The failed Palestinian effort at the UN
By Amb. Dore Gold
web posted January 5, 2015
The Palestinian draft resolution that was voted down by the UN Security Council was unacceptable to Israel for two essential reasons. First, all Israeli governments have insisted that any solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be reached through direct negotiations between the parties.
That principle was enshrined in the Oslo Agreements in the 1990s. The 1995 Interim Agreement, signed at the White House by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO leader Yasser Arafat, in fact stated that negotiations were the only way to alter the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Interim Agreement was not only witnessed and signed by the United States, but also by the European Union - a fact that makes the French vote in the Security Council for the draft resolution very puzzling.
In substance, the draft resolution also sought to prejudge the outcome of any future negotiations. How can you have a Security Council resolution that decides Israel's future borders on the basis of the 1967 lines and in the same breath assert that you are going to have a negotiation over borders? What is there left to negotiate? UN Security Council Resolution 242, adopted in the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War, did not require Israel to fully withdraw from the territories it captured in a war of self-defense.
It is often forgotten that Resolution 242 was the basis of all Arab-Israeli agreements from the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli Treaty of Peace to the 1993 Oslo Declaration of Principles to the 1994 Jordanian-Israeli Treaty of Peace. It was also the basis of the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference that launched the peace process. True, the latest draft resolution mentions Resolution 242 in its preamble. But, by demanding a nearly full withdrawal by Israel in its operative section, the draft resolution essentially contradicts 242 in substance.
Finally, the draft resolution that was rejected exposes the strategy adopted by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president. He does not want to negotiate with Israel. Instead, he seeks to use international institutions in order to impose a solution on Israel. That is a course of action that no Israeli government can accept and the international community should not give it any support if it wants to see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolved.
Text of the Palestinian Draft UNSC Resolution as Submitted by Jordan
December 17, 2014
Reaffirming its previous resolutions, in particular resolutions 242 (1967); 338 (1973), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003), 1544 (2004), 1850 (2008), 1860 (2009) and the Madrid Principles,
Reiterating its vision of a region where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders,
Reaffirming the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination,
Recalling General Assembly resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947,
Reaffirming the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force and recalling its resolutions 446 (1979), 452 (1979) and 465 (1980), determining, inter alia, that the policies and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the territories occupied since 1967,including East Jerusalem, have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East,
Affirming the imperative of resolving the problem of the Palestine refugees on the basis of international law and relevant resolutions, including resolution 194 (III), as stipulated in the Arab Peace Initiative,
Underlining that the Gaza Strip constitutes an integral part of the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, and calling for a sustainable solution to the situation in the Gaza Strip, including the sustained and regular opening of its border crossings for normal flow of persons and goods, in accordance with international humanitarian law,
Welcoming the important progress in Palestinian state-building efforts recognised by the World Bank and the IMF in 2012 and reiterating its call to all States and international organizations to contribute to the Palestinian institution building programme in preparation for independence,
Reaffirming that a just, lasting and peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be achieved by peaceful means, based on an enduring commitment to mutual recognition, freedom from violence, incitement and terror, and the two-State solution, building on previous agreements and obligations and stressing that the only viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an agreement that ends the occupation that began in 1967, resolves all permanent status issues as previously defined by the parties, and fulfills the legitimate aspirations of both parties, Condemning all violence and hostilities directed against civilians and all acts of terrorism, and reminding all States of their obligations under resolution 1373 (2001),
Recalling the obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of civilians and ensure their protection in situations of armed conflict,
Reaffirming the right of all States in the region to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized borders,
Noting with appreciation the efforts of the United States in 2013/14 to facilitate and advance negotiations between the parties aimed at achieving a final peace settlement,
Aware of its responsibilities to help secure a long-term solution to the conflict,
- Affirms the urgent need to attain, no later than 12 months after the adoption of this resolution, a just, lasting and comprehensive peaceful solution that brings an end to the Israeli occupation since 1967 and fulfills the vision of two independent, democratic and prosperous states, Israel and a sovereign, contiguous and viable State of Palestine living side by side in peace and security within mutually and internationally recognized borders;
- Decides that the negotiated solution will be based on the following parameters:
- borders based on 4 June 1967 lines with mutually agreed, limited, equivalent land swaps;
- security arrangements, including through a third-party presence, that guarantee and respect the sovereignty of a State of Palestine, including through a full and phased withdrawal of Israeli security forces which will end the occupation that began in 1967 over an agreed transition period in a reasonable time frame, not to exceed the end of 2017, and that ensure the security of both Israel and Palestine through effective border security and by preventing the resurgence of terrorism and effectively addressing security threats, including emerging and vital threats in the region.
- A just and agreed solution to the Palestine refugee question on the basis of Arab Peace Initiative, international law and relevant United Nations resolutions, including resolution 194 (III);
- Jerusalem as the shared capital of the two States which fulfills the legitimate aspirations of both parties and protects freedom of worship;
- an agreed settlement of other outstanding issues, including water;
- Recognizes that the final status agreement shall put an end to the occupation and an end to all claims and lead to immediate mutual l recognition;
- Affirms that the definition of a plan and schedule for implementing the security arrangements shall be placed at the center of the negotiations within the framework established by this resolution;
- Looks forward to welcoming Palestine as a full Member State of the United Nations within the time frame defined in the present resolution;
- Urges both parties to engage seriously in the work of building trust and to act together in the pursuit of peace by negotiating in good faith and refraining from all acts of incitement and provocative acts or statements, and also calls upon all States and international organizations to support the parties in confidence-building measures and to contribute to an atmosphere conducive to negotiations;
- Calls upon all parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law, including the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949;
- Encourages concurrent efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace in the region, which would unlock the full potential of neighborly relations in the Middle East and reaffirms in this regard the importance of the full implementation of the Arab Peace Initiative;
- Calls for a renewed negotiation framework that ensures the close involvement, alongside the parties, of major stakeholders to help the parties reach an agreement within the established time frame and implement all aspects of the final status, including through the provision of political support as well as tangible support for post-conflict and peace-building arrangements, and welcomes the proposition to hold an international conference that would launch the negotiations;
- Calls upon both parties to abstain from any unilateral and illegal actions, including settlement activities, that could undermine the viability of a two-State solution on the basis of the parameters defined in this resolution;
- Calls for immediate efforts to redress the unsustainable situation in the Gaza Strip, including through the provision of expanded humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population via the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and other United Nations agencies and through serious efforts to address the underlying issues of the crisis, including consolidation of the ceasefire between the parties;
- Requests the Secretary-General to report on the implementation of this resolution every three months;
- Decides to remain seized of the matter.
The writer, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN, is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and serves as an external advisor to the office of the Prime Minister of Israel. He is the author of the best-selling books: The Fight for Jerusalem: Radical Islam, the West, and the Future of the Holy City (Regnery, 2007), and The Rise of Nuclear Iran: How Tehran Defies the West (Regnery, 2009).