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Statehood for Palestine – The UN Must Vote Yes

September 20, 2011

The London Times runs a page this morning on the upcoming  United Nations debate on Palestinian statehood. It lays out four options for Britain as a member of the Security Council. Persuade the Palestinians to put off its bid for statehood, join with the US in vetoing a resolution, abstain or vote yes.

The article cites advantages and disadvantages of each option, including damage to our relationship with the US if we vote yes, an increased sense of encirclement on Israel’s part if we vote any way but no, fears for our relationship with Palestine’s Arab neighbours and our kudos on the Arab street if we vote any way but yes.

Personally I don’t give a hoot about the US’s isolation – that is Barack Obama’s problem, not ours. And if the Israelis feel more paranoid it is because their leaders have failed again and again to reach an equitable settlement with their fellow stakeholders in Palestine. I don’t buy the argument that a resolution recognising Palestine’s statehood is a mere piece of paper. Palestine looks, behaves and feels like a state. It deserves statehood, no matter how imperfect its institutions and the relationships between the different factions.

Statehood for Palestine will not threaten Israel if Israel finally accepts in its heart that its isolation cannot continue. A fortress mentality corrodes and demoralises, and is no basis for any nation’s future.

Whatever the diplomatic nuances guiding the US and the UK, it’s time for the leaders of both countries to abandon their caution, live up to their principles of supporting self-determination in other parts of the world and do the right thing whatever the potential downsides.

You can accuse me of naiveté and of being over-emotional, but it is frankly wrong that the industrious and smart people of Palestine are denied the right accorded to despots and warlords from North Korea, Zimbabwe, Somalia and other failed or failing states.

By the time you read this, the outcome will most likely be known, and most likely it will not be to Palestine’s advantage. Which will represent yet another opportunity missed. But should a resolution carry, as the Times maintains, it will be a game changer.

So for goodness sake, let it happen.

From → Middle East, Politics, UK, USA

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