Sunday, August 25, 2013

CNN Carries An Untruth

IsraellyCool alerted us to a CNN story about the timeline of the 1978 Camp David peace accords between Israel and Egypt that claims that the Camp David Accords called for an end to Israeli settlements in the West Bank. And that "that part about the settlements and the transition is a bold-faced lie." 

How do we know?

Well, first of all, review the text.  The term "settlements" doesn't even appear.

And secondly, here is from Khaled Elgindy's Oslo and the Settlements: How the Oslo Accords Enabled Continued Settlement Growth.  He was a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy. He previously served with the Negotiations Support Unit in Ramallah as an advisor to the Palestinian leadership on permanent status negotiations with Israel (2004 –2009).

...the Oslo Accords, including the 1993 Declaration of Principles (“DOP”) and the 1995 Interim Agreement as well as subsequent agreements and protocols, did not deal directly with the issue of Israeli settlements, either with regard to their legal status (i.e., under international humanitarian law) or in terms of limiting their continued expansion.

...Oslo’s failure to bring about a genuine settlement freeze led to unprecedented settlement growth and severely undermined prospects for a negotiated two-state solution...we can identify at least three fundamental flaws in Oslo’s handling of Israeli settlements, which have had far-reaching implications:

...First and most obviously, the Oslo Accords failed to include an explicit reference to ending (or even limiting) Israeli settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Indeed, while Palestinians frequently cite continued settlement activity as a “violation of Oslo,” successive Israeli governments have assiduously pointed out that Oslo contains no reference to a settlement freeze as such...

That seems fairly clear so how did CNN flub it?

...the Oslo Accords deferred any resolution of the settlements, Jerusalem and other core issues of the conflict for a period of several years. Article V of the DOP (reiterated in Article XVII (1(a)) of the Interim Agreement) provided for a five year “transitional period” during which negotiations would take place on all remaining so-called “permanent status” issues, including Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security arrangements, borders and other bilateral matters...not only did Israel continue to expand settlements throughout the interim period, the indefinite postponement of a permanent status agreement meant it would continue doing so indefinitely.

...Another problematic aspect of the Accords is their (and by extension, the PLO’s) implicit acceptance of Israeli definitions of key terms, including “settlements”, “West Bank” and “Jerusalem”. Article XII(5) of the Interim Agreement states:

For the purpose of this Agreement, “the Settlements” means, in the West Bank the settlements in Area C; and in the Gaza Strip – the Gush Katif and Erez settlement areas, as well as the other settlements in the Gaza Strip, as shown on attached map No. 2.

Meanwhile, Article XI(3)(c) defined “Area C” as “areas of the West Bank outside Areas A and B… except for the issues that will be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations…” [i.e., settlements and Jerusalem].

In addition, although the terms “West Bank” and “Jerusalem” were not expressly defined, various references throughout the agreement to “the Palestinian people of the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip” (Preamble, Article III(3), Article IV) make clear that these constitute separate and distinct geographic designations. In other words, whereas Palestinians (and international law) consider East Jerusalem an integral part of the West Bank, the Oslo agreements treat “Jerusalem” and “West Bank” as distinct and mutually exclusive geographic entities, in conformity with standard Israeli definitions and usage.

This has far reaching implications indeed. By lending de facto recognition to Israeli-defined “Jerusalem”, including the 70 square kilometers of the West Bank annexed by Israel in 1967 to unilaterally expand the Jerusalem municipality, both Oslo and its PLO negotiators confer a degree of legitimacy to Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem, thereby undermining the legal basis for territorial negotiations—the 1967 line—as well as Palestinian claims to Jerusalem. In practical terms, it meant that the dozen or so settlements located within Israeli-defined municipal Jerusalem, at the time comprising 54% of the settler population, were not counted as settlements under Oslo. More importantly, this state of affairs applies not only to the interim period, but also to the Oslo-defined future permanent status negotiations. In other words, when it came time to negotiate the permanent fate of the settlements, Israel could claim (and indeed has done so consistently) that Jewish “neighborhoods” within Israeli municipal Jerusalem were simply not on the table as they are not “settlements”...

More here and also here.



Anonymous said...

The Camp David Accords are not the same as the Oslo Accords.

The Camp David Accords were cancelled by later agreements, mostly the Oslo agreement. This is a good thing, as the Camp David agreement does make promises to Egypt for the benefit of the Arab Palestinians.

YMedad said...

a) they weren't cancelled

b) check: the Camp David accords don't even mention "settlements" at all!