arab peace initiative of 2002 [the Saudi plan. CiJ]; international law; the establishment of the sovereign independent State of Palestine living side by side in peace and security with the State of Israel [note how 'security' is now something the 'Palestinians' require and not the Israelis. CiJ]; and shall be based on UN resolutions 242, 338, 1397 and UNGA resolution 194.
For those of you who are not familiar with it, here is part of the text of UN General Assembly (i.e. non-binding) Resolution 194, passed on December 11, 1948. I have highlighted the key phrases for you, but the key paragraph is paragraph 11.
The General Assembly,

Having considered further the situation in Palestine,

1. Expresses its deep appreciation of the progress achieved through the good offices of the late United Nations Mediator in promoting a peaceful adjustment of the future situation of Palestine, for which cause he sacrificed his life [Count Bernadotte who was allegedly assassinated by the Irgun. CiJ]; and

Extends its thanks to the Acting Mediator and his staff for their continued efforts and devotion to duty in Palestine;

2. Establishes a Conciliation Commission consisting of three States Members of the United Nations which shall have the following functions:

(a) To assume, in so far as it considers necessary in existing circumstances, the functions given to the United Nations Mediator on Palestine by resolution 182;(S-2) of the General Assembly of 14 May 1948 [the day before Israel's declaration of independence. CiJ];

(b) To carry out the specific functions and directives given to it by the present resolution and such additional functions and directives as may be given to it by the General Assembly or by the Security Council;

(c) To undertake, upon the request of the Security Council, any of the functions now assigned to the United Nations Mediator on Palestine or to the United Nations Truce Commission by resolutions of the Security Council; upon such request to the Conciliation Commission by the Security Council with respect to all the remaining functions of the United Nations Mediator on Palestine under Security Council resolutions, the office of the Mediator shall be terminated;

3. Decides that a Committee of the Assembly, consisting of China, France, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom and the United States of America [the five permanent members of the Security Council. CiJ], shall present, before the end of the first part of the present session of the General Assembly, for the approval of the Assembly, a proposal concerning the names of the three States which will constitute the Conciliation Commission;

4. Requests the Commission to begin its functions at once, with a view to the establishment of contact between the parties themselves and the Commission at the earliest possible date;

5. Calls upon the Governments and authorities concerned to extend the scope of the negotiations provided for in the Security Council's resolution of 16 November 1948 and to seek agreement by negotiations conducted either with the Conciliation Commission or directly, with a view to the final settlement of all questions outstanding between them;

6. Instructs the Conciliation Commission to take steps to assist the Governments and authorities concerned to achieve a final settlement of all questions outstanding between them;

7. Resolves that the Holy Places - including Nazareth - religious buildings and sites in Palestine should be protected and free access to them assured [obviously, that didn't happen until 1967. CiJ], in accordance with existing rights and historical practice; that arrangements to this end should be under effective United Nations supervision; that the United Nations Conciliation Commission, in presenting to the fourth regular session of the General Assembly its detailed proposals for a permanent international régime for the territory of Jerusalem, should include recommendations concerning the Holy Places in that territory, that with regard to the Holy Places in the rest of Palestine the Commission should call upon the political authorities of the areas concerned to give appropriate formal guarantees as to the protection of the Holy Places and access to them, and that these undertakings should be presented to the General Assembly for approval;

8. Resolves that, in view of its association with three world religions, the Jerusalem area, including the present municipality of Jerusalem plus the surrounding villages and towns, the most eastern of which shall be Abu Dis; the most southern, Bethlehem, the most western, Ein Karim (including also the built-up area of Motsa); and the most northern Shu'fat, should be accorded special and separate treatment from the rest of Palestine and should be placed under effective United Nations control;

Requests the Security Council to take further steps to ensure the demilitarization of Jerusalem at the earliest possible date;

Instructs the Commission to present to the fourth regular session of the General Assembly detailed proposals for a permanent international régime for the Jerusalem area which will provide for the maximum local autonomy for distinctive groups consistent with the special international status of the Jerusalem area;

The Conciliation Commission is authorized to appoint a United Nations representative, who shall co-operate with the local authorities with respect to the interim administration of the Jerusalem area;

9. Resolves that, pending agreement on more detailed arrangements among the Governments and authorities concerned, the freest possible access to Jerusalem by road, rail or air should be accorded to all inhabitants of Palestine;

Instructs the Conciliation Commission to report immediately to the Security Council, for appropriate action by that organ, any attempt by any party to impede such access;


11. Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible;

Instructs the Conciliation Commission to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation, and to maintain close relations with the Director of the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees and, through him, with the appropriate organs and agencies of the United Nations;
Paragraph 11 is the paragraph on which the 'Palestinians' have always hung their 'right of return.' And Israel always resisted it (and the 'Palestinians' themselves for the most part never tried to exercise it) because of the key phrase "and live at peace with their neighbours." Sixty years later there ought not to be much to discuss on this point. But as you can see, the 'Palestinians' are not dropping it, and as I noted in an earlier post, the Olmert-Barak-Livni government has apparently opened Pandora's box on this point.

The part on Jerusalem is in the concluding paragraph and the 'Palestinian' proposal reads as follows:
This declaration shall be considered binding on both parties upon signature. Neither side shall initiate or take steps that shall change the status of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip that are not contemplated herein, pending the full implementation of the treaty.

All Palestinian prisoners shall be released upon the signing of the treaty. Furthermore, Israel shall make every effort to improve the daily lives and advance the welfare of the Palestinian population pending the full implementation of the treaty.
The first paragraph would necessitate a building suspension in all parts of Jerusalem that are over the 'green line.' For example, it would require stopping all building projects in my neighborhood, which is over the line. The last sentence of the second paragraph is code for Israel removing roadblocks and other security measures that prevent armed terrorists from entering into 'Israel proper' and save lives.

Haaretz has a lengthy analysis of the document. Here is some of what they have to say about it:
The source said the main flaw in the Palestinian formulations was that there is no paragraph clearly stating that the construction of settlements will be frozen during the negotiations.

The document consists of a number of sections, mainly declarative, on which the two teams had reached agreement, but mainly includes parallel paragraphs proposed by each side and marked "I" for Israel and "P" for Palestinian.

The draft, which the Palestinians called a "joint document" and not a joint declaration, begins with an affirmation of "our determination to bring an end to bloodshed, suffering and decades of conflict between our peoples, to usher in a new era of peace based on freedom, security, justice, dignity, respect and mutual recognition, and to propagate a culture of peace and non violence."

The document, dated November 17 at the King David Hotel, was drafted by Shalom Turjeman and Tal Becker for Israel and Saeb Erekat and Zeinah Salahi for the Palestinians.

The Palestinian portion of the draft does not include a demand to dismantle roadblocks or the separation barrier, and does not mention the decision by the Internation Court of Justice in The Hague with regard to the barrier.

The PLO also makes no reference to the situation in the Gaza Strip and does not demand that the crossings be opened to ease the lives of the people there. These omissions of what were accepted opening principles and key Palestinians stances are causing discontent among senior Palestinian leaders, the source said.

The document begins with a preamble stating its goals, and contains a section on the negotiations, on the road map and on the function of the international community and the countries in the region. It also discusses a follow-up to the negotiations (only the Palestinians proposed this section) and contains a closing paragraph.

The Palestinian draft makes do with a general statement, which also appeared in the interim agreement in 1995, that neither side would initiate steps that would change the status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This is the formulation the Palestinians cite in arguing that construction in the settlements contradicts the Oslo Accords. The only addition to this section is a reference to East Jerusalem as part of the West Bank.

One major point of contention as revealed by the draft is the question of a timetable for ending negotiations. The Palestinians write that the two sides agree to "launch good faith negotiations in order to conclude a treaty within 8 months of the convening of the meeting in Annapolis, but not later than President Bush's term, providing a just solution to all aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." The Israeli position as it appears in the November 17 draft states specifically "no agreement to timeline."

The Palestinians write that the negotiations will be "based on the agreed terms of reference and principles herein, including the Road Map...which called for an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967, the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, international law, the establishment of a sovereign independent State of Palestine living side by side in peace and security with the State of Israel"

However, according to the Israelis, "the negotiations will be guided by the agreed terms of reference for the peace process."

The Palestinians believe that the Israeli stance will allow Israel to deviate and change the previous agreements as it sees fit.

Among the terms of reference for negotiations, the Palestinians also include United Nations resolution 194 on the Palestinian right of return.

Israel does not accept these terms of reference, but notes the Quartet's demands, which led in 2006 to a boycott of the Hamas government and include recognition of Israel and a denouncement of terror.
I am swamped with work today and will try to have more on this later. Probably not until several hours from now.


At 12:52 AM, Blogger YMedad said...

Bernadotte was assassinated by a Lechi front-organization named Chazit HaMoledet. The shooter was Yehoshua Cohen, later Ben-Gurion's body guard in Sdeh Boker.

At 10:13 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


Somehow, I knew you would know the whole story.... You're the only one I know who really knows the pre-State period well (the kids who learn it in school get too much propaganda thrown in). Kol HaKavod!


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