|image credit: 3News|
Madison Ruppert, Contributor
The United Nations General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine to “non-member observer state” with an overwhelming 138 to 9 and 41 abstentions, giving Palestinians the right to join the International Criminal Court and other treaty bodies.
One must wonder, however, how much this will actually change on the ground in Palestine. Will it prevent neighboring countries from blocking access to Palestinian land as they have done multiple times?
Will it lead to less disproportionate killing in conflicts and more clarity regarding ceasefire agreements? Will it force Hamas and other militant groups to take a less aggressive stance? All this remains to be seen.
Indeed, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the vote will actually do absolutely nothing to change the situation on the ground.
“This is a meaningless resolution that won’t change anything on the ground,” said Netanyahu in a statement issued by his office shortly before the UN vote was actually held, according to Reuters.
This did nothing to temper the celebration in the streets of Palestine in the wake of the vote.
However, it displays a quite significant change from how Western nations have treated Palestine in the past, evidenced by Israeli news outlet Haaretz remarking that “officials in Jerusalem understood that Israel was left without any Western support except for the United States, Canada and the Czech Republic.”
“We lost Europe,” a senior official in the Israeli Foreign Ministry said, according to Haaretz.
They cite the shift beginning in France just a few days ago. Regardless of where it started, European Union nations largely supported the Palestinian request for non-member observer state status.
“Spain, Cyprus, Portugal, Luxembourg, Finland, Denmark, Austria, Malta, Ireland, Italy, Slovenia, Belgium, Sweden, Germany and Greece all joined France in the past few days,” Haaretz reports. “Norway and Switzerland, which are not members of the European Union, also announced their support for the Palestinian request.”
However, Germany actually abstained from the vote when it came down to it.
“Thursday’s vote exposed deep divisions within Europe over Palestinian statehood, with France, Italy and Spain supporting the Palestinians, and Germany and Britain casting abstentions,” reports The Washington Post.
“We looked at the United States, with the strong and active support of the United Kingdom, and the international community, to do all it can in the coming weeks and months to take a decisive lead in restarting negotiations,” Lyall-Grant added.
The unfortunate reality is that Israel very well may retaliate in response to the UN General Assembly’s vote.
“Netanyahu, while hinting Israel may seek to retaliate, made no specific mention of punitive measures, in a shift in tone after eight days of fighting around the Gaza Strip,” reported Reuters.
However, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman reportedly made some quite heated statements earlier this month on the subject of the Palestinian upgrade request.
“If the … proposal is adopted at the United Nations General Assembly, as far as we are concerned this would be a complete breaking of the rules and it will elicit an extreme response from us,” Lieberman said according to the British Telegraph.
A similarly threatening statement was made by Environment Minister Gilad Erdan three years ago, according to Reuters. Erdan reportedly said that Israel might go as far as annexing some of the 120 settlements in the West Bank.
Yet Israel has now stepped back from these statements, instead threatening to withhold the $200 million in monthly transfers of duties collected by Israel on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.
Israel “says it will cover the PA’s debt to the Israel Electric Corporation,” according to Reuters.
Palestine, however, has not shown any rush to join the International Criminal Court, where they could potentially bring a case against Israel.
They have also pledged to restart the peace process immediately after the vote, although it remains to be seen if Israel will have any interest in actually participating.
While this upgrade is still far short of the status other countries enjoy, the current chances of Palestine achieving such as status are slim to none given the U.S.’s veto power in the United Nations Security Council.
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This article first appeared at End the Lie.