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Apologies from Canada - Congratulations Palestine

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John Baird by Peace Alliance Winnipeg

Once again Canada has assumed its sycophantic role of supporting the U.S. and Israel in their determination to ethnically cleanse the Palestinian territories. The reality of the vote for Palestinian participation in the UN is more realistically 138 yes to 2 no: the Pacific Island countries and Panama are essentially colonial protectorates of the U.S. even though they are "independent": Canada is a well known supporter of the U.S. acting as an independent 51st state of the union; that leaves the Czech Republic as the only European country to support the vote.

Negotiations, negotiations, negotiations".

As usual, John Baird, Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister, gave Canada's speech at the UN denouncing Palestinian attempts to join the UN. The speech had its standard Conservative "talking point", this time being consistent unqualified reminders about "a two state solution, arrived at through direct negotiations". To do this, Baird walked his listeners through the seventy year history of UN Resolutions concerning Palestine and Israel, conveniently ignoring the parts of the resolutions that did not suit his purpose but which over-ride his general argument on negotiations.

Perhaps this is because, as he says, the issues "are too intricate and too complex to be resolved by symbolic, unilateral measures." This of course is the usual political discourse used to intimidate the public into thinking they are not to be part of the process, that better minds are at work. The symbolism of this move could be quite powerful - and indeed the vote tally demonstrates how isolated Israel, Canada, and the U.S. are in their support of Israel"s position. Admittedly many of the other countries will not back up their vote with any further actions to try and force change on Israel, but the emotional mindset, the big idea, is out there loud and clear - Israel is on the wrong path, morally and legally.

As for unilateral measures, Israel and the U.S. both act unilaterally as they perceive it to be in their best interests; there is no reason for a Palestinian leader not to act the same way. Abbas was caught between a rock and a hard place. Hamas had just come away from another confrontation with Israel looking much more the defender and champion of Palestinian rights than the PLO/PA "government' in Ramallah, a government that does not have democratic credentials for its direction as did Hamas.

The problem with negotiations is that they have not worked, at least not for peace. They have worked for Israel as a smokescreen for continued military occupation, annexation, expropriation, and settlement of Palestinian lands and the slow destruction of their culture. All this amounts to ongoing ethnic cleansing. The withdrawal of settlements from Gaza did nothing to change this, as it served as "formaldehyde" on the peace process and allowed the ongoing settlement of the West Bank.

Resolve these resolutions

As Baird breezes through the various resolutions since 1947, he gives constant reminders of how each resolution calls for negotiations - to start, to continue, or to be revived. Each subsequent resolution after the initial one also refers back to previous resolutions indicating that they should be fulfilled. What is missing from Baird's presentation are the elements that are very significant within those resolutions that makes negotiations not quite the main principle Baird offers.

Baird's first reference is Resolution 181, saying it has never been "fully implemented." In reality, this resolution was never implemented at all as the Palestinians rejected it and the Jewish settlers and their armed militias, the Haganah and the Irgun, began the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian towns well before Israel unilaterally declared independence in 1948. This is contrary to resolution 181 as it states

The Security Council determine as a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression in accordance with Article 39 of the Charter, any attempt to alter by force the settlement envisaged by this resolution.

In effect Resolution 181, with reference to the UN Charter, denies Israel the right to use force to change the situation in Palestine. As history has proven, Israel has used force consistently within the occupied territories, indeed all of historical Palestine, and has used force extensively against external territories as well.

The next reference Is Resolution 194, and yes it says something about negotiations. But more importantly for what Baird has ignored is Article 8 that states that Jerusalem is to be an international city under the control of the UN. And article 9 gives the right of return and compensation for the Palestinian refugees. So if the need to negotiate is sustained through time by further resolutions, Jerusalem being an international city and the right of Palestinian return are also both part of the resolution which is called upon in future resolutions.

Jumping ahead to 1967, Baird refers to Resolution 242, which, yes again, refers to negotiations. The Resolution begins by "Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war" and refers to UN Charter Article 2.4 that says, "All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations," and states further in article 1.1 "Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict" [italics added]

If Baird is correct and consistent with his arguments, then Israel should withdraw its armed forces back to the "green line" positions at the beginning of the war - and even that is a grand concession of Palestinian territory to Israel, especially considering the "inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war." This resolution refers to previous resolutions so the positions on Jerusalem and refugee rights still stand.

From that point on, Baird keeps reiterating the negotiation stance while ignoring the other issues presented in the Resolutions. As Baird insists that Resolutions 242 and 338 (after the Yom Kippur war) form the "cornerstone of all subsequent peace commitments" then the articles identified above also need to be implemented. He states that negotiations are a "core principle", but in reality according to the resolutions themselves negotiation is "immediately and concurrently with" the other principles indicated above.

Next up are the Oslo round of agreements, but the Oslo Accords have been shown to be a front by the U.S. and Israel while land annexations, expropriations, and settlements continued building in occupied Palestinian territory, against the precepts of the UN Charter and Resolutions 242 ands 338. Oslo II, in Article 31, under Final Clauses (section 7), stipulates that "Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and Gaza pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations." Of course this is the period when enormous amounts of settler activity in the West Bank occurred and later the democratic elections of Hamas (2006) were annulled, both obvious steps that change the status of the West Bank and Gaza.

Later in 2002, Resolution 1397 calls for the resumption of the peace process, a process by this time recognized to be smoke and mirrors. But it also restates the importance of the earlier resolutions, "Recalling all its previous relevant resolutions, in particular resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973)."

And it goes on through Resolution 1515 and 1850, both reconfirming the earlier resolutions. That being the case, one can hardly wonder why the "negotiations" are emphasized by Israel and Canada. If the other elements of the resolutions were implemented as they should have been and as Baird so vociferously argues for, then Jerusalem would be an international city, the Israeli military would not occupy the West Bank nor turn Gaza into an internment camp, and the Palestinians would have the right of return or compensation for lands stolen and annexed by Israel.

Baird ends his train of thought - a very singular track indeed - with more calls for negotiations and the two state outcome. Both ideas are highly arguable especially now if reference is made to any map that shows the highly non-contiguous nature of what little land is left that is still considered Palestinian. Israel controls all the land and has all the power, backed by the world's sole superpower, hardly an arrangement under which fair negotiations could occur.

The final argument is a full non-starter - "We call on both sides to return to the negotiating table without preconditions."

Amazing considering that he has just argued for seventy years of preconditions - all the UN Resolutions so proudly quoted in defence of negotiations, none of which has been fulfilled in any form vis a vis Jerusalem, refugees, occupation, and international and humanitarian war crimes against other states and people.

Apologies from Canada

Is it possible that one citizen or two or a dozen can compensate for Canada's official stupidity by apology alone? Canada pretends to be a big player on the world scene, with Stephen Harper's Napoleon complex changing the way Canada interacts in the world. Canada's threat is "we will be considering all available next steps." Not much to worry about there, Canada can do nothing alone without the backing of the U.S. and Israel, perhaps withdraw an envoy or two, always a good step in communicating and negotiating.

The majority of Canadians did not vote for Harper, yet he still has a strong majority government in which, ironically, negotiations are not something that are considered to be important. Many Canadians, even on the liberal side of things, are still swayed by the rhetoric of the mainstream media, much of which comes from the U.S. and the third place opposition Liberals also support Canada's role in voting no to the resolution.

Regardless, from those of us in Canada who do recognize international law and the UN Resolutions as they are written - and not as revised by Canada's department of Foreign Affairs - we do support the people of Palestine in their ongoing search for peace within their homeland, and freedom from the oppression of a militarized state that has no real interest in accommodating them.

The vote may be symbolic, but symbolism carries a long history and a long memory.

 

Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor/columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews to Palestine Chronicles. His interest in this topic stems originally from an (more...)
 
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The UN vote demonstrates how much the U.S. and Can... by Jim Miles on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 9:57:29 AM
that the obama Administration did not lobby with m... by Matthew Jacobs on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 3:45:06 PM
That you are delusional.  Obama doesn't have ... by Sister Begonia on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 5:31:56 PM
... by Matthew Jacobs on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 6:48:41 PM
Older than you.  I suppose that next , you'l... by Sister Begonia on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 7:10:28 PM
... by Matthew Jacobs on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 7:36:31 PM
Wow, what a surprise !  Btw, good to see th... by Sister Begonia on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 9:44:59 PM
to have to trust me on this one. The Citizens of I... by Matthew Jacobs on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 4:24:09 PM
The people of the world no longer give a rat's a... by Sister Begonia on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 5:30:32 PM
The U.S. has 40 per cent of the world's Jewish pou... by Jim Miles on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 6:57:41 PM
What if at some time in the future a Palestinian S... by Matthew Jacobs on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 7:48:33 PM
You have presented one possible scenario among man... by Jim Miles on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 10:21:43 PM
When it is Apparent to the casual reader that you ... by Matthew Jacobs on Sunday, Dec 2, 2012 at 12:43:24 PM
Approving the construction of 3,000 new illegal se... by beth johansen on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 10:25:36 AM
Their backs to the sea, declared enemies on the ot... by Matthew Jacobs on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 4:00:48 PM
For Pet e's sake mark those borders alr eady!&nb... by Sister Begonia on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 5:28:02 PM
you're a Sister of the Church. In fact I think I'l... by Matthew Jacobs on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 5:39:40 PM
Drunk or worse?  You've accomplished your goa... by Sister Begonia on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 7:16:33 PM
disappointment, that has now grown into a petulant... by Matthew Jacobs on Sunday, Dec 2, 2012 at 3:55:33 PM
Those 64 years of near constant hostilities is tru... by Jim Miles on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 6:51:05 PM
I would like to have a better understand of where ... by Matthew Jacobs on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 8:35:13 PM
The Palestinian people are mainly wanting to have ... by Jim Miles on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 10:36:21 PM
Surrender the right of self protection to the prom... by Matthew Jacobs on Sunday, Dec 2, 2012 at 12:09:13 PM
Jordan is not a declared enemy, even Netanyahu in ... by Jim Miles on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 7:05:36 PM
Saudi Arabia being a de facto Israeli ally and it ... by Matthew Jacobs on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 8:16:19 PM
When I read a counter argument about the fault of ... by Jim Miles on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 10:41:16 PM
response to your claims of cooperation between Jew... by Matthew Jacobs on Sunday, Dec 2, 2012 at 12:57:41 PM
Possession of the land. It all goes toward establi... by Matthew Jacobs on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 8:47:34 PM
... by Matthew Jacobs on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 8:53:22 PM
This has devolved into a comedy. After 40 years of... by David Christie on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 2:11:12 PM
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx... by David Christie on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 2:12:13 PM
To see all these inf lu ential, grown men da... by Sister Begonia on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 5:21:56 PM
in Canada who are embarrassed and ashamed of what ... by Archie on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 8:15:39 PM
Yes, this is the first time in my life I have been... by Kathleen O'Grady on Sunday, Dec 2, 2012 at 9:05:12 AM
Canada and the US support endless wars for Israel,... by Lorring II on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 8:59:41 PM
We have a 9/11 Truther amongst us. There goes the ... by Matthew Jacobs on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 9:25:35 PM
Seriously!  Who are you to question every o ... by Sister Begonia on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 9:50:02 PM
The nation of Israel has lost the respect of the ... by michael payne on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 9:57:50 PM
So what do you see happening. Mass Seppuku, follow... by Matthew Jacobs on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 10:36:30 PM
Their fate is theirs to write - yes I agree. ... by Jim Miles on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 10:47:21 PM
and join the majority of the nations of the worl... by michael payne on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 11:03:17 PM
Let me ask you with 218 articles 548 comments how ... by Matthew Jacobs on Sunday, Dec 2, 2012 at 1:03:53 PM
they would have to give up on the whole idea of th... by Matthew Jacobs on Sunday, Dec 2, 2012 at 3:05:19 PM
We can argue and debate endlessly but it's becomin... by michael payne on Sunday, Dec 2, 2012 at 4:23:30 PM
"What it should do however, is give the Palestinia... by Matthew Jacobs on Sunday, Dec 2, 2012 at 12:06:22 AM
Re: the 9-11 Truthers....Another rather condescend... by Jim Miles on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 10:52:38 PM
... by Matthew Jacobs on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 11:19:32 PM
Another cogent argument.... by Jim Miles on Saturday, Dec 1, 2012 at 11:56:00 PM
... by Matthew Jacobs on Sunday, Dec 2, 2012 at 12:08:54 AM
I would like to know what your solutions are? You ... by Matthew Jacobs on Sunday, Dec 2, 2012 at 12:25:21 AM
Is it possible that one citizen http://www.pramj... by ماهر حسن on Monday, Dec 3, 2012 at 1:12:42 AM
These discussions are not moderated http://ww... by ماهر حسن on Monday, Dec 3, 2012 at 1:13:10 AM

 

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