Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

US Veto Could Derail Palestine as New U.N. Member State

The United States, in the face of global opposition, looks likely to veto a possible UN resolution recognizing Palestine as an independent country.

Inter Press Service

If the General Assembly is called upon to recognise Palestine as a new sovereign nation state, the resolution is expected to garner the required two-thirds majority among the 192 members in the world body, come September.

But a single veto in the 15-member Security Council – most likely by the United States – will derail Palestine's membership in the United Nations, even if the Palestinians are able to muster the required nine votes in the Council.

The administration of President Barack Obama has not only hinted about a possible veto but is also lobbying European countries, urging them not to vote for the resolution when it comes up before the General Assembly in September.

Medea Benjamin, a political activist and co-founder of the women's anti-war group Code Pink, told IPS, "Given that the position of the Obama administration is that there should be a sovereign Palestinian state, it makes no sense to try to block a resolution on statehood, if it comes up at the United Nations this fall."

She said it will show the absurd reality that U.S. policy not only runs counter to the sentiment of the majority of the world, but also runs counter to its own policy.

"We saw this same phenomena when the U.S. vetoed the U.N. resolution condemning Israel for the continued building of settlements – a veto that ran counter to the stated U.S. policy calling on Israel to stop building settlements," she pointed out.

The Obama administration should not lobby the Europeans to vote against this resolution, she said. On the contrary, the U.S. should support it, said Benjamin, a leader of an international peace movement and co-founder of the San Francisco-based Global Exchange which advocates fair trade.

In an op-ed piece in the New York Times last month, Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian National Authority, said: "We will request international recognition of the State of Palestine on the 1967 border and that our state be admitted as a full member of the United Nations."

As of now, France and Britain, two veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council, have hinted they will vote for the resolution.

China and Russia, the other two permanent members, are also expected to exercise a positive vote.

Mouin Rabbani, contributing editor to the Washington-based Middle East Report, told IPS while there is as yet no clear indication that European states have thrown their support behind the Palestinian initiative to seek U.N. recognition for Palestinian statehood in September, a serious discussion about this has started, and there have been growing signs that key EU states, such as France, might endorse it.

"This would constitute a body blow to continued U.S. hegemony of conflict management, and Washington appears determined to thwart, if not the Palestinian initiative, then at least the support for it of influential allies, particularly Europe," he said.

Obama's recent comments on the Middle East were therefore addressed not so much to the parties themselves as to Europe, noted Rabbani.

Obama's statement that the United States now endorses the 1967 boundaries as a basis for a negotiated resolution of the conflict – albeit with a slew of qualifications that make this an essentially meaningless statement – is intended to persuade Europe that Washington retains the qualifications to remain the sole proprietor of this dossier, he said.

"Will it work? Obama did no more than issue a statement that he thereafter almost instantaneously emptied of substance," he said.

More importantly, argued Rabbani, "Obama did not provide any details about either how – or even if – Washington intends to realise this objective, nor on how the U.S. intends to address reality on the ground in the absence of concrete American movement towards this objective.

"So the Europeans – hardly morons and self-interested actors to their very marrow – are unlikely to be impressed," he added.

Samir Sanbar, a former U.N. assistant secretary-general who headed the Department of Public Information, told IPS that most likely a resolution will get a majority in the General Assembly regardless of U.S. or European vote.

The real question will be the extent of that majority, he added.

For example, a two-thirds majority would make the difference, and if handled strategically by the Palestinian representatives, could outweigh a possible veto by the United States, Britain or France.

"Of course, a crucial key is the position of the Security Council that recommends new members to the General Assembly. Timing the submission and approach in presentation are crucial," said Sanbar, who has served under five different U.N. secretaries-general during his longstanding career at the world body.

Rabbani told IPS that Obama's failure – or rather refusal – to compel Israel to comply with a measure as benign as a partial and temporary suspension of further settlement expansion in order to ensure the continuation of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, and thus the breakdown of diplomacy, appears to have had a big impact on Europe, not least Washington's closest allies like London and Berlin.

"Europeans increasingly feel they are spending billions of Euros not to solve this festering sore on their doorstep, but rather to sustain the conflict by financing an occupation that Washington doesn't have the will to terminate," he said.

The failure of the Fayyad Plan, proposed by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad for the creation of a de facto Palestinian state within two years, particularly in the context of the Arab Spring, was for many the last straw.

That Abbas, the Palestinian leader for whom negotiations has been an article of faith, now appears to be exploring alternatives such as Palestinian reconciliation and U.N. recognition on account of Obama's steadfast refusal to help him sell yet more negotiations as a credible path was seen in Europe as a further wake-up call, said Rabbani.

European states are not going to launch a Middle East initiative independent of Washington. At the end of the day, resolving the Arab- Israeli conflict is for them not worth the conflict with Washington this would entail, given more important interests they would not want to jeopardise, he declared.

Sanbar said that some who are nervous may even be "seeking links with Israel" as a way of gaining clearer U.S. support. "And how credible is the Palestinian Authority with its own people?"

A crucial element is their unified presentation through an updated inclusive free national framework, said Sanbar.

Rabbani said that slowly but surely, the region is transcending the priorities and constraints imposed upon it by U.S. policy, and this is no less true of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Mere talk of seeking U.N. recognition – whatever one may think of it – demonstrates quite clearly that even dependent clients like the PLO are moving on, and no longer basing their every little move on whether or not it pleases the occupant of the White House, he said.

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

Haim Saban is a media mogul and major donor to the Democratic Party known for his hardline stance on Israel and opposition to the Iran nuclear deal.


Nikki Haley, Donald Trump’s first U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is known for her lock-step support for Israel and is widely considered to be a future presidential candidate.


Brian Hook is the director of policy planning and senior policy advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and is the head of the Iran Action Group.


Josh Rogin is a journalist known for his support for neoconservative policies and views.


Laurence Silberman, a senior justice on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, was a mentor to controversial Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and has been a vocal supporter of right-wing foreign and domestic agendas, including the campaign to support the invasion of Iraq.


The People’s Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK, advocates regime change in Iran and has strong connections with a wide range of top political figures in the U.S.


Eli Lake is a columnist for Bloomberg View who has a lengthy record of advocating for aggressive U.S. foreign policies towards the Middle East.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

Jobs should not be an excuse to arm a murderous regime that not only appears to be behind the assassination of a U.S. resident and respected commentator but is also responsible for thousands of civilian casualties in Yemen—the majority killed with U.S-supplied bombs, combat aircraft, and tactical assistance.


The contradictions in Donald Trump’s foreign policy create opportunities for both rivals and long-standing (if irritated) US allies to challenge American influence. But Trump’s immediate priority is political survival, and his actions in the international arena are of little concern to his domestic supporters.


While the notion that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic is decades old, it has been bolstered in recent years, by the campaign to add to the definition of anti-Semitism any criticism that singles Israel out and doesn’t apply the same standard to other countries. The bottom line is that this entire effort is designed not to combat anti-Semitism but to silence criticism. 


Short-term thinking, expedience, and a lack of strategic caution has led Washington to train, fund, and support group after group that have turned their guns on American soldiers and civilians.


Trump is not the problem. Think of him instead as a summons to address the real problem, which in a nation ostensibly of, by, and for the people is the collective responsibility of the people themselves. For Americans to shirk that responsibility further will almost surely pave the way for more Trumps — or someone worse — to come.


The United Nations has once again turn into a battleground between the United States and Iran, which are experiencing one of the darkest moments in their bilateral relations.


In many ways, Donald Trump’s bellicosity, his militarism, his hectoring cant about American exceptionalism and national greatness, his bullying of allies—all of it makes him not an opponent of neoconservatism but its apotheosis. Trump is a logical culmination of the Bush era as consolidated by Obama.


RightWeb
share