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World leaders disagree over UN decision

J’Dana Holsinger, ‘Doah Staff Writer
December 5, 2012

'Doah photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

‘Doah photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

On Thursday, Nov. 29, the United Nations voted to approve Palestine’s bid for statehood. The 138-9 vote officially established Palestine as a non-member observer state.

This status is equivalent to that of the Vatican. The motion grants Palestine the ability to be viewed as an official sovereign state by the U.N. and also gives them the ability to join U.N. agencies.

Palestine decided to take their bid to the U.N. upon the heels of the ceasefire that halted the fighting across the border of Gaza earlier this month. The Hamas military from Gaza fired rockets into Israel, and Israel retaliated with air strikes.

The fighting went on for several days until both sides agreed to the ceasefire that was brokered with the aid of U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Mohamed Kamal Amr.

Palestine and Israel are two regions with a long history of conflict. Some of the most prominent issues that cause dispute between the two stems from mutual recognition, control of Jerusalem, borders and security. Palestine hopes that statehood recognition will aid them in finally negotiating lasting peace for people living in the area.

Israel, however, believes that the change in status will make peace negotiations more difficult, and that Palestine will be less likely to agree on certain key issues needed for stability in the region.

The United States, Canada and Panama, as well as several other countries sided with Israel and voted against Palestine’s bid for statehood. Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., said “Today’s unfortunate and counterproductive resolution places further obstacles in the path to peace.” The U.S. and Israel have made it clear that they believe this vote will make Palestine less likely to compromise on difficult issues facing the region and will only make it harder for the two to form long term peace. Another fear is that Palestine will attempt to take Israel to the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes.

After the vote took place in New York, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, “There is only one way peace can be achieved; through direct negotiation between the sides without preconditions.” He believes that their statehood should have been established out of working together and agreeing upon certain boundaries and provisions and not by running to the U.N.

Whether Palestine is serious about trying to establish peace in the region or not will be demonstrated through their acts in the coming months.

The history of battle and dispute between these two states is a century long, and unless both sides are willing to give a little and make tough decisions we cannot expect to see the end of this saga anytime soon.

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