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View Diary: 'We Want the Whole World To Know About Us' (213 comments)

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  •  Ok, here's what the Mitchell Report (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hypersphere01

    has to say.  First it reiterates the Palestinian position on Oslo:

    The Interim Agreement provides that "the two parties view the West Bank and Gaza as a single territorial unit, the integrity and status of which will be preserved during the interim period." Coupled with this, the Interim Agreement's prohibition on taking steps which may prejudice permanent status negotiations denies Israel the right to continue its illegal expansionist settlement policy. In addition to the Interim Agreement, customary international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, prohibits Israel (as an occupying power) from establishing settlements in occupied territory pending an end to the conflict.

    That statement is sourced back to the PLO's third submission to the Sharm el-Sheik fact-finding commission, i.e. the Mitchell Commission.

    The report goes on to state the Israeli response:

    From the GOI perspective, the expansion of settlement activity and the taking of measures to facilitate the convenience and safety of settlers do not prejudice the outcome of permanent status negotiations.

    Israel understands that the Palestinian side objects to the settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Without prejudice to the formal status of the settlements, Israel accepts that the settlements are an outstanding issue on which there will have to be agreement as part of any permanent status resolution between the sides. This point was acknowledged and agreed upon in the Declaration of Principles of 13 September 1993 as well as in other agreements between the two sides.

    This is sourced back to the second Israeli submission to the Commission.

    The Commission's recommendation, furthermore, was that:

    The GOI should freeze all settlement activity, including the "natural growth" of existing settlements.

    I think it's safe to say that the Mitchell Commission found the Palestinian position on interpreting the Oslo Accord to be more persuasive...

    •  No. Mitchell rightly thought a settlement (0+ / 0-)

      freeze to be a useful idea. The plain language of the prior agreements, however, did not call for a freeze. That's why the Palestinians had to argue that a freeze somehow was implicit in the non-prejudice language. Generally, when parties are in agreement about a contract term they are able to put it in writing. A settlement freeze being a fairly important issue, the absence of express language is telling.

      Moreover, what -- being charitable to Arafat and Rabin -- may not have been prejudicial when Rabin was alive was not necessarily non-prejudicial with Netanyahu as Israel's prime minister.

      Al Gore should be president.

      by another American on Sat May 12, 2007 at 09:57:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I believe the question here revolves (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hypersphere01

        around:

        Interim Agreement's prohibition on taking steps which may prejudice permanent status negotiations

        The Palestinian position was that settlement expansion did prejudice future status negotiations, while the Israeli position is that it did not.

        Mitchell, a neutral arbiter, agreed with the Palestinians.

        So, I have to take back my earlier retraction.  While you are correct that the plain language of the agreement did not prohibit settlement expansion, upon neutral interpretation it is found that the agreement did in fact prohibit it.  Hence Celso's comment makes it through peer-review.  Sufficient academics, undoubtedly based on Mitchell's interpretation, agree that as a result of Oslo Israel should have frozen settlement expansion.

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