Palestine seeks statehood through UN

Adam Schasel, Staff Reporter

Palestinians are trying a new tactic in its struggle for a homeland: a PR campaign. Palestine is rallying support for United Nations recognition of Palestinian statehood. This follows a stall in negotiations between Palestinians and Israel, which has controlled territory previously occupied by Palestine since 1967. Led by the United States, the negotiations sought to establish independent Israeli and Palestinian countries without the intervention of an international body such as the U.N.

The move is considered to be largely symbolic, since the United States holds the power to veto any new admissions into the U.N. and has promised to do so if any recognition of a Palestinian state passes. But the fact that Palestine is seeking such recognition in the first place highlights the ineffectiveness of negotiations and could potentially hurt relations between Israel and Palestine as time goes on.

The Palestinian bid seeks to reset national borders to those that existed before the 1967 Mideast War, and a shared capital in Jerusalem, a city that is considered holy by subscribers to Judaism(the primary religion of Israel) and Islam (the primary religion amongst Palestinians). United States President Barack Obama has previously agreed with these terms, but has told Palestinians they are going the wrong way about it. Susan Rice, the United States’ ambassador to the UN, resonates with the President, calling the bid “unwise and counterproductive.”

But few nations support the United States and its promise to veto. Egyptians, with their newfound democratic voice, have called for the establishment of a Palestinian state coupled with anti-Israel sentiment. Turkey, additionally, has endorsed the Palestinian bid for statehood, even going so far as to throw out Israel’s ambassador to the country. Many European nations support a so-called “Vatican option” for Palestine in which they would be granted observer status at the UN, but not full admission.

Here in the U.S. many Americans are wary of the bid, with residents of the primarily Jewish New York 9th Division recently electing a Republican to Congress for the first time since 1922 in a special election to determine the successor to disgraced representative Anthony Wiener. Their motive was to send a clear message to Barack Obama: back Israel, or else.

Although citizens elsewhere have issues against Palestine seeking U.N. statehood, students here at the high school tend to lean toward Palestinians rather than Israelis.

“Israel sought statehood through an international body so Palestine should have the opportunity to do the same,” senior Divan Martinez said. “The alternative is violence, and that’s not good for the world.”

Resonating with Martinez is junior Anna Libey.

“The US should cut all ties with Israel and acknowledge Palestine” she said. “It’ll lead to peace in the Middle East and the US won’t have as many enemies.”

Regardless of the outcome, the move by Palestinians shows growing frustration with current negotiations, and it could have dramatic effects on the future of Israeli-Palestinian peace process.