This week at the UN – if the U.S. push to disable the process does not succeed – a vote will be taken on Palestinian statehood. The U.S. has already stated that it will veto any vote that supports Palestinian statehood. So why take the vote if that is the end result?
A recent global poll indicated that by a two to one margin, the people of the world, of all of earth, all of humanity, support the idea of a Palestinian state. That is probably about the same as the General Assembly vote will be as the U.S. and its sycophantic allies will argue that the best way to proceed is through negotiations. The Euro community and the NATO community will probably vote against a Palestinian state, which would be no surprise as they have already demonstrated their moral bankruptcy in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and most recently in Libya. Canada, under the leadership of Stephen Harper’s conservatives, will support the U.S. unequivocally – and perhaps try to outdo the U.S. in its support for the negative vote side. Still there should be enough support for the vote to proceed to the Security Council to garner the U.S. veto.
As for negotiations they have only proven to be a dead end for Palestine, quite literally. As the Israelis and the U.S. have “negotiated” over the last forty years, the Palestinian territory has been reduced to a series of bantustans or cantonments in which the Palestinians are essentially in an open air prison, ruled – not governed – by the Israeli Defence Forces imposition of martial law. This year’s release of the Palestinian papers demonstrated that the Palestinians are more than willing ‘partners for peace’ while the Israelis are the ones not looking for a negotiated settlement. Negotiations have simply been the cover used by Israeli, with the full support of the U.S., to continue the slow process of annexation and expropriation of Palestinian land and the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.
When the vote to support Palestinian statehood is passed by the General Assembly, as popular support would indicate it should be, then negotiations of a different nature could proceed. A positive vote would indicate that a different approach is necessary. Before the vote, the various scenarios of Palestine as two states, a unitary state, a bi-national state, or a federal state have all been postulated. To try and negotiate any of this before the vote is not the real point of the vote. The real point of the vote is to expose U.S. and European intransigence towards the Palestinian issue, not that they have not been out in the open about it, but that they will have to categorically state that they support the imposition of martial law on an occupied peoples indefinitely.
In light of past and current U.S. military actions around the world, and the economic problems that accompany the militarization (and financialization) of the U.S. economy, that should not be a surprise. The mainstream media generally ignores the Palestinian situation, and when it does acknowledge the conflict, it does so generally from the point of view of the Israelis as the besieged victims. To have the a Palestinian state recognized, and then to have the U.S. veto the result, may not change the media discourse. It may even make it more vitriolic as the U.S. becomes even more aware that it is continuing to lose support from the people of the world.
But it will demonstrate to Israel, the U.S., and other governments that truly deny the existence of a Palestinian people, a Palestinian state, that the world in general does not support their position. While current global events may have pushed the Palestinian question into a seemingly smaller event in the lenses of the media, its importance should not be lost on the government of the U.S. The Arab spring, a beginning for change in the Arab world, shows that terrorism, al-Queda, and Islamic fanaticism are not significant factors in the tensions in the region. The significant factor in terror, in Islamic fanaticism, is the ongoing U.S. unequivocal support of despots and militarists on both sides of the Israeli-Arab broader conflict and their own military intrusions into the region.
The main goal of the U.S. in the region is not democracy, is not freedom, has nothing to do with constitutional government (which Israel does not have). It is about power over and control of resources and people for their own imperial wealth enhancement. A no vote by the U.S. will only help signal to the people of the region, and to the rest of the world, that the U.S. will continue its current foreign policy of domination through military force, and the recognition of governments based not on their democratic attributes but on their support for U.S. imperial imperatives.
The U.S. is trying to avoid the vote altogether. Hopefully the majority of the countries of the world will call for the vote and vote yes for Palestinian statehood. Regardless of arguments of whether this is the best thing for Palestinians to be doing at this point in their struggle, the vote will allow the U.S. to express itself openly in support of its continuing Middle East policy and signal to the rest of the world that their moral bankruptcy continues.
Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor/columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews for The Palestine Chronicle. Miles’ work is also presented globally through other alternative websites and news publications.