Now that Palestine has its birth certificate…
PLO executive member Hanan Ashrawi thanked the 138 UN General Assembly members that voted for Palestine's upgrade to a non-member state, telling them: "You have rescued the chances of peace by supporting the forces of reason and responsibility rather than the irrational and irresponsible exercise of force and violence. You have given us hope, and we pledge to work with you to make this shared world of ours more peaceful and humane."
She said the nations that voted for Palestine had "demonstrated courage and integrity by acting in accordance with the dictates of your conscience and integrity rather than the diktat of power and intimidation".
Hanan Ashrawi is a Palestinian Christian who has been around a long time in Palestinian politics and held many key posts. As a student in Lebanon during the 1967 war she was prevented by Israel from going home to the West Bank for 6 long years. A veteran activist for peace and human rights she is regarded as a voice of reason. We in the West need to hear from this lady more often.
Editor's Note: PLO executive committee clarifies statehood bid
As the Palestinian leadership works on a status upgrade of Palestine as an observer non-member state status, Palestinian Liberation Organization Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi held a press brief in Ramallah concerning this latest Palestinian move. Press TV reports:
Who is Hanan Ashrawi ?
And we need to hear less from Israeli ambassador Prosor. In his rant in the lead-up to the vote he said: "Time and again we have sought peace with the Palestinians. Time and again, we have been met by rejection of our offers."
No doubt he was thinking of Barak's 'generous offer'. One of the greatest propaganda lies circulated by the Israeli regime and its supporters is how Arafat turned down former Israeli prime minister Barak's so-called 'generous offer' in 2000.
The West Bank and the Gaza Strip, seized by Israel in 1967 and occupied ever since, comprise just 22% of pre-partition Palestine. When the Palestinians signed the Oslo Agreement in 1993 they agreed to accept the 22% and recognise Israel within ‘Green Line’ borders (i.e. the 1949 Armistice Line established after the Arab-Israeli War), thus conceding 78% of the land that was originally theirs. It was an astonishing compromise on their part.
But it wasn't enough for Barak. His so-generous offer required the inclusion of 69 Israeli settlements within that 22% remnant. It was plain for all to see on the map that these settlement blocs created impossible borders and already disrupted Palestinian life in the West Bank. Barak also required the Palestinian territories be placed under "Temporary Israeli Control", meaning Israeli military and administrative control indefinitely. His so-generous offer also gave Israel control over all the border crossings of the new Palestinian State. What nation on earth would accept that?
Addressing Abbas, Prosor said: "You asked the world to recognize a Palestinian state, but you still refuse to recognize the Jewish state." The Jewish state still hasn't declared its borders and won't recognise even the most fundamental rights of the Palestinians and certainly not their right of self-determination. As Prosor well knows, even Hamas have offered to accept Israel on its internationally recognised pre-1967 borders. All Israel has to do is end its illegal occupation.
Of course, Prosor couldn't resist a pop at Hamas, accusing them of firing more than 1,300 rockets into the heart of Israel’s major cities last month (November). That many… into the very heart of major cities… and killing only 5?
"There is only one route to Palestinian statehood," he announced in dictatorial tones. "And that route does not run through this chamber in New York. That route runs through direct negotiations between Jerusalem and Ramallah…" He also said the UN "should encourage the Palestinians to enter into direct negotiations without preconditions in order to achieve an historic peace in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish state". The Palestinians have made it clear they will not return to peace talks without a freeze in settlement building, but the Israelis insist there can be no preconditions even while they carry on committing war crimes and other criminal acts.
The day after losing the UN vote, and just to prove they don’t want peace, Israel authorised the construction of 3,000 more housing units in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank. And they are reported to be speeding up 1,000 other planning permissions. About 500,000 Jews already live in more than 100 settlements built on stolen Palestinian land. Those settlements are considered illegal under international law.
UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon told the General Assembly: "I believe that the Palestinians have a legitimate right to their own independent State. I believe that Israel has the right to live in peace and security with its neighbours. There is no substitute for negotiations to that end. Today’s vote underscores the urgency of a resumption of meaningful negotiations. We must give new impetus to our collective efforts to ensure that an independent, sovereign, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine lives side by side with a secure State of Israel.
"I urge the parties to renew their commitment to a negotiated peace. I count on all concerned to act responsibly, preserve the achievements in Palestinian State-building under the leadership of President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad, and intensify efforts towards reconciliation and the just and lasting peace which remains our shared goal and priority."
He is out of order claiming there’s no alternative to a “negotiated” peace when the full machinery of international law is waiting to be activated and numerous UN resolutions ruling on the path to justice have yet to be implemented. Furthermore he repeats the Israeli/US scripted mantra about ensuring a secure Israel but only a viable Palestine. Ban Ki-Moon would do better to blow the dust off that the pile of discarded resolutions passed by his great organisation and get to work on them. He above all people should realise there can be no peace without justice.
As Roger Waters, on behalf of the Russell Tribunal, told the General Assembly, “It is not enough to deplore, condemn. What we need is for the United Nations – for you, excellencies, your governments and the General Assembly in which you serve – to take seriously its responsibility…”
So what happens next?
Israeli propaganda chief Mark Regev’s wise-crack that the UN vote was just “negative political theatre” will, one hopes, come back and bite him in the ass. The Palestinians are now in a position to re-frame the situation, to insist on justice before any peace deals and to require that things are done in the right order. Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law, suggests this could be the start of a 'Legal Intifada' by Palestine against Israel.
Why should Palestinians have to negotiate over Israel’s unlawful acts and haggle for their property in rigged talks when there’s proper recourse to the law? Israel’s pimps and hirelings are now exposed. No wonder the Zionist regime and its spin-masters are in such a flap.
Palestine might join the International Criminal Court and file complaints against Israel's suspected war criminals, its illegal settlements and its settlers, who also are committing war crimes. Palestine could also sue Israel and break the illegal siege of Gaza. Palestine could join the Law of the Sea Convention and properly secure its right to Gaza's huge marine gas field. It might also take action to gain, among other things, sovereign control of its own airspace, airwaves and frequency spectrum.
The Palestinians might declare their own borders on internationally recognized pre-1967 lines. Israel’s squatters, if they stayed, would automatically become Palestinian citizens – and serves them right.
Let’s hope the PLO have their paperwork ready. They’ve had precious else to do the last few years except plan for this moment.
The cracked gramophone recording by the likes of Obama, Rice, Clinton, Hague, Cameron, Netanyahu and even Ban Ki-Moon, slavishly calling for a return to negotiations, is laughably absurd. Everyone now sees through their game, which is to ensure that ‘talks’ drag on long enough for the occupation to become irreversible and for the Zionist crazies to realise their dream of a Greater Israel… and everyone else’s nightmare.
The sooner men-in-white-coats round up these stooges and ‘de-program’ them, the better for us all.