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New York Times Opposition to Palestinian Self-Determination

by Stephen Lendman Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011 at 4:43 AM


New York Times Opposition to Palestinian Self-Determination - by Stephen Lendman

In September, when the General Assembly meets (beginning 9/13), Palestinians will seek de jure UN membership. Unless current policy changes, it will ask for official recognition as an independent sovereign state. Currently, it has Observer State Status only, denying its right to vote.

Israel opposes recognition. So does Obama, both Houses of Congress, and The New York Times.

Earlier articles explained the following:

(1) Last March, Israel told UN Security Council members and other prominent EU countries it will act unilaterally if the General Assembly grants Palestine de jure membership in September inside 1967 borders, 22% of historic Palestine.

(2) If granted, Israel will likely deny recognition, continuing its illegal occupation, this time against a sovereign country. Moreover, expect it to accelerate West Bank/East Jerusalem land seizures, isolating Palestinians on smaller portions of worthless scrub land.

(3) While rhetorically favoring Palestinian statehood, Obama categorically rejects PA officials seeking it unilaterally. Instead, he wants Israel to decide its terms, size, locations and timetable. In other words, he supports Israeli veto power of Palestinian rights, including sovereignty, an unacceptable/illegal condition under international law.

In a White House statement, he also "emphasized that a vote at the United Nations will never create an independent Palestinian state" even though defying a two-thirds majority General Assembly affirmation is illegal. More on that below.

(4) Last December 15, Congress (by voice vote) passed HR 1765: "Supporting a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and condemning unilateral measures to declare or recognize a Palestinian state, and for other purposes," including:

"affirm(ing) that the United States would deny recognition to any unilaterally declared Palestinian state and veto any (Security Council resolution) to establish or recognize (one) outside of an agreement by the two parties."

Obama endorses this policy.

However, Washington earlier provisionally recognized Palestine as an independent nation. According to UN Charter Article 80(1), it can't reverse its position by vetoing a Security Council (SC) resolution calling for Palestine's UN admission.

Any veto is illegal, subject to further SC action under the Charter's Chapter VI. Ultimately, the SC only recommends admissions. The General Assembly affirms them by a two-thirds majority. At this time, enough support exists to get it.

Moreover, UN Charter Article 80(1) and others empower the General Assembly to recognize Palestinian statehood and take all necessary measures to end Israel's illegal occupation. If sovereignty is granted, it's more than ever essential to do so, holding Israel fully accountable for not complying.

Up to now, however, Washington's threatened Security Council veto prevented de jure membership, despite its illegality under international law and its pledge not to do so against any state seeking UN membership.

In fact, the General Assembly has sole authority to admit new members, not the Security Council. If Washington uses its veto as threatened, the GA can circumvent it under the 1950 Uniting for Peace Resolution.

Next month we'll know three things:

-- whether Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will follow through on his promise to seek sovereignty and de jure UN membership through the General Assembly;

-- if so, whether a majority of member states will defy Washington/Israeli bullying by acting responsibly; and

-- if de jure membership and sovereignty are granted, will Washington and Israel retaliate repressively.

Moreover, it's a long time from now to mid-September, plenty for hardball Israeli/Washington tactics to subvert the process or intimidate Abbas to remain a collaborationist Israeli ally and do it for them.

New York Times Endorses Wrong Over Right

On August 7, its editorial headlined, "Palestinians and the UN," saying:

We "have sympathy for their yearning and their frustration," but nowhere near enough nor respect for international law.

"If the Palestinians want full UN membership, they have to win the backing of the Security Council."

Fact check: false as explained above.

"The United States will undoubtedly veto any resolution."

Fact check: true, but doing so is illegal. The Times didn't explain.

"The Palestinians (will either) ask the General Assembly to recognize them as a state or give them observer status as a state."

Fact check: Palestine already has observer status - in 1974 to the PLO, then in 1998 to participate in general debates with other rights, except to vote.

"The best way, likely the only way, to (avoid being "more alienated") is with the start of serious negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians."

Fact check: Like surgical pain to remove a cancer, Washington/Israeli retaliation may be part of the package for freedom. The alternative is continued repressive occupation vital to end.

In addition, Israel (like Washington) doesn't negotiate or compromise. It demands. Expecting another way now is delusional. In fact, suggesting it is duplicitous.

"The White House is working with Israel and the Quartet (US/EU/UN/Russia) on a statement setting out parameters for negotiations."

Fact check: False. The White House, as always, is obstructionist on everything opposing Israeli interests, notably on granting Palestinians independence within 1967 borders, 22% of historic Palestine, as well as East Jerusalem as its capital, free from Israeli occupation.

"To have any chance of inducing the Palestinians to drop their statehood bid - and finally move the peace process forward - the United States and its partners should put a map and a deal on the table, with a timeline for concluding negotiations...."

Fact check: A "map" already is "on the table." It's the entire West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, nothing less, and no land swaps benefitting Israel. Moreover, the so-called "peace process" was stillborn from inception because neither Israel or Washington will tolerate it.

Pretending otherwise is contemptibly betraying 44 years of liberating struggle so far unachieved. Of course, The Times notoriously betrays its readers by misreporting and suppressing important truths. Its August 7 editorial is one of many examples, its pages a daily sinkhole of many others as firm policy.

A Final Comment

On August 8, cited an unnamed retired US diplomat, commenting on Palestinian issues. Among others raised, he discussed the following:

-- Palestinians have largely given up on America now and henceforth because of its one-sided bias toward Israel.

-- In September, Mahmoud Abbas will seek Security Council approval for de jure UN membership, knowing a Washington veto will prevent it. As a result, Palestinians will "make this an annual exercise," repeating the same futile process.

-- Ahead of the September meeting, Abbas will encourage anti-Israeli demonstrations. They'll be met by IDF violence. "There is a real fear that the Palestinian security services will somehow be caught in the middle" and be destroyed "as happened during the second Intifada."

-- "Reconciliation with Hamas is on hold until after UN action."

-- Even optimistic Israelis "are deeply pessimistic and see Israel as an isolated, right-wing country with no hope for negotiations." In fact, some long-time citizens "said if they knew what Israel has become, they would never have made aliyah (immigrated)."

-- Throughout Israel and Occupied Palestine, "disillusionment" is the highest he's seen in 40 years. He also thinks Washington "finally reached the end of the road and totally destroyed its credibility." Moreover, some Israelis have as much contempt for America as for Palestinians.

His analysis suggests what others know and affirm:

-- That Israel and Washington will block all Palestinian attempts for liberating sovereignty and freedom, including ending 44 years of illegal occupation.

-- They're on their own to achieve it, making it crucial to use the General Assembly, not the Security Council.

-- If current PA leaders won't do it, they must be replaced by others who will.

-- Delaying only buys Israel more time to seize all valued West Bank land it wishes and all East Jerusalem, shutting out Palestinians entirely.

As a result, going for broke this September is essential. Delaying for another year is conceding defeat and denying the aspirations of millions of Palestinians who deserve better. It's high time they got it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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