France launches new UN effort to undermine Palestinian rights

The administration of French President François Hollande is determined to combat Palestinian rights at home and abroad.

Presidency of France

The government of French President François Hollande is renewing its efforts to fatally undermine fundamental Palestinian rights, particularly those of refugees.

France’s Le Figaro has obtained the text of a draft UN Security Council resolution that the Hollande administration plans to introduce sometime before September.

The resolution should be seen as the international counterpart to France’s increasingly fierce crackdown on Palestine solidarity at home under the guise of fighting anti-Semitism.

The resolution would enshrine the Zionist and segregationist principle of “two states for two peoples.”

It also calls for “compensation” for Palestinian refugees instead of the right to return to lands from which they were expelled and barred just because they are not Jewish.

According to Le Figaro, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has shared the draft text with Arab governments.

The resolution would set a limit of 18 months for negotiations to reach a “just, lasting and comprehensive peace” between Israelis and Palestinians.

If no agreement is reached by that deadline, France would grant diplomatic recognition to a nonexistent “State of Palestine.”

Pushing Israel’s agenda

The text of the resolution recycles formulas from the failed “peace process” that were carefully written to allow Israel to maximize its annexation of occupied lands and to keep the settlements it has built on them in violation of international law.

It calls for a Palestinian state to be created “based on the lines of 4 June 1967, with mutually agreed exchanges of equivalent territory,” while placing Israel’s so-called “security concerns” at the “heart of future negotiations.”

As I’ve noted previously, the term “based on” should be taken with the same seriousness as when a TV movie claims to be “based on” a true story.

Another recycled aspect of the resolution is its call for the Palestinian “state” to be “demilitarized” and for a phased Israeli withdrawal from its territory over an unspecified period that could, like the terms of the 1993 Oslo accords, stretch to infinity.

While Palestinians would be disarmed, no limitations are to be placed on the military forces that Israel has used for decades to ethnically cleanse and conquer the lands of the Palestinians and neighboring states.

No right of return

With respect to refugees, the French text calls for “a just, balanced and realistic solution to the refugee problem,” underlining that it would be based on a “compensation mechanism.”

This is of course another clear concession to Israel’s refusal to allow Palestinian refugees to come home so that Israel can maintain a Jewish majority – a racist intent that contradicts the legally enshrined right of refugees, implemented in Bosnia, to go home even if the local authorities are bigoted against their ethnic or religious group.

Enshrining segregation

Regarding the text’s adoption of the “two states for two peoples” formula, Le Figaro comments: “This apparently harmless mention constitutes the beginning of a concession to the Israelis, who have for years demanded the recognition of the Jewish character of their state. This is a demand the Palestinians consider unacceptable given that a fifth of the Israeli population are Arab Muslims or Christians.”

I have noted previously that this formula, promoted by Israeli politician Tzipi Livni during previous rounds of negotiation, is aimed precisely at legitimizing Israel’s demand that it be granted a right to discriminate against Palestinians, particularly Palestinian citizens of Israel and refugees.

Le Figaro also notes that the draft text uses a “vague formula” that Jerusalem would be “the capital of two future states.”

Worse than the last resolution

Last December, a similar resolution put forward by Jordan, on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, failed to win a majority in the Security Council. That was a great relief.

Prior to that vote, I explained why I wanted the US to veto the resolution because of the damage it would do to Palestinian rights. I argued that, if passed, the weak resolution would effectively negate much stronger existing resolutions.

Of course I understood that any US veto would not be motivated by my concerns, but I felt that having the resolution fail due to a US veto would be better than seeing it pass.

The new French draft is apparently even worse for Palestinians than the one that failed in December.

As Columbia University Professor Joseph Massad has written, initiatives to “recognize” the “State of Palestine” are actually efforts by European states to preserve Israel as a racist state (lire l’article de Massad en français).

I hope that friends of the Palestinian cause in France will not be seduced by the Hollande administration’s promises to “recognize” an imaginary Palestinian state and therefore give misguided support to this plan.

Instead, they should stress in every possible forum that there can be no such thing as peace without the restoration of all human and political rights for all Palestinians.

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UN French Draft is idiocy: UNGA 181 State of Palestine MANCAT rejects this absurd resolution that contravenes UN Charter of following:
1 Chapter I.
1.1 Article 2 Sovereignty of A/RES/67/19 UNGA 181 State of Palestine

2 2 Chapter VII
2.1 UNGA 181 Future government of Palestine, A., PH 8 (c) The Security Council determine as a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression, in accordance with Article 39 of the Charter, any attempt to alter by force the settlement envisaged by this [UNGA181] resolution"
2.2 Article 39 UNSC 72 Threat to Armistice Peace
2.3 Article 39 UNSC 242 Israeli Breach of 1949 Armistice Agreements
2.3.1 Absurd premise that UNSC 242 Compliance negotiations could have of object to contravene UN Charter UNSC 242 & LOAC I-973 (IV) Geneva Convention Article 49
2.4 Article 39 UNSC 1397 Settlements equal aggression

3 Chapter XII
3.1 Article 83: UN Security Council assumption of UNGA 181
3.2 Article 78 A/RES/67/19 State of Palestine cannot be placed in Trusteeships system
3.3 Article 80 Terms: UNGA 181
3.3.1 Article 80 PH 1., "...nothing in this Chapter shall be construed of itself to alter in any manner the rights of whatsoever states or any peoples"
3.3.2 REITERATE; UNGA 181 Future government of Palestine, A., PH 8 (c) The "Security Council determine as a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression, in accordance with Article 39 of the Charter, any attempt to alter by force the settlement envisaged by this [UNGA181] resolution"

4. Chapter XVI
4.1 Article 103: UN Charter obligations supersede bi-lateral obligations
4.1.1 UNGA 273 Government of State of Israel "unreservedly agreed" to International Law stipulated of UNGA 181 & UNGA 194
4.2 UN Charter obligations vis-a-vis UNGA 181 supersede 1993 Oslo Israel_PLO obligations
4.2.1 Whereof, Absurd premise that PLO & PLO Subsidiary Organ of Palestinian Authority could contravene UN Charter & LOAC through bi-lateral negotiations.

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2 Chapter VII
2.1 UNGA 181 Future government of Palestine, A., PH 8 (c) The Security Council determine as a threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression, in accordance with Article 39 of the Charter, any attempt to alter by force the settlement envisaged by this [UNGA 181] resolution"

[2.1.1] Self-evident that UNSC Resolutions cannot be Chapter VI

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If this mode of thinking is at all representative of the Palestinian people, then it is no wonder that they have gotten nothing but screwed over for the past 67+ years. This kind of rejectionism and refusal to accommodate pragmatic compromise makes it so easy for Israel to just keep expanding settlements and de facto annexing more and more Palestinian land. If BDS would just say: we want a two-state solution and will recognize Israel's right to be a demographically Jewish country within the '48 lines, the movement could probably bring the necessary pressure to bear on Israel. It's this bizarre and suspicious insistence on singling out the concept of a Jewish state (one the size of New Jersey, as it happens) as uniquely racist and discriminatory that repels people who can't stand much of Israeli policy and shields Israel from significant civil society and governmental pressure.

The compensation mechanism is the only proper way of resolving the refugee problem. It is not an inalienable right, legal or moral, for third and fourth generation refugees to move to a country -- against the wishes of its current government -- in order to render its majority group a minority. The right of return has very little support in the United States or even in Europe or the rest of the world.

The funny thing is: based on what Ali is saying, Likud and Bayit Yehudi are smart not to accede to a Palestinian state because it really won't -- and shouldn't -- satisfy the Palestinians! The Israeli left and liberal Zionists are the ones who are wrong, not the rightists and Likud!

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How can one be against the right of return for "third and fourth generation" refugees, when diaspora Jews have an automatic right to Aliyah no matter how many generations they may be removed from a connection to Israel? It's inherently racist and logically inconsistent. Keep in mind there are living first generation refugees that have no right to return to land they were forcibly expelled from.

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rights to Palestine than Muslims from Bangladesh - to Mecca, and Catholics from Brasil - to Rome.
Zionist colonizers had not and have not any link to Palestine, even were they religious Jews, but they had been just typical colonizers. No wonder they wanted not exactly Palestine, just others' land to colonization - be it in Africa or Latin America

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nothing but stale hasbara to counter the fact that Zionist colonization of Palestine needs and will be ended as any other colonization, no wonder that they still cannot reach their goal - to made Palestinians submit to the Zionist colonization of their land.
"Israel" belongs to the same dustbin of history as "Rhodesia".

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John Murphy, can't you guys come up with new arguments after all these years?
the same old 'if you force us to treat others with equality, we'll just die' argument doesn't cut it for anyone except corrupt politicians, and even then it requires cash up front.
the argument that 'not letting zionists discriminate against non-Jews (and black Jews) is discrimination!' doesn't cut it either. it's so clearly hypocritical to cry about your human right to deny others their human rights that no one's buying it.

got new ones?

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Under international law, there's no such thing as a right of return 'home.' There's only a right of return to one's country, and the State of Palestine is undeniably the Palestinians' country. They have a right to return to their own country, not someone else's, and the sooner they accept that, the sooner there can be real peace.

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There is no Palestinian state. Israel according to the UN still has legal responsibility as occupier for the West Bank and Gaza. Equally importantly the Palestinians were ethnically cleansed in 1948 (meticulously detailed by Ilan Pappe in 'The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine'). Israel is a settler colonial state whose very existence depends on depriving the indigenous population of its right to a home. Ethically and morally a ethnically exclusive Zionist state has no right to exist anymore than apartheid South Africa did.

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If there's no state of Palestine, what did the Vatican and dozens of other states recognize? You sound like a Likudnik, refusing to acknowledge the existence of Palestine.

Does that mean you're agreeing with me that there's no right of return to one's home in international law?

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there is a Palestinian people and the land of Palestine which the zionists stole in 1947 evicting its native people. They have the right of return under international law. But the palestinian authority is not a state. It does not have power over its territory. The israelis do. It collaborates with Israeli security forces. It is undemocratic and mired in corruption. it is not sovereign

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the right of return is an actual human right, similar to the actual human right of not being killed and removed from your own land. It does not need to be written by the white man's king or ultimate wealthy authority or the school principal or even god himself. That's what human rights are.

slavery, apartheid, etc, were all codified at one time as legal, but they were 'human wrongs', and they do not erase real 'human rights'.

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The arrogance of Hollande is no more acceptable than that of others who assume the right to waive the absolute, indisputable, legal and moral right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and land in what is now the state of Israel or what is presently the Occupied Territories. Only the Palestinians have that right.

Many have been willing to settle for some returning and a state as defined by the Green Line with mutually agreeable adjustments, with compensation for those who do not return; others have not. One must certainly doubt that Hollande or Washington or anyone else is sincere about a just alternative": due compensation for foregoing the right of return. Due compensation is compensation for 67 years of exclusion from one's land and home--for all of the seven million Jewish refugees and their offspring. Hollande's arrogant presumption to dictate compensation rather than return will surely be accompanied by dictation of what the compensation would be.

So let's BDS France, too. I will not set foot there while he is in office, which means canceling plans for a trip there this year.

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.