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Recognizing the Palestinian State
Publication date: 2011-07-29

Is Recognition of the Palestinian State Useful and Will It Solve the Conflict?

The Palestinian Authority are to apply to the UN seeking “state recognition”, and the Israelis say it will not change anything.

Recognition of the pre‐1967 West Bank and Gaza as “Palestinian State” will change the presently “unclear” status of these territories. It will not “resolve the Middle East Conflict”, because the conflict is not about the legal status of the West Bank and Gaza.

So, what is this “conflict” about?

In fact there are two distinct conflicts, because these conflicts arose at different times and involve different parties.

The first conflict arose in 1948, at the time of the creation of the State of Israel. And the parties to this conflict are (1) the pre‐1948 residents of Palestine who were expelled from their places of residence in what became the State of Israel (within its pre‐1967 borders) and became “refugees” and (2) the State of Israel and those “powers” who established that state and prevented the return of the refugees to their pre‐1948 places of residence.

The second conflict arose in 1967, when the Israeli army occupied Gaza and the West Bank. And the parties to this conflict are (1) the residents of the areas remaining under the Israeli occupation and (2) the State of Israel.

To resolve the first conflict requires either return of the refugees and their descendants to their original places of residence, or payment to them of adequate compensation and provision to them of acceptable to them citizenship — Article 11 of the UN General Assembly Resolution 194 (11 December 1948).

To resolve the second conflict requires removal of all Israeli presence from the territories occupied by them in 1967 and still remaining under their occupation — Article 1 (i) of the UN Security Council Resolution 242 (22 November 1967).

Recognition of any territories as Palestinian State, while they remain under Israeli occupation and while the issue of the Palestinians displaced in 1948 remains unresolved, will not resolve the two conflicts. This does not mean, however, that recognition of the pre‐1967 Palestinian territories as Palestinian State is useless, because it will clarify the status of these territories.

Before the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the West Bank was part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan — it was not part of the State of Israel, nor was it Palestinian State. In 1988 King Hussein of Jordan donated the West Bank to the Palestinian Liberation Organization for a future Palestinian State.

So, the recognition sought by the Palestinian Authority would confirm that the Palestinian territories outside of the pre—1967 State of Israel (the West Bank and Gaza) are a sovereign Palestinian State.

To be capable of resolving the two conflicts, the government of that sovereign Palestinian State would need to assume responsibility not only for the present residents of the West Bank and Gaza, but also for the rights of the Palestinians displaced from their places of residence in 1948. Because to achieve true peace both of the conflicts need to be resolved. There can be no compromises in either of the conflicts: no Palestinian Government has authority to “negotiate away” the rights of the Palestinians to their land.

The above is the “legal” position of the parties in the conflict, and had there been workable effective means of enforcement of International Law, the two conflicts would have been resolved by enforcing the above UN resolutions.

But, because the present state of the International Law is close to Might‐is‐Right Anarchy, where Rule of Law is replaced by Violence of Wars and Deception of Political Intrigues, the two Palestinian Conflicts remain unresolved. The enforcement of the UN Resolutions (UNGA 194 and UNSC 242) has been replaced by “negotiations” which are incapable of leading to an “agreement”, but are used by the Israelis as a “diplomatic device” to allow them to continue to occupy the West Bank and establishing on it Jewish settlements.

But can any “negotiations” resolve these two conflicts?

As the State of Israel has no valid legal claims against Palestinian land in either of the two conflicts, the only legal way for the State of Israel to acquire any Palestinian Land is to buy it. And to buy Palestine from the Palestinians they need to make an offer that “only a fool can refuse”. And this is the only kind of “negotiations” that can bring real peace.

But how can the Government of a Palestinian Sovereign State achieve justice for the Palestinians in the present “lawless” world where there are no legal ways to resolve conflicts?

They need to continue to seek legal enforcement of the two UN resolutions by all available means regardless of any obstacles. And use any obstacles they face to bring to light the present international lawlessness and work for establishment of workable institutions of International Law. And, once such institutions are in place, use these institutions to resolve the Two Palestinian Conflicts on the basis of Justice. This can take time, but this is the only way of achieving justice for the Palestinians peacefully through Palestinian statehood.

And, if the Israelis do make an offer to buy all of Palestine for a price that only a fool can refuse, then make the wise choice. But, failing that, keep seeking full legal enforcement of the two UN resolutions without any compromises, and mobilizing all the other states for establishment of workable institutions of International Law.

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