Palestine, the Rule of Law and Global Power Politics

A Speech by Hans Köchler, President of the International Progress Organization, at the Special Meeting in observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People convened under the auspices of the United Nations General Assembly Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, United Nations Office at Vienna, November 24, 2015

It is sad to state on this solemn occasion that, in the year when the United Nations Organization celebrates the 70th anniversary of its foundation, a just and comprehensive settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict still appears to be elusive. The UN General Assembly’s recommendation of 1947 has yet to be implemented in full. The political and legal reality is exactly the opposite of what that resolution had envisaged, namely the creation of two sovereign states living peacefully side by side. In fact, talk of peace has become virtually meaningless in the face of continuing occupation of Palestinian and Arab land for almost half a century, and of an ever more determined strategy of the occupying power to expand control over and possession of territory acquired by force – in contravention of Article 2(4) of the UN Charter.

This policy has not been reversed, or even softened, in all the years since – in fact a quarter century after the end of the Cold War – a so-called “peace process” was initiated and the “Oslo agreement” was signed, which has never been acted upon in good faith anyway. Over decades, subsequent Israeli governments have followed a strategy, and worked out corresponding legislation, to create ever-new “facts on the ground.” The absence of a global balance of power – since the end of the Cold War – has made the Palestinian and Arab position even more precarious and has limited the space for independent diplomatic action by concerned regional states and their intergovernmental structures.

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