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Missing the boat to self-determination: Palestine and Namibia in retrospect.


Since September 1993, despite well-meaning third parties and concerned facilitators, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process has taken place on a playing field which is not level and within a vacuum where no one else is allowed. In addition to this, crucial issues have begun to bear an unmistakable resemblance to the specter of linkage in regard to surrounding states, and it is quite clear that members of the international community perceive there is little they can do. But in the face of present turbulence and future uncertainties, with Palestinian self-determination yet without substance and Israel's tautological security rationale still maintained, it may be worthwhile to critically examine what roles, if any, might have been played by the international community in the past. Notwithstanding the legal principle of self-determination set forth in the United Nations Charter as well as the establishment of assorted U.N. agencies and passing of numerous resolutions in regard to the Palestinians since 1948, such collective initiatives have managed to play not much more than a spectator's role.(2) Here the twin principles of sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of a state have been respected to the highest degree, but apparently with little return. The prolonged gray legal status(3) of any territory and any people have never been recipes for success, and the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is no exception, particularly in a region so problematic and potentially volatile. While the present and future are only looking dim, perhaps a look at the past might shed some guiding light.

One period which may prove to be instructive begins in 1960 with the passing of the first U.N. resolution on decolonization, and ends with the changes wrought by the Six Day War. This was an important moment in time not only for the Palestinians, but also for the people of present-day Namibia,(4) both of whom did not fit into the UN's neat decolonization strategies but nevertheless aspired to self-rule. Comparing the disparate roles global institutions played in both these cases even prior to General Assembly Resolution 1514 in 1960 and until June 1967 may indicate possible paths to follow or avoid in contemporary circumstances, particularly since that period does share some similarities with the present. This similarity is not only true as far as missed opportunities are concerned, but also with the view that the 1960s are omen understood as the age of UN-supported decolonization and democratization, bearing some resemblance to the present era of the birth of new states, the perceived triumph of democracy, and celebrated assumptions linking democracy and peace. Also in the early 1960s, neither the Palestinians nor Namibians had yet resorted to violent activity, a circumstance which reflects the policy and practice of official Palestinian representation today. While acknowledging discrete differences in political environment between these two time periods, reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of past political decision making and some legal considerations might hold lessons which are adaptable to the current imperative of self-determination for a people with recognized legal personality. Such a backward glance might also serve to remind that although the admittedly sui generis character of the present struggle can be understood as a legitimate hindrance to a more fluid peace process or at least progress, this argument does not hold; the unique obstacles to Palestinian self-determination are hardly recent developments, and in fact have been apparent all along.

Upon the unanimous passing in 1960 of Resolution 1514, referred to as the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Territories and Peoples,(5) the map of the world as well as U.N. membership began to change dramatically.(6) Although the principle of self-determination had been included in the creation of the Charter fifteen years earlier, it was not until the results of this resolution actually manifested that the first substantive change in membership composition took place in the General Assembly: the addition of more than thirty-five new members. However, among the more conspicuous cases of people in need of external support for self-determination or independence at the time were the Palestinians and Namibians, who were unaffected by this resolution, most likely due to the problematic and complicated nature of their legal status and political inconvenience. Throughout the 1950s the Palestinians of the West Bank(7) were of concern to the U.N. only as refugees or individuals, with little to no concern regarding their collective political and legal purgatory. South West Africa continued to be administered by South Africa through a League of Nations Mandate. During this period, when repeated appeals through legitimate channels were being made on behalf the Palestinians and Namibians,(8) it seems that ultimately in 1960, in spite of Resolution 1514, the letter of the law and its machinations failed to recognize the spirit of the law, and both peoples were overlooked. It did not remain so for long in the case of South West Africa, where the involvement and concern of the international community, particularly the nonaligned movement, eventually did exercise influence. Here were two indigenous populations of similar size with similar features and expectations during a time when decolonization and self-determination were peaking; nevertheless, both received different treatment and consideration from the international community, resulting in two very different outcomes in the long run. The task of this essay is to provide food for thought in considering the contemporary picture by examining the past, including a review of the origins of the relevant political concepts and legal principles in relation to the cases at hand.


Part of understanding contemporary claims to self-determination and independence rests in understanding the former's origins. Historically this concept has been vague, both .politically and legally, although reference to a Palestinian "right" to it is not uncommon. Although "a people's right to self-determination" is assumed to be a unitary concept, it in fact breaks down into two separate components when examining its roots. Self-determination has not always been understood as a right, nor had it been established that "a people" could be recognized as having sufficient legal personality to exercise such a right. The simultaneous development of these two concepts ultimately did result in a marriage between them, but both concepts and their relevance to the Palestinians and Namibia must be traced separately.

Before the U.N. Charter

Previous to the Second World War there was no recognition of self-determination as a legal principle or right and it was understood only as a political concept.(9) Woodrow Wilson, for example, included only the idea of such within the last part of his Fourteen Points Address, announced in January 1918.(10) Increased support for the idea of self-determination was also reflected a year later in the Treaty of Versailles and its creation of new states out of the former empires. In a similar spirit, the seeds of self-determination were also incorporated into the League of Nations Covenant through the mandate system. This was the closest the Covenant was able to address the concept, although it fell short of granting the same autonomy to the colonies of the defeated powers as it had allowed for the various national groups in Europe. Nevertheless, it was a departure from previous practice, and at the very least did not support automatic annexation. Though still colonial in nature by placing "the well-being and development" of indigenous peoples in the hands of the victorious "advanced nations,"(11) it nevertheless represented a step forward as an admittedly imprecise codification of interest in the advancement and protection of a once-colonized people, something which was previously nonexistent.(12)

Mandated territories were separated into three distinct classifications "according to the stage of the development of the people, the geographical situation of the territory, its economic conditions and other similar circumstances."(13) Palestine was deemed a Class A Mandate, described to have already "reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognized."(14) Class B Mandates, specified as applying particularly to Central Africa, had the Mandatory responsible for overseeing certain freedoms, providing opportunities for economic advancement, and preventing certain abuses and native military build-up.(15) South West Africa (Namibia) and certain South Pacific islands were considered Class C Mandates, which, due to small populations or geographic size, "remoteness from the centres of civilization" or proximity to the Mandatory, would "be best administered under the laws of the Mandatory as integral portions of its territory, subject to the safeguards above-mentioned in the interests of the indigenous population."(16) The League of Nations mandate system remained in effect, with some exceptions, until the creation of the United Nations trusteeship system more or less replaced it.

While it is common knowledge that Great Britain became the League of Nations' mandatory administrator for Palestine, what is not well-known is that the 1922 Mandate for Palestine does not specifically refer to a Palestinian "people," although "the inhabitants of Palestine" are referred to but not defined. This document does make several references to "the Jewish people" and the fair treatment and equal rights they are entitled to as inhabitants or citizens of Palestine. However, it appears to avoid even suggesting just who Palestine's "existing non-Jews" specifically are, and their actual identification is not spelled out anywhere in the document. It is difficult to maintain a claim of "provisional" or de facto recognition of the Palestinians as a singular people based on this document.(17) A point has been made, however, that later on Great Britain demonstrated de facto recognition of the Palestinian people when it negotiated with the leaders of "a people distinct from the European Zionist immigrants" within the MacDonald White Paper of 1939.(18) Even so, one state's purported de facto recognition does not amount to universal acceptance; most important, however, is even at that time "a people" were not yet considered to have the status of legal personality in international law. In legal terms, there was no one group of people anywhere who were entitled or had a "right" to self-determination.

Impact of the U.N. Charter.

There was little question regarding the lack of legal status regarding a right to self-determination and a people prior to World War II. The inclusion of "self-determination of peoples" in the U.N. Charter marked a turning point by combining the terms into an eventually accepted right in international law, albeit a right which was unprecedented due to its new applicability to entities other than states or governments. In the immediate aftermath of World War II, the establishment of the United Nations and the signing of its Charter laid the foundations for the U.N.-led decolonization movement of the 1960s. Most significant is Article 1(2), which states as one of its purposes the desire "to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principal of equal rights and self-determination of peoples." Also, in Chapter IX, International Economic and Social Cooperation, Article 55 expresses again "respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of people," one of the necessary elements for any state desiring "peaceful and friendly relations."

But significant to the Palestinians and Namibians is Chapter XI's Article 73, the Declaration Regarding Non-Self-Governing Territories; although the term "self-determination" is not specifically used, such phrases as "political .. advancement," "the importance of developing self-government," "political aspirations" and "the progressive development of their free political institutions" are present, and as such step intriguingly close to the term self-determination while yet managing to avoid openly using it.

Tied to this new emphasis on self-determination was the replacement of the League's mandate system with a United Nations trusteeship system, described in Chapter XII, articles 75-85. Mandated territories were to be transferred to the trusteeship system through an agreement between the mandatory, the General Assembly, and the Trusteeship Council. Almost all former mandatories complied and the mandated territories subsequently prepared for independence.(19) The two well-known exceptions were South Africa (South West Africa /Namibia) and Great Britain (Palestine), the former refusing to cooperate and the latter evacuating Palestine upon the termination of its mandate before Palestine's future was satisfactorily negotiated. By the early 1940s it was clear to the British they could no longer exercise satisfactory control of Palestine, and in 1947 Britain formally requested termination of the mandate.2 As for Namibia, although it was ruled that South Africa was under no obligation to agree to transfer to the trusteeship system, the terms of the original League mandate were nevertheless to continue to be followed? Over time it became clear that South Africa failed to meet the terms of the mandate.

During this same period, U.N. efforts to arrive at a settlement over Palestine were underway, and in November 1947, the Security Council passed Resolution 181, the well-known document detailing the partition of Palestine into two distinct independent states. The claim has been made that recognition of the Palestinian people by the U.N. did take place within Resolution 181, which partitioned Palestine into eight different regions and provided for the establishment of an "Arab State" in three of them.(22) Since Palestinians were the dominant but not only Arab population in all eight regions, the assumption that "Arab" was synonymous with "Palestinian" is not air tight. Although it may be construed that the Palestinians were the Arabs so indicated in the text, another reading may easily interpret the "inhabitants of Palestine"(23) as any people residing within the geographic area known as Palestine, and not limited to residents who are only ethnic Palestinians.(24) The text in fact treats Palestine purely as the geographic entity to be subsequently divided, and does not suggest any particular or exclusive indigenous entitlement to it as a whole. Nowhere in the text are the terms "Palestinian people" or "Jewish people" used,(25) and so with neither group specified as a "people," there is an implication that there is also no accompanying right to the self-determination so expressed in the Charter.

An additional problem with Resolution 181 is its mention of "Palestinian citizens," possibly implying ethnic Palestinians, though this is couched in ambiguous terms. In B(9) of the same resolution, a discussion on qualified voters, the phrase "Palestinian citizens residing in that state" can be understood as ethnic Palestinians who are already citizens in that yet-to-be-formed state, though this sort of interpretation defies all logic. Another equally troublesome issue is use of the term "citizen," which assumes a previous application of "citizen" for the totality of Palestine; this is problematic on two counts: 1) there had never been any previously established criteria for what constituted a "citizen" for Palestine, and 2) the document alludes to a difference between "citizen" and "resident," although criteria for either is never expressed and so only complicates matters. Resolution 181, failing to identify either party as a "people," was nevertheless passed with thirty-three votes in favor, thirteen against, and ten abstaining.(26)

Even though ultimately the Palestinian representation, backed by the other Arab states, did not approve the resolution, and Great Britain failed in its responsibility to apply any part of it, no other options or considerations were forwarded regarding the inevitable and approaching storm, particularly concerning Palestinian self-determination. In addition, there was no deterrent suggested for either the Zionists or the Arabs from engaging in war. There were also no ramifications when the Palestinians were unable to return to their homes, nor for Transjordan when it took control of the West Bank in 1948. The subtle message regarding the partition plan seemed to have had a rather "take it or leave it" quality, rather remarkable considering the significant Palestinian emigration which had taken place. Palestinian statelessness was furthered in May 1948 when Israel declared its sovereignty, and worsened in June 1952, when harsh criteria for Palestinian naturalization was established, leaving stateless all those who did not qualify.(27) After Resolution 181, Palestinian self-determination became a non-issue, and the withdrawal of it from the Palestinian question has been noted by the Mallisons:

The United Nations accorded the Palestinians de jure recognition of their status as a people with national rights in the provisions of the Palestine Partition Resolution of November 29, 1947, authorizing them to establish 'the Arab state'. From the time of the Resolution in 1947 until 1969, the United Nations dealt with the Palestinians in their de facto role as individuals who were refugees and war victims.(28)

After Resolution 181 and until 1948 the U.N. held two special sessions on the situation in Palestine. Resolutions 181 and 19429 were emphasized in May 1949 when Israel gained admission to the U.N., with that resolution's preamble "recalling its resolutions of 29 November 1947 (181) and 11 December 1948 (194) and taking note of the declarations and explanations made by the representative of the government of Israel before the ad hoe Political Committee in respect of the implementation of said resolutions."(30) The issue of self-determination for the Palestinians became buried during the 1950s, overshadowed particularly by border incidents with contiguous Arab states, and the UN's concern with Israel's unbending policy of punitive retaliation.(31) During this time the U.N. repeatedly reminded Israel of the Palestinian refugees' right of repatriation, and from 1949 to 1963, this particular issue was included in fifteen resolutions? Moreover, Jordan's successful taking of the West Bank in 1948(33) was formalized in 1950, the Jordanians stating their intention to preserve and defend "Arab rights in Palestine," while still respecting Palestine's ultimate outcome in view of "national aspirations, inter-Arab co-operation and international justice."(34) In the same year a Jordanian law was enacted which declared the current laws and regulations of the West Bank as well as the East Bank were to remain in place until unified laws were developed and enforced? Although this might be interpreted as de facto annexation and not in accordance with international law, no such claims were openly stated, although it should be mentioned that Great Britain and Pakistan recognized these changes. The Palestinians who remained in the new Israel or under Jordanian rule in the West Bank were caught up in daily survival, untouched by the independence processes taking place in other parts of the world and still unable to create among themselves any legitimate vehicles for change.

In total, from 1947-1963 more than 400 formal proposals on the Palestine question were brought before the principal organs of the U.N. in the form of draft resolutions, joint draft resolutions, amendments, and joint amendments. Of the 139 resolutions which were formally adopted by the UN, 88 were adopted by the General Assembly and 37 by the Security Council? These resulted in little or no change in Palestinian condition or status. Technically the West Bank and its inhabitants existed in a legal gray zone to which the international community led by the U.N. seemed to have turned a blind eye(37).

1960 and Resolution 1514

No substantive changes regarding the right of self-determination took place between its appearance in the Charter in 1945 and the passing of Resolution 1514 on 14 December 1960. It was the next significant document after the Charter to openly promote self-determination, the foundation for the relatively rapid decolonization of the following two decades. Anxious, and perhaps over-anxious, to promote decolonization and self-determination, instant UN-supported "democracies" sprouted almost overnight, seventeen of them in Africa in 1960 alone, Although most of these new states did not remain democratic in the long run, the most positive and immediate effect of this collective conversion was a marked change in the constitution of U.N. membership and the eventual formation of the influential nonaligned movement.(39)

Prior to Resolution 1514 there was little guidance within the Charter itself or international law in general regarding what constitutes "a people."(40) Although it is evident that linking "self-determination" and "peoples" together implies that it is a group of people not yet self-administered who are legally entitled to do so, there is no explicit definition of such in the Charter. In addition, there is no apparent and attached limit set on the extent to which self-determination may be exercised. The only countervailing weight to the potential wholesale dismembering of states had been the Charter's seemingly detached but equally significant commitment to a state's sovereignty and territorial integrity.(41)

But the matter of who "the people" actually might be slowly began to become clarified, beginning within the text of Resolution 15 14.(42) It is the first time that "non-self-governing territories" and terms referring to a people's right to self-determination occur within the same document.(43) How specific Resolution 1514 is becomes clear in subsequent paragraphs, which refers to ". . . independence in Trust and Non-Self-Governing Territories," "an end . . . to colonialism and all practices of segregation and discrimination associated therewith," "the necessity of bringing to a speedy and unconditional end colonialism in all its forms and manifestations."(44) Although the title of this document suggests it applies only to traditional colonies specifically, the text proves otherwise. This appears to be good news, and would be so if it were not for operative paragraph 5, which on one hand recognizes this broad spectrum of non-self-governing territories but on the other employs a questionable or at least curious qualifying clause, as follows:

Immediate steps shall be taken, in Trust and Non-Self-Governing Territories or all other territories which have not yet attained independence, to transfer all powers to the people of those territories, without any conditions or reservation, in accordance with their freely expressed will and desire, without any distinction as to race, creed or color, in order to enable them to enjoy complete independence and freedom.

The phrase "in accordance with their freely expressed will and desire," is worth considering for two reasons: 1) it is unarguable that the Palestinians and Namibians at that time were and had been unable to freely express themselves for many years, and 2) not all former colonies which had been granted independence had actually expressed, freely or otherwise, their "will and desire" for self-determination, and in fact had been carefully "prepared" for independence by the U.N. or their Security Council member administrators.(45) In short, conditions were set which were almost impossible to meet without substantive external assistance.

Even more curious is that the former non-self-governing mandated territory of Palestine, which was seen fit to be divided into two separate and distinct self-governing territories only thirteen short years earlier, was not affected by the passing of this resolution; indeed, the passing of Resolution 1514 would have been a convenient moment for the U.N. to take the initiative to resurrect this matter. This is especially so in view of the uncertain status of the Palestinian people as well as the territorial West Bank; again, various initiatives had been taken by the U.N. to instrumentalize the independence of other former non-self-governing territories. In the cases of the Palestinians and Namibians, where the native inhabitants were quite clearly unable to freely express themselves perhaps more than most non-self-governing territories at that time, and despite the fact that the U.N. had been petitioned throughout the 1950s to address both matters, no appreciable initiatives were taken. According to Resolution 1514, both peoples seemed to constitute a people in need of self-determination, but in actual practice they were not treated as such. Although neither people had sufficiently organized politically through their own efforts or external assistance to "freely express" their collective political "will and desire" just prior to 1960, this does not explain their absence from the UN's agenda, particularly since their respective political circumstances were hardly unknown.

When the Palestine Liberation Organization came into being in 1964, it filled a political vacuum by being the first organ through which the people might "freely express" themselves collectively and politically. A result of a 1964 Arab League summit conference, 422 Palestinians from ten Arab countries met in Jerusalem in May of that year to form the PLO. A National Covenant and General Principles of a Fundamental Law were also established at that time. Prior to 1964 there were no institutions or organizations at any level which gave voice to or provided representation for Palestinian social, political, cultural, economic, and educational needs.(46) The PLO attempted to create "a state structure similar to other established nations and systems of government"(47) for all Palestinians in spite of Jordanian rule and the diaspora. The Basic Law also provided elected representation for the Palestinian people and the establishment of nine "permanent discussion committees," only one of them related to armed conflict.(48) At that time their activities were indeed deliberately political and national in scope, "national" admittedly referring more to a nation of people than a specified geographic area.

Nevertheless, despite the passing and practices of Resolution 1514 in 1960 until the 1967 Six Day War, the right of self-determination for the Palestinians remained a moot point. This may be explained by the fact that the West Bank and its Palestinian population was assumed to have been absorbed de facto, but not de jure, into Jordan, where they constituted two-thirds of the population and were granted Jordanian citizenship. Elsewhere, however, the Palestinians lived largely in refugee camps, and were considered stateless, since citizenship was difficult if not impossible to attain. They were rallied only by the formation of the PLO and earlier by the policies of Egyptian President Gamel Abdel Nasser, which were pan-Arab and anti-Israeli.

This quiet political acquiescence of the international community prior to the Six Day War was soon replaced by what seemed to be attempts to catch up for lost time and lost opportunities. This included the 1969 Resolution 2535,(49) wherein the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people were expressly recognized. Resolution 2672(50) of 1970 reiterated this, followed by similar resolutions in 1971 and 1972. It was not until 1970 and the unanimous passing of Resolution 2625 that the status of non-self-governing territories and the conditions under which that status might be changed were more fully elaborated. Stating "the territory of a colony or other non-self-governing territory has under the Charter a status separate and distinct from the territory of the state administering it,"(51) it maintained that it is not until the people within that territory "exercise their right of self-determination" can that status be changed. In addition, Resolution 2625 appeared to replace the people's right to "freely express" found in Resolution 1514 with their right to "exercise," though this change could arguably amount to no more than a game of semantics. Although Resolution 2625 finally did address and define the status of the territory in question, as mentioned above, doing so only made up for the fact that this issue had not been covered earlier, and seems to suggest that it was due more to political imperative brought on by public awareness and nonaligned bloc pressure than legal diligence. Within two more years the Palestinians were to be confirmed as the "principal party to the question of Palestine" and the PLO was recognized as their official representative (Resolution 3210),(52) thus constituting the representative "self." Five weeks later the PLO was granted observer status within the General Assembly (Resolution 3237).(53) This might have been too little too late. After twenty years of being overlooked, of not being seen as "a people" but as a refugee problem, the Palestinians began in 1967 their long and at times violent journey of more than thirty years to the present stalemate. Hindsight might raise questions about the current state of affairs, and speculate how circumstances might have been different if such General Assembly initiatives had taken place before 1967.


The recognition of the Namibians initially followed a course similar to that of the Palestinians, and no mention of them as a people with a right to self-determination occurred in a legal document before 1966. Within five years of gaining its independence in 1993, the former South-West Africa is considered by some to be one of the most successful cases of political self-determination in all of Africa.(54)

Mandated South West Africa

In 1920 Great Britain became the territory's mandatory power, with South Africa, then a Commonwealth member, assigned to act in Great Britain's interest. The League considered South West Africa as a Class C Mandate, and South Africa was required to ". . . promote to the utmost the material and moral well-being and the social progress of the inhabitants of the territory . . . ."(55) Under South African rule there was, among other things, the establishment of martial law and mass imprisonment, forced labor on the railroads and in mines, as well as the establishment of apartheid when white settlers were granted limited self-government in 1925. There were clear signs that the indigenous population was dissatisfied with South African rule, and that the terms of the mandate were not being met. All resistance efforts were firmly crushed. The South African government began to look upon South West Africa and its valuable natural resources, as well as the desirable port of Walvis Bay, with a goal of annexation. But as noted earlier, in 1945 the League of Nations and its mandate system dissolved and the United Nations with its trusteeship system was formed. In 1946, when Resolution 9(I)(56) suggested the mandatory powers transfer to the trusteeship system, South Africa instead announced its desire to annex South West Africa. Resolution 65(I)(57) of that same year rejected this, and reiterated the General Assembly's wish to place South West Africa under a trusteeship. South Africa refused, and by 1949 announced it would discontinue submitting the required annual reports as stipulated in the original mandate. This was the beginning of a series of protracted disagreements between the U.N. and South Africa as well as the latter's concerted effort toward the de facto annexation of South West Africa, beginning with legislation giving South West Africa's white settlers voting representation in the South African parliament. At the time, South Africa's overt and deliberate defiance of the fledgling U.N. must have overshadowed the seemingly less significant strong-arm activities of the Zionists' struggle to establish their own state. Although it refused to transfer to the trusteeship system, South Africa was still legally obligated to South West Africa under the 1920 League mandate; there was no legal obligation on the part of the U.N. to designate South West Africa as a trust territory.

As in the case of the Palestinians, from 1950 to 1960 various appeals in the form of petitions and communications concerning the legal status of South West Africa were sent to the Security Council and General Assembly, the initiators of these appeals ranging from the British Anti-Slavery Society to the ICJ, from white clergy to the very few blacks permitted to leave the territory.(58) Every event involving South African abuse was reported, and by 1960, the U.N. was receiving 120 petitions per year. South Africa's failure to live up to the responsibilities of the 1921 mandate were increasingly noted. The 1950s saw some progress in the formation of Namibian associations and efforts to involve the U.N. and the International Court of Justice (ICJ), but these efforts were greatly impeded by continued South African oppression and the relative unresponsiveness of legal and political international institutions. The General Assembly became active in directly addressing the problem, and created the following mechanisms to do so: Committee on South West Africa (1953); Good Offices Committee (1957); Special Committee for South West Africa (1961, but superseded in 1962 by the Special Committee on Decolonization).(59) Since twenty-four of the thirty-seven new states created in the period from 1946-1960 were in Africa alone, it is not unlikely that this must have had some impact on the resolve of the South African government to tighten its grip on South West Africa and continued dominance of the territory.

In 1960 Namibia's plight was brought to the attention of the ICJ by Ethiopia and Liberia, both of which had been League members and were not products of post-war decolonization and self-determination processes, having been recognized as sovereign states since 1897 and 1847 respectively. They raised the issue of South Africa's failure to maintain the terms of the League mandate and how several other breaches of conduct and obligation had also taken place? No comparable attention or support was afforded the Palestinians at this time. One of the main differences between Palestine and Namibia was that the native political organization SWAPO (South West African People's Organization) was more timely in its formation in April 1960. It is perhaps partially due to this difference that the path of the Namibians began to slowly diverge from that of the Palestinians. In 1960 SWAPO was formed with the stated objective ". . . to build the party structure nationally and to channel the grievances and aspirations of workers and peasants into political commitment to the straggle."(61) In doing so they became collectively identifiable and inadvertently(62) fulfilled Resolution 1514's stipulation for a people's "freely expressed . . . will and desire," something which the Palestinians were not to demonstrate until the formation of the PLO four years later.(63) Although the U.N. did not act on this, SWAPO nevertheless was one step closer towards fulfilling the resolution's requirement at least four years earlier than the Palestinians. In fact, the formation of SWAPO and its declared objectives preceded the passing of the December 1960 General Assembly Resolution 1514 by eight months. Although by 1961 the intention to prepare for armed struggle was decided and young recruits were sent abroad for military training, SWAPO did not engage in combat until 1966. Similar to the PLO's subsequent aims, during the first few years of its existence SWAPO openly declared its desire to pursue national unity and that political and military measures towards independence "were complementary and should be pursued concurrently." SWAPO also wisely invested its efforts in providing services to the Namibian people whenever the South African government failed to adequately do so. Although the formation of SWAPO activity appeared to be of a purely social-political nature, it was eventually to have legal ramifications in establishing its credibility for the UN's eventual recognition of SWAPO as the official representative of the Namibian people.(64)

Despite these indigenous political developments, South Africa continued its oppressive policies towards the Namibian people as well as develop plans for de facto annexation. In 1963 the General Assembly condemned South Africa for its lack of cooperation on the matter and warned attempts to annex South West Africa would be considered an act of aggression. This was followed in 1964-65 by the UN's recently formed Special Committee of 24 declaring, among other things, that recently proposed South African "improvements" for South West Africa, devised through the Odendaal Commission, would unmistakably result in annexation.

The issue did not fail to reach an international audience. Western countries which had just witnessed and supported the US civil rights movement, as well as recently decolonized independent states were eager to condemn white South African rule and apartheid through U.N. channels. By 1966 the involvement of the U.N. and the ICJ accelerated rapidly. After six years of deliberation, the International Court of Justice returned the long-awaited but disappointing verdict on Ethiopia and Liberia's request regarding South Africa's failure to uphold obligations of the original mandate. On 18 July 1966, the ICJ finally delivered the decision that it was unable to rule on the case due to the claim that Ethiopia and Liberia had no legal right or interest in the matter. It was further explained there was no provision in the League's Covenant for individual member states to make such requests in regard to the administration of a mandated territory: the "moral idea" was not to take precedence over the rule of law.(65) The newly independent countries were galvanized. Within two weeks of the decision, thirty-five African countries requested that South West Africa be treated as a priority at the 1966 autumn session of the General Assembly. The result was that by the end of October 1966, Resolution 2145(66) terminated South Africa's mandate and returned the responsibility of South West Africa to the U.N.(67) In addition, it reiterated the people's "inalienable right to self-determination, freedom, and independence" and created an Ad Hoc Committee for South West Africa which was to assist in the achievement of independence. This was followed by Resolution 2248(68) in 1967, which established the U.N. Council for South West Africa, providing, among other responsibilities, extensive powers that included law-making, law maintenance, and an independence target date of June 1968. It was passed on 19 May 1967, just eighteen days before the Six-Day War. Although these efforts did not result in prompt and positive solutions, it began a process in which, at least for Namibia, there was no going back.


Reflecting on the past. If the international community's past involvement provides any suggestions at all for the present, they offer suggestions concerning which hazards to avoid as well as which past strategies might similarly be applied. In the case of the former, the non-aligned movement was quick to rally to the Palestinian cause after 1967, but only, it seems, when circumstances seemed critical, and perhaps when it was very late, perhaps too late to be immediately effective. In addition, although there may be several explanations for why self-determination was not on the table in the 1950s for either Palestine or Namibia, it is doubtful if any reasoning might explain why the status of the Palestinians had been permitted to continue unchecked for so long, particularly in view of the fact that Palestine had only too recently been considered a class A mandated territory and as such was deemed almost ready for self rule. When the U.N. assumed the twin tasks of self-determination and decolonization in 1960, the established lack of interest in Palestinian self-determination and status might have had the subsequent repercussion of signaling Israel that a rather free hand could be applied in administering the area, and that, as with Jordan, the international community would simply look aside. Several options to act on this matter through the General Assembly and inspired by resolutions passed on Namibia's behalf might also have been possible before the turn of events in 1967, though the international community chose to maintain the status quo.

Future options. It may well be that in the midst of so many recent and compelling Security Council resolutions, the understated potential of the less conspicuous General Assembly resolutions has been overlooked. The opportunity to benefit from the influence of General Assembly resolutions has not been completely lost, however, and what might have been forwarded in the early 1960s could still have salience today. With that in mind, a clear and committed demonstration of international support might serve to deter or at least retard further deterioration. The galvanizing effect of such international involvement on this issue might also contribute to a reduction in internal Palestinian social and political tensions, even if only to a small degree. Whether or not this might bolster Palestinian morale would be sheer speculation, although the Palestinians have continuously sought U.N. involvement over the years. Moreover, a series of several related resolutions might bring pressure to bear on the Security Council, never mind the more widespread influence such resolutions would have in legitimizing any progressive Palestinian aims and marginalizing any party's objections or impediments to such aims. Variations or adaptations of the General Assembly resolutions passed on behalf of the Namibian people in the 1960s might serve as approximate models. Modifications of the Namibian resolutions discussed above, they might include, for example, a U.N. Council for Palestine which would include a U.N. Commissioner; such an action would neither threaten Israel's integrity nor be without international support. Although this Council would not need to fulfill the same criteria nor take on the same responsibilities as in Namibia's resolution 2248, it might indeed fill some gaps within the Palestinian Authority which are presently underdeveloped. What temporary autonomy the PA might believe it is relinquishing with such a resolution would be countered by the advantages of official support from the international community. Resolution 2248 also announced a tentative date of independence for Namibia. As impossible as this seems to be under the present circumstances, a projected date of a clearly defined autonomy would not be unthinkable. As in the case of Namibia, a resolution announcing the official name of the territory might also be possible, though there are of course the problems of explicitly delineating the territory. This last thought might be particularly fitting due to the General Assembly resolution passed in early July this year which upgraded Palestinian status at the UN; their somewhat extended observer status might be complemented by a designation more forward-looking than the current, simply-put "Palestine."

The advantage of such an approach is that it would have the weight of international consensus behind it without the problematic inherent urgency or required unanimity of a Security Council resolution. Moreover, due to the experiences of recent years, the idea of U.N. involvement often assumes contributing troops or military personnel to one degree or another; this would not be the case regarding General Assembly resolutions. Though they might not impose any immediate changes on current circumstances, their influence may be more shrewdly cognitive than immediately concrete. Any combined efforts in the form of General Assembly resolutions would serve to further legitimate the problem at hand without the risk of becoming embroiled in open conflict.

Although Israel has not been forthcoming in the implementation of the many Security Council and General Assembly resolutions which have been passed, and has looked upon such efforts as interference in domestic affairs, these obstacles can be addressed due to two lines of reasoning. Respectively, then, resolutions can be formulated so no demand is made on Israel to act, but that such resolutions are of a more either declaratory or institution-building (and not accusatory) nature; that rather than place an obligation upon Israel, the international community instead creates an obligation for itself to fulfill which would support or re-engage the peace process. In regard to the latter obstacle concerning domestic interference, there is the fact that regional tensions and insecurities have clearly heightened since the Gulf War, to which Israel's internal security concerns are evidently linked; this clearly constitutes a matter of concern relating to international peace and security. Israel's demand for noninterference should not, for example, be compared with the international community's lack of involvement with the internal affairs of Great Britain in Northern Ireland; although indeed events took place which were questionable, Northern Ireland's geographic location on the periphery of Europe hardly justified it as a threat to international peace and security.

Between Israel's constant and chronic focus on the potential risks from interrelated foreign and domestic security threats, as well as its location in the midst of the Middle East region, there is little doubt that this constitutes a concern for international peace and security, and thus the formal concern of the U.N. Israel's own characterization of its security hazards in fact exemplify the very purpose of the U.N. as described in the first article of its Charter.(69) It is inevitable that there would be objections to even the most subtle of General Assembly actions, particularly depending on when and how they are introduced and formulated. One example would be U.S. Ambassador Bill Richardson's recent comment on the July resolution, stating it was "the wrong resolution at the wrong time"; considering the duration of the stalemate and the U.S.'s failure to effect any positive change in this, Richardson's implication that there might be a "right time" in the future seems vacuous, at best. Actually applying such resolutions in the face of strong objections by the U.S. or Israel might indeed not always be possible, although the U.N. is certainly no stranger to open challenge or defiance: the South Africans repeatedly defied U.N. decisions during Namibia's straggle, at times even obstructing U.N. representatives from entering the country. Nevertheless, the impact this had on underscoring the uncooperative resolve of South Africa's position served to keep the Namibian straggle a matter of consistent international concern on their long road to independence. South Africa's hostility toward international concern only compounded and confirmed their growing belligerent image, and in the long run certainly won them few allies.

Although it is unlikely that circumstances concerning the Palestinian issue would ever be able to enlist the unanimous support of the Security Council, there are, should that become a possibility, several options under Chapter VI of the Charter which the Security Council could take and would not entail a physical presence.(70) The idea of sanctions against Israel has also been proffered, but this may turn out to be rather retrograde and antithetical to a constructive outcome. International sanctions aside, however, the regional involvement of Israel's trading partners might be able to take a more active and immediately influential role, even unofficially, particularly since Israel relies so heavily on foreign trade. Here the peace process has an advantage over the circumstances of the past, since there has been a qualitative and contextual change regarding factors which tied the hands of the international community in the early 1960s. Engaging the U.N. or any other regional or international organization in this matter may seem to be a somewhat hasty and unconventional leap from the current modus operendi, but with the process as stalled as it has been for some time, and with several more crucial issues yet to be negotiated, the future for this process looks bleak without the aid of an effective kick-start. The United Kingdom's recent decision to upgrade the diplomatic status of the Palestinian delegation and the prospect of other Western countries following suit can also be seen an positive unilateral steps towards an atmospheric change.

These initiatives are especially critical when considering that as much as self-determination has become an established principle of international law, there seems to be no clear procedure for attaining it. It is now almost fifty years since the British mandate over Palestine was terminated and only now is the reality of some autonomy beginning to appear on the horizon, though at times it seems to be sinking rather than rising. Namibia's independence also took longer than the law should have allowed; both cases were needlessly lengthy. This does not bode well for future cases, which are not bound to fall within predetermined descriptive boundaries and are surely going to have each of their own special circumstances for which the U.N. also is not prepared. Somaliland is a case in point; the Basque movement is another. It is clear that U.N. involvement does not always has positive consequences, but in some situations U.N. concern as well as the attention and interest of the international community have had positive effects. This does not imply that U.N. involvement in self-determination issues serves as a panacea or as a singular solution to the problem at hand, but only that its role should not be underestimated and that its less sensational resources might be underutilized.

Despite their stated willingness to abide by the rules of international law and the growing responsiveness and concern of the international community, the Palestinian people, through the Palestinian Authority, still have not fully exercised their right to self-determination. How lasting the recognition received and progress made thus far might be, despite the claim that it is irreversible, is called into question when considering whether their seeming Sysiphian task might only amount to a metaphor for history repeating itself.


1. The author wishes to thank Professor Peter Wallensteen and Dr. Eugene Makhlouf for their comments and encouragement.

2. One example would be the Conciliation Commission for Palestine, established in 1950, and responsible for the task of pursuing refugee right of return and international status for Jerusalem; it was noted the commission had "not exercised any effective functions in the Palestine issue". See The Origins and Evolution of the Palestine Problem 1917-1988 (New York; United Nations 1988) p. 182.

3. Although the West Bank and Gaza Strip are widely accepted in international law as having the legal status of "occupied territories," the most important party in this debate, Israel, rejects this application. See for example the argument made by Yehuda Z. Blum, "The Missing Reversioner: Reflections on the Status of Judea and Samaria," Israel Law Review, Vol. 3, 1968, esp. pp. 283288.

4. This article will refer to contemporary Namibia's former name South West Africa - only when historically expedient.

5. G.A. Res. 1514, 15 U.N. GAOR, U.N. Doc A/L. 323 and Add. 1-6 (1960) Regarding unanimity, the voting record shows 90 in favor, 0 against, and 9 abstentions.

6. Although decolonization and independence had taken place for some states prior to Resolution 1514, no visibly qualitative changes or shifts in the voting pattern took place at this time.

7. This discussion is restricted primarily to the West Bank.

8. Although it can be argued that the lack of a representative Palestinian body by 1960 might explain this, the issue of Palestinian self-determination was well within the living memory of the international community, the issue having been very much on the U.N. agenda only 11 short years earlier; see for example G.A. Resolution 273 (III) from 11 May 1949, regarding Israel's acceptance into the UN, wherein they are reminded of GA resolutions 181 (II) and 194 (III). Israel's application to the U.N. six months earlier was turned down specifically due to noncompliance of such resolutions.

9. This was made clear in the Aland Islands decision of 1920, where it was established that the important role of self-determination had not yet reached "... the same footing as a positive rule of the Law of Nations." Aland Islands Question: Report of the Committee of Jurists, League of Nations, Official Journal, Special Supp. No 3 (October 1920), p. 5.

10. Contrary to common assumptions, Wilson's Fourteen Points do not use the term "self-determination" anywhere in the document, although the term "self-government" is used twice: in Point 10 in reference to the peoples of the Austrian Empire; and Point 12, aimed at non-Turks who had been living within the Turkish Empire. Adam Roberts offers a more extended critique of Wilson in respect to self-determination in "Beyond the Flawed Principle of National Self-Determination," The Warwick Debates (Warwick University 1996; revised text October 1996).

11. League of Nations Covenant art. 22, paras. 1 and 2.

12. Within the League there was a ten member Permanent Mandates Commission primarily composed of citizens of non-mandatory states; the documents themselves were considered to be international treaties agreed to between the League of Nations Council and the mandatory power. Besides the previously mentioned responsibilities there was also the required submission of an annual report on the status of the mandated territory to the Council, and more importantly, instructions that disputes involving interpretation were to be brought before the Permanent Court of International Justice.

13. Ibid. art. 22, para. 3.

14. Ibid. art. 22, para. 4.

15. Ibid. art. 22, para. 5.

16. Ibid. art 22, para. 6.

17. It has been unsuccessfully argued that all U.N. members have recognized the Palestinian people as an independent nation through U.N. Charter article 80(1) and League Covenant article 22(4). Francis A. Boyle, "Creating the State of Palestine," Palestine Yearbook of International Law, Volume IV, 198788, p. 28.

18. Mallison, 44.

19. Present-day Somalia, for example, was "prepared" for independence by two mandatory powers, Great Britain in northern "Somaliland" and Italy in southern Somalia. Although it could be argued that the preparation was not thorough and thus led to the relatively short-lived "democracy" from 1960 to 1969, this illustrates the U.N.'s active commitment to the principle at that time.

20. See, for example, David Ben-Gurion's account of Israeli determination to discontinue their mandate status in Rebirth and Destiny of Israel (New York; The Philosophical Library, 1954), 419. See also Theodor Herzl, The Complete Diaries (New York; Herzl Press, 1969), Vol. I, 88.

21. For a thorough and detailed account of the Namibian case, see The International Mandate System and Namibia by Isaak I. Dore (Boulder; Westview Press, Inc., 1985).

22. Mallison... 44.

23. G.A. Resolution 181 (1947), 2U.N., A,(d).

24. Within the three regions comprising the designated "Jewish State," there were 497,000 Arabs in comparison to 498,000 Jews. Within that Arab population were 90,000 non-Palestinians who were defined as Bedouin. Official Records of t he General Assembly, Second Session, Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestine Question, vol. 1, p. 54.

25. In subsequent documents, however, the Palestinians were often referred to as "Palestinian Arabs". See, for example, "Progress Report of the United Nations Mediator on Palestine," document a/648, 1948.

26. G.A. Res. 181.

27. Anis F. Kassim, "Legal Systems and Developments in Palestine," Palestine Yearbook of International Law, Vol. I, 1984, 25-26.

28. Mallison... 44.

29. G.A. Res. 194 (1948)3 U.N.. This resolution stressed four main points: the establishment of a Conciliation Commission; a request to the Security Council to ensure the demilitarization of Jerusalem; the placing of the city of Jerusalem under an international regime; the right of refugee repatriation.

30. G.A. Res. 273 (1949), 3 U.N.

31. Fred J. Khouri, "The Policy of Retaliation in Arab-Israeli Relations," The Middle East Journal, Vol. 20, Autumn 1966, No. 4, pp. 435 455.

32. These were G.A. Resolutions No.: 302(8 Dec. 1949); 394 (14 Dec. 1950); 512 (Jan 26 1952); 614(6 Nov. 1952); 720 (27 Nov. 1953); 818 (4 Dec. 1954); 916 (3 Dec. 1955); 1018 (28 Feb. 1957); 1191 (12 Dec. 1957); 1315 (12 Dec. 1958); 1456 (9 Dec. 1959); 1604 (21 April 1961); 1725 (20 Dec. 1961); 1856 (20 Dec. 1962); 1912 (3 Dec. 1963).

33. An excellent account of the illegality of Jordan's actions can be found in "The Observance of International Law in the Administered Territories," by Meir Shamgar, Israel Yearbook on Human Rights, Vol I, 1971, 263-290. For a defense of the Arab League's justification for their actions, see their cable sent to the U.N. Secretary-General, U.N. Doc. S/745, reprinted in 3 U.N. SCOR, Supp for May 1948, at 83-88.

34. U.N. Doc. S/745, reprinted in 3 U.N. SCOR, Supp for May 1948, at 83-88.

35. This was known as the Law Regarding Laws and Regulations in Force in the Two Banks of the Hashemite Jordan Kingdom.

36. China and the USSR remained for the most part silent on this issue, while France, the UK, and the US played a more active role, submitting the following number of resolutions: France - 21; UK - 30; USA - 43.

37. Even earlier, little mention was ever made of Jordan's presence in and control of the West Bank from 1948-1967, which according to Shamgar could have been interpreted as illegal occupation in spite of the Arab League's eventual decision to accept Jordan's presence under certain conditions. See. 34.

38. In 1960 the following African states became independent: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, The Congo, Dahomey (Benin 1975), Gabon, Ivory Coast, Malagasy Republic (Madagascar), Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Togo, Upper Volta, Zaire.

39. The composition of the ICJ changed as well, with more candidates available from nonaligned countries. Shaw specifically points to Namibia as a case on point for illustrating how "the alteration in the stance adopted by the Court with regard to the Namibia case between 1966 and 1971 can be attributed in large measure to changes in the composition of the Court that took place in the intervening period." Shaw, 659.

40. This point is discussed in the cases of both "the Palestinian people" and "the Jewish people" by Sally V. Mallison and W. Thomas Mallison Jr., "The Juridical Bases for Palestinian Self-Determination," Palestine Yearbook of International Law, Vol. I, 1984, 44-46. See also their footnotes 43 & 45.

41. The Mallisons also stress this point and quote a U.N. summary report from 1945 which declared self-determination to be understood as "the right to self-government of peoples and not the right of secession." See Mallison, p.40, fn. 20.

42. Resolution 1514 was much broader as to whom it applied when compared to a resolution from the same session but passed one day later, Resolution 1541. The latter involved the responsibility of administrative states to provide the U.N. with information on territories which were "geographically separate and . . . distinct ethnically and/or culturally from the country administering it". The implication here is that the administrators of Namibia and Palestine, though indeed ethnically or culturally distinct, were not also "geographically separate" and as such not obligated to report on these territories. Although South Africa had refused to submit annual reports eleven years earlier, the unfortunate wording of Resolution 1541 only further justified their actions.

43. The second operative paragraph of the document states: "All peoples have the right to self-determination: by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development." Although within the U.N. Charter, Chapter XI deals with non-self-governing territories, the term "self-determination" is never used, though closely related terms are. This includes "political . . . advancement," "the importance of developing self-government" and "the progressive development of their free political institutions".

44. Author's italics.

45. Somalia is a good example of this, although admittedly it did not have the most positive outcome. In 1950 Great Britain and Italy were each charged respectively with trusteeships of northern and southern Somalia for independence, under the watchful eye of the UN. Although, for example, a U.N. observer mission in 1958 reported the southern Somalis insufficiently prepared for independence, plans to do so in 1960 went ahead anyway. See Robert L. Hess, Italian Colonialism in Somalia (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966), p. 194.

46. Since the Palestine National Liberation Movement (al-Fatah), formed sometime earlier, was a guerrilla movement, its political influence was not as ambitious, visible, or widespread as the PLO.

47. Dr. Sami Mussalam, "The Palestine Liberation Organization: Its Function and Structure," (Palestine Liberation Organization Unified

Information: 1987), 5.

48. Mussalam, 30-31.

49. G.A. Res. 2535, 24 U.N. GAOR, U.N. Doc. A/7839 (1969).

50. G.A. Res. 2672, 25 U.N. GAOR, U.N. Doc. A/8204/Add. 1 (1979).

51. G.A. Resolution 2625, para.6.

52. G.A. Res. 3210, 29 U.N. GAOR, U.N. Doc. A/L.736 and Add. 1 and 2 (1974).

53. G.A. Res. 3237, 29 U.N. GAOR, U.N. Doc. A/L. 736 and Add. 1 (1974).

54. See for example, Paul Ntungwe Ndue, "Africa's Turn Towards Pluralism," Journal of Democracy, Vol. 5, No 1, January 1994; 45-54.' Not only does he cite Namibia as a "splendid example of pluralist democracy," but also discusses the failure and weaknesses of democracy by consent, p.46-47. Political and social problems have also not gone unnoticed. See for example Dr. Henning Melber, "Namibia: The Case of a Post-Colonial White Settler Society" in Southern Africa Political and Economic Monthly, Vol. 6, No.7, April 1993.

55. Mandate Agreement for German South West Africa, Article 2, 17 December 1920.

56. G.A. Res. 9(1), 1 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 5), U.N. Doc. A/64 at 13 (1946).

57. G.A. Res. 65(1), 1 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 5) U.N. Doc A/64Add. 1 at 123 (1946).

58. The British Anti-Slavery Society, for example, appealed in 1957 (UN document 4773), the ICJ in 1960 (document 2292), Reverend Michael Scott (in one of many repeated attempts, (document 2288 in 1960), and Chief Hosea Kutako, Nghuwo Jepongo, Mburumba Kerina and others, also in document 2288 in 1960.

59. The official name of this body is the Special Committee on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.

60. Ethiopia and Liberia's November efforts were preceded by a June conference of African states which took place in Addis Ababa, where it was decided the independent African states would employ seven policies to protest and combat South Africa's apartheid system. Among these policies were the removal of South Africa's Commonwealth membership and instigating international involvement.

61. SWAPO, To Be Born a Nation, (London; Zed Press, 1981), p. 176.

62. The formation of SWAPO and this statement took place in April 1960, eight months before Resolution 1514 was passed.

63. Although a four-year gap might not generally seem significant, the status of regional political-military conditions in the Middle East from 1960 to 1964 was that of a marked increase in tension. Any windows of opportunity which might have existed in 1960 were unobtainable by 1964. For a contemporary and fuller discussion of this period, see Fred J. Khouri, "The Policy of Retaliation in Arab-Israeli Relations," Middle East Journal, Volume 20, Autumn 1966, No. 4, pp.435-455.

64. G.A. Res. 3111, 28 U.N. GAOR, U.N. Doc. A/9419 (1973).

65. See International Court of Justice Proceedings, "South West Africa Case: Second Phase, Judgment of July 1966," The Hague.

66. G.A. Res. 2145, 21 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 16) at 2, U.N. Doc. A/6316 (1966).

67. The voting record shows 114 votes in agreement, 2 against (Portugal and South Africa) and three abstentions.

68. G.A. Res 2248, 22 U.N. GAOR Fifth Special Session, U.N. Doc. A/66571, Supp. 1 (1967).

69. Among the purposes listed, the most relevant are found in paragraphs (1) and (3), which include taking "effective, collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace. . . and to being about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace."

70. It is acknowledged that the prospects of the United States supporting any Security Council resolution which would even remotely be interpreted as anti-Israeli are slim to none. However, should a resolution be forwarded which would be acceptable to the US, there is also the need for the additional vote of four non-permanent members.

Mary-Jane Fox holds a research and teaching position in the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, Sweden.
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Date:Jun 22, 1998
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