With the Palestinian bid for non-member observer status in the General Assembly of the UN set to take place tomorrow, the UK is on the verge of shooting itself in the head, diplomatically. Spain and France are the latest European countries to signal their intention to vote for this enhanced status of Palestine at the UN. Germany has signalled its intention to vote against, who even more so than Britain are closely allied with Israel, in the diplomatic and military sectors.
According to David Blair at The Telegraph William Hague, the British Foreign Secretary, called Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to spell out the conditions on which the UK would vote yes on the Palestinian bid. These include a promise not to apply to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) and subsequently lodge claims over past Israeli war crimes, i.e. hundreds, spanning decades. Yes this move may harm any lingering chance at building a peace process with the current and likely to be re-elected Netanyahu coalition in Israel, but why should they have to promise to not join the court? The potential damage to any peace, has not stopped the west and Britain from supporting the ICC in pursuing accused war criminals in Africa, why should this be any different?
Hague also wants the Palestinians to commit to the resumption of peace talks with Israel without pre-conditions. This in itself is a condition! To ask the Palestinians to enter in to talks with Netanyahu’s extreme right-wing coalition without any kind of commitment to a complete freeze on settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is tantamount to national suicide. After years of compliancy with demands from Israel and its backers Abbas, conscious of his own precarious position in the face of the Arab Spring and the perceived continuing success of the more radical (and violent) resistance offered by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, will not accede to these demands any longer. Everything “offered” to the Palestinians from the US and other western powers is always with conditions as if they are the ones maintaining a brutal occupation for decades, yet Israel the real perpetrators, are shown ridiculous levels of deference and understanding from these same western leaders.
Wake up William! The Palestinians have been suffering this indignation, humiliation, direct & structural violence for over half a century, it is either down to western supporters of Israel (in particular the US) to force a change in the situation or expect a continuation and escalation of violent Palestinian resistance, a resistance that will be their right as set down in international law.
By Jonathan Woodrow Martin
Update: William Hague, at the House of Commons, has confirmed what was set down in the Telegraph. The Palestinians will receive a yes vote only if they abide by the British terms.
Expect an abstainment(no) vote from Britain. This government does not represent me.