Le Nouvel Observateur, France
Palestine at the UN: The Meeting
Barack Obama Missed
By Daniel Salvatore Schiffer
Translated By Micaela Bester
30 November 2012
Edited by Keturah Hetrick
France - Le Nouvel Observateur - Original Article (French)
Israel and Palestine, two states living side by side in lasting peace—Jews and Arabs together, authentic democracy for all: Such is the deep meaning attached to the genuine political impact of the vote that has just taken place, on this Nov. 29, 2012, at the U.N. General Assembly.
The admission of Palestine as a non-member state of this same assembly is, furthermore, legitimate. It marked exactly 65 years since Palestine was partitioned on Nov. 29, 1947. The Palestinians have long awaited this now historic day.
The Peace of the Brave
Duly noted! But be warned. This admission of Palestine to the U.N. (as significant as it may be) constitutes only a step (as important as it may be) towards something more essential—the resumption of direct negotiations without further delay, with the aim of finding genuine peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Of the latter, Mahmoud Abbas, through moderation and theoretical speeches as much as through wisdom and his political ideas, is the most worthy—and, at the moment, the weakest—of the representatives. Besides, it is to him, much more than to the aggressive positions of Hamas, that Palestine owes this immense and well-deserved diplomatic success among the concert of nations.
But take caution there, too. Because it must not be the case that Palestine’s very official and just international recognition becomes a new stumbling block, a source of other latent and declared conflicts, between Jews and Arabs.
On the Palestinian side, first of all: If Palestine does not want to ruin these peace efforts, acquired through great struggle, it needs to refrain from employing this recognition from a legal point of view. A challenge to Israel, or to any of its leaders, before the International Criminal Court would destroy, a priori, all subsequent attempts at a dialogue. Likewise, it must definitively renounce all terrorist action (rocket launches, kamikaze attempts, explosions…) against Israel.
On the Israeli side, then: Israel must avoid using this same international recognition of Palestine as a pretext to financially sanction the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority proves to be a factor of peace in this turbulent region and a token of security through moderation of the politically responsible. In addition, Israel’s government must put an end to the extension of its West Bank occupation in accordance with its borders internationally recognized since 1967.
This is the only way to force political and diplomatic wisdom and equally negotiated solutions (it is still necessary to add the indispensable return of refugees to their native lands), that the Palestinian and Israeli leaders will work for this peace so desired by the men and women of goodwill throughout the civilized world.
Barack Obama, what are you doing with your Nobel Peace Prize?
Thus, we cannot regret too bitterly that U.S. President Barack Obama, whom we call a Democrat and a humanist, does not associate himself with this admission of Palestine to the U.N. This is a grave political error, detrimental even for Israel, a country always more isolated on the international chessboard. At the same time, this demonstrates an equally unforgivable moral fault in Obama, who shows himself unworthy, once again, of this Nobel Peace Prize with which he was a bit too quickly, and inconsiderably, honored.
Because, unlike the political courage and diplomatic lucidity of two of his predecessors (Jimmy Carter with the Camp David agreements, a peace treaty signed Sep. 17, 1978 between Egypt and Israel, and Bill Clinton with the Oslo Agreements, a treaty, signed Sep. 13, 1993, recommending the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict), Barack Obama only responds, in this case, to the very specific (and lacking any vision of unity for the future) demands of an absurd and inconsistent realpolitik. One could therefore say, without wanting to offend anyone, that this is to the blind credit of an Israel remaining incomprehensibly deaf to the legitimate demands of the Palestinians.
And there, the American president’s strategic error is colossal: That of taking the risk, in insisting on wanting to deprive the Palestinians of their state, of favoring war—a bloody and interminable war—over peace. The hypocrisy, for a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, is enormous…
Conclusion? Yes: Obama’s America, in refusing to admit Palestine to the United Nations, missed its date with history!
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