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Palestine’s Bid for Statehood: Is a Crisis Coming?

Posted on the 21 September 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost

Palestine’s bid for statehood: Is a crisis coming?

Mahmoud Abbas. Photocredit: World Economic Forum

Are we nearing the possibility of a Palestinian state? Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, will submit a bid for statehood to the United Nations on Friday. Palestine has been under Israeli military occupation for 44 years. Israel has threatened harsh consequences if the statehood bid goes ahead.

“The whole Middle East will catch on fire,” Amos Yadlin, a retired Israeli Defense Force major general, told an audience at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy on Monday, and quoted on Godlikeproductions.

Abbas will write to the Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon. Now the “Quartet” of Middle East mediators (the United Nations, the United States of America, Russia and the European Union) is meeting to avert a diplomatic crisis. It will urge the resumption of peace talks between Israel and Palestine, and the dropping of Palestine’s plans for statehood. But Israel won’t come to talks unless there are no preconditions; Palestine wants said preconditions, including a moratorium on building in the West Bank. Abbas has said that the pressure on him from the international community is “intense.”

According to The Guardian the current state of affairs is that a plan for statehood will be submitted, but the vote will be held until a new round of peace talks.

Palestine currently has “observer status” at the UN, which means that it can speak as a “non-state entity” (the Palestine Liberation Organisation, or PLO), but cannot vote. Negotiations between Palestine and the neighbouring state of Israel have stalled for two years: now the Palestinian Authority wants to be recognised as a state, with the same borders it had in 1967, and with East Jerusalem as a capital. This submission will happen only if Israel doesn’t offer an acceptable settlement. It will require approval from the UN Security Council (which, crucially, has the United States of America on it); if this does not go down well, then Palestine may opt for “non-member state” status, which needs only the approval of the General Assembly. America is firmly against the move, and threatens to veto it, whilst the Arab League has approved it.

“We decided to take this step and all hell has broken out against us,” Mahmoud Abbas told the Ma’an news agency, quoted on The Jerusalem Post.

For heaven’s sake let’s get on with it. Gideon Levy on Haaretz said  Israel doesn’t want a Palestinian state, but has no arguments against it. Nobody will be able to expalin the logic of Israel to the United Nations.  The extent of Israel’s “deception” will come to light. Nothing has happened since the Oslo Accords. The Palestinians have mobilised “the world on their behalf” – “the lesser of all evils even from Israel’s perspective.” The Palestinians in the West Bank won’t carry on living “without civil rights”; the world “won’t stand for it.” Israel has no reason at all to oppose the state – so “for heaven’s sake”, let’s get on with it.

“Let’s raise the Palestinian flag and let that flag be the symbol of peace and justice in the Middle East,” said Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish Prime Minister, quoted in The Huffington Post.

Israel’s fine. Rubbish, said Gil Troy on The Jerusalem Post. I’m betting on Israel. The Palestinians’ “cheap UN theatrics” don’t wash – they’re still “no closer to a state.” Israel is doing mighty well – it’s got a liberal democracy, a good credit rating, a small homicide rate and a new natural gas source. Where Zionism is “pragmatic, humanistic, democratic”, Palestinian politics is “extremist, nihilist, autocratic.”

Someone’s eating too much pizza. Eric Margolis on The Huffington Post said the time has come: America looks isolated in its opposition to Palestinian statehood, with only Israel, Canada and Micronesia on its side. The US is putting pressure on its allies to vote against, fearing that if statehood is achieved, Israel will face charges of war crimes. Hillary Clinton (US Secretary of State) wants Palestine to take “some sort of diluted compromise”. Tony Blair, meanwhile, who’s trying to get Palestine to negotiate, is “sanctimonious and discredited.” Israel’s been holding “phony ‘peace talks’” whilst expanding its settlements. Palestine’s bid will at least keep its plight in view of the world; Israel and the US will be “on the wrong side of history and justice.” He added that as ”one Palestinian aptly noted, his people and Israel are negotiating over a pizza while Israel is eating it up.”

Come on, they’ve even got Kentucky Fried Chicken! He’s right, said Con Coughlin on The Daily Telegraph. Palestine has changed – Kentucky Fried Chicken’s opened a franchise there. The Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, has been rooting out corruption. Even Israel’s been “quitely co-operating” with all this – allowing vital supplies to go through Israeli checkpoints. A proper Palestine state can only be a good thing for Israel – they won’t have the burden of running it themselves. Other Arab nations have freed themselves – why not Palestine? It’s about time Israel grew up and realised that things are changing. It needs to give Palestine’s claims the “seriousness they deserve.”

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