[News] Why UN resolution on settlements would be bad for Palestinians
news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Dec 22 11:26:59 EST 2016
Why UN resolution on settlements would be bad for Palestinians
Ali Abunimah <https://electronicintifada.net/people/ali-abunimah> - 22
The vote on the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli
settlements, scheduled for Thursday afternoon, has reportedly been
This came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put pressure
on Egypt <http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.760719>, the resolution’s
The Obama administration had reportedly
<https://twitter.com/AymanM/status/811963018267521024> planned to
abstain, meaning the resolution would likely have passed if it had come
to a vote.
It is unclear when, or if, it will be voted on.
The UN Security Council is set to vote Thursday afternoon on a
resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank,
I hope the resolution fails, but let me explain why.
The resolution, promoted
<http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.758139> by the
Palestinian Authority, introduced by Egypt
<http://news.trust.org/item/20161222010512-nankw/> and supported by
France <http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.760657>, contains parts
that are fine, even laudable.
It ostensibly reaffirms previous Security Council decisions, such as
Israel’s claims to have annexed Jerusalem. It also confirms “the
inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force.”
It recalls “the obligation of Israel, the occupying power,” to abide by
the Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians under
occupation, and the 2004 International Court of Justice decision against
Israel’s wall in the West Bank.
The draft clearly condemns “all measures aimed at altering the
demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian
Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem.”
It demands a halt to “the construction and expansion of settlements,
transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes
and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international
humanitarian law and relevant resolutions.”
These elements are positive but not new.
Since there are already plenty of resolutions on the books which use
almost identical – and often stronger – language why is a new resolution
All that is needed is for action to enforce existing resolutions – such
as sanctions on Israel.
But this resolution, like its predecessors, takes no action. In a
masterful example of empty diplomatic phrasing, the draft only commits
the Security Council “to examine practical ways and means to secure the
full implementation of its relevant resolutions.”
This leisurely “examination” has been going on for half a century now
while Israel continues to violently steal and colonize Palestinian land.
Undermining Palestinian rights
What is even more worrying is the rest of the resolution – read in whole
it is a clear attempt to legislate into international law the so-called
two-state solution <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/two-state-solution>.
In September, I warned
that a resolution of this kind would undermine, not support, Palestinian
This draft does not contain a single reference to Palestinian rights,
especially the right of return for refugees. It makes no mention of
Gaza, which has been under a devastating and illegal
<http://www.bbc.com/news/10306193> Israeli siege for over a decade – a
blockade enforced jointly with Egypt, the resolution’s sponsor.
Rather, it expresses “grave concern that continuing Israeli settlement
activities are dangerously imperilling the viability of the two-state
solution based on the 1967 lines,” as if two states, not restoring
Palestinian rights, is an end in itself.
I have explained previously
how the tricky phrase “based on the 1967 lines” is designed to allow
Israel to annex its vast settlement blocs.
Take the older resolution I mentioned, 465 from 1980. It demands that
Israel “dismantle the existing settlements” – all settlements built
since the West Bank was occupied in 1967.
The draft now under consideration only calls on Israel to dismantle “all
settlement outposts erected since March 2001” – the implication is that
most of the existing settlements, particularly the large blocs, will
So while being marketed as a move against settlements, this resolution
lays the ground to legitimize them, albeit under the framework of a
No right to resist
There are many other negative elements to this draft, including its
affirmation that Palestinians have a duty effectively to police
themselves on behalf of their occupiers by confiscating so-called
“illegal weapons” and “dismantling terrorist capabilities” –
Israeli-style language that demonizes an occupied people.
It supports “existing security coordination” – the collaboration
Israeli occupation forces and the Palestinian Authority that is broadly
opposed by Palestinians.
All this is a clear attack on the internationally recognized right
of all occupied peoples, including Palestinians, to engage in legitimate
Which other occupied people has been required to ensure that its
occupiers can colonize and subjugate them in tranquility?
Two pro-Israel positions
Notably, the draft warns against “a one-state reality” – language
designed to stigmatize and forestall discussion of alternatives to the
failed “two-state” vision of ethno-racial territorial partition – namely
a single, democratic, non-racial, non-sectarian state with equality for
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has demanded
<https://twitter.com/netanyahu/status/811745158261837825> that the US
veto the resolution, claiming it is anti-Israel.
The US should veto the anti-Israel resolution at the UN Security
Council on Thursday.
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) December 22, 2016
The French ambassador in Tel Aviv reassured Israel that its concerns are
misplaced. “The tendency in Israel to say ‘the whole world is against
us’ is wrong,” Helene Le Gal told media
<http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.760657>. “We say all those things
against the settlements because we are with Israel, not against it.”
The clash between Netanyahu and the French over this draft is a
confrontation between two pro-Israel positions.
Netanyahu represents an unabashedly racist Israel which is no longer
interested in claiming that it wants peace nor that it is willing to
give the Palestinians their rights under any conditions.
France represents a pro-Israel bloc of Western countries which are
equally committed to Israel’s right to continue to be racist, but which
believe this can only be guaranteed if some bantustan
<http://www.sahistory.org.za/article/homelands> option remains open to
This resolution is about rescuing Israel as a racist state that ensures
its Jewish demographic majority through a battery of racist laws
Palestinians, shorn of their fundamental rights, will be consigned at
best to a bantustan given the title and trappings of a state.
President-elect Donald Trump has weighed in on Netanyahu’s side, urging
a US veto
All attention now is on whether the outgoing US administration of
President Barack Obama will veto this resolution, as it did
<http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=37572> a similar one in
2011, or abstain, allowing it to pass.
If Obama allows it to pass it will be the final act
in his long record
of undermining Palestinian rights.
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