Oslo is dead! Long live Oslo! The UK House of Commons Supports Diplomatic Recognition of Palestine

19 Oct

(Prefatory Note: The post below is a modified version, especially the ending, of a piece published online two days ago in AlJazeera English.  While appreciating the importance of the European moves to endorse Palestinian statehood, seeks a more definitive repudiation of the Oslo Approach. It calls for an end to the U.S. role as exclusive intermediary and the presumed outcome of a peace process being two states without indicating the character of the Palestinian states. So far, the two-state mantra has been cut back to allow Israel to retain at least the unlawful settlement blocs and to insist on arrangements that uphold their security against unforeseen threats, while granting not a word of acknowledgement to Palestinian security concerns. My own strong belief is that unless the two peoples are treated with full equality in seeking a solution, the result will not be sustainable or just even in the unlikely event that some sort of agreement is reached.)





Oslo is dead! Long live Oslo! The UK House of Commons Supports Diplomatic Recognition of Palestine


On October 13 the House of Commons by an overwhelming vote of 274-12 urged the British government to extend diplomatic recognition to Palestine.

At first glance, it would seem a rather meaningless gesture. It is a non-binding resolution, and Prime Minister David Cameron has already declared that this expression of parliamentary opinion will have no effect whatever on existing government policy. So far Britain along with the states in Western Europe adhere to Israel’s stubborn insistence, echoed by Washington, that Palestinian statehood can only be established through a solution to the conflict negotiated by the parties.


Even if the British vote was binding, why should it be seen as a dramatic move in Palestine’s favor? After all, Palestine has already been accorded recognition by 134 states since Yasir Arafat declared the existence of a Palestinian state within 1967 borders back in 1988.


Such downgrading of the significance of what took place is also part of the Israel tactical response. Its ambassador in London now declining even to comment on the decision after earlier indicating extreme disapproval with the evident hope of discouraging affirmative votes. Before the vote Israeli leaders used their levers of strong influence to discourage the vote. Netanyahu even insisted that such a step would seriously diminish prospects for resumed negotiations and would seriously harm peace prospects. After losing out, the Israeli tone changed, now calling the vote meaningless and devoid of importance.


In actuality, the UK initiative is an important symbolic victory for the Palestinians. Until the recently when the elected Swedish government indicated its intention to recognize Palestine as a state at some future undesignated time, no Western European government had broken ranks on the Oslo approach as interpreted by Israel and the United States. It is this approach that has put a straightjacket on diplomacy, requiring any progress toward a solution to be exclusively through direct negotiations for a Palestinian in which the U.S. acts as the one and only intermediary.


At stake, then, is not only the momentum building for European countries to extend recognition to Palestine, but also a belated admission that this Oslo approach after more than 20 years of futility should no longer be respected as the consensus foundation of Israel-Palestine conflict resolution. The UK action needs to be joined with the recent diplomacy of the Palestinian Authority, first the Fatah/Hamas agreement of April to form a unity government, and even more so, the resolution to be submitted to the Security Council on behalf of the Palestinian Authority that calls for Israeli withdrawal to 1967 borders, including East Jerusalem, no later than November 2016. It is expected that the U.S. will veto this resolution if it is unable to mount enough pressure to prevent nine SC members from voting affirmatively. Such an initiative by Ramallah further signals that the PA is no longer willing to play the waiting game that has given Israel ample time for settlement expansion and ethnic cleansing in East Jerusalem past points of no return.


In Mahmoud Abbas’ speech of September 26th to the General Assembly he clearly indicated that he was refusing to cooperate any longer with these diplomatic maneuvers facilitated by the Oslo framework. Responding to Palestinian pressures from below, Abbas left no doubt that he would not pretend that he had ‘a partner for peace,’ thereby turning the tables on Tel Aviv. He signaled this clearly when he described Israel’s 50-day military operation against Gaza this past summer as “a genocidal war.” The G-word was bound to elicit an angry Israeli response, which Netanyahu provided a few days later in the same UN venue, calling Abbas’ speech “shameless.”


There still remains a lingering and unfortunate ambiguity in these developments suggesting we have not yet truly arrived at a post-Oslo phase of diplomacy. The UK resolution accepted an amendment stating that its purpose was “as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution.” The former British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, elaborated on this, suggesting that was being done was to exert additional pressure on the parties to get on with negotiating a two-state outcome. This tail wagging the dog is a regression, sustaining the illusion that Israel, whatever the context, is at all willing at this stage to allow an independent sovereign Palestinian state to be established within 1967 borders, even if these are slightly modified. In effect, “Oslo is dead! Long live Oslo!”


Since the latest Gaza war there have been two developments of lasting significance : first, the inter-governmental diplomacy is slowly moving away from the Oslo approach, and Western Europe is beginning to fill the diplomatic vacuum created by the April collapse of the Kerry round of talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. And Secondly, civil society nonviolent militancy and political leadership is beginning to occupy center stage in Palestinian hopes and dreams, particularly taking the form of the growing BDS campaign, but also visible in the refusal of Oakland, California workers to unload an Israeli cargo ship.


This latter fulcrum of resistance within Palestine and without raises serious leadership and representation questions—who now speaks with authority and authenticity on behalf of the Palestinian people? how can this question be answered given the statist manner in which the world is organized? Let me put my own understanding of this issue more directly: I find that the voices of Omar Barghouti and Ali Abunimah to be more authoritative and authentic than are those of the diplomats from Ramallah who a few years ago showed themselves ready to give the store away in the Palestine Papers and on other occasions. They couldn’t manage such a transaction since Israel apparently felt it already owned the store and was not ready to show gratitude even for a political outcome heavily slanted in their favor.

9 Responses to “Oslo is dead! Long live Oslo! The UK House of Commons Supports Diplomatic Recognition of Palestine”

  1. rehmat1 October 19, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

    Oslo, though gave more to Israel and nothing to Palestinians, was thrown into waste basket by the Zionist regime before its ink was dried up.

    The House of Common decision to recognize a Palestinian state was rejected by David Cameron a few hours before the voting – claiming that a vote against Israel would not be binding as far his government. This is what we call “democracy” in the US, UK and Canada.

    Israel-born Dorit Naaman (Professor of Film and Media) at Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario has long been chased by Canada Jewish Lobby for calling a single Palestine for both Jews and Palestinians with equal rights.


  2. rehmat1 October 20, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    On Sunday, Zionist president Reuven Rivlin admitted that epidemic of violence has spread like cancer in every sector of Israeli society.

    “It’s time to honestly admit that Israeli society is violent and sick and it’s our duty to cure this disease,” Rivlin said in a speech at the Israel Academy of Science and Humanities.

    The tension between Jews and Arabs within the State of Israel has risen to record heights, and the relationship between all parties has reached a new low,” he said.

    We have all witnessed the shocking sequence of incidents and violence taking place by both sides. The epidemic of violence is not limited to one sector or another, it permeates every area and doesn’t skip any arena. There is violence in soccer stadiums as well as in academia. There is violence in social media and in everyday discourse, in hospitals and in schools.”

    The academic sphere, in which cultures and languages are taught from a desire to get to know them deeper, where there is a ‘you and I’ affinity, there is a place which generates not only learning but also a real encounter,” he said.

    Rivlin said that he has been personally insulted verbally and on his Facebook page. In August 2014, Rivlin supported the conversion of Marla Malka 23 to Islam and her marriage to Arab Muslim Mahmoud Mansour 26, by posting on Facebook: “Such expressions undermine the basis of our co-existence here, in Israel, a country that is both Jewish and democratic.”

    Rivlin, like most of the Zionist leaders is living in his nature of “self-denial”. His claim has been debunked by many Zionist Jew intellectuals including Marianne Williamson, Dr. Noam Chomsky and Michael Walzer, who said: “Israel is not the state of the Jewish people; Jews outside Israel don’t vote in its elections and non-Jews inside Israel do vote in its elections. The Jewish people are not sovereign in Israel; the citizens of Israel are sovereign there. I think there is a sense in which Israel, I mean green line Israel, is right now politically a state of all its citizens. The real difficulties are not political, they are cultural, and they arise in every nation state.”


  3. Beau Oolayforos October 20, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

    Dear Professor Falk,
    It seems a little ironic that the legislative branch of the UK government would be more progressive than the executive, while in the US we can at least hope that our Peace Laureate wasn’t entirely comfortable with Senate Resolution…498, was it?
    Hasn’t the time come to convene a Constitutional Convention, to frame the future of Palestine? Why wait for the governments? We might be waiting forever. The Russell Tribunal clarified the past – but why not convene luminaries to tell us what the future should look like? Talk about symbolic, moral victories – they could shame the governments into acting.
    Hopefully Barghouti could still speak – his very isolation highlights his importance, but added to the two that you mention as voices for the Palestinians, one might like to see Susan Abulhawa and Queen Rania, not for the obvious reasons. Forward-thinking people from both sides would make up the delegates, they would draft an appropriate one-state constitution, with expert advice from eminent jurists…..I like to dream..

    • Kata Fisher October 20, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

      “’ My own strong belief is that unless the two peoples are treated with full equality in seeking a solution, the result will not be sustainable or just even in the unlikely event that some sort of agreement is reached.)’”

      I read this, and these were bits and pieces in which I was moved:

      It is difficult to find fairness /justice for both people when instances such as this take place:


      In order to understand this – we have to look at the freedom of Faith that people have in Holy Land when comes to the Holy Land and Holy places.

      Prayer access to the people has to be guaranteed and protected by the leaders regardless what religious background may be in question.

      What Palestinian leader has said, and /or wants to implement can be placed in the same category with the offence against Faith’s — such as destruction of Holy sites / worship places and / or placing ban’s on new building of Mosques, Churches, Synagogues and other temples of worship. In fact, this would be illegal for leaders to do, or call for in 21 century. It would be just as illegal as public / street-stoning of civilians/citizens – or as illegal as restricting residence /immigration based on Religious background.

      We have to be very severe about these things because of spiritual needs of the people. Conversions to Faith and works of the Faith can take place when people pray at any desired by them place of worship. We need to think on that. These are some important realities. Leaders of Israel state and PA does not consider these realities, as I understand – but they should.

      It seems that Abbas’s legitimacy; his authenticity, and authenticity of his rule has expired. With that it also seems that independent /observing “entity of Jordan” (current “Palestinian authority”) is without a legitimate government, so that a legitimate government to them has to be confirmed by a legit vote.

      By what means is even possible to achieve two-state solutions and an apartheid city of Jerusalem when PA does not even have a wholly legit governing? Wholly legit governing would be by a legit confirming vote. If there is to be two-states; it has to be a legit vote that will implement that.

      Palestinians were explicitly discontented / unhappy for a while now with Abbas because invalid conduct of Abbas and they also have annulled his validity, already (in literally terms).

      (A note: I used this reference because to me it was much relevant, and I believe is authentic one:

      http://respect-discussion.blogspot.com/2009/10/palestinian-calls-for-removing-abbas.html ).

      There has to be new voting for Arabic people in Palestine/Holy Land when comes to their government. We know what Arabs of Jordan want is this: “No Jews in Jordan.” This pursuit, in fact, becomes difficult when comes to the Freedom of the Faiths. “No Jews in Jordan”= Religious discrimination against Faiths (Lawlessness). Is this also what Palestinians want in Holy Land? Israel as a state and PA has to make up their mind what they want because discrimination and separatism based on Faith will not work for anyone in 21 century.

      People equality — this, in fact, will not be possible without new grain, new wine, and fresh oil when comes to the leadership in Palestine and Israel. There is as grieving need for new leadership in Holy Land. Palestine is void of upright leadership; yet, land of Judah has the leaders. Is it possible that Israel is keeping them captive? No one can set them free, but can act on theirs behave, and perhaps there can be delegates that, in fact, can do that – people who are willing to stop sliding backs of yesterday. Will Jordan do that? Well, their Laws are not sufficient, and also must be corrected. Leaders to Palestinian-Arabs/ancient Israeli’s have to be set free from oppression of the prisons of Israel as a state. What about Jews in Holy Land?

      Abbas is not authentic leader for people in Palestine and as of right now he is not a legitimate partner for peace in Holy Land; he must be removed or reelected by a new vote. In reality – he must repent, and seek what is best for all people in Holy Land–all people. He is not a king that does whatever he wants — there is a vote that is expected to his governing. Still, he can become an exemplary leader that will obey by some valid Laws.

      Apartheid Jerusalem can be allowed – but no one in their right mind is willing to have it. Holy sites belong to the city, itself – as well as all to come to the city.

      It is best, and it is not wrong to be straight forward while managing challenging individuals.

      The fact is that they need legitimate vote, and legitimate government—if people start to delegate they will have to be entrust with lives of the people on the ground in Holy Land. Who has spiritual authority to do that? We believe that prisoners are first, and this is why: they are holding captive residents/descendants of Judea—the Leaders to Holy Land.

      One state solution is that what is best – they just have to manage their differences—which are not any-any at all when carefully considered. In 21 century separatism is not appropriate—that which two states would achieve. Also, blackmailing and bribing of the leaders will not be appropriate as well—that what has been taking place due to certain individuals that mull around leaders in order to get power-grab.

      Arabs in the holy land are eccalistical entity, and they cannot be blackmailed and cannot be held captive without consequence. Still who has the power over that? Youth certainly does not nor can it.

      That what elderly leadership—as professor Falk, himself is and is telling you it should be also obeyed as they will not misdirect you. Moreover, for this reason – that which elderly leaders are saying should already be anchored in your hearts –so that you will understand.
      Israeli Leaders will have to obey International Law and those who were/are appointed in it. They have diplomat that was given to them and one they have to hear and obey: Richard Falk.

      Youth will do whatever, and will not give attention—and that whatever has to be strong held because what happened and is happening in Holy Land has to be strong held.
      I wrote as I was moved, and there is no particular order to it.

  4. Gene Schulman October 22, 2014 at 3:11 am #

    Don’t know why I didn’t get a copy of this in my in-box when it was published. I hope I haven’t been dropped as a recipient of this blog.

    I think Rehmati makes a good point in his ultimate paragraph above, citing Chomsky and Walzer about Israel not being a state of the Jewish people.

    • Kata Fisher October 23, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

      Dear Gene,

      You do not have to reply on this, as I just make a note.

      This is what I understand:

      Israel/Holy Land is an eccalistical entity. I believe that in these terms can be accepted by all.

      If Israel (as a state) has Muslim people in Parliament (representing distinct minority), it will not be a “Jewish state” alone – in terms of the Faith. However, it would be “an ecclesiastical Entity” of an ancient Jewish Diaspora (contemporary Jews, Christians, Muslims as well as other Natural Revelations believes/faiths) in Holy Land

      Say that Palestinians (as Jordanian-Arabs / Muslim majority in Holy Land) were to achieve a two-state solutions — a Palestinian state itself — by a legitimate vote that is internal to Palestine and / or Jordan territory — they can’t say as Jordan has said by their Laws / their freedom of religion: “No Jews allowed”. This is why: Their “freedom of Religion” would violate “Freedom of Faith” that Jews would legitimately have when come to the Holy Land and Old Testament. In fact, one’s freedom of Religion can not violate someone’s freedom of the Faith and/or freedom to pursue a civil right.

      With that, a two-state solution, in fact, would also have to be followed by a legitimate rule of the Palestinian state that allows immigration of Jews, Christians as well as other people groups/Faiths. The fact is that they would not legitimately have a right to restrict ancient Jewish Diaspora from settling/populating in the area of the Holy Land and take part in governing (as a minority).

      I believe I see this in a valid way.

      Also, they need to focus on these things, as well:

      Things look skewed @ UN because confusion around “Religious Freedoms” and “Freedoms of Faiths”. Freedoms of Religion can not be taken outside the Ethical context of UN, its Charter (s) and/or statues.

      With that, there are some illegitimate Laws of governments that are allowed to hinder UN mission — and make vision itself fade to be gone. Jordanian Law, for example, gives a good reason for UN penalty and/or full sanctions, even vote out /revoking of UN membership by UN-member vote out.

      Religious freedom not discerned allows for religious wars.

      Things of importance: http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/index.shtml

      I believe Ratification/s will be appropriate. “Religious freedom/s” is not fully confirmed as valid, to UN — or anyone.

      However, Freedom of Faith’s would have to be confirmed by all.

  5. kariegge October 25, 2014 at 1:40 am #

    Reblogged this on Halve Verden and commented:
    Oslo is not dead, it has only gone to a new level!

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