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Last Updated: 09/19/2011The Palestinian Question
Gustavo J. Fuchs
The decision of the Palestinain Authority to seek recognition as a state throught the United Nations system is forcing the international community to reconsider the longstanding issue of Palestinaian statehood, and reveal their alliances. Gustavo J. Fuchs reports.
In recent days, leading up to the possibility of a UN resolution in favor of the creation of Palestine, many world leaders have manifested themselves on the matter. The United States is maintaining it's pro-Israeli posture of denying the right of the UN to intervene in the decades-old conflict.
The rest of the world is either 'with them or against them'. The main argument which the Israeli government is using to oppose any resolution is the non-recognition of a Hamas government. Both the U.S and Israel have made clear that the organization is considered terrorist and that this is the main reason to not recognize it's government. Europe timidly backs this view.
In contrast to the U.S-Israeli posture, Turkey – a major actor in the region – has closed it's ties with Tel Aviv and is actively promoting the creation of Palestine through a UN resolution. The recent outburst against the Israeli embassy in Egypt gives a clear perspective on what the Arab people want and what would be expected from their governments. The 'Palestinian Question' certainly unites the Arab world beyond what's recognized and shown by the western media outlets.
But moreover, the recent developments in the MENA region are crucial for understanding the present situation; whilst the Libyan youth is armed and aided – not only through weapons but also through mercenaries and intelligence – by the West to revolt against a government they do not legitimize, when the Palestinian people decide they want an armed organization to represent them as a whole their struggle is declared invalid. Are Palestinians legitimately represented by Fatah? That's not the question.
Back to the western argument of Hamas being a terrorist organization, wasn't the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group a declared and recognized Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist organization? That didn't seem to matter at all when the NATO launched it's air strikes against Libya. If we look further, Yemen is at the brink of a Civil War, yet none of the western humanitarians seem to be concerned for the faith of the Yemeni people. The examples of double-standards are endless.
The Responsibility To Protect Doctrine has certainly been the flag used by NATO to intervene in Libya but no to approach the Palestinian Question. Given that the creation of Palestine came as result of a UN resolution, the U.S would certainly try to sabotage any further efforts, either using their Security Council veto or their lobbying power that has proven effective in other occasions. One can conclude this by looking at the history of U.S postures in the UN towards the subject.
Why are these obvious observations of any importance? Because the Palestinian Question will definitely shape the outcome of the new MENA building from the 'Arab Spring'. The governments of Egypt and Tunisia will surely face a great pressure: the streets asking for Palestine and the West asking for the non-recognition. The U.S's efforts for gaining support in the MENA region can be severely blown by their historical allegiance to Israel.
The outcome of the Palestinian Question will affect any action taken against Syria. Of course, a possible intervention in Syria by NATO or any other non-UN military presence will certainly alert the Iranian authorities, receiving western threats ever since the Bush years. But the unpopularity of a Syrian intervention can be assured by the posture of the U.S and it's allies in the Palestinian Question; not only will this influence the approval of popular support towards a Syrian-rebel army (Libya style) but it will also show that the real western interests are not democracy or freedom. Although this may be clear to any informed and critical citizen, many still believe the Libyan intervention was for humanitarian reasons.
The recent UN call to investigate crimes in Yemen and the subsequent warning of a Civil War outbreak in the Middle-eastern country is also of great importance; the inability of a western intervention in this scenario will ultimately confirm the critics' points of view. Even the “crazy” Gaddafi would be proven right. But it's in the Palestinian Question and the Yemen crackdown that the world's postures will gain more importance than ever in the international arena.
It's not up to the U.S, Europe and Israel to decide the faith of the Palestinian people. The Arab governments will surely face great scrutiny by their populations, in the light of a new-founded Arab unity, which can erupt in further revolts. Asia and Latin America will also play a huge role, with South America leading the stance in favor of Palestine.
The Palestinian Question – today more than ever – will mark a turning point in the international politics towards decades to come. What would be the Russian and Chinese stands in this historical event? Will they line up with the BRICS (which they failed to in Libya) or with the West? Or will they maintain their ambivalent stand by abstinence?
The only certain judgment that can be made is that the U.S policy towards Palestine will not change, and the understanding of the MENA region is still profoundly dull. The recognition of the Palestinian Statehood will also mean that Israel's attacks would be considered in a different light, given the implications attached by the International Law.
How would the UN define the borders of Palestine is still blurry, but certainly Israel will try anything to stop the recognition of the rising state. The lobbying power of the Israeli government has been seen on it's best this past few weeks. The future of a newborn Palestine will surely face huge obstacles, and will reveal the true colors of the international community.
Gustavo J. Fuchs is a regular contributor to the Peace and Conflict Monitor.