A very interesting week in world politics, with two massive events taking place: the UN voted to recognise Palestine as a ‘non-member observer state’, while the the UN Climate Change Conference in Doha concluded. Both of these events deserve their own posts, so to start i’ll focus on the historic vote by the UN General Assembly.
Of the 193 country assembly, 138 voted in favour of the resolution, while 41 abstained and 7 objected. A massive majority and a very clear signal to both Israel and the US that the present course is not accepted or condoned.
(Source: Daily Beast, via http://conflictandsecurity.wordpress.com)
There had been threats from Israel and US to withhold vital tax and aid funds – violations of Human Rights in themselves. A situation so unfair on so many levels. Israel holds so many cards and enjoys recognised status as a country, with huge military and infrastructure funding from US, possession of nuclear weapons, while they block even the most basic building materials from parts of Palestinian territories, including building materials such as concrete.
The main issue is now the building of settlements…
‘Hague asked Israel to reverse the decision and said the prospect of a successful two solution was receding. “Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and undermine trust between the parties,” he said in comments Saturday. “If implemented, these plans would alter the situation on the ground on a scale that makes the two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, increasingly difficult to achieve.”
It’s such a shame that the Israeli people (most of whom are Jewish, once so terribly treated at the hands of extremists, before, during and after the Second World War should themselves become the oppressors and perpetrators of such cruelty. The US and Britain have been criticising Israel over plans to build new settlements but they still fund them. Their words will change nothing and they know it – their moral guilt quenched for a while longer – tick!
If they were serious they would cut their funding or impose economic sanctions and really make their point. But this will never happen.
‘Israel agreed to freeze settlement construction under the Roadmap For Peace plan in 2002. But it has failed to comply with that commitment despite repeated and widespread international condemnation.’
Israel knows that so long as the US supports it, it really doesn’t matter that most of the world views what they are doing as morally wrong. The continued building of settlements on occupied land will lead to the eventual collapse of any chance of a two-state solution to this mess.
The Israeli and US reaction to the UN vote is pure fear. Fear that most of the world’s countries don’t agree with them, fear that they will be taken to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes against the Palestinians, fear that they know what they have been doing for decades is wrong.
‘The Israeli and US governments had put pressure on the Palestinians not to press the issue to a vote and threatened significant retaliation – mainly in the form of punitive financial measures.’
‘The prospect of the Palestinians applying to bodies such as the ICC is one of the main reasons for Israeli opposition, fearful that the Palestinians might try to launch a case over Jewish settlements on the West Bank or over military attacks on the West Bank and Gaza.’
The UK and Germany’s abstention was so weak. The condition which they placed on the Palestinians to give up any pre-talks conditions. They want to stop Israel building on their own occupied territory. Fair enough. They want to stop the Israeli blockade on Gaza. Fair enough. Both sides need to stop the fighting and violence if diplomacy and a future for the region can be created.