September 4, 2000
The Wisdom Fund

Justice, Not Compromise, on Jerusalem

by Enver Masud

U.S. media coverage of Camp David II praised Israeli concessions, and chastized Palestinian President Yasser Arafat for failing to compromise with Israel. Remarkably, what was not mentioned are the UN resolutions which are the basis for peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and the basis for a just peace.

UN Resolution 242, passed by the Security Council on November 22, 1967, contains the basis for all peace negotiations since then--it emphasizes "the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war." Arab East Jerusalem, together with Egypt's Sinai Peninsula and Syria's Golan Heights were occupied by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict--the third such conflict since the partition of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states by the UN General Assembly in 1947.

Jerusalem, revered by Jews, Christians, and Muslims, under UN Resolution 181--the Partition Plan--was designated as corpus separatum--a city that stands apart, ruled neither by Jew nor Muslim, but by an international regime under UN auspices. Israel accepted this when it endorsed the Partition Plan, and again when it was admitted into the UN in 1949. The Vatican, which recognized Israel as a state in 1993, has reaffirmed its position that Jerusalem should be accorded some type of special international status.

Indeed, until recently the U.S. consistently opposed Israel's claim to Jerusalem, and maintains its embassy in Tel Aviv rather than Jerusalem as a symbol of its opposition to Israel's claim. According to Paul Findley--U.S. representative from Illinois from 1961 to 1983--"In the early 1950s the Eisenhower administration went so far as to prohibit American diplomats from doing business with Israeli officials in Jerusalem."

In 1980 Israel passed the Basic Law declaring Jerusalem its capital. The international community responded by passing UN Security Council Resolution 476 stating that Israeli actions to change the status of Jerusalem constitute a flagrant violation of the Geneva Convention and declaring such measures null and void. Also passed was UN Security Council Resolution 478 which states, "the enactment of the Basic Law by Israel constitutes a violation of international law."

However, writes Mr. Findley, "Washington's policy on Jerusalem has weakened over the years." Still, on March 3, 1990, President George Bush publicly reaffirmed the designation of Arab East Jerusalem as "occupied territory."

But the U.S. Congress has routinely passed non-binding resolutions calling for recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. And the Democratic Party, in the 1984 party platform stated: "The Democratic Party recognizes and supports the established status of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. As a symbol of this stand, the U.S. embassy should be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem." And, in a clear effort to pander to the Jewish vote, the Republican Party seems set to hop on the same bandwagon this year.

The Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at Camp David during July 2000 were just the latest in the long history of attempts by Israel, aided by the U.S., to obstruct the implementation of recognized UN resolutions for which U.S. media incorrectly place blame on Mr. Arafat.

Mr. Findley, writing in "Deliberate Deceptions: Facing the Facts about the U.S.-Israeli Relationship"--which should be required reading for every Western journalist writing about the Middle East--provides the following history of peace plans rejected by Israel:

1977 Carter Comprehensive Peace Plan--Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin "refused to accept the usual interpretation that UN Resolution 242 meant withdrawal on all fronts....Israel finally accepted a peace treaty with Egypt in 1979 only after Egypt and the United States agreed essentially to ignore the Palestinians and the United States promised Israel up to $3 billion in extra aid beyond its annual sum of around $2 billion."

1981 Prince Fahd Peace Plan--This affirmed the rights of the states in the region to live in peace, called for Israel's withdrawal from all Arab lands captured in 1967. Israel immediately rejected the proposal.

1982 Reagan Peace Plan--This called for Israeli withdrawal on all fronts according to UN Resolution 242, a freeze on Israeli settlements on occupied territory, full autonomy for the Palestinians, but insisted that Jerusalem remain undivided; its future negotiated between the parties. Prime Minister Menachem Begin instantly rejected the plan.

1988 PLO Peace Plan--"The National Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization on November 15 renounced terrorism, accepted UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, and called for an international peace conference....Israel immediately rejected the proposal....U.S. reaction was lukewarm."

1989 Bush Peace Plan--"The Bush administration embraced Resolution 242 as the basis for peace." Secretary of State James Baker asked for Israel to forswear annexation, stop settlement activity, allow schools to reopen. Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir labeled Mr. Baker's speech as "useless." Frustrated, Mr. Baker publicly told Israel, "When you're serious about peace, call us."

The Gulf War, and the Madrid-Oslo "peace process" which followed the war, exposed the reality that the U.S., Israel, and client Arab-regimes are united in an alliance meant to retain American domination of the oil-rich Middle East. This reality tempers support among Arab regimes for the Palestinian cause, but at Camp David II they stood firmly behind Mr. Arafat.

The "Oslo agreement was doomed," writes veteran Middle East reporter for the Independent, Robert Fisk, "its deviation from the UN Security Council resolutions upon which it was supposedly founded has gone so far that there is no chance of a satisfactory outcome to the four issues that finally paralyzed Arafat and Barak at Camp David: Jerusalem, settlements, the Palestinian right of return and a Palestinian state."

On July 29, 2000 on Israeli television, President Clinton warned Mr. Arafat not to carry out his intention to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state by September 13. If that happens, the president said, "there will inevitably be consequences. Not just here, but throughout the world. And things will happen. I would review our entire relationship."

Three days later, Mr. Arafat, when asked if he intended to delay the declaration of a Palestinian state, said: "Never, never. There is no retreat on the fixed timetable of the declaration of the state. It will be declared at the fixed time, which is September 13, God willing, regardless of those who agree or disagree."

Mr. Clinton and U.S. presidents who have chastized other states as acting outside the law and international norms, on the issue of Jerusalem, are themselves acting to thwart the application of recognized international agreements and the will of the international community. Justice, not compromise, is what's required on Jerusalem.

[Enver Masud is an engineering management consultant, author of "The War on Islam," and founder of The Wisdom This article was published in England as "Justice, Not Compromise" in Impact International, September 2000.]

["The foundation for all my proposals to the two leaders was the official position of the government of the United States, based on international law that was mutually accepted by the United States, Egypt, Israel and other nations, and encapsulated in United Nations Security Council Resolution 242. Our government's legal commitment to support this well-balanced resolution has not changed."--Jimmy Carter, " For Israel, Land or Peace," Washington Post, November 26, 2000]

VIDEO: "Noam Chomsky v. Alan Dershowitz: A Debate on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,", December 23, 2005

Philip Weiss, "Bacevich in 'LA Times': Camp David ushered in 4 decades of US militarism in Mid East,", August 21, 2013

Copyright © 2000 The Wisdom Fund - All Rights Reserved. Provided that it is not edited, and author name, organization, and web address ( are included, this article may be printed in newspapers and magazines, and e-mailed to others.
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