By Fadi Elhusseini
Today marks the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People as per the anniversary of United Nations resolution 181. This year and every year, many commemorative activities take place all over the world to express support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian People, especially the exercise of the right of self-determination.
But this year is different. It is noticeable for an extraordinary event, which is United Nations voting for the recognition of the State of Palestine. Some 132 countries have already recognized Palestine as a state, but on a bilateral basis. However, today’s recognition by the General Assembly of the United Nations is of a different, yet, substantial impact on the Palestinian-Israeli long-lasting conflict.
Many analysts have already discussed the grounds and benefits of such recognition. But one can say that the utmost and crucial impact is that it draws clear references to any future peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis. Thereof, it is a bid for peace and a life pulse for the raven peace process.
In other words, from now on, Israel will be negotiating with representatives of an occupied Palestinian state, and not disputed territory. This, with no doubt, will limit Israel’s accelerated settlement plans in the occupied territory of the Palestinian state, and hence revive the negotiations, hampered by Israel’s continuous settlement construction on Palestinian occupied territory. Additionally, some other final status issues will be automatically resolved per se.
Ironically and on the heels of this recognition, instead of Israel’s staunch commitment for rejuvenating peace process, concomitant denial and denunciation were its official position. Israel and some western capitals expressed wariness and concern. One would assume that Israel greatest concern would be the recognition of a Palestinian state as a foundation for the establishment of the state of Palestine, which Israel rejects. However, the motivation behind this concern was revealed in the last few days, in Tel Aviv and other western capitals.
It has become evident that the resentment and fear is primarily due to the eligibility of the fledgling state of Palestine to join international bodies and organizations, namely the International Criminal Court (ICC). After months of winking and whispering, Israeli officials could not hide it anymore and professed that Israel can’t accept it. Some western capitals had a similar position and announced that their acceptance to Palestine’s bid for recognition at the United Nations is subject to a commitment by the Palestinians not join the International Criminal Court.
Notwithstanding the Palestinians have not yet announced or revealed any plans they have after the recognition of the state of Palestine, except for their readiness to go back to negotiations with Israel, the latter and its supporting countries continued stressing staunchly on their objection to any Palestinian attempts to join ICC.
Israel’s rejection and fear are not haphazard, and cannot be construed other than an unspoken realization and unstated confession of violations and encroachments committed by its army against Palestinians. For that, Israel’s worrisome stems from the fact that any future Palestinian presence in such juridical body would, probably, have further repercussions and could mean that its generals will be brought to justice.
Nevertheless, what cannot be grasped is the position of a number of governments, who have always committed themselves in support of fairness, morality and humanity, and have forever called for human rights, justice and democracy. Instead of sparing no effort to support justice, or at least to eschew and shied away from supporting the unjust, those governments are shockingly aware of Israel’s rationale behind rejecting any potential Palestinian admission to ICC, and still adopting Israel’s position.
Officials and diplomats will probably start seeking imperfections and shortcomings of such potential Palestinian admission to ICC, and may try again utilizing obsolete traditional justifications and pretentions, but the fact is there is no room for misgivings anymore, as the truth is crystal clear. Those governments have proved to have firm allegiance with interests solely, regardless of every promise of fairness they gave and in spite of every watchword of justice they held.
Time is clicking and history neither forgives nor forgets. Palestine was recognized today as a state on 1967 border, and the current stagnation and status quo in relations between Palestinians and Israelis is not likely to be preserved. Both parties will go back to the negotiations table sooner or later.
Thereof, and on the rocks of this conflict, the international community and influential capitals still have a word to stay, and a lot of leverage and a role to play, in support of a long lasting justice and peace, in a rough-and-tumble Middle East.
– Fadi Elhusseini is a Political and Media Counsellor at the Embassy of Palestine in Ankara. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.