Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Hurdles to Palestine bid for UN non-member state status
It is paradoxical that Israel’s current government is so vehemently opposed to Abbas’s bid for recognition.
After all, it was 65 years ago this week, on Nov. 29, 1947, that the Palestinians and their friends in the Arab world expressly rejected United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181, which recognised the need to establish a Jewish state alongside an Arab state in the former British Mandate territory of Palestine.
Now, the Palestinians are 'admitting their mistake' and asking the same assembly to recognise a state of Palestine alongside Israel, and requesting that the boundaries of their state be determined as a result of negotiations with Israel.
Meanwhile, Israel’s right-wing parties - which in 1993 rejected the Oslo Accords that envisaged Israeli withdrawal from parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the establishment of Palestinian autonomy in those areas - are now using, and abusing, that same agreement to prevent Palestinian statehood.
This week’s request wouldn’t be taking place if both sides had abided by the Oslo Accords’ original time frame, if Israel’s peacemaking prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, hadn’t been assassinated in 1995, and if we’d reached a permanent agreement by May 1999, as initially envisioned, some analysts opined.
Britain, one of the world's former colonial master would like the Palestinians drop the demand until it is further discussed by the world body.
However, London is prepared to back a key vote recognising Palestinian statehood at the UN if Mahmoud Abbas pledges not to pursue Israel for war crimes and to resume peace talks.
Abbas has called for Britain's backing in part because of its historic responsibility for Palestine. The government has previously refused, citing strong US and Israeli objections and fears of long-term damage to prospects for negotiations
On Monday night, the UK government signaled it would change tack and vote yes if the Palestinians modified their application, which is to be debated by the UN general assembly in New York later this week. As a 'non-member state', Palestine would have the same status as the Vatican.
Abbas is also being asked to commit to an immediate resumption of peace talks 'without preconditions' with Israel, a condition deemed to be bias and siding Tel Aviv. The third condition is that the general assembly's resolution does not require the UN security council to follow suit.
Australia will abstain from voting on a contentious Palestinian bid for upgraded United Nations status after Prime Minister Julia Gillard caved in to intense pressure from within her party.
The Labor government will not vote for or against the Palestinian resolution when it comes before the UN General Assembly on Thursday, even though Gillard strongly opposes it. She told a Labor caucus meeting on Tuesday she would support the abstention after canvassing the views of her ministers and backbenchers and finding many with views sharply different from her own.
But she warned she did not think the resolution would advance the cause of peace in the Middle East.
However, the key factor is still Washington's refusal to support such a bid. While Barack Obama himself has shown some 'positive attitude' towards the Middle East peace, his administration is still plagued with anti-Palestine sentiment, linking Palestine to Iran, Libya and 'Muslim terrorists'.
I personally see a big divide to the voting on Thursday. With US and allies opposing it, Palestine will remain the world's 'persona non grata'. Its going to be tough... and failure is imminent.