Web Exclusives: PAWPLUS

Posted March 27, 2002:

A Lecture

By Richard Cummings '59, Ph.D.

To the Arab Society of Princeton, cosponsored by The Institute for the Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia

Princeton University, 21 February 2002

The argument of this lecture is that the basic premise of the Middle East peace process is erroneous. At this point, there is no basis for believing that Israel and the Palestinian National Authority will negotiate an acceptable solution to the ongoing crisis that threatens to destabilize the entire region. The Mitchell Plan can no longer be regarded as operative as a basis for further discussions and the Tenet Plan is totally dormant as a vehicle for security considerations. Further, since the United States will continue to veto any Security Council resolution establishing a peacekeeping force, Sharon's policy of zero tolerance of violence before any negotiations can begin, can never be satisfied.

At the heart of the conflict lies a clash of fundamental rights: the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, and the right of Israel to security within defined borders. Any attempt to either nullify Israel's legitimacy or the rights of the Palestinians to their own homeland, will be doomed to failure. Because Arafat and Sharon are incapable of reaching an essentially historic compromise, it becomes incumbent on the international community to reach it for them. Armed struggle for independence on the part of the Palestinians will be met by increasingly draconian Israeli responses. To end this futile cycle of violence, the international community must turn to the established international institutions and organizations created for the resolution of conflict; the United Nations and the International Court of Justice.

The question, as I pose it, is this: Since the existing United Nations resolutions have not brought about a settlement of the conflict, what other vehicles exist to do so? To this end, let us examine the existing U.N. resolutions, their background and their significance.

During the years of the Palestine Mandate, from 1922 to 1947, large-scale Jewish immigration from abroad, mainly from Eastern Europe, took place, the numbers swelling in the 1930s with the notorious Nazi persecutions coupled with strict American quotas on Jewish immigration. Jewish-American scholar Norman Cantor argues that were it not for the America quotas, not lifted until 1964, Israel would, in all likelihood, never come into existence since European Jews fleeing Hitler and the Nazis would have gone to America. Palestinian demands for independence and resistance to Jewish immigration led to a rebellion in 1937, followed by continuing terrorism and violence from both sides during and immediately after World War II. Great Britain, ambiguous about the 1917 "Balfour Declaration," expressing support for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people," tried to implement various formulas to bring independence to a land ravaged by violence. In 1947, Great Britain, in frustration, turned the problem over to the United Nations.

After looking at various possibilities, the U.N. proposed in General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) of 1947 the partititioning of Palestine into two independent States, one Palestinian Arab and the other Jewish, with Jerusalem internationalized. One of the two States envisioned in the partition plan proclaimed its independence as Israel, notwithstanding that General Assembly Resolutions are generally consultative and not legislative in nature. The Arab States considered this Unilateral Declaration of Independence to be illegal, much as the later Rhodesian Unilateral Declaration of Independence was declared illegal, because it by-passed the majority of the population, but were unable to obtain an advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice. A General Assembly that adopted the partition resolution was not likely to adopt a resolution calling on the International Court of Justice to declare it a violation of international law. War broke out in 1948, and Israel expanded to occupy 77 per cent of the territory of Palestine. Israel also occupied the larger part of Jerusalem. Over half the indigenous Palestinian population fled or was expelled. Jordan and Egypt occupied the other parts of the territory assigned by the partition to the Palestinian Arab State, which did not come into being.

On 11 December 1948, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 194, which "Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible." Israel has repeatedly rejected General Assembly Resolution 194, citing the United Nations Charter, which makes such resolutions non-binding. Yet it steadfastly relies on General Assembly Resolution 181 as the legal justification for its Unilateral Declaration of Independence.

An episode in the history of the Middle East followed that reinforced Arab fears that Israel would prove to be an outpost of French and British colonialism, and not a Middle Eastern State. Following Nasser's nationalization of the Suez Canal, Israel, its forces led by Colonel Ariel Sharon, joined with Britain and France in 1956, in invading Egypt, which had previously been a British fiefdom. Only decisive action by President Eisenhower, who sent U.S. naval forces to intercept the British and French fleets, prevented a takeover of Egypt, in what would have been a regressive colonial occupation. (Eisenhower was capable of neo-colonial acts through the covert action of the CIA, which he used to overthrow Mossedegh in Iran and to restore the Shah to the throne, thus returning the nationalized Anglo-Iranian oil company to British control, but he was opposed to blatant, overt acts such as Suez, which fed into the hands of the Soviet Union.) It is not unreasonable to conclude that Suez led inevitably to the war of 1967.

Convinced that Egypt, Syria and Jordan were going to strike first, Israel attacked. In the ensuing 1967 conflict, Israel occupied the remaining territory of Palestine, until then under Jordanian and Egyptian control (the West Bank and Gaza Strip.) This included the remaining part of Jerusalem, which was subsequently annexed by Israel. The war brought about a second exodus of Palestinians, estimated at half a million. (Israel also annexed the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula, returned to Egypt in the land for peace deal brokered by President Jimmy Carter, and the Syrian Golan Heights, over which Israel still retains control.)

On 22 November 1967, only months after Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, the Security Council passed Resolution 242, which explicitly calls for "Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from (the) territories occupied in the recent conflict." (There is a subtle difference between the English and French texts (both official) which refer to withdrawal "from territories occupied" and "des territoires occupes" (from the territories occupied.)

"With Israel intransigence challenging the world," (I am quoting from "Has Israeli Occupation Become Legal in the 21st Century" by Sam Bahour of Ramallah, which has been posted on several web sites,) the Security Council passed yet another milestone Resolution, number 338, on 22 October 1973. This resolution "Calls upon the parties concerned to start... the implementation of Security Council resolution 242 (1967) in all of its parts." "

In 1974, the General Assembly reaffirmed the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty, and to return. The following year, the General Assembly established the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. The General Assembly conferred on the PLO the status of observer in the Assembly and in other international conferences held under United Nations auspices.

Furthermore, on 1 March 1980, prior to the first and second Intifada, the Security Council adopted Resolution 465, which states, "Affirming once more that the Fourth Geneva convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 is applicable to the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem." In the same resolution, it was determined that "all measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of the Palestinian and other Arab territories since 1967, including Jerusalem, or any part thereof, have no legal validity and that Israel's policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in those territories constitute a flagrant violation of the fourth Geneva convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and also constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East."

Following the Madrid Conference of 30 October 1991, on 13 September 1993, in pursuit of that "just and lasting peace," the PLO and Israel signed the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, which led to the Oslo peace agreements. Here it was clearly accepted that there could be no substitute to U.N. resolutions 242 and 338, (the "land for peace proposal.) Article I of this declaration states that "the negotiations on the permanent status will lead to the implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. (N.B. Netanyahu is now campaigning for prime minister on a platform of retaining all the occupied territories and will challenge Sharon for the leadership of Likud. Likud polls show him ahead.) A series of other negotiations culminated in the mutual recognition between the Government of the State of Israel and the PLO, the partial withdrawal of Israeli forces, the election of the Palestinian council, and the presidency of the Palestinian Authority, the partial release of prisoners and the establishment of a functioning administration in the areas under Palestinian self-rule. Following the Declaration of Principles, the General Assembly reaffirmed that "the United Nations has a permanent responsibility with respect to the question of Palestine until the question is resolved in all its aspects in a satisfactory manner in accordance with international legitimacy."

It is important to note some other developments:

In June 1982, Israel, led by Sharon, invaded Lebanon with the declared intention to eliminate the PLO. A cease-fire was arranged. PLO troops withdrew from Beirut and were transferred to neighboring countries after guarantees of safety were provided for thousands of Palestinian refugees left behind. Subsequently, a large-scale massacre of refugees took place in the Camps of Sabra and Shatila by the Lebanese Christian Militia, for which Sharon was held indirectly responsible by the Israeli Supreme Court, which ordered his removal from his post as Defense Minister. Resentful of the Maronite Christians and their Phalange Party that had long ruled Lebanon with French support, the Shiites formed Hesbollah, a singular aspect of Sharon's legacy, to wage armed struggle against Israel's occupation of southern Lebanon and its alliance with the Christian militia.

In September 1983, the International Conference on the Question of Palestine, which was widely attended, adopted inter alia the Geneva Declaration containing the following principles: the need to oppose and reject the establishments of settlements in the occupied territory and actions taken by Israel to change the status of Jerusalem, the right of all States in the region to existence within secure and internationally recognized boundaries, with justice and security for all the people, and the attainment of the legitimate, inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

On 7 October 2000, the Security Council adopted resolution 1322 condemning Israel's "excessive use of force against Palestinians, resulting in injury and loss of human life." And on 19 October 2000, the United Nations Human Rights Commission adopted a resolution entitled "Grave and massive violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people by Israel," which condemned "the provocative visit to Al-Haram al-Sharif on 28 September 2000 by Ariel Sharon, the Likud party leader, which triggered the tragic events that followed in occupied East Jerusalem and the other territories, resulting in a high number of deaths and injuries among Palestinian civilians."

The two intifadas, 1987 and the most recent one following the collapse of Camp David and the suicide bombings, as well as the shipment of arms from Iran, have led Israel to rethink all arrangements, including Oslo I and II, the Wye River Memorandum, and the Declaration of Principles of 1993. It takes the position that its military actions, including assassinations and the expansion of settlements, are acts of self-defense, and that all United Nations resolutions must be interpreted in light of this right. Israeli points to the Iranian shipment of arms as an indication of the threat it faces. Can Israel assert this arbitrarily, without any external authoritative basis in international law?

By way of a brief summary, the Wye River Memorandum, agreed to by Netanyahu, proposed steps for the transfer of lands in exchange for security guarantees. Its objective is to implement various "interim agreements" of 28 September 1995 and the "Note for the Record" of 17 January 1997.

Oslo I and II, 1993 provided for two-track negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and Israel and its Arab neighbors: It provides for mutual recognition between Israel and the PLO, limited Palestinian self-rule and a promise of a future settlement, presumably establishing a Palestinian state. Jordan and Israel reached a Peace Agreement, and Israel and the Palestinians continued to implement the Oslo Accords, gradually expanding Palestinian self-rule. But a radical Jewish extremist assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 and rightist Benjamin Netanyahu's victory in the subsequent election slowed the process. Barak, who defeated Netanyahu, pulled out of Lebanon but was otherwise a failure, which led to Sharon's election.

The Mitchell Report of 3 April 2001 provides for

1-An end of violence

2-Rebuilidng of confidence

3-The resumption of negotiations

Basically, it requires the Palestinians to end terrorism with Israel required to freeze all settlement activity.

The Tenet Report, by CIA Director George Tenet, provides for security arrangements to end violence so as to enable the parties to implement the Mitchell Report.I will now examine the proposals for the peace process that have been offered in the time of crisis:

Arafat's position, outlined in The New York Times, Sunday, 3 February, is that the Palestinian National Council has recognized Israel's right to exist on 78 percent of the historic Palestine, with the Palestinian state making up the remaining 22 percent, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states. He calls for the implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, and the recognition of a right of return of the refugees in a realistic manner that preserves the Jewish character of Israel. It is Arafat's position that by virtue of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the settlements are illegal per se under international law.

Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, in a proposal jointly endorsed by Thomas Friedman of The New York Times, calls for the Arab League to grant full diplomatic relations by all its members with Israel in exchange for a full Israeli withdrawal under Resolution 242.

Jerome M. Segal, senior research scholar at the University of Maryland's Center for International and Security Studies and president of the Jewish Peace Lobby, calls for the Security Council, with full U.S. participation, to impose a solution on Israel and the Palestinians, by imposing conditions for Palestine's admission to the United Nations, with Israel required to abide by Security Council Resolution 242. He writes: (New York Times, Sunday, 17 February)

"On what basis might the Security Council assert its authority over territory and statehood? Upon the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, authority over historic Palestine was assumed by the League of Nations; this passed to the United Nations after World War II. The Security Council retains the authority under international law to determine who has sovereignty over the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. This is an authority the United Nations had in 1947 when it called for partition of Palestine into two states with Jerusalem in a zone outside the sovereignty of either. It is an authority that has never been relinquished."

Most recently, an influential group of retired Israeli generals and security chiefs said it was launching a campaign to demand a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from most of the occupied territories. The idea, championed by former Prime Minster Ehud Barak, would demarcate a border that would shut Palestinians out of Israel and would evacuate some 20,0000 Jewish settlers from about 40 settlements. Shaul Givoli, the director-general of the Council for Peace and Security, said the group had decided to rally support for a pullout from most of the West Bank and all of the Gaza Strip except for a buffer zone along the border with Egypt.

The organization compromises more than 1,000 reserve generals, officers and former senior members of Israel's Shin Bet and Mossad security services.

"We are talking about creating two independent states" for Israel and the Palestinians, Givoli said, "Since we don't have a partner (among Palestinians) for an agreement now, we are ready to do it unilaterally."

The proposal calls for Israel to stage the withdrawal without first reaching a peace treaty or an end to more than 16 months of violence since the Palestinians started an uprising against occupation in September 2000 after peace talks failed.

Israel would then offer recognition of a Palestinian state on areas under Palestinian rule and would hold peace talks with the government of that state.What is wrong or inadequate with all of these proposals and why are they unworkable? First, from a non-legal point of view, the conflict has eroded to one between Jabotinksyism and Fanonism. The Jewish Israelis are convinced that, by virtue of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, not to mention Arafat himself, as well as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, they are faced with a new Hitlarian mentality that seeks to destroy them. Vladimir Jabotinsky, who warned of the Holocaust and prophesized that the Jews must be "as fierce as wolves," is the thinker in vogue in Israel today, certainly in Likud. On the other side, particularly in Hamas, the revolutionary French West Indian anti-colonialist writer and psychiatrist, Franz Fanon, author of "The Wretched of the Earth" and a post-colonial theorist who has been revived in left intellectual circles, saw a therapeutic value in colonized people killing Europeans. His frame of reference was the Algerian war against the French. Both of these positions have hardened with genocidal tendencies on both sides increasing amongst a growing number of people.

That said, there can be no escaping the reality that notwithstanding the enormous sufferings of the Jewish people and the legacy of the Holocaust, the occupation that Speaker of the Knesset Avraham Burg rightly calls "unsought," has become a cancer threatening the existence of Israel and placing it in the incongruous role as a colonial master of a people that were not responsible for the Holocaust or European as well as American anti-Semitism but who are paying the price for its consequences, while Israel conducts military maneuvers with Germany, acquires its nuclear capability from France and gets its weapons and billions in aid from America..

Because of this, the proposals of Arafat, Crown Prince Abdullah, Thomas Friedman, Jerome M. Segal and the Israeli generals, are all doomed to failure.

First, if Bush won't authorize Negroponte to support a Security Council Resolution establishing a peacekeeping force, he won't go for an overall solution imposed by the Security Council. It's Bush's basic position that the U.S. should encourage the parties to negotiate but not to impose a solution. Second, Sharon is totally opposed to this and since Sharon is an ally in the War on Terrorism, Bush won't push him too hard. Third, Bush's brother is up for reelection as governor of Florida in what figures to be a close contest against Janet Reno. It would not be too helpful in pursuing the important Jewish vote there, if President Bush is perceived as going against Sharon's wishes. If Jeb Bush loses, then Bush could lose his reelection bid himself. He is not going to risk that.

Also, as Wahid Abdel Maguid, vice president of Al Ahram Center for Strategic Studies in Cairo argues, if the Arab League follows Crown Prince Abdulla's formula, "Sharon will be the winner. He would say ësee, my oppression worked, and the biggest Arab countries are making unprecedented offers because of my policy." Also other critics, such as Dr. Imad Fawzi Shueibi, a political analyst at the University of Damascus, find the proposal too vague: "What is required now is not to provide new Arab initiatives as if we have to provide evidence that we want peace," he asserts. "The Israelis should do something to end their occupation."

As for the Israeli generals' proposal, the Palestinians have already rejected it out of hand because it shortchanges them from the outset. In would also not stop the militants who are determined to drive Israel out of all the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, just as Hesbollah drove them out of occupied Lebanon. On the left in Israel, the proposal is rejected because it prohibits Palestinians who work in Israel from entering the country. Besides, Sharon has rejected the proposal, and as long as his coalition holds, this is a non-starter. Shimon Peres is there for the duration, and ben Ileazer remains head of the Labor Party, notwithstanding a dubious vote recount, so there is no immediate chance of Sharon being forced out.

What then of Arafat's proposal? The flaw in it is that he assumes the relevant Security Council resolutions are self-executing, which they are not. Something more must be done to give them credence. Besides, not many Israelis are prepared to negotiate with him any longer and his hold on the Palestinian leadership is no longer a given. In a certain sense, he is a relic of the Cold War, when many Arabs looked to the Soviet Union for support in their struggle against western dominance. The tilt was evidenced by Palestinian support for Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War, a disastrous decision. Caught short by the collapse of the Soviet Union, they were without an ideology and an ally. Radical Islam rushed in to fill this vacuum and Arafat has no relation to this powerful force in the Arab world. His bumbling attempt to accept Iranian support is unrealistic, particularly since anti-clerical sentiment in Iran is on the rise, as the pendulum begins to swing back.

At this juncture, we are faced with a choice. Do we lapse back to the primitive balance of power approach that has always broken down and led to wider wars, or do we accept the legitimacy of Woodrow Wilson's vision of a just international order under the rule of international law? I would suggest that it is time to revive Wilson's legacy and proceed, as he might have suggested, not a bad idea when one is giving a lecture at Princeton. Although he failed to get America into the League of Nations, the United Nations and the International Court of Justice remain his legacy, though they were brought into existence by the brilliance of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The relevant provisions of the United Nations Charter, with regard to the International Court of Justice, are Articles 92 and 96.

Article 92 provides:

The International Court of Justice shall be the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. It shall function in accordance with the annexed Statute, which is based on the Statute of the Permanent Court of International Justice and forms and integral part of the present Charter.

Article 96 provides:

The General Assembly or the Security Council may request the International Court of Justice to give an advisory opinion on any legal question.Article 65(1) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice provides:

The court may give an advisory opinion on any legal question at the request of whatever body may be authorized by or in accordance with the charter of the United Nations to make such a request.

In arguing for the strategy of an advisory opinion in the Palestinian Israeli conflict, Sam Bahour states in note 3 to his article "Has Israeli Occupation Become Legal in the 21st Century?" "The strategy has been initiated by International Law expert Dr. Richard Cummings." (Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American author and entrepreneur with a graduate degree in business from a joint program of Northwestern and Tel Aviv Universities.)

Bahour argues:

"International Law must be defined by the world institutions that were established for the purpose, and not by the existing superpower or the party to the conflict that can hire the better public relations firm. The time has come for the General Assembly to request the International Court of Justice, based in The Hague, to make a definitive Advisory Opinion, on all matters of law regarding the rights of the Palestinian people and the Israeli actions in the occupied territories. The Advisory Opinion mechanism is an established procedure of the court open solely to international organizations. This may serve as a way out of the currently failing peace process.

"Unlike United Nations (security council) Resolutions, which are only quasi-legislative in nature, the opinion of the Court would be binding on the United Nations and affiliated international organizations as to matters of law that it decides. As a result, the opinion defines the rights and obligations of member states to the United Nations and entities with observer status (N.B. the PLO has been granted observer status by the General Assembly). Thus, failure to adhere to the Advisory Opinion decision on any matter of law decided can result in appropriate action in the General Assembly."

Specifically, with regard to Advisory Opinions, the advisory procedure of the court is open solely to international organizations. The only bodies at present authorized to request advisory opinions of the court are five organs of the United Nations and 16 specialized agencies of the United Nations family.

In principle, the Court's advisory opinions are consultative in character and are therefore not binding as such on the requesting bodies. Certain instruments or regulations can, however, provide in advance that the advisory opinion shall be binding. Such an instrument is a General Assembly resolution requesting the International Court of Justice (ICJ or World Court) to give a binding advisory opinion on a particular matter.

Since 1946, the court has given 24 Advisory Opinions, considering inter alia admission to United Nations membership, reparations for injuries suffered in the service of the United Nations, territorial status of South-West Africa (Namibia) and western Sahara, judgments rendered by administrative tribunals, expenses of certain United Nations operations, applicability of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement, the status of human rights rapporteurs, and the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons.

Failure by a United Nations member or entity with observer status to adhere to the Advisory Opinion on any matter of law could specifically give rise to a suspension by the General Assembly of its voting rights or cause the entity with observer status, such as the PLO, to lose that status. Outright expulsion by the General Assembly, in light of Article 6 of the United Nations Charter, would ostensibly require a prior recommendation by the Security Council, but Article 6 provides for the recommendation when a member has "persistently violated the Principles contained in the present Charter." It does not require such a Security Council recommendation for expulsion by the General Assembly for failure on the part of a member to adhere to an advisory opinion made binding by virtue of the General Assembly resolution requesting it.

Moreover, in the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice pursuant to General Assembly Resolution 42/229B on whether the United Nations Headquarters Agreement preempted the United States Anti-Terrorist Act purporting to shut down the PLO Mission to the United Nations, the ICJ found that the United States was obliged to enter into arbitration with the United Nations first. (I discuss this case at length in my article, "The PLO Case: Terrorism, Statutory Interpretation and Conflicting Obligations Under Domestic and Public International Law" in the Hastings International and Comparative Law Review, Vol. 13, Fall 1989-No.1). The court noted that while the General Assembly resolution requesting the advisory opinion did not "constitute a formal request for the indication of provisional measures," the Court observed that "it is not appropriate in the circumstances of the case, for the Court to consider whether or not provisional measures may be indicated in a request for an advisory opinion." meaning that even if the Resolution is ambiguous on this point, the Court could adopt provisional measures as it deems appropriate in an advisory opinion.

Such a provisional measure, which could be requested specifically, would be instructing the General Assembly that the establishment of a peacekeeping force would be appropriate. Article 12 of the United Nations Charter would not be an obstacle in this instance, since if the Security Council is deadlocked by virtue of a veto, as it has been by virtue of the American veto of the Resolution establishing a peace keeping force, then the General Assembly is free to act under Article 14, which provides:

"Subject to the provisions of Article 12, the General Assembly may recommend measures for the peaceful adjustment of any situation, regardless of origin, which it deems likely to impair the general welfare or friendly relations among nations, including situations resulting from a violation of the provisions of the present Charter setting forth the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations."

Indeed, the United States would be hard-pressed to object to this strategy. When, during the Korean war, the Soviet Union ceased its boycott of the Security Council and vetoed resolutions that would have continued United Nations support for the multi-national force, the United States argued successfully that the matter could not be said to be under consideration under Article 12, and obtained a "Uniting for Peace" resolution in the General Assembly to support the force, under Article 14. (U.N. General Assembly Resolution 377A, November 3, 1950)

The Advisory Opinion procedure is actually engaged from countries around the world, including the United States, to clarify what is legal and what is not as it relates to international law. Such an opinion would not call into question the right of Israel to exist within fixed borders. Neither would it compel a right of return that would undermine the Jewish character of Israel, since this could be settled realistically through negotiations. Instead, it calls on the Court to decide matters of law pertaining to the Middle East conflict of fundamental norms of international law binding on all members of the international community, including entities with observer status to the General Assembly, such as the PLO.

Armed with an International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion, the General Assembly can once and for all move to make its opinions binding on the parties involved, thus bypassing the Security Council that is perpetually blocked by the veto of the United States, which it invokes in pursuance of its own agenda unrelated to the needs of the rest of the world.

To quote Sam Bahour in closing, "the clear and unequivocal end to Israeli occupation, in all its forms, has the power to bring justice, security and stability to a region on the verge of self-destruction."

Thank you.

Richard Cummings received his A.B. with honors from Princeton and was awarded the Buchanan Prize in Politics He received a J.D. from Columbia Law School, where he was an editor of the law review and a James Kent Scholar, and the Ph.D. in social and political sciences from the University of Cambridge. He has taught at St. Catherine's College Cambridge, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia and the University of the West Indies, Barbados. He is the author of The Pied Piper: Allard K. Lowenstein and the Liberal Dream and other books and articles.

Richard Cummings can be reached at cummings01@earthlink.net