Today Mr Abbas carried out his long-awaited threat and took his bid for statehood to the UN. I’m sure reams and reams will be written about his speech and Benjamin Netanyahu’s reply (if they haven’t been written already on someone else’s blog)!
We’ve already published our own thoughts on why this bid at the UN is a bad idea for peace here. The much-vaunted cry of “Two States for Two Peoples” has now possibly been forced on the world, but in a way that could so easily leave that reality as far away as ever – or maybe even farther than it was yesterday. Now, if the General Assembly grants them “observer non-member state” status, the Palestinians can take Israel to the International Criminal Court on any number of fanciful charges to do with ending the “occupation”, the “illegal settlements” and the “apartheid wall” and along the way they will continue to chip away at Israel’s credibility in the eyes of too much of the world.
Conversely, however, the Israelis could use the existence of a (theoretical) state of Palestine in any number of ways. Since the PA has now broken the Oslo Accords, Israel need not herself feel bound by them and could decide to seize and incorporate into the State sufficient territory in the West Bank to ensure greater security for Tel Aviv and her coastal strip (where most of Israel’s population live). She could ‘harden’ the security barrier around Jerusalem and (eventually) Ma’ale Adumim and end forever the Palestinians’ desire to have Jerusalem as their capital.
The possible scenarios are myriad and we must pray that most of them never come about. In the meantime, we offer you s choice of views. Here follow a link to an article by the right wing lawyer Alan Dershowitz, a study by the respected Reut Institute in Israel and a radio interview with a young Palestinian man from the Christian town of Beit Jala, on the edge of Bethlehem and on the Palestinian side of Israel’s security barrier.
It may surprise you that not all Israelis or Jews agree on what should happen now. Alan Dershowitz argues strongly against the acceptance of a state of Palestine, while the Reut Institute actually puts a positive slant on what it terms “managed unilateralism”. Meanwhile the young man from Bethlehem just reflects the feelings and dreams of so many ordinary Palestinian Arabs caught in the middle of a diplomatic “perfect storm”.
The Reut Institute
Happy bed-time reading!