Thursday, September 02, 2010

"Mitchell’s Quick-fix Fake Peace" -- Stuart Littlewood

EXCERPT (whole article highly recommended):

If Mitchell is so clued up you have to wonder why he took the job – a veritable poisoned chalice. And you’d think a person with his vast experience would stick to accepted rules of engagement for conflict resolution and peace-making. I’ll mention just three:

• Talk directly with the people who are concerned or with whom there are concerns.
• Attack the issues, not the people with whom there is disagreement.
• No issue can be ‘off limits’.

There is no-one more concerned than Hamas. As the democratically elected authority they are the principle stakeholder on the Palestinian side. Obviously they must be allowed to represent the Palestinian case. It matters not one jot or tittle that the White House has “identified” Hamas as a terrorist organization. They have legitimacy. Besides, millions outside the White House can point to Israel’s much worse terror crimes.

Mitchell, besides barring Hamas, bends even further to Israeli prime minister Netanyahu’s demands and has ruled there must be no pre-conditions. Which means that Israel’s criminal conduct such as settlement construction, dispossession, ethnic cleansing, the land and sea blockade of Gaza, the occupation, the strangulation of the economy and their taste for piracy and extra-judicial killing, and their trampling of human rights including those of self-determination, are allowed to continue while the hapless Palestinians face them across the table.

And never mind that Netanyahu is permitted to enter these talks with his own pre-conditions, saying that the return of Palestinian refugees to the homes they were forced to flee, and the continuing occupation of East Jerusalem including the Old City, are not for discussion, and threatening to resume the (temporarily suspended) illegal settlement building.

If Mitchell is truly a person of integrity and a champion of “global ethics” how could he show such favour to one side?

What, I wonder, will he be saying to the Israeli team about UN Resolution 181 of 1947, which deals declares that “the City of Jerusalem shall be established as a corpus separatum“ administered by the United Nations?

What will he say to them about Resolution 242 (1967) by the Security Council and therefore fully binding? This insists on:

(i) withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;
(ii) termination of all claims or states of belligerency, and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.

242 also emphasizes the need for:

(a) guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area;
(b) achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem;
(c) guaranteeing the territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area, through measures including the establishment of demilitarized zones.

Will Mitchell bang the table to demand long overdue action on Security Council Resolution 338 (1973), which called on the parties concerned to start immediate implementation of Security Council Resolution 242?

Security Council Resolution 446 (1979) leaves absolutely no wriggle room. It “determines that the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace… Calls once more upon Israel, as the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, to rescind its previous measures and to desist from taking any action which would result in changing the legal status and geographical nature and materially affecting the demographic composition of the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, and, in particular, not to transfer parts of its own civilian population into the occupied Arab territories.”

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