Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Friday 11 May 2012

Israel's National Unity Government & The Peace Process

Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer has a new article that comes via the antipodean J-Wire service.  It's entitled "Palestine – Israel has had enough".

Writes David Singer:

'The Palestinian Authority’s decision to unilaterally seek Palestinian statehood at the United Nations and UNESCO – in breach of its obligations under the Oslo Accords and the Roadmap – has propelled Benjamin Netanyahu and Shaul Mofaz into forming Israel’s government of national unity this week.

This was made abundantly clear when one of the four priorities announced by both leaders was "to move forward responsibly in the peace process".

With the new Government now controlling 78% of the votes in the Knesset, a new offer is set to be made by Israel to the Palestinian Authority in a final endeavour to resolve the allocation of sovereignty in the West Bank and Gaza between Jews and Arabs.

Israel has endured the machinations of the Palestinian Authority for the last 19 years. Its continuing obduracy in demanding – as a minimum – a Palestinian State equal in size to 100% of the West Bank and Gaza – with its capital in Jerusalem – has been a major stumbling block in ending the conflict.

Successive Israeli Prime Ministers of differing political persuasions have laboured in vain to try and achieve an equitable division of these territories between Israel and the Palestinian Authority within the context of a negotiated peace treaty.

Refusing to budge from 100% is hardly a basis on which anyone can ever hope to successfully negotiate.

The Palestinian Authority will now pay dearly for its mistake in breaking away from the Oslo Accords and the Roadmap to unilaterally seek recognition of statehood at the United Nations and UNESCO in September and October 2011.

These disastrous diplomatic forays were made outside – and in breach of – the negotiating framework established by the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap – which provided in Clause XXXI (7) of the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip:
"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."
President Obama’s attempt to counsel the Palestinian Authority against taking such action was made very clear when addressing world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly: 
"Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the U.N. If it were that  easy, it would have been accomplished by now."
Notwithstanding the threat by America to veto any such move for statehood – the application was pressed – only to find it ignominiously rejected before it was even voted on by the Security Council.

Undeterred  - the Palestinian Authority then sought international recognition of Palestinian statehood at UNESCO – where it succeeded – despite Israel and America’s strong opposition.

America immediately suspended the payment its membership dues to UNESCO under a domestic 1994 law on its statute books  - which prohibited payments to

"any affiliated organization of the United Nations which grants full membership as a state to any organization or group that does not have the internationally recognized attributes of statehood."
Palestine’s application did not comply with the internationally recognized attributes of statehood laid down in the Montevideo Convention 1933 – yet UNESCO had recognized Palestinian statehood in breach of such well established international law.
None of  the 194 member states of UNESCO – including Israel and America – has taken any steps since to try and reverse UNESCO’s unlawful decision or withdraw its delegates from UNESCO in protest – even though 87 of them did not affirmatively vote for Palestine‘s admission as a member state of UNESCO.

Their inaction amounts to recognition of Palestinian statehood and an end to Palestinian homelessness – resulting in the achievement of the two state solution outside the Oslo Accords and the Roadmap.

This state of  Palestine  is not required to be demilitarized nor recognize Israel as the Jewish State – as Israel had been demanding as conditions for its recognition of a Palestinian State.
[Emphasis added]

So where is Israel going to go from here in "moving forward responsibly in the peace process"?

A clue can be found in the following views expressed by Mofaz in November 2009 – which remain equally relevant in 2012:
"Today in Gaza, 100% of the territory and 100% of the population is under Hamas control.
 In the West Bank, there are three types of areas; Area A, B, and C.
 Palestinians have security and civilian responsibility in Area A.
 In Area B, Israel has security responsibility, the Palestinians have civilian sovereignty.
 Security and civilian issues are controlled by Israel in Area C
 Today, Areas A and B represent 40% of the West Bank territory and 99.2% of the Palestinian population. But there is no continuity between the Palestinians in Areas A and B.
 I am suggesting adding 20% of Area C to give full continuity to the Palestinian state, with 60% of the territory in the West Bank and 99% of the population."
On Jerusalem,Mofaz was very definite:
"The issue of Jerusalem should be discussed in a very sensitive way. There is no chance to divide Jerusalem. It will remain united as the capital of the state of Israel and we have to find a way to handle the daily life of the Jewish and Palestinian people in Jerusalem."
 On the vexed issue of building in Jewish settlements in the West Bank during negotiations, Mofaz was clear: 
"We will not freeze the life or building in Ma’ale Adumim, Gush Etzion, Efrat, Ariel and some others, all of which are known as the settlement blocs.
 Regarding the areas that will be the future Palestinian state, I believe that we should consider the continuation of the life of the people, but we should not build in this area because it will be under the sovereignty and responsibility of the Palestinian state.
 This makes it very clear which areas we will continue to build in and which we should allow daily life to continue but without any building."
Mofaz’s views – if accepted by Netanyahu – will form the basis for a final offer that Israel will be making to the Palestinian Authority. [Emphasis added]

No doubt such offer will be rejected – because it would mean a substantial diminution in territory from the last offer made by Israel’s Prime Minister Olmert in 2008 – and several even more attractive offers made and rejected in 1937, 1947 and 2000.

Israel would be totally justified in this decision – since it is now facing a militarized Palestinian State that does not recognize Israel as the Jewish State.

For Israel – the refusal of such an offer  would signal that it is time to annex Area C, retain security control in Area B – and  let the state of Palestine exercise its new found sovereignty in Areas A, B and Gaza.

Israel’s national unity government clearly signals  that it is not in a mood to play the Palestinian Authority’s game any more.'


  1. The latest move is, the PA wants to be recognised as a state at the next pointless hot air gabfest in Brazil

    Israel to fight PA request for statehood status at UN conference
    June environmental assembly in Brazil expected to draw 50,000 participants, including 100 heads of state

  2. "…Israel’s national unity Government clearly signals that it is not in a mood to play the Palestinian Authority’s game any more.”

    Well, better late, even very very very late than never!

  3. Sorry for the delay in publishing your comments, Ian and Rita. My computer has been playing up.

  4. If the PA were sucessful in a UN initiative for statehood. The result for the PA could mean collapse.

    Consider this; in late June 2011, a local survey agency led by well respected pollster Khalil Shikaki concluded that 76% of Palestinians believe that the U.S. will veto any bid for statehood at the UN. Furthermore, 66% believe Israel would make ''occupation'' worse and increase settlement activity if the UN agreed to statehood, while only 13% believe conditions would improve. So even if the resolution does not pass, the Palestinians might perceive it as a political failure and call for Abbas to resign. That would impower Hamas.

    Alternatively, a victory for the PA at the UN would mean wide international support for a UNGA resolution based on a maximalist Palestinian text, would most likely spur a response from Israel, including with-holding close to $300 million in customs clearances. A maximalist resolution would also result in the suspension of U.S aid which would harm both the PA and the joint Israeli-Palestinian coordination. In short, taken altogether, these delvopments could trigger the PA's collapse. Perhaps a less likely outcome than others, but I would not bet against the U.S and Israel with-holding funds.

    1. Sorry to be cynic but the phrase “well respected pollster” makes my spidey sense tingle.

      Khalil Shikaki
      “Prior to becoming the flavor of the month at Brandeis, Shikaki was the director of the World & Islam Studies Enterprise, a think tank set up at the University of South Florida by al-Arian, and which served as a front for for Islamic Jihad to establish its support network in this country.
      ... Shikaki, whose late brother Fathi was then the head of Islamic Jihad, was a part of the Islamic Jihad fundraising set-up in the United States. Transcripts of FBI wiretaps of Shikaki, al-Arian and their associates showed that Shikaki was responsible for distributing money in the West Bank under the guise of charitable activity and used Swiss bank accounts to launder funds raised in the United States. He claims they were for charities but at the trial of al-Arian, the government claimed the word “orphans” used in conversations between Shikaki and his confederates was a code word for Palestinian Islamic Jihad causes. “


      Brandeis U. Crown Center Fellow Khalil Shikaki Wants Murderer Freed

      Discover the Networks

  5. To Anonymous

    UN membership is unnecessary in Palestine's quest for recognition of statehood - since Palestine was recognized as a State by UNESCO on 31 October 2011.

    Not one of UNESCO's 194 member states has sought to have that decision reversed or overturned on the basis that Palestine is not a state or that it was admitted in breach of UNESCO's constitution.

    A state is a state is a state - and the two-state solution was achieved with the UNESCO decision.

    Palestine can apply to as many organizations as it likes - but whether it gets in or not is irrelevant so far as its demand for recognition of its claim to statehood is concerned.

    Let these 194 countries now get on with the business of building this state and putting an end to the claim of Palestinian homelessness.

    One good place to start with would be to abolish UNWRA and employ its resources in helping to resettle Palestinian Arabs wherever they presently live in their newly recognized state.

    1. A small point David, Niue and Cook Islands are full members of UNESCO but are not UN member states, they’re both NZ protectorates.

      I noticed at the time of vote, there are 193 UN member states and 194 UNESCO members (now 195) with Liechtenstein being the only UN state that isn’t in UNESCO.

    2. Ian

      If what you say is correct - then it would appear the admission of Niue and the Cook Islands also do not comply with the provisions of the Montevideo Convention 1933.

      All the more reason UNESCO should be approaching the International Court of Justice for its advisory opinion on what constitutes a State for the purposes of UNESCO's Constitution.

    3. Niue and Cook Islands are both listed as full members of UNESCO and are not in the Associate Member category

      Also associate members do not vote.
      UNWatch: UNESCO vote to admit Palestine: Who objected?

      You can certainly conclude that UNESCO do not follow their own rules and they also allow non UN states to vote.

      Who's going to join next the Principality of Sealand?


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