Territorial disputes: the Israel-Palestine difference (Part 19) [Post 59]

Today’s post will cover BORDERS (as a sub-element that has to do with territory) in the context of the Israel-Palestine difference and introduce how the EGALITARIAN SHARED SOVEREIGNTY applies to this issue.

Borders are volatile (to say the least) in the already tense Israel-Palestine difference. With communities presenting very different living standards and the myriad of checkpoints the situation deteriorates on an ongoing basis. This past few weeks’ events are self-evident.

A general approach previously used in the region (and in many others around the world by former colonial powers imposing them to former colonies) has to do with partition solutions. They work under the assumption that the hostilities between opposing ethnic groups makes it impossible for them to live peacefully together in a single state (Haklai and Loizides, ed., 2015).

“The territories contested between Israel and Palestinians are the ones Israel conquered from Jordan in the 1967 war, including those commonly referred to as the West Bank and East Jerusalem (Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and makes no ownership claim of this territory). Many Jewish Israelis, religious and secular, view these territories as part of their ancient homeland, Eretz Israel (Land of Israel).”

In recent years, all the solutions explicitly or implicitly suggest partition:

·       The “two-state solution” presented by President Bill Clinton during the Camp David Summit and Taba talks (2000).

·       The Roadmap to Peace introduced by President George W. Bush (2003) and endorsed by the United States, the United Nations, the European Union, and Russia.

·       The UN Security Council Resolution 1397 (2002).

·       The UN Security Council Resolution 1515 (2003).

·       The Arab Peace Initiative, endorsed by the Arab League (2002 and 2007).

Haklai, Oded and Loizides, Neophytos. 2015. Settlers in Contested Lands. Territorial Disputes and Ethnic Conflicts. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.

There are many reasons to disagree with the partition solution. For an academic reference see for example Laitin (2004), Sambanis (2000), Sambanis and Schulhofer-Wohl (2009), and others.
The EGALITARIAN SHARED SOVEREIGNTY may rule out extreme situations such as:

1.   Sovereignty of the disputed territories to be totally in the hands of only one of the claiming parties either Israel or Palestine.

2.   Existing sovereignty should automatically continue, or that everything should remain in a status quo.

3.   United Nations or any other party alien to the dispute. Several problems immediately arise.

United Nations (UN): although UN aims to grant sovereign equality amongst the States its own system reveals a contradiction: veto power in the Security Council is only granted to certain sovereign States.

This may be translated (in the perception of at least one of claiming parties, either Israel or Palestine) as an unbalanced and unfair starting point to have negotiations, and with a predictable result.

Not only does the Security Council present these problems but also other UN organisations. Even the UN General Assembly, at first glance a fair environment for sovereign States to participate in, has been regarded as ineffective or irredeemably biased because of the different bargaining powers of its members.

Finally, in cases of contested sovereignty over populated territories, stateless people are not UN members.

Other parties: in terms of other parties alien to the dispute (for example, the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, the Arab League) history is self-evident in demonstrating their policies in the region have been far from successful, have taken little care about the local population and their needs, and have been more (only) centred on their geostrategic domestic policies rather than taking Israel and Palestine into consideration.

In brief, in order to acknowledge the controversial features the EGALITARIAN SHARED SOVEREIGNTY advises to remove the borders and any checkpoints in the disputed territories. As we discussed when assessing population in the context of the Israel-Palestine difference, by applying the EGALITARIAN SHARED SOVEREIGNTY, the inhabitants of the disputed territories would be citizens of both sovereign states, they would have a common passport (an Israeli/Palestinian passport) valid in the disputed territories. In terms of religion, as the second pre-requisite recognises basic non-political liberties, freedom of movement and residence would be adopted at a constitutional level. The lexically prior prerequisite of non-political liberties controls this.

A reminder to the reader: First, we have maintained in all these posts that Israel is de jure and de facto a state whilst Palestine is a de facto state. Israel would continue having de jure and de facto sovereignty over any non-disputed territories that are not part of the original difference. Israel and Palestine, therefore, would share de jure and de facto sovereignty only over the disputed territories. That means that Palestine would have de jure sovereignty recognition (and all that this implies).

NOTE: based on Chapters 5, 6 and 7, Núñez, Jorge Emilio. 2017. Sovereignty Conflicts and International Law and Politics: A Distributive Justice Issue. London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.

Jorge Emilio Núñez

Twitter: @London1701

17th May 2018

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