Friday 16 September 2011

Palestine - State No 194

The Palestinian bid for full recognition as a member state of the UN will come to some kind of climax next week, when the proposal is expected to go before the UN.  At this stage it is not clear just how this bid will pan out.  The proposal which has the backing of the Palestine National Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization seeks recognition for Palestine as the 194th member state of the UN.  It seeks this on the basis of the so-called 1967 borders.  This would mean a state which included the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.  The full statement can be read here.

Palestinians have already secured the support of most members of the UN, though they need a 2/3 majority in the General Assembly.  At the moment this is close.  The precise role of the Security Council in this is a bit unclear.  However the USA has already indicated that it will veto any resolution the comes before the Security Council.  Once again the USA falling meekly in behind Israel.  Quite where the UK stands is also unclear.

What is odd about this is that the Palestinian bid for statehood within the 1967 borders is what all countries and international organizations have been calling for since, well, since 1967.  The USA has regularly re-iterated its support for this outcome.  Even Israel is supposed to be in favour of the two state solution.  So why this opposition?

The reality of course is that Israel, despite all the lip service it gives to two states, is and always has been adamantly against any such outcome.  Pray why does Israel constantly annexe Palestinian land and build settlements after settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank if it was serious about a two state solution?

Israel and its western backers have had over forty years to reach a settlement with the Palestinians.  And all the evidence shows that Israel has never seriously tried to reach a just settlement.  As the leaked Palestinian Papers showed, Israel always asks for more and more.  Trully there is no partner for peace and that is Israel.

However, even if this statehood bid does succeed, it will not immediately effect the situation on the ground.  There are in fact some Palestinian groups who oppose this bid precisely because it may make things even worse for Palestinians, at least in the short run.  The argument is that Israel may well react with its usual show of brutal force.

What we must never forget in all this is that the fundamental call from all Palestinians is for Justice.  And this is best summed up in the three basic demands as follows:

1  End Israel's occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in 1967;

2 Honour the right of Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality by ending the Israeli system of legalized and institutionalized racial discrimination (which conforms to the UN definition of apartheid);

3  Respect and enable the implementation of the UN-sanctioned right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands from which they were expelled.
These are the key principles on which a just and long term settlement must be built.  Whatever the outcome in the UN next week the struggle for justice will continue both in Palestine and the rest of the world.

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