By Daphne Anson
Here’s the latest article by Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer.
The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) is frothing at the mouth at media reports indicating that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking a public declaration from US President Donald Trump recognizing Israeli sovereignty over parts of the occupied West Bank prior to the Israeli elections on 17 September.
PLO spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh stressed that any procedure or decision affecting Palestinian national rights and the resolutions of international legitimacy shall be considered illegitimate. Abu Rudeineh warned such a move would have “serious implications”.
Abu Rudineh continued:
“This step, if taken, would constitute ongoing playing with fire,” he added, and stressed that stability and security are indivisible and that “peace would not be made at any price”.
“Neither this step would establish any right [to Israel], nor it will create a viable false reality,” he added.”
Such a Trump declaration would undoubtedly help Netanyahu’s re-election chances – as have Trump’s declarations on Jerusalem being Israel’s capital, moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv and recognising Jewish claims in the Golan Heights.
However Trump’s US Ambassador to Israel – David Friedman – has already made such a declaration – telling the New York Times on 8 June 2019:
“Under certain circumstances I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank.”
Friedman diplomatically continued:
“We really don’t have a view until we understand how much, on what terms, why does it make sense, why is it good for Israel, why is it good for the region, why does it not create more problems than it solves… These are all things that we’d want to understand, and I don’t want to prejudge … Certainly Israel’s entitled to retain some portion of it,”
Friedman confirmed what has been declared American policy since 2004 – when President Bush made the following written commitment in his letter to Israel’s then Prime Minister – the late Ariel Sharon – on 14 April 2004:
“As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338. In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centres, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.”
This commitment was overwhelmingly endorsed by the House of Representatives 407:9 on 23 June 2004 and the Senate 95:3 the next day.
Bush’s letter welcomed the disengagement plan Sharon had prepared:
“under which Israel would withdraw certain military installations and all settlements from Gaza, and withdraw certain military installations and settlements in the West Bank. These steps described in the plan will mark real progress toward realizing my June 24, 2002 vision, and make a real contribution towards peace”
Israel honoured its commitment – at great personal loss of life, injury and property damage to both its civilian population and military forces. Israel continues to pay a heavy price for that disengagement as Hamas remains in control of Gaza with the avowed aim of wiping Israel off the face of the map.
Trump has already recognized – and will continue to recognize – Jewish rights in the West Bank as sacrosanct.
The PLO is shouting loads of codswallop from its Ramallah-Headquarters rooftop – as the ceiling slowly collapses under its feet.
Author’s note: Author’s note: The cartoon — commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators — whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog