International Law and Palestinian Independence

Discussion in 'Israel and Palestine' started by P F Tinmore, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. P F Tinmore
    Offline

    P F Tinmore Platinum Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Messages:
    34,596
    Thanks Received:
    1,698
    Trophy Points:
    1,080
    Ratings:
    +2,920
    With the Palestinian authorities in Ramallah seeking recognition of a Palestinian state through the United Nations, it is important to consider what this means both to Palestinians and to the rest of the world.

    States are the predominant actors in the international community. They are the main actors that create, implement, and are subject to international law—a system of rules initially established by Western states that is now widely accepted as governing relations between all states.

    As statehood will have a significant effect on how Palestine is considered, and likely treated, by the international community, it is important to consider Palestinians’ entitlement to statehood and what it means. International law provides a common denominator that can be used to answer this question.

    As the UN General Assembly lacks the power to do more than make recommendations, the starting point for Palestinian statehood or independence is not UN General Assembly Resolution 181 which recommended that two states be created on Palestinian territory. Instead it is the right to self-determination that the Palestinian people have as the indigenous people of Palestine. This right is perhaps the most notable human right in the United Nations. It is the only human right expressly recognised in the Charter of the United Nations, where articles 1, 55, and 73 acknowledge it. The right to self-determination is an essential — the most essential for many states — part of customary international law and has been declared one of the most basic principles of customary international law by the UN General Assembly’s Declaration on the Principles of International Law concerning the Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States.

    The right to self-determination has been explicitly recognised as applicable to the situation of the Palestinian people by the UN General Assembly for more than 30 years. To this end it established the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in 1975 to work towards the realisation of this right. This right provides all peoples, including the Palestinian people, the right to determine their own future. It is a right that Israelis did not enjoy in Palestinian territory when they unilaterally declared their state in violation of Palestinians’ right to self-determination. The Palestinian right to self-determination pre-existed any effort by Israel to occupy Palestinian lands. It is a right that all Palestinians are entitled to exercise according to international law since at least the 1920s. It is thus a right that is enjoyed over all of the territory over which the British Mandate was approved by the League of Nations in 1922.

    According to established customary international law, which is now reflected in the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States dating back to 1933, a state should have: a) a permanent population; b) a defined territory; c) a government; and d) the ability to enter into foreign relations with other states. There can be little doubt that Palestine satisfies all of these criteria.

    Thus, it is certainly possible for the Palestinian people to agree to accept the 1948 borders, the 1967 borders or any other borders they wish. It might mean, for example, that if necessary, entirely new territorial boundaries can be negotiated, perhaps to give two states viable, instead of divided, borders. What is clear is that Palestine has defined borders. Whether these borders are disputed is another question that is not a hindrance to statehood because legally these borders exist.

    JURIST - Forum: International Law and Palestinian Independence: A View from Palestine
     
  2. P F Tinmore
    Offline

    P F Tinmore Platinum Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    Messages:
    34,596
    Thanks Received:
    1,698
    Trophy Points:
    1,080
    Ratings:
    +2,920
    Paul De Waart says that the Quartet, particularly the United States, as well as western states, do not consider Palestine to be a state as yet. In their view the statehood of Palestine will be the result of bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian people. He says they have overlooked that under international law it is not anymore a question of creating but of recognizing the State of Palestine.

    Wapedia - Wiki: State of Palestine.
     

Share This Page