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3.19.2013 | HRJ Palestine Collective

By HRJ Palestine Collective, Tuesday 19 March 2013

Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine

(The Two State Solution of Israel and Palestine)[i]

WHEREAS, the United Nations General Assembly resolution, Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine, has continually addressed  the 4 final status issues, including borders, East Jerusalem, settlements and the question of the Palestinian refugees for 20 years now. The resolution is adopted every year by the UN General Assembly and receives confirmatory votes by the overwhelming majority of the international community. The number of negative votes is only between 2 to 7 depending on the year.[ii]  In 2012 the resolution was passed for the 20th time with 163 nations voting in its favor and only 6 nations (Canada, Israel, Marshal Islands, Micronesia, Palau and United States) voting against the resolution.[iii]

Borders, East Jerusalem and the Wall

WHEREAS, the Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine resolution addresses the question of borders, East Jerusalem and the wall in the following manner:

Reaffirming the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.

Stresses the need for:

(a) The withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territory (West Bank and Gaza) occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem.

(b) The realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, primarily the right to self-determination and the right to their independent State.

Affirming once again the right of all States in the region to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized borders.

Reaffirms its commitment, in accordance with international law, to the two-State solution of Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security within recognized borders, based on the pre-1967 borders.

Reaffirming also that the construction by Israel, the occupying power, of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and its associated regime are contrary to international law.[iv]

Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

WHEREAS, the Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine resolution addresses the question of the Israeli settlements built in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in the following manner:

Reaffirming the illegality of the Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem.

Reiterates its demand for the complete cessation of all Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, and calls for the full implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions.[v]

WHEREAS, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the highest judicial body in the world holding the widest legal jurisdiction, in its July 2004 ruling stated the following with regard to the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory:

The information provided to the Court shows that, since 1977, Israel has conducted a policy and developed practices involving the establishment of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, contrary to the terms of Article 49, paragraph 6, of the Fourth Geneva Convention which provides: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”[vi] The Security Council has thus taken the view that such policy and practices “have no legal validity” and constitute a “flagrant violation” of the Convention. The Court concludes that the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (including East Jerusalem) have been established in breach of international law.[vii]

Palestinian Refugees

WHEREAS, the United Nations General Assembly in its annual resolution, Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine, stresses the need for a just resolution of the problem of Palestine refugees in conformity with its resolution 194 (III)[viii] of 11 December 1948.[ix]

WHEREAS, Amnesty International states the following in 3 of its documented reports with regard to the Palestinian refugees and their rights under international law:

  1. The right of return is enshrined in international law and the organisation believes that Palestinian refugees should be able to exercise their right of return to their homes and lands.[x]
  2. Amnesty International calls for Palestinians who fled or were expelled from Israel, the West Bank or Gaza Strip, along with those of their descendants who have maintained genuine links with the area, to be able to exercise their right to return. Palestinians who were expelled from what is now Israel, and then from the West Bank or Gaza Strip, may be able to show that they have genuine links to both places. If so, they should be free to choose between returning to Israel, the West Bank or Gaza Strip. However, not all Palestinian exiles will want to return to their ”own country”, and those who wish to remain in their host countries — or in the West Bank or Gaza Strip — should be offered the option of full local integration. The international community should also make available to Palestinian exiles the option of third-country resettlement. Whatever solution the individuals choose should be entirely voluntary, and under no circumstances should they be coerced into making a particular choice.[xi]
  3. The international community must also attempt to find a durable solution for refugees that fully respects and protects their human rights, including their right of return.[xii]

WHEREAS, Human Rights Watch states the following in 2 of its documented reports and a statement by its executive director, Ken Roth with regard to the Palestinian refugees and their rights under international law:

  1. Human Rights Watch called on Israeli and Palestinian leaders engaged in final-status negotiations to uphold the right of return for Palestinian refugees as part of a comprehensive solution to the Palestinian refugee problem. In letters to Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat, the organization said that a peace agreement between the two sides should allow Palestinians in exile to choose freely among three options: returning to their country of origin, integrating into the country of asylum, or resettling in a third country.[xiii]
  2. In the case of the Middle East peace agreement currently being negotiated, the agreement should recognize this right for Palestinian refugees and exiles from territory located in what is now Israel or in what is likely to be a future state of Palestine. Recognition should accord with the following principles: The right is held not only by those who fled a territory initially but also by their descendants, so long as they have maintained appropriate links with the relevant territory. The right persists even when sovereignty over the territory is contested or has changed hands. If a former home no longer exists or is occupied by an innocent third party, return should be permitted to the vicinity of the former home.[xiv]
  3. Ken Roth, HRW’s executive director, would send letters to Clinton, Arafat, and Barak urging them to accept the organization’s position. The right of return, he wrote, “is a right that persists even when sovereignty over the territory is contested or has changed hands.”[xv]

University of Texas at Austin’s Role and Responsibilities

WHEREAS, a core value of The University of Texas at Austin is “Responsibility”, which calls for administrators, faculty, and students to serve as catalysts for positive change in Texas and beyond.[xvi]

BE IT RESOLVED, that the student government of the University of Texas at Austin takes the same position as the overwhelming majority of the international community and endorses the Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine resolution and commits to the following:

  1. Financial divestment from those companies that are selling arms to the state of Israel. Arms sale to the state of Israel while it maintains its illegal occupation of Palestinian Territory (Gaza and West Bank, including East Jerusalem) is contrary to both US domestic law and international law.
    1.  Based on the US Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 “…no security assistance may be provided to any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights”.[xvii] At the moment the US government gives 3 billion dollars in military aid to the state of Israel on an annual basis.[xviii]
    2. Amnesty International stated in a 2009 report that “Israel’s military intervention in the Gaza Strip has been equipped to a large extent by US-supplied weapons, munitions and military equipment paid for with US taxpayers’ money.”[xix] Calling for a comprehensive arms embargo, the report states “Israeli forces used white phosphorus and other weapons supplied by the USA to carry out serious violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes. Their attacks resulted in the death of hundreds of children and other civilians and destroyed homes on a massive scale”[xx]
  2. Financial divestment from those companies that are contributing to the Israeli settlements built in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  All of these settlements, as previously documented in this resolution, are illegal under international law.
    1. The United Nations special rapporteur, Richard Falk on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory called on the UN General Assembly and civil society to take action against Israeli and international businesses that are profiting from Israeli settlements. Included were a list of US based companies, including Caterpillar Incorporated, Hewlett Packard and Motorola.[xxi]

BE IT RESOLVED, that the student government of the University of Texas at Austin is committed in holding accountable those of its business partners complacent in violating the terms of the “Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine” resolution and while the state of Israel maintains and expands its illegal occupation of the Palestinian Territory (Gaza and West Bank, including East Jerusalem).


[i] UN General Assembly Resolution — Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine

[ii] United Nations Bibliographic Information System. Voting record on Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine

[iii] United Nations Bibliographic Information System. UN Resolution A/RES/67/23

[iv] Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly in November of 2012

[v] Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly in November of 2012

[vi] The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). 49th article of the 4th Geneva Convention

[vii] The International Court of Justice 9 July 2004 ruling on The Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

[viii] UN General Assembly Resolution — 194 (III). Palestine — Progress Report of the United Nations Mediator

[ix] The question of the Palestinian refugees addressed in the Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine resolution

[x] Amnesty International report — Amnesty International’s concerns at the 56th session of the Executive Committee of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

[xi] Amnesty International report — The Right to Return: The Case of the Palestinians

[xii] Amnesty International report — Palestinian Refugees Suffer in Lebanon

[xiii] Human Rights Watch report — Israel, Palestinian Leaders Should Guarantee Right of Return as Part of Comprehensive Refugee Solution

[xiv] Human Rights Watch report — Human Rights Watch Policy on the Right of Return

[xv] Statement by Human Rights Watch executive director, Ken Roth. Human Rights Watch fights a civil war over Israel

[xvi] University of Texas at Austin’s Mission, Core purpose and Honor Code

[xvii] Foreign Aid and Human Rights – US Foreign Assistance Act of 1961

[xviii] Congressional Research Service – US Foreign Aid to Israel

[xix] Fueling Conflict: Foreign Arms Supplies to Israel/Gaza

[xx] New Amnesty Report Calls for Comprehensive Arms Embargo on Israel and Hamas

[xxi] UN Special Rapporteur — Boycott Businesses that Profit from Israeli Settlements

Human Rights and Justice For Palestine | HRJ Palestine Collective

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