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Obama and the Middle East Conflict
Publication date: 2009-08-13

Obama's Attempts to Solve the Middle East Conflict

Having taken on themselves the task of resolving the Israel-Palestinian Conflict, the Obama Administration have moved from speeches and promises towards actions.

Are they moving in the right direction?

Their moves so far are as follows:

  1. They are telling the Israeli Government to stop expansion of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

  2. They are suggesting the Arab States to "normalize relations" with Israel, in exchange for the Israelis stopping the settlement expansion.

  3. They are suggesting that the issue of the Palestinian Refugees be resolved by resettling the refugees in the Arab States where they had been given refuge.
Can these activities resolve the Middle East Conflict?

  1. Telling the Israeli Government to stop expansion of the Israeli Settlements implies that the settlements established up to now can remain under Israeli control. This is not acceptable even to the so-called "moderate" (i.e. weak, compromising, manipulatable, subservient) Palestinians. The Arab Plan stipulates not just cessation of the expansion of the settlements, but complete removal of all the post-1967 settlements. So, this move fails.

  2. The suggestion that the Arab States "normalize relations with Israel" so as to "encourage the Israelis to stop the expansion of their settlements", will not be accepted by the Arab States for obvious reasons. Such acceptance would mean abandoning all the claims to all the Palestinian Land taken so far in exchange for a promise by the Americans to ask the Israelis not to take any more Palestinian Land. No Arab State, or any group of these states, nor any other state, group or organization, have the authority to extinguish the property rights of the Palestinians, because these rights are based on the most basic principles of Justice to violate which is immoral and illegal. The Arab States cannot legitimize the creation of the State of Israel until full justice is achieved for the Palestinians. So, this move fails.

  3. But, will resettling the Palestinian Refugees in the Arab States where they had been given refuge resolve the issue? We shall consider this issue in detail below.

The issue of the Palestinian Refugees arose as a result of the expulsion of some million Palestinians from the cities, towns and villages in coastal Palestine in 1947-48 to make room for the pre-1967 State of Israel. This issue is evidenced by the UN Resolution 194, Article 11 of which reads as follows:

"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".
This Article had not been implemented, and this failure was the original cause of all the violence that has been going on for the past 60 years and became known as the "Middle East Conflict".

The Palestinian "Right of Return" amounts to the implementation of this UN resolution. The Israelis are opposed to this, saying that any resettlement of the Palestinian Refugees should be outside of Israel. The Obama Administration have approached some Arab heads of state, suggesting that the Palestinian Refugees be absorbed into the Arab countries where they had been given refuge.

Should the Arab States involved agree to this proposal? And, if they did, would it have resolved the conflict?

To answer these questions one needs to consider the role of all the parties concerned in this issue, and their legal status in it.

The State of Israel was established by the governments of the European Powers and the USA after World War II. This act was motivated by purely European issues, such as "Anti-Semitism", "the Holocaust", and "the Jewish Question", all of which arose out of the position of the Jews in the European countries

Once established, the State of Israel was supported financially, militarily, and diplomatically mostly by the US governments, with some European support. The State of Israel, as established by the European Power and the US was intended as a Jewish State.

To make room for the State of Israel some million Palestinian Arabs were displaced from their original places of residence. To expel people from their places of residence without a valid reason is by its very nature a criminal act. The only lawful way to obtain other people's property is purchase. The UN Resolution 194 is based on this principle. Thus, the Palestinians expelled from their properties are entitled either to return of their properties (restitution), or, if this is impossible, to compensation, resettlement, and full citizenship in an acceptable to them country.

The fact that the US Administration are suggesting that some Arab States should "absorb" the Palestinian Refugees shows that the US Administration acknowledges the entitlement of the Palestinian Refugees to resettlement and compensation. But does the liability to the Palestinians lie with the Arab States?

The Arab States have provided refuge to some of the Palestinian Refugees, but this does not make them liable for the Compensation and Resettlement to which the Palestinians are entitled. Nor would the provision of refuge to the Palestinians or even their "absorption" by the Arab States extinguish the Palestinian rights to restitution and compensation at the hand of those who had caused their dispossession.

The liability for compensation and restitution lies with those who have expelled the Palestinians from their properties and who have been enjoying the beneficial use of these properties. And this is the Israelis, the US and the European Powers who have established the State of Israel and caused the dispossession of the Palestinians.

To suggest that the Arab States should bear the liability for the expropriation of the Palestinians because they have provided refuge to the dispossessed, is like suggesting that a victim of robbery should be compensated by his brother, because he gave some money to the victim after he was robbed to help him out, but that the robber should keep the proceeds of his robbery and be free from any liability.

Not only seeking to shift their own liability for the Palestinian dispossession onto the Arab States is legally wrong and morally obtuse, but it is also incapable of resolving the conflict. It will neither do justice to the Palestinians, nor will it satisfy the desire of the Israelis to seize more of the Palestinian Land.

Thus, all the attempts by the Obama Administration to resolve the Middle East Conflict are doomed to failure, unless they choose to do justice to both the sides at the same time, as per The Middle East Settlement 2005.

President Barak Hussain Obama was elected, because the previous US Administration have failed to provide honest and competent government to their own area of governance and have pursued a "foreign policy" of lawless criminal wars around the world.

To get elected, President Obama delivered speeches and made promises to get support of the various groups. But, like all politicians, he had made little effort to study the issues and to find out what needs to be done to make his promises reality. But, then, the only reality politicians are concerned about is how to get elected and to keep themselves in office.

But, now, that Barak Hussain Obama is the President, he has to deal with the Realities of Government, and, if he fails to deliver honest and competent government, he will fail, as his predecessors had failed. And this will be another lesson to all the World that Politics and Government are not the same thing, and that, if the World wants honest and competent government, it needs to abandon politics.

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