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Analysis: Protecting Palestinians after we join the UN

Aug. 29, 2011 11:51 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 29, 2011 8:44 A.M.)
By: Francis Boyle
In the Nov. 15 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence that was approved by the Palestinian National Council, representing all Palestinians all over the world, the executive committee of the PLO was set up as the Provisional Government for the State of Palestine --pursuant to my advice.

In addition, the Declaration of Independence also provides that all Palestinians living around the world automatically become citizens of the State of Palestine -- pursuant to my advice. So the executive committee of the PLO in its capacity as the Provisional Government for the State of Palestine will continue to represent the interests of all Palestinians around the world when Palestine becomes a UN member state.

Hence all rights will be preserved: for all Palestinians and for the PLO. No one will be disenfranchised. The PLO will not lose its status. This legal arrangement does not violate the Palestinian Charter, but was approved already by the PNC.

Unfortunately, Oxford professor Guy Goodwill-Gill has circulated a memo full of distortions. It is based on many erroneous assumptions. This professor is not aware of all the legal and constitutional technicalities that were originally built into the Palestinian Declaration of Independence to make sure that his doomsday scenario does not materialize -- at my advice.

All rights have been protected and will be protected by Palestine becoming a member state of the United Nations, including the right of return. Indeed, in the memo I originally did for President Arafat and the PLO back in 1988, I explained how we could obtain UN membership.

All of the advice that I gave to President Arafat and the PLO in 1987 to 1989 was originally premised on the assumption that some day we would apply for UN membership. That day has come. Please move forward.

I have been working for this day since I first proposed UN membership for Palestine along the lines of Namibia at the United Nations headquarters in New York in June of 1987. Palestine’s application for UN membership was my idea.

When my client and dear friend, the late, great Dr Haidar Abdul Shaffi, chair of the Palestinian delegation to the Middle East negotiations, instructed me to draft the Palestinian counteroffer to the now defunct Oslo Agreement, he most solemnly told me: “Professor Boyle, we have decided to ask you to draft this Interim Peace Agreement for us. Do whatever you want! But do not sell out our right to our state.”

And I responded to Dr Haidar: “As you know, I was the one who first called for the creation of the Palestinian state back at United Nations Headquarters in June of 1987, and then served as the legal adviser to the PLO on its creation. I will do nothing to harm it.”

As I promised Dr Haidar, I would do nothing to harm Palestine and the Palestinians.

The author is a professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. A previous version of this opinion appeared on the Counterpunch website and is republished here with permission.
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