Sunday May 19, 2013
Palestinian President Abbas at United Nations on ThursdaySubmitted by Francis Boyle for Salem-News.com
Why does the U.S. have to fight the recognition of Palestine?
(CHAMPAIGN, ILL) - President Obama attacked the possibility of Palestinians seeking a vote on statehood at the U.N. General Assembly. Professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign, Boyle served as legal advisor to the Palestine Liberation Organization and Yasser Arafat on the 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence, as well as to the Palestinian delegation to the Middle East peace negotiations from 1991 to 1993, where he drafted the Palestinian counter-offer to the now defunct Oslo Agreement. His books include "Palestine, Palestinians and International Law" and the recently-released "The Palestinian Right of Return under International Law."
He said today: "On November 15, 1988 the Palestine National Council meeting in Algiers proclaimed the Palestinian Declaration of Independence that created the independent state of Palestine. Today the State of Palestine is bilaterally recognized de jure [as a matter of law] by about 133 states. Palestine has de facto diplomatic recognition from most states of Europe. It was only massive political pressure applied by the U.S. government that prevented European states from according de jure diplomatic recognition to Palestine.
"Palestine is a member state of the League of Arab States and of the Organization of Islamic Conference. When the International Court of Justice in the Hague -- the World Court of the United Nations System -- conducted its legal proceedings on Israel’s apartheid wall on the West Bank, it invited the State of Palestine to participate in the proceedings. In other words, the International Court of Justice recognized the state of Palestine. Palestine also has full-fledged state membership in UNESCO, which is a United Nations affiliated organization.
"Palestine effectively has observer state status with the United Nations, and basically all the rights of a U.N. member state except the right to vote. Palestine has de facto U.N. membership. The only thing keeping Palestine from de jure U.N. membership is the implicit threat of a veto at the U.N. Security Council by the United States, which is clearly illegal because it would violate a solemn and binding pledge given by the United States not to veto states applying for U.N. membership.
"The votes are there already in the U.N. General Assembly to admit Palestine pursuant to the terms of its Uniting for Peace Resolution. It is the U.N. General Assembly that admits a member state, not the Security Council. Obama’s blockage at the Security Council can be circumvented by the General Assembly acting under the Uniting for Peace Resolution to admit Palestine as a U.N. member state. By means of the Uniting for Peace Resolution, the Palestinians could have full-fledged state membership for Palestine in the United Nations by the end of next week if that is what they want to do.”
Palestine Liberation Organization
Negotiations Affairs Department
The Deterioration of the Palestine Situation
September 2011- September 2012
After 45 years of Israeli occupation, the daily reality in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including East Jerusalem (OPT), continues to deteriorate to the point where the two-state solution is almost inconceivable. The statistics below bear witness to the fact that Israel has no interest in meaningful negotiations. A non-violent and diplomatic way to protect Palestinian inalienable rights and to save the prospects of justice and peace is for Palestine to apply for membership in the most multilateral organization in the world, the United Nations.
Ahead of President Abbas’ speech in the UN General Assembly, we have collected some of the key figures regarding Israeli occupation and colonization policies within the Occupied Palestinian Territory between the last UNGA General Debate and today. The status quo is clearly untenable.
Between the 2011 and 2012 speeches of President Mahmoud Abbas to the U.N.
· …Israeli forces demolished approximately 510 Palestinian structures in Area C, displacing close to 770 Palestinians.
· …the UN reported that a record number of Palestinians were displaced as a result of home demolitions in 2011. More than 1,000 Palestinians in the OPT (including East Jerusalem) lost their homes, double the number from the previous year and the highest number since 2005.
· …560 Palestinian-owned structures, including 200 residential structures and 46 rainwater collection cisterns and pools, were demolished by the Israeli authorities. (ICHAD)
· …the Israeli authorities demolished over 200 Palestinian-owned structures in the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea area, displacing around 430 people and affecting the livelihoods of another 1,200 Palestinians. (OCHA)
· …Israel demolished 46 Palestinian rainwater-harvesting cisterns, preventing Palestinians from even collecting rainwater, and 25 Palestinian wells primarily used for agricultural and residential use. The situation did not change during 2012.
· … During the olive harvest, about 42% of applications submitted for permits to access Palestinian orchards in the areas behind the illegal wall were rejected. (OCHA)
The situation today:
· Since 2007, incidents of settler attacks against Palestinians have risen by an alarming 315%.
· The UN reports that more than 250,000 Palestinians remain at risk of settler violence, 76,000 of whom are deemed to be at high risk.
· Over the past four decades, the residency of 14,084 Palestinians has been revoked, directly impacting more than 20% of Palestinian families in occupied East Jerusalem. These residents are no longer permitted to live or work in their city. Of all the revocations that have been carried out from 1967 until today, about half have occurred since 2006.
· The Israeli “Mayor” of the so-called “Jerusalem municipality” has proposed depriving Palestinian Jerusalemites east of the illegal wall of their Jerusalem IDs. If successful, this proposal would affect an estimated 80,000 of 361,000 Palestinians and would be the largest act of deportation and de-population of the City since the beginning of the occupation.
· The Israeli military has destroyed over 3,300 Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem since 1967.
· Because of Israeli restrictions, at least 160,000 Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem have no suitable or legal connection to water networks.
· Israel continues to restrict Palestinians’ basic right to worship freely. This includes barring most Palestinians from accessing the Al Aqsa Mosque Compound and allowing only West Bank residents above 40 years of age to enter East Jerusalem and access the compound. 77.4% of Palestinians in the OPT are under the age of 30.
· At Easter, Israel’s policies against Jerusalem are also prominent: While Christians from all over the world take part in Easter ceremonies in occupied East Jerusalem, many indigenous Palestinian Christians are prevented from worshipping in Jerusalem. Those who are granted access are forced to apply through a discriminatory permit regime, followed by humiliation at checkpoints on their way to worship.
· Over 60% of the West Bank is considered Area C, where Israel retains extensive control, including over security, planning and zoning.
· Water consumption dips to 20 liters/capita/day (l/c/d) in communities without water infrastructure, one fifth of the World Health Organization’s recommendation.
· Communities depending on tankered water pay up to 400% more for every liter than those connected to the water network.
· The Jordan Valley makes up 28.5% of the West Bank and is home to almost 60,000 Palestinians. There are 37 Israeli settlements in the area, with a population of 9,500 settlers in contravention of international law. 94% of the land is effectively off limits to Palestinians.
· The Israeli settlers living in the Jordan valley consume the equivalent of one-third of the entire amount of water made available to all 2.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank. (B’Tselem)
· Approximately 18% of the West Bank has been designated as a closed military zone for training, or “firing zone”; this is roughly the same amount of the West Bank under full Palestinian authority.
· The planned expansion area of the around 135 Israeli settlements in the OPT is 9 times larger than their built-up area. (B’Tselem)
· Over 3,000 demolition orders are outstanding throughout the OPT, including 18 targeting schools.
· In 2010, the estimated total cost of occupation to the Palestinian economy was $6.9 billion, a staggering 84.9% of GDP.
· 70% of Palestinians are refugees most of whom have been waiting 64 years for the recognition and implementation of their rights.
· There is ongoing construction in ALL settlements within the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
Israel’s actions make it patently clear that there is currently no prospect for meaningful negotiations. If the international community truly wants to resolve this conflict, then the culture of impunity granted to Israel must come to an end. The Palestinian application to the United Nations is an effort to legitimize Palestine in the international arena and is a way to salvage the two-state solution.Self-determination is our sovereign right; international recognition is the legal and moral responsibility of the international community.All those who endorse the two-state solution along the 1967 borders, and wish to see a meaningful and peaceful resolution to this conflict, should vote in favour of admitting Palestine at the United Nations.
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