YOUSEF MUNAYYER [email]
Executive director of the Palestine Center, Munayyer said today: “Netanyahu focused on Iran to distract attention from Israel’s occupation of Palestine. He put forward, as usual, a Manichean worldview which is not conducive to solving problems. Further, and perhaps most perplexingly, he urged for ‘red lines’ to be drawn to alter Iran’s decision calculus while simultaneously arguing that Iran is irrational and undeterable. He simply cannot have it both ways. This blatant contradiction was an insult to the intelligence of listeners and was amplified by Netanyahu’s patronizing classroom antics before an audience of diplomats who will find it increasingly difficult to take him seriously. …
“Mahmoud Abbas’ comments on the Palestinian question reflected the desperation of Palestinians under occupation and the need for international solidarity and intervention on their behalf. While Abbas rightly said Palestinians should not be expected to return to a process that has continuously failed them, there is little indication that the main reasons for their failure, Israeli intransigence and biased U.S. mediation, will change any time soon. He argued that the two-state solution must be urgently saved but there is little urgency displayed on the part of Israel or the United States to save it while many others believe it is well past the point of salvation.”
FRANCIS BOYLE [email]
Professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign, Boyle served as legal advisor to the Palestine Liberation Organization and Yasser Arafat on the 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence, as well as to the Palestinian delegation to the Middle East peace negotiations from 1991 to 1993, where he drafted the Palestinian counter-offer to the now defunct Oslo Agreement. His books include Palestine, Palestinians and International Law and the recently-released The Palestinian Right of Return under International Law.
He said today: “Palestine effectively has observer state status with the United Nations and basically all the rights of a U.N. member state except the right to vote. Palestine has de facto U.N. membership. The only thing keeping Palestine from de jure U.N. membership is the implicit threat of a veto at the U.N. Security Council by the United States, which would violate a solemn and binding pledge given by the United States not to veto states applying for U.N. membership.
“The votes are there already in the U.N. General Assembly to admit Palestine pursuant to the terms of its Uniting for Peace Resolution. It is the U.N. General Assembly that admits a member state, not the Security Council. Obama’s blockage at the Security Council can be circumvented by the General Assembly acting under the Uniting for Peace Resolution to admit Palestine as a U.N. member state. By means of the Uniting for Peace Resolution, President Abbas could have full-fledged state membership for Palestine in the United Nations by the end of next week if that is what he wants to do.”