Palestinian Statehood and Other Political Issues

Stephen Lendman

A previous article addressed an independent Palestinian state within 1967 borders, accessed through this link.

It explained a likely September UN vote on recognition, establishing de jure General Assembly membership despite strong Washington and Israeli opposition. The implications are stunning.

Haaretz reported that Netanyahu privately said he doesn't take the possibility "lightly, but we should also not exaggerate its" importance....Perhaps the Palestinians will have a majority in the UN, but what matters is not only the quantity but also the quality," adding "no one can impose a solution on Israel," suggesting non-compliance or hostile action will follow.

According to sources close to his government, he won't negotiate on 1967 borders, but may face the reality of a Palestinian state within them, whether or not he concurs. However, his response is another matter, as well as subsequent international actions.

Also at issue is the power of Washington, supportive Western nations, and Israel to demand subservience from any leader or risk removal by coups, wars, or other means.

Nonetheless, independence establishes important new diplomatic and political dynamics, including the status of Israel's occupation of a sovereign state, possibly incurring international sanctions if not ended, as well as regular cross border Gaza raids and incursions into West Bank and East Jerusalem communities. Also, the confiscation of Palestinian land, persecution of its people, and status of Jews-only settlements in a sovereign country.

These issues indeed can't be taken lightly, no matter the power of Israel and its Washington paymaster/partner, complicit in all its crimes of war, against humanity, and brutal occupation that must end.

Nonetheless, on March 29, Haaretz headlined, "Israel threatens unilateral steps if UN recognizes Palestinian state," saying:

"Israel informed (all) Security Council (members), as well as several other prominent European Union countries (30 in all), that....(it) would (initiate) a series of unilateral steps" in response to UN recognition, without further explanation.

Claiming doing so violates Oslo, Israel said violence and other actions could follow. However, one unnamed European official said in light of deadlocked peace talks, Palestinian statehood appeared certain in September. Israel might then annex West Bank settlements and all East Jerusalem, as well as refuse recognition, and the UN mandate to end its illegal 44 year occupation, essential if Palestine is independent.

Supporting the worst of Israeli lawlessness, Congress, last December 15, by voice vote, passed HR 1765:

"Supporting a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and condemning unilateral measures to declare or recognize a Palestinian state, and for other purposes."

The resolution ended by calling on the Obama administration to:

"affirm that the United States would deny recognition to any unilaterally declared Palestinian state and veto any (Security Council resolution) to establish or recognize (one) outside of an agreement by the two parties."

However, former PLO legal advisor Law Professor Francis Boyle explained earlier that Washington provisionally recognized Palestine as an independent nation. According to UN Charter Article 80(1), it can't reverse its position by vetoing a Security Council (SC) resolution calling for Palestine's UN admission. Any veto is illegal, subject to further SC action under the Charter's Chapter VI. Ultimately, the SC only recommends admissions. The General Assembly affirms them by a two-thirds majority.

With this in mind perhaps, the PLO Executive Committee denounced HR 1765, calling it "blunt and completely biased in favor of Israel and occupation," adding that Congress is "misinformed as to the facts."

"The Palestinian right to freedom and self-determination is not contingent on (a congressional resolution or) the approval of the State of Israel" that's illegally occupied and colonized Palestine since 1967 "in violation of international law and the policies of the United States and the international community."

Moreover, Israel's 1948 creation was "unilateral," a radical move at the time. Today, its refusal to accept Palestinian independence is further proof of its moral bankruptcy, calling into question its right to UN membership, as well as the legitimacy of world leaders, including America, if they ignore its depravity and deny recognition. Their moment of truth approaches.

In July 2000, as a Senate candidate, Hillary Clinton said:

"It must be clear that any unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood would be entirely unacceptable and should be met with a cutoff of United States assistance."

As Secretary of State, she repeatedly said only negotiations with Israel can lead to a Palestinian state.

Her private view is perhaps more inflexible, even though in September 2010, Obama told General Assembly members he supported an independent Palestinian state in one year, saying:

"(W)e should reach for what's best within ourselves. If we do, when we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that will lead to a new member of the United Nations - an independent sovereign state of Palestine, living in peace with Israel."

His comments were warmly received.

Nonetheless, congressional members now warn that a unilateral declaration of statehood may end US funding.

Then chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Howard Berman, said:

"Pursuing a non-negotiated path to statehood is a fool's errand. Palestinians want a state, not a declaration. Their only way to achieve that is through direct negotiations with Israel. If they try to circumvent negotiation, they'll lose the support of a lot of people like me, and it will jeopardize their foreign aid as well."

Nearly the entire House and Senate concur, vowing diplomatic, economic, and other measures against Palestinian statehood without Israeli recognition. Of course, establishing it that way is impossible, except in isolated bantustan form on worthless scrubland, what no legitimate nation would accept.

Congressional Threat to Withhold UN Funding

On April 12, HR 1501 (with 32 co-sponsors) was introduced:

"To withhold United States contributions to the United Nations until (it) formally retracts the final report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict."

The measure was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs for further consideration.

It claims "evidence (meaning Richard Goldstone's April 1 Washington Post op-ed) is available that undoubtedly nullifies the most controversial aspects of the Goldstone Report, (so the UN) should formally retract" it.

Ignored was a London Guardian response by the other three Commission members, saying:

Recent articles and comments on the mission's work "have misrepresented facts in an attempt to delegitimize the findings of (its) report and to cast doubts on its credibility."

In fact, determinations were "made after diligent, independent and objective consideration of the information," carefully obtained. The Commission endorses "its reliability and credibility. We firmly stand by these conclusions." No evidence disputes them.

The Commission dismisses

"calls to reconsider or even retract the report, as well as attempts (to misrepresent) its nature and purpose, (saying they) disregard the right of truth and justice." This "would be doing a serious injustice to the hundreds of innocent civilians killed during the Gaza conflict, the thousands injured, and the hundreds of thousands whose lives continue to be deeply affected by the conflict and the blockade."

Nonetheless, Res. 1501 instructs the Secretary of State to "withhold contributions to the regularly assessed biennial budget of the United Nations until such time as (it) formally retracts the final report...."

Repeated House and Senate actions under Democrat and Republican leadership redefine chutzpah and irresponsible governance, revealing their own illegitimacy in the process. ___________________________________________________________________________________

Stephen Lendman: I was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. Raised in a modest middle class family, attended public schools, received a BA from Harvard University in 1956 and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of PA in 1960 following 2 years of obligatory military service in the US Army. Spent the next 6 years as a marketing research analyst for several large US corporations before becoming part of a new small family business in 1967, remaining there until retiring at the end of 1999. Have since devoted my time and efforts to the progressive causes and organizations I support, all involved in working for a more humane and just world for all people everywhere, but especially for the most needy, disadvantaged and oppressed. My efforts since summer 2005 have included writing on a broad range of vital topics ranging from war and peace; social, economic and political equity for all; and justice for all the oppressed peoples of the world like the long-suffering people of Haiti and the Palestinians. Also co-hosting The Global Research News Hour, occasional public talks, and frequent appearances on radio and at times television.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at Also visit his blog site and listen to The Lendman News Hour on Monday - Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening.



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