Ariel Sharon has persisted in his contention that Israel must act unilaterally, since there is no serious negotiating partner with which to hash out a negotiated settlement to the half- century long conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. The very basis of the conflict would seem to make that situation logical, considering that most people do not understand what needs to be negotiated in such a dispute. There is no misunderstanding in the law that need be explained, no legitimate interpretation that is befuddling the affected parties, no complex economic or military concerns are bedeviling Israel’s withdrawal to its 1967 borders, thereby ending the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. The ICJ in its advisory decision on the Israeli Wall, gave a carefully worded explanation of international law that brings us back to the common sense realities of this conflict that might make it poss! ible for the Palestinians and Israelis to perhaps now chart a peaceful path into the future.
When we think about the numerous UN resolutions and other attempts made by the international community to bridle Israel’s ambitions is the region, temper its violence, and also to compel Israel to recognize that as a belligerent occupier, it must live up to its legal obligations, which includes caring for, and protecting the Palestinians, protecting their rights, which includes a right to life that is shared equally with the Israelis, it becomes clear that no legal ambiguities have frustrated attempts at peace. The United Nations, unlike some others, has never minced words when it came to international law and the Palestine/Israeli conflict, yet its unwillingness to ever challenge the US veto, or to seek creatively, yet legally, to overcome the barrier to peace that the US veto has come to represent in this respect, has caused its noble words to be little more than that… j! ust words. No matter what resolution was passed, what condemnation was issued, what vote was taken, two countries, Israel and the United States, have managed over the past fifty some odd years, to hurt and kill more people for the sake of the Jewish only state, than either have spent to protect, feed, educate and provide housing for many of their own peoples, not to mention the Palestinians. The cost of military equipment, losses in life, credibility, destruction of property and loss of honor, not to mention the attempts to undermine the United States constitution in an effort to limit, or obliterate the rights of US citizens to challenge our country’s actions in that respect, have cost billions, and still, no peace.
Some people have suggested that the cause for the quagmire in Palestine/Israel is the many erroneous perceptions that have guided peace efforts, and no doubt this observation is accurate. An example is the scriptural claim to the land that leads many Christians and Jews to feel compelled to force the Palestinians out by any brutal method, in order to make room for Israel. We seem to forget that Jews and others moved from God’s favor to God’s condemnation so frequently in the Holy Scripture, that if we sought to chart out the curses and blessings of any single group, seeking to understand which group of people are chosen and entitled to land, and at what juncture in history we have attained, or fallen from grace, we might find that none of us have been entitled to anything, except hope and prayer. Neither our races, nor our beliefs have entitled us to anything, and ma! ny of us, descendants from ancient tribes, might still have some bad karma to atone for, and that includes Christians, Jews and Muslims, which might explain why God has allowed us, in all of our conceited glory, to be persecuted at various junctures in history by wicked and evil people, because we refuse to challenge what our forefathers believed and to change, and we keep making the same mistakes. Why did God send Jesus to challenge the Pharisees and to warn them that they should not continue to obstruct the path to truth by counterfeiting the law?
Even though it is sometimes hard to find, or understand God’s law, buried in years of false interpretations, we need to try harder, since the saying is true that only someone insane thinks they can continue to make the same mistakes and get a different outcome, and that applies to violations of God’s laws. Ask any of the peoples who have suffered various types of persecution, and who have all perhaps asked, “why us”? God answers that question over and over again in the Holy Scriptures saying that ancient civilizations and peoples were punished and sometimes destroyed due to their disobedience and refusal to relinquish claims that tradition, culture and history, are more authoritative than the divine laws revealed by God, and taught and explained by the prophets. Lack of belief, or faith in God, and/or His laws never saved anyone.
The International Court of Justice confirmed Israel’s right to exist, and reaffirmed the world’s recognition of Israel’s sovereign borders, which according to the UN’s previous resolutions are the 1967 borders. The Court mentions 242 and 338 in its decision as its framework for understanding the legality, or illegality of the walls location. That makes it criminal for Palestinians, or anyone else to invade Israel to carry out attacks, and wrong for anyone to suggest that Israel should not exist and that Jews should not have a homeland. It also makes Israel’s argument for security less exceptional, since it becomes pretty clear that once returned to its own borders, it has no reason to expect that it be in any greater danger than any other nation/state that is not an aggressor, or provocateur. Equally important, the Court reaffirmed the rights of the Palestinians to have unfettered access to their lands, and to be compensated for Israel’s illegal land confiscations, and destruction of private property. Advocates of positivist law should be elated that the courts have rejected race, religion, and any other attempts to further frustrate peace between these two peoples with the types of fake religious, and tortured moral arguments, that have historically complicated the situation, returning us without fanfare to the pure and simple unambiguous authority of the law.
The issue of the wall is minor in comparison to the greater problems that have held peace at bay in the Palestine/ Israel conflict. Yet, the deliberation of this one issue has caused us to contemplate what have appeared until now as great and insurmountable complexities. The International Court of Justice might have paved a path to a legal solution to the Palestine/Israel conflict, and if the US is smart, it will not use its veto to demolish this new chance for peace. There is no way that the US can claim to be non-supportive of Israeli aggression and illegal expansion if it vetoes a UN attempt to legally define borders through the court, rather than through repeatedly failed, and unsuccessful negotiations between the parties. The details of peaceful co-existence and cooperation between the two sovereign states will perhaps be much easier to figure out and agree upon than they were previously, when the world had to figure out how to end an occupation that had no boundaries, and only passions, pride and sentiments like hate, anger and the racial, or religious supremacy of one group over another to agree upon.
U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 242
NOVEMBER 22, 1967
The Security Council, Expressing its continuing concern with the grave situation in the Middle East, Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security,
Emphasizing further that all Member States in their acceptance of the Charter of the United Nations have undertaken a commitment to act in accordance with Article 2 of the Charter, Affirms that the fulfillment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:
Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;
Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;
Affirms further the necessity,
For guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area;
For achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem;
For guaranteeing the territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area, through measures including the establishment of demilitarized zones;
Requests the Secretary General to designate a Special Representative to proceed to the Middle East to establish and maintain contacts with the States concerned in order to promote agreement and assist efforts to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement in accordance with the provisions and principles in this resolution; Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the progress of the efforts of the Special Representative as soon as possible.
UN Security Council, Resolution 338
Calls upon all parties to present fighting to cease all firing and terminate all military activity immediately, no later than 12 hours after the moment of the adoption of this decision, in the positions after the moment of the adoption of this decision, in the positions they now occupy;
Calls upon all parties concerned to start immediately after the cease-fire the implementation of Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) in all of its parts;
Decides that, immediately and concurrently with the cease-fire, negotiations start between the parties concerned under appropriate auspices aimed at establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East.