By Ali Abunimah. This article was first published on Electronic Intifada.
The administration of French President François Hollande is determined to combat Palestinian rights at home and abroad.
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.
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.