Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu said the UN General Assembly vote implicitly recognizing Palestine as a state was “meaningless” and will do nothing to realize actual statehood.
The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution upgrading Palestine to a “non-member observer state,” from a “non-member observer entity.” The upgraded status could make it easier for the Palestinians to bring Israel to trial for war crimes at the International Criminal Court.
Israel, and of course the US – along with 7 other marginal outliers, had fiercely opposed the Palestinian bid, but it passed anyways in a 138-9 vote, with 41 abstentions.
“This is a meaningless resolution that won’t change anything on the ground. No Palestinian state will arise without an arrangement ensuring the security of Israeli citizens,” Netanyahu said in a statement on Thursday.
What he meant by this was that no Palestinian state will ever arise, so long as Israel has anything to do about it. The Israeli leadership, especially Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud Party, dreams of a Greater Israel with full sovereignty over the territories currently recognized as Palestinian in the West Bank and Gaza.
“The way to peace between Jerusalem and Ramallah is through direct negotiations without preconditions, not unilateral decisions at the UN,” Netanyahu added.
But unilateral is a funny way to describe a resolution that is in accord with an overwhelming international consensus. And anyways, the establishment of the Israeli state after WWII was exactly the kind of UN-authorized unilateral action Netanyahu now supposedly derides for Palestine.
Netanyahu also said any political settlement needs to come from direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. But Israel has derailed those negotiations by continuing illegal settlement expansion in the West Bank. Decades of the defunct peace process has revealed it to be merely a scheme to provide Israel with more time to colonize additional Palestinian land.