Palestine: Arduous Odyssey of Statehood

By Dr. Ismail Salami and Kourosh Ziabari

The plight of the Palestinian people is no closed book to anyone in the world; a subjugated nation which has been unjustifiably subjected to discrimination and violence for the past 6 decades.

Even the close allies of Israel and those who support the continued occupation of Palestine admit in their privacy that the actions and policies of the Israeli regime are beyond the pale and run counter to the very principles of humanity and morality.

Almost everyday, the mass media run reports of several Palestinians being killed or injured by the Israeli forces. Hundreds of Palestinian children and women are incarcerated in Israeli jails and their dignity is flagrantly violated. The homes of the Palestinian citizens are demolished by huge bulldozers every day and Zionist settlements are constructed in their place.

In its nature as a colonizing regime, Israel has never spared any efforts to suppress the Palestinian nation. The 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead which claimed the lives of 1,417 Palestinians and destroyed a great deal of the infrastructure of Gaza coastal enclave including schools, mosques, hospitals and even the UN headquarters was only a simple example of Israel’s unrelenting atrocities against the people of Palestine.

Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has committed every type of war crimes and crimes against humanity. It constantly violated the international laws and regulations such as The Hague Regulations of 1907, Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and the customary laws of belligerent occupation; however, the United States and its European allies endowed Israel with immunity to the law and protected it from accountability before the international community. Since 1982 up to now, the United States vetoed 27 United Nations Security Council resolutions critical of Israel and hindered the investigation of Israel’s criminal actions including building illegal settlements on the Palestinian lands, deporting the Palestinian citizens from their hometown, incarcerating children and women without charges or holding tribunals for them and more importantly, building and accumulating nuclear weapons.

However, the Palestinians have realized that it is now time for their sufferings to come to an end and start a new era in the life of their browbeaten country. Actually, they are getting prepared for putting forward a proposal to the United Nations General Assembly to officially become the 194th member of the United Nations.

On November 15, 1988, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s National Council unilaterally adopted the Palestinian Declaration of Independence and claimed territories which still remained under the Israeli occupation. Since 1974 when the Arab League summit recognized PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people "and reaffirmed their right to establish an independent state of urgency", Palestine has been accepted as an observer member of the United Nations without a right to participate in the General Assembly’s voting. After the declaration of independence, the UN General Assembly officially acknowledged the proclamation and voted to use the designation "Palestine" instead of "Palestine Liberation Organization" when referring to the Palestinian permanent observer.

Now after spending two decades as an observer state, Palestine is seeking full membership in the United Nations. When the General Assembly convenes on September 13, it will also decide on whether to accept Palestine as an official and sovereign state or not. However, the Palestinians have a long way to go to realize statehood and it’s almost a far-fetched and complicated journey for them.

According to an article recently published on New York Times and quoted by Stephen Lendman, "last March, Israel told UN Security Council members and other prominent EU countries it will act unilaterally if the General Assembly grants Palestine de jure membership in September inside 1967 borders, 22% of historic Palestine."

As said by American author and political writer Stephen Lendman, if Palestine is granted full membership, Israel will likely deny recognition, continuing its illegal occupation, this time against a sovereign country; however, even if Israel keeps up with its hostility, the "automatic majority" of the UN General Assembly will take the side of Palestine.

The U.S. President who was recently snubbed by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he said that Israel should recognize the state of Palestine within the pre-1967 borders has rhetorically accepted with Palestine’s plans for submitting a bid for membership in the UN; however, he has implied that its terms, size, locations and timetable should be checked with and verified by Israel. In other words, "he supports Israeli veto power of Palestinian rights, including sovereignty, an unacceptable or illegal condition under international law," wrote Lendman.

From a legal viewpoint, it’s said that Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories should end if Palestine succeeds in gaining a vote of statehood from two-third of the General Assembly members.

Lendman says that Washington has already provisionally recognized Palestine as an independent state and according to the UN Charter Article 80 (1), it cannot reverse its position by vetoing a Security Council resolution calling for Palestine’s UN admission.

Albeit, it should be kept in mind that even though Mahmoud Abbas, the acting chief of Palestinian Authority has made numerous concessions to Israel and tried to please the U.S. and its European allies, he has several enemies in the public sphere, especially among the U.S. congressmen, media personalities and pundits.

An article published by the American conservative FrontPage Magazine says that Palestine cannot meet the requirements of proposing full membership in the UN. "The first problem is that the PA cannot yet demonstrate all of the four characteristics required for statehood by international law.  A sovereign state is a political entity with a defined territory, a permanent population, a functioning government with the ability to exercise sovereignty over that territory (i.e., to command habitual obedience from that population by means of that state’s monopoly on the use of force), and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states," the article says.

A recent poll conducted on 10,787 people by Press TV shows that 47 percent of the respondents believe the PA’s bid will gain the majority of the votes at the UN but will be vetoed by the US and a total of 24 percent say the US and Israel would prevent the bid from being presented at the UN General Assembly in September. Roughly 13 percent said the bid would fail to garner enough votes on account of the pressure exerted by Washington and Tel Aviv.

Indeed there are repercussions for the Zionist regime if Palestine succeeds in gaining recognition. A source in the Israeli government cites three repercussions in this regard:  1. International perception of Israel as an occupying state will shift to a colonizing one. 2.  The countries voting in favor of recognizing Palestine might impose economic sanctions on Israel and sever all their trade ties. 3. Israel might be forced to depart from international trade organizations. 4. The world may force Israel to approve the construction of the first Palestinian international airport in the West Bank.

These are all the possibilities that may take place but as to the first one that Israel will shift from an occupying state to a colonizing one, one should say that Israel has already been a colonizing state for decades.

Interestingly, the same source predicts that from 192 member states in the UN’s General Assembly, around 180 would vote for the recognition of Palestine, six would abstain and six others would oppose.

This sounds a very optimistic viewpoint and is surely what the Palestinians and the rest of the Muslim world aspires. However, truth is sour and anyone with some degree of political savvy is aware of the amount of influence the Zionists exercise on the US.

Some pundits rightly see the recognition of Palestine as a political tsunami for the Zionist regime.

If the recognition of Palestine is not a nightmare for Israel and its cronies, what is?

– Dr. Ismail Salami is an Iranian journalist and author. He has written numerous books and articles on Middle East and is the website manger of Press TV. — Kourosh Ziabari is an Iranian journalist and media correspondent. He regularly writes for Press TV, Tehran Times, Media Monitors, Salem News, Opinion Maker, Intifada Palestine, Ramallah Online and Strategic Culture Foundation. They contributed this article to

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