Why All This Fear?
29 October marks the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People in accordance with the anniversary of United Nations Resolution 181. This year and every year, many commemorative activities take place all over the world to express support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian People, especially the exercise of their right of self-determination.
But this year is different. This year the International Day of Solidarity is marked by an extraordinary event: the United Nations General Assembly vote effectively recognizing the State of Palestine. Some 132 countries have already recognized Palestine as a state, but on a bilateral basis. However, the recognition by the General Assembly of the United Nations has a different, yet, substantial impact on the long-lasting Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Many analysts have already discussed the grounds and benefits of such recognition. But one can say that the most crucial impact is that it draws clear references to any future peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis. Therefore it is a bid for peace and throws a lifeline to the raven peace process.
In other words, from now on, Israel will be negotiating with representatives of an occupied Palestinian state, and not disputed territory. This will surely limit Israel’s accelerated settlement plans in the occupied territory of the Palestinian state and hence revive the negotiations, hampered by Israel’s continuous settlement construction on Palestinian occupied territory. Additionally, some other final status issues will be automatically resolved per se.
Ironically and on the heels of this recognition, in direct opposition to Israel’s staunch commitment for rejuvenating peace process in rhetoric, Israeli officials have adopted a policy of concomitant denial and denunciation.. Israel and some Western countries expressed concern. One would assume that Israel greatest concern would be the recognition of a Palestinian state as a foundation for the establishment of the state of Palestine, which Israel rejects. However, the motivation behind this concern was revealed in the last few days, in Tel Aviv and other Western capitals.
It has become evident that the resentment and fear is primarily due to the eligibility of the fledgling state of Palestine to join international bodies and organizations, namely the International Criminal Court (ICC). After months of winking and whispering, Israeli officials could not hide it anymore and professed that Israel can’t accept it. Some Western countries had similar positions and announced that their support for Palestine’s bid upgraded status at the United Nations is subject to a commitment by the Palestinians not to accede to the Rome Treaty of the International Criminal Court.
Notwithstanding the fact that the Palestinians have not yet announced or revealed any plans they have after the recognition of the state of Palestine, except for their readiness to go back to negotiations with Israel, Israel and its allies continued stressing their staunch opposition to any Palestinian attempts to join ICC.
Israel’s rejection and fear are not haphazard, and cannot be construed other than an unspoken realization and unstated confession of violations and encroachments committed by its army against Palestinians. For that, Israel’s worrisome outlook stems from the fact that any future Palestinian presence in such juridical body would, probably, have further repercussions and could mean that its generals will be brought to justice.
Nevertheless, what cannot be grasped is the position of a number of governments, who have always expressed their commitment to fairness, morality and humanity, and have forever called for human rights, justice and democracy. Instead of sparing their efforts to support justice, or at least to refrain from supporting the unjust, Western governments are aware of Israel’s rationale behind rejecting any potential Palestinian admission to ICC, and yet still extend their support to Israel.
Officials and diplomats will probably start seeking imperfections and shortcomings of such potential Palestinian admission to ICC, and may try again utilizing obsolete traditional justifications and pretentions. Yet the fact is there is no room for misgivings anymore, as the truth is crystal clear. Those governments have proved to have firm allegiance with interests solely, regardless of every promise of fairness and in spite of every watchword of justice they held.
Time is ticking and history neither forgives nor forgets. Palestine will be recognized as a nonmember observer state on the 1967 borders in the UN, and the current stagnation and status quo of international community on the Israeli-Palestinian issue is not likely to be preserved. Both parties will go back to the negotiations table sooner or later.
Thereof, and on the rocks of this conflict, the international community and influential countries still have a word to stay, a lot of leverage and an important role to play, in support of a long lasting justice and peace, in a rough-and-tumble Middle East.