On Monday, pro-Palestine activists erected a large Palestinian flag near the European Union headquarters in an effort to encourage the union to unanimously recognize Palestinian statehood, serving as a precursor to an expected United Nations vote on September 22nd.
Stating, “913,171 people say: ‘EU: RECOGNIZE PALESTINE!'”, the international civic organisation known as Avaaz has increased international activism towards Palestinian ambition towards recognized statehood in the UN, but under non-voting member status. Though the Palestinians are leaning strongly towards a General Assembly vote, serving only as a symbolic measure, they do believe that a strong international endorsement will boast Palestine’s position in future talks with Israel, a country strongly opposed to Palestine’s actions…naturally. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an ongoing conflict, a part of the wider Arab-Israeli conflict. Many of the key issues are mutual recognition, borders, security, water rights, control of Jerusalem, Israeli settlements, Palestinian freedom of movement and legalities concerning refugees.
According to a poll in 2007, a majority of both Israelis and Palestinians prefer a two-state solution over any other solution as a means of resolving the conflict. The current Palestinian movement is calling for the recognition of a state in pre-1967 territory, now occupied by Israel. By recognizing a state of Palestine alongside Israel, the UN will entrench the notion that the only way to resolve the matter is for these two nations is to divide the land between them. In doing so, it will halt the steady drift towards the so-called one-state solution, which has been sponsored by the return of Binyamin Netenyahu as Prime Minister of Israel, as well as the US. The US has vowed to block any measure elevating Palestine from its current role as an observer state, claiming it would be detrimental to stalled peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis. With the peace talks claimed to be stalled, the US’ stance on the liberalization of…the world…can be lightly characterized as hypocritical.
The American colonialists under the tyranny of the British Empire in 1776 unilaterally declared independence. In 1948, Israelis unilaterally declared independence immediately after the British Mandate of Palestine expired. Now, in 2011, Palestinians are seeking, by democratic means, the recognition of a state that they already govern. Any measures sponsoring forward movement toward international recognition of Palestine, as well a hopeful end to the 2,500 deaths from pro-democracy protests since March.
“We must work hand in hand with our Palestinian brothers. The Palestinian cause is the cause of human dignity. It’s time to raise the Palestinian flag at the United Nations. Let’s raise the Palestinian flag and let that flag be the symbol of peace and justice the Middle East.” – Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkich Prime Minister
A loud “yes” vote at the UN would reverse the intransigence of Israel and renew that global consensus that the land of historic Palestine has to be shared between the two peoples who live there. This is where the EU will be able to support the step forward for the two-state conflict. Avvaz, the international civic organization, released a poll revealing that immediate recognition is supported by 76% of Germans, 59% of Britons and 69% of the French. Along with Turkey, Russia has already agreed to accept the proposition for Palestinian statehood. According to Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s envoy to the UN, Moscow has supported Palestine’s bid for statehood since 1988. Saudi Arabia, another support for Palestine, has gone so far as to threaten the US for its proposed veto. Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal threatened that his country will break with the US on Iraq, and perhaps Afghanistan and Yemen.
“No one is of the opinion that this is the endgame.” – Alice Jay of Avaaz
In retrospect, a positive UN vote will be more symbolic than serving as a “game-changer” for the lives of the Palestinians. Nevertheless, a negative response would be a disaster, serving as a boost to Israeli hardliners, weakening Palestinian peacemakers, illustrate that nonviolence and diplomacy are ineffective, a reversion to armed resistance and an end to a two-state solution.