Palestine’s statehood bid

Recently, the Palestinian Authority promised to request a bid for statehood from the United Nations, which would mean the U.N. would officially recognize Palestine as an independent state.

The proposal recently sparked a debate throughout the world as to whether declaring Palestine an independent nation is a victory for the Arab world, or a slap in the face toward Israel.

Although U.N. delegates have shown support for the proposition, the U.S., a firm supporter of Israel, has committed to veto any Palestinian proposal to join the U.N. as a recognized state using its Security Council power. Additionally, the U.S. plans to forego a meeting of the General Assembly where they will vote to consider changing Palestine to a “nonvoting observer state,” a big step considering it is currently called a “nonvoting observer entity.”

The creation of Palestine would be a significant step towards a solution between Israel and its neighboring Arab state of Jordan, which occupies the lands promised for a Palestinian state. While rhetoric among U.S. politicians is overwhelmingly anti-Palestine, the creation of a new state could create an end to the conflict.

Here’s a brief history of the conflict and how it has grown: As a result of World War I, Great Britain took control of the portion of the Ottoman Empire known as Palestine and divided the area into two administrative districts along the Jordan River, one for the Jews — called Palestine — to the west and the east to the Arabs of Jordan. Within the Palestinian state, the Arabs attacked the Jews, who were forced to fight back. In 1947, the U.N. divided the Palestinian state into two states, one for Jews and another for Arabs. However, the Arabs still wanted all of Palestine, encompassing the east and west of the river.

Essentially, the fighting between the two nations was so severe that the Jewish Agency simply disregarded negotiations altogether and applied for statehood, which was immediately recognized by both the U.S. and the U.N. Immediately, the state of Israel was invaded by the surrounding Arab nations, which resulted in another U.N. resolution, this time giving the West Bank to Jordan and the Gaza Strip to Egypt, with the rest of the Palestinian lands to Israel. In 1967, tensions continued when Arabs again invaded Israel, but Israel defeated the Arab armies and claimed the Gaza Strip and West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

As a result of all of these conflicts, negotiations have ceased. To make matters worse, since 1993 when the Oslo Accords proposed guidelines for a two-state solution between the two groups, over 300,000 Jews now live on the West Bank, a territory designed for the proposed Palestinian state. The Israelis, though pressured, realized the Palestinian desire for a state but have made no attempt to restrain themselves off Palestinian land. Their prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has proposed only extreme conditions to the Arabs, a move that only further halts progress.

If America is concerned that it will lose its Israeli support by supporting Palestine — think again. According to an article by Reza Aslan, polls show most American Jews favor a two-state solution and hope both sides end the conflict. And if American Democrats are timid to take a pro-Palestinian side, Aslan also notes that they would do well to remember that Republicans have portrayed their left-wing counterparts as less sympathetic towards Israel.

President Barack Obama must take support towards the Palestinian state, for the Palestinian people’s options are slim to none. With negotiations waning and tensions increasing, Americans must realize that Palestine has been trapped into a similar situation that Israel was placed in nearly 60 years ago. By allowing Palestine to become a state through the U.N., negotiations may be revived and action may finally take place.

Jack Fixa is a first-year international studies major. He can be reached at jfixa@uci.edu.