The Israel-Palestine difference and “Who can take part in the negotiations?”
We introduced yesterday four different questions in relation to the Israel-Palestine difference. The first of these questions is:
- Who can take part in the negotiations?
This question should be sub-divided into:
- Should Israel and Palestine be part of the negotiations about the disputes territories? Why?
- Should any other party apart from Israel and Palestine be part of these negotiations Why?
- Finally, within Israel and Palestine there may be internal divisions, for example domestic political parties wanting a different outcome. What should we do about it?
Should Israel and Palestine be part of the negotiations about the disputes territories? Why?Both Israelis and Palestinians should (ought to) be part of any negotiations in regard to the disputed territory. Both these claiming parties have, for the reasons explored when we introduced the colorable claim, a prima facie right to claim sovereignty.
They either have the historical, legal or moral basis to do it or a combination of them. Not to let any of these claiming parties take part in the negotiations would be, therefore, illegal and illegitimate.
Should any other party apart from Israel and Palestine be part of these negotiations? Why?No. If the claiming parties want a peaceful and permanent solutions that both populations are willing to respect they should settle the question themselves. No external party to the conflict should participate.
In the particular case if the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia it would be highly advisable to avoid any involvement with the negotiations. The many relations between the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia with either Israel or Palestine (financial, military, and historical only to name a few) beg for them to remain outside any negotiations. Indeed, the claiming parties must rest assured their bargaining positions are not affected by external actors.
Some may wonder whether fourth parties’ humanitarian needs like in the case of Syria (for example, natural disaster, famine, etc.) are sufficient for a colorable claim and whether a third party should be therefore included (that is, if humanitarian reasons can be seen as a base for a colorable claim).
The negotiations should be solely to offer a solution to the territorial dispute, and not to put an end to inequalities amongst the claiming agents’ comparative situations or to help them in achieving equal level of welfare. With the Israel-Palestine difference, we have claiming parties that already possess wealth and who are likely to hold unequal amounts of wealth. This is not an issue for the negotiations since it is not asking what constitutes a fair allocation of additional resources amongst claiming parties that already have unequal holdings. It is only interested in these inequalities in as much as they have consequences for the agreement reached. Therefore, in the event that a fourth party based their claim on humanitarian needs, they would not have a colorable claim. They have in these cases other international remedies—e.g. humanitarian intervention, international aid, etc. This is but a tangential argument.
Finally, within Israel and Palestine there may be internal divisions, for example domestic political parties wanting a different outcome. What should we do about it?The post tomorrow will center the attention on this question. Some may argue that is not accurate to refer to Israelis and Palestinians as a whole. That is because there may be (in fact, there is) domestic dissent in Israel and Palestine about how to deal with this territorial disputes. An example of one of our readers give a clear idea: “Netanyahu likes the current setup with ambiguous claims while his Deputy Foreign Minister (same party) openly declares Israel sovereignty over all the territory.”
NOTE: This post is based on Jorge Emilio Núñez, “Territorial Disputes and State Sovereignty: International Law and Politics,” London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2020 (forthcoming)Previous published research monograph about territorial disputes and sovereignty by the author, Jorge Emilio Núñez, “Sovereignty Conflicts and International Law and Politics: A Distributive Justice Issue,” London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2017.
NEXT POST: The Israel-Palestine difference and “What do people want?”
Tuesday 14th January 2020
Dr Jorge Emilio Núñez