Israeli Reaction to UN Vote: Politicians Burn Palestinian Flag, Pundits fear International Criminal Court

The USG Open Source Center translates Hebrew press reports and reaction in Israel to the UN bestowal of “Observer State” status on the Palestinians, including an item about two Israeli members of parliament (Knesset) who burned a Palestinian flag and condemned the “subservience” of the government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in failing to “fight against the establishment of a Palestinian state.” It makes you wonder what world Israeli members of parliament live in.

Joshua Briner reports at 1750 GMT in leading news website Walla ! in Hebrew: “MKs Mikha’el Ben-Ari and Arye Eldad of the Strong Israel party burned Palestinian flags this evening in protest over the scheduled UN vote on granting the Palestinians observer state status. MKs Ben-Ari and Eldad set fire to the flags in the Rose Garden outside the Knesset after police prevented them and other activists from doing so outside the UN’s Jerusalem headquarters in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood. The police clashed with the activists, and detained three of them. After burning the flags, the MKs said that ‘even police brutality will not deny our freedom of speech and freedom to protest against the subservience and hesitation of the State of Israel in its fight against the establishment of a Palestinian state.'”

Israel ‘Not Exempt From Responsibility’ for Palestinian ‘Milestone’

In a piece titled “Peace-Bypassing Recognition” on page 1 of Ma’ariv, Ben-Dror Yemini notes that “more than anything, the Palestinians have turned to the UN not to promote the peace process but mainly in order to bypass it.” Acknowledging that “Israel is not exempt from responsibility” as it “has lost the wisdom it once possessed. In the past it was clear that Israel says ‘yes’ and the Arabs say ‘no.’ Today, this is far less clear. Even if we filter out all the mendacious propaganda, Israel — and mainly under Netanyahu — has contributed significantly to that change in its image. More and more settlement outposts. More and more gratuitous statements. More and more clashes with the US administration. Recognition of the Palestinian state is a milestone. It is a great achievement for Abu-Mazin. It is not a great achievement for the peace process.” (Tel Aviv Ma’ariv in Hebrew — Independent, centrist, third-largest circulation daily)…

Netanyahu’s Lack of Initiative To Wipe Out Chances of Agreement

Shim’on Schiffer argues in “Thanks to Netanyahu” on page 3 of Yedi’ot Aharonot that Netanyahu’s media advisers “are already preparing the spin that will justify the dismal reality into which they have cast us, and the explanation that it is better to swallow this humiliation in order to ensure the American help on the Iranian issue. But this argument, unfortunately, is eyewash. According to the preparations and headlines of the past months, we should have been after the attack on the nuclear bases in Iran by now.” Schiffer adds that through the UN vote “the Palestinians will register an historic achievement, with the overwhelming support of the European states.” “True, even on the day after the new status, Abbas will not be able to leave Ramallah without the authorization of the DCO that controls the West Bank — but we should not be intoxicated by the continuation of this control. If anything, this is only further proof of the fact that Netanyahu’s lack of initiative in the peace process over the past four years will ultimately wipe out the small chance that remains to reach an agreed-upon arrangement with Abbas.” (Tel Aviv Yedi’ot Aharonot in Hebrew — Independent, centrist, second-largest circulation daily)

Israel Might Face ICC Prosecution After UN Vote

In another commentary on page 2 of the same paper titled “Dress Rehearsal,” Eytan Haber writes: “People on our side were always busy with blocking efforts, and never considered the possibility of a diplomatic victory. After all, ‘the entire world is against us,’ the Arabs have an automatic majority, and they could even divert the sun from its course if they so wished. But today’s resolution could lead in the future to prosecution at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, and that is already serious.” “November 29 was always a day of flags on the Israeli calendar, a festive day. Today, 65 years ago, 33 states recognized the UN partition plan, following which the State of Israel was established. Those who were here at the time will not forget the excitement, the circles of people dancing in the streets, the flags, the thankful prayers, the tears of happiness in the eyes. Oh well.”

5 Responses

  1. Basically, apart from a few dissenting voices, the answer is a simple “no”. Judging from the reaction of some members of the Kmesset, they believe the are still in Old Testament age.

  2. I wonder if some Israelis are getting a nagging feeling that it is all coming apart. That the enormous facade of a moral and righteous Israel is just a house of cards that is in the process of crumbling. Notice that no one talks about Israel as a light unto the notions any more.

    Perhaps this realization will bring them to a realistic peace based on equal rights. Surely some Israelis must realize that Israel is a country that oppresses Arabs while situated in the middle of the Arab world and that such a country will never have peace no matter the delusions that they build for themselves.

  3. Israel pressed hard for the US invasion of Iraq, and when that turned out to be folly, the mask was ripped off of the influence of the pro-Israeli lobby in the US, and where once it was vorbotten to even refer to a pro-Israeli lobby, we had mainstream journals with titles such as “Is AIPAC too powerful?” Well, they brought it on themselves.

  4. Frankly, the scenes in Ramallah yesterday, when juxtaposed with photos of Western European Jewish immmigrants in Palestine on November 29, 1947 waving Israeli flags and celebrating, were very similar.

    One could not help but sympathizing with the Jews celebrating in 1947 after they collectively endured the Nazi Holocaust and 2,000 years of Diaspora. Conversely, the Nakba in 1948, the Palestinian Diaspora,the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank and the ensuing systematic human rights violations and humiliating totalitarian imposition of martial law by the IDF made one feel a certain sense of sympathy for the Palestinians similar to that felt for the Jews celebrating on November 29, 1947.

    This General Assembly vote was a decisive psychological defeat for Israel, particularly those who opposed Palestinian statehood especially on the 65th anniversary of the origianl U.N. vote. It has also strengthened the hand of Israelis such as Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert who have supported passage of this U.N. resolution.

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