Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Mr. Mysterioso's guest post on Palestine

Following it I have quoted from the official position of the Government of Canada, dated July 4, 2007.

Now to Mr Mysterioso:
"Typical of the sort of confused thinking that most North Americans bring to the table when they wish to discuss peace in the Middle East [is the condemnation of] a number of Palestinian negotiating points when they are actually fairly reasonable.

For instance: Abbas wants Israel to return to its 1948 borders. This is reasonable since international law forbids states from keeping territory taken through war. That is why Gaza and the West Bank are referred to as “the occupied territories.” Israel has no claim on them in international law.

This fact explains another Palestinian position; the removal of Israeli “settlers” from the West Bank. Since Israel has no legal claim to the West Bank, it cannot forcibly impose its people on these lands. [Some] see it as hypocrisy that Abbas calls for the removal of Israelis from the West Bank while calling for the right of return of Palestinians to Israel proper. The reality is that a condition of Israel’s statehood in the 1947 UN proposal was for Israel to respect the political, civil, and religious rights of the indigenous Arab population. Israel did not do this, but instead expelled the majority of the Palestinians.
The facts are simply this: That the Israeli settlers have no legal claim to the West Bank, but the Palestinians expelled in 1948 have a legal right to return.

Finally, [some] condemn the Palestinian call for Israel to surrender control of Jerusalem. In the 1947 UN proposal, Jerusalem was to be an independent, international city. After 1948, it was divided between Israeli and Jordanian control. In 1967 it was taken completely by Israel in the Six Day War. As a conquest of war, Israel’s control of Jerusalem has no standing in international law, and therefore calls for its surrender of control also has a legal basis.

We can argue about the practical realism of these positions. Many can (and do) argue on Israel’s claims based on more historic and spiritual grounds. But it is simply not justified to portray these Palestinian negotiating positions as being examples of some sort of Arab intransigence and unreasonableness when they are actually based on basic tenets of international law."

~ ~ ~

The occasional public posturing of some of our elected officials notwithstanding, I was surprised to discover that Mr Mysterioso's points are in fact the official position of the Government of Canada.

From Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada :

"Canada recognizes the Palestinian right to self-determination and supports the creation of a sovereign, independent, viable, democratic and territorially contiguous Palestinian state, as part of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace settlement.

Status of Jerusalem
The United Nations General Assembly resolution 181 of 1947, supported by Canada, proposed the partitioning of British Mandate Palestine into three separate entities, including the City of Jerusalem which was to be administered by the United Nations. Canada does not recognize Israel's unilateral annexation of Jerusalem, nor Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. For this reason, the Canadian Embassy to Israel is located in Tel Aviv and not Jerusalem.

Occupied Territories
Canada does not recognize permanent Israeli control over territories occupied in 1967 (the Golan Heights, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip).
Canada opposes all unilateral actions that might prejudge the outcome of negotiations, including the establishment of settlements in the territories, unilateral moves to annex Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, and construction of the barrier inside the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

As referred to in UN Security Council Resolutions 446 and 465, Israeli settlements in the occupied territories is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The barrier
Canada recognizes Israel's right to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks, including through the restriction of access to its territory, and by building a barrier on its own territory. However, Canada opposes Israel's construction of the barrier inside the West Bank and East Jerusalem which is occupied territory. This is contrary to international law under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Canada not only opposes Israel's construction of a barrier extending into the occupied territories, but also expropriations and the demolition of houses and economic infrastructure carried out for this purpose."

~ ~ ~

End of dfait quotes. Surprised?
This same Government of Canada page from which I lifted the above quotes also of course condemns terrorism and recognizes Israel's right to protect itself, but I only reproduced here those passages which pertain to Mr Mysterioso's points.
You can read the rest of Canada's position here : Canadian policy on key issues in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict


Anonymous said...


Thanks. It looks like it won't be published after all. They did get back to me about the botched sentence

"Following the 1948, it was divided between Israeli and Jordanian control."

Which you could change to "After 1948, it was ... etc.,"

But then they never printed it.

Nice work on Canada's official position.

Anonymous said...

Yes, quite surprised!
Very glad to hear it too.
Thank you for drawing it to our attention.

DannyD said...

interesting post
, very well written.

DannyD said...


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