In a contentious yet historic United Nations (UN) vote on Thursday, Nov. 29, the Palestinian Authority was granted an observer non-member status in the General Assembly, despite opposition from Israel and the United States.
It was 65 years ago that the UN voted, on Nov. 29, 1947, to establish a Jewish and Arab state alongside of each other in the British mandate territory.
This vote has drawn heavy criticism from both the United States and Israel, furthering a tense relationship with Palestine.
Israel, unhappy with the outcome, has made some rash moves since the UN upgraded the Palestinian Authority from an “entity” to a “nonmember state.”
On Friday, Nov. 30, Israel made an announcement that they would move forward with the development of a settlement in a disputed area, known as E1, just outside of East Jerusalem. Israel’s plan to build more than 3,000 houses would put possible negotiations for a two-state solution in jeopardy.
The United States has acted as a broker of peace between Israel and Palestine, but the opposition of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it difficult for President Barack Obama to work with him — a stumbling block in foreign diplomacy between the two countries.
While Israel has shown hefty opposition to the Palestinian’s recognition as a nonmember state in the UN General Assembly, it is important for the United States to recognize the growing power of Palestinian unification.
On Wednesday, Nov. 28, the leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshal, discussed the possibility of joining his party with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (P.L.O.), which would lead to the further unification of Palestinians.
It was the Israeli drone strike that resulted in the assassination of a Hamas military official, Ahmad Al-Jabari, which ignited the eight-day dispute between Israel and Palestine.
Hamas is classified as a terrorist organization by the United States and Israel because of their use of violence to try and solve the Israel-Palestine problem.
Nevertheless, Hamas has the support of Palestinians who desire the “right of return” to their homelands in present-day Israel.
If Hamas was to join the P.L.O., the leader of Palestine and the Fatah party, Mahmoud Abbas, would face a challenge.
Hamas would, no doubt, seek to toughen up P.L.O. policies. This could complicate future peace talks.
The United States would be foolish to ignore the influence that Palestine and the Arab Spring has on the global stage. After all, it was the Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi who brokered the cease-fire between Israel and Palestine.
In fact, Egypt, Qatar and Turkey have all proven to have significant clout when it comes to global issues.
These countries have supported Palestine’s recognition in the U.N.
With these powerful governments arising in the Middle East and Palestine moving closer toward its statehood, it is time for the United States to push harder for peace talks between Israel and Palestine.
When the UN vote was passed, Israel announced on Sunday, Dec. 2, that it would withhold tax revenues that are collected on Palestine’s behalf for this month, claiming the Palestine Authority owes $200 million to the Israel Electric Corporation.
Israel will withhold more than $100 million from the Palestinian Authority. Historically, when tensions rise between Israel and Palestine, Israel has found a way to withhold money from Palestine.
Why can’t the United States cut funding when our ally acts out?
The Congressional Research Service published a study in 2012 that stated, “In 2007, the Bush Administration and the Israeli government agreed to a 10-year, $30 billion military aid package,” which is justified because it was “an investment in peace—in long-term peace. Peace will not be made without strength.”
Though the United States provides Israel with an ample amount of military assistance, Israel often neglects us as an ally.
When Israel threatens a potential peaceful solution to be made with Palestine, the United States should not be hesitant to reduce aid packages.
If Israel can withhold money from Palestine, so can the United States from Israel.
The truth is that Israel and Palestine are guilty of needless aggression. The conflict between the two can be solved, though compromise is needed.
The history between the two has been wrought with bloodshed, turmoil and deep-seeded hatred for one another, but there has to be an aim for peace so that both countries can establish a manageable relationship for the future.
A two-state solution may prove a fruitless effort, which has been the case for many years.
If the two nation states can learn to accept one another’s identity and culture, as well as drop the crippling hatred of one another, then maybe a one-state solution would be plausible.
Establishing one state would allow Palestinians to return to their homeland, while allowing Israelis to share the entire region.
Jerusalem could be a shared capital, and peace between Palestinians and Israelis could be a step toward a bright future.
Many argue for a two-state solution, yet this route has only ended in renewed conflict between the two nations.
One state of peace would enable both Palestinians and Israelis to enjoy the holy city, land, water and improved relations.
Peace through strength is not the answer. It is imperative that Israel and Palestine find a peaceful solution.
This conflict can be solved by employing the wisdom to refrain from resorting to an act of military strength when it is most tempting to do so for unsavory reasons.