Time for Palestine to Unilaterally Seek
International Recognition
of an Independent State

Written by Ralph E. Stone. Posted in Opinion, Politics

Published on November 07, 2010 with 7 Comments

By Ralph E. Stone

November 7, 2010

The off-again, on-again Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations have stalled again. During the lull between negotiations, Israel continues settlement construction in the Palestinian territories and east Jerusalem, lands the Palestinians claim for a future state. Clearly, Israel has no intention of engaging in meaningful peace negotiations that would result in an independent Palestinian state. Israel is slowly squeezing the Palestinians with the ultimate goal of taking over the entire country and to drive out the non-Jewish population. This leaves the Palestinians no choice but to unilaterally appeal to the international community for recognition of an independent state.

Palestine has indicated that it would end all historic claims against Israel once they establish their state in the lands Israel occupied in the 1967 Mideast War. The Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank, Gaza, and east Jerusalem captured by Israel in the 1967 War. Israel has withdrawn from Gaza, but about a half million Israelis have settled in the other war-won areas. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants the Palestinians to recognize the Israel state and if it did, Israel “might” resume peace talks. Netanyahu is stalling. As Mahmoud Abbas noted, Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which Abbas heads, recognized each other in 1993.

Israel must be pleased with the mid-term election results; it means there will be less pressure on Israel to resume peace negotiations. Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud party love Republicans.

Let’s look back a bit. Consider that at the creation of Israel in 1947 when the United Nations partitioned the land, allotting the Jews 55 percent of Palestine. The Arabs did not agree to this partition. The action of the United Nations conflicted with the basic principles for which the world organization was established, namely, to uphold the right of all peoples to self-determination. By denying the Palestine Arabs, who formed a two-thirds majority of the country, the right to decide for themselves, the UN had violated its own charter.

Most of the Zionists accepted the partition resolution because they were convinced that the crucial issue at that time was to establish a firm foundation for Jewish sovereignty. However, in closed meetings, the Zionists, including David Ben-Gurion, never concealed their intention to expand at the first opportunity the territory given to the Jews. That is why the Declaration of Independence did not define the state’s borders and Israel has not defined its borders to this day.

“Zionism” as used in this article means a political movement concerned principally with the establishment of a state in Palestine to be controlled by and for Jews. Zionism seeks to dominate all of Palestine

While the Yishuv’s leadership formally accepted the 1947 Partition Resolution, large sections of Israel’s society — including David Ben-Gurion — were opposed to or extremely unhappy with partition and from early on viewed the war as an ideal opportunity to expand the new state’s borders beyond the UN earmarked partition boundaries and at the expense of the Palestinians. In fact, as early as 1938, [David Ben-Gurion] stated, “After we become a strong force, as a result of the creation of a state, we shall abolish partition and expand into the whole of Palestine.” In 1948, Menachem Begin declared, “The partition of the Homeland is illegal. It will never be recognized. The signature of institutions and individuals of the partition agreement is invalid. It will not bind the Jewish people. Jerusalem was and will forever be our capital. Eretz Israel (the land of Israel) will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And forever.”

In the war of 1967, Egypt did not attack Israel. Rather, Israel conducted a pre-emptive strike against Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. After the war, the remaining Palestinian territory was captured by Israel. Out of this captured land, Israel created the West Bank and the Gaza Strip by chopping up the land into isolated enclaves surrounded by Jewish settlements and Israeli occupation forces. The Palestinians lost 78 percent of their land to Israel and are left with 22 percent.

Israel has erected a wall or fence, which cuts deep into Palestinian territory, joining large Jewish settlement blocks to Israel, further confining the Palestinians to isolated enclaves. And Israel continues to establish new settlements (called outposts), demolishing homes and uprooting plantations in the process.

Under the UN’s Charter there can lawfully be no territorial gains from war, even by a state acting in self-defense. Therefore, even if Israel’s action were to be considered defensive, its retention of the West Bank and Gaza Strip is unlawful.

Since Israel instituted a strict closure policy in 2000, the Palestinian economy has been on a downward trend. Fuel, electricity and materials to maintain water and sanitation are under Israeli control. The lack of investment in public infrastructure and private enterprises is eroding the limited remaining Palestinian economic base. The economic blockade has devastated the Gaza private sector and driven almost all industrial producers out of business. The poverty rate in Gaza and the West Bank is estimated to be 70 percent and 37 percent respectively. The unemployment rate is about 19 percent in the West Bank and about 40 percent in Gaza. Since the international condemnation of Israel’s attack on the Gaza flotilla, Israel has eased the Gaza blockade somewhat.

It should be clear that Israel’s ultimate goal is to take over the entire country and to drive out the non-Jewish population. Thus, Palestine has no choice but to unilaterally appeal to the international community for recognition of an independent Palestinian state. After all, it was the UN who partitioned Palestine in 1947 without the Palestine Arab’s consent. What better forum is there to debate Palestine’s quest for an independent state with or without Israel’s consent? Otherwise, Palestine’s hope for an independent nation will die the death of a thousands cuts.

More Info

See generally The Origins of the Palestinian-Israel Conflict by Jews for Justice in the Middle East.

Palestine is still the Issue – John Pilger details the war in Palestine through interviews of Palestinians and Israelis. It details the progress of peace and the strategies and policies at work on both sides of the issue.

Ralph E. Stone

I was born in Massachusetts; graduated from Middlebury College and Suffolk Law School; served as an officer in the Vietnam war; retired from the Federal Trade Commission (consumer and antitrust law); travel extensively with my wife Judi; and since retirement involved in domestic violence prevention and consumer issues.

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Comments for Time for Palestine to Unilaterally Seek
International Recognition
of an Independent State
are now closed.

  1. Interestingly enough no one disputes the main premise of my article. That is, if Palestine wants an independent state it is unlikely to achieve it through on-again, off-again negotiations with Israel. Palestine either waits while Israel continues to build new illegal “settlements” and “outposts” in lands Palestine claims for an independent state, or it appeals to an international tribunal with or without the consent of Israel or Hamas. Does anyone really believe Israel wants to negotiate a two-state peace with Palestine? If so, why does Israel continue to build Israeli settlements” (more than 121), and Israeli outposts (about 102) built illegally on Palestinian land occupied militarily by Israel since 1967 (West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights). All of these settlements and outposts are illegal under international law and have been condemned by numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions. Israeli outposts are considered illegal under Israeli law.

    I am accused of cherry picking my facts. No one seems to dispute that they are facts. At the end of my article, I included a link, “The Origins of the Palestinian-Israel Conflict,” in case anyone wanted to refresh his or her memory about the history of the conflict. The article goes back to 3,000 BC.

  2. @Thank you for this thoughtful piece, Ralph. I agree with your conclusions.

    @Michael, it’s interesting that you compare Israel’s violence towards the Palestinians with the U.S. massacre of Native Americans under the banner/ excuse of Manifest Destiny. I doubt that many readers of FCJ see this as a stellar moment in our history.

  3. I think Michael is passionate and is articulating in such away. I don’t think he is name calling for the sake of name calling, but is angry.
    I think Ralph’s piece cherry picks history, looking no further back than the ’40s. This land has a long history.
    Also it is unfortunate but the word Zionists has become inflammatory and I am sure Ralph is aware of this but uses it anyway, (even if he does vainly try to explain his use).

  4. Since my son was killed in Iraq and I have come to prominence in the peace movement, the name I am called with the second highest frequency (behind “anti-American”) is “anti-Semitic.’

    First of all, isn’t it interesting if one is anti-violence and pro-peace, that automatically makes one anti-American and anti-Semitic? That just tells us that violence and oppression are so inherently institutionalized in our cultures, that if one is against these things, that makes one against the entire culture, race or way of life. ~Cindy Sheehan


  5. @Good piece, Ralph. It’s unfortunate that those who disagree with well-supported opinions, resort to name calling.

    @Michael, Arabs are Semites too.

  6. Michael:
    So much for civil, rational discourse.

  7. What drugs are you taking? You speak to the formation of the Jewish State after 3000 years of persecution and a rising tide of anti-semitism in the world. Who the hell are you to preach at Israel. Anybody ever repeatedly rape your grandmother, or your wire of burn your family in an oven?
    The Jews attacked the Arabs in 1967 because the Mossad was smart enough to know the Arabs were about to attack the Jews. We won against FIVE Arab nations. The first Palestinians were two tribes of Israel given the west bank by Moses. When the Jews began advancing on the West Bank, the Palestinians (holding Jordanian citizenship were denied access to Jordan) and there citizenship canceled. The US took Texas after a war, and California as well. We took Indian lands after repeated massacres. What makes this different than Israel who keeps the prizes of war as the US did…and we didn’t massacre the natives.

    You are clearly a devoted anti-Semite with a poor knowledge of who was given this land first have taken it by conquest several times, have been persecuted more than any people on earth, and who are replicating US actions with US “Manifest Destiny.” What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Spain can’t get Texas and California back with legitimate claims to both because we stole it and can keep it by force of arms if necessary. YOU ARE WITHOUT DOUBT A SUPREME HYPOCRITE.