Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Baker's Got Slightly Wrong Ingredients

Alan Baker has a position paper out at JCPA (and IMRA had it a fortnight ago),

The Fallacy of the “1967 Borders” – No Such Borders Ever Existed

and the executive summary contains these points:

- The Palestinian leadership is fixated on attempting to press foreign governments and the UN to recognize a unilaterally declared Palestinian state within the "1967 borders."
- But such borders do not exist and have no basis in history, law, or fact. The only line that ever existed was the 1949 armistice demarcation line, based on the ceasefire lines of the Israeli and Arab armies pending agreement on permanent peace. The 1949 armistice agreements specifically stated that such lines have no political or legal significance and do not prejudice future negotiations on boundaries.
- UN Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967 acknowledged the need for negotiation of secure and recognized boundaries...the previous lines cannot be considered as international boundaries.
- The series of agreements between the PLO and Israel (1993-1999) reaffirm the intention and commitment of the parties to negotiate permanent borders. During all phases of negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians, there was never any determination as to a border based on the 1967 lines...

As Amb. Baker, Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and former Legal Adviser to Israel's Foreign Ministry as well as former Ambassador of Israel to Canada explains in the article:

...the Palestinian leadership, as well as members of the international community, are well aware that such borders do not exist, nor have they ever existed. They have never figured in any of the international, agreed-upon documentation concerning the Israel-Arab and Israel-Palestinian issues, and have no basis whatsoever, neither in law nor in fact.

There are no provisions in any of the agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinians that require withdrawal to the "1967 borders." There were never any geographic imperatives that sanctify the 1967 lines.

But there's a problem.

True, the 1949 armistice lines have no true international legal validity other than being the line where the fighting halted.

Nevertheless, one needs to review the context of the Declaration of Principles (DOP) of the Oslo Accords and see where the Pals. are coming from.

For example:



The aim of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations within the current Middle East peace process is, among other things, to establish a Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority, the elected Council (the "Council"), for the Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip



In order that the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip may govern themselves


Jurisdiction of the Council will cover West Bank and Gaza Strip territory, except for issues that will be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations. The two sides view the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a single territorial unit, whose integrity will be preserved during the interim period.




The five-year transitional period will begin upon the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and Jericho area.

Permanent status negotiations will commence...It is understood that these negotiations shall cover remaining issues, including: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security arrangements, borders...The two parties agree that the outcome of the permanent status negotiations should not be prejudiced or preempted by agreements reached for the interim period.

Yes, it is clear from the language that borders are a final status issue but nevertheless, there is no clear indication that the eventual political entity to be formed will not include the integrity of all the territory. The 1949-1967 are not explicity negated and there is room for a good lawyer to make that claim, which is what the Pals. are doing now.

Israel, with Baker and other legal eagles in support, never truly did enough to invalidate those armisticed lines in a political and legal sense and left them as some accidental boundary line instead of quashing their relevance in an official way. The DOP should have included a line like: "nothing in these accords shall be construed to guarantee that any eventual territorial unit shall include all the territory between the former 1949 armistice lines and the border of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan". Too cledver by half is not good enough when defending the Land of Israel.

Whatever comes out of this "oven", the ingredients that went in were insufficient.



Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

Baker makes another mistake, at least from the scientific, factual point of view. There never was a "palestinian people" in all history until one was invented at some point after Israel's war of independence. This psywar invention became the basis for setting up the PLO in 1964.

On the issue of the international law status of Judea-Samaria & Gaza, see howard Grief's book, plus his other writings in Nativ and elsewhere, some available on the Internet, plus this site:


Anonymous said...

yes, YM, a lawyer could argue that "in the West Bank" could conceivably mean all of it. But not necessarily. Further, settlements were also supposed to be a final status issue according to the accords. But Obama and mahmud abbas pay no attention to that stipulation. More importantly, the Oslo accords have been violated so often by the PA/PLO [through its deliberate use of violence] and were superseded by the Oslo 2 accords, and are disregarded by both obama and abbas in re settlements, that the original Oslo accord can be considered to have lost all force and validity.


Actually, the Zionist Organization did that.

It argued that a Jewish national home "in Palestine", like in the Balfour Declaration:

His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people

meant all of it. Arabs disagreed. Much literature has been published on that point, as you must surely know.

In the Mandate, there at least was this:

Article 5.
The Mandatory shall be responsible for seeing that no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of, the Government of any foreign Power.

which mitigates that assertion and as I pointed out, something like that does not exist with the more recent documents even though there is this there:

Article 25.
In the territories lying between the Jordan and the eastern boundary of Palestine as ultimately determined,

and also the preface:

...the administration of the territory of Palestine, which formerly belonged to the Turkish Empire, within such boundaries as may be fixed by them;

which indicate the possibility of less-than-all-off-Palestine.

NormanF said...

The larger point is Israel has done nothing to discourage the impression there is nothing left to negotiate about. Now why would the Palestinians have the impression that Israel too thinks there used to be borders?

Alan Baker doesn't say where they got it and why its just now Israel has chosen to rebuff it.