Monday, September 07, 2015

  • Monday, September 07, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Times of Israel's Avi Issacharoff:

The fog created by the ostensibly impending resignation of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas appeared to clear Monday, as details emerged indicating that the resignation threats were no more than a diversion ahead of a dramatic move planned by the Palestinians: declaring Palestine a state under occupation and reneging on their obligations as detailed in the Oslo Accords.

One senior PLO official, Ahmed Majdalani, told the Palestinian Ma’an news agency on Sunday that the central committee would discuss the abovementioned resolutions in its coming session. After voting on the decisions, the Palestinians are expected to announce the annulment of all agreements signed between the PLO and Israel, and to declare a new relationship with the Jewish state. Majdalani added that an announcement has already been drafted by the preparatory committee of the Palestinian National Council.

The Oslo Accords, as well as the agreement signed in Sharm el Sheikh in 1994, are expected to be canceled. Also set to be annulled are an economic agreement signed in Paris and several pacts on security cooperation between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

At this stage, it is still not yet clear what the actual implications of such a decision will be, but it will be accompanied by an announcement by Abbas at the United Nations General Assembly session at the end of the month, where he is expected to say that in light of the annulment of the agreements, Palestine will be considered a state under occupation.
Ma'an's coverage seems to indicate that this move has at least as much to do with internal Palestinian politics as it has to do with "occupation":

[Majdalani] visited Syria two days ago to meet with Palestinian factions who are not members of the PLO to explain the motivations for the upcoming meeting, saying that the session would challenge the Israeli occupation and was a response to Hamas' alleged talks with Israel "at the expense of internal reconciliation."

Around 26 participants from Syria will participate in the PNC meeting, he added.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command and the Popular Liberation Forces said they would boycott the meeting “but won’t take strict stances against decisions which emerge."
If "Palestine" is a "state under occupation" that means that either Area A is not occupied at all, or that Israel can move troops into Area A without coordination with the PA (or whatever they want to call the PA.) Because the definition of military occupation is the area where there are actual "boots on the ground" with the ability to exert "effective control," as a meeting of international law experts convened by the ICRC determined recently:
The experts discussed the cumulative constitutive elements of the notion of effective control over
a foreign territory, which underpins the definition of occupation set out in Article 42 of the Hague
Regulations of 1907.

The presence of foreign forces: this criterion was considered to be the only way to establish and exert firm control over a foreign territory. It was identified as a prerequisite for the establishment of an occupation, notably because it makes the link between the notion of effective control and the ability to fulfil the obligations incumbent upon the occupying power. It was also agreed that occupation could not be established or maintained solely through the exercise of power from beyond the boundaries of the occupied territory; a certain number of foreign “boots on the ground” were required.

... according to most of the experts, occupation could not be established or maintained solely through power exercised from beyond the boundaries of the occupied territory; it required a certain number of foreign boots on the ground, as it were.
So if there is still security cooperation between the PA's forces and Israel, then that means that the PA forces are acting under Israeli control in Area A in order for that territory to be considered occupied. (Occupation only extends to areas that the occupier can exert effective control.)

The legal system, if under occupation, would likewise either have to come under Israeli oversight or the areas where it can be exerted would be by definition not under occupation.

Annulling Oslo would also probably mean that the agreement to pay tax revenue to the PA would be null and void.

In fact, the PA itself would disappear, since that exists only because of Oslo.

It may also mean that all the other agreements based on the idea of a quasi-independent PA would also become nullified.

I doubt that this is what Erekat and Abbas intend. They will try, as always, to twist international law to gain all the benefits and none of the responsibilities - to keep their power base (which means they are not under occupation in those areas) but to claim that they are under occupation.

There could be other legal implications and unintended consequences for the Palestinian Arabs.

The illegality of unilaterally abrogating an agreement like Oslo and subsequent agreements must be stressed as well. If the PLO cannot be trusted to abide by a signed agreement, then what incentive does Israel have to work on a two-state solution?

Israel must spell out these consequences now, explicitly, rather than let the PLO decide on the rules of the game.

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