• Mon. Oct 3rd, 2022

Creating True Arab-Israeli Peace at the Bahrain Conference

  • Bahrain gives the Arab states an opportunity to step back, live up to their obligations under UN Resolution 242 and restart the process in the way that was the intention of the United Nations ….
  • The UN did not offer Israel a vague “peace,” but a set of concrete conditions for creating “security”: “Ending all demands or states of war and respecting and recognizing the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every single state in the region. , as well as their right to live in peace within safe and recognized borders, free from threats or violence. “
  • All this was to be given to Israel not by the Palestinians, who did not then lived up to and still do not live up to the conditions of state formation, but of the warring countries in 1948 and 1967. Egypt and Jordan have done so.
  • Some of the countries that should make peace with Israel will be present in Bahrain and UN Resolution 242 should be on the agenda. Fifty – two years’ delay does not mean it’s too late.

Israel’s return to the election situation is not a reason to change the Trump administration’s plans for the US-led economic conference scheduled to take place in Bahrain in late June. The Palestinians’ decision on the boycott meeting is certainly no reason to change – or cancel – it either. It needs only a few tweaks to become a potentially dramatic event in the history of the Middle East’s “peace-making.”

The modern phase of the Arab-Israeli conflict began in the 19th century and solidified in 1948. By deliberate planning or negligence, it was later transformed into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the Oslo Accords in the 1990s. The Arab states escaped responsibility for the wars they themselves had started in 1948, ’56, ’67, ’73 and ’82, leaving it to Yasser Arafat to figure out where to do what they themselves could not have done. Make peace with the State of Israel or win a war against it.

Bahrain allows the Arab states to step back, live up to their obligations under United Nations Resolution 242 and restart the process in the way that was the intention of the UN – when its intentions were honorable.

The UN understood the Six Day War in 1967 as a war created by Arab aggression against Israel. The Security Council recognized that the root cause of the “Arab-Israeli conflict” was not where the Jews lived, but that they had sovereign right to a Jewish homeland – which the Arabs did not accept. The Arab attitude was, in the eyes of the UN, wrong – Israel had an absolute, undeniable and irrevocable right to a sovereign presence in the historic Jewish homeland.

The Security Council decided that Israel should not be forced to return territories, as had happened in Sinai in 1956, without a solution to the underlying problem. It was with this understanding that the Council adopted Resolution 242.

The introduction states that it “emphasizes the impermissibility of the acquisition of territories through war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every single state in the region can live in security.” Two things stand out:

  • First, the use of the word “war,” not “power,” as it is commonly translated. Israel’s use of power in 1967 was defensive; “ war ” was started by the Arabs. The impermissible in the acquisition of territories is followed by “through war,” which makes good sense – otherwise an offender, in this case the Arab states, could simply say: “Okay, status quo ante” and wait for the next opportunity. Israel’s acquisition of territories by defensive power was not unacceptable. While the acquisition could be (or should not be) permanent, the final distribution would have been left to the time the Arabs lived up to their obligations to Israel.
  • Second, the use of the word “security” is also key – the UN did not offer Israel a vague “peace,” but a set of concrete conditions for creating “security” . “

To ensure this, Resolution 242 contains two inseparable clauses – (i) and (ii):

(i) Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied during the recent conflict;

Not all territories – the US and British diplomats insisted on this then and still do today – and accompanied by:

(ii) Termination of all claims or states of war and respect for and recognition of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of each and every State in the area, as well as their right to live in peace within safe and recognized borders, free from threats or acts of violence.

Concerned about whether Resolution 242 went far enough to provide security for Israel, the UN Security Council added the need to:

  • “Guarantee freedom of navigation on international waterways in the area,” the direct cause of the war in 1967.
  • “Achieve a just solution to the refugee problem.”
  • “Guarantee it territorial inviolability and political independence of every single state in the region. “

All this was to be given to Israel not by the Palestinians, who did not then live up to and still do not live up to the conditions of state formation, but by the warring countries in 1948 and 1967. Egypt and Jordan have done it. Israel is still awaiting recognition of its sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence from Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and the countries that supported the war – Algeria, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Pakistan, Sudan and Tunisia. Today, Israel demands that the Palestinian Authority – the successor to the PLO in the West Bank – also accept these conditions. The Self-Government has denied this.

It should have been simple. By 1967, the Arab states should have realized that their obstructionism in 1948 was unjustified and that the formation of Israel was legal and just. Some of the countries that should make peace with Israel will be present in Bahrain, and UN Resolution 242 should be on the agenda. Fifty – two years’ delay does not mean it’s too late.

If this conference is part of a path towards the Arab states cooperating not only with Israel as a counterweight to Iran, but as a political and economic partner in the region … If this conference makes Arab-Israeli relations the norm, in the region … if this conference states that both Arabs and Israelis have places to move together and that the Palestinians’ only option to get there with them is that they accept the terms of UN Resolution 242 …

Then progress can be made.

Shoshana Bryen is the Senior Director of the Jewish Policy Center.

Original Article: Making Real Arab-Israeli Peace at the Bahrain Conference. 2019-06-05. Translated by Mette Thomsen, published in Danish 2019-06-15. Reprinted with permission of the Gatestone Institute.

See conference update “Arab countries defy the Palestinians” by Bjarte Bjellås 13 June 2019

https://miff.dk/diplomati-og-forhandlinger/2019/06/13arabiske-lande-trodser-palaestinenserne.htm

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