World weighs in on UN Palestine vote
World headlines showed a mix of emotions – but a lot of common ground on how much impact this may have on prospects for peace.
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“I do not believe that passing this vote will resolve the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, in fact it could well cause an escalation of the conflict or prolong the situation by taking it into the realm of the international court,” Ms. Bishop said, according to the Australian newspaper.Skip to next paragraph
Latin America Editor
Whitney Eulich is the Monitor's Latin America editor, overseeing regional coverage for CSMonitor.com and the weekly magazine. She also curates the Latin America Monitor Blog.
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The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Abbas of spreading "mendacious propaganda" against Israel, and said the vote “won't change anything on the ground … It won't advance the establishment of a Palestinian state, but rather, put it further off," reports CBS.
The Council on Foreign Relations’ Robert M. Danin echoed that sentiment, writing that, “The fundamental problem with Abbas’ approach is that rather than encourage such talks, his U.N. gambit is more likely to delay, if not undermine, the prospects for negotiations that would lead to genuine Palestinian statehood and peace with Israel anytime in the immediate future.” However, Mr. Danin notes:
Given all the downsides of pursuing this statehood gambit, why is Abbas moving forward with this less than airtight strategy? Clearly, he calculates that the costs of inaction are even greater than all the moves’ inherent risks. With Hamas having just confronted Israel with short and medium term missiles, backing down from the diplomatic effort he has pursued over the year and a half, could be politically suicidal. … Such an accomplishment is likely to be pyrrhic and short lived. The challenge then will be to prevent the action in New York from further damaging the prospects for a more coherent approach that could lead to a lasting peace between Israel and a genuine Palestinian state.
But others, like Yehudit Oppenheimer, the executive director of Ir Amim, an NGO dedicated to establishing an “equitable and stable Jerusalem with a negotiated political future” believe the Palestinian bid is “not an anti-Israeli step.” Mr. Oppenheimer wrote in Haaretz that:
In the wake of its leaders' insistence that Israel's calls for a return to negotiations have gone unheeded, the Israeli public, most of which aspires to peace, has stopped believing in the possibility of a solution, and for that reason doesn't press those leaders to strive toward one. What happened to those leaders is what often happens in a prolonged conflict: They are gradually assuming the image of the "other" that they themselves created. It is the Israeli leadership that has stopped being a partner to a solution.
The connection between the retirement of Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the Palestinian initiative at the UN could mark the advent of new paradigms, something that is as vital for Israel as it is for the Palestinians. As opposed to the impression created in Israel, the Palestinian move is not an anti-Israeli step, but rather a rational measure for promoting the two-state solution delineated by the outlines of the Oslo Accords, which is acceptable to the public on both sides, and to which Israeli leaders, including those from the right, have already agreed in the past.
The initiative is based on a desire for a final-status solution, in which a Palestinian state would exist side by side with the State of Israel - a vision to which all of Israel's leaders have committed themselves in the past decade. The political vacuum that gave rise to the initiative is not a decree of fate. A smart Israeli leadership can and must embrace the initiative in a meaningful way. That is what the Israeli public should demand of its leaders.