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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Palestinian flag to fly at the UN- progress?

I went in the edit my post and my wonderful computer due to an annoying quirk has caused me to delete it. So here we go again. I'll try and reconstruct.

The UN voted to fly the Palestinian flag with 119 out of 193 votes, 45 abstentions and 8 very predictable no votes. Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Tuvalu, United States- looks a little like the coalition of the willing in the Iraq debacle. I think it's a step in the right direction whether it's symbolic or meaningless or whatever you want to call it. To be clear, the motion was for the permanent observer states to fly their flags alongside member states with the only other being the Holy See, who didn't really want to be involved, though it does recognize the Palestinian state.

There were many opinions, harsh and a little contradictory coming from the US and Israel, mostly positive elsewhere.

Some Palestinians are not encouraged by the resolution and given the history of these resolutions calling on Israel to follow international law and such, I can see why. Also, I can see the argument that the flag flying won't bring peace or rights right away. But I think it could do something to keep the issue in the consciousness of the international community and possibly help guide them to Tamimi's last point there in the quote.

Azzam Tamimi, a Palestinian British academic and author, told Al Jazeera that the gesture was "meaningless"."What the Palestinians need from the UN is an acknowledgement of its historic role in dispossessing the Palestinians," Tamimi said. -- Aljazeera

Of course I agree with this being a historic vote, if nothing else, and also a sign of support for the Palestinian people that the UN has been powerless to protect against Israeli aggression. It is always good to see expressions of support on the world stage for human rights and equality. There was a very good rebuttal to this being "just symbolic" : 

Bolivia’s speaker said that although the vote was symbolic, symbols were important and the Palestinian flag would be a reminder of occupation and injustice.

 The US reaction was pretty standard and unemotional, unlike the Israeli one we'll see in a minute.

US state department spokesman Mark Toner called it a "counterproductive" attempt to pursue statehood claims outside of a negotiated settlement. --Aljazeera

Well that one was right out of the Israeli script, but standard, nothing new.
U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said raising the Palestinian flag will not bring Israelis and Palestinians any closer together.
This one is kind of funny, making this kind of statement about a flag, a symbol for the struggle for freedom and justice of an entire people. Meanwhile, the people you are coming out in support of are occupying the land meant for this state everyone is allegedly committed to, committing crimes against humanity, starving and imprisoning the population, imposing curfews, closures, incusions, making life impossible so that they'll "transfer" themselves or die. Does THAT bring the two sides together?? Does she find these things preferable to a flag? It sure sounds that way.

The Israeli envoy, Ron Prosor had a lot of irrational and insulting things to say. He went after the UN for alleged duplicity and hypocrisy. He went after the resolution calling it an empty gesture, a photo op, a charade. He also included the overused and untrue refrain that Palestinians aren't taking the necessary steps for peace. Israel is continuing to build and enlarge settlements (illegal under international law) on land that is to be the Palestinian state, but you know, Palestinians just aren't taking necessary steps. Israel has only one image of a Palestinian state- demilitarized (right to self defense nullified), Jewish state recognized (denial of rights to Palestinians living there), and settlements stay (no fixed borders)- essentially occupation enshrined in law- but you know, Palestinians just won't come to the table to negotiate (which means accept what Israel demands) this. 

And displaying the kind of tired perpetual victimhood rhetoric we were waiting for (drum roll please):

Ron Proser, Israel’s UN ambassador, criticised the assembly for adopting the resolution, saying “the assembly would vote to declare the Earth is flat if the Palestinians proposed it” -- The Guardian

Boo hoo.
And interestingly, even though the vote was put down as insignificant, it was significant enough to move the Israeli Foreign Ministry to go on an international campaign to get the entire EU to abstain, as reported by Haaretz. But that failed. Some countries were brave and used their own good sense. 

Alongside France, EU members Sweden, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Belgium, Malta and Poland voted yes.

Oh this guy was on a roll. He also said:

". . . rather than flying the Palestinian flag, it might as well just wave a “white flag” and surrender its principles."


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