31.10.11

Palestine joins Unesco. The USA on the wrong side of history.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-15518173


Unesco meeting
The UN cultural organisation has voted strongly in favour of membership for the Palestinians - a move opposed by Israel and the United States.
Of 173 countries voting, 107 were in favour, 14 opposed and 52 abstained.
Under US law, Washington can now withdraw funding to Unesco. This would deprive the agency of some $70m (£43.7m) - more than 20% of its budget.
107 out of 173 can certainly be wrong. But not this time. It's time to get out of the way of indigenous people's legitimate right to independence, security, self-determination and protection from encroachment.
The outcome was swiftly denounced by the US and Israel.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the Unesco vote was "premature and undermines the international community's shared goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East".
It undermines part of the international community's goals of stringing this process out as long as necessary to ensure that there is no right of return and that settlers can maximize their territorial gains in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It's premature only if you view the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a zero-sum game where any one side winning recognition for something in some way, must mean that the other side has lost something.
...An Israeli foreign ministry statement called the vote a "unilateral Palestinian manoeuvre which will bring no change on the ground but further removes the possibility for a peace agreement".
"The Palestinian move at Unesco, as with similar such steps with other UN bodies, is tantamount to a rejection of the international community's efforts to advance the peace process," it said. 
The Israelis have been in control of the situation on the ground for a long time. They have the guns, the money and the backing of powerful allies. This will bring no change on the ground - the Palestinians have had very little ability to bring such change for a long time now, esp. with idiotic, despotic, corrupt and fanatically religious leadership - and further removes the possibility that Israel will be the sole and final arbiter of Palestine.

It is a rejection of a stalled "peace process" that's been going on for how long now? Sure Arafat screwed up when he walked away. He was a dumb-ass, a corrupt and tired old terrorist. That doesn't mean the settlers are right, or that militant religious Israeli extremists are right. They *are* right-wing, but not right. (That was a lame pun.)

It's time to get out of the way of history on this. Israel will no doubt be dragged kicking and screaming into a world that doesn't look kindly on people oppressing their neighbours - or rather, that's the settlers and extreme right-wing and some immigrants and their extremist allies in parts of the US (and many in the US Congress) - not all Israelis.

One last thing.

Consider the US fight for independence. How'd you like it if people said "No, you can't have your own independent country unless Britain approves"? Admittedly the Native Americans weren't exactly consulted. Beads, whiskey, spurious land grabs, internment camps, reservations and a face full of hot lead took care of them. And that's just wrong.


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