During the Palestinian hijacking heydays of the 1970’s, the United Nations passed an infamous resolution equating Zionism as a form of racism. While particularly odious during the years until its repeal in 1991, the underlying anti-Zionism has remained a plague at the global forum. Part of the disease lies in timeless antisemitism, while part is a fault of the flawed approach to settling the “Question of Palestine” that the UN endorsed and has continued to exacerbate.
On November 22, 1974 the UN General Assembly passed A/RES/3236 (XXIX). That resolution became the baseline of the “inalienable rights of the Palestinian people” that expanded and evolved until the present day. The text is distorted at its core, with declarations without equivalents nor precedent. The rights enumerated are gross exaggerations that cannot – and should not – ever be met.
While the resolution had a kernel of truth, it was overwhelmed with fatal flaws:
“no just solution to the problem of Palestine has yet been achieved and recognizing that the problem of Palestine continues to endanger international peace and security,”
If the Middle East has taught the world anything since the resolution was passed in 1974, it is that the Arab and Muslim nations do not need the “question of Palestine” to endanger the global community. Whether it was a war between Iran and Iraq or Iraq and Kuwait, civil wars in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen or Libya, or the terrorism in Niger, Chad, Egypt and Ethiopia, the Arab violence is seeded from and breeds its own hatreds.
“the Palestinian people is entitled to self-determination in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations”
This is probably the only true statement in the resolution of which anyone concerned with peace in the Middle East would like to see achieved. The Stateless Arabs from Palestine (SAPs) should have citizenship somewhere. When this resolution was drafted, they had Jordanian citizenship, which was given to them in 1954 but repealed by Jordan in 1988. The Israelis also offered the Palestinian Arabs in Jerusalem citizenship, but only a few thousand Arabs have taken it. A broader solution should be found.
“Expressing its grave concern that the Palestinian people has been prevented from enjoying its inalienable rights, in particular its right to self-determination,”
As noted above, the Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank had Jordanian citizenship and Israel offered Jerusalem Arabs citizenship, but it must be noted that the Arabs in Gaza were not afforded Egyptian citizenship. Was this resolution language only related to Gazans? Did it also cover the Arabs in the West Bank, since Yasser Arafat (fungus be upon him) failed to overthrow the Jordanian monarchy in 1970?
“1. Reaffirms the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in Palestine, including:
(a) The right to self-determination without external interference;”
What does the phrase “without external interference” mean? That they will not be a puppet state like Lebanon is to Syria? That they won’t become a terrorist group like Hezbollah with the backing of Iran? That Palestinian Arabs are entitled to have a full-standing army that could attack Israel? When Turkey and Qatar backed Hamas in Gaza, was that considered “external interference?”
“(b) The right to national independence and sovereignty;”
This is a key fatal flaw of the 1974 resolution, which has regrettably been elaborated upon over the decades: There is no such inalienable right to independence and sovereignty. For anyone.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights established in 1948 enumerated dozens of rights that every human on the planet must have. Article 15 of the UDHR stated that “everyone has a right to a nationality.” That is it. A nationality, not a new specialized new one. Are the Kurds getting a unique UN resolution for their “independence and sovereignty?” Is Tibet? What about Western Sahara? The SAPs should have a nationality, but they have absolutely no inalienable right to national independence and sovereignty.
“2. Reaffirms also the inalienable right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted, and calls for their return;”
There is no basis in the rights of mankind to afford the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of people who left homes many decades ago to return to such homes. Especially homes that no longer exist.
Article 13 of the UDHR stated that “everyone has a right to leave any country, including his own, and return to his country.” A COUNTRY. Not a town. Not a house. Only to the country of which they were a citizen. The grandparents of today’s SAPs were not Israeli citizens when they left, and the SAPs today most certainly are not Israelis.
If this is a real issue, are the 1 million Jews that were displaced from Muslim Arab countries getting the right to return to their homes and to recover all of their property? Not only did the Jews leave homes and property, but they actually left A COUNTRY. I have yet to see any UN General Assembly resolution drafted asking for such “inalienable right” for the Jews from Arab lands. Maybe Yemen is working on a draft resolution now.
“3. Emphasizes that full respect for and the realization of these inalienable rights of the Palestinian people are indispensable for the solution of the question of Palestine;“
The question of Palestine revolves around giving the SAPs citizenship – either in a new country of Palestine or Israel or Jordan or somewhere. Returning to homes and property is neither a right nor part of “the solution.”
“6. Appeals to all States and international organizations to extend their support to the Palestinian people in its struggle to restore its rights, in accordance with the Charter;”
This UN resolution called for the countries of the world to “support the Palestinian people in its struggle.” Such a statement is not just a flawed call for rights that do not exist as detailed above, but a call to take sides in the conflict. It declared that “all States” should work against Israel. How could the UN possibly imagine that Israel would ever take any UNGA resolution seriously, after declaring openly that it is a biased party in the dispute?
The Israelis and Palestinian Authority were last able to reach mutual agreements when they signed the Oslo Accords in 1993 and 1995. Those agreements NEVER mentioned a “two state solution” anywhere. They also do not mention any rights to “homes and property,” just the generic issue of “refugees.” And the accords do not ask the world to advocate on behalf of fake “inalienable rights.”
On December 17, 1991, the UNGA finally rescinded the Zionsim is racism resolution after intensive lobbying and threats by the United States under President George Bush. At that time, US Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger said that rescinding the resolution improved the “reputation for fairness and impartiality” of the UN. It arguably helped create the environment for the Oslo Accords.
It is similarly time to rescind UNGA Resolution 3236 and to put the parties on a course for an enduring peace that is actually achievable, with a fair and responsible United Nations as a facilitator as oppose to a perpetual hindrance.
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