On September 23, 2011 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas presented UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon an application for full membership. In the application President Abbas wrote, “the State of Palestine affirms its commitment to the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the vision of two states living side by side in peace and security.”
On cue, the Israeli Prime Minister retorted stating the bid would not succeed and called on leaders throughout the international community to oppose the effort. U.S. President Barack Obama stated he supported the idea of an independent Palestinian state, however voted against the UN bid implying it somehow thwarted the peace process.
Well Prime Minister Netanyahu was correct, in a sense. The UN Security Council committee could not reach a consensus on the measure and all seemed lost for the Palestinians. But as the old expression goes, slow and steady wins the race. Just a year later in an overwhelming vote — 138 countries voted yes, 41 countries abstained (including the U.K. and Germany) and 9 countries voted no, the U.S., Israel, Canada, Panama, Czech Republic, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Micronesia and Palau. If you’re wondering who the latter four countries are and why you’ve probably never heard of them, the answer is simple. All are very small countries and, excluding Nauru, basically U.S. proxies heavily dependent on the United States for aid.
The passing of this resolution is significant for a number of reasons but what it represents more than anything is the growing reality that the state of Israel is becoming more and more isolated on the international stage. The far-right, extreme government led by PM Netanyahu is being exposed for the entire world to see for its genocidal, oppressive treatment of the Palestinian people. All eyes are on Israel just as they were on South Africa during apartheid. Everyone is watching, waiting and now responding.
And how does Israel react? Announce plans to build 3,000 settlements in the area known as E1 between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim. For those who are not aware building in this area is considered so offensive and off the table, even former President George W. Bush, who never opposed anything the state of Israel did, during his tenure condemned such a move. By PM Netanyahu forging ahead despite condemnations from the international community, including its closest ally, the U.S. he is basically driving the last remaining nail in the coffin and negating any hopes of a two-state solution. But then the idea of two, equal and sovereign nations living side by side in peace has never been his agenda.