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Monday, August 29, 2011

Will "diaspora Palestinians" automatically become citizens of "Palestine"?

There has been an internal Palestinian Arab controversy about whether a declaration of a state would disenfranchise those of Palestinian descent.

A lawyer who helped draft the original Palestinian Declaration of Independence, Francis Boyle,  is peeved at Guy Goodwin-Gill, the lawyer who claims that there is a downside to the unilateral declaration stunt in September:

In the Nov. 15 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence that was approved by the Palestinian National Council, representing all Palestinians all over the world, the executive committee of the PLO was set up as the Provisional Government for the State of Palestine --pursuant to my advice.

In addition, the Declaration of Independence also provides that all Palestinians living around the world automatically become citizens of the State of Palestine -- pursuant to my advice. So the executive committee of the PLO in its capacity as the Provisional Government for the State of Palestine will continue to represent the interests of all Palestinians around the world when Palestine becomes a UN member state.

Hence all rights will be preserved: for all Palestinians and for the PLO. No one will be disenfranchised. The PLO will not lose its status. This legal arrangement does not violate the Palestinian Charter, but was approved already by the PNC.

Unfortunately, Oxford professor Guy Goodwill-Gill [sic] has circulated a memo full of distortions. It is based on many erroneous assumptions. This professor is not aware of all the legal and constitutional technicalities that were originally built into the Palestinian Declaration of Independence to make sure that his doomsday scenario does not materialize -- at my advice.
The "Declaration of Independence" is an amusing document, filled with both lies about history and lies about the present, one that simultaneously praises terrorism while claiming to declare a peaceful state. The relevant section about citizenship seems to be this:

The State of Palestine is the state of Palestinians wherever they may be. The state is for them to enjoy in it their collective national and cultural identity, theirs to pursue in it a complete equality of rights.
If this 1988 document is indeed the operative legal declaration of independence for "Palestine" then the "State of Palestine" can never be a democracy. Fair elections cannot be done when most of the citizens live outside the "nation" they are citizens of.

Moreover, having them become citizens means that the government cannot stop them from flooding into Ramallah to demand their rights to live in their country immediately. And there is no doubt that tens of thousand would want to do exactly that.

Boyle goes on to say that the PLO is actually the government of "Palestine" and not the pseudo-democratically elected PA. The West can wave good bye to their appointed darling, Salam Fayyad, who has no place in Boyle's (or anyone's)  conception of "Palestine."

Boyle, of course, fails to mention that the PLO has done nothing for more than half its constituents, quite happy to let them rot as stateless second-class members of Arab countries. The PLO has roundly ignored the wishes of Palestinian Arabs who are sick of being treated like pawns for the singular purpose of pressuring Israel.

The entire September stunt is not good for Israel, but it can easily become a disaster for "Palestine" and possibly the entire Middle East as the millions who have been cowed into silence for decades start to believe they have a say in their own futures.