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
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
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 Fund--www.twf.org. This article was
published in England as "Justice, Not Compromise" in Impact International, September
["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]
Chomsky v. Alan Dershowitz: A Debate on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,"
DemocracyNow.org, December 23, 2005
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