UN strongly approves Palestinian proposal to raise flag!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
The United Nations has overwhelmingly voted in favour of raising a flag of Palestine at its headquarters in New York City in a symbolic move highlighting Palestinian aspirations for statehood.
UN General Assembly has passed a resolution on Sept-10 2015, allowing flags of Palestine and the Holy See alongside full member states. The text of the resolution allows the flags of Palestine and the Holy See – both of which have non-member observer status – to be hoisted alongside those of the member states.
The resolution was adopted on Thursday evening with 119 in favour, eight including Israel and the United States voting against and 45 abstentions. The voting pattern signifies the understanding of the concept freedom and sovereign in varying degrees by the world nations.
European nations were divided on the move with France and Sweden voting in favour while others such as Germany, Austria, Finland, the Netherlands and Cyprus abstained.
The General Assembly upgraded the status of the Palestinians to that of non-member observer state in 2012. The Vatican said it would abide by the decision of the General Assembly, but it also noted that the tradition at the UN was to fly the flags of full members.
The UN has 20 days to implement the move, in time for a visit by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on September 30.
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian representative to the UN, ahead of the vote said “It is a symbolic thing, but another step to solidify the pillars of the state of Palestine in the international arena”. Both Israel and the United States, seeking to justify and retain all illegal colonies constructed inside Palestine, have expressed strong opposition, with Israel’s UN ambassador Ron Prosor slamming the move as “a blatant attempt to hijack the UN”.
Meanwhile, having failed to stop the Palestinians from approaching the UN for the Observer status and flag hoisting at UN, Israel has asked UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and General Assembly President Ron Kutesa to try to block the move, which would “break” with the UN practice of flying only the flags of member states.
Azzam Tamimi, a Palestinian British academic and author said that the UN flag gesture was “meaningless”. “What the Palestinians need from the UN is an acknowledgement of its historic role in dispossessing the Palestinians,” Tamimi said. “Our quest is not for another failing Arab state with a meaningless flag and useless institutions, but for a homeland that was stripped from us… We need the UN to atone for its sin by recognising the legitimacy of our struggle.”
On 29 Nov 2012 after nearly 18 months of diplomatic drama, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas finally got a victory, the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to recognize Palestine as a “non-member observer state”. It remains a symbolic victory for the legal battle of PLO to get Un recognition for a statehood against the coercive, triclomatic strategy of USA-Israel duo against the people of Palestine achieving statehood to pursue positive governance. .
Admission at the UN also allows the Palestinians to join dozens of UN organisations, bodies like the World Health Organisation. But that, too, has been discouraged, because the US is required by law to cut funding to any UN organisation that recognizes a Palestinian state. UNESCO accepted Palestine as a member last year, and the US cancelled $80m in annual funding, more than one-fifth of the organization’s budget.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas pursues full membership in the world body, requiring approval of the UN Security Council. The Palestinians could not wrangle enough votes to even bring the matter to a vote last time but now it can hopefully muster enough votes.
The most significant is that the Palestinians could ratify the Rome Statute and accede to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which would allow them to bring cases against Israelis – for war crimes committed in Gaza, perhaps, or for the ongoing construction of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Thousands of Israeli people so far enjoying extra life at the cost of Palestinians, from military leaders to individual settlers, could be subject to prosecution. The Israeli government, therefore, has lately tempered its rhetoric about the Palestinian UN bid, and has toned down the talk of consequences.
Israel bullies PLO saying if the Palestinians join the ICC, the Israeli reaction will be harsh, and would include measures like cutting the flow of taxes and customs duties to the Palestinian Authority.
Symbolic or not, it is a high-profile diplomatic defeat for an Israeli government that has spent months aggressively lobbying the world to vote “no.” Israel, like USA, does not take defeats kindly and it would want revenge in order to over the defeat and hide the shame. But it may also be another piece of paper from a world body that has often disappointed the Palestinians.
Reconciliation talks have collapsed dozens of times before. But perhaps the victory at the UN gives Abbas a bit of momentum to bridge his differences with a newly-empowered Hamas. The most intriguing result Thursday’s vote, perhaps, will be the effect on the long-delayed reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas. Without unity, they can’t government a war torn and long occupied nation.
Officials in the West Bank have described the UN vote as “their resistance,” a victory that Abbas can hold up alongside what is widely perceived as a win by Hamas in last week’s eight-day war with Israel.
Palestinians, having come too far near freedom and sovereignty, should just ignore all such Zionist threats of consequences, meant to stop Palestinians from going to criminal courts for justice.
Palestinians must ignore the Israeli threats and also stop paying taxes to Israeli regime. Why should Israel collect taxes from Palestine?