Last week, a symbolic event for a certain group of people and for the history books happened. President Mahmoud Abbas made a formal declaration for recognition as a state to the United Nations. Palestine has overwhelming support from other Arab nations and some Europeans, but conflict with Israel stands as a barrier to statehood.
Politics is a game about deciding who gets what. Before any of us were born, decisions were made by the European powers that gave Israel a home, but at the cost of depriving the same from the Palestinian habitants of the land now known as Israel.
Neither side was able to live with the other and this resulted in a war in 1967. The conflict goes on due to many failed attempts at peace talks and terrorist organizations like Hamas.
As symbolically significant as this request of the UN may be for the Palestinian people, it is unlikely to pan out as they hope, because the U.S. has said multiple times that they will veto any resolution to give Palestine what it wants.
Based on what the American President has said, the belief is that Palestine becoming a recognized state without a pre-existing peace agreement between Palestine and Israel is likely to lead to even more conflict, which is the exact opposite of what all parties have stated that they want.
An alternate option is that once the U.S. vetoes any resolution that comes through the security council, the Palestinians can hope for a General Assembly declaration that will allow them to give Palestine official non-member observer status.
Currently only the Vatican has that status. They do not have the same privileges of a fully recognized state, but they will at least be recognized as a sovereign entity. But don’t hold your breath, because the time frame is in months.
I asked a buddy of mine who likes to keep himself informed about what goes on in the world about what he thinks about the situation, and this is what he had to say.
“It should happen; there needs to be a shakeup in the peace process, but U.S. will veto it. But the U.S. should not veto, because of an opportunity to establish a positive relationship between Israelis and Arabs,” said Adi Shajikunar.
Now, this is an opinion piece after all, and so with that I am of the opinion that Barack Obama is right in saying that a peace agreement must come first before statehood. The U.S. and Israel are in a position of strength. The U.S. has the power to veto and Israel has the support of the U.S. and occupies land that Palestine wants.
Israel also has its own interests to think about, so it makes sense that the peace talks keep failing. Each party wants to walk away having what it wants, but the nature of compromise means that both sides will walk away unsatisfied with something.
It’s partly because of the trump card—U.S. support— that Israel has, and as long as they are in a position of strength, they will press it to be the winners. But in my opinion, for peace, there must be sacrifice from both sides.
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