Why the United States Should Vote 'Yes'

Why the United States Should Vote 'Yes'

 by Nidal Foqaha, Ma'an News Agency
4.9.2011
via Ma'an News Agency (click for original)
 
Nidal Foqaha, Director General of the Palestinian Peace Coalition, the Geneva Initiative's Palestinian arm, argues that it is in the interest of both Israel and the peace process for the US to support the Palestinian bid at the United Nations.
 
The Palestinians are demanding that the world and the United Nations recognize the State of Palestine within the June 4, 1967 borders. 
 
The purpose of the peace process between the Palestinians and Israel - which has been in place for 18 years - was to end the conflict between the two parties and to establish an independent Palestinian state living in peace side by side with Israel, within the borders of 1967. 
 
Indeed, there is no conflict between these two paths and, in fact, the goal is one: to establish peace; and peace can be achieved by the world recognizing an independent State of Palestine, alongside the already independent State of Israel. 
 
Reflecting on these thoughts, I ask: Why has the US administration not considered that these two paths might be complementary, that they are, in reality, working to achieve the same goal? Or, would seeking admission in [and gaining recognition from] the UN end the need for future negotiation? Would the negotiations relinquish the need to eventually seek UN recognition for the State of Palestine? 
 
To answer any of these questions, the UN channel must be crossed in either case. This being so, it would be unwise for either the US or even Israel – especially for the purpose of keeping alive the spirit of the peace process – to obstruct Palestinian efforts by using the veto power at the UN Security Council. 
 
This point is important because the current Palestinian movement working for global recognition is vested in, and deeply committed to, achieving its goals. It has been tireless in managing public response and preventing any potential violence. Those who are interested in gaining recognition of an independent Palestinian state have neither the intention nor the interest in delegitimizing the State of Israel. 
 
On the contrary, the interest is in becoming a member of the same club that Israel, and other peaceful countries of the world, are already members of.
 
Palestinian interests, even under the worst conditions, require that the Palestinian cause remain alive in international and regional forums and organizations. The Palestinians are bringing to life a long-standing international stance regarding the occupation of territory by force. This is a position which was addressed through UN resolutions 242 and 338 and led to the acceptance of Palestine as "non-member entity" at the UN. 
 
The move to seek admission into the UN, and gain recognition by the rest of the world, does not contradict the foundations of the peace process under normal circumstances. But how about the current situation where the peace process has been practically frozen for over three years as a result of Israeli settlements and extremism? 
 
Israeli interests must deal rationally with the current Palestinian movement. Such interests should not push for the imposition of economic embargoes which will increase economic hardship on the Palestinians, who are already overburdened. 
 
On the contrary, Israel should – acting rationally – consider every vote that supports the recognition of a Palestinian State within the '67 boundaries, as a vote of recognition for Israel itself, as there are several states that do not recognize the state of Israel. The United States – the sponsor of the peace process – must deal with the current situation with a high level of responsibility, wisdom and care. 
 
 
The General Assembly Hall at the United Nations, where the
Palestinian Authority plans to request statehood recognition
 
in several weeks.