Monday 16 May 2011

The rights of Israel

The rights of Israel - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

The Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, now entering their twentieth
year had been hailed from the start as historic, having inaugurated a
"peace process" that would resolve what is commonly referred to as the
"Palestinian-Israeli conflict". For the Palestinians and the
international community, represented by the United Nations and the
myriad resolutions its Security Council and General Assembly issued
since 1948, what was to be negotiated were the colonisation of land, the
occupation of territory and population, and the laws that stipulate
ethnic and religious discrimination in Israel, which, among other
things, bar Palestinian refugees from returning to their land and
confiscate their property. In their struggle against these Israeli
practises, Palestinian leaders, whether in Israel, the Occupied
Territories, or the diaspora, have always invoked these rights based on
international law and UN resolutions, which Israel has consistently
refused to implement or abide by since 1948. Thus for the Palestinians,
armed by the UN and international law, the negotiations were precisely
aimed to end colonisation, occupation, and discrimination.

On the other hand, one of the strongest and persistent arguments that
the Zionist movement and Israel have deployed since 1948 in defence of
the establishment of Israel and its subsequent policies is the
invocation of the rights of Israel, which are not based on international
law or UN resolutions. This is a crucial distinction to be made between
the Palestinian and Israeli claims to possession of "rights." While the
Palestinians invoke rights that are internationally recognised, Israel
invokes rights that are solely recognised at the national level by the
Israeli state itself. For Zionism, this was a novel mode of
argumentation as, in deploying it, Israel invokes not only juridical
principles but also moral ones.

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