Unearthing past remains key to resolving Palestinian future

Sep 3, 2014 by

By David Singer –

The cease fire agreement ending hostilities in the Fifty Day War between Israel and Hamas marks yet another milestone attesting to the failure of Jews and Arabs to peacefully resolve their claims to sovereignty and self-determination in the territory once called “Palestine”.

Amazingly – the continuing inability of the parties – and the international community – to reach consensus on identifying when this long running conflict actually commenced – ensures it will continue to remain unresolved.

Emeritus Professor Richard Falk, formerly United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights in the West Bank, still claims in his latest article that the conflict started in 1947.

“Israel was born in 1948. Resolution 181 of the United Nations General Assembly [dated 29 November 1947 – Ed]is widely regarded as the most convincing legal basis for founding the State of Israel.”

Falk gave the following reasons for his viewpoint on 1 August 2012:

I regard the Balfour Declaration and the mandatory system as classic colonial moves that have lost whatever legitimacy that they possessed at the time of their utterance, and prefer to view the competing claims to land and rights on the basis either of the 1948 partition proposal or the 1967 boundaries, although if there was diplomatic parity, I would respect whatever accommodation the parties reached, but without such parity, it seems necessary to invoke the allocation of rights as per settled international law.

Falk’s opinion mirrors article 20 of the Palestine Liberation Organization Charter:

The Balfour Declaration [1917], the Mandate for Palestine [1922], and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void.

Falk’s opinion is not shared by Matti Friedman – who in his latest article identifies the starting date as being much earlier than 1947:

via Unearthing past remains key to resolving Palestinian future – On Line Opinion – 2/9/2014.

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