The Proposal of the Islamic Republic of Iran to resolve the Palestinian issue

The Plan for Holding a National Referendum in the Territory of Palestine

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For more  than   seven  decades,  the  question  of Palestine  has  been  the  world’s oldest and  most complicated  crisis. As  a result of the  continued  expansionist policies as  well  as  the  illegal  and   inhumane  practices  of the  Zionist  regime,  the  oppressed people of Palestine  have been deprived  of their  inalienable  and  imprescriptible  rights and   their  living  conditions  have  deteriorated  on  a  daily  basis.  Such  policies  and practices, which are in violation of the purposes and  principles of the Charter of the United   Nations   and    the   rules   of   international    law,   particularly    international humanitarian  law and  human rights, have been systematically  intensified due to the failure of the  international  community in  taking  serious  practical  measures to resolve the  question  of Palestine.

To realize their  fundamental  rights, particularly  the  right  to self-determination, as well as self-defence  against occupation  and  illegal  expropriation of their  territory, the   people  of  Palestine   have  resisted   and   made  praiseworthy   efforts   thus   far. Nevertheless,  due to  the  lack of any  comprehensive and  practical  initiative  or plan corresponding   with   the   historical   facts   and   historical   roots  of  the   question  of Palestine,  it has remained  unresolved.

Given the  destructive  consequences  of the  continued  occupation of the  territory of Palestine, the  displacement of the people of this territory and the current intricate situation  of the  oppressed  people of Palestine,  as  well as  the  threats  emanating from this  situation  against regional  and  international  peace  and  security,  and  taking  into account the historical  facts and  being aware  of the  ineffectiveness  of the  initiatives proposed for resolving  the question  of Palestine,  the  Islamic  Republic of Iran  is of the belief  that  the  only  possible  solution  is  to  hold  a  national  referendum  with  the participation  of all  Palestinian  people,  including  Muslims, Christians and  Jews  and their descendants;  and, accordingly,  presents  its  initiative  entitled  “National Referendum  in  Palestine”  to the  United  Nations.

It  is  essential  that  the  said   referendum  be  held  by  observing  the  principled criteria   in   line   with   historical   realities   and   in   conformity   with  the  democratic principles and the fundamental and  imprescriptiblc rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration  of  Human  Rights,  the  International  Covenant  on   Civil  and  Political Rights as well  as the  International  Covenant on Economic, Social  and Cultural Rights and   the   observance   of  international   standards   on   elections.  Therefore,   such   a referendum could   constitute a solid   basis   for the settlement of  the  question  of Palestine.

Title  of the  Plan:  National  Referendum  in  the  territory  of Palestine

Objective  of the  Plan

The   objective  of  the  plan   for  a  “National  Referendum   in  the  Territory  of Palestine”  is  to  provide the  grounds  for  the  people  of Palestine  to  exercise their  right to  self-determination,

Legal basis of the Plan

Following the  illegal  acts of Britain during the trusteeship period, in  1948 the Zionist regime  was recognized  by the United  States  and later by other countries,  such as the former Soviet Union, whereas the people of the territory of Palestine were never consulted  about  their  fate.   In   fact,   the  Zionist  regime   was   established  without allowing  the  native  population of the  territory  of  Palestine  to  exercise their  right  to sel fdetennination.

The measures that led to the formation of the Zionist regime were contrary to international  law  at  the  time.  According to  article  22  of the  Covenant of the  League of Nations,  Britain  had  no  sovereignty over Palestine  and  should  have  allowed the exercise  of  the  right to  self-determination,  namely, holding  a  free  referendum  with the  participation  of all inhabitants of Palestine.  Even after the establishment of the United Nations,  whereas  the  Charter of the United Nations had included completely specific  rules  regarding territories  like  Palestine  (Chapter  XI, Articles  73  and  74), these regulations  were not taken  into account. Even resolution  181 (11) A of the  United Nations  General Assembly in  November  1947  on  the  partition  plan for  Palestine  also was not implemented  because  the  Palestinian Arabs were against  it.  Therefore,  at the time  of the  formation  of the  Zionist regime,  the  right  to  self-determination  of the people  of Palestine  was completely  disregarded.

Furthermore,  during  the  negotiations  at the  United  Nations  General Assembly in  1948,  the  representative of the  Government  of Iran,  along with  the  representatives of some Arab countries, objected to the partition of Palestine and considered it as  a ground for  war and conflict.

In  fact,  so  far,  the  right  to  self-determination  of the  people  of Palestine  has neither been exercised  at the time of the  declaration of the  formation of the Zionist regime in the occupied territories of Palestine nor afterwards. According to article  I common   to   the   International   Covenant   on   Civil   and   Political   Rights   and  the International  Covenant on  Economic,  Social  and  Cultural Rights,  all peoples  have the right  to determine  their political  status.  Similarly,  in  accordance  with  articles  I   and  3 of the  United Nations  Declaration  on  the  Rights of Indigenous  Peoples,  indigenous peoples have  the  right to the full  enjoyment of all human  rights including  the  right  to sci fdetermination.

The International  Court of Justice,  in  its  advisory opinion of9  July  2004 on  the “Legal  Consequences  of  the  Construction  of a  Wall  in  the  Occupied  Palestinian Territory”,  evidently  emphasizes  the  need  for  the  observance  of the  right  to  self• determination  of the  people  of Palestine  and  affirms  the  obligations of the  Zionist regime  to  respect  and  observe  it.   Moreover,  the  necessity  of exercising  the  right  to self-determination  by  the  indigenous  people of a territory  has  been  clarified  fully  in the  International  Court of Justice’s  Advisory Opinion of  25  February  2019  on  “the legal  consequences of the  separation of the Chagos Archipelago  from   Mauritius  by UK”. According  to  this  advisory opinion,  a country  that  assumes the  trusteeship  of a nonselfgoverning  territory  cannot,  at its  own  discretion  and without observing the right of people  to  self-determination,  detach  a territory. As mentioned  in  this  advisory opinion, any detachment that  occurred without the  consent of the  indigenous  people is  null  and void  and other  countries should  avoid  such  acts.

Moreover,   the  right  to  selfdetermination  is  among   the  most  fundamental principles  recognized  under  international  law  that  has  been  noted  in  Article  I    (2)  of the Charter of the United Nations and  the  Declaration on  Principles of International La\V concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the  Charter  of  the   United  Nations.  Notwithstanding   this   fact,   the  right   of  the Palestinians to  self-determination  has constantly  been violated,  both  at the time of the

declaration   of  the  formation   of  the   Zionist  regime  in   the   Occupied  Territory  of

Palestine  and  afterwards.

In other words, the right to self-determination, as a fundamental and  undeniable right in international human rights system and, as an erga omnes norm in public international law, has been recognized in many  international instruments. Given the nature  of this   right  as  an  erga  omnes  rule,  all   States  are   obliged  to  observe  the commitments   arising   therefrom   and   to   provide   the   conducive   ground  for   its realization.

Likewise,  noting  resolution  194  (Ill)  of  1948  of the  United  Nations  General Assembly on  the  right of  the  Palestinian refugees  to  return  to  their homeland,  this Plan includes all genuine Palestinians. Accordingly, holding a fair and  inclusive referendum  ithmost  basic  mechanism  for nations  tachievtheir right  tselfdetermination.

Implementation  phases of the Plan

The implementation  of this  Plan  includes  four main phases:

I. Enforcing the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their historical homeland.

2. Holding  a  national  referendum  among the  people  of Palestine,  including  the followers of all  religions, who  inhabited Palestine before the issuance of the  Balfour Declaration,  for  the  self-determination  and determination  of the  political system.

3. Establishing  the  political system  determined  by  the  majority of the  people of


4. Deciding  on   the  status  of  the  non-indigenous  residents  of  Palestine  by  the political  system  elected by the  majority.

Implementation  mechanisms

I. All people  of  Palestine,  including  Muslims,  Christians  and Jews,  will have the

right  to  participate  in  the  referendum.

2. Representatives  of the  people of  Palestine  from  among the  Muslim, Christian and   Jewish   will  assume   the   primary   and   managerial  role  in   all   planning   and implementation  phases  of the  Plan.

3. With  a  view  to  facilitate  the  participation  of all  Palestinians,  particularly  the Palestinian refugees in this referendum, the global project for comprehensive identification,  census and  identity  registration  of all  Palestinian  citizens  in  Palestine and  other   countries   will   be   implemented.   An  international   authority   with   the participation  of the  representatives  of the  people of Palestine  will  be mandated  to implement  this  project.

4. An  international  committee  will  be  formed  under  the  auspices  and  with the assistance of the  United  Nations and  participation  of the  representatives  of the people of Palestine  to  implement  the  above-mentioned  plan and  to  focus on the  main  issues of Palestine, inter alia,  historical, sovereignty and territorial  issues related to Palestine and  the Al-Quds Al-Sharif.

5. For   furtherance   of  and    to   support   the   implementation   of   this   Plan,   an international  fundwith the contribution of thinternationacommunity  anunder the  authority of the above-mentioned  committee,  will be  established.

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The Plan for Holding a National Referendum in the Territory of Palestine - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

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