Moral Outrage
Whew! God help us!

Palestine as an independent state

ABC News reports that Palestinian leaders are going to ask the United Nations to endorse an independent state without Israel’s consent because of their frustration at the stalled peace process. Palestinian leaders say they want formal recognition of an independent state based on the pre-1967 borders with Israel, which would give them Gaza, the West Bank, and east Jerusalem as their capital.

But the move appears to be largely symbolic, as a similar declaration was made in 1988 and won the support of dozens of countries but was never implemented on the ground. But could it work? Max Fisher shares some opinions:
Palestinian Self-Declaration In Haaretz, prominent Israeli commentator and politician Yossi Sarid calls this “our only chance for an end to the occupation in our time.” He explains, “Conditions were no less foggy and circumstances were no more certain when Israel founder David Ben-Gurion declared Israeli independence in 1948.”

Wouldn’t Change Anything Jerusalem Post’s Haviv Rettig Gur shakes his head. “In principle, little would change. The Palestinian Authority would have real control over barely 40 percent of the land it hopes to gain in negotiations, representing major Palestinian population centers in the West Bank but little beyond that. Meanwhile, nothing would be solved on the thorny issues that face negotiators, such as Jerusalem, refugees, Palestinian disarmament and borders.”

It’s Now Or Never Juan Cole insists that the opportunity for a Palestinian state is fading. “Since the Netanyahu government has secret plans to thousands of further Israeli houses on Palestinian land in the next few years, time is short. If it has not already happened, the likelihood is that a Palestinian state will become impossible very shortly simply because the West Bank looks like Swiss cheese because of all the Israeli colonies on it,” he writes.

Historical Precedent Truthdig’s Chris Hedges puts it in context. “It worked in Kosovo. It worked in Georgia. And it will work in Palestine. There are 192 member states in the United Nations and as many as 150 would recognize the state of Palestine, creating a diplomatic nightmare for Israel and its lonely ally the United States. Israel will face worldwide censure if it attempts to crush the independent state by force and very likely be subjected to the kind of divestment campaigns and boycotts that brought down the apartheid government of South Africa,” he writes.

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