Saturday, February 02, 2013

Palestine, Politics And The Symbols Of Statehood.

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For years, the Palestinian people have been like desert orphans. They have not had a geographical state with borders and boundaries (that has always been a severe problem), have had no recognition as a country or nation-state because governance has always been so inextricably interwoven with terrorism against Israel, the USA and the Jewish people in general.

Worse, the Palestinians were never duly absorbed into their surrounding Islamic brother nations, and they have been perceived as primitives, nomads and terror-mongers. They have been forsaken by their brothers, forcing them to be all the more aggressive, as a people united by culture and real humanitarian needs, to achieve or receive recognition as a UN-recognized Nation, with a seat at the world council body.

The Israelis, ironically the very same people that the late Yassir Arafat refused to accept as a nation with sovereignty, and wished to "push into the sea," provide most of the employment for Palestinians, many of whom work in Israel because that's were the industry and employment opportunities are. Life can be miserable when you are fed by a master whom you hate.

The UN, in an overwhelming vote, decided several weeks ago to recognize Palestine as anon-voting member state -- a precursor to acceptance as a voting state. Further this Palestinian victory, the UN has placed a placard for the Palestinian non-voting member state citing them as the "State Of Palestine."

Naturally, the USA and Israel have objected to this political and semantic victory because they believe that the Palestinians are really a "proxy country" for terrorist groups and their activities. This vision is not shared by the remainder of the voting membership. In fact, the USA and the UN have constantly been at odds since the first Bush administration.

Israel, understanding the UN process all too well (remember the vote in the UN where it was found that the term "Zionism" was actually racism against the Palestinians and other non-Jewish States"), is probably preparing for a political war with the United Nations, and a real war to keep its buffering border boundaries (hotly contested by many countries as being land stolen by the Israelis from Palestine, despite the fact that in most other historical cases where a nation (i.e., Palestine and several other Islamist combatants) attacked another nation (i.e., the State Of Israel), and the aggressor lost, it also lost treasures, territory and other things.

Israel, having been continually attacked from Palestinian locations, has kept its claim to its post-war borders, purportedly in the interest of self-defense of its citizenry and major strategic and industrial/military assets.

ABC News featured a fascinating article about this situation:

US Protests "State of Palestine" Placard in UN

US Ambassador objects to "State of Palestine" placard in Security Council's Mideast debate

The Associated Press

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice objected Wednesday to the Palestinians' latest bid to capitalize on their upgraded U.N. status when their foreign minister spoke at the Security Council while seated behind a nameplate that read "State of Palestine."

It was the first Palestinian address to the Security Council since the U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly on Nov. 29 to upgrade the Palestinians from U.N. observer to non-voting member state.
Rice said that the United States does not recognize the General Assembly vote in November "as bestowing Palestinian 'statehood' or recognition."

"Only direct negotiations to settle final status issues will lead to this outcome," Rice said.
"Therefore, in our view, any reference to the 'State of Palestine' in the United Nations, including the use of the term 'State of Palestine' on the placard in the Security Council or the use of the term 'State of Palestine' in the invitation to this meeting or other arrangements for participation in this meeting, do not reflect acquiescence that 'Palestine' is a state," she added.

Canadian Ambassador Guillermo E. Rishchynski also complained later that allowing the Palestinians to sit behind the "State of Palestine" nameplate "creates a misleading impression" and said Canada would oppose the Palestinians' attempts to upgrade their status in symbolic ways.
The U.N. General Assembly vote to upgrade the Palestinians' status was important because it gave sweeping international backing to their demands for sovereignty over lands Israel occupied in 1967, including east Jerusalem. But it did not actually grant independence to the 4.3 million Palestinians who live in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

In his speech to the Security Council, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki reiterated the Palestinian position that a two-state solution be based on the pre-1967 borders.

He also said that if Israel proceeds with plans to build settlements on a contentious tract of land east of Jerusalem, the Palestinians will file a case in the International Criminal Court.

Israel's envisaged construction of 3,500 apartments in the area known as E-1 would hinder Palestinian access to east Jerusalem from the West Bank. The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
"If Israel would like to go further by implementing the E-1 plan and the other related plans around Jerusalem, then yes, we would be going to the International Criminal Court," he said. "We would have no other choice. It depends on the Israeli decision. Israel knows very well our position."

Since winning recognition as a nonmember U.N. observer state, the Palestinians believe they now qualify for membership in the ICC, although that remains unclear.

In opposing the Palestinian bid for upgraded U.N. status, Israel cited Palestinian threats to turn to the ICC to prosecute Israeli officials for a variety of alleged crimes. Israel does not recognize the court's jurisdiction and believes its own actions do not violate international law, but officials are concerned legal action could embarrass the country.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas took another symbolic step to capitalize on the U.N. status two weeks ago, proclaiming that letterhead and signs would bear the name "State of Palestine."
Robert Serry, the U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, told reporters that the nameplate read "state of Palestine" because the U.N. Secretariat "is guided by the membership, which has pronounced itself on this issue" in the November General Assembly vote.
"At the same time, member-states have their rights to reserve their opinion" on U.N. decisions, he said. "That resolution does not diminish the need for negotiations to actually arrive at a two-state solution."
Israeli U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor told the council that "the major obstacle to the two-state solution is the Palestinian leadership's refusal to speak to their own people about the true parameters of a two-state solution."


This has been a victory of propaganda and symbolism over a factual situation. It is also a sad case of irrelevance of words and denial of history, as well as ingrained, hard-wired behavioral psychology.

If Palestine becomes a voting member (The Internationalist Page Blog believes that it will, and fairly soon), it will likely try to use the UN as its principal weapon in regaining disputed territory, and in getting all manner of sanctions imposed by the UN against Israel on many bases -- some valid, many just symbolic.

As The Global Futurist Blog has predicted, all of this flag-waving, propaganda and symbolism are indeed important, but not nearly so important as the reality of what Israel is prepared to do despite the UN's pronouncements on the matter. As certain as the State Of Palestine will be given full voting status with a barrage of anti-Israeli pronouncements to follow, the reality will be more like this:

1) Israel will not be bound or recognize the pronouncements or demands of the UN. Israel is incredibly industrious, self-sufficient (except for contributions from Jewish and Zionist groups throughout the world and the United States government), and independent;

2) Both Israel and the United States will continue to belong to the UN, although neither truly feels a moral or legal imperative to be bound by its sanctions, pronouncements, and other symbolism and propaganda.

3) As instability in the Middle East ("Arab Spring") and Africa grows, and as Iran continues to escalate its saber-rattling and chest-thumping so too shall the strength of alliances between western nations and industrialized nations (both east and west) and Israel.

4) Sadly, the military atrocities will continue and grow as Palestine feels the shine of its new badge of recognition and is increasingly vocal against Israel -- with the support of the UN-at-large.

5) Palestine holds no real cards -- it is too dependent upon Israel for most of its "GDP" or inbound income. Israel might toughen up its stance regarding Palestinian workers coming into Israel, and that would destroy Palestine's economy, such as it is.

The world, as it exists, is ruled by financial and military power -- not by flags, badges, scrolls, screeds and sanctions. In fact, sanctions have a fabulous record of either ineffectiveness or failure - they are just words if they cannot be enforced.

Palestine would have done far, far better to accede to Israel's right to Statehood, and to have conducted these discussions behind closed doors and face-to-face with Israel. The spectacle of what is unfolding at the UN and being reported in the media will merely serve to flag the proverbial bull. As an Internationalist, I must also be a pragmatist.

"I hope for peace, even as I prepare for war," is echoing through the minds of too many Israelis now. And the Palestinians cannot get true statehood with clear geographical borders until they sit down at the negotiating table with Israel and speak as pragmatists and not as haters or propagandists.

As always, thank you for reading me, and for sharing my articles with your social media groups.

Douglas E. Castle

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