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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Abbas is formally demanding 1947 lines! (updated, corrected)

In recent weeks, everyone has been anticipating what exactly Mahmoud Abbas would be demanding from the UN in his statehood stunt. Most of the comments made by the Palestinian Arab side was that the demand would be for a state on the so-called "1967 border" (really 1949 armistice lines.)

But the actual text of his request demands much, much more. 

This is the text of the formal application to join the UN given by Mahmoud Abbas to Ban Ki Moon:

Excellency,

I have the profound honor, on behalf of the Palestinian people, to submit this application of the state of Palestine for admission to membership in the United Nations.

This application for membership is being submitted on the Palestinian people's natural, legal and historic rights and based on United Nations General Assembly resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947 as well as the Declaration of Independence of the State of Palestine of 15 November 1988 and the acknowledgement by the General Assembly of this declaration in resolution 43/177 of 15 December 1988.

In this connection, the state of Palestine affirms its commitment to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the vision of two states living side by side in peace and security, as endorsed by the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly and the international community as a whole and based on international law and all relevant United Nations resolutions.

For the purpose of this application for admission, a declaration made pursuant to rule 58 of the Provisional Rules of Procedure of the Security Council and rule 134 of the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly is appended to this letter.

I shall be grateful if you would transmit this letter of application and the declaration to the presidents of the Security Council and the General Assembly as soon as possible,

Mahmoud Abbas
President of the State of Palestine
Chairman of the Executive Committee of the
Palestine Liberation Organization.
The 1988 "Declaration of Independence" does not define what territories are "occupied" by Israel, and indeed it implies that all of Israel is occupied Palestinian Arab land. But it does reference UNGA 181.

But more important is his reference to the UNGA resolution 181 (II)*.

UNGA 181, which is of course non-binding, includes four sections. Part I includes details on an "economic union" between the two states, and says things like the Jews who live in Jerusalem would be allowed to vote in elections for the Jewish state, and that holy places must be open to all without reservation.  Those parts are not what he is including.

Part II, the only part he is including*, draws the boundaries for the two states - the Jewish state and the Arab state.

Part III, not included in Abbas' bid*, defines Jerusalem's boundaries as a separate international city, which includes Bethlehem and other areas.

The formal request is to now to extend "Palestine" way beyond the Green Line. By referring specifically to part II of UNGA 181, Abbas is telling the world that "Palestine" must include a great deal of land that is internationally recognized to be Israeli.  By not including part III, he is claiming all of Jerusalem and its western suburbs. Not to mention Ashkelon and Ashdod.


All of that "1967 border" talk is now proven to be a lie. The official, formal request for a state of "Palestine" is a demand to take land away from another sovereign state.

If this doesn't cause the Security Council to unanimously vote against it without requiring a US veto, then the UN will prove itself to be an utterly worthless organization.

UPDATE: T34 notes that the UNGA resolution 43/177 referred to here does mention the 1967 borders:

It says, in part:
1. Acknowledges the proclamation of the State of Palestine by the Palestine National Council on 15 November 1988;

2. Affirms the need to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their sovereignty over their territory occupied since 1967;
However, notice that the letter only says " the acknowledgement by the General Assembly of this declaration [of independence]  in resolution 43/177 of 15 December 1988" and not the part of the resolution that mentions the 1967 lines!


This looks very deliberate.


*CORRECTION: The reference to UNGA 181(II) does not refer to Part II of the resolution, but to the fact that it was the second session of the General Assembly. See here


So while he does not seem to be excluding the parts of UNGA 181 that note the separate status of Jerusalem or the free access to holy places, there is still nothing in the formal request for admission to the UN that refers to 1967 lines. The only borders specifically referred to in the letter are still the 1947 proposed lines. 


His speech did refer to the "1967 borders." 


The letter that accompanied the formal bid only refers to the "1967 borders" in the context of what other nations recognize, not what he is demanding:


At the very least, there is nothing in the formal PLO bid that refers to 1967 borders, and there is some indication that it refers to 1947 lines. 


(h/t AB)