Sunday, December 2, 2012

Palestinian Statehood at the UN

The vote on upgrading Palestinian statehood at the UN to "Observer" status like The Holy See (Vatican city) has happened.  Full details here.

Ironically on the same day in 1947 there was a similar vote.  It would have given Palestinians full statehood.  They rejected it, because it would have meant living side by side with a Jewish state.

Here is the full transcript of Mahmoud Abbas' speech at the UN.  He appears to be proactively making peace with statements like this:

I am here to say on behalf of the Palestinian people and the Palestine Liberation Organization: We extend our hands to the Israeli government and the Israeli people for peace-making. I say to them: Let us urgently build together a future for our children where they can enjoy freedom, security and prosperity. Let us build the bridges of dialogue instead of checkpoints and walls of separation, and build cooperative relations based on parity and equity between two neighboring States - Palestine and Israel - instead of policies of occupation, settlement, war and eliminating the other.
But there are also references to try and appease Hamas, such as referencing "Apartheid", without stating what he means by that.  Apartheid is a South African term, where Whites and Blacks were separated in Parks, Buses, Workplaces and rights by law.  There can be no comparison to what Abbas is complaining about here (settlements?).
The vote doesn't really change anything, as peace cannot be achieved until peace talks are completed.  Hopefully this means that the Palestinians will resume peace talks, elections and eventually responsibility for rehousing people they are keeping stuck in refugee camps.

More news from our region:

New Zealand voted for the motion.

"New Zealand is a long-standing supporter of the two state solution. We believe that Israel and a Palestinian state should exist side by side, each respecting the other's right to peace. And we believe that they should arrive at that conclusion through direct talks.
"As I stated in my address to the UN General Assembly earlier this year, we have never regarded a UN resolution as an adequate substitute for direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. That is the only way of achieving a durable solution to this question."
However McCully said the UN resolution was "a poor substitute for direct negotiations" between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
"We remain frustrated that two leaders who live half an hour up the road from each other cannot meet to resolve these matters directly."
Mr McCully said officials have discussed the proposed text of the resolution with Palestinian representatives, who have "delivered a resolution that is moderate, 
constructive, and reflects our commitment to a two-state solution".
"In our explanation of vote to the UN our Permanent Representative Hon Jim McLay will make clear our absolute commitment to Israel's right to safety and security, and condemn the actions of Hamas extremists in recent weeks," Mr McCully said.
"However, we will also assert our support for the moderate leadership of President Abbas, Prime Minister Fayyad and others who are working to make a two-state solution a viable goal.
"The New Zealand Government is under no illusions as to the utility of a UN resolution. It will solve nothing. But in the absence of the direct talks we have called for, we will deal with the UN resolution on its merits."
Australia abstained, although not without controversy.  Julia Gillard wanted to vote against, but was rolled by her own party.

This satirical article is worth a read also.  Palestinian Statehood is granted, but victimhood status is downgraded

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