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Friday, August 28, 2009

Let the 'Palestinians' abrogate Oslo

Alan Baker, the former legal adviser to the foreign ministry, argues that 'Palestinian' Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's plan to declare a 'Palestinian state' by 2011, with or without Israeli approval, would violate the Oslo 'interim accords' that were signed in 1995.
THE 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with all its faults and difficulties, nevertheless still remains the valid source of authority for the Palestinian administration in the territories, as well as for the entire functioning of Palestinian governance. This agreement sets out and enables the establishment and functioning of the Palestinian Council (which serves as the parliament of the Palestinian Authority), details the mode of election of its members and appointment of its ministers, and defines its jurisdiction, its legislative and other powers, structure and prerogatives.

Similarly, the entire structure of the PA police force, the PA judiciary and other "state" institutions, as well as their security and economic relationship with Israel, are all part and parcel of this Interim Agreement, intended to serve as the ongoing basis and source of authority pending the completion of a permanent-status agreement, which would clearly replace the "interim" agreement.

But one of the most important and intriguing, though lesser known provisions of the Interim Agreement lies - probably deliberately - hidden deep in the seventh subparagraph of the Final Clauses (Article XXXI).

According to this provision, "Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent-status negotiations."

Clearly this vital provision places a reciprocal and parallel obligation on each of the parties - the PLO and Israel - not to unilaterally alter the status of the territories until such change is mutually agreed upon. The intention of the parties during the negotiations was clear - the Palestinian side will not declare a unilateral state, and the Israelis will not declare annexation.
There are several reasons why Baker's argument may not be valid or why Israelis may not want to make the argument. Here are some of them:
  • Has there been a de facto abrogation of the interim agreement due to 'Palestinian' violations?
  • If the agreement has been abrogated, what are the consequences? Does Israel have the right to re-take control of the territory?
  • The 'Palestinians' would argue that Israeli 'settlement' expansion since 1995 has changed the status of the 'West Bank' and Gaza. They would argue that we have violated the treaty too. Have we abrogated it? Do we want to abrogate it?
At the end of the day, the Oslo interim agreement was never carried out except for the establishment of 'Palestinian' institutions of government that have been corrupt, ineffective and war mongering. The 'Palestinians' have violated the agreement to the point of abrogation through thousands of terror incidents. An argument may also be made that Israel has violated the interim agreement. Israel may be better off consigning the interim agreement to the dustbin of history.


At 10:24 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel would be better off annexing Judea and Samaria. The Palestinians could either get Israeli citizenship or they could move to Jordan. There would be no two state solution but the Palestinians are not interested in statehood and any Palestinian state would become a terror base against Israel. Oslo was based on the assumption the Palestinians would give up their dream of destroying Israel and accept a permanent end to the conflict. That turn out to be mistaken and its better to consign the failed Oslo experiment to the dustbin of history.

At 2:28 PM, Blogger R-MEW Editors said...

Settlements are a permanent status issue, i.e., Oslo does not prohibit settlements, so it would be difficult for the Palestinians to argue that Israel has violated or abrogated the Accords. On the other hand, as you correctly state, the Pals have already violated them thousands of times.

Like the Road Map, the Accords are a useful fiction which have never been adhered to by the Palestinians. Israel sustains them because the alternatives are unsavory for the time being. If the Pals formally abrogate the Accords by declaring a state in J&S, Israel will have to choose between annexation or surrender of the territories.

Personally, I think it is a non-issue because Netanyahu has already embraced "two-states" and is quickly succumbing on all of the interim steps to make that possible at the earliest possible time.


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