It has been 65 years since the United Nations voted to divide Palestine into two states, one for Israel and one for Palestinians. Yesterday the UN voted 138-9 to grant Palestine a non-member non-voting status which sounds inert but reaffirms their right to self-determination. It also allows Palestine to bring it’s case against Israel to the the International Criminal Court.
The situation in the Middle East is incredibly complicated, but as long as Palestinians were seen as a problem within Israel there was no higher court to hear their appeals. Are the settlements and destruction of Palestinian homes a violation of Palestinians’ right of return? Are the blockades of Gaza and targeted assassinations of Palestinians an internal affair within Israel, or violations of international law.
However one feels about the Middle East, the vote seems very important. For years the United States has used its clout to keep the Palestinian case from being heard at the highest level. Many prominent Israelis agree:
“I believe that the Palestinian request from the United Nations is congruent with the basic concept of the two-state solution. Therefore, I see no reason to oppose it. Once the United Nations will lay the foundation for this idea, we in Israel will have to engage in a serious process of negotiations, in order to agree on specific borders based on the 1967 lines, and resolve the other issues. It is time to give a hand, and encourage, the moderate forces amongst the Palestinians. Abu-Mazen –an alias for Abbas- and Salam Fayyad need our help. It’s time to give it.” – Former Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert
Ironically, the vote may make it easier to control rogue groups that are lobing rockets into Israel. When Palestine is eventually granted statehood, it will be subject to international law. There are shady politicians on both sides of this struggle who benefit from stirring up the pot. To take the issue out of the hands of personalities and subject it to international law is the best way out for all concerned.