President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday announced his intention to again make a bid at the United Nations to upgrade the status of Palestine to “a state under occupation.”
The PA made a similar attempt at UN statehood last year, only to have it blocked primarily by the United States, who’s deference to the demands of the Israeli state are routine in their UN voting record.
The public relations excuse for US opposition to the statehood bid was that the UN is not the right venue for unilateral bids for state recognition. Not only is that, in part, explicitly the purpose of the UN – to help end colonialism and give rise to independence for indigenous nationalist movements – but it is also precisely the route taken to secure Israeli statehood.
Abbas dismissed the United States’ opposition to the UN bid: “We have 133 states who recognize a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital, in addition to dozens of other countries with whom we have good relations and diplomatic representation,” he said.
Other excuses were that it would undermine the so-called peace process. But the peace process itself is what has undermined the Palestinians, who continue to live under brutal occupation and continue to lose their land with Israeli incursions and settlement building.
The true Israeli objection, which should be obvious, is that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “committed to the retention of most if not all of the West Bank,” Harry Siegman, President of the U.S./Middle East Project, has written, “as are most other members of his government, most of whom belong to the ‘Whole Land of Israel Caucus’ in Israel’s Knesset.”
Indeed, the Prime Minister’s Likud Party Charter declares Jewish settlement in the West Bank and Gaza “the realization of Zionist values” and that the whole of the West Bank and Jerusalem belong to Israel (“The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river”). Despite the global popularity of Palestinian statehood though, the US is likely to block this next PA bid as well.