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Coming tomorrow: the State of Palestine

Tomorrow, on November 29, the UN General Assembly will vote on making Palestine a non-member observer state. By all counts, the vote will pass.

Much like in regards to last year’s failed Palestinian attempt for Unliateral Declaration of Independence, Israel’s position is that by going directly to the UN, Palestinians are once again showing a lack of commitment to the peace process and working directly with Israel. Mahmoud Abbas and co. say they are going to the UN because of stalled peace talks and failed negotiations.

So what you have, basically, is a chicken and egg situation.

But what does non-member observer status mean? Sounds like gibberish, and on paper, it doesn’t amount to much aside from being able to join various UN agencies. However the symbolic significance can’t be underestimated. It is a huge step of recognition for Palestinians, and if it walks like a state and speaks like a state, well, it must be a state. We’re assuming that’s the logic of the Palestinian leadership, that official recognition won’t be far along.

One serious consequence is that Israel and the PLO will no longer be bound to the Oslo process. So theoretically, all the security and economic cooperation, that has improved life immensely for both sides, could grind to a halt on November 30. Considering the Palestinian Authority is already having difficult paying salaries, jeopardizing its economic relations with Israel seems rather stupid. And based on past performance, we’d be shocked if any of the big talkers – such as the entire Arab League – who are always ready to support Palestine when it comes to criticizing Israel will suddenly step up to the plate. After all, they haven’t done so until now.

It’s noteworthy that the vote is taking place on November 29, which we discovered last year is the UN’s International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. It also happens to be the anniversary of the day in 1947 when the UN adopted Resolution 181 which called for the partition of Palestine into two states. The Arabs infamously rejected this proposal and instead opted to declare war. That Palestinians are choosing the same date to ask for what they brutally and violently rejected 65 years ago makes us wonder if their leadership is suffering from some kind of dissociative disorder. That the UN is enabling this is just par for the course.

For further reading, check out Rick Richman’s article in Commentary, “Palestine does not qualify as a state“, an excellent dissection of the legalities behind the issue.

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