Second Intifada - International Law

Second Intifada

. . . I am not here this evening to go through the entire history of the Israeli-Palestinianconflict. That would require an entire course. But I do want to talk about the current situationwith 260 Palestinians shot down dead like dogs in the street by the Israeli army withweapons provided by the United States government and the United States taxpayers – thatmeans you and me.

It appeared this summer that, if you listened to the news media, we were on the verge ofpeace; and now, there is a horrible war. What happened? And why?

We have to go back to the peace negotiations that were initiated by President Bush in 1991starting in Madrid and then continuing in Washington, D.C. It was my great honor to haveserved as the Legal Adviser to the Palestinian Delegation to the Mideast Peace Negotiations.And in the Fall of 1992, they asked me to analyze the first Israeli Peace Proposal that wasgiven to them in the negotiations.

When negotiations started in the Fall of 1991, nothing happened. They were under Shamir ofthe Likhud party, then Prime Minister of Israel. There were no reasonable good-faithnegotiations at all. Indeed, he admitted that his whole objective was to stall for the next tenyears. But Likhud lost the election in the Spring of 1992, Labor came to power under PrimeMinister Rabin and they finally tendered a proposal in the Fall of 1992.

I was asked to analyze it. And the precise question given to me by the Palestinian PeaceTeam was: "Tell us what is the closest historical analogue to what they are offering us here!"I went back to my hotel room and spent an entire day reading through the document, cameback and reported: " Abantustan . [ 1 ] They are offering you a bantustan." Akin to thebanstustans that theapartheid Afrikaaner regime had established for the Black People in theRepublic of SouthAfrica. I proceeded to go through the entire document pointing out thatbasically this Peace Proposal carried out Prime Minister MenachimBegin’sdisinterpretationof the Camp David Accords, which was rejected by U.S. President Jimmy Carter, that all they called for was autonomy for the people and not for the land as well. After consultationsamong themselves, and under the Chairmanship of His Excellency Dr. Haidar Abdul Shaffi,the Palestinian Delegation rejected this Bantustan Proposal.

What happened next is that the Israeli government took the Bantustan Proposal and openedup a secret channel of negotiations in Norway and presented the Bantustan Proposal in secretunknown to the Peace Delegation, unknown to almost all of the leadership of the PalestinianPeople, let alone the Palestinian People themselves. And this Bantustan Proposal became theOslo Agreement that was signed on the White House steps on September 13, 1993. It was forthat reason that His Excellency Dr. Haidar Abdul Shaffi refused as a matter of principle toattend the signing ceremony. And what happened then starting in 1993 was that the United States working with Israelattempted to impose a Bantustan model on the Palestinian People.You might ask yourself: Why would President Yassir Arafat accept and sign a BantustanProposal for his People? I really don’t know. He did not discuss this matter with me. He diddiscuss it with Dr. Abdul Shaffi. I was not privy to that conversation. But in fairness toPresident Arafat, I believe he felt that he would take what was offered to the PalestinianPeople by Israel and the United States even if he knew it was a Bantustan, and try to provehis good faith and the good faith of the Palestinian People, that they were willing to live inpeace with Israel and the Israeli People -- that they would go through a trial test period offive years of this Bantustan model and at the end of the five years there would then be alegitimate Palestinian State. Unfortunately this is not what happened. The United States andIsrael continued to impose their Bantustan Model on the Palestinian People throughout thecourse of the Oslo process and indeed even after the expiration of Oslo.

That then brings us to this Summer -- the so-called Camp David Negotiations. This was notthe idea of the Palestinian leadership; rather it was the idea of Prime Minister Barak with thesupport of President Clinton. Basically, Clinton pressured the leadership of the PalestinianPeople into accepting a permanent Bantustan arrangement for the West Bank and Gaza Strip.And of course, for that reason, it failed. The negotiations at Camp David failed. Now, at thatpoint, President Clinton proceeded to blame the leadership of the Palestinian People forrejecting a Bantustan and then proceeded to illegally threaten the movement of the UnitedStates Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem if President Arafat did not accept the BantustanProposal permanently, which he refused to do and to his credit.

That being said, on September 28, former General Ariel Sharon, the Butcher of Sabra andShatilla, the man responsible for the massacre of 2,000 innocent Palestinians at the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatilla, the architect of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, that killed20,000 people in Lebanon, a man cashiered by his own government, at that time appeared atHaram al Sharif in Jerusalem -- the big plateau -- the third holiest site in Islam -- where it’sthe Al Aqsa Mosque on the one hand and the Dome of the Rock on the other, whereMohammed ascended to Heaven -- surrounded by about 1,000 troops undoubtedly with theapproval of Prime Minister Barak. They knew exactly what they were doing. They knewexactly what the reaction of the Palestinian People would be to this provocation anddesecration. And if there was any doubt about it, the Israeli Army returned the next day andshot dead several Palestinians on Haram al Sharif, thus setting off what has come to beknown as the Al Aqsa Infada, in support of the Al Aqsa Mosque.

On 7 October 2000, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1322[2] that isextremely important. The vote was fourteen to zero -- the United States governmentabstained. It did not go for; it did not go against; it abstained. The United States Governmentcould have vetoed this resolution, but it did not. And so it is a matter of binding internationallaw. I won’t go through the entire resolution, but I do want to spend a few momentscommenting on its most important provisions.

Paragraph 1: The Security Council "deplores the provocation carried out at Al-HaramAl-Sharif in Jerusalem on 28 September 2000 and the subsequent violence there . . ." Notice,the Security Council by a vote of 14 to 0 made it very clear that it was Sharon’s desecrationof the Haram al-Sharif with the support of Prime Minister Barak that is responsible for thestart of the current round of bloodshed and warfare in occupied Palestinian Lands today.Nothing could be further from dispute than this point adopted 14 to 0 by the SecurityCouncil. Even the United States did not go against that determination.

Notice in paragraph 3, again the Security Council 14 to 0, "Calls upon Israel, the occupyingPower . . ." Occupying power has a definite meaning in international law. Israel occupies theWest Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the entire City of Jerusalem. Israel is what we lawyers call abelligerent occupant. Israel has no sovereignty over the West Bank and Gaza Strip, or theentire City of Jerusalem. Israel is not the sovereign. It occupies these Palestinian Lands. Andso what we see here is a struggle between the belligerent occupant Israel against thePalestinian People living on their own lands.

Belligerent occupation is governed by The Hague Regulations of 1907, [ 3 ] as well as theFourth Geneva Convention of 1949.[4] So Israel has no sovereignty over the West Bank andGaza Strip and Jerusalem. This is not their land as far as the Security Council is concerned,as far as international law is concerned, as far as the entire international community isconcerned, even as far as the United States of America is concerned. This is not Israeli land.The West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the entire City of Jerusalem is occupied Land. All ofthese areas are subject to The Hague Regulations of 1907, the Fourth Geneva Convention of1949, and the Customary Laws of Belligerent Occupation. Israel is not the sovereign. Whenyou read in the newspapers Israel saying, this is our land, it isn’t. Again, the Security Councildetermined 14 to 0, it is not their land.

That has been the case for the West Bank and Gaza Strip since the war of 1967. That hasbeen the case for East Jerusalem since the war of 1967. As for West Jerusalem, the world hasnever recognized Israel’s annexation of West Jerusalem either. That is why the United StatesEmbassy and the Embassies of almost every country in the world that has diplomaticrelations with Israel (except for a few banana republics that have been bought and paid for)have their embassies in Tel Aviv and not Jerusalem.

Second, paragraph 3 "Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by itslegal obligations and its responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to theProtection of Civilian Persons in a Time of War of 12 August 1949 . . ." Again, the vote 14to 0. The Fourth Geneva Convention applies to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the entireCity of Jerusalem, in order to protect Palestinians. The Palestinian People living in these Lands are "protected persons" within the meaning of the Fourth Geneva Convention. All oftheir rights are sacred under international law.

Under international law the Palestinian People have more rights than you or I or anyone elsesitting in this hall today. There are over 147 articles of the Fourth Geneva Convention thatprotect the rights of every one of these Palestinians. And as we are seeing today, the IsraeliGovernment is violating and has in the past been violating, the rights of the PalestinianPeople under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Indeed, violations of the Fourth GenevaConvention are War Crimes. [ 5 ] So this is not a symmetrical situation. The Israeli army,occupying army here; Palestinian civilians over there -- and their rights are protected bythose over 147 articles. That is very clear -- nothing could be clearer. As a matter of fact, thegross violation of Palestinian rights by the Israeli army in occupied Palestinian Landsconstitutes war crimes.

Indeed, it’s far more serious than that. The United Nations Human Rights Commission sent aSpecial Rapporteur to occupied Palestinian Lands to investigate the situation that hasoccurred as a result of the Al Aqsa Intifada. And the U.N. Human Rights Commission thenadopted a resolution[6] condemning Israel for violating the Fourth Geneva Convention, itsrights as a belligerent occupant, and stating that Israeli policies constitutes "a war crime anda crime against humanity." Let me repeat that: "a war crime and a crime against humanity." Ithink we all have a general idea of what a war crime is and I’m not going to lecture on thathere. There are different varieties of war crimes. There are the more serious "grave breaches"of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and we see that every day -- willful killing of Palestiniancivilians by the Israeli army is a grave breach mandating universal prosecution for these warcrimes.

But I want to focus for a moment on "a crime against humanity"[7] -- as determined by theU.N. Human Rights Commission set up pursuant to the United Nations Charter. What is acrime against humanity? This goes back to the Nuremberg Charter of 1945. In theNuremberg Charter of 1945 drafted by the United States Government there was created andinserted a new type of international crime specifically intended to deal with the Nazipersecution of the Jewish People. The paradigmatic example of a crime against humanity iswhat Hitler and the Nazis did to the Jewish People. This is where the concept of crimeagainst humanity was formulated and came from. And this is what the U.N. Human RightsCommission is now saying that Israel is doing to the Palestinian People. A crime againsthumanity.

Moreover, a crime against humanity is the direct precursor to the international crime ofgenocide recognized by the 1948 Genocide Convention. Again, the theory here was thatwhat Hitler and the Nazis did to the Jewish People required a special international treaty thatwould codify the concept of a crime against humanity. And that treaty ultimately became the1948 Genocide Convention. You will note the U.N. Human Rights Commission does not goso far as to condemn Israel for committing genocide against the Palestinian People. But it hascondemned them for committing a crime against humanity, which is the precursor togenocide. And I submit that if something is not done quite soon by the American People andthe United StatesGovernment to stop Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity againstthe Palestinian People, it could very well degenerate into genocide, if it is not there already.That is, I think, a fair and accurate legal characterization of the situation and you will noteeven the United States Government did not veto the Security Council Resolution although itdid oppose the U.N.Human Rights Commission Resolution which is not unexpected.Today we’ve heard a proposal from Prime Minister Barak to accelerate negotiations with thePalestinian People. All I’ve read are the press accounts and his descriptions of it. It doesappear to me that he continues to intend to impose his Bantustan model upon the PalestinianPeople. Personally I have always been of the opinion along with my client and my friend Dr.Haidar Abdul Shaffi that the Bantustan model will never work. That if the United States andIsrael attempt to continue imposing the Bantustan model, or even somehow bully, threaten,intimidate and coerce President Arafat into signing a Bantustan agreement, it will neverwork, and we will continue to see violence and bloodshed in these occupied PalestinianLands.

That all being said, I still believe that peace is possible. Indeed, it was my job as LegalAdviser to the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Negotiations to figure this outon paper on instructions of Dr. Haidar Abdul Shaffi himself. On November 15, 1988, thePalestine National Council proclaimed an Independent Palestinian State in Algiers and alsoin front of Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Again, notice the importance and the significanceAl Aqsa to the Palestinian People. This created a remarkable opportunity for peace if Israelreally wants peace.

The Declaration of Independence accepted the U.N. General Assembly Partition Resolution181 of 1947 calling for the creation of a Jewish State and an Arab State in the formermandate for Palestine together with an international trusteeship for the City of Jerusalem. Inmy opinion, this is the only solution to the problem: A Palestinian State -- a genuine free,independent Palestinian State on the West Bank and Gaza and shared sovereignty over theCity of Jerusalem, sovereignty shared between Israel and Palestine, Jerusalem as the jointcapital of both states. In my opinion, this arrangement can produce peace between Israel andPalestine. The current Bantustan Proposal offered by Barak with the support of PresidentClinton would only produce more war.

Indeed, it should be emphasized that Israel officially accepted the U.N. Partition Resolutionin its own Declaration of Independence and as a condition for its admission to membershipin the United Nations Organization. So there is no dispute here as to the legality of the two-state proposal and some type of shared arrangement for Jerusalem. Moreover, as anotherexpress condition for its admission to the United Nations Organization, Israel officiallyendorsed and agreed to carry out U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 of 1948 whichdetermined that the Palestinian refugees have a right to return to their homes, or thatcompensation should be paid to those who choose not to return.

Prime Minister Barak has rejected Resolution 194 despite the fact that Israel accepted it as acondition for its membership in the United Nations Organization. Indeed, this same right isrecognized in article 13, paragraph 2 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights --and here, we are commemorating the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of HumanRights and we are also commemorating the anniversary of the Partition Resolution. Thatarticle 13(2) says quite clearly, "Everyone has the right . . . to return to his country." It’s abasic human right of the Palestinian People. This is customary international law.

There will be no peace until the Government of Israel is prepared to live up to the promise itgave to implement Resolution 194. As you know, Israel accepted one million people fromthe former Soviet Union and moved many of them on to occupied Palestinian Lands inviolation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. They could have easily accepted a millionPalestinians instead and have gone a long way towards solving this problem. But again, thepotential is still there for a peace settlement if we see good faith on the part of Israel and theUnited States Government. I regret to report that so far we have not.

I really do not know what will happen. As you know the Clinton administration will be goingout of power. We don’t know who the next President will be. Prime Minister Barak hascalled for new elections. There is enormous turmoil in the situation. Palestinians are beingkilled every day as we speak courtesy of the United States Government. And I submit that itis up to you students to do something about this situation.

I remember when I first came to the University of Illinois in 1978. The anti-apartheidmovement that was started in this country by students and student organizations protesting,demonstrating, organizing leaflets, demandingdivestment, disinvestment, organizing on anational andinternational basis. Eventually it culminated in the adoption of theComprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 which was the death blow to the racistAfrikaaner Apartheid Regime in South Africa. When that was adopted and the United Stateswas completely cut off from any cooperation with South Africa, it was very clear to theAfrikaaner Apartheid Regime that apartheid had to be dismantled.

Soon thereafter, Nelson Mandela was released from prison. Negotiations began. Democraticelections occurred in South Africa and now the African National Congress governs SouthAfrica. De jure apartheid has been dismantled in South Africa. Nelson Mandela became thePresident of the Republic of South Africa. The same situation can happen here.

You students can go out, research what the anti-apartheid movement did in this country, andyour predecessors starting twenty years ago, and do the exact same thing here. You have to.If you want to see peace in the Middle East, you’re going to have to go out and do somethingbecause so far the United States Government is not an honest broker. They never have been.I have been at these negotiations. I can tell you that the United States fully supports whateverIsrael wants.

So I leave here with an injunction that you students go out and study the situation. Study the techniques of your predecessors in the anti-apartheid movement. Proceed to organize and try to promote peace in the Middle East. Peace between the Israeli People and the PalestinianPeople that can last. I believe this is possible. But you cannot rely on the government, on thepoliticians in Washington to do it. You’re going to have to do it yourselves.

Thank you.


I’ll be happy to take a few questions.

Question: "Mr. Boyle, we all know that, as mentioned before, crimes against peace, crimesagainst humanity and war crimes constitute violation of human rights under universaljurisdiction. My question is, since we had the tribunal for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, howcome we don’t have an ad hoc tribunal for Israel. Thank you."

Boyle: Yes, we could and I’ve made this proposal. The tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwandahave been established by the United Nations Security Council. The United States wouldclearly veto any attempt to establish such a tribunal by the Security Council. But the UnitedNations General Assembly has the authority to establish an international criminal tribunal forPalestine by a majority vote of the General Assembly pursuant to article 22 of the UnitedNations Charter. Article 22 allows the General Assembly to establish subsidiary bodies.So the General Assembly could if it wanted to set up an international criminal tribunal forIsrael and adopt the statute for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.Rwanda would not be appropriate because that’s an internal armed conflict. The Yugoslavtribunal is an international armed conflict. So it can be done, but what will be needed is amajority vote in the General Assembly to do this.

I have made this suggestion to Arab and Muslim states. So far they haven’t done anythingwith it. I think you must understand that so many of these Arab states and leaders -- not thepeople but the leaders -- really could not care less about the Palestinians. They are on theirown as theyalways have been. For many of these Arab leaders the Palestinian People arejust a domesticpublic relations problem. All they need to do is try to convince their ownpeople that they’re really doing something when they’re not doing something. So they’llissue declarations, proclamations. The League of Arab States will have a meeting in Cairothat means absolutely nothing. All the diplomats know it. But it’s a total PR job for theseleaders to convince their people that they really care about the Palestinians. Their peoplecare, but the leaders don’t.

For that reason, again, it’s very important for America’s students to do something.Understand,we give five billion dollars a year to Israel to kill, oppress, and destroy thePalestinian People. All the weapons you’re seeing here are either provided directly by theUnited States or are paid for or parts or components are provided by the United States. Noneof this could be happening without the consent and approval of the United StatesGovernment.

So we have enormous power and leverage here in the United States to stop this and toproduce a just, lasting, comprehensive peace between Israel and the Palestinians. But in turnthat will again depend I think on student organizations working at the grass roots level to dosomething about the problem. And we can succeed. We succeeded with the anti-apartheidmovement. It’s a similar situation here.

[See The Divest from Israel Campaign: Join People of Conscience - DIVEST NOW! ( ) including its listing of 23 (as of 6/14/03) activedivestment/disinvestment university/college campaign websites. --ratitor]

[Question on One State for Israelis and Palestinians.]

At one point the Palestinian People called for the creation of one, secular democratic statefor the entire mandate of Palestine. Israel accused them of then calling for the destruction ofthe State of Israel. In order to respond to this point, they then adopted the Declaration ofIndependence that said to Israel, alright, if you do not want one democratic secular state forthe entire mandate of Palestine, you can have your state and we want our state. So that’s thecurrent situation.

Under these circumstances, that seems to be the alternative preferred by both Israel andPalestine. Out of respect for the Palestinian People, until they change their position I thinkthis is what we have to support. Edward Said is a friend of mine -- I have great respect andadmiration for him and perhaps at some point in the future, when you have a period of time that the Palestinian State can establish itself and its freedom and independence andself-identity, then you might be able to talk about two separate sovereign states comingtogether freely and voluntarily but not because of duress, force and coercion, but freely andvoluntarily coming together to establish one state. That could be possible.But right now, in answer to the question, I think we certainly have to respect the wishes ofthe Palestinian People. The Declaration of Independence was adopted by the PalestineNational Council itself back in the days back when they had a real Palestine NationalCouncil. And in those days, the Council represented all elements of the Palestinian People --not only those living in occupied Palestine, but also those living in The Diaspora. So this isthe reality that we are currently dealing with. And I think we have to deal with the situationas it currently exists.

[Question on preserving the Unity of Jerusalem]

I agree with everything you said. As a matter of fact, I drafted a proposal on how toaccomplish this, which I submitted to the PLO and they did approve it. So that is acceptable to the Palestinian leadership. The problem is that Israel is insisting on a slice of the cake. Soit becomes very difficult for the Palestinian People to propose any type of sharedarrangement, trusteeship, or any joint sovereignty, or whatever, when Israel is insisting onit’s half of the pie with the full backing of the United States Government. But they haveconsented to this type of trusteeship arrangement.

I drafted this proposal. You can read it if you want. I’m happy to send it to you. And that wasmy proposal -- that it could be done this way. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that’s goingto work out in the negotiations. The Palestinians have proposed it, Israel rejected it and Israelsays we will give the Palestinians "autonomy." Actually it’s like Solomon in reverse, right.Israel wants a cut of the baby.

The Palestinians offered a shared arrangement and it was rejected. And then the Israelisreturned by saying, we’re going to give you autonomy (which means nothing) and we’regoing to keep sovereignty in all Jerusalem. Of course President Arafat rejected that. That’swhere we stand right now. But certainly in a return to negotiations, if they were in good faithby Israel and the United States, I believe the Palestinian leadership would accept such ashared arrangement.

But I can’t speak for them. All I know, I drafted a proposal and they accepted it. Israelrejected it and the Palestinians got no support by the United States Government. So it’s verydifficult for the Palestinians to make an offer that’s very reasonable, that meets the legitimateneeds on the other side and to have the Israelis say, we reject it and the Americans to say, weagree with the Israelis. What could they do? I don’t know.

[Question on Palestinian Economy]

As for your first point about the economy of Palestine.Right. The current arrangements,again it’s a Bantustan. There will be no independent Palestinian economy at all. It will justbe an appendage of Israel. The Palestinians will be serfs. But in a genuine independent state,free, democratic, secular, with human rights, one could see the development of a viablePalestinian economy. As we know, the Palestinians are the most highly educated people inthe entire Middle East, hard-working, industrious. Natural gas has just been found off ofGaza. Palestine would be no more and no less viable than Israel. I mean, how viable isIsrael? Without the five billion dollars a year given by the United States, the entire economywould collapse. So I agree with you.

But under the current circumstances, the current Bantustan arrangement, no way. I don’t seehow the Palestinians can do it unless they get a genuine independent state where they can goout and develop their people -- highly trained, highly educated, highly motivated – andaccomplish those objectives. So again we get back to the need for them to have a state oftheir own first because again, with all due respect to Edward Said, my friend and colleague,under the current circumstances you just see total absorption of the Palestinians. So they willneed time to do this and if the United States is prepared to give them five billion dollars ayear, I’m sure they’d be very able to have a full, free developed economy.

[Question on the power of the Israel Lobby.]

I personally don’t think we are in the pocket of Israel. They will pretty much do what wewant them to do. This is a tribute as it were to the phenomenal organizing power of theJewish People. But I’m Irish-American. We run this country. And we did that by a lot ofhard work and organizing. And we have a lot more power than the Jewish People. I thinkthat Arab-Americans, Muslim-Americans, Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the UnitedStates today. Six million people and their supporters are going to have to organize and go outthere and do just what the Irish and the Jews did.

But the bottom line is, and here I do agree with Noam Chomsky’s analysis. And again I thinkyou know it’s remarkable to see agreement between Professor Noam Chomsky, a friend of mine, a very courageous and distinguished Jewish American and Edward Said, a verycourageous distinguished Palestinian American, that Israel is over there to do our dirty workfor us. They are our aircraft carrier over there, our jumping-off point, to keep the regionunder control, to keep the oil resources close, our mercenaries. And if some day they don’tdo what they’re told to do, there could be problems for them. So I don’t think that we are inIsrael’s pocket. They’re in our pocket. We have the power to tell them what to do but peopleare going to have to start to get organized, to exercise that power to produce peace.

[Question on President Arafat being subservient to the United States.]

President Arafat did not choose the United States. The United States under President Bushbasically ordered President Arafat and Prime Minister Shamir to go to Madrid and to havepeace negotiations. It was just ordered. The President of the United States is pretty much theemperor of the world, right. As all of our Presidents have been proud to say since the end ofthe Cold War, "We’re the most powerful country in the world." "We’re the only SuperPower in the world." As former President Bush put it, "What we say goes." So when Bushordered Shamir go to Madrid, there was a lot of hemming and hawing, and kicking andscreaming, but he went to Madrid. It was the same way with President Arafat and he had alot less power.

The Palestinians understand this full well. They know that the United States is working handin glove with Israel. The United States will just want them to sign this Bantustanarrangement and put it aside and get rid of it just like they wanted to do with Bosnia – carveit up and get it out of the way and move on to the next item on the agenda. It’s only theheroic resistance of the Palestinian People living in occupied Palestine in the first Intifadastarting in 1987, and now the current Intifada, that is forcing the United States Governmentto do anything. And so we’ll see what the United States Government does. I really don’tknow.

As for President Arafat, yesterday, Dr. Haidar Abdul Shaffi called for the establishment of agovernment of national unity for the Palestinian People. I think this is an excellent idea. Technically, as a matter of law, the Palestinian Authority as it is is not the legitimategovernment of the Palestinian People. Under the Declaration of Independence, theProvisional Government of the State of Palestine is the Executive Committee of thePalestine Liberation Organization. The PA does nothing more than control some ground overthere. So Dr. Abdul Shaffi is perfectly correct -- you need a government of national unity atthis time of crisis to represent all elements of the Palestinian People -- not only those livingin occupied Palestine, but also those living in the Diaspora. I do not know if President Arafatwill respond to this plea. This is a problem of Palestinian democracy.

Thank you very much.


Francis A. Boyle

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Copyright © 2000 Francis A. Boyle

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1. from The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001:

Bantustan: in 20th-century South African history, territory that was set aside under apartheid for blackSouth Africans and slated for eventual independence. Ten bantustans (later generally referred to ashomelands), covering 14% of the country’s land, were created from the former "native reserves." Fourwere proclaimed independent -- Transkei (1976), Bophuthatswana (1977), Venda (1979), and Ciskei(1981) -- but no foreign government recognized them as independent nations. Citizens of independenthomelands lost the limited rights they had as South Africans. Under the South African constitution thatwas approved in 1993 and ended white rule, South African citizenship was restored to homeland residents, and the homelands were abolished.

2. Resolution 1322 (2000), Adopted by the Security Council at its 4205th meeting on 7 October 2000.

Entry point to a listing of all United Nations Security Council Resolutions is at:

3. Hague Conventions of 1907:

  1. Hague I - Pacific Settlement of International Disputes : 18 Oct 1907
  2. Hague II - Limitation of Employment of Force for Recovery of Contract Debts : 18 Oct 1907
  3. Hague III - Opening of Hostilities : 18 Oct 1907
  4. Hague IV - Laws and Customs of War on Land : 18 Oct 1907
  5. Hague V - Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers and Persons in Case of War on Land : 18 Oct 1907
  6. Hague VI - Status of Enemy Merchant Ships at the Outbreak of Hostilities : 18 Oct 1907
  7. Hague VII - Conversion of Merchant Ships into War Ships : 18 Oct 1907
  8. Hague VIII - - Laying of Automatic Submarine Contact Mines : 18 Oct 1907
  9. Hague IX - Bombardment by Naval Forces in Time of War : 18 Oct 1907
  10. Hague X - Adaptation to Maritime War of the Principles of the Geneva Convention : 18 Oct 1907
  11. Hague XI - Restrictions With Regard to the Exercise of the Right of Capture in Naval War : 18 Oct 1907
  12. Hague XIII - Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers in Naval War : 18 Oct 1907

4. Convention (IV) Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, August 12, 1949

5. See the definition of War Crimes in Article 8 (in Part 2, Jurisdiction, Admissibility and Applicable Law of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (U.N. Doc. A/CONF.183/9*)

6. "Grave and massive violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people by Israel, Resolution S-5/1 of the fifth special session of the Commission on Human Rights," Commission on Human RightsResolution E/CN.4/S-5/1 (2000).

7.See the definition of Crimes Against Humanity in Article 7 (in Part 2, Jurisdiction, Admissibility andApplicable Law) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (U.N. Doc. A/CONF.183/9*)


See Also:

  • Palestine, Palestinians and International Law, by Francis Boyle, 31 March 2003
  • Law and Disorder in the Middle East, by Francis A. Boyle, January 2002