Haaretz’s headline said it all: Israel Suffers Humiliating Defeat in UN Vote. Palestine has won a victory, no doubt. It’s fitting that it wins this vote 64 years to the day after the General Assembly voted to partition Mandatory Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state. Now Palestine can wear such a mantle of official recognition.
It is now a nonmember observer state, like the Vatican. But what has it won? In one of my tweets tonight, I rather mordantly joked that being an observer state means Palestine can “observe” the Security Council screwing it over the next time Israel goes to war against it.
I was tickled by the unending ironies evoked by the vote: Israel and Palestine both claim they support a two-state solution, yet this vote which recognized a Palestinian state was called by Sen. Lindsay Graham “an unhealthy step that could undermine the peace process.” Someone will have to explain how a vote that takes you closer to recognizing that two-state goal undermines the peace process. Could it be–could it possibly be that Sen. Graham’s goal is to never see a Palestinian state?
Another irony (and mordant joke): of those nine states that voted no (Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Nauru, Panama, Czech Republic, Canada) almost all are former colonies or protectorates of the U.S.–including Israel. Is it also possible that since most of those No votes which are tiny Pacific island states and threatened by climate change, also feel threatened by the major UN climate change of recognizing a Palestinian state?