22 September 2011

Palestine and the churlish U.S. veto

It seems so little to ask. A people, already recognized as a nation by most other nations, requests full membership in the UN. It should be a shoo-in. Palestine is recognized by 65 per cent of the world's states representing 75 per cent of the world's people, including most of the major nations such as China, India, Russia and Brazil. And yet, ever unconditionally faithful to Israel which opposes Palestinian membership, the United States intends to veto the request.

"Peace is hard," says U.S. President Obama. And a president who is fighting wars in six countries ought to know. But peace in Palestine is hard because the most powerful nation in the world unconditionally supports one side. Until the United States leans on Israel to settle fairly with the Palestinians, peace will continue to be hard.

The president insists that peace can only come through negotiations between the two parties, but relying solely on that approach has failed for over 60 years and is currently going nowhere. Every day the Palestinians see more of their land stolen and see themselves more segregated. And every day the Israelis gain more land and further isolate their victims.

There is simply no reason for the Israelis to seriously negotiate a settlement when, on the one hand, they profit every day by the lack of one and, on the other hand, can do whatever they want by virtue of having the strongest army in the region, complete with nuclear arms, and the political and military support of the United States.

The Palestinians have no recourse but to seek other avenues that will lead to their liberation, such as seeking full membership in the United Nations. Maybe it will help, maybe not, but they have nothing to lose.

The Jews have their state. It is churlish of the Americans to deny the same to the Palestinians. A writer in The Seattle Times sums it up nicely, "It angers me that the people who run this country (Democrats and Republicans alike) have become so blinded as to forget who they are: a country that once fought for freedom and representation. If the U.S. decides to veto Palestine’s request, it will be one of the least patriotic and most hypocritical actions this country has taken. At a time of world struggle, Americans need to remember who we are and stick up for the little guy."

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