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Kerry confronts ghosts in state of confusion

By David Singer - posted Friday, 21 February 2014

The semantic circus that first created a people known as the "Palestinians" in 1964 - who now claim an entitlement to their own independent State in " the occupied Palestinian Territories" - reached absurd heights with the following bizarre news item this week:

The Israeli authorities have blocked 70 patients from Gaza from entering Israel to receive medical treatment because their transfer documents were marked 'State of Palestine', officials told AFP on Wednesday

Until recently, official stationery has used the term 'Palestinian territories'.

But the logo was changed in mid-December, a year after the Palestinians won recognition as a UN observer state, despite fierce Israeli opposition.


This "War of the Letterheads" adds a new dimension to the conflict between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).

The "State of Palestine" was admitted as a member State of UNESCO on 31 October 2011 by a vote of 107/14 and as a non-observer State at the United Nations (UN) on 29 November 2012 by a vote of 138/9.

Those States voting in favour ignored the legal requirements of Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention 1933 which declares:

The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications:

(a)a permanent population;

(b) a defined territory;

(c) government; and

(d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states

Those States dissenting or abstaining took the view that any State of Palestine to be created for the first time ever in recorded history could only arise as a result of negotiations conducted under the 1993 Oslo Accords, the 2003 Bush Roadmap and the 2007 Annapolis conference between the designated parties - Israel and the Palestinian Authority - ("the agreed negotiating framework").

John V Whitbeck - an international lawyer and advisor to the Palestinian team negotiating with Israel - had flagged the likelihood of this latest War of the Letterheads in an article written in the Cyprus Mail on 13 January 2013.


Whitbeck revealed thatthe Palestinian Authority "had been absorbed and replaced by the 'State of Palestine' in a decree issued by Mahmoud Abbas on 3 January 2013 and signed by him acting in his capacities as president of the State of Palestine and chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO.

Whitbeck's confirmation of the demise of the "Palestinian Authority" with the newly declared "State of Palestine" should surely have signalled the end of further negotiations under the agreed negotiating framework - specifically designed to achieve the birth of that very State.

How could further negotiations on creating the State of Palestine be necessary once that State had been declared by the party demanding its creation?

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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at

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All articles by David Singer

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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