Historic September UN Vote on Palestinian Statehood

The fate of the Palestinian Authority’s bid to become an independent state is expected to be decided at the 66th United Nations General Assembly this September. The areas that would be recognised as part of the new state would be the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. After gaining independence, Israel would be expected to return the Palestinian territories that she has occupied within those areas since the end of the Six Day War in 1967. Palestine is currently recognised by 112 member states of the UN, but it still requires the support of 18 more member states in order to gain the two-thirds majority needed, and the majority must include the backing of at least nine UN Security Council members.  Palestine has stated that it has been preparing for statehood for the last two years by implementing a programme which it hoped would create and reinforce the institutions of a state.

Israel and the United States strongly oppose the bid that is likely to be made by Palestine. They argue that negotiation rather than ‘imposition’ is the method most likely to produce success and ensure maximum collaboration from both sides. Yet Palestinian representatives and the Israeli government have been negotiating in on-and-off peace talks since 1967 and have failed to agree to a deal. It is also significant to note that any agreements that have been made have usually been broken by Israel refusing to evacuate her forces or remove illegal settlements from the Palestinian territories occupied by her.

Negotiations are obviously better than “impositions” but eventually the world has to acknowledge that there is a reason why negotiations have not succeeded in this case. If Israel and the Palestinian Authority manage to agree, before September, to the creation of an independent Palestine, along pre-1967 borders with agreed land swaps on their own terms, then the Palestinian Authority has stated  That the UN vote will not go ahead and nor should it. However, the conflict has been unresolved for over forty years therefore it is likely to remain so. There is now no other option but for a resolution to come independently of both Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Nevertheless, an independent resolution alone will not solve a dispute which has lasted for decades. If the UN votes for the independence of Palestine, it would have to play a major role in ensuring that both states co-operate with each other on a number of unresolved issues such as the question of settlers, refugees, water shortages, terrorism carried out on both sides and the control of the neighbourhoods and holy sites in East and West Jerusalem. This would be fundamental in ensuring that independence would not exacerbate tensions to an unprecedented level. Military intervention by the UN may even be required.

Statehood for Palestine cannot be a success without some negotiation with Israel but that does not mean that the UN should not support it. The UN created Israel in 1948 so that Jews all over the world would have somewhere to seek refuge and be safe.  Don’t Palestinians deserve the same? Palestinian independence will obviously not resolve all of the disputes between itself and Israel but at least it will place Palestinians on an equal footing with Israelis within the international system. Ultimately, Palestine and Israel are dependent on one another not only for their security but also economically. If both parties act appropriately, Palestinian independence should enhance their relationship rather than make it worse.

Kateryna Rolle

23 Comments on this post.
  • dan
    29 August 2011 at 16:17
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    Without the Palestine state mutually recognising Israel, there are always going to be issues. Hamas has to move politically but I don’t think it can.

    There will be issues anyway due to the advantages Israel holds in terms of power and influence but mutual recognition means they can move on.

    But this is a general assembly vote which basically makes it more awkward but won’t inhibit unilateral or multilateral action.

    Military intervention is a non-starter . No one with any influence will back it.

  • Robert Miles
    29 August 2011 at 17:33
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    You obviously have not understanding of the original 2 State Solution (Israel and Jordan) You should check your history. Jordan was set up as the Arab state, but they refused to accept any of the 50,000+ Arabs who lived in the newly founded state of Israel. Jordan was supposed to be the state for the Palestinians.

    • Kateryna Rolle
      11 September 2011 at 19:45
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      Why should Jordan have been set up as an Arab state? You cannot just group all the nationalities in the Middle East into one group because they all see themselves as their separate ethnicities. The Jordanians rejected a massive influx of Palestinians because Jordan was and still is their country. The Palestinians were not born in Jordan; they were born in their homeland of Palestine. Any person, Palestinian, French, American is not going to want to be forced to leave the place where they were born; the place that they call home.

      • Anonymous
        13 September 2011 at 17:29
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        Non factual propagandise article, anyone with an ounce of knowledge of the REAL sitation would find this amusing! Just because the UN casts a resolution should they be stupid enough to do so, this does not change the situation on the ground. WAKE UP!!! Palestinians refers to Jews in the brief British colony Palestine, not Arabs! Yasser Arofat coined the term ‘Palestinian’ in his war of propaganda after attempts to murder each and every Israeli citizen failed in 48′ (1% of Israelis killed – Arabs funded and supported by Britain), 67′ and 73′ ! In the words of Zuheir Mohsen made in a widely known statement in a March 1977 during an interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw:

        1. “The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct “Palestinian people” to oppose Zionism.

        For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.”

        Gazans and Arabs in the West Bank have imposed Sharia law, offer no human rights, brutally kill women and homosexuals, and murder their prisoners, including two Israeli soldiers (18-20 years old) captured, hung and gutted in public, with their organs passed to the children in the crowd, and Gilad Shallit still held captive after several years. These people are sick, backwards, and have been offered peace many times, they have said no, no to Israel, no to peace, no to human rights, no to negotiations, yes to murder, yes to the oppression and rape of women, yes to oppression on a wider level of the general public, yes to brainwashing their children and yes to hate! Left wingers, go and see for yourself, WAKE UP!!!!! Stop getting high off a fake disgusting vile cause, search for truth and facts, search for solutions! You do not understand the REAL situation Israel faces, the only democracy in the Middle East, the only ray of hope! Stand for PEACE, stand for TRUTH, stand for JUSTICE!!!

        • benmccabe
          13 September 2011 at 21:53
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          It’s not often I comment on Impact articles, however, it does seem somewhat libellous to accuse our writers of writing a “Non factual propagandise article”.

          The fact that you refuse to put your proper name suggests that you are not looking for an open debate on the subject.

          Unless you’re willing to consider other people’s views without instantly dismissing them (not in evidence here), particularly on a topic as sensitive as that of Israel and Palestine, then your views are unfortunately not particularly valid in a debate on the subject.

          Opinion and comment are one thing; vitriol and abuse are another. It’s a shame, as you obviously feel strongly about the subject – perhaps writing with a little less hatred might get people taking your thoughts seriously.

          Please refer to our comments policy before making personal attacks on out writers again. Any further comments of this nature will be removed.

  • Look at this … « Palestine and the Arab World
    29 August 2011 at 20:13
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    […] Published on 29th August 2011 in Comment, News. 2 comments. […]

  • dan ehrlich
    29 August 2011 at 23:44
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    A permanent peace between the Arab world and Israel will not happen until Arab populations are properly educated and materially affluent. Remember, affluent, intelligent democracies don’t make war on each other.

    All posturing and demands by Palestinians for their own state won’t change the reality that they will have to maintain a dependence on a state they hate for their very survival. They will have to deal with Israelis, work for Israelis, sell to Israelis and buy from Israelis. And eventually if they become affluent and well educated, they may stop attacking the Israelis. If they don’t, any independent Palestinian state will be short lived.

    I have long felt a roadblock to peace has been big power involvement in the region. If the Palestinians, for example didn’t have America or Russia as arbitrators and ombudsmen they would have been forced to deal directly with Israel and wouldn’t be able to dodge issues such as acknowledging Israel even exists.

    Now, according to the New York Times, Europe is exerting more pressure and influence in the Middle East as America pulls away from the region…the US has more than enough problems at home. And so do most of the European nations, for that matter.

    But Europe’s close proximity to the region and its dependence on its oil has long kept the Continent’s attention and concern. The elder President Bush had little trouble enlisting many European nations to liberate Kuwait after the Iraqi invasion in 1991.

    The bottom line here is, it has long been the Arab League’s plan to keep the Palestinians stateless as a weapon against Israel…Now, the time has come to unleash a new dimension of that weapon…statehoold aimed at weakening Israel in the long run…Remember, Arabs tend to have a limitless time perspective.

    Their goal today is the same as it was in1947…they don’t want a non Islamic, non Arabic state in the region and they will wait until hell freezes over tom achieve that result.

    • Kateryna Rolle
      11 September 2011 at 21:09
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      In your eyes, a person who is affluent and well-educated is better and supposedly more reasonable than someone who is not. I hate to push you off your soap box but it was the affluent, well-educated democracies which interfered in the states of the Middle East in the first place. These democracies (colonisers) also persecuted and repressed those in their colonies that wished for independence from their imperial masters.
      The Palestinians, according to you, are not affluent and well-educated which is the reason why they attack the Israelis. Did you know that Israel has been responsible for economic blockades which have left many Palestinians in dire conditions and without access to even water? It must have been affluence and education which led to the decision of the Israeli government to force Palestinians from their homes and take substantial measures to ensure that they would not be able to return. The Palestinians regardless of their affluence or education are right to hold grievances against Israel. I agree though that attacks on Israel need to be stopped because innocent Israeli civilians suffer. It should be noted that a recent survey revealed that the majority of Palestinians civilians living in the West Bank and Gaza are not interested in anymore confrontations with Israel ie attacks – they just want to be able to exercise their basic rights. Something that they have not been able to do since Israel was created in 1948.
      I agree that external powers have played too much of a role in negotiations between the PLO and Palestine because they look to exert their influence in the region as much as possible. However, as I already stated in my article, Israel has also been responsible for breaking nearly all the deals that have been brokered, particularly in the case of building illegal settlements. At different points since 1948, there have been times when the Israeli government has actively tried to absorb land that was not its to occupy. Israel has never acknowledged that the state of Palestine exists, ie the territory alloted to the Palestinian people in 1948 because the Israeli government sought to absorb the land that was allocated to a Palestinian state within herself. This is the main reason why I believe the Israeli government has ultimately been against a two-state solution (There is evidence to back my belief up) and has used the PLO’s refusal to recognise Israel as an excuse not to have to recognise Palestine.
      You may be right about the Arab League’s intentions but that does not mean that an independent Palestine should not be acknowledged. Palestine should be given statehood in order for Palestinians to exercise their rights and be protected by the international community as citizens of their own country. The Palestinian people have suffered at the hands of Israel and the other Arab states; they deserve to have their home recognised internationally. They should be allowed to be citizens in their own country.

  • dan
    30 August 2011 at 01:25
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    Sure but it would have involved the transfer of more than 200,000 Palestinians from their homes in the newly created Israel. That’s why the Arabs rejected it.

    • Richard
      31 August 2011 at 21:58
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      How many times has Israel transfered large portions of its population in the pursuit of peace? Many times….the Arabs don’t want peace if they have to allow a non-Islamic state in their midst. That is the reason they did not accept the Partition Plan…or any other peace initiative.

      • Kateryna Rolle
        11 September 2011 at 21:14
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        I agree that the Arab League for many years and some of its members even now, are completely against the existence of Israel. However, this does not mean that the Palestinians should not have their own state. A state that they were promised in the UN Resolution of 1948 when Israel was created within their original homeland.

  • Sandra
    30 August 2011 at 07:33
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    Jordan was supposed to be the state for the Palestinians.

    Jordan was never the state for the palestinians – never has been and never will be

    It’s quite clear from all the documentation that Jordon was split off because it was never part of the parcel of land that was to have a jewish home land IN it

    thats right the exact wording of the declarations say a homeland IN – not all of it

  • patrick
    4 September 2011 at 02:58
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    Good luck Palestinians.

    However, as a recognized state, the 2 state solution (per Camp David) becomes reality. You now have 2 nations with disputed borders, which history shows can go on for centuries, e.g. China, Korea, Philippines & Japan ocean boundary disputes. The right of return of Palestinian refugees to Israel is gone. The aid funding by the U.S. and U.N. for refugees declines since Palestine is an independent nation, not a world refugee problem. Let’s hope the Pals “brother Arabs and Muslims” step up with funding and aid, something they haven’t done in over 60 years of Palestinian need and requests.

    Then, of course, there is the new legal precedent of establishing nations. I am sure the Kurds will demand their nation, splitting Turkey, Iraq and Iran. Then there are the Basques, maybe Catalans of Spain which will want their own country. And so on and so on.

    Just pointing out that creating a new state of Palestine has ripple effects. It may or may not solve anything.

    • Kateryna Rolle
      11 September 2011 at 21:27
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      I completely understand where you are coming from but I think the case of Palestine is different. Firstly, Israel was created in 1948, only about 60 years ago. Secondly, an international organisation was responsible for creating a state within a state. Thirdly, by allowing the creation of another state within an already established state, it was the responsibility of the UN to ensure that those citizens already living there would be protected. The UN failed to protect those Palestinians.
      The West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem are not Israel. Israel arbitrarily occupied these areas in 1967. UN resolutions have called for the removal of Israeli forces from these areas ever since 1967 because they never belonged to Israel. The West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem should have formed the new state of Palestine as outlined in the resolution of 1948. A home for the Palestinians.

  • Tracey
    4 September 2011 at 15:12
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    Palestine needs it’s own state for too many years Israel have pushed and pushed the people of Palestine off their land destroyed thier crops and olive trees. This has to stop. Israel has stated they want the land from the river to the see meaning they want all of Palestine. If they do not get their statehood it will just prove again that Israel owns the USA.

    • Kateryna Rolle
      11 September 2011 at 21:36
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      The USA is likely to veto statehood, not because it doesn’t support an independent Palestine but because Israel is its most influential ally in the Middle East. It looks to exert its interests as best as it can in the region which is why it must take Israel’s side in this matter.
      Furthermore, it is obvious that another reason why the Obama administration has declared its lack of support for a UN vote on Palestine, is due to the upcoming Presidential election. Obama does not want to alienate the Jewish communities in the USA by going against Israel because he wishes to be reelected. (Israel does not want the UN vote on Palestine to go ahead)

  • Vaschel
    8 September 2011 at 14:41
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    Jews need Israel because the Bible says so. How can people have a problem with Jews having a homeland? Hello, WW2? Even though Palestinians had nothing to do with that we need to force them to recognise Israel. Thankfully we have the American dollar on our side haha

    • Kateryna Rolle
      11 September 2011 at 21:57
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      I don’t dispute that what happened to the Jews during WW2 was an abomination but it is unfair for you to use the atrocities that took place as a way of excusing the unfairness of which surrounded the creation of Israel in 1948. No ordinary Palestinian was consulted about the creation of another state within its state in 1948. One day, there was Palestine and the next there was Israel and territory which the Arab League refused to recognise as the “new” Palestine. So let’s turn turn around your question about Jews having a homeland. How can people have a problem with the Palestinians having a homeland? Israel is recognised as an independent state – the Jews now have their homeland. The Palestinians deserve the same. Israel should voluntarily recognise the territory of Palestine – its only fair if you expect Palestine to recognise Israel.
      I am not a religious person therefore I think that it is ridiculous for you to say that the Jews had to have Israel because the bible says so. Religion cannot be used as an excuse for the immoral actions that have been carried out by the Israeli government since 1948. However, I do believe that Israel should of course continue to exist and ultimately be recognised by Palestine and the rest of the Middle East because it is a thriving country and is home too many people.

      • Dave Jackson
        12 September 2011 at 10:58
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        Didn’t the Arab league refuse a two state solution purely because they thought they could have it all by force? As evidenced by the numerous invasions which they attempted…

        Anyway, the issue is the right of return. There are many areas in which Israel can negotiate, but allowing all Palestinians to return (and take back the property which they claim is theirs) would – according to Israel, and to some extent common sense – essentially facilitate the destruction of Israel as a functioning entity. This is an area of complete mutual incompatibility, and there is no chance Israel will allow their own existence to be in the hands of whether or not Palestinian refugees opt to return. Some wouldn’t, but undoubtedly many would.

        Israel doesn’t have any objection to the Palestinians having a state of their own, as far as I’m aware. If we gave them, say, the Kola Peninsular, then I’m sure Israel would collectively drive the Palestinians to the airport. It’s been the Arab League and the Palestinians themselves, not so much Israel, that has opposed a ‘two-state’ solution.

        Equally, I don’t doubt that there are some Palestinians (and definitely some Arab League leaders) who prefer Palestine to be a non-state entity. If Palestine became an independent state, they would need to be held to account for the terrorist acts committed by their people just as any other state would, and that would include the acts committed on the watch current Palestinian Authority in past years. As a non-state actor which does not have domestic monopoly of force, the PA can avoid this responsibility for now, but statehood would change this.

        The problem with this vote is that it essentially goes over Israel’s head. The Oslo accords aimed at ensuring that any potential permanent statehood arrangement for Palestine would be carried out cooperatively. However, Palestine is usurping this process (and the agreement) by going to the UN. I imagine it as rather like a situation in which a big child has something that a smaller child wants – instead of coming up with a convincing argument (or, say, doing a quid pro quo), the latter instead complains to their parents or teacher, who then forces the bigger child to hand it over. The bigger child feels as if he’s been unfairly outflanked, so gives the smaller child a black eye when nobody is looking.

        Any solution (and I really can’t see a definitive solution anytime soon, owing to the mutual incompatibilities) will need to be as a result of cooperation between the two parties. The only other alternative is for the bigger nations to obliterate one of the sides. Any solution in between (such as, say, a binding security council resolution granting statehood to Palestine) will have a whiff of the Caudine Forks about it (look it up).

  • Phil
    13 September 2011 at 17:28
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  • SUnileaks
    15 September 2011 at 22:07
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    There is a danger that the Impact comment policy will have a chilling effect on freedom of speech on Impact articles!

    Under English law the onus here is on the author to prove damage to her reputation and it is not for ‘Anon’ to prove that the author’s reputation was not damaged.
    The author cannot claim damage to her reputation as a journalist as she is not yet one. A claim that the comment would make the average person think worse of her might be more successful but I doubt it. Would a court really consider the author’s reputation to have been damaged by comment on an article? There are similar comments on thousands of online news sites. If one aspires to be a journalist you have to get used to such feedback…

    Anon’s expression as political speech would be afforded a high status under the European Convention on Human Rights and Anon could also claim a defence of fair comment given the controversial nature of the Middle East dispute.

    In short I hope that the Impact comment policy isn’t used to stifle legitimate expression of controversial opinions. Otherwise you’re as bad as the SU when they censor Impact!

    • Eric John
      16 September 2011 at 00:59
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      @SUnileaks: I completely disagree. Given that in previous years, the comments section used to be rife with mindless trolling and insults, I’d like to think that our comments policy is keeping discussions on this website relevant and non-threatening. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and people are always at loggerheads when it comes to contentious topics like these, but as soon as you start making belligerent accusations about someone you most likely have never met before, you are not moving along the debate; you are simply being aggressive.

      How does the inconsistent censorship of Impact compare to protecting our writers and readers from being needlessly attacked? Please do elaborate! As far as I know the SU doesn’t appear to have any rigid guidelines for censoring us, whereas we have provided everyone with a clear and publicly available comments policy.

  • dan
    16 September 2011 at 11:54
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    what is being needlessly attacked? Thats a value judgement. I personally didn’t see too much personal attacking going on.

    But one point to Anon – when you talk of these people, I hope you are talking about specific people rather than the whole. Otherwise you are as propagandist, racist and ignorant as they claim the writer to be.

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