Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, July 21st, 2019

Palestinian Bid for Statehood


Palestinian Bid for Statehood

Mahmoud Abbas seems firm in submitting a bid to UN Security Council for Palestinian state-hood in the meeting of the General Assembly next week. He has made it clear that the Palestinians have the right to have full membership status in the U.N.; therefore he will go for the same option, which makes the issue more controversial. Though he has the option of applying for up-grading the Palestinian status from 'observing entity' to 'non-member' but he seems in a good position to go for the maximum option.

However, there is a great deal of possibility that the bid will be vetoed by US should it reach to that particular position. Mahmoud Abbas has mentioned that Palestinians have been through much discrimination and they are running out of patience.

Further, there are almost 126 countries that he believes are in the favor of a Palestinian state. He has said, "Our sincere and continuing efforts to achieve through negotiations and resolution that will put an end to occupation and emerge as an independent Palestinian state has reached an impasse, a dead end," and "We are going to the United Nations to request our legitimate right, obtaining full membership for Palestine in this organization." Though Mahmoud Abbas seems firm, there are pressures on him regarding this attempt.

Israel has already threatened that if there is any unilateral attempt by Palestinians, it would result in drastic consequences. Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon, mentioned in his twitter account earlier this week, "If the Palestinians independently take blunt unilateral steps to declare statehood, then all (previous) agreements are nullified." Further, they have been putting pressure on Palestinians to seek any sort of solution through negotiations in Ramallah and Jerusalem not in U.N. Moreover, they have been threatening that they will retaliate any such attempt through damaging financial sanctions, as well.

Mahmoud Abbas seems to know that his attempt will not result into a Palestinian state, but he seems to know that it would definitely pressurize Israel to a great extent, and may bring them to negotiation table with certain leniencies.

He, in order to compensate for the possibility of veto or even change of decision regarding the bid, has already asked the Palestinians to remain calm and peaceful and, at the same time, has mentioned that it would never replace negotiations. But he has a precondition for the negotiations and that is, 'it should be based on the 1967 borders.' While, on the other hand Israel does not accept any preconditions for talks.

Negotiations between Israel and Palestinians had stopped last year. Though there have been strives to restart the negotiations in this regard through Mid-East shuttle diplomacy, tangible outcomes are yet to be achieved. Presently, U.S. diplomats Dennis Ross and David Hale, E.U. foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Middle-East envoy Tony Blair are in the region to try to revive stalled peace talks.

Baroness Ashton after the recent talks with Natanyahu has mentioned, "I hope that in the coming days what we will be able to achieve together will be something that enables the negotiations to start." The basic purpose of all these endeavors are to make Palestinians and Israel come to negotiation table and avoid any further conflict between the two that may affect the circumstances in Middle East that are already changing rapidly. But it is difficult for this shuttle diplomacy to bring both the parties to negotiation table without miraculous efforts.

The international powers see the situation in Middle East in different ways. U.S. considers that the best solution to the problem lies in the negotiations between the two parties. The authorities in U.S. have been urging for the same. But at the same time, U.S. has very strong relations with Israel and it does not seem in the position to let them be deteriorated.

If the Palestinians go for their bid in U.N. and the matter reaches to veto, it is more likely that U.S. vetoes it. But that would mean making the Arab World angry. Definitely, at this crucial moment when Middle East has been going through democratic evolution and U.S. has been backing the Arab Spring vehemently, and appreciating the rights of the people to have democratic systems wherein their basic rights are safeguarded, vetoing the Palestinians against their right of statehood would be a difficult option, if not impossible. Further, the anti-American public opinion in the region will decrease the influence of U.S. from the region that it has been casting or is likely to cause.

On the other hand, the 27 European Union (E.U.) members do not seem to have homogeneity regarding the matter and they may split, if there is a Palestinian statehood bid. E.U. members have also been emphasizing that both the parties should opt for negotiations in order to have peaceful and proper solution of the conflict but it is very much likely that some of them will go in the favor of Palestinians. And if major European powers like France, Germany and Britain support the Palestinian recognition at the UN, the action would definitely make the diplomatic life of Israel very much uncomfortable and it would fall under great international pressure.

Israel has already been going through a sense of isolation in regional diplomacy, especially after the Turkish and Egyptian actions of cutting diplomatic relations with Israel. Moreover, the role of Israel or response of the Israeli authorities have not been a very dominant one regarding the changes in the region; they have been very much lethargic in appreciating the democratic movements in the region; rather they have been emphasizing their concerns regarding the growth of extremist Islamic groups in the region.

On the other hand, Turkey has been playing a dominant role in that regard and currently, it has come in confrontation with Israel and has dominantly changed the power dynamics in the region. It has also declared vehemently that it favors the plea of Palestinians for statehood. Moreover, Expulsion of the Israeli diplomats from Turkish and Egyptian lands has caused severe blows to diplomatic capabilities of Nathanyahu's government and has pushed the Israel to a corner to a certain extent.

Whatever be the result of current developments, it is necessary that the Palestinians should have their basic problems solved and the matters must not deteriorate in such a way that they are put to further misery. Furthermore, the circumstances in Middle East are moving towards democratic transition and that must not be risked for the achievement of so called 'power'.

Dilawar Sherzai is the permanent writer of the Daily outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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