Monday, December 27, 2010

The Core Fallacies

Emmanuel Navon
For the Sake of Zion
26 December '10

Most diplomats and journalists repeat at will that Israel and the Palestinians need to address the “core issues” such as borders and refugees in order to make peace. Yet on both issues, historical and legal fallacies have become the conventional wisdom.

On borders, the conventional wisdom is that Israel must “return to the 1967 borders.” Indeed, the Palestinian Authority (PA) is asking the world to recognize a Palestinian state “within the 1967 borders.” But such “borders” never existed. The 1949 Rhodes Agreements established an armistice line between Israel and Jordan, a line that was defined as “temporary” upon Jordan’s insistence, and that had no political or legal significance so as not to prejudice future negotiations on final borders. The armistice demarcation line represented nothing more than the lines of deployment of the forces involved in the conflict on the day a ceasefire was declared. The line was demarcated on the map attached to the Rhodes Agreements with a green marker pen and hence received the name "Green Line."

UN Security Council Resolution 62 (November 16, 1948) stressed the temporary nature of the armistice lines that were to be maintained “during the transition to permanent peace in Palestine.” This meant, and still means, that future permanent borders would be negotiated in the framework of a peace agreement, and that those borders would be different from the temporary armistice lines. As Judge Steven Schwebel (former President of the International Court of Justice) explained: "The armistice agreements of 1949 expressly preserved the territorial claims of all parties and did not purport to establish definitive boundaries between them." This is why UN Security Council Resolution 242 (November 22, 1967) calls for Israel’s withdrawal “from territories” to agreed-upon and defensible boundaries –not to the temporary and indefensible armistice lines of 1949.

(Read full "The Core Fallacies")

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