This past week saw Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas petition the United Nations for for recognition of statehood. It took less than 72 hours for South Sudan to be recognized so, why not? In reality, it will take the coucil several weeks to examine the details of the application according to Ban Ki Soong.
The United States; which has veto power on the UN Council, is expected to reject a Palestinian State because it circumvents the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian government.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu appealed to the UN this past week to reject the idea of the Palestinian state. His argument was that they had not reached a peaceful agreement and that President Abbas was attempting to by-pass any such negotiations with the petition. Yet Israel has little to gain by recognizing Palestine as a legitimate, sovereign nation. They would have to stop building settlements in the occupied territory of the West Bank; a strategy that Israel has been deploying for several years.
This conflict has been raging for thousands of years. Who owns Jerusalem? The Jews or the Philistines? I don’t suppose it does any good to point out that the tenets of both religions advocate sharing? No, I guess not after thousands of years of conflict.
The resolution of the conflict hasn’t been without trying, however. After the borders of Israel were declared in 1948, the Arab World resumed the centuries old conflict against them. The US took the side of Israel. The Palestinians have been a people without a nation wandering in the wilderness (sound familiar?) since then.
The conflicts between the Arab world and the Jewish world have been brutal, numerous and unending. This conflict dates back before the time of Jesus.
I remember when Jimmy Carter first brokered the peace between Begin and Sadat. Egypt and Israel. That was a big step. Then President Clinton brokered the Peace between Israel and Palestine with Rabin and Arafat. Could there be something similar on the horizon for Obama with Netanyahu and Abbas?
I think President Obama has a similar opportunity to bring about peace in the region by acknowledging the Palestinian State. After all, once you legitimize Palestine you invariably force Israel to treat it no differently than any other Arab country. Perhaps if you give it that respect, you’ll even get the reciprocal respect.
Israel has not endeared itself to the world of late. Yes, self-defense is understandable given the years of being downtrodden. But there is a difference in defending your borders and being a bully. The world’s perception in past two decades is leaning towards the latter. Given the changes that are taking place in the Middle East, it might be a prudent measure for Israel and the US to officially endorse a Palestinian state.
- Palestinians Formally Request UN Membership – New York Times (news.google.com)
- Palestinians request statehood (politico.com)