The recent Palestinian bid for statehood is sure to be charged with tension this week as the United Nations Security Council meets to vote on the territory’s legal status. Whether or not Palestine becomes an official state depends upon support from 9 out of the 15 members of The Council, with no vetoes from any permanent members. However, President Obama has promised to use his veto power against the bid. This comes as a surprise to many in the Middle East, as just a few months ago the President proudly declared support for the recent chain of uprisings in the region.
The United States’ hesitation is attributed to its close relationship with Israel, who is also opposing the bid. The two countries have urged Palestine to drop its request for fear of the political unrest it may cause; Palestine is demanding territories be drawn according to the pre-1967 Six Day War boundaries, which would put East Jerusalem under Palestine’s control. Roughly half a million Israelis live there.
Jerusalem is currently divided up into “zones,” with Israel controlling some areas and Palestine controlling others.
Analysts are saying that Palestine’s new recognition would mostly be symbolic, although it is likely that statehood would increase the amount of wielding power Palestine uses in its negotiations with Israel. The main problem seems to be that Palestinians feel oppressed by their lack of full state status, not that they will stop negotiations if they receive it.
Technically, by attempting to apply for statehood, Palestine is not violating any previous negotiations with Israel.
Many of the yellow countries have supported Palestine as early as 1988; some have joined as recently as July of this year.
The majority of burgundy countries are United States allies. It appears that President Obama’s opposition is based in fear of losing a large voting population in the next election.
Palestinian citizens have expressed frustration with the low chances of recognition. After years of failed peace negotiations, people see it as a way of taking action into their own hands. The Palestinian government is urging supporters for non-violent demonstrations, which have been successful so far.
Israel is pointing to the Jerusalem Basic Law that was passed in 1980, which declared the entirety of Jerusalem to be under Israeli control. However, the United Nations Security Council Resolution 478 declared this law “null and void”. The Council stated that the attempt violated international law and so would not be recognized officially. It seemed a way for Israel to force the issue.
Still, critics say that is exactly what Palestine is attempting to do now. President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, have both made it clear that they want Palestine to continue negotiations for Jerusalem and the West Bank, rather than writing it into their proposal for statehood.
Palestine is asking for control of East Jerusalem, which is home to a greater majority of Christians and Muslims. West Jerusalem contains a greater Jewish population, and would remain under Israeli control.
Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, is calling the bid for statehood the beginning of the “Palestinian Spring”. Nationalism in Palestine has been ignited since the announcement last week.
Negotiations so far have focused on a “two-state solution”, which is in accordance with the Palestine statehood proposal. The World Bank has declared that Palestine is ready to enjoy an official title, but the clashes over Jerusalem and its surrounding areas have hindered peace negotiations the most. People all over the world are left wondering: what is a fair way to divide Jerusalem, and how will the Palestinian people react if they are denied? How do U.S. citizens feel about Obama’s opposition to the proposal as a political tactic? And what about Israeli citizens, who have watched Palestine’s struggle for recognition over the years? There is a long list of questions to consider as heads around the globe turn toward the Middle East and wait.
Regions opposing or not opposing Palestinian statehood: