By William A. Cook
Dare we believe that the people of the world through their representatives at the United Nations have openly expressed not only their desire to confirm the rights of the Palestinians but their will to enforce those rights through the international justice system?
Ninety-five percent of the people of the world have declared that the impunity granted to the state of Israel by the United States and hence to itself as a complicit criminal in war crimes and crimes against humanity must be recognized and of necessity dealt with before the world can reach their respective promised lands where respect and dignity for all proclaims the rights of all.
The path to this end is fraught with pitfalls as diabolical and dangerous as any John Bunyon designed for his Pilgrim as he attempted to leave the City of Destruction and arrive at the Celestial City. Hope alone can guide us as the twisted logic that disables the United Nations gets unraveled since it is imperative that the General Assembly overrides the injustices caused by the US vetoes protecting Israel for the past 64 years.
Consider the laudable, the noble, the absoluteness of the Assembly’s vote for justice as it stood in judgment before the world declaring the rights of the people of Palestine while condemning the impunity granted to two nations, one a miniature offshoot of the other, arguably responsible for more death and destruction than any prior nations in the history of the world. The irony inherent in Jerusalem as the City of Destruction, the city granted by a monotheistic realtor to his chosen, a city miniscule in time and space, an ancient tribal city where a handful of fanatical people, with a small following of fanatical zealots even today among the population of Israel, created a God of vengeance to threaten their enemies, that that g-d should determine in 2012 the path to peace as determined now by more than 7 billion; how utterly absurd.
Consider now the logic of the Assembly’s action on November 29, 2012, when the United Nations accepted into the congress of nations of the world a state without defined borders or a unified government capable of assuming full independent power since the people of Palestine live under the occupation of another state that is a member of this same international forum. This action by 188 of the 193 member nations, recognizing that the 41 nations voting by abstention were in fact allowing for recognition, means in effect that the people of the world want the Palestinian people to have their own state. This in turn means that the United Nations in General Assembly has voted to assume responsibility for bringing to fruition the state of Palestine which their membership created on November 29 of 1947 with the passing of the Partition Plan, Resolution 181.
The vote as passed in 2012 accepts as a foundation for the establishment of this new state the territories occupied since the 1967 war thereby accepting the Jewish states confiscation of all of the former Mandate land area except the West Bank, Gaza and the sharing of Jerusalem as a capital for each people. There is a corresponding need to create a land corridor bridging the distance between the West Bank and Gaza. The determination of how this arrangement can be executed cannot be done by either the state of Israel or the new state of Palestine. Nor can it be done by the United States since it cannot be an objective broker as the vote itself testifies. Only the UN can redesign this division as the responsible agent that created the two states in 1947. Indeed, the UN has already taken action both to have Israel sign the Mid-East Non-Nuclear Proliferation Agreement and has sought from Israel allowance for IAEA inspectors into the country.
Can the UN reverse the direction of the past? I would propose that if the will of the UN member states is premised on justice and due respect for both peoples, without threat of military force which is the purview of the UN, than it is. Given the present reaction of the administration serving Israel, to continue the building of settlements in the West Bank area and the confiscation of the taxes collected by the occupying forces from the Palestinians and the absoluteness of that government’s rejection of any action taken by the UN in regard to the new state, the near term solution does not seem feasible.
But it is obvious that Israel cannot be permitted to impose its demands on 193 nations who as members must abide by its collective actions. Therefore it would be necessary for the UN to set out parameters that would guide both states toward an acceptable resolution premised on the rights of both under International Law as already stipulated by UN resolutions regarding both peoples and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It would be desirable for the United States to accept the action of the UN by removing itself from these deliberations. Further it would be beneficial if it stopped funding the present belligerent state of Israel until it becomes a solid neighbor with its member states. Finally, the US should state openly that it will not use its veto in the Security Council to thwart the desires of the UN as it moves to rectify the injustice that has been perpetrated on the people of Palestine.
What might these parameters be? Both parties must cease and desist from violence toward the other; both must be willing to accept UN Peace Keepers along the established borders created by the 1967 agreement; both must accede to UN demands for adherence to the resolutions regarding the rights of the other and thereby remove the settlements from the West Bank (with time provided for such removal) and the removal of IDF forces from the occupied territories including the land confiscated along the Jordanian side of the WB; both must accept the reparation value of using the housing units established for the settlers in the WB areas as potential homes for the Palestinians in exile thereby ensuring that they return to the Palestinian state; both must reduce their respective military ordinance directed at the other and Israel should be asked to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Agreement; both must be willing to set up a commission that will work with the UN, perhaps through the UNHRC, to negotiate terms of agreement on the corridor, on the management of the city of Jerusalem, and on the removal of settlers from the WB together with forces from the occupied territories.
Most of these Parameters seem overly weighted against the state of Israel, but it is the consequence of that state’s belligerence that such measures are necessary. No civilized state would war against the Agency that created it through Resolution 181 (witness the Nakba of 1947-48) and militarily destroy 418 towns and villages, massacre thousands of the inhabitants and drive the remainder into exile in foreign lands, then confiscate the land as their own and not expect that the world communities would eventually seek justice for those so devastated. As it is, the UN delegates accepted the 1967 borders as a start. That gives the Israeli state far more land area than the Palestinians. But there can be no justice and certainly no peace if both parties do not acquiesce to restrictions that offer the prospect for both to live in harmony; reality has made it so.
Should the state of Israel defy these parameters, as one might suspect they would, than the UN must consider the use of sanctions against that state as it does against other states that defy its resolutions. The UN cannot bring armies against its members nor should it; but it can bring sanctions based on acceptable moral behavior that provides for equal rights for all. Such sanctions must include control of the finances as part of the punishment since it is the wealth of the US and Israel that has caused such Mafia like control of the smaller nations threatened by coercion or imposed austerity that undermines a nation’s ability to determine its own ends. Sanctions can be brought in such a way that Israel might realize that the nations of the world have rejected their total defiance of UN resolutions and in so doing have harmed the people of Palestine and its neighbors.
Justice requires that reparations be made to rectify this behavior. An isolated Israel will come to the realization that it must act as all nations must act, with acceptance of the rights of all equally before the law, not with impunity; with respect for each and every human, not with distain; with compassion and understanding that all deserve to share in the world’s resources and wealth if this planet is to be sustained for future generations, not with hoarding of massive power to subdue or destroy one’s perceived enemy; and to enjoy the people of the world in all their diversity of being and intelligence and dreams, the better to be a participant in their growth and not a despoiler. The path to the Promised lands is the path that avoids wanton destruction of the kind the United States and Israel have wrought in the mid-east, where cooperation, compassion and concern for all is the peace all deserve.
– Professor William A. Cook’s latest book is Decade of Deceit. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.