Chapter 12. International Context and International Law
"We the people of the United Nations determine to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women, and of nations large and small, and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom." Article 1, Charter of the United Nations
A solution to the competing claims and aspirations of different people in the land of Canaan can take two possible scenarios. One can either discuss solutions based on power and politics and in that case the stronger party will prevail over the weaker party. This is not a recipe for long-term stability, especially since political and military powers can and do shift. The other is to apply a just and uniform set of laws that would apply to all nations and people. Skeptics may argue that the application of such a set of laws is flawed because large superpowers can still dominate international bodies. An example of this would be previous pressures by Britain and now the United States to advance a Zionist agenda (see Chapter 11 on Politics). Yet, international law at some point must begin to serve its lofty ideals as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Charter. Lessons from its failures should be used to improve the system not to abandon it.
Early International Failures
The British-French memorandum of understanding called the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 divided the Arabian Peninsula and the Eastern Mediterranean region between France and Britain while the British Empire gave promises to the Arab people and o the Zionism movement. The agreements and promises were obviously contradictory. These issues later had to be settled through an international body capable of reconciling or at least covering-up for British blunders. Such a resolution through the League of Nations was attempted for Palestine. The league was dominated by the victorious powers following World War I. The Covenant of the League of Nations thus stated the following in Article 22:
To those colonies and territories which as a consequence of the late war have ceased to be under the sovereignty of the States which formerly governed them and which are inhabited by peoples not yet able to stand by themselves under the strenuous conditions of the modern world, there should be applied the principle that the well-being and development of such peoples form a sacred trust of civilization and that securities for the performance of this trust should be embodied in this Covenant.
The best method of giving practical effect to this principle is that the tutelage of such peoples should be entrusted to advanced nations who by reason of their resources, their experience or their geographical position can best undertake this responsibility, and who are willing to accept it, and that this tutelage should be exercised by them as Mandatories on behalf of the League.
The colonial language is obvious to us today but at least within this document there is recognition of the right of native inhabitants to remain in their lands. What was unique about this particular colonial mandate was that it was made clear that this "tutelage" also entailed a commitment to run the country for the purpose of creating a Jewish National homeland in Palestine. This was in accordance with the British desire expressed in the Balfour declaration. While insisting this will not effect the "rights" of natives, none of the arrangements proposed for the "Palestine issue" were to be done in consultation with Palestinians. Here are relevant clauses from the League's Palestine Mandate (July 24, 1922).
The Council of the League of Nations:
Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have agreed, for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, to entrust to a Mandatory selected by the said Powers the administration of the territory of Palestine, which formerly belonged to the Turkish Empire, within such boundaries as may be fixed by them; and
Whereas the Principal Allied powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country; and
Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country; and
Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have selected His Britannic Majesty as the Mandatory for Palestine; and confirming the said Mandate, defines its terms as follows:
The Mandatory shall have full powers of legislation and of administration, save as they may be limited by the terms of this mandate.
The Mandatory shall be responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home, as laid down in the preamble, and the development of self-governing institutions, and also for safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion.
The Mandatory shall, so far as circumstances permit, encourage local autonomy.
An appropriate Jewish agency shall be recognized as a public body for the purpose of advising and
co-operating with the Administration of Palestine in such economic, social and other matters as may affect the establishment of the Jewish national home and the interests of the Jewish population in Palestine, and, subject always to the control of the Administration to assist and take part in the development of the country.
The Zionist organization, so long as its organization and constitution are in the opinion of the Mandatory appropriate, shall be recognized as such agency. It shall take steps in consultation with His Britannic Majesty's Government to secure the co-operation of all Jews who are willing to assist in the establishment of the Jewish national home.
The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes. bold added
The Administration of Palestine shall be responsible for enacting a nationality law. There shall be included in these law provisions framed so as to facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews who take up their permanent residence in Palestine.
The Administration of Palestine shall take all necessary measures to safeguard the interests of the community in connection with the development of the country, and, subject to any international obligations accepted by the Mandatory, shall have full power to provide for public ownership or control of any of the natural resources of the country or of the public works, services and utilities established or to be established therein. It shall introduce a land system appropriate to the needs of the country, having regarded, among other things, to the desirability of promoting the close settlement and intensive cultivation of the land.
The Administration may arrange with the Jewish agency mentioned in Article 4 to construct or operate, upon fair and equitable terms, any public works, services and utilities, and to develop any of the natural resources of the country, in so far as these matters are not directly undertaken by the Administration. Any such arrangements shall provide that no profits distributed by such agency, directly or indirectly, shall exceed a reasonable rate of interest on the capital, and any further profits shall be utilized by it for the benefit of the country in a manner approved by the Administration.
Again, notice the clearly colonial thinking indicating that the native population is merely a passive recipient of the wisdom and control from outside. Yet at least on paper, the administration is responsible for "ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced." Unfortunately this was not to be done in practice as we discussed when Britain appointed a Zionist, Herbert Samuel in 1922 to oversee the mandate.
This concept of respecting the rights of the inhabitants has existed even long before the 20th century. Even agreements between the US and Russia on acquiring Alaska, with Spain on acquiring Florida and so many other agreements made clear that land ownership and other rights of the native inhabitants must be protected. 1
An Illegal Partition
After the Second World War, people and nations sought to develop a better system to govern international relations based on the mistakes and horrors learned from the devastation of war. The creation of the United Nations was a moment of collective hope. The UN Charter was strengthened with a number of agreements including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (see Annex) and the 4th Geneva Convention of 1949. While the UN was not immune from committing some of the same mistakes of the League of Nations in regards to Palestine, its charter and its treaties provided attempts at resolution despite pressures from the same self-centered powers of the day (especially the five permanent members of the UN Security Council). As an example of the flawed process, the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) included 11 members and traveled to the area in 1946 but included no Palestinian members. Palestinians (natives) had no presentation in front of the committee versus well-organized representation from Zionist groups and individuals including Ben Gurion. The committee visited with representatives of so-called Arab states in Beirut and came out unimpressed by their real commitment to Palestine (according to accounts from committee members book). 2 The committee spent much time interviewing European Jews in camps of displaced people in meetings that were coached by the Jewish Agency which made them think that a vast majority of those Jews wanted live in Palestine 3.
The UN resolution on Partition of Palestine (UNGA 181) November 29, 1947 came after significant lobbying by Zionist, US, and other world leaders 4. The charter of the United Nations entered into force October 24, 1945 was clearly violated by this UN resolution that partitioned Palestine. Among the purposes of the UN Charter as outlined in Chapter One, article 1 is “to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace.” However, the partition resolution of 1947 was the first instance in the young UN history where the people of the land being partitioned were not allowed self-determination.
While it was illegitimate and contrary to the UN Charter, it is not correct to claim this resolution is irrelevant now, nor is it correct to claim that Zionists accepted partition and "Arabs" rejected it. Zionist leaders only accepted the part of the UN partition resolution calling for a Jewish State in the already heavily populated area of Palestine. They rejected all other parts including the borders proposed, internationalization of Jerusalem, economic union, and most importantly the prohibition on removal of native people. Israel was established not by implementation of this resolution, which called for specific ways to implement it, but by force of arms and with the massive support of other colonial powers. In the process of establishing the state of Israel, the largest post-WWII refugee population was created by a process that today is called ethnic cleansing. Israel was admitted to the UN only after getting assurances on implementation of both resolutions 181 and 194. UN General assembly resolutions violated by Israel upon its establishment start with these two resolutions and extend to over 100 other resolutions made by general assembly and over 70 in the UN security council. UNGA 194 for example calls for the return of Palestinian refugees and compensation to those "choosing not to return." Israel has yet to abide by that resolution which has been reaffirmed practically every year since by the general assembly over a span of 55 years. In Paragraph 11, resolution 194 reads:
Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid or the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible;
Instructs the Conciliation Commission France, Turkey, & the United States - MBQ to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation, and to maintain close relations with the Director of the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees and, through him, with the appropriate organs and agencies of the United Nations;
Ben-Gurion considered a Jewish State in part of Palestine as only a step in the fulfillment of larger ambitions. His vision was spelled out in a letter to his son, Amos:
A partial Jewish State is not the end, but only the beginning ... We shall bring into the state all the Jews it is possible to bring ... We shall establish a multi-faceted Jewish economy - agricultural, industrial, and maritime. We shall organize a modern defense force, a select army ... and then I am certain that we will not be prevented from settling in the other parts of the country, either by mutual agreement with our Arab neighbors or by some other means. Our ability to penetrate the country will increase if there is a state 5.
A letter was sent from the "Agent of the Provisional Government of Israel" to the President of the United States dated May 15, 1948 to ask for recognition. It stated:
MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: I have the honor to notify you that the state of Israel has been proclaimed as an independent republic within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947, and that a provisional government has been charged to assume the rights and duties of government for preserving law and order within the boundaries of Israel, for defending the state against external aggression, and for discharging the obligations of Israel to the other nations of the world in accordance with international law 6.
However, Israel did not exist on these frontiers (55% of Palestine as spelled out in UNGA 181) but on 78% of Palestine. Also, Israel failed miserably in fulfilling its obligations to international law even those minimal obligations set by the colonial-minded superpowers of Britain and the US. For example, the resolution to allow refugees back to their homes and lands was violated with Israel even introducing laws to ensure they never come back. On the ground, the first task of the conquering Israeli army was to erase any remnant of the 530 "vacated" Palestinian towns and villages. Regardless of how they were removed (discussed in detail in Chapter 4), international law is very clear on their right of return. The late W.T. Mallison was professor of Law and Director of the International and Comparative Law programs at the George Washington U. Washington, DC writing with Sally Mallison (a research associate) in 1986:
For most individuals the practice of returning to one's home or country is so commonplace ... that the right of return as a legal concept is given little attention. ...This usual state practice is so uncontroversial that it is not the subject of diplomatic and juridical contention. The Palestinians however, are in an unusual situation because their right of return has been systematically denied to them ever since the events of 1947 and 1948. ... Historically, the right of return was so universally accepted and practiced that it was not deemed necessary to prescribe or codify it in a formal manner. In 1215, at a time when rights were being questioned in England, the MAGNA CARTA was agreed to by King John. It provided that: "It shall be lawful in the future for anyone ... to leave our kingdom and to return, safe and secure by land and water 7.
The Fourth Geneva Conventions
The Fourth Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949, and entered into force 21 October 21, 1950, is particularly relevant since Israel and the US are signatories 8. Israel is in violation of several articles. These violations were documented by the International Committee of the Red Cross which is charged with doing such reporting to the high contracting parties. Particularly egregious violations are noted for these articles:
Section III. Occupied Territories.
*Article 47: Establishes that persons in the Occupied Territories must not be deprived of the
protections laid down in the Geneva Convention; i.e. the protections granted to victims of war.
*Article 49: Prohibits under all circumstances deportations, individual or mass forcible transfers to other countries. Additionally, and significantly, article 49 states that the Occupying power Israel shall not transfer parts of its own civilian population Israelis into the territory it occupies. This renders all Jewish settlements illegal.
*Article 50: Forbids closing educational institutions in occupied area. Israel routinely does that.
*Article 53: Forbids the destruction of homes, land, property, crops, and other individual or community property of protected members (individuals under occupation). Israel again routinely violates this.
*Article 76: Makes it illegal to take people accused of offences outside of the areas of occupation (i.e. They must remain in the Occupied Territories their own land). They must be given food and hygiene necessary to ensure proper health and must receive medical attention if necessary. They also have the right to receive religious or spiritual assistance; Minors must be treated with proper regard; Women shall be confined in separate quarters and supervised by other women; and delegates of a protecting power or of the International Committee of the Red Cross has the right to visit all detainees. Individual or mass forcible transfers as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of motive 9.
Israeli authorities initially applied the convention to the areas they occupied in 1967 and instructed their army to observe it, but the order was revoked 5 months later 10. The Israeli government then entrusted Attorney General Meir Shamgar in 1971 to find a way to circumvent the convention. Shamgar's principal argument centered on the idea that there was no previous sovereign rule in those areas and thus the population is not occupied but simply being administrated 11. Following Israeli briefings the US media parroted the concept that the area was “disputed” or being “administered”. However other countries in the world, including Israel’s staunchest ally and patron the United States, did not fully accept this political maneuver. It is thus disturbing that the Oslo process does not refer anywhere to occupied areas or Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. The capitulations done at Oslo are discussed in more detail in Chapter 11.
More international covenants and laws are pertinent. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states in Article 13 states, “(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country” 12. Israel of course violated this article repeatedly and continues to do so.
UN General Assembly resolution 273 (III) admitted Israel to the "family of nations" on May 11, 1949. This resolution was approved after Israel consented to implement other UN resolutions (including 181 on partition and 194 on refugees returning). Specifically it stated:
Having received the report of the Security Council on the application of Israel for membership in the United Nations.
Noting that, in the judgment of the Security Council, Israel is a peace-loving State and is able and willing to carry out the obligations contained in the Charter,
Noting that the Security Council has recommended to the General Assembly that it admit Israel to membership in the United Nations,
Noting furthermore the declaration by the State of Israel that it "unreservedly accepts the obligations of the United Nations Charter and undertakes to honor them from the day when it becomes a Member of the United Nations,
Recalling its resolutions of 29 November 1947 UN Resolution 181 and 11 December 1948 UN Resolution 194 and taking note of the declarations and explanations made by the representative of the Government of Israel before the ad hoc Political Committee in respect of the implementation of the said resolutions,
The General Assembly,
Acting in discharge of its functions under Article 4 of the Charter and rule 125 of its rules of procedure,
1. Decides that Israel is a peace-loving state which accepts the obligations contained in the Charter and is able and willing to carry out those obligations;
2. Decides to admit Israel to membership in the United Nations.
Israel not only refused to comply but also relied heavily on its two patrons (Britain and the US) to ensure protection at the UN frequently through the use of veto power and by intimidation of smaller countries. This worked well in the Security Council, which started to gain more and more powers at the expense of the UN General Assembly. This increase in significance of the Security Council was precisely because the great powers could veto resolutions and thus prevent action by the majority. Thus, more and more countries voted in the general assembly against Israel's continued intransigence over the years. From 1948-1967, the US succeeded in preventing any UN Security Council resolutions that reiterate general assembly resolutions or try to press Israel to comply with the conditions of its admittance to the UN.
UNSC Resolution 242, 338, and More
UN Security Council Resolution 242 was issued following the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It was passed unanimously at the 1382nd meeting after language modification to suit the US. Here is what it said:
The Security Council,
Expressing its continuing concern with the grave situation in the Middle East,
Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security,
Emphasizing further that all Member States in their acceptance of the Charter of the United Nations have undertaken a commitment to act in accordance with Article 2 of the Charter,
1. Affirms that the fulfillment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:
(i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;
(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment 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;
2. Affirms further the necessity
(a) For guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area;
(b) For achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem;
(c) For guaranteeing the territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area, through measures including the establishment of demilitarized zones;
3. Requests the Secretary-General to designate a Special Representative to proceed to the Middle East to establish and maintain contacts with the States concerned in order to promote agreement and assist efforts to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement in accordance with the provisions and principles in this resolution;
4. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the progress of the efforts of the Special Representative as soon as possible.
Note that the preamble speaks of "inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war" yet no where in the resolution was a statement as to its enforceability. Contrast this with the UNSC resolution on Iraq's occupation of Kuwait that basically authorized the US to take any measures to ensure compliance. The resolution also speaks about a "just settlement of the refugee problem." No other UN resolution contains a more vague statement on refugees. UN resolutions on Kosovo for example, were very specific about insisting that refugees be allowed to return to their homes and lands. It is also notable that this resolution refers to Article 2 of the charter dealing mostly with peaceful settlement of disputes between nations and not to Article 1 where we find such statements like "To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples". Self-determination for Palestinians was thus made an exception.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 338 was passed following the October, 1973 Arab-Israeli war. It stated:
The Security Council,
Calls upon all parties to present fighting to cease all firing and terminate all military activity immediately, no later than 12 hours after the moment of the adoption of this decision, in the positions after the moment of the adoption of this decision, in the positions they now occupy; Calls upon all parties concerned to start immediately after the cease-fire the implementation of Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) in all of its parts;
Decides that, immediately and concurrently with the cease-fire, negotiations start between the parties concerned under appropriate auspices aimed at establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East.
The "just and durable peace" was again to be left to the parties themselves with no enforcement mechanism or a discussion of self-determination or human rights. With the clear US support of Israel's military superiority, this effectively left it to Israel to decide how peace will be formulated.
The United Nations Security Council Resolution 446 of March 22, 1979 reaffirmed that the Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories (including the Golan Heights) “have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East;” It calls on Israel as an occupying power to abide by the 4th Geneva Convention and to desist from taking any action that would change the legal status or the demographic make-up of the Occupied Territories including Jerusalem. The UN Security Council adopted a similar resolution on July 20, 1979. Again no enforcement mechanisms were included due to United States pressure and threats of a veto.
The language in these UN Security Council resolutions is mild in comparison to other General Assembly Resolutions. Contrast for example UNSC resolution 446 stating that these settlements "constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East" with the UN General Assembly Resolution 2727 of December 5, 1970. Item (2): “Calls upon the Government of Israel immediately … to comply with its obligations under the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the relevant resolutions adopted by the various international organizations.” The 4th Geneva Convention expressly prohibits an occupying power from transferring its own population into occupied areas.
More recent UN Security Council resolutions when not vetoed by the United States can also be problematical to some Israeli officials. UNSC 1322(2000) had a vote was 14 to 0, with the USA abstaining. The USA could have vetoed this resolution but did not; thus, the USA allowed it to become binding international law. In paragraph 1, UNSCR 1322 the Security Council: "Deplores the provocation carried out at Al-Harem al-Sharif site of the Al Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem on 28 September 2000 and the subsequent violence there ..." This provocation was deliberately inflicted by General Ariel Sharon, now Israel's Prime Minister, with the full support of the then Prime Minister, General Barak. These men had to have known that this desecration, which includes the killing of several un-armed Palestinians by Israeli soldiers, would set off another uprising, which became known as the Al Aqsa Intifada or the uprising in support of the Al Aqsa mosque. But more importantly, UNSC resolution 1322: "Calls upon Israel, the Occupying Power to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in a Time of War, 12 August 1949 ...".
The United States veto has blocked 35 resolutions critical of Israel at the UN Security Council. However, the remaining Security Council resolutions and basic international law are sufficient to make the following unacceptable:
1) The refusal of Israel to withdraw from the areas occupied in 1967 or even comply with the Geneva Convention in these areas (e.g. settlements are completely illegal)
2) The refusal of Israel to implement UN Resolution 181, which legitimized the creation of a State of Israel in Palestine,
3) The refusal of Israel to allow refugees to return to their homes and lands and compensate them for lost property and for their suffering 13
Arguments against compliance with these international laws basically centers around US's protection of Israel for internal political considerations. However, the failure to accept the rights of the Palestinians, some of these rights enshrined in International laws and treaties, has been key to the continued bloodshed and mayhem both inside the Land of Canaan and far beyond. In the final chapter, I will address a durable solution that is based not only on International Law and Human Rights but also will addresses legitimate needs and aspirations of people of the Land of Canaan.
Notes to Chapter 12.
1. John Quigley, The Role of Law in a Palestinian-Israeli Accommodation, Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, Vol. 31, No. 2-3, Spring/Summer 1999.
2. Ilan Pappe. The Making of the Arab Israeli Conflict 1947-1951 (New York:I. B. Tauris, 1992).
3. Ilan Pappe. The Making of the Arab Israeli Conflict . p.27.
4. Ilan Pappe. The Making of the Arab Israeli Conflict, p. 41-43.
5. Michael Bar-Zohar, Ben-Gurion: A Biography. (New York: Delacorte Press, 1977), pp. 91 - 92.
6. Avalon Project archives at Yale University.
7. W.T. Mallison Jr. and Sally V. Mallison, The Palestine Problem in International Law and World Order, (London: Longman,1986), Chap.4.
8. IV. Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, 75 U.N.T.S. 287.
9. Richard Falk, International Law and the Al-Aqsa Intifada, Middle East Report, No. 217 (Winter 2000), pp. 16-18.
10. Allegra Pacheco in "The New Intifadah: Resisting Israel's Apartheid", R. Carey, ed., Verso Books, 2001, p. 183
11. M. Shamgar, Legal Concepts and Problems of the Israeli Military Government- the Initial Stage" in Shamgar (ed), Military Government in the Territories Administered by Israel 1967-1980, Jerusalem, 1982, pp13-14, cited in Allegra Pacheco "The New Intifadah: Resisting Israel's Apartheid", R. Carey, ed., Verso Books, 2001, p. 183.
12. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Adopted and Proclaimed by the United Nations on 10 December 1948. Israel signed the declaration.
13. Francis Boyle, Palestine, Palestinians & International Law (Clarity, 2003).
Francis Anthony Boyle, Palestine, Palestinians & International Law, (Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2003)
John Quigley, The Role of Law in a Palestinian-Israeli Accommodation, Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, Vol. 31, No. 2-3, Spring/Summer 1999
Exhibit 4. Other Relevant UN General Assembly Resolutions passed by overwhelming majorities.
UN General Assembly Resolution 3236 of 22 November 1974, on the Question of Palestine “1) Reaffirms the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in Palestine, including, (a) the right to self-determination without external interference; (b) the right to national independence and sovereignty; 2) Reaffirms also the inalienable right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted, and calls for their return; 3) Emphasizes that full respect for and the realization of these inalienable rights of the Palestinian people are indispensable for the solution of the question of Palestine"
The United Nations General Assembly Resolution 42/159 of 7 December 1987: Supports the right of peoples living under occupation to resist that occupation and to seek and receive support of outside parties. Thus, groups that have resisted Israeli occupation in the past (such as Hizbullah in Lebanon), and those groups that continue to resist Israeli occupation in the present (such as Islamic Jihad, Hamas, the PFLP, the DFLP, Fatah, and others) are legitimate resistance movements rather than “terrorist” organizations. Offensive actions such as suicide bombings against civilians, however, are considered illegitimate means of resistance, i.e. criminal acts of aggression.
The UN General Assembly Resolution 51/124 of December 1996: “Notes with regret that repatriation or compensation of the refugees, as provided for in paragraph 11 of its resolution 194…has not yet been effected and that, therefore, the situation of the refugees continues to be a matter of concern;”
The UN GA Resolution 51/126 of 13 December 1996: "(1) Reaffirms the right of all persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities to return to their homes or former places of residence in the territories occupied by Israel since 1967. (2) Expresses the hope for an accelerated return of displaced persons through the mechanism agreed upon by the parties in article XII of the Declaration of Principles on interim self-government Arrangements; and (3) Endorses…the efforts of the…United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine Refugees in the Near East to continue to provide humanitarian assistance…”
The UN General Assembly Resolution 51/129 of 13 December 1996: "(1) Reaffirms that the Palestine Arab refugees are entitled to their property and to the income derived there from, in conformity with the principles of justice and equity; (2) Requests the Secretary-General to take all appropriate steps, in consultation with the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine, for the protection of Arab property, assets and property rights in Israel and to preserve and modernize these existing records.” the UN General Assembly Resolution 52/114 of 52nd Session, 1997: Affirms, yet again, the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.