If the US and UK have any shame, they will welcome Palestine as a UN member State

Apr 19, 2024
Ramallah, Palestinian Territories. 31st Mar, 2024. President of the State of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas attends a swearing-in ceremony for the new Palestinian government in Ramallah. Image: Ayman Nobani/dpa/Alamy Live News

This week, the U.S. and U.K. have the chance to correct decades of their blatant geopolitical errors in the Israel-Palestine conflict by welcoming Palestine as the 194th United Nations member state. More than any other countries, the U.S. and U.K. have wrecked the Middle East through their non-stop meddling and imperial arrogance. This week they have the chance to make some amends.

A total of 139 countries already recognise the State of Palestine, more than two-thirds of the U.N. member states. Several European states will soon join the list. Yet the U.S. has so far blocked Palestine’s membership in the U.N., with the U.K. always sticking close to the U.S. lead. Both have relentlessly backed Israel’s apartheid rule over Palestine and are currently actively backing Israel in its horrific destruction of Gaza.

This week, most likely on Friday, the U.N. Security Council will vote in favour of U.N. membership for Palestine—if the U.S. and U.K. don’t block it yet again with their veto. Back in 2011, Palestine had the support of the U.N. Security Council for membership, except that the U.S. forced the Palestinians to accept “observer” status instead, promising that full membership would soon follow, yet another U.S. deception.

No countries in the world have done more to wreck the Middle East than the U.K. and U.S. The lead role certainly goes to Britain, whose imperial machinations in the region date back to the 19th century and continue until today. Britain kept Egypt under its thumb for decades, from the 1880s to the 1950s. It deceitfully promised overlapping parts of the Ottoman Middle East three times over during World War I: to the French (in the Sykes-Picot Agreement), to the Arabs (in the McMahon–Hussein Correspondence), and to the Zionists (in the Balfour Declaration), purporting to allocate what was not theirs in the first place.

After World War I, Britain took Palestine for itself under a so-called mandate of the newly created League of Nations, while France grabbed a mandate over Lebanon and Syria. Britain left Palestine in a shambles in 1947, but continued its relentless meddling by teaming up with France and Israel to invade Egypt in 1956. Britain’s meddling has also contributed to destruction and disarray in Yemen, Iraq, and many more parts of the Middle East

After World War II, the U.S. picked up where Britain left off, first joining Britain in the MI6-CIA overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953, and then going on to a long career of CIA-led regime-change operations including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Libya, among others. Throughout the entire postwar period, the U.S. has been the lead dishonest broker between Israel and Palestine, for example calling for the Palestinian legislative elections in 2006 but then boycotting and trying to overthrow Hamas when it won those elections. In 2011, when Palestine applied for U.N. membership, and won the support of the U.N. Security Council membership committee, the U.S. leaned on Palestine to wait and to accept observer status instead, promising that full membership would soon follow. This was yet another lie.

Despite numerous U.N. Security Council resolutions over the years calling for a two-state solution of the Israel-Palestine conflict, the Israeli governments led by Benjamin Netanyahu have blatantly rejected an independent State of Palestine. The current Netanyahu cabinet includes right-wing extremists such as Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir who openly call for ethnic cleansing of the West Bank and Gaza to create a Greater Israel from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Yet despite Israel’s relentless provocations, routine killing of Palestinians (known colloquially as “mowing the grass”), repeated violations of the U.N. Security Council, and now the slaughter in Gaza, the U.S. and U.K. have remained steadfast in backing Israel and opposing Palestine as if nothing at all is amiss.

The question is whether the U.S. and U.K. have any sense and any shame at this point. They may think they are supporting Israel by blocking Palestine’s U.N. membership, but the fact is that Israel is more isolated and endangered than ever because of the Israeli government’s extremism, its shocking violence against the Palestinian people, and its apartheid rule. Since the start of the war last fall, 33,000 Palestinians are officially counted as dead, yet the actual death toll is vastly higher, with tens of thousands more still buried under the rubble or dead from extreme deprivations of food, water, and healthcare.

Alas, in recent days, the double standards and falsehoods of the U.S. and UK. have been on full display. The U.S. and U.K. adamantly refused to condemn Israel’s brazenly illegal bombing of Iran’s diplomatic compound in Damascus, Syria, on April 1, but then heatedly condemned Iran when it counter-attacked two weeks later. This absurd double-standard makes the U.S. and U.K. look like crass bullies in the eyes of the rest of the world.

After more than a century of U.K. and U.S. meddling in the Middle East, it’s time to be honest about the facts and the solutions. Most importantly, welcoming Palestine as U.N. member state and implementing the two-state solution according to international law is the path to peace, justice, and security for both Israel and Palestine. Most of the world enthusiastically back this solution. It’s just a question of whether the U.K. and U.S. will veto it. It’s high time for the two powers that have done the most to wreck the Middle East to support the true path to peace by welcoming Palestine as a sovereign U.N. member state now, not in some fabled future that is forever blocked by Israeli hardliners.

 

Republished from Common Dreams, April 17, 2024

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