Mahmoud Abbas goes to the UN

President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestine Authority will give a major speech on Friday at the United Nations in conjunction with his planned request to the UN Security Council that Palestine be admitted as a member state to the United Nations. If 9 of 15 current UNSC members vote for the measure, Abbas can take it to the General Assembly, where he may well have the votes to succeed. In the end, the US will veto the move. But the Palestinians will have won a great symbolic victory.

Aljazeera English has video:

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has given the Palestinians a Plan B by proposing that they seek observer state status via the UN General Assembly, which can vote it by a majority rather than two-thirds. The Vatican is currently the only observer state. This status would give Palestine standing with the International Criminal Court in the Hague, should the Palestinians feel that a lawsuit might advance their cause. But Sarkozy and other European leaders are discouraging the Palestinians from this recourse to international courts, saying they should restart negotiations with Israel instead, this time without any preconditions. Sarkozy presented a timetable for negotiations that envisages a Palestinian state by late 2012. The Israelis flatly rejected the Sarkozy compromise late on Thursday.

In anticipation that Abbas’s speech will help provoke big Palestinian protests in the Occupied Territories, the Israelis are deploying an extra 22,000 police in the streets. They are also forbidding men less than 50 years old from traveling to the Dome of the Rock or praying at its mosque at Jerusalem. Abbas has not, however, called for violence.

In fact, whether it succeeds or not, this sort of diplomatic push on the part of the Palestinians is salutary precisely because it reworks conflict as politics and international negotiation.

11 Responses

  1. Why does the international community demand that the Palestinians have “no preconditions” in the negotiations, when the Israelis clearly do have preconditions?

    The sanctity of the Zionist state as an avowedly Jewish entity is not up for negotiation, while Palestine itself is. And that is just the beginning, of course, since everyone knows that Israel has no intention of ever negotiating away the settlements — that is why they exist in the first place: to cement Israeli hold on territory.

    So the whole “peace process” as historically constituted is a big joke, really, and the world should not be at all surprised if the PA goes right on ahead with this. What on earth do they have to lose?

    • Excellent response Mr. Davila. I admit my limited knowledge of the situation, but it appears if the nation of Palestine is granted a charter and borders set, the Israelis will not be allowed to continue their expansions, aka stealing Palestinians land, and this does not set well with the self described chosen people.

  2. “In fact, whether it succeeds or not, this sort of diplomatic push on the part of the Palestinians is salutary precisely because it reworks conflict as politics and international negotiation.”

    It seems that the Palestinians have ‘grown up.’ They no longer believe lies from strange people (Netanyahu et al), and rather than pitch a fit (Intifada), they appeal to the grownups next door. (UN)

  3. And think about the message America sends to Palestinians. They have now the most lenient, compromising and co-operating Palestinian leader who has disavowed violent resistance, jailed Hamas activist, has turned his forces into Israel’s security contractors, relinquished the right of return, etc. etc etc. yet Israeli settlements are expanding by the day and the US vetos his statehood.

    What would you conclude if you were Palestinian? We all know that there is absolutely no intention on behalf of Israel or the US to allow for Palestinian statehood. At most they will get Bantustans with no control of their borders, air, sea or water.

    As I wrote before, it’s time for a paradigm change. Israeli Apartheid should end just like S. Africa’s Apartheid: not by creating Bantustans through a ‘peace process’ but by equality for all in all of the land.

  4. I second Carl Davila, just adding that Israel obviously not only intends to hold onto the settlements, but to eventually have borders equal the land occupied by the 12 tribes of Biblical Israelites. That they are able to make steady progress toward this goal, and be supported by the US government I consider atrocious. The double standard our government repeatedly operates with; and has been doing for it appears over 100 years now; is really evil, and I have no doubt is part of the reason we are suffering so much as a country at this time.

    A question. How is that Israel got to have statehood conferred with only a General Assembly vote in 1947, and Palestine has to go through the Security Council????

  5. Why wouldn’t they take their vote to the UN? We have accomplished close to nothing, except allowing the Israelis to make the Palestinian cage smaller and smaller and inflicting not only physical damage, but psychological damage for decades upon decades. The US is a farce, and everything we have been told is a lie.

  6. I applaud the Palestinian’s going for UN membership, to settle for ‘half-a-loaf’ with observer status would only defer the ultimate resolution of the conflicts. The Palestinian position has been clear for some time, the Israeli’s shifts as each new house is built, each new ‘reaction’ to a Palestinian protest (usually the death of Palestinians as a result). Hopefully, the world’s attention will be drawn not to US or Israeli distractions, but to the reality of the Paletinian’s situation.

  7. The Israel/Palestine situation had gone unresolved for sixty-three years. It’s ludicrous at this point to call on the two parties to return to the negotiating table. Every day spent in the negotiation Kabuki means another house built in Israeli settlements. Hell, even if Israel came out today and granted statehood to the Palestinians the map of that “state” would look much like a map of Micronesia with the water being Israeli-held land.

    As for preconditions; as far as I know, Israel will not grant right of return to Palestinians, demands control of Palestinian airspace and the access to Palestinian seaports and forbids the creation of any Palestinian army, navy, or airforce.
    Those preconditions, along with the non-contiguous nature of Palestinian-held land preclude any Palestinian state from being a nation in any sense of the word.

  8. This move for statehood shines the truth on how Israel has used negotiations as a stalling tactic while expanding settlements with impunity. Hopefully this move will enable Palestine to act on its own behalf.

    Assuming that Palestine winds up with observer status; I think the most likely outcome. How can this be used to pressure Israel to ultimately close down the West Bank settlements? I’d like to hear a strategy.

  9. I believe that the United Nations General Assembly’s consideration of “observer status” is a lot better than no status at all for the State of Palestine.

    Abbas has nothing to lose except possibly some foreign aid.

  10. This “diplomatic push… salutary precisely because it reworks conflict as politics and international negotiation.”
    And your sentence salutary for its precision!

    And herein is the Historical Challenge: that the United Nations assumes its rightful, if nascent, place for the practice & development of democratic international negotiations – bringing to bear, in this case, the conscience of the world regarding the aspirations of the Palestinian people for the Justice of Statehood.

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