Peace in the Middle East?

Well, the papers have been filed. The president of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has officially gone to the UN with a request for statehood. The U.S. and Israel, however, seem less than impressed with this move, and as a result, the bid will most likely be more symbolic for Palestinians than becoming an actuality. When the request makes it to voting in the UN Security Council, the U.S. has already vowed to veto the application, leaving it dead in the water.

However, it is possible that a vote in the UN General Assembly may pass, giving Palestinians a bit more power and recognition than they currently have.

It is unfortunate the U.S. should be determining whether a Palestinian state can exist. This should be a decision made by the international community, especially given the sheer failure of decades of meetings, negotiations and ceasefire after ceasefire. It seems clear to me the U.S. can’t pull this whole peace and statehood deal off. Israel and the U.S. insist the only path to peace is through direct negotiations. What Israel and the U.S. fail to acknowledge is that these negotiations have not been working, and I think it’s time for the international community to have a say. It’s no good to blame the failures on one side or the other for this. Let’s face it: both sides have been brutal with each other over the years. The idea that these two parties can come up with a compromise, even through mediation, just seems laughable. There is just too much bad blood between these two groups; how long should Palestinians be expected to keep at this process before Israel and the U.S. say it’s OK to become a state?

And then there is Gaza. Hamas rules Gaza, and it is angry that this bid has been made, regardless of who is involved. This could lead to yet another issue: maybe a two-state solution is just not the way to go after all, perhaps a three-state solution is necessary. If Hamas does not wish to work with Abbas, maybe Abbas and the West Bank should go at it alone and let Hamas do their own negotiating. This would allow for at least Palestinians in the West Bank to get closer to getting on with their lives and move forward in building a peaceful, viable state. With no Palestinian unity, one has to ask what would be the fate of a single Palestinian state. Would it end up in a bloody civil war? Ultimately it is an issue that should be decided by Palestinians. Perhaps the awarding of a single Palestinian state would give them a framework, then they could decide how to move forward. Frankly, there are still many questions to be answered; statehood would, however, allow a process to start so that some of these questions can begin to be addressed.
Sadly, after this brief chapter in history it appears the mess that is the Israeli-Palestinian issue is set to continue, and with no definite end in sight.

With an ultra-conservative and very stubborn Israeli government that doesn’t actually seem very keen on peace, a divided Palestine and an increasingly unstable Middle East, the whole situation looks as though it will get far worse before it gets better for anyone involved. So essentially the status quo wins out and no one is any closer to peace, with or without a bid for statehood at the UN.
There you have it, just another day in the Middle East.

Chris Hearn hopes for peace in the Middle East but doesn’t think it will be easy.