RAMALLAH – Nowhere are the grievances that perpetuate violence and war more evident than they are in Palestine today. But the world’s politicians continue to dance around the problem, rather than confront it. The recent deadly violence in Gaza is only the latest proof that people living under occupation and siege need a political horizon, and not simply a cease-fire: the case for an independent state of Palestine has never been so compelling as it is today.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s decision to proceed with plans to seek a vote this week on recognition of Palestine at the United Nations General Assembly has come despite pressure, promises, and threats from Israel and some of its Western allies. Rather than pursuing the UN route, the Palestinians, according to these interlocutors, should continue to depend on asymmetrical negotiations that have served as little more than a photo opportunity.
The UN vote (which coincides with the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People) would not grant Palestine full membership. Rather, it would upgrade Palestine’s status to a level comparable to that of the Vatican, allowing its political leaders to bring war-crimes charges against Israelis to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Zionists in Palestine rejoiced in 1947, following the UN General Assembly vote for partition into a Jewish and an Arab state. It is ironic that, as rockets from Gaza reach the outskirts of Tel Aviv, those Israelis who celebrated the partition, and their descendants, do not see the importance of fulfilling the other half of the partition plan.