Palestinian blitz is workable

For over six decades, Palestinians have been languishing like prisoners in their own land in the garrison territory, colonised by Israel. The hollow promises of statehood for the Arab population by successive US presidents have only protracted the Palestinian imbroglio where Israel has continued to treat the natives with utter discrimination and apartheid.

By Sohail Ashraf

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Published: Fri 24 Jun 2011, 10:36 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 9:50 AM

The plight of the Palestinian people is, perhaps, one of the darkest chapters of the world history where the inhabitants of the Palestine have been constantly deprived of their right to self-determination and have their own state. The Jews, most of whom had migrated from European countries, on the other hand, had been gifted a land on a platter.

But the recent diplomatic initiative launched by the Palestinians seeking membership of the United Nations has sent ripples in the Jewish state, as well as in Washington.

US President Barack Obama’s opposition to the move is obvious.

Washington in all probability would veto the move in the General Assembly as a permanent member of the Security Council that could torpedo the move for a Palestinian state, which apparently could be seen as a quick-fix for the United States. But Israel’s directives to its diplomats in world capitals, regarding lobbying in the respective countries, only indicate the seriousness of the matter and most aptly nervousness of Tel Aviv.

The fact is that a resolution on the partition of Palestine was passed in the General Assembly in 1947, which unequally divided Palestine between the Jews and the native inhabitants — the Palestinians. The question is would the comity of nations consider the applications of the Palestinians keeping in view the partition plan of 1947? It is in this context that the current president of the General Assembly, Joseph Deiss, said: “If there is a large number of member states who recognise the statehood of Palestine — and in addition in our (General Assembly) resolution of 1947, it’s already said that there should be an Arab state or a Palestinian state — (these) are elements that you have to take into consideration.”

It is all “up to the member states to make this decision,” Deiss was quoted as saying in the media. However, the permanent members of the Security Council have the right to veto, pointed out Deiss.

But then the UN resolution 377 A (V) may be applied to bypass the US in this matter. The resolution enunciates that “where the Security Council because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members, fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, the General Assembly shall seize itself of the matter.”

Now, the problem is that even if the General Assembly votes in favour of the Palestinian statehood, it may not be implemented because that would need the Palestinians to exercise sovereignty over their own land, which has already been usurped forcibly by Tel Aviv.

In reality, the partition plan, despite being passed by the General Assembly on November 29, 1947, couldn’t find its implementation. And the US, which had pressured the states to vote for the partition as part of the White House policy later sought to abandon the plan. The reason: the State and Defence departments showed their disinclination towards the partition because of the threat to the US strategic and economic interests in the Middle East. But while the UN was discussing the trusteeship over Palestine because of the non-implementation of the partition, the Jews received the shipment of Russian arms and in May 1948, launched an offensive occupying most of the areas allotted to them.

Obviously, the proclamation of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948, was instantly recognised by President Harry Truman followed by the USSR. So that type of situation where the Palestinians could easily have the sovereignty over their own territory is remote.

Yet the General Assembly’s vote in favour of a Palestinian state will be a massive diplomatic victory for the Palestinian people as it will also expose the US’ intention vis-a-vis the Palestinian statehood, which has been continuing its lip-service for a long time.

As Egypt’s UN Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz said recently that 112 states are in favour of a sovereign Palestinian state and more are expected to commit their recognition, the Palestinians’ diplomatic victory will not be too far — though it might not be physically allowed by Israel to work as a sovereign state.

It is the US, Israel’s traditional ally, who has got the responsibility to persuade or force the Jewish state to shed its intransigence as far as the Palestinian statehood is concerned. In turn, the Palestinian radical group Hamas needs to review its hardline stand on Israel.

Sohail Ashraf is Deputy Chief Sub-Editor with Khaleej Times and can be reached at

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