In the most recent flare up in violence between Israel and Palestine, things looked set for a ground invasion by the Israeli army into Palestine. Luckily, and just in the nick of time, the plan was averted, sparing countless lives and major amounts of damage to Palestinian infrastructure. Then, just yesterday, in a move that has Palestinians celebrating in the streets, the UN overwhelming approved Palestines bid to up their status from observer to a nonmember observer state. It might sound like a technicality, but that word ‘state’ is oh so important.
Some good news in the gloom
The event overall was not a surprise, most countries in the world side with the Palestinian cause. The only nations that opposed it were Israel, America, and the nations that lie well within the American sphere of influence. Surprisingly, western countries like France and Italy also sided with the Palestinians, which may reveal a greater shift in the political approach to the Middle East.
Now, Palestine has greater access to the UN including international courts, and it will use this as bargaining power with Israel. Even in places like America, most people believe the best option for lasting stability is a two state solution. The problem is Israel’s defense. Since many Middle Eastern leaders and people despise Israel for its conception after World War II, returning to the pre-1967 borders probably won’t be satisfactory. In the case, Israel needs distance between them and people that might attack them. This has been the logic since the Six Days War: lock down Palesine to keep a buffer between Israel and other threats.
But you can’t keep an entire population in what is essentially a vast prison because of the threat to your security. The conditions imposed in Palestine by Israel are inhumane, and a solution must be found. The UN’s decision is a major step towards legitimacy, and will hopefully start to change the dynamic between Palestine and Israel, not nearly enough to put them on level-footing (we are decades away from that) but it’s a step up, and a cause to celebrate.