(MENAFN - Arab News) This refers to the news report, "Israel to expand settlements' (Dec. 1), which says that Israel has revealed plans to build 3,000 settler homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank in response to the Palestinians' historic success in being recognized as a non-member state in the United Nations.
Exactly 65 years to the day after the UN resolution divided the state of Palestine and established a state of Israel, the UNGA (UN General Assembly) members in vast majority set the stage for the 'rebirth' of the state of Palestine by elevating its status.
We see the upgrading of the status of Palestine from that of a non-member 'entity' to a non-member 'observer state' of the UN as an overwhelming endorsement of the right of the Palestinians to a state of their own. If it was a showcase of international support for Palestine it was equally a harsh rebuff to the US and Israeli diplomacy, particularly that of US as regards to Palestine as well as the Middle East. It was observed that the Palestinian Authority victory was more than just a symbolic one. From now on, all Palestinian areas illegally occupied by Israel are in fact territories that belong to a UN member state.
However, the moot point is where the two parties " Israel and Palestine " go from here. We feel that the development must be seen in the right perspective, more so by the US and Israel that opposed the resolution and it is on them that rests largely the future direction of peace in the region. But, while the reactions of the two are on expected line, it would be well for both US and Israel not to be dismissive about the upgradation of the status of Palestine.
Israel must abjure its coercive policies towards the Palestinians if it really wants the two-state solution to succeed. As for the US, it must understand that it has failed to be the honest broker of peace in the Middle East, and it is the US double standard in the region that has largely shaped the psyche of the international community, particularly of the Islamic world, towards it. It is time for the US to be more equitable in its Middle East policy.
By the same token it's time too for the Palestinians to integrate. There must be a meeting of the minds between Gaza and Ramallah and both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas must close ranks to work for implementation of the two-state solution if they want to avoid being blamed for turning their backs on peace. -