[News] Why UN resolution on settlements would be bad for Palestinians

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Thu Dec 22 11:26:59 EST 2016


https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/why-un-resolution-settlements-would-be-bad-palestinians 



  Why UN resolution on settlements would be bad for Palestinians

Ali Abunimah <https://electronicintifada.net/people/ali-abunimah> - 22 
December 2016


    Update

The vote on the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli 
settlements, scheduled for Thursday afternoon, has reportedly been 
postponed 
<http://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-palestinians-un-postponed-idUSKBN14B1UR>. 
This came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put pressure 
on Egypt <http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.760719>, the resolution’s 
sponsor.

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.


    Original article

The UN Security Council is set to vote Thursday afternoon on a 
resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, 
including Jerusalem.

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 
resolution 465 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/un-security-council-resolution-465> 
which invalidates 
<https://unispal.un.org/DPA/DPR/unispal.nsf/0/5AA254A1C8F8B1CB852560E50075D7D5> 
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 
needed?

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 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/will-obamas-final-act-be-liquidation-palestinian-rights> 
that a resolution of this kind would undermine, not support, Palestinian 
rights.

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 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/france-launches-new-un-effort-undermine-palestinian-rights> 
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 
remain forever.

So while being marketed as a move against settlements, this resolution 
lays the ground to legitimize them, albeit under the framework of a 
“negotiated 
<http://www.aljazeera.com/palestinepapers/2011/01/2011122112512844113.html>” 
peace agreement.


    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 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/security-coordination> between 
Israeli occupation forces and the Palestinian Authority that is broadly 
opposed by Palestinians.

All this is a clear attack on the internationally recognized right 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/why-un-telling-palestinians-protect-their-occupiers> 
of all occupied peoples, including Palestinians, to engage in legitimate 
resistance.

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 
all citizens.

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
    <https://twitter.com/netanyahu/status/811745158261837825>

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 
the Palestinians.

This resolution is about rescuing Israel as a racist state that ensures 
its Jewish demographic majority through a battery of racist laws 
<http://mondoweiss.net/2014/03/abunimahs-justice-palestine/>. Meanwhile 
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 
<http://thehill.com/policy/international/311466-trump-calls-for-veto-on-un-resolution-halting-israeli-settlements>.

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 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/will-obamas-final-act-be-liquidation-palestinian-rights> 
in his long record 
<https://electronicintifada.net/content/how-barack-obama-learned-love-israel/6786> 
of undermining Palestinian rights.


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