Palestinian Statehood: A New Chapter, Inshallah.

Since before the Palestinian Statehood bid at the United Nations in 2011, before the Camp David Accords, and before the U.N. Partition Plan of 1947, the people of Palestine have been struggling for autonomy, justice, and a fair deal. A history lesson is not necessary to make this point on behalf of Palestine, and after Thursday’s General Assembly vote granting Palestine “non-member statehood” a new chapter in history has been opened. What is written in this new chapter remains to be seen, but despite a bitter and familiar opposition, hope is on the horizon.

Upon the General Assembly’s resolution granting statehood to Palestine on Thursday, the United States and front-running candidate for  Secretary of State, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N, Susan Rice, chastised Palestine for seeking, and being granted statehood status. Why? Well, it is no secret that the United States and Israel are allies. Nor is it a secret that the United States will do anything within the realm of this planet to ensure that its relationship with Israel and its adherence to that relationship are not undermined by anything. Not even a persistent petition for peace by a Government that is recognized by 139/193 U.N. member states can sway American views on the subject. Apparently, “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave” does not enjoy an extra-territorial application.

The United States, “Champion of Justice,” has attempted to defeat every Palestinian initiative which is contrary to Israel’s unique desire to come to a peace agreement on its terms only. While Palestine demands that peace negotiations cannot be commenced until the unlawful Israeli settlement of Palestinian land in the West Bank stops, Israel demands that it will not talk peace unless there are no pre-conditions. Apparently, this is the most suitable and effective way to talk peace when you are a military power that is backed by a bigger military power, and you have an eye towards expanding your territory to make way for your own people–who, by the way, are thriving. The fact that Palestinian people are restricted in terms of trade, medicine, technology, education, food, and other essentials is obviously of no consequence. Well, that has all changed. Statehood comes with rights.

As an official State (remember not yet a U.N. member state, though–due to the American veto in the Security Council) Palestine will have the right to invoke the jurisdiction of the international courts. Namely, the ICJ and the ICC. This means that Palestine may now raise claims before these international tribunals regarding what it, and about three quarters of  the world’s nations believe to be violations of international law committed by Israel. Israel, however, will no doubt seek to defend itself on the ground of necessity; but the real development is that there is actual recourse for the newly recognized Palestinian State. No longer will Palestine be looked at as an appendage to Israel; now they will begin to be viewed more as what they really are–an independent nation of people who are entitled to the same rights as everyone else. This, though, is exactly what the United States and Israel have pledged to punish.

As I mentioned above, it didn’t take more than a couple of hours for the United States to officially condemn the U.N. Resolution granting Palestinian Statehood. Israel was equally expeditious in their condemnation. Furthermore, both nations (U.S. and Israel) have already undertaken measures that are aimed at punishing the Palestinian Authority and its Palestinian people. As Israel controls much of the West Bank (again, and with the utmost candor I say, unlawfully), it also controls Palestinian tax revenues in those areas. Israel has announced that it will withhold these tax revenues from the Palestinian people. Yes, if you are recognized as a state by the majority of the world’s nations then you will be robbed of your money. It’s one of the fringe benefits of freedom, indeed.

The United States Congress has indicated that it will cut funding to Palestine and the United Nations, despite President Obama’s public statements that his Administration will not pursue retribution against the General Assembly’s Resolution. Additionally, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, stated that Palestinian Statehood is “unfortunate and counterproductive.” Officially, the State Department has stated that the Palestine’s acquisition of Statehood will defeat the progress of peace negotiations with Israel. However, it is questionable how much worse than non-existent the peace dealing could possibly be.

In light of the much expected opposition, the recently recognized  Palestinian State has much to be concerned about. With an economy and a people struggling to fight perpetual deprivation, it is hoped that the new status will increase rights, which, in turn, would increase freedom and the ability to make a living. The moral of the story is this: the United States and Israel may condemn the General Assembly’s Resolution granting Palestine official statehood, but they will only be left with a bruised egos. Palestine is here to stay. The Palestinian Authority will undoubtedly seek to exercise its newly gained rights in various international fora, and contrary to United States and Israeli contentions, this new status IS the path to peace. In fact, it is the foundation that has been missing. More accurately, it is the foundation that, up to this point, has been withheld.

Undoubtedly, the road will be tough, and Palestine itself will need to operate within the limits of international law in order to successfully advance its petitions for autonomy, justice, and fair dealing further. However, the Palestinian Authority–and more importantly, the Palestinian people–will no longer be foreclosed from raising cognizable international objections to Israel’s unlawful acts of unilateral expansion and deprivation. No longer will Palestinians enter negotiations of any kind only to find that their counterpart is hanging a sign around their neck that says, “illegitimate”. The majority has spoken–Palestinian Statehood is real.


Article Sources: NYT, The Guardian, UN Council on Foreign

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