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Saturday, March 10, 2007

PA draft constitution

I just saw this, even though it is from 2003.

Under pressure from the US, the PA created a draft constitution. It is a very strange collection of lies to placate the West and interesting truths about their goals buried in Western-style rhetoric.
Article (1)

The State of Palestine is a sovereign, independent republic. Its territory is an indivisible unit based upon its borders on the eve of June 4, 1967, without prejudice to the rights guaranteed by the international resolutions relative to Palestine. All residents of this territory shall be subject to Palestinian law exclusively.
How exactly are Gaza and the West Bank indivisible? Or is this a backhanded way of saying that it includes all of Israel?
Article (3)

Palestine is a peace loving state that condemns terror, occupation and aggression. It calls for the resolution of international and regional problems by peaceful means. It abides by the Charter of the United Nations.
This is a prime example of that famous PalArab sense of humor.
Article (4)

Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Palestine and seat of its public authorities.
Notice it doesn't say "East Jerusalem" or "The Old City." Hmmmm.
Article (5)

Arabic and Islam are the official Palestinian language and religion. Christianity and all other monotheistic religions shall be equally revered and respected. The Constitution guarantees equality in rights and duties to all citizens irrespective of their religious belief.
All three of these sentences contradict each other. If Islam is the official religion, it is impossible for other religions to be equally respected. If only monotheistic religions are respected, then there are no equal rights for Hindus or Buddhists. So, which is it? Just read on:
Article (7)

The principles of Islamic Shari’a are a major source for legislation. Civil and religious matters of the followers of monotheistic religions shall be organized in accordance with their religious teachings and denominations within the framework of law, while preserving the unity and independence of the Palestinian people.
Meaning that Islamic law is the basis for all law, and as long as other religious laws do not contradict Shari'a they will be permitted to practice. Sounds very equal to me!
Article (12)

Palestinian nationality shall be regulated by law, without prejudice to the rights of those who legally acquired it prior to May 10, 1948 or the rights of the Palestinians residing in Palestine prior to this date, and who were forced into exile or departed there from and denied return thereto. This right passes on from fathers or mothers to their progenitor. It neither disappears nor elapses unless voluntarily relinquished. A Palestinian cannot be deprived of his nationality. The acquisition and relinquishment of Palestinian nationality shall be regulated by law. The rights and duties of citizens with multiple nationalities shall be governed by law.
The three sentences I highlighted also contradict each other. Can a Palestinian relinquish his nationality or not?

And according to this, there are plenty of Jews who are Palestinians - probably well over a million who descended from the Jews in Israel in 1948, and by the definition here of either parent my guess is that possibly half of Israeli Jews might have a bloodline to a pre-1948 Jew. If they cannot be deprived of their Palestinian nationality, what does PA law say about them? Can they vote? If not, what about the pledge not to discriminate against monotheistic religions?
Article (13)

Palestinians who left Palestine as a result of the 1948 war, and who were denied return thereto shall have the right to return to the Palestinian state and bear its nationality. It is a permanent, inalienable, and irrevocable right.

The state of Palestine shall strive to apply the legitimate right of return of the Palestinian refugees to their homes, and to obtain compensation, through negotiations, political, and legal channels in accordance with the 1948 United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 and the principles of international law.
Every Arab nation voted against Resolution 194 in 1948.

Not only that, the wording of 194 concerning the refugees says: "...the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date". It is clear that in the nearly sixty years since then, they have never fulfilled that provision.

Also, 194 says that Jerusalem will be under international control. This contradicts the idea of Jerusalem being the capital of "Palestine."

Ah, but look at the words more closely. They are not accepting 194; they are just pretending that a single paragraph written for this non-binding resolution in 1948 supports their right of return and they are explicitly ignoring/rejecting the rest of it.
Article (14)

Natural resources in Palestine are the property of the Palestinian people who will exercise sovereignty over them. The state shall be obligated to preserve natural resources and legally regulate their optimal exploitation while safeguarding Palestinian religious and cultural heritage and environmental needs. The protection and maintenance of antiquities and historical sites is an official and social responsibility. It is prohibited to tamper with or destroy them, and whoever violates, destroys, or illegally sells them shall be punishable by law.
Unless, of course, they are Jewish antiquities.

The entire second section of the draft constitution talks in lofty terms about equal rights and Western-style freedoms that simply do not exist anywhere in the Arab world.