THE POWER OF MASS NONVIOLENT RESISTANCE IN PALESTINE – PART 1

Part 1 of 3.

The renowned novelist and political activist Arundhati Roy relates how, in the forests of central India, “1,000 paramilitaries will go to a village, an indigenous peoples village, four days walk from the main road—surround it, burn it, rape the women, steal the cattle and go.” Roy argues with compelling force that nonviolent resistance to this pillage is not a viable strategy:

[W]hat should those people do, you tell me? Should they go on a hunger strike? They are already starving. Should they boycott foreign goods? They don’t have any goods. They don’t have an audience to do any sort of nonviolent satyagraha. You need a sympathetic audience.

Palestinians today have this sympathetic audience.

In concrete terms, the sight of Palestinian people suffering in pursuit of their rights is likely, at this point, to evoke widespread public sympathy and indignation in Europe and the United States—Israel’s most important international allies.[1]

With effective political organising, this public sentiment can be mobilised to impose limits on Israel’s repression, enabling Palestinian demonstrators to force Israel on the defensive and ultimately to wrest concrete victories from it.

It was not ever thus.

As Palestinians in Gaza assemble along the perimeters of what former British Prime Minister David Cameron described as an “open-air prison,” this article looks back to a historic turning point in international public opinion on the Israel-Palestine conflict, and the crucial role of mass nonviolent resistance in bringing it about.

*

The international consensus on Palestine rests upon three pillars: the United Nations, international human rights organisations and the International Court of Justice.

The common positions of these bodies constitute a potent weapon in the Palestinians’ political arsenal. By legitimising Palestinians demands, they delegitimise Israel’s repression and make nonviolent resistance a viable strategy.

All three pillars of the international consensus on Palestine are, to a significant extent, products of the First Intifada—a mass, overwhelmingly nonviolent civil revolt which erupted in Gaza in December 1987 and spread rapidly across the entirety of occupied Palestine.

Over three years, and in the face of brutal repression,[2] Palestinians in the Occupied Territory (OPT) engaged in popular resistance to Israel’s occupation. The Intifada was a truly mass phenomenon to a degree unmatched in Palestinian history before or since. If at varying degrees of intensity, still, all sectors of Palestinian society participated.[3] While low-level violence occurred—most frequently in the form of stone-throwing—“the hallmark of the Intifada, particularly during its euphoric first years, was nonviolent protest.”[4]

 

Mass Nonviolent Resistance and the United Nations

The Intifada reverberated in the halls of the UN Security Council between 1987 and 1990, as states registered in ever more vehement terms their indignation at Israel’s repression in the OPT.

In the five years between December 1982 and December 1987, the Security Council adopted just one resolution concerning Israeli conduct in the OPT.[5] In the three weeks following the outbreak of the First Intifada on 9 December 1987, the Security Council adopted three resolutions, condemning Israel’s use of live fire[6] and deportations[7] to crush the revolt.

The United States, which under the Reagan administration had more than once used its Security Council veto on Israel’s behalf,[8] declined to block their passage and, in the case of Security Council Resolution 607, which censured Israel’s expulsion of civilians from the OPT, voted positively with the majority. The US permitted the adoption of two further Security Council resolutions condemning Israel’s use of deportation in 1989,[9] while vetoing broader condemnations of Israeli policy and practices.[10]

As its conduct came under international scrutiny Israel deployed its traditional battery of deflections and deceptive rationalisations, but even previously sympathetic ears were deafened by the gunfire and the screams.

Whereas Israel insisted the uprising had been “carefully orchestrated” by the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) from without,[11] Council members saw it instead as “a natural and very predictable consequence” (Italy) of Israel’s occupation.[12] In what must have caused a sharp intake of Israeli breath, the US representative, during one of the Council’s first meetings on the Intifada, pointedly declared that, “to the best of my Government’s knowledge, the demonstrations were spontaneous expressions of frustration, and not externally sponsored,” and argued that the uprising reflected not PLO machinations but “the unresolved political status of the West Bank and Gaza, as well as . . . the deep frustration of the Palestinian people, whose daily lives are so profoundly affected” by the “clearly unsatisfactory” situation in the OPT.[13]

Whereas Israel presented the revolt as a “campaign of terror” by frenzied “mobs” wielding Molotovs and iron bars,[14] others were struck by Israel’s repression of “protest by civilians” (Italy) and violence against “defenceless women and children” (Germany) and “unarmed civilians” (UK).[15] A statement by the representative for Germany four months into the uprising illustrates how hollow Israel’s presentations now rang:

These upheavals have evidently originated spontaneously, without any influence from outside. They constitute a civil uprising and that renders them all the more grave and makes their repercussions all the more serious. This uprising cannot be put on a par with commando or terror actions directed from outside against Israel. This uprising is the rebellion of a population whose youth is faced with the dire prospect of losing all hope.[16]

And whereas Israel insisted it was acting with “maximum restraint,”[17] Security Council members were outraged by its use of deportation, collective penalties and live fire against civilians.

The UK’s successive interventions are indicative of the Council’s tonal trajectory.  In the years prior to the Intifada, the UK’s contributions to the Council’s deliberations on Israel were models of “balanced” restraint. It had at various points “deplored” “acts of violence by whomsoever committed” and allowed that “a number of the measures” taken by Israel “appear to have been extreme” and “in breach of their legal obligations,” but sought nevertheless to “dissociate” itself “from the tone of much of the criticism of Israel” and typically urged “restraint” and “an end to violence” by “all parties.”[18] In December 1986, the Security Council adopted a resolution condemning Israel’s killing of several unarmed protestors in the West Bank.[19] In the course of the Council’s deliberations, Israel’s representative—one Benjamin Netanyahu—took the occasion to express his view that, “I do not see, and cannot see, a more benign military administration [than Israel’s] in history.”[20] The UK’s response was not exactly devastating. Condemning “recourse to violence by whatever side and for whatever motive,” the UK alleged that the killings of the protestors “seem to have been an overreaction” and urged that “it is incumbent upon the Israeli Government to ensure that its administration is indeed as benign as claimed.”[21]

The UK’s first Security Council intervention following the outbreak of the Intifada took a significantly harder line, declaring Israel’s “use of force . . . excessive,” conveying “serious concern at a range of Israeli policies and practices . . . which are contrary to international law and in violation of human rights” and expressing “sympathy with those who have suffered injury . . . and with the families of those who have been killed, many of them young people.”[22] A couple of months in to the uprising and the UK was accusing Israeli security forces of “examples of conduct . . . which scarcely conform with civilised standards.”[23] By mid-1988, with the violence continuing to escalate and Israel having disregarded three Security Council resolutions condemning aspects of its repression, the UK Government was appalled. Its statement to the Security Council is worth quoting at length, since it illustrates the degree of international anger at Israel’s conduct, from European Community (EEC) as well as Arab, Soviet bloc and non-aligned states:

Details are widely available of brutal and often indiscriminate actions against civilians in the occupied territories. These actions have resulted in deaths, acute physical injuries and detention on a massive and arbitrary scale. World opinion has been shocked and disgusted—rightly so—by the widespread suffering of the civilian population of all ages and both sexes, resulting from a policy of violent repression and from the continuing failure of the authorities to ensure due restraint on the part of the security forces. That the occupying Power has declared openly the nature and purposes of its policies—to crush the opposition by the use of physical force against civilians—has made these policies doubly repugnant.

The provocative and often lethal actions of armed settlers in the occupied territories against the inhabitants have drawn increasing attention. Collective punishments, including the demolition of homes, have become more common. Deportations in disregard of this Council’s resolutions 607 (1988) and 608 (1988) have again taken place, and more are envisaged. Arbitrary economic measures have been taken against the population, causing hardship and suffering.

This Council has long pointed out that such measures on the part of the occupying authorities are unacceptable. They are more; they are immoral, illegal and politically self-defeating.

[. . .]

In the first half of this century the Jewish people suffered from arbitrary rule, violence, discrimination and attempted genocide. They were denied the status of equals in their own lands. They were persecuted and hounded, millions to their death. Israel was founded as a place where such dreadful events could not and would not happen. For many of us, it is painful that echoes of that old intolerance, that harsh belief in the right of might, should be heard there today.[24]

In the UN General Assembly, too, indignation at Israel’s repressive measures extended well beyond the traditional “pro-Palestinian” blocs.

The EEC states divided on a November 1988 resolution condemning “Israel’s persistent policies and practices violating the human rights of the Palestinian people,” with Belgium and the UK abstaining and the rest voting in favour.[25] In the plenary debate, the UK nevertheless took care to condemn Israel’s “excessive and sometimes indiscriminate use of force, administrative detentions, deportations and collective punishments” as “totally unacceptable.”[26]

The following year, a resolution expressing “profound shock at the continued measures by Israel, the occupying Power, including the killing and wounding of Palestinian civilians and the recent action of ransacking the houses of defenceless civilians in the Palestinian town of Beit Sahour” received the assent of every European state.[27]

The PLO sought to capitalise on this international and European opposition to Israel’s policies by launching a peace initiative.

Over the course of the 1970s and 1980s, a broad international consensus had crystallised behind the establishment in Palestine of two states along the pre-June 1967 border. This consensus included, more or less explicitly, the Arab states and the PLO. In January 1976, the Arab states and the PLO endorsed a Security Council resolution calling for a “just and lasting peace” on the basis of the Palestinian “national right of self-determination” and “the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of all states in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognised boundaries.”[28] Over the next decade both the Arab states and the PLO indicated with increasing clarity their willingness to resolve the conflict on the basis of a two-state solution.[29] But at the UN General Assembly they had not, prior to the Intifada, explicitly endorsed a resolution of the conflict based on inter alia Security Council Resolution 242, which implied recognition of Israel and which was considered by the US and Europe an indispensable basis for negotiations.

The Intifada gave the Palestinian leadership the confidence to take that step.  The intense Palestinian nationalism expressed in and reinforced by the Intifada prompted King Hussein of Jordan, in August 1988, to disengage administratively and economically from the West Bank.[30] The PLO, riding the wave of the Intifada and determined to translate the diplomatic momentum it had generated into concrete political gains, declared the State of Palestine’s independence at an extraordinary session of the Palestinian National Council in November 1988 and called for an international peace conference “on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 and 337” and the Palestinians’ “right to self-determination.”[31] This opened the door to a renewed international effort to resolve the conflict on the basis of international law and the two-state solution.

In 1983, the UN General Assembly had endorsed the convening of an international peace conference on the Middle East with the participation of the leading international powers and the parties directly concerned, including the PLO, on the basis of the “right of all States in the region to existence within secure and internationally recognised boundaries,” “Israeli withdrawal from the territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem” and “attainment by the Palestinian people of its legitimate inalienable rights, including the right to return, the right to self-determination and the right to establish its own independent State in Palestine.”[32] The EEC member states abstained, objecting in principle to an imposed settlement and also, no doubt, to the absence of any reference to Security Council Resolution 242 and explicit recognition of Israel’s right to exist in the proposed guidelines for the conference.[33] The EEC states maintained this position up to eve of the Intifada, stressing, however, that they did not object “in principle” to the convening of an international conference.[34]

In February 1987, the EEC pronounced itself “in favour of an international peace conference to be held under the auspices of the United Nations” to “provide a suitable framework for the necessary negotiations between the parties directly concerned,”[35] a position it reiterated days before the Intifada’s outbreak.[36]  Despite backing from Egypt, Jordan and the USSR, the EEC’s proposal failed in 1987 to generate political momentum,[37] and the situation at the General Assembly remained stagnant.

The PLO’s peace initiative made international agreement possible while indignation at Israel’s repression of the Intifada injected a vital sense of political urgency. On 15 December 1988, the General Assembly voted by 138 to 2, with two abstentions (Canada, Costa Rica), for an international peace conference on the Middle East within the framework of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and the “legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people” and based on “the following principles for the achievement of comprehensive peace”:

  • The withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, and from the other occupied Arab territories;
  • Guaranteeing arrangements for security of all States in the region, including those named in ‘resolution 181(II) of 29 November 1947, within secure and internationally recognised boundaries;
  • Resolving the problem of the Palestine refugees in conformity with General Assembly resolution 194(III) of 11 December 1948, and subsequent relevant resolutions;
  • Dismantling the Israeli settlements in the territories occupied since 1967;
  • Guaranteeing freedom of access to Holy Places, religious buildings and sites.[38]

Virtually the entire international community was now on record endorsing what remains the international consensus two-state solution for resolving the conflict. The US and Israel stood alone.

It was a self-consciously historic moment, made possible by the impetus provided by the Intifada. “The uprising in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel . . . has created a new situation,” commented the delegate from Sweden. “The Palestinian people has clearly shown that it no longer accepts the continuing occupation. The Palestine Liberation Organisation has clearly shown that it wants to negotiate with Israel . . . on the basis of a two-State solution. The stage is set for an important break-through in the peace process.”[39] The “Intifada,” Japan observed, “has made a great impact on the basic framework of the Palestinian issue, and . . . has formed an important basis for the new approach expressed [by the PLO] . . . By showing the world that a policy of force and repression cannot ensure any degree of calm in the area, the Palestinians in the occupied territories have focused our attention on the urgent need for a negotiated peace.”[40]

Egypt [The] Palestinian position . . . has evolved in a historic manner worthy of the full support of all peace-loving countries. The crucial session of the Palestine National Council coincided with the first anniversary of the beginning of the Palestinian Intifadah in the occupied territories, an uprising demanding the termination of the Israeli occupation and the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, as recognised by the United Nations Charter, upheld by the norms of international law and enunciated by a host of General Assembly resolutions. The Intifadah has captured the attention and gained the sympathy and support of world public opinion. Its motives and its rationale are universally admired . . . We are at a historic crossroads . . . The history of this conflict has been aptly described as the history of lost opportunities . . . The favourable circumstances prevailing now should be utilised in the best possible manner in order to overcome the obstacles which impede the realisation of the security and stability of the people of our region who have suffered for 40 years—the lifespan of this conflict.[41]
Greece

(on behalf of the EEC)

The Palestinian uprising in the occupied territories has brought the urgency and drama of the problem back to the center of world attention. It has also shown that without the recognition of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people there will not be—there cannot be—for Israel, or for the other countries of the region, peace, security or a future.[42]
China This broadly-based struggle, with extensive sympathy and support from the world’s peoples and the international community, has injected new vitality into the Middle East peace process.[43]
Japan It was one year ago this month that the Intifadah began. Who could have imagined last December that the outrage would not be quelled and that it would affect the political situation in the region in very significant ways? For it is no exaggeration to say that Jordan’s decision to change its policy on the West Bank and the developments at the recent session of the Palestine National Council were brought about, at least in part, by the uprising. By showing the world that a policy of force and repression cannot ensure any degree of calm in the area, the Palestinians in the occupied territories have focused our attention on the urgent need for a negotiated peace. Moreover, the uprising has strengthened the Palestinian people’s sense of identity and their conviction that they are entitled to the right of self-determination.[44]

*

It has become clear that the Intifadah is affecting the political situation, not only in the occupied territories but throughout the region. The Intifadah has compelled all the parties concerned to realise that a political process leading to a just, lasting and comprehensive solution of the Palestinian issue cannot be postponed any longer.[45]

Arab League [The Intifada] is an uprising which has won the admiration of the entire world community, which has set in motion the corrective that has made it possible to salvage the peace option.[46]
Senegal The Intifadah and other major developments, notably the proclamation of the independent Palestinian State at the meeting of the Palestine National Council in Algiers in November 1988 and the historic statement by President Yasser Arafat at the meeting of the General Assembly in Geneva in December 1988, have generated unprecedented, massive international support. A great many—even those who had previously hesitated—have now joined the international consensus and call for the effective realisation of the Palestinian right to self-determination and sovereignty.[47]
India The Palestinian people has waged a valiant struggle. The Intifadah is a glorious demonstration of its inextinguishable fervor and unflinching determination to win its rights and homeland through sacrifice and non-co-operation. The Palestinian uprising will soon be two years old—two years marked by untold sufferings. Beit Sahur is just one example; Naharia is another. But nothing has succeeded in breaking the spirit of freedom and liberty manifest in the heroic struggle of the Palestinian people. What we are witnessing here is nothing less than the martyrdom of a whole people, which demands from all of us a response of admiration, sympathy and support.[48]
Sweden International support for the Palestinian people and for the PLO policy of peace and negotiation has dramatically increased. All over the world people now look with clearer eyes and with greater understanding at the plight of the Palestinians. The fact that the PLO and the Palestinians have chosen the road of peace and reconciliation has gained them international sympathy and support . . . The Intifadah has shown that the Palestinian people will not submit to Israeli occupation. There can be no return to the situation before the outbreak of the Intifadah.[49]
Madagascar For nearly two years now the question of Palestine has taken on special importance because of the courageous uprising of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories, the proclamation of the State of Palestine and the Palestinian peace initiative announced by President Yasser Arafat at the meetings of the forty-third session of the General Assembly held in Geneva in December 1988 . . .  Broad-ranging consensus has, for that matter, emerged the world over in recognition of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination without outside interference, to independence and national sovereignty, and to the establishment of its own State in Palestine . . . Israel and the United States are the only countries outside the international consensus for convening an international conference under the auspices of the United Nations, with the participation of the five permanent members of the Security Council and all parties concerned, on an equal footing, including the Palestine Liberation Organisation.[50]
Canada Canada will vote this year in favour of the draft resolution calling for the convening of an international peace conference . . . My delegation has changed its vote from an abstention for two reasons.  First, the ongoing Intifadah, now two years old, has made it clear that the status quo in the occupied territories is untenable and that this is a dispute for which a negotiated settlement must be found. Secondly, Canada has been encouraged by the various positive political developments over the past months, which have witnessed notable movement towards a dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians.[51]
UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People In the 15 years since the establishment of the Committee, an international consensus has gradually been achieved on the essential principles for a solution of the question of Palestine based on the attainment of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people . . . Developments since the beginning of the Intifadah led to an even wider consensus, as shown by the near-unanimous adoption of General Assembly resolution 44/42.[52]

When, in December 1989, the General Assembly reaffirmed by an overwhelming margin its endorsement of an international peace conference to achieve a two-state solution to the conflict,[53] the representative of Israel complained that “at the United Nations we have witnessed a trend in which the debates . . . are held as if within hermetic glass walls: all too often the debates here are completely divorced from the reality in the Middle East.”[54] In fact, Israel’s difficulty was just the opposite: confronted with an incessant barrage of reports and images testifying to Israel’s brutal repression of a civilian population, and encouraged by the political shifts the uprising had set in motion, the international community was compelled to respond.

Part 2 of this article examines the transformative impact of the First Intifada on the human rights coverage of Israel’s occupation. Part 3 considers the potential for mass nonviolent resistance in the Gaza Strip today.

 

__

[1] This is subject to two provisos: Palestinians must be perceived to be deploying legitimate means in the service of legitimate ends. Otherwise, Israel and its auxiliaries—who also command considerable visibility and, at least as regards Israel’s basic security interests, widespread support—will successfully muddy the waters and dilute the crystal moral clarity required to move people to act. The consensus positions of the UN General Assembly, international human rights organisations and the International Court of Justice represent the progressive limits of international public opinion—i.e., the maximum Palestinians and their supporters can demand without losing a broad audience in Europe and the United States. See Norman G. Finkelstein, What Gandhi Says (London and New York, NY: 2012) and this video focusing specifically on the current protests in Gaza.

[2] See Norman G. Finkelstein, Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel is Coming to An End (London and New York, NY: 2012), chap. 5.

[3] The Intifada’s breadth and scale is indicated by the fact that the Israeli military registered nearly 200,000 ‘incidents of unarmed protest’ in the OPT between 1987 and 1992. See Wendy Pearlman, “Palestine and the Arab Uprisings,” in Adam Roberts et al. eds., Civil Resistance in the Arab Spring (Oxford: 2016), p. 253.

[4] Wendy Pearlman, Violence, Nonviolence, and the Palestinian National Movement (Oxford: 2011), p. 102.

[5] S/RES/592 (8 December 1986).

[6] S/RES/605 (22 December 1987).

[7] S/RES/607 (5 January 1988); S/RES/608 (14 January 14).

[8] S/15895 (1 August 1983); S/17459 (2 September 1985).

[9] S/RES/636 (6 July 1989); S/RES/641 (30 August 1989).

[10] S/19466 (29 January 1988); S/19780 (15 April 1988); S/20463 (17 February 1989); S/20677 (8 June 1989); S/20945/Rev.1 (6 November 1989).

[11] S/PV.2770 (11 December 1987), p. 41; S/PV. 2772 (14 December 1987), pp. 44-46; S/PV.2774 (16 December 1987), p. 71.

[12] S/PV.2775 (17 December 1987), pp. 43-44; cf. S/PV.2774 (16 December 1987), pp. 17-18; S/PV.2787 (28 January 1988), p. 7; S/PV.2790 (1 February 1988), pp. 33-35.

[13] S/PV.2777 (22 December 1987), p. 16.  The permanent observer of the Arab League pointed out the strange irrelevance of Israel’s argument:

There has been a continuous insistence on the part of Israel to describe the demonstrations that are taking place . . . as if they were not spontaneous but incited.  I do not know what the distinction is.  The fact is that, if they were incited, the response has been total, universal, continuous and sustained.

See S/PV.2777 (22 December 1987), p. 7. Facing ridicule, Israel quickly retreated to claiming that the “incitement” which had fomented the “disturbances”—rather than the “disturbances” themselves—was not spontaneous; to rejecting the claim that “all” of the “violence” was spontaneous; to claiming merely that the PLO had sought to “egg on” the unrest. See S/PV.2777 (22 December 1987), p. 6; S/PV.2780 (5 January 1988), p. 11; S/PV.2787 (28 January 1988), p. 62.

[14] S/PV.2770 (11 December 1987), p. 41; S/PV.2774 (16 December 1987), pp. 74-75; cf. S/PV.2781 (14 January 1988), p. 6; S/PV.2787 (28 January 1988), p. 61.

[15] S/PV.2775 (17 December 1987), pp. 44-45; S/PV.2847 (14 February 1989), pp. 23-25; cf. S/PV.2776 (18 December 1987), pp. 11-13.

[16] S/PV.2805 (15 April 1988), pp. 39-40.

[17] S/PV.2774 (16 December 1987), pp. 74-75; S/PV.2777 (22 December 1987), p. 6.  The level of deception to which Israel’s representatives resorted beggars belief. From the beginning of the Intifada, Israel used mass arrests to intimidate demonstrators and communities, and held thousands of people in administrative detention without charge or trial. As local and international human rights organisations subsequently documented, the majority of those arrested were tortured. But in January 1988, Israel’s then representative to the United Nations Benjamin Netanyahu assured the Security Council that “[all] of the suspects we have taken into custody are given due process, with legal representation . . .  If there is no evidence [against them], they are released.” See S/PV.2780 (5 January 1988), p. 12.

[18] S/PV.2460 (2 August 1983), p. 8; S.PV.2605 (13 September 1985), p. 88.

[19] S/RES/592 (8 December 1986).

[20] S/PV.2724 (5 December 1986), p. 52; cf. S/PV.2726 (8 December 1986), p. 21.

[21] S/PV.2726 (8 December 1986), p. 16.

[22] S/PV.2776 (18 December 1987), pp. 12-13, 16.

[23] S/PV.2790 (1 February 1988), pp. 33-35.

[24] S/PV.2806 (15 April 1988), pp. 48-51. The following year, the UK again condemned Israel’s “policy of repression”:

I am not referring only to the almost daily incidents in which unarmed civilians, many of them young people, are either killed or seriously wounded by troops using firearms to end demonstrations . . .  I am thinking more of the guidelines issued to troops by Israeli authorities. Thus the beating of civilians has received official approval; there have been such collective and arbitrary punishments as the demolition of houses and the destruction of crops; and Palestinians have suffered numerous forms of economic and administrative harassment . . . These events . . . have drawn new attention to the fundamental problems underlying the conflict.

See S/PV.2849 (17 February 1989), pp. 23-26.

[25] A/RES/43/21 (3 November 1988), which passed by 130 votes to 2, with 16 abstentions.

[26] A/43/PV.45 (3 November 1988).

[27] A/RES/44/2 (6 October 1989); A/44/PV.23 (6 October 1989).

[28] S/11940 (26 January 1976). The draft was rejected by a vote of 9 to 1 (a US veto), with three abstentions. The UK abstained on the grounds that the draft did not explicitly mention UN Resolution 242. But as Syria pointed out, subparagraph (d) of the draft resolution included “the term ‘secure and recognised boundaries’ . . . which copies faithfully the language” of Resolution 242. See S/PV.1879 (26 January 1976).

[29] Noam Chomsky, Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians—Updated Edition (London: 1999), pp. 64-80; cf. Yasser Arafat’s address to the UN General Assembly in Geneva, 1988 (A/43/PV.78 of 13 December 1988, pp. 11-12) and Muhammad Muslih, “A study of PLO peace initiatives, 1974-1988,” in Avraham Sela and Moshe Ma’oz eds., The PLO and Israel: From armed conflict to political solution, 1964-1994 (Houndmills: 1997)—which, however, incorrectly presents the Oslo agreements as the culmination and apotheosis of these initiatives, rather than their subversion and defeat.

[30] John Kifner, “Hussein surrenders claims on West Bank to the P.L.O.; U.S. peace plan in jeopardy,” New York Times (1 August 1988).

[31] A/43/827 (18 November 1988), “Annex II” and “Annex III.”

[32] A/RES/38/58 C (13 December 1983).  The resolution was adopted by a vote of 124 to 4, with 15 abstentions.

[33] A/38/PV.95 (13 December 1983), paras 186-87; cf. A/38/PV.73 (28 November 1983), para 126.

[34] A/39/PV.95 (11 December 1984), para 162; A/40/PV.114 (12 December 1985), p. 16; A/41/PV.93 (2 December 1986), p. 13; A/42/PV.89 (2 December 1987), pp. 38-40.

[35] EEC, “Declaration on the Middle East,” Bull. EC No. 2-1987 (June 1987), point 2.4.3, p. 91.

[36] EEC, “Declaration on the Middle East (Copenhagen, December 4-5 1987),” Bull. EC No. 12-1987 (March 1988), point 2.4.1, p. 105; cf. EEC Twelve, “Statement on the Arab-Israeli conflict (Copenhagen, July 13 1987),” Bull. EC No. 7/8-1987 (October 1987), point 2.4.1, p. 102.

[37] Rory Miller, Inglorious Disarray: Europe, Israel and the Palestinians since 1967 (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2011), p. 113.

[38] A/RES/43/176 (15 December 1988).

[39] A/43/PV.79 (14 December 1988), p. 72.

[40] A/43/PV.80 (14 December 1988), pp. 103-105.  Cf. A/45/35 (9 November 1990), para 96.

[41] A/43/PV.78 (13 December 1988), pp. 41-45, 52-53.

[42] A/43/PV.78 (13 December 1988), p. 141; cf. A/44/PV.70 (1 December 1989), p. 26.

[43] A/43/PV.79 (14 December 1988), p. 22.

[44] A/43/PV.80 (14 December 1988), pp. 103-105.

[45] A/43/PV.93 (20 April 1989), p. 51.

[46] A/43/PV.94 (20 April 1989), p. 82.

[47] A/44/PV.67 (29 November 1989), pp. 4-5.

[48] A/44/PV.67 (29 November 1989), p. 87.

[49] A/44/PV.68 (30 November 1989), pp. 69-70, 72.

[50] A/44/PV.69 (30 November 1989), pp. 37-38.

[51] A/44/PV.76 (6 December 1989), p. 26.

[52] A/45/35 (9 November 1990), para 96.

[53] A/RES/44/42 (6 December 1989), adopted by a vote for 151 to 3, with one abstention (Belize).  The following year’s resolution was adopted by 144 to 2 (Israel, US), with no abstentions. See A/RES/45/68 (6 December 1990).

[54] A/44/PV.67 (29 November 1989), p. 108.

3 comments

  1. […] first part of this article traced the impact of the First Intifada—a mass nonviolent Palestinian civil revolt that erupted […]

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  2. […] insistence back in the 1980s that the overwhelmingly nonviolent First Intifada comprised a “campaign of terror” by “mobs”, or, more recently, its repeated denials that the Israeli military deployed white phosphorus in […]

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  3. […] insistence back in the 1980s that the overwhelmingly nonviolent First Intifada comprised a “campaign of terror” by “mobs”, or, more recently, its repeated denials that the Israeli military deployed white phosphorus in […]

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