A Guide to Resolution 242 and the “Green Line” Part 2

 Peace Talks and the Terms of Reference

 Part 1(ii): Termination of all claims, acknowledgment of sovereignty and the right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries.

 

Currently, it appears from reports in the media, that discussions relating to the resumption of peace talks overlook, perhaps completely, the equally applicable requirements of Part 1(ii) of Resolution 242 calling for the termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force. In a sense, it is submitted that these requirements are in fact the pre-conditions to be agreed prior to any further Israeli redeployment.

 

The Palestinian areas are currently divided into two separate and hostile areas: the West Bank and Gaza. At this time, the Palestinian Authority does not exercise any authority in and over Gaza which is ruled by Hamas nor does Hamas recognize the authority of the Palestinian Authority. (It may be that the West Bank and Gaza today constitute two separate juridical areas since it is doubtful that they can be regarded as one governing authority under the Montevideo Convention.). The Hamas charter states it has joined its hands with those of all Jihad fighters for the purpose of liberating Palestine. The charter states that the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. The charter goes further and calls for the killing of Jews (article 7): “The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!” It cannot be said that that the Hamas charter constitutes an acknowledgement of Israel`s sovereignty or territorial integrity. Clearly, the basic principles of Resolution 242 cannot be implemented. Under such circumstances, the Palestinians are unable to deliver “peace” as defined by Part 1(ii). Certainly, any demand for the acknowledgement of pre-1967 lines to constitute the future boundary when the Palestinian Authority is unable to comply with the principles of resolution 242 and the possibility of a Hamas takeover of the West Bank always on the horizon, needs to be rejected out of hand.

Part 1(ii) provides further that each State has the right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force. It should be noted that by not referring to the 1967 lines as borders, this carefully drafted wording, too, evidences that “1967 lines” and “secure borders” (which explicitly means less than a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from territories occupied) are mutually exclusive and further strengthens the argument (set out in full in part 1) that the international community has ruled out the 1967 lines as being the secure border of Israel. The secure border is to be negotiated, and once agreed, recognized. Hamas through their charter, violence and attacks on Israel for an extended period of time and speeches of their leaders have made it clear that it will never recognize Israel or its boundaries. In fact, although Gaza`s borders are those of the 1967 lines and as such Hamas has no territorial claim, Hamas has continued its policy of violence and aggression primarily against Israel`s civilian population. Its charter constitutes an ongoing threat to Israel in blatant contravention of Resolution 242. Hamas conducts annually summer camps for children, teaching them to shoot rifles and engage in hand-to-hand-combat. Hamas, by word and deed, has made it clear that it will not permit Israel the right to live in peace. Through its charter and aggression, Hamas has in fact rejected Resolution 242.  Factually Hamas was initially democratically elected and a Hamas electoral victory following an Israeli agreement with Mahmoud Abbas (whose mandate expired in 2009) cannot be excluded. Additionally, Israel needs to bear in mind that Hamas took over Gaza through a coup d` etat and that a similar violent Hamas occupation of the West Bank cannot be ruled out.

Senior officials of Fatah, too, deny the right of Israel to exist. Thus the PLO Ambassador to India, Adli Sadeq, wrote in the official Palestinian Authority daily: “They have a common mistake, or misconception by which they fool themselves, assuming that Fatah accepts them and recognizes the right of their state to exist.  Senior Fatah Central Committee member Jibril Rajoub, has said: “All of Israel is in occupied Palestinian territory — from the river to the sea.”  Manuel Hassassian, the head of a Palestinian delegation to London, has buried the idea of a two-state solution. He told an audience of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign “There is no two-state solution.” PA official Al-Einein, the adviser to Abbass: “I don’t recognize Israel. The Fatah movement does not recognize Israel.” Mahmoud Abbas himself in 2009: “The Palestinian people will never accept the right of the Jewish people to their own state.  Not for 1000 years”. Contrary to the PA’s moderate statements in English to the West, according to media reports, which have not been denied, its statements to its people in Arabic continue to delegitimize Israel’s existence, deny Israel’s right to exist, define the conflict with Israel as a religious war for Allah, promote hatred through demonization and promote terror and violence. On official PA TV, Israel is referred to as Palestine; maps of the area between the Mediterranean and the Jordan in PA offices, schoolbooks and TV display the whole area as Palestinian; and its educational policies resulted in  then-Senator Hillary Clinton commenting on PA schoolbooks: “These textbooks do not give Palestinian children an education; they give them an indoctrination.”

 

Neither the Palestinian Authority nor Hamas have displayed any interest in complying with the principles of Part 1(ii) providing for termination of claims, recognition of Israel and the right to live in peace.  Until they do so, Israel legally is not required to make any commitments with regard to the extent of any redeployment.

 

Part 2 of Resolution 242 affirms the necessity of termination of all claims. Three such claims are specified: (a) Freedom of navigation (irrelevant to discussions between Israel and the Palestinians), (b) just settlement of the refugee problem and (c) the guaranteeing of the territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area, through measures including the establishment of demilitarized zones.

 

The words “Palestine” or “Palestinian refugees” do not appear in Resolution 242 nor does the international community or the Palestinians themselves, by their acceptance of Resolution 242 through the Declaration of Principles, call for any Palestinian right of return. The legal requirement is a “just settlement”. There appear to have been between 500,000 and 700,000 (this article does not relate to the actual number) Palestinian refugees and about 850,000 Jewish refugees. The use of the word “the” (refugee problem) without distinguishing between Palestinian and Jewish refugees clearly indicate an internationally recognized requirement to settle the refugee problem (both Palestinian and Jewish) before or simultaneously with any additional redeployment of Israeli forces.  It is submitted that the issue of the Jewish refugees needs to be addressed before Israel would be able to give undertakings regarding redeployment.

 

Part 2 contains a third element to underpin the principles of Part 1 of Resolution 242, namely agreement of measures to guarantee Israel`s territorial inviolability including the establishment of demilitarized zones. Clearly, the nature, locality and size of demilitarized zones are a function of agreement on the other principles set out in Resolution 242. The demand, as a pre-condition to negotiations, that Israel agree to the 1967 lines (which, as been shown, is not a prerequisite under Resolution 242) without finalizing demilitarized zones clearly indicates a Palestinian intent to obtain benefits without in turn having to agree to a negotiated settlement in general or to the establishment of demilitarized zones in particular.

 

In summary, neither the PA nor Hamas, both openly and blatantly, have met with even the minimum requirements set out in Part 1 (ii) and Part 2(c) to warrant any Israeli consideration for a pre-condition undertaking for even a modest withdrawal, let alone to the 1967 lines; certainly no party to Resolution 242, which includes the USA and the UK, should exercise pressure on Israel to provide undertakings relating to withdrawal or to final lines in the light of the near total non-compliance by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas with the provisions of Resolution 242. The EU is not a signatory to Resolution 242 but should carefully consider their views and weigh the consequences of pressurizing only Israel to withdraw while overlooking the Palestinian non-compliance with Part 1 (ii) and Part 2(c) of Resolution 242.  

It is submitted that it is the international pressure on Israel to withdraw while ignoring the continued delegitimization, demonization and physical attacks on Israel and Israelis from the Palestinians and without establishing the conditions governing such withdrawal that is in fact preventing progress to a solution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The roadmap to successful negotiations, finalization of all disputes and termination of all claims lies through the application of all parts of Resolution 242. Implementing Resolution 242 in its entirety constitutes the essential pre-condition for successful negotiations and eventual solution of the Israel-Palestinian dispute. This must be the demand of the international community, including the EU.