"(T)he (UN) General Assembly shall meet every year in regular session commencing on the Tuesday of the third week in September, counting from the first week that contains at least one working day."
The 66th session began Tuesday, September 13. Access its agenda through the following link:
On Friday, September 23, Abbas and Netanyahu will address the body. Obama plans to do it Wednesday, September 21.
According to Middle East expert Jon Alterman:
"The president's actions have gotten him anger on all sides, and accolades on none," with good reason. "I don't know an easy way to get out of this problem."
Put another way: He made his bed. Now he has to sleep in it!
So does The New York Times. Its longstanding editorial policy notoriously turns a blind eye to the most egregious injustices - notably on Israeli/Palestinian issues.
As a result, it virulently opposes Palestinian statehood and full UN membership, no matter how just, right and timely.
Supporting the right thing, in fact, was never The Times long suit.
It's September 11 editorial is one of many examples. Headlined, "Palestinian Statehood," it calls a UN vote for it "ruinous," adding:
"If a UN vote takes place, Washington and its partners will have to limit the damage...."
On September 18, Times writer Neil MacFarquhar headlined, "Palestinians Turn to UN, Where Partition Began," referring to the 1947 partition plan. More on it below.
According to America's UN ambassador Susan Rice:
"There is no magic wand. There is no magic piece of paper here or anywhere else. In order to achieve the creation of a Palestinian state with clear boundaries, with sovereignty, with the ability to secure itself and provide for its people, there has to be a negotiated settlement."
According to MacFarquhar:
"The United States and Israel accuse the Palestinians of turning to the United Nations in a futile attempt to short-circuit the direct negotiations."
Representing Obama, Rice endorses continued occupation and bantustan isolation on worthless scrub land.
"Negotiations" never worked before and won't now. Israeli and Washington demands offer nothing in return but continued bondage and occupation.
Given America's opposition, Palestine's only option is General Assembly approval under the 1950 Uniting for Peace Resolution 377 with authority to override an expected Security Council veto.
As a long-time Israeli collaborationist, expect Abbas to muddle through the current session ineffectively.
Though statehood and full UN membership are within easy grasp, smart money wagers he'll either accept Security Council rejection or pursue worthless half loaf General Assembly failure, calling it success.
Either way, Palestinians will be back to square one, occupied, disenfranchised and betrayed.
The 1947 Partition Plan and Other UN Resolutions
On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 181, the Palestine Partition Plan, granting 56% of historic Palestine to Jews (with one-third of the population), 42% to Palestinians.
In addition, Jerusalem was designated an international city (a corpus separatum - separate body) under a UN Trusteeship Council. The area included all Jerusalem, Bethlelem, and Beit Sahour, to encompass Christian holy sites.
Resolution 181 called for an Independent Arab state by October 1, 1948, asking:
"all Governments and peoples to refrain from taking any action which might hamper or delay the carrying out of these recommendations."
The Security Council was to take "the necessary measures as provided for in the plan for its implementation."
Israel had other ideas. On May 14, 1948, its "War of Independence" (what Palestinians call the Nakba, or catastrophe) created the Jewish state on 78% of historic Palestine. Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem were excluded.
On December 2, 1947, the General Assembly (GA) passed Resolution 32/40 A and B, stating deep concern:
"that no just solution to the problem of Palestine has been achieved and that this problem therefore continues to aggravate the Middle East conflict, of which it is the core, and to endanger international peace and security."
It reaffirmed "that a just and lasting peace in the Middle East cannot be established without the achievement, inter alia, of a just solution of the problem of Palestine on the basis of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right of return and the right to national independence and sovereignty in Palestine, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations."
The Security Council was urged to act promptly. Sixty-three years later, it's done nothing to assure "a just solution to the problem of Palestine."
As a result, regional wars, occupation, and settlement expansions continue. Palestinians are still oppressed, dispossessed, isolated, and denied what UN resolutions and international laws mandate.
They include a viable sovereign state, East Jerusalem as its capital, and the right of diaspora refugees to return.
Obama and Netanyahu disagree, telling Palestinians to go to hell, not the Security Council or General Assembly.
Moreover, world leaders haven't held Israel accountable for breaching virtually all international humanitarian laws, as well as others on war and occupation.
Specifically, Israel refuses to recognize Palestinian sovereignty under provisions of the December 1960 UN General Assembly Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, as well as all UN resolutions before and thereafter affirming Palestinian self-determination. They include:
(1) UN Resolution 181, the 1947 Partition Plan.
(2) GA Resolution (1965): Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention in the Domestic Affairs of States and the Protection of Their Independence and Sovereignty, affirming the principle of non-intervention.
(3) Security Council (SC) Resolution 242 (1967), calling for an end of conflict and withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from occupied territories.
(4) The 1970 Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
(5) SC Resolution 298 (1971), affirming acquisition of territory by military conquest inadmissible, calling Israel's failure to observe previous resolutions deplorable.
(6) SC 338 (1973), affirming the same demand.
(7) GA Resolution 3236 (1974), recognizing Palestinian self-determination and expressing "grave concern" that they've been "prevented from enjoying (their) inalienable rights (to) self-determination....national independence and sovereignty....without external interference...."
(8) GA Resolution 3314 (1974) on the Definition of Aggression in accordance with the UN Charter and Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and its judgment, calling it the supreme international crime against peace.
(9) Numerous other SC and GA resolutions, affirming the principles of international law, including Geneva's Common Article 1, obliging all nations to enforce them, saying:
"The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances."
Israel also won't comply with the Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (the Apartheid Convention).
Under the Rome Statute, it includes murder, extermination, enslavement, torture, arbitrary arrest, illegal imprisonment, denial of the right to life and liberty, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and other abusive acts imposed by one group or nation on another.
As a result, Palestinians have endured slow-motion genocide through:
-- wars of aggression;
-- mass deaths, injuries and arrests;
-- targeted assassinations;
-- land theft;
-- home demolitions;
-- denial of their right to free movement, expression, and assembly;
-- their own resources, including water and offshore oil and gas;
-- control of their airspace, coastal waters and borders; and
-- other international law violations, including Gaza's suffocation under siege.
It's high time longstanding injustices ended, but don't expect it as the 11th hour approaches. Behind the scenes pressure continues to assure status quo betrayal.
Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad are very much involved, working against their own people they're sworn to represent. They never have and won't now.
Instead of a done-deal, expect double-dealing duplicity complicit with Washington and Israel. They'll again sell out people who depend on them, though it's hard understanding why.
Abbas signaled defeat, saying:
"From now until I give the speech, we have only one choice: going to the Security Council (knowing it'll vote rejection). Afterward, we will sit and decide."
"Sitting" assures defeat and betrayal. Securing a General Assembly vote assures statehood and full UN membership if proper procedures are followed.
They won't be! Bet on it!
A Final Comment
On September 19, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya said:
"There is no mandate for any Palestinian leadership to infringe on Palestinian national rights, nor is there a mandate for any Palestinian actor to make historic concessions on Palestinian land or the right of the Palestinians, foremost among them the right of return."
"Given this position, we reiterate our rejection of (Abbas') bid."
Nonetheless, he'll "place (no) obstacles in the way of the establishment of a Palestinian state with full sovereignty," adding:
"We repeat today that we are with the establishment of a Palestinian state on any liberated part of (historic Palestine) that is agreed upon by the Palestinian people, without recognizing Israel or conceding any inch of historical Palestine."
Though believing all Palestine rightfully belongs to the Palestinian people, Hamas has long been willing to accept an independent state within 1967 borders in return for recognition and peace.
Israel adamantly refuses, wanting all valued West Bank land, as well as East Jerusalem entirely Judaized as Israel's capital, excluding Palestinians entirely.
Refusing concessions makes negotiations with an unwilling partner impossible.
It's why now's the time in New York for what can't be gotten any other way.
But it won't be when Abbas yields at the 11th hour.
Instead of statehood and full UN membership, he'll accept maybe next time, not now.
It's his longstanding agenda, collaborating with his Washington/Israeli partners against his own people.
It's about time they knew that justice depends on going around, not through, him. There is no alternative.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.