Thoughts on the so-called “Deal of the Century”
Article by Stavri Kalopsidiotou, member of the Central Committee of AKEL and the Cyprus Problem Office of AKEL, Lawyer-International Law expert
Sunday 2nd February 2020, “Haravgi” newspaper
The notion of justice in international law is the subject of intense debate. Its safeguarding is an existential pursuit for those who insist on the importance of international law, regardless of the subjectivity that surrounds its precise content. This is precisely why great importance is attached to the procedures that are being followed in any effort to resolve a dispute, and in particular as regards the ability of the interested parties to participate on an equal footing, by truly asserting the rights conferred on them by international law.
On the other hand, it would be naive for one to argue that the “law of the mighty” has been completely subordinated to the principles and values underlying the system of international law. On the contrary, in our era we face on a daily basis new provocations and repeated violations that call into question its role and importance, headed by states that are playing a decisive role in shaping international relations.
A more recent example of the questioning of justice and the fundamental principles of international law is the so-called “Deal of the Century” which the US presented in the absence of the Palestinians themselves, threatening in fact that it is a last chance to resolve the problem. In reality, all that is being proposed does not constitute a lifting of the occupation, but quite the opposite, namely the legitimation of its consequences both with regards the issue of territory and property, but also in relation to the refugee issue.
By fully satisfying the long-standing reactionary demands of the State of Israel, the US propose that the State of Palestine should consist of scattered parts of land enclosed within a larger Israel with a capital composed of essentially a few small towns and villages outside the old city of eastern Jerusalem, with Israel handed a pardon for the numerous violations of humanitarian law it has committed against the Palestinians – including the construction of illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories which constitutes a war crime – and annul the right of return of the Palestinian refugees.
A series of resolutions approved by the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council 242 (1967), 252 (1968), 338 (1972), 476 (1980), 478 (1980), 1860 (2009), 2334 (2016), as well as resolution 67/19 (2012), which reiterates that the state of Palestine is placed on the 1967 border and with East Jerusalem as its capital, are being completely ignored. Also ignored is the opinion of the International Court of Justice in 2004, which stresses that Israel is obliged to return the land, the orchards, the olive groves and other property that has been seized for the construction of the wall in the occupied Palestinian territories. Furthermore, the relevant opinion also points out that all states are obliged not to recognize the illegal situation that has arisen as a result of the construction of the wall. Just a few months ago, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process stated that Israeli settlements constitute “a flagrant violation of international law”, regardless of any national policy statements.
The general description of the illegal – according to international law – “management” of the Palestinian issue by the United States and the attempt to impose the fait accompli of the Israeli occupation leads to many conclusions with regards to the myths that are being cultivated in relation to our foreign policy’s prospects and how the solution of the Cyprus problem is asserted.
The illegitimate policy choice of the US as portrayed above is a strong indication against the one-dimensional orientation of the Anastasiades-DISY government’s foreign policy, which may bring the Republic of Cyprus into conflict with states and peoples that have always stood on our side in the struggle for the prevalence of international law and the termination of the occupation. Not least when the semi-occupied Republic of Cyprus does not take a position against the attempt to legalize the fait accompli of another occupation, the illegal colonization, the abolition of the right of return to the Palestinian refugees, but is instead working together – albeit in a tacit way – in their contempt for international law, abandoning the most powerful weapon it has at its disposal against the occupying power, Turkey. Is there perhaps anyone who can substantiate convincingly that the Anastasiades-DISY government’s submission to the commands of the US and Israel will lead to Turkey’s complete isolation and consequently to its being automatically forced to accept a solution of the Cyprus problem in line with our own specifications?
However, there are other conclusions which we can draw. Namely, that the passive passage of time without any real action unfortunately enables the creation of preconditions for a “closure”, instead of a solution of the Cyprus problem on the basis of international law. That the inter-communal dialogue within the framework of the UN must resume immediately, given that it constitutes a protective shield for the achievement of an honorable compromise, in the face of the danger for a further consolidation of the partitionist fait accomplis and their even tacit acceptance by the international community, or – no one can deny this possibility with certainty – of their future promotion.
The latest UN Security Council resolution for the renewal of the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) rings the alarm and increases the concern about such a negative change in course. But this negative change cannot be countered by the current government’s (outside of time and place) pursuit for major geo-political rearrangements that will supposedly make Cyprus a “big player” in the region; simply because even if they occur, they won’t nullify the major and most important issue: the occupation.
Intervention of Georgos Koukoumas, member of the C.C. of AKEL and the International Relations Department, at the Hearing “Palestine: What’s Next?” organized by GUE/NGL2015-07-1
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