Showing posts with label Arab Spring. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arab Spring. Show all posts

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Book Review: The Statehood of Palestine: International Law in the Middle East Conflict

Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol 40, no. 4 (Summer 2011), p. 98

The Statehood of Palestine: International Law in the Middle East Conflict, by John Quigley. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010. vii + 252 pages. Notes to p. 307. Bibliography to p. 319. Index to p. 326. $27.99 paper. 

Reviewed by Diana Buttu 

For years, the Palestinian Authority has clung to the idea of a “Palestinian state/dawla filastiniyya,” often repeating the slogan of a “Palestinian state on the 1967 borders,” or the “two-state solution,” as the proposed means of securing freedom for Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. On 16 May 2011, in an op-ed in the New York Times, PLO chairman Mahmud Abbas affirmed his intention to declare statehood in September 2011 and seek full admission to the UN as a member state, following the same plan as laid out by his predecessor, Yasir Arafat, in 2000.

Abbas’s announcement does not come as a surprise: for over two years, acting prime minister Salam Fayyad has been pushing his plan, titled “Ending the Occupation—Establishing the State,” while the PA has undertaken a diplomatic offensive to get states and international bodies to lend their support to the idea. The Fayyad/Abbas plan seems to be working, with over one hundred states now recognizing Palestine as a “state.” It is in this context that John Quigley’s latest book, The Statehood of Palestine: International Law in the Middle East Conflict, emerges.

The book is the most recent in a relatively new line of academic research on Palestine that aims to use the framework of law, and in particular international law, to highlight the injustices perpetrated against Palestinians by Zionist and other imperialist forces. Quigley is not a newcomer to this field, and his past titles include The Case for Palestine: An International Law Perspective (Duke, 2005) and Palestine and Israel: A Challenge to Justice (Duke, 1990).

Divided into four parts and spanning twenty chapters, Quigley begins by tracing the Palestinian Arab quest for independence and the impact of the British Mandate system on Palestine. In the first two parts, the author methodically points out that like other Class A Mandates, “Palestine had relations with other states that required the conclusion of treaties. Palestine’s citizens had connections with other states and required for that purpose a nationality. Palestine’s status came up as an issue in a variety of ways during the time of Britain’s administration. In all of these interactions, the states of the international community dealt with Palestine as a state” (pp. 52-3). But unlike other Class A Mandates, Palestine did not gain its independence; rather, it soon fell subject to endless proposals and plans—including for trusteeship—to accommodate a Jewish minority and its nationalist aspirations at the expense of the rights of Palestinian Arab majority.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Jewish Voice for Peace and UN Recognition of Palestinian Statehood

Jewish Voice for Peace is a coalition member of the US Campaign. Learn more here about our coalition's actions and positions on Palestinian UN membership and statehood.

From Jesse Bacon's blog at

Joel Beinin
For a more in-depth statement by Joel Benin, a long-time JVP member who is the Donald J. Maclachlan Professor of Middle Eastern History at Stanford University, click here.

Jewish Voice for Peace supports the Palestinian people’s struggle to fulfill their aspirations and secure their internationally recognized rights to freedom, national self-determination, justice, and equality. We regard any non-violent tactic as a legitimate tool in this struggle. Palestinians have the right to freedom from Israeli occupation, justice for Palestinian refugees, and equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has affirmed that this September, at the United Nations General Assembly, it will seek a vote on international recognition of the State of Palestine on the 1967 border and admission as a full member of the United Nations.

While 100 countries already recognize Palestine as a state, the question of pressing for UN membership remains controversial among Palestinians. Some support the move as historic and others believe such a vote is either purely symbolic or may sacrifice important Palestinian claims.

Jewish Voice for Peace believes that such a vote, even if it were to pass, would not change facts on the ground or suddenly create a Palestinian state. Regardless of what happens at the UN, the lives of ordinary Palestinian people and the ongoing massive violations of their human rights will remain at the forefront of our concerns.

That said, we do believe the campaign for Palestinian statehood has and can catalyze an important global conversation about the fundamental Palestinian right to self-determination, and the United States’ and Israel’s ongoing role in thwarting that right.

The PA’s decision to bring the case for statehood to the United Nations after years of frustration with so-called peace talks has highlighted the fact that the US-brokered “peace process” has actually helped entrench the occupation. It has equally underscored the reality that Israel’s current Prime Minister has absolutely no intention of stopping settlement expansion.

Further, Israeli and US efforts to weaken or stop a UN vote that in no way is anti-Israel, including US Congress’ threat to withhold millions in aid should the PA push for the vote, and the US affirmation that it will veto it if it goes to the UN Security Council, reveal the obstructive role the United States continues to play in the region— contributing to further injustice and bloodshed that threatens both Palestinians and Israelis.

Finally, we believe that the vote, and the conversation it is engendering among those who believe it’s time for Palestinians to finally achieve their freedom, should be understood in the context of a series of milestones that all point towards an acceleration of the decades old movement for justice.
These milestones include the unexpected rise of the Arab Spring, the rapid growth of the Palestinian nonviolent resistant movement inside of the West Bank, and the growing successes of the global nonviolent solidarity actions in the form of the Gaza flotilla and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). These, coupled with Israel’s increasingly controversial and anti-democratic measures, which are all adding to its sense of isolation and pressure, all mark a hopeful shift in the decades old movement for justice for Palestinians.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Flotilla Embodies the Arab Spring Spirit

The Palestine Center and US Boat to Gaza are coalition members of the US Campaign

by Yousef Munayyer, Palestine Center
July 5, 2011

Earlier this year we watched with amazement as hundreds of thousands of Arabs charged into the streets of their cities demanding reform. The uprisings led to the departure of several leaders who had ruled for decades and also tested (and continue to test) several others.

But what led to this outpouring is much the same as the motivation behind the flotilla initiative which seeks to challenge the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

When fundamentally unjust situations are left unaddressed by states, the people must step in. That is precisely what happened in Tahrir square when hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Egyptians lost all faith in the government's ability to reform.

That is also precisely what drives the flotilla and the activists aboard it. They have watched as the collective punishment of 1.5 million civilians lingers with no objections coming from states that can change the situation. In fact, the siege of Gaza has been supported by Israel, the United States and Mubarak's Egypt (though post-Mubarak Egypt promises to be different).

The blockade of Gaza is just one part of a multilayered siege on the Gaza Strip. The layers include control of land entry and exit points for commercial and humanitarian goods, control over the amount of electricity and water available to the people of Gaza, control of the air and sea lanes, and so on.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Statement on Malek Jandali and the ADC Convention

For more than one decade, I have worked closely with the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC). My earliest political activism includes organizing protests with ADC at the Israeli Embassy. After the tragic attacks of September 11, I helped organize a letter from Jewish-Americans to ADC pledging our support to stand against the emerging anti-Arab and anti-Muslim backlash.

As the National Advocacy Director of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, I have worked with ADC—an important member of our coalition—on innumerable initiatives and campaigns to challenge U.S. support for Israeli occupation and apartheid. I have worked with ADC to promote Palestinian self-determination, including organizing with ADC one of the largest-ever demonstrations in U.S. history in support of Palestinian human rights to mark the 40th anniversary of Israel’s illegal military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip.

I have spoken before at ADC conventions. I am scheduled to speak at this year’s convention on the subject of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS). I am a dues-paying member of ADC and I count many former and current ADC employees as trusted colleagues and valued personal friends.

It is within this context that I wish to express my deep disappointment that ADC asked Malek Jandali not to perform his song Watani Ana (I Am My Homeland) at this year’s convention. Jandali’s hauntingly beautiful composition is an anthem for the Arab Spring and movingly encapsulates the desire for freedom that animates the spirit of millions of Arabs to risk their lives to protest nonviolently against anti-democratic and tyrannical regimes—often backed fully by the United States—that have for far too long deprived Arabs of their human rights.

In my personal opinion, Jandali’s performance of Watani Ana at this year’s convention is not only completely appropriate but absolutely necessary.

I fully understand that some of ADC’s membership is concerned about the type of regimes that may emerge in the aftermath of revolutions that topple long-standing dictatorships. However, I believe that no division of political opinion should prevent an artist from performing a song that speaks to the noblest ambitions of humankind.

After the downfall of apartheid, former South African President Nelson Mandela once stated that “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” I would very humbly add that after the inevitable crumbling of Israeli occupation and apartheid, Palestinian freedom will be incomplete without freedom becoming firmly implanted throughout the Arab world.

I look forward to the day when ADC is able provide a forum at its convention for performers to take a clear and unequivocal stand against all Arab dictatorships suppressing freedom, and I will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with ADC, with all Arab-Americans, and everyone who is working for a Middle East with freedom, justice, and equality for all.

Josh Ruebner