UN Palestinian Vote a Double-Edged Sword
The backing of 138 nations at the UN can be seen as resounding worldwide support for the Palestinian people. There is little doubt that the majority of the world’s people share Palestinian grievances over long-denied justice, territorial and refugee rights and the historic injuries inflicted by the Israeli colonial regime and its European and American sponsors.
Conversely, the UN vote can be seen as a global snub to the Zionist entity and its relentless criminality. Those states that stood in the rogue minority camp of nine along with Tel Aviv, including the United States and Canada, have indeed indicted themselves with infamy.
Nonetheless, the support among the UN General Assembly for Palestinians can be seen as a double-edged sword.
Beyond the welcome symbolic endorsement for the Palestinian cause, there should be some hard and rational reflection on the practical meaning of the “non-member observer status” awarded. First of all, there is a danger that the designation will in practice result in the institutionalization of second-class status for the Palestinian people. After decades of violations and treachery, it is understandable that the recent vote at the UN is celebrated as a sign of international solidarity, respect and endorsement of the Palestinian cause.
But why should the Palestinian people settle for anything less than full member status at the UN? The rather clumsy-sounding “non-member observer status” sounds like a pale imitation of the real thing, and in fact can be perceived as an insult to the cause of Palestine, even if those countries voting for it meant the designation in good will.
Let’s face it: the current Palestinian territories of West Bank and Gaza and a diminishing presence in Al Quds/East Jerusalem represent only 22 per cent of the original territory. And the gradualist, criminal theft and encroachment of Palestinian land by the Israeli regime continue unabated, making a mockery of international law.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of retribution for the Palestinian diplomatic coup at the UN on Thursday. Within hours, the sullen Netanyahu swung into action with the announcement that 3,000 more settlements were to be built in Judea and Samaria. This is on top of the 500,000 Israelis who already live illegally – in contravention of numerous UN resolutions – in the West Bank and Al Quds/East Jerusalem. In other words, the fanatical, lawless Israeli regime is embarking on accelerated theft and dispossession, euphemistically called changing facts on the ground.
Much more ominous are the Israeli plans to build unspecified thousands of new settler units in the controversial strip of land known as E1 around Al Quds. That move would finally cut off the historic capital of Palestine from the remaining enclaves. It would be tantamount to decapitating the already enfeebled and emaciated corpse of the Palestinian territory.
This is what Netanyahu meant when he haughtily dismissed the UN vote for Palestine as “a meaningless decision that would not change anything on the ground”. Yes, arrogant and criminal. But in a certain sense, Netanyahu is correct.
On the ground, the Israelis are stealing Palestinian territory and bulldozing Palestinian and world heritage. It is a brutal genocidal project that has been going on for 64 years ever since the Americans, British and French betrayed the Arabs at the UN by imposing the Israeli regime on the region in 1948.
The mealy-mouthed reaction this week of US secretary of state Hillary Clinton to the latest announcement of accelerated illegal colonization of Palestinian land was typical of the de facto green light that the terror regime in Tel Aviv has continuously received from Washington since its ignominious inception.
Washington also threatened in response to the UN vote to suspend over $200 million in state aid to Palestinian authorities. This is of course a drop in the bucket compared with the $3,000 million that Washington funnels to Tel Aviv every year. Nevertheless, the callous withdrawal of US aid to bombed-out and besieged Palestinian communities will be a harsh material blow.
As colleague and writer Stephen Lendman points out, Palestinians are, as it is, being forced to subsist on crumbs off the US/European/Israeli table and to eke out barely an existence on barren tracts of scrubland. This deprivation is under the shadow of state terrorism in which Palestinian communities can be attacked and assaulted at any time with impunity by the American and European-backed Israeli military machine.
Furthermore, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, led by its chairman Mahmoud Abbas, is in effect serving as an enforcer of Zionist occupation since it polices its own people, thwarts any dissent and has declared official recognition of the so-called “state of Israel”. Recognizing “Israel’s right to exist” is the same as acquiescing to a giant crime against Palestinians. It is like saying to a burglar in your house: “Yes, make yourself comfortable and, while you are at it, put your feet up and pour yourself a drink.”
The recognition of Israel is a de facto corollary of accepting the so-called “two-state solution”. For more than two decades, the two-state solution has been pushed by the American and European dishonest brokers as the only show in town. The concept has become almost sacrosanct. To question it is to be denounced as a heretic. Yet, despite all sorts of grand-sounding accords and much-vaunted putative peace talks, over more than 20 years the cause of Palestinian rights and restitution has become increasingly debased and dissipated to the point of almost nothingness. In truth, the two-state so-called solution is nothing but a cynical charade. It is a cover for continuing Western-backed Zionist expansion and genocide against the Palestinian people.
What needs to be resurrected therefore is the legitimate and entirely reasonable political position of demanding one Palestinian territory for all those who want to live in peace as equals in this historic territory. It will be a long, hard road, involving difficult obstacles such as the revoking of Israeli UN member status. The latter has to be recognized as an historic violation perpetrated by Western-backed Zionist usurpers against the inalienable rights and territorial integrity of Palestine.
However, the one-state solution has much to recommend it. It begins from the legally and morally correct premise of not recognizing the Zionist colonial settler regime. The position also maintains the territorial integrity of Palestine and rejects its defilement into scraps of scrubland.
Moreover, by campaigning for one indivisible historic Palestine, it places the moral and political responsibility for this conflict squarely where it belongs: on the Western-backed Zionist regime that is daily stealing and illegally occupying sovereign land. In one fell swoop, the charade of peace talks and two-state blind alley is exposed and rendered redundant for the whole world to see.
The vote at the UN this week should be seen as a measure of noble international solidarity for the Palestinian cause. But it is not a solution. Indeed, it could make the situation worse and more intractable for the Palestinians. What needs to be done is for that resounding international good will to be channeled into the only proper and sustainable solution for Palestine – a single state for all.
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