Graubart, Jonathan, and Arturo Jimenez-Bacardi. “David in Goliath’s Citadel: Mobilizing the Security Council’s Normative Power for Palestine.” European Journal of International Relations 22.1 (2016): 24-48.
This article reviews the remarkable success of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in alliance with the Non-Aligned Movement in appropriating the Security Council’s normative power to transform the global understanding of the Israel–Arab conflict. We feature the alliance’s submission of multiple declaratory resolutions from late 1967 through 1980, which condemned Israel’s occupation policies, declared all of the territories conquered in the 1967 war as occupied, and endorsed a Palestinian state. Collectively, these resolutions, including the vetoed ones, legitimized a new consensus whereby Palestinian statehood became regarded as indispensable for a just resolution, while Israel’s continued control over the occupied territories became viewed as the primary obstacle, with full withdrawal expected. This consensus endures despite concerted Israeli–US efforts to undermine it. Besides its appeal to scholars of Israel–Palestine, the study contributes fresh insights into the Security Council’s normative authority and the influence of non-powerful, non-Western actors. We explain the dynamics by which these actors appropriate the Security Council’s normative influence, through its declaratory resolutions, to boost broader advocacy campaigns. Specifically, we highlight anti-colonial normative framing — featuring self-determination and territorial integrity — coalition building, and trapping. The first two dynamics generate powerful political and normative pressure, which, in turn, traps uncommitted states into supporting the cause so as to avoid isolation and the appearance of normative hypocrisy. By featuring the Non-Aligned Movement and the Palestinian Liberation Organization as the primary agents and anti-colonial values as the defining norms, we present a rarely examined counter-trajectory of norm dissemination in what is thought to be the least receptive international forum.
Waldman, Simon A. Anglo-American Diplomacy and the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1948-51. Basingstoke, UK and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
This volume examines British and US attitudes towards the means and mechanisms for the facilitation of an Arab-Israeli reconciliation, focusing specifically on the refugee factor in diplomatic initiatives. It explains why Britain and the US were unable to reconcile the local parties to an agreement on the future of the Palestinian refugees.
Table of contents
List of Acronyms and Abbreviations
Introduction: The Palestinian Refugee Problem as an Impediment to Peace
1. The Palestine Factor in Anglo-American Post-War Middle Eastern Policy, 1945–48
2. Friends Reunited? Britain and the US Respond to the Palestinian Refugee Problem
3. Diplomatic Deadlock: The Palestine Conciliation Commission and the Palestinian Refugee Problem (Part 1)
4. Economics over Politics: The Palestine Conciliation Commission and the Palestinian Refugee Problem (Part 2)
5. Compensation: The Key to Break the Logjam?
6. The Refugee Factor in Direct Arab-Israeli Negotiations
7. The Birth of UNRWA: The Institutionalization of Failed Diplomacy
SIMON A. WALDMAN is Lecturer in Middle Eastern Studies at King’s College London, UK. He teaches the Arab-Israeli Conflict, statebuilding in the Middle East and Turkish history and politics.
From 1948 to 1950, the United Nations (UN) endeavoured to promote the internationalisation of Jerusalem, which had been a key element of the 1947 Palestine “Partition Plan.” Even though the war that erupted in Palestine in 1948 put paid to partition, 2 UN resolutions re-affirmed the decision to place the city under international auspices. On the opposite side stood Israel and Jordan, both of which ruled the city and were interested in frustrating the attempt to remove it from their control. This identity of interests stirred them to try to reach agreement to divide Jerusalem and make internationalisation superfluous. Unlike other studies that examine the contacts between Israel and Jordan during this period, this analysis examines the Jerusalem question as an independent issue and focuses on the moves made by Israel and Jordan during their covert negotiations in light of the UN decision to internationalise the city.
Rettig, Elai, and Eli Avraham. “The Role of Intergovernmental Organizations in the ‘Battle over Framing’: The Case of the Israeli–West Bank Separation Barrier.” International Journal of Press/Politics (early view; online first).
Current studies focusing on the media’s coverage of international conflicts have largely overlooked the important role that intergovernmental bodies may play in their framing. Still missing is an examination of how and to what degree do actions performed by such bodies help define the way journalists report on ongoing conflicts. We claim that in the absence of credible state actors to rely on for information during conflict, journalists will turn to statements made by international bodies as alternative sources of authority to shape their reporting. This study uses framing theory to examine how the United Nations General Assembly and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) became the primary definers for the international media during its coverage of the Israeli–West Bank separation barrier. Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative content analysis, we examine the major news items related to the barrier that appeared between the years 2002 and 2011 in four leading newspapers in the United States and the United Kingdom (New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, and the Times). We determine what main media frames were being used during coverage of the barrier and point to the drastic change that occurred in their dominance following actions performed by the ICJ.
This paper aims to identify the emergence of the concept “new anti-Semitism” in both public discourse and academic research in Israel. Our main argument is that the new anti-Semitism has emerged in tandem with changing values within Israeli society, primarily the adoption of a mythic-traditional perspective. This historical review focuses on description of a key event: United Nations Resolution 3379 equating Zionism with racism. We argue that increasing adherence to Jewish tradition goes hand in hand with the assimilation of Jewish myths regarding anti-Semitism. Scholarly discourse about new anti-Semitism is presented through critical study of Shmuel Almog’s anthology Sin’at Yisrael ledoroteiha (A History of Hatred of Israel). This study is the first to be published that discusses an updated view of anti-Semitism in Israeli public discourse and academic research, emphasizing how the State of Israel has become its object.
Rodgers, James. Headlines from the Holy Land: Reporting the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
Tied by history, politics, and faith to all corners of the globe, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict fascinates and infuriates people across the world. Based on new archive research and original interviews with leading correspondents and diplomats, Headlines from the Holy Land explains why this fiercely contested region exerts such a pull over reporters: those who bring the story to the world. Despite decades of diplomacy, a just and lasting end to the conflict remains as difficult as ever to achieve. Inspired by the author’s own experience as the BBC’s correspondent in Gaza from 2002-2004, and subsequent research, this book draws on the insight of those who have spent years observing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Starting from a historical perspective, it identifies the challenges the conflict presents for contemporary journalism and diplomacy, and suggests new ways of approaching them.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Rosemary Hollis
1 Reporting from the Ruins: The End of the British Mandate and the Creation of the State of Israel
Jewish individuals and organisations played a cardinal role in making and promoting the 1948 Genocide Convention. The early attitude of the Jewish state—established a few months before the Convention’s conclusion—has not hitherto been explored. This analysis reconstructs Israel’s involvement in the 1951 advisory proceedings at the International Court of Justice concerning the Convention. Based on Ministry of Foreign Affairs archives and Court records, it demonstrates that contrary to what scholarship on subsequent episodes assumes or implies, Israel had no particular attachment to, nor was it vested in, the Convention. Rather, its attitude ranged from indifference and disinterest to scepticism and hostility. It allowed Israeli diplomats to utilise the Convention as a means to affect other neither urgent nor imperative foreign policy ends.
How do states decide to extend or withhold international recognition in cases of contested sovereignty? We focus on how religion shapes the incentives of states in making this decision, both at the domestic level through religious institutions and at the international level through religious affinities. States with transnational religious ties to the contested territory are more likely to extend recognition. At the domestic level, states that heavily regulate religion are less likely to extend international recognition. We test these conjectures, and examine others in the literature, with two new data sets on the international recognition of both Palestine and Israel and voting on the United Nations resolution to admit Palestine as a non-member state observer, combined with global data on religious regulation and religious affinities. In cases of contested sovereignty, the results provide support for these two mechanisms through which religion shapes foreign policy decisions about international recognition.
Becker, Raphael N., Arye L. Hillman, Niklas Potrafke, and Alexander H. Schwemmer. “The Preoccupation of the United Nations with Israel: Evidence and Theory.” Review of International Organizations (early view; online first).
We compiled data on all United Nations General Assembly resolutions on which voting took place between January 1990 and June 2013 and find a preoccupation with one country: in 65 % of instances in which a country is criticized in a resolution, the country is Israel, with no other country criticized in more than 10% of resolutions. We use comparative quantitative criteria to confirm that Israel is subject to discrimination. To explain the motives for discrimination, we present a model of behavioral political economy that includes decoy voting, vanity of autocrats, and a Schelling focal point for deflection of criticism. The model includes a role for traditional prejudice. Our conclusions more generally concern political culture in the United Nations.
The future of the Israel–Gaza war crime trials is a complex puzzle. Even though the new crisis has come to an end with the help of Egypt, the long-term solution to this age-long crisis is still far from being fostered and accepted by the international order. The recent war crimes committed by both actors only make matters more complicated for the historically rooted conflict between Israel and Palestine. The Gaza conflict might be over but Israel is now gearing up for the legal procedures pertaining to the possible war crimes allegations. The army has been preparing itself for conducting internal investigations of its wartime actions and has prepared a detailed public relations campaign of satellite photos and video clips, hoping to persuade the world that its war against Hamas was justified. The argument of Israel will be weighed against the principle of proportionality, which is essentially a judgement call on whether the force applied was reasonable.
A lot depends on how the issue will be dealt with by the members of the UNSC, the decision of Palestine to take matters directly to the ICC and the eventual findings of the commission appointed by the UNHRC. Whether it is Israel or Palestine, the big question will always be: What will it take to solve the Israel–Palestine issue? The answer is not simple, with the shaping of the diplomatic environment being key in the possible permanent closure of this crisis. Even though many countries consider the war crimes trial as a probable thorn on the way to peace negotiations, denying justice to the people who suffered can in no way build a strong base for long-term peace and harmony between Israel and Palestine. But the historically deeply rooted religious and cultural mistrust between the people of both nations, amidst the volatile geopolitical setting of the world today, makes the task of international organisations and leaders to foster unanimously accepted closure of this crisis a herculean one.
Indeed, the first political initiatives of the Quartet were promising. The design of the Quartet’s Roadmap plan – which drew on US ideas but also involved strong input from the other Quartet members (especially the EU) – sought to implement lessons learned from the failed Oslo process. Trying to correct past mistakes, it introduced third party monitoring by the Quartet, the parallel implementation of obligations and a clear commitment to a two state settlement by 2005.
Moreover, coordinated action by the Quartet facilitated a number of long overdue reforms of the PA, curtailing the extensive powers of President Yasser Arafat in the run-up to the Roadmap. Simultaneously, the Quartet got a reluctant Israeli government to sign up to the Roadmap initiative, despite several reservations expressed by then prime minister Ariel Sharon.
Yet almost from the outset, the Roadmap process lacked guidance by the Quartet. Despite its formal commitment to the Roadmap initiative, the USA conducted a series of steps that severely undermined its implementation.
The USA – which had assumed sole responsibility for monitoring Israel’s compliance with Roadmap obligations (rather than the Quartet as a whole) – carried out its monitoring tasks in a sporadic fashion, often without informing the public or even its Quartet partners.
A major blow for the Roadmap initiative came in February 2004, when the US government announced its backing of the unilateral disengagement initiative devised by then Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon. Sharon’s disengagement plan was clearly at odds with key elements of the Roadmap, substituting parallel steps towards a bilaterally negotiated solution with unilateral Israeli measures that centred on Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and limited areas of the West Bank. Despite obvious contradictions, the other Quartet members reluctantly followed suit, supporting the disengagement initiative as a step in the implementation of the Roadmap (rather than its substitution).
The freeze of the Roadmap process so soon after its launch almost instantly undermined the Quartet’s diplomatic standing. The disengagement initiative was subsequently coordinated between Israel and the USA. The Quartet, in turn, was relegated to a supportive actor assisting in the transfer of power from Israel to the PA in the Gaza Strip that was completed in September 2005. Moving back into the Roadmap process after Israel’s disengagement from Gaza proved unfeasible and was not supported by Israel’s prime minister. Israel favoured a unilateral approach over resuming negotiations with the Palestinians, coordinating its policies with the USA. As a result, the unrelenting backing of the Roadmap in the Quartet’s declarations and statements increasingly appeared out of sync with political reality.
With the conclusion of almost every round of hostilities between Israel and one of its neighbours the idea of international forces is being raised once again. This is basically an improved and revised initiative for stationing international forces to supervise (and perhaps impose) a ceasefire between the parties. In the Arab–Israeli framework, it is in essence the old approach which has been in service since 1948. Only one force, UNEF, stands out as not having been approved by the Security Council and clearly failing its intended but vaguely defined mission. The current analysis leads to the conclusion that in this particular regional conflict, the positioning of international forces must always come within the context of a more comprehensive settlement. That way, by violating a force’s mandate, each party would lose either land or diplomatic recognition. Moreover, if a Middle Eastern peacekeeping operation is to take place in the future, it has to include organic units of the warring parties, encouraging peaceful interactions. Such units should reinforce organic units from countries acceptable to all parties. Hopefully, future missions, taking into consideration some of the approaches suggested here, can continue to contribute to regional processes for peace.
The Palestinian UN bid has the potential to enhance Palestinian claims for respect of human rights and international law and mobilise international opposition to Israel’s unlawful conduct. Participation in international organisations and ratification of treaties fortify Palestine’s legal and political status within the international legal order, enabling it to call for the non-recognition by third states of unlawful Israeli conduct in the context of their inter-state relations with Israel. The UN bid also facilitates access to international courts, including the International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court, which may deter Israel’s unlawful conduct and contribute to the production of normative assessments of situations under Palestinian jurisdiction.
On 29 November 1947, the United Nations General Assembly voted to partition Palestine into two independent states, Jewish and Arab, with Jerusalem as a corpus separatum under international control. The General Assembly then established the United Nations Palestine Commission to implement partition. Amongst other things, the Commission was to establish “armed militias” under UN supervision to help realise the plan. The analysis examines various aspects of the sequence of events related to this idea, from its conception in the General Assembly to its death in February 1948. It demonstrates that under the militia clause, the United Nations intended to rely on the Jews’ main military organisation – the Haganah – to establish the Jewish state and shows how and why this plan went awry despite the converging interests of the Jews and the United Nations.
In 1975, the UN General Assembly adopted its notorious resolution 3379 equating Zionism with racism. The origins of that resolution can be traced back to the previous decade. Ironically, an early initiative to denounce Zionism as racial discrimination in a UN formal text was presented during the negotiations of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 1965 (CERD). The context was none other than the debate regarding incorporating a denunciation of anti-Semitism into the Convention. The present article explores the particular meeting of interests behind the effort to incorporate a denunciation of anti-Semitism into CERD. It is designed to elaborate on how this attempt was used to promote what to all intents and purposes appeared to be the precise opposite: equating Zionism with racism—and how the seeds of resolution 3379 were sown.
The past two decades have seen international agencies pay closer attention to the relationship between conflict and development. An example of this is the UNDP and its conflict-related development analysis (CDA), which aims to identify the causes of conflict and design measures that will enhance development while reducing conflict. Through the case study of the CDA’s application in the occupied Palestinian territory, the article reveals its main limitations including an emphasis on conflict management (as opposed to conflict reduction), the choice of (neo-liberal) development model, prioritisation of particular partners over others (i.e. ‘state’ over non-state) and an erroneous assumption of neutrality. These have become manifested into the UNDP’s current programme for action which undermines its own stated objectives, to work ‘on’ the causes of conflict rather than ‘in’ or ‘around’ conflict. The UNDP’s experience therefore has important lessons for the use of conflict analysis and policy design elsewhere.
The Arab states suffered humiliating defeats at the hands of Israel during the first Arab-Israeli war. Immediately following the war, Israel made brilliant and shrewd use of diplomacy to achieve its goals at the negotiating table, much as it had previously used armed force. Israel refused to negotiate with a united Arab negotiation team, preferring to isolate the states, picking them off one after the other. The Israeli-Transjordanian talks differed radically from the other armistice negotiations. Here, two parallel tracks were followed. At Rhodes, the two countries negotiated openly under UN auspices, while in Jerusalem and at King Abdullah’s palace in Transjordan, representatives of the two countries held secret bilateral talks. Israel masterfully used the context of these talks to maximise its gains, using military operations to create `facts on the ground’, combined with direct coercion in the shape of blackmail, while taking full advantage of international power structures and abusing the trust that King Abdullah had placed in personal relations. The UN Acting Mediator, Ralph Bunche, was aware of the secret back channel, where the clearest cases of coercion took place. Physically and mentally exhausted by the protracted negotiations, he allowed the secret talks to progress despite his dislike of the outcome. The British government, at the time the protector of Transjordan, was unable to assist its client for fear of falling out with the USA, while the US government, in many ways the protector of Israel, maintained an equally `hands off’ stance because the talks concerned only an armistice, not a peace treaty. Already at this early stage in their relations, the power asymmetry between Israel and the Arab states was the main reason the parties could not arrive at a peaceful, sustainable solution. This article reinvestigates this diplomacy by using a combination of US, Israeli, British and UN archives, as well as the almost untouched Ralph Bunche diary.
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