Sunday December 8, 2013
Palestine Granted UN Observer State StatusDr. James M. Wall Salem-News.com
It is a big day in the world for Palestine.
(CHICAGO) - History may well record what happened on November 29, 2012, as Mahmoud Abbas’ “finest hour”.
This was the day the Palestinian Authority president announced to the world that he would no longer bow to blackmail from the West.
A familiar political threat by Israel to withhold tax funds due the Authority, did not deter him. Nor was he moved by the insulting British tactic that a pledge not to haul Israel before the world’s criminal court, would buy the Crown’s yes vote.
The U.S. State Department’s most recent contribution to the effort to force Abbas back onto the US-Israeli reservation, was both naive and arrogant. Bill Burns, the U.S. deputy secretary of state, was sent on a last-ditch begging mission to Mahmoud Abbas’ New York hotel room to persuade the PA president to “reconsider” his request for statehood status.
Abbas ignored them all. As a result of President Abbas’ persistence, the resolution passed, granting Palestine a “non member observer state” status in the United Nations. The word “state” in that resolution is huge. It opens doors for Palestine and it represents a step up into international status which is, as of 11/29/12, 65 years overdue.
The UN General Assembly (UNGA) approved the Palestinian resolution by an overwhelming majority, 138 in support with only 9 in opposition. There were 41 abstentions. At present, the Vatican is the only other state that carries the designation of a “non member observer state status”. Switzerland held the status in 2002, prior to its achieving full membership.
President Abbas made his case for an upgraded status to the UN General Assembly. He delivered a passionate speech in which he centered on a theme he reiterated throughout his speech, “that is why we are here.” Thursday night, the UNGA continued in session. Until adjournment Thursday, live proceedings may be accessed here. Later this same web address will have the proceedings in its archive.
In his address, Abbas noted: “Sixty-five years ago on this day, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 181, which partitioned the land of historic Palestine into two states and became the birth certificate for Israel.”
President Abbas added, “The General Assembly is called upon today to issue a birth certificate of the reality of the State of Palestine.”
Reporting from the UN, the BBC’s Barbara Plett pointed out that Palestine’s new status as a non member observer state, will allow the Palestinians to participate in debates at the UN and also open the way for Palestine to become members of other UN agencies, including bodies like the International Criminal Court.
Speaking in favor of the resolution, Turkey’s foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu (left), urged the GA members support the resolution and then work to admit Palestine to the UN as a full member. Last year, President Abbas had asked the UN Security Council to admit the Palestinians as a member state, but that request was blocked by the U.S., which holds a veto on the Security Council, the UN governing body with the authority to admit new members.
Fearful of any Palestinian status advancement, Israel had been waging an intense campaign against the resolution that passed Thursday. As the voting day approached, Israel fell back on a strategy intended to put pressure on members of the European Union, calling on them to form a “moral majority” on Israel’s behalf.
In an email he sent following the vote, Francis A. Boyle, Professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law, suggested, “This can be the start of a ‘Legal Intifadah’ by Palestine against Israel.” Boyle is the author of Palestine, Palestinians, and International Law. According to Boyle, Thursday’s vote opens the way for Palestine to:
6. Join the International Telecommunications Union and gain sovereign legal control over its own airwaves, phone lines, bandwidths.
Anticipating the overwhelming “yes” vote for Palestine, John V. Whitbeck, an international lawyer who has represented the Palestinian negotiating team in negotiations with Israel, wrote in a posting for Huffington Post his reasons why the U.S. and other Western states, should vote in the affirmative:
Prior to the UN vote, Hillary Clinton, the U.S. secretary of state, said that the U.S. believed the Palestinian move was misguided and efforts should focus instead on reviving the stalled Middle East peace process. She added:
Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, Senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee and a elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, wrote on Wednesday before the vote.that negotiations do not work unless the negotiators want to find solutions:
The vote has been taken. The overwhelming majority of the UNGA has rejected Israel’s continued occupation. How overwhelming was the vote?
John V. Whitbeck, cited above, looked closely at the Nine Negative votes against the resolution. In an email, he provides this analysis of the Nine, Israel, the United States, Canada, the Czech Republic, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Panama. This is his conclusion concerning Israel’s friends:
Israel’s declining support around the world has dwindled down to a tiny minority of Those Who Have Their Excuses.
Please visit Jim's Website: Wall Writings
Journalism was Jim Wall’s undergraduate college major at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. He has earned two MA degrees, one from Emory, and one from the University of Chicago, both in religion. An ordained United Methodist clergy person; he and his wife, Mary Eleanor, are the parents of three sons, and the grandparents of four grandchildren. They live in Elmhurst, Illinois.
Jim served for two years on active duty in the US Air Force, and three additional years in the USAF (inactive) reserve. While serving with the Alaskan Command, he reached the rank of first lieutenant. He has worked as a sports writer for both the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, was editor of the United Methodist magazine, Christian Advocate for ten years, and editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine for 27 years, starting in 1972. Time magazine wrote about the new editor, who arrived at the Christian Century determined to turn the magazine into a hard-hitting news publication. The inspiration for Wall Writings comes from that mindset and from many other sources that have influenced Jim’s writings over the years, including politics, cinema, media, American culture, and the political struggles in the Middle East. Jim has made more than 20 trips to that region as a journalist, during which he covered such events as Anwar Sadat’s 1977 trip to Jerusalem, and the 2006 Palestinian legislative election. He has interviewed, and written about, journalists, religious leaders, political leaders and private citizens in the region. You can write to Jim Wall at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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