Palestine: light at the end of the tunnel

The official recognition of the State of Palestine by the United Nations Organisation has brought mixed reactions.

The adoption of the UN Security Council of the motion presented by the USA on the future of Palestine has caused different reactions from the players in the area. The motion was carried with 14 votes in favour and one abstention (Syria).

Resolution 1397 is a short document which affirms the commitment of the UN Security Council to create “a vision in the region in which two states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side, within recognised and secure frontiers”.

The Syrian ambassador to the United Nations, Mikhail Wehbe, explained that the abstention of his country was due to the document being “weak” and because “it does not mention the Israeli occupation. It places the hangman and the victims on the same level”.

The sponsor of the proposal, US Ambassador to the UN, John Negroponte, explained that “by presenting this resolution, we are responding to the initiative of other countries. It is an initiative to obtain a wide consensus on what should be the process for the solution of the Middle East question”. Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia presented a peace initiative in February which sought to address the problem by recognition of Israel, in return for Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied lands.

Clovis Maksoud, former ambassador of the Arab league to the UNO, was not convinced. He stated that the aim of this measure was to placate certain quarters of the Arab world as the USA secretly plans its forthcoming war against Iraq: “Washington is aware that excessive violence against the Palestinians runs the risk of making the real objective of Dick Cheney’s mission fail”, namely an attack on Iraq.

However, Palestinian government representative Ahmed Abdelrahamane welcomed the resolution as “an advance for the resistance of the Palestinian people”, while Nasser al Kidwa, Palestinian representative at the UNO, declared that “It will help the process in the field. The fact that the United States has presented this proposal is significant in itself”.

The French ambassador to the UNO, Yehuda Lancry, said that this proposal is the first serious attempt to create a political backing for former Resolutions 242 and 238.

After UN General Assembly Resolution 181 created the states of Israel and Palestine on 29th November, 1947, giving an international status to Jerusalem, UN Security Council Resolution 242 of 22nd November 1967 called for the immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from the lands it had occupied (West Bank, Golan Heights, Sinai and the Gaza Strip) and called for a “fair solution” for the refugees”.

On 25th September, 1971, the UN Security Council condemned Israel for occupying Jerusalem, putting an end to its status as an international city. later, on 22nd October, 1973, UN Security Council Resolution 338 called for a cease-fire and requested both parties to the Yom Kippur conflict to achieve a lasting peace. Finally, on 1st march, 1980, the UN Security Council ordered Israel to dismantle its colonies built on lands taken from the Palestinians and to cease with the practice of building colonies.

Rather than cease, successive Israeli governments have stepped up the policy of occupying land, building houses and farms and settling them with waves of refugees coming to Israel, many from Russia.

This practice is a flagrant violation of international law and breaches two UN Resolutions.


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