The Palestinian Authority’s Contradictory Claims about Jerusalem

Dec. 20 2018

Since 2011, the Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas has been pursuing a status of “internationalization,” in which the PA seeks to join various international bodies as the “state of Palestine” and then file lawsuits against Israel. Currently, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)—which, for technical reasons, is the body doing the suing—has one complaint before the International Criminal Court (ICC) and another before the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Avi Bell notes that the claims it makes in the two courts regarding the status of Jerusalem contradict each other:

In the ICJ, the PLO claims that Jerusalem is an internationalized area called a “corpus separatum” [or “separate body”], over which no state can legally claim sovereignty. In the ICC, the PLO claims that just over half of Jerusalem (the part it calls “East Jerusalem”) is sovereign territory of what it calls the state of Palestine. Neither claim is meritorious. And more importantly, it’s impossible for both claims to be true simultaneously.

The PLO’s claim in the ICJ emerged in a lawsuit against the United States, in which the PLO claims that the U.S. violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations by locating its embassy within Israel’s capital. [It] claims (incorrectly) that any state can invoke the court’s jurisdiction when an embassy is located in the wrong place. The PLO then claims (also incorrectly) that the Vienna Convention only permits embassies to be located within the territory of the “receiving state,” and (incorrectly) that none of Jerusalem is territory of the “receiving state” because all of Jerusalem is a “corpus separatum”—an internationalized territory to which no state can claim sovereignty. The grounds on which the PLO claims this unique status for Jerusalem are unclear but appear to be a mistaken belief that the failed UN General Assembly [partition] proposals of 1947 and 1949 altered the law of territorial sovereignty.

It is an unfortunate commentary on the politicization of both courts that meritless PLO claims have gone as far as they have in the ICJ and ICC. . . . But it is far more damning that international legal observers have remained silent about the irreconcilable contradiction between the PLO’s arguments to the two courts.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: ICC, International Law, Israel & Zionism, Jerusalem, Palestinian Authority

European Aid to the Middle East Is Shaped by a Political Agenda

Feb. 18 2019

The EU’s European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations Unit dispenses millions of dollars in economic and humanitarian assistance to dozens of countries every year. Although it claims to operate on principles of strict neutrality, independent of any political motivation and giving priority to the neediest cases, a look at its activities in the Middle East suggests an entirely different approach, as Hillel Frisch writes:

[T]he Middle East is the overwhelming beneficiary of EU humanitarian aid—nearly 1 billion of just over 1.4 billion euros. . . . The bulk of the funds goes toward meeting the costs of assistance to Syrian refugees, followed by smaller sums to Iraq, Yemen, “Palestine,” and North Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa, by contrast, receives less than one-third of that amount. The problem with such allocations is that the overwhelming majority of people living in dire poverty reside in sub-Saharan Africa, India, and Bangladesh. . . . The Palestinians, who are richer on average than those living in the poorest states of the world, . . . receive over six euros per capita, while the populations of the poorest states receive less than one-eighth of that amount. . . .

Even less defensible is the EU’s claim to political neutrality. Its favoritism toward the Palestinians on this score is visible as soon as one enters terms into the general search function on the European Commission’s website. Enter “Palestine” and you get 20,737 results. Enter “Ethiopia” and you get almost the same figure, despite massive differences in population size (Ethiopia’s 100 million versus fewer than 5 million Palestinians), geographic expanse (Ethiopia is 50 times the size of “Palestine”), and degree of sheer suffering. The Syrian crisis, which is said to have led to the loss of a half-million lives, merits not many more site results than “Palestine.”

One of the foci of the website’s reports [on the Palestinians] is the plight of 35,000 Bedouin whom the EU assists, often in clear violation of the law, in Area C—the part of the West Bank under exclusive Israeli control. The hundreds of thousands of Bedouin in Sinai, however, the plight of whom is readily acknowledged even by Egyptian officials, gets no mention, even though Egypt is a recipient of EU aid. . . .

Clearly, the EU’s approach to aid allocation has nothing to do with impartiality, true social-welfare needs, or humanitarian considerations. [Instead], it favors allocations to Syrian refugees above Yemeni refugees because of the higher probability that Syrian refugees will find their way to Europe. . . . The recipients of European largesse who are next in line [to Syrians], in relative terms, are the Palestinians. [This particular policy] can be attributed primarily to the EU’s hostility toward Israel, its rightful historical claims, and its security needs.

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: Europe and Israel, European Union, Israel & Zionism, Palestinians