President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestine State: Is he there yet?

By Peter Reat Gatkuoth

October 10, 2011 (SSNA) — The struggle for the United Nation recognition, independency, justice and the land dispute over border between Israel-Palestine has been a vital issue for the generations of the Palestine and the Israelis since the start of their struggle for the Palestinian independent. Peace and viable recognition for each state has never been realized. The Israelis and the Palestinians did not recognize each other as an existing States for years.

This lack of mutual co-operation and unfriendly manner between the two-States is one of the major obstacles that need to be critically addressed by the International Communities of Nations with reference to the past documents before they steps into consideration and debate of the Palestine membership; for it is not an excellent time for the countries in the conflict against the others to ask for the recognition in the international community of nations while the two State does not recognize each other and their population are under severe suffering as a result of land acquisition and military brutality.

Year after years, the international community has chosen to condemn and demanded an oral peace process theoretically without any legitimate action taken to settle the border dispute and regulate the issue of “West Bank and Gaza strip” before the concern of Palestine recognition in the general Assembly. Claiming and appealing has started from the former P.L.O leader, Yasser Arafat but yet the world has given a little attention to the issue affecting children and adults in the Israel-Palestine territories.

President Mahmoud Abbas’ speech has caught the international attention not only to those who represented the global village in the General Assembly but the audiences who extremely wish the world to live in peace and settle issue that aim to affect the life of human being in some communities and in around the globe. However; President Mahmoud Abbas’ appeal for the recognition of his own State in the United Nations General Assembly has a mixed agendas, and those agendas in his speech should be solved separately in order to achieve the lasting peace between the two states.

The Palestine is a mini-State, according to the Palestinian, that has its own “effective government, population, and territories.” Although some part of it is territories has been annexed and under occupation of the Israel, the fact and the realities indicated that Palestinian people have the recognized government that represent them in the international level with full constitution. The Palestine government has ministers, embassies and consuls in foreign nations such as in London, and it has full staffs that run the affairs of the Palestinian people in abroad and in the land of the Palestinians.

Declaratory theory, according to the international law perspective, explained that a state is considered as “the state in the international law if the State possess essential attribute of Statehood such as a defined territory, permanent population, government and the capacity to enter into relations with other states.” This may perhaps mean that any State that does not fulfil the requirement highlighted in the international standard may not qualify to be admitted into the General Assembly and therefore, may be requested to work out some legal requirements before they re-apply for the recognition of the state in the General Assembly.

In accordance to the theory, the Palestinian government has been in relations with many foreign governments such as the government of UK, Arab countries, Asia nations; some Latin American and Central American governments. This foreign relation with abovementioned countries indicated that the Palestinian government has its own mini-small constitutional right and some permanent territories that they represent. Although some government such as Israel and the United States of America may not recognize them as they do regularly, the state of Palestine is visible in the eye of international community though the other nations see or considered it as “ the de facto and de jure ” state in the contact of international law.

In 1974 when Yasser Arafat was alive, the Palestine government was working closely with the international community and the United Nation General Assembly until these days. They have their few representatives in the European Community, Arab league and some special rapporteurs in the international level; participating in the international issue though they have no vote like the other nations that were fully admitted in the General Assembly. Professor Richard A Falk still work today as special Rapporteur, and Ryyan Mansour as Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations but the question is: is it the recognition that matter or the suffering of the Palestinians people and the acquisition of their land by the Israel?

Human being has a basic right to live freely and enjoy the peace like the others. The concept of “human right and fundamental freedom for all Palestinians without distinction as to identity, race, sex or religion” should be restored before the debate of the State recognition. What matter is the human value in the contact of law or legal point of views. If the children of Palestinians and Israel are on run, missing the basic learning right from their childhood and live in a nightmare situation, thinking that they will be bomb or attacked at any time; it should be the serious matter that the international community of nations should look at and beyond, rather than the debate of representation or recognition of the state membership in the General Assembly.

Off courses recognition of Palestine as State matter into the International Community of Nations but it should come after the two-State has come to viable solution and agreement to live in peaceful environment where they will all enjoy land right, and have all the basic right, entitled to them such as free movement. This step of engaging the two states in negotiation should have been done during the time President Yasser Arafat had appealed for recognition of the State of Palestine especially during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush term.

The two-State solution is not to recognize the Palestine as a legitimate government nor to kept the Israel as a legitimate State, practising her right in the General Assembly while the State leadership is not indeed abided by rule of the international law, and international pressure to accept “the 1967 border demarcation in the State.” The audiences and the neutral community are wondering if the International Community of Nations is looking back to Balfour Declaration of 1917 or keep the “Apartheid Wall” as an end solution. It is apathetic to call peace while practically violating the international norms under the table. “If the State of Israel has extended his hand in peace,” why expanding the settlement to West Bank and building a permanent wall between the two-States?

Subsequently, the speech of the President Mahmoud Abbas has addressed many core elements that are deem important for international involvement and recognition. First, President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the need for recognition of Palestine State’s membership by the General Assembly, Peace and Justice; acquisition and the loss of Palestinian State territory. These elements are core subject and worth to be debated by the General Assembly if the United Nation General Assembly’s members are willing to bring the lasting peace in the two-States. President Mahmoud Abbas has clearly stated the concern and he said that:

We are facing a unique situation. If the international law stipulate the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, how can we deal with the current situation now where the Israel’s settlement policies will undermine the goal of establishing a geographical contiguous ………………………………………which we all agreed upon based on the principle of land for peace, and ending the occupation that began in 1967.

These statements indicated that Palestinians are still suffering and struggling to gain their birth right and the territory that they had lost since the 1967 conflict. For them to live in peace, they first need their territories to be given back to them through the United Nations General Assembly mediation, and negotiate with their neighbour country (Israel) to accept peaceful-coexistence of each state.

This war activity of ‘acquisition and annexation,’ taking place in the Gaza strips or around the East Jerusalem between the Israel-Palestine States will be an obstacle to the permanent peace. This may perhaps be used against the appeal to evaluate the recognition of the state’s membership and it will be indeed used as a goal to deny the right of Palestine because it is stated in the United Nation charter, article 4 that “the membership is open to peace-lover State that will accept the obligation contained in the charter.” Although they are trying to preach oral peace without practices, mutual co-operation and co-existence of the two-States as elaborated in the speeches, their States (Israel and Palestine) still lack peace and proper governance base on the President Mahmoud Abbas’ speech.

The 1967 border demarcation will be an option toward peaceful settlement of the border dispute and the concern of territorial annexation. If Israel is for peace as said by the Prime Minister Netanyahu and accept to live in harmony with the Palestinian, they should accept the call to withdraw and cease the expansion and building of the houses in the West Bank. Insisting on the fact that they would not withdraw is against the international law, Human Right and “the United Nation General Assembly resolution of December 1974, under paragraph 3, article 5 which stated that no territorial acquisition or special advantage resulting from aggression shall be recognized as Legal.”

The continuation of building houses in the West Bank, and the constructing of the “apartheid wall” is seen as an advantage to Israelis society and it is against the international norm. It should be condemned in a greater term because it violates the charter of the United Nations and “the Declaration on Principle of International Law, concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among the States in accordance with the charter of the United Nations resolution of 1970 that call upon all States to refrain from all acts of aggression and the use of forces.”

The State of the Palestine under President Mahmoud Abbas has tried to maintain peace with the State of Israel, and this peace came along with the Late President Yasser Arafat who tried his best to eliminate Hamas and Militants’ activities. President Yasser Arafat has also faced more opposition from Hamas group because of his party ideology and philosophy to live in peace with the State of Israel. It is to be noted that the concern of extremists (Hamas) is denial of Palestinian right and recognition. It should not be an appropriate argument that “the Palestinian militant Islamists have threatened the State of Israel many years from now.” Prime Minister Netanyahu argument is nothing but a denial of realities, and the facts that even in London, England (her excellency parliament), the government always fight against radical extremists; be it Christian extremist or Muslim extremists.

In the same token, President Barrack Obama and his alliance from Europe are fuelling the situation between the two States. The argument that “peace depends upon compromise among people who must live together long after our … votes have been tallied ……That’s the lesson of Sudan, where a negotiated settlement led to an independent state………..and will be the path to a Palestinian state’ negotiations between the parties” is not a better approach to the issue of these two States. This argument worth nothing but fuelling the situation, and call to generate another conflict between the two States.

The recognition of the Palestine may be “useful tool to secure lasting peace and allow the Palestine to claims privileges and immunities from jurisdiction afforded by the International law.” Talking the talk without implementing the permanent peace plan would never bring any solution to the state. It will always be the agenda of any president of the United States America that “we will not abandon the pursuit of just and lasting peace” year after years as usual.

President Barrack Obama needs to remind himself and reread the legal documents of the United Nation Security Council Resolution 242 of 1968 before he veto the Security Council Resolution in regard to the recognition of the Palestine’s membership. The Security Council Resolution 242 of 1968 has rejected “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war, and clearly stated the need to work for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”

This Security Council resolution 242 was supported by the government of Israel later in the year, and the Israel Ambassador to the United Nations on 01 May 1968, “affirmed that the government of Israel has indicated its acceptance of the Security Council Resolution 242 for the promotion of the agreement on the establishment of a just and lasting peace.”

In diplomatic level and in the international stage, the Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas has won more merits for his political standstill and his engagement with the diaspora community and foreign governments. When he entered to the United Nations “podium” to deliver the speech on 23 September 2011, there was a loud applause from all members of the General Assembly for about more seconds than any one, welcoming him to the International Community of Nations.

This indicated that the Palestine is “the government with the capacity to enter into relations with other States.” However, the concern of recognizing the State has put most intellectuals into dilemma, to what extends and criteria does the International Community of Nations want to recognize the State? “It is also clear in the international law that an entity that meets the conditions of Statehood cannot be denied its right or escapes its obligations because of its constant dispute with its neighbour country.”

On the other hands, if the issue of landmass matter to the recognition of the Palestine State, why does the United Nation recognized the State of “Monaco that has only 1.5 Square kilometers in size and if it’s the issue of the population, the Nauru State has only 8,000 people, the State of Liechtenstein has 28,000 people and the State of Vatican City which has only 400 citizens and 800 residents would not gain the United Nation General Assembly recognition.” Perhaps the International Community of Nations (Security Council) has different requirement in rewarding and recognizing the Statehood. Had it not been such, the State of the Palestine would not be ceased to be a member of the General Assembly because their territory has been occupied by foreign power.

The Palestine State will always remain as State, notwithstanding “its occupation and putative annexation of its territory by the Israel.” The land inhabited by both countries is belongs to the two-State (Israel-Palestine) since the time of Abraham (the grand-father). They were “brothers,” the descendent of Abraham and this land cannot be “considered to be the no man’s land nor can a non-recognized entity question the duties and responsibilities of the States under international law.”

If the Political turmoil of the Palestine State could be used to assess and evaluate their appeal for the recognition, then there will be more questions to why the United Nations granted a membership to “Cambodia which remained as a State even when it lacks a functioning government in the traditional sense, while being administered by the Supreme National Council under the United Nations management political settlement process, established by the Paris Accords in 1992?”

The Palestine’s appeal of international recognition demonstrates the high costs of waiting since December 14, 1947 when “the United Nations Special Committee on the Palestine recommended the partition of the Palestine States into two independent States—the Jewish State and the Arab State.” Since then, the international community and the witness for peace are wishing Palestine to go home with one alternative solution; either recognition or gaining back the portion of the territory according to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 of the 1968. Losing the territory and the international recognition would neither bring peace nor healthy relation between the two States.

In accordance to the international global village society, the call for comprehensive understanding related to the recognition of the Palestine and Israel through the institutionalisation of justice and freedom with fair judgement is well under waiting. It is a choice toward the lasting solution that the alternative voice of peace through justice, base on the recognition of the two States will heal the wounds that the descendent of Abraham has gone through since 1947.

Prior to this sixty-six United Nation General Assembly meeting, many institutions and organizations such as the United Nations Latin American and Caribbean had called on for “the realization of the two-State solution that recognize the pre-1967 borders and urgently support the Palestine Authority`s two-year institution-building plan which would require significant global political, technical and financial assistance.”

The desire to ensure, and maintain peace in the Palestine State will definitely involve the recognition of the Statehood, and “this concept of Statehood according to the Palestinian is rigid and immutable.” It is component elements have always been interpreted and applied flexibly, depending on the circumstance the Palestinian has gone through. The act of recognition or refusal of Palestinian Statehood may have significant effect and decisive role in determining the controversial situation therein. It would be appropriate for the General Assembly Security Council to assess the appeal of the recognition base on the theory that explains that the States and the government should gain the international personality when they come into existence.

****The author holds BA in Sociology and Political Science. He is currently a graduate student of International Law and Human Right. You can reach him for any question/comments at [email protected] or visit his blogs at

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