Past the Point of No Return? A Right-Based Framework for International Engagement in Israel/Palestine

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Twenty-one years after the Oslo Accords were signed, Israel’s occupation is more deeply entrenched than ever and will not easily be undone. Through a range of policies, the international community has compensated for breaches of Israel’s obligations as an occupying power. Consequently, Israelis lack incentives to alter dangerous practices because their costs are borne by others.

Rather than blithely supporting additional rounds of aimless talks, the international community should undertake a coherent and sustained effort to help Palestinians secure their fundamental rights by (1) clarifying the legal obligations not only of Israel and the Palestinians, but also of third states by requesting a new International Court of Justice opinion, undertaking routine legal impact assessments of donor programmes and appealing to Israel to formally recognise Palestinians’ right to self-determination; (2) revisiting policies that help perpetuate the occupation and establishing tangible incentives for bringing it to an end; (3) refocusing international assistance on expanding Palestinian institutions’ capacity to serve and represent Palestinians across the occupied territory, particularly Area C and Jerusalem; and (4) acting multilaterally to elaborate on and endorse parameters for a Palestinian-Israeli peace settlement in accordance with the long-standing consensus in the UN General Assembly and the Arab Peace Initiative.