In the final analysis, the Palestinians have run aground. However, it is obvious that Washington put its full weight behind ensuring that this was the case. In addition, one voice in favor of the Palestinians was missing, a very small voice that made all the difference: that of Nigeria, which changed its vote by abstaining rather than voting “yes,” as it had promised.
The proposal had gained eight votes in favor, including those of China, France and Russia, which are all permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. There were five abstentions, including the United Kingdom, which is a permanent member, and there were two votes against from the United States and Australia. Nine votes in favor were needed for the proposal to become a resolution of the Security Council, which would have forced the United States to make use of their veto.
For the Palestinians, it was a question of making Washington face up to its responsibilities. But, once again, they failed to assert the priority of the law above secret, behind-the-scenes negotiations. This perfectly illustrates the fact that the purpose of the Security Council is not, or rather is no longer, to resolve fundamental problems that confront the United Nations, which is supposed to do just that.
By closing the Palestinian file, which has been open for 68 years, the U.N. and its Security Council have demonstrated the inanity of their activities. In fact, the Security Council has been totally corrupted, as much by the existence of the right of veto – a veto that cancels any resolution that does not go the way that certain permanent members would like, even if the resolution opens up new vistas on peace and security – as by its misuse by certain powers.
What upsets the Americans, and certainly Israel, is of course the target date that the Palestinians want to impose for the end of the occupation, as well as the fact that they want to have serious negotiations resulting in a concrete solution within a set time frame. But Israel does not want such a limit. Israel has been in “dialogue” with the Palestinians since 1993, but without broaching the subject at the heart of the matter and entering into real negotiations. No one is more aware of this situation than the Americans, who have been a major obstacle to negotiations for the last 23 years.
If truth be told, the negotiations in their current form have failed. Should one continue to negotiate for the sake of negotiating – while Israel is actively reconfiguring itself and Judaizing the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem – with no schedule, target date or aim, so that in 20 years’ time there will undoubtedly no longer be any Palestinian territories? Nevertheless, it is what the United States requires of the Palestinians. Israel mishandles the peace process by pursuing colonization, which does not, however, prevent the United States from rejecting Palestinian initiatives, which they describe as “unilateral.” It is the survival of the fittest, showing itself in all its hostility.
However, the most comical aspect of all this is the angry reaction of Washington, who cannot stand the fact that the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, after his failure at the U.N., has signed Palestine’s accession to the International Criminal Court, which tries war crimes, cases of genocide and crimes against humanity. Have other means of appeal been left open now that all doors have been shut to the Palestinians?
However, Washington has taken Palestine’s membership in the ICC very badly, judging it to be a “counterproductive escalation” that “damages the atmosphere” with Israel.* We will not respond to the untruths of the State Department spokesman, Jeffrey Rathke, who gave a response to the Palestinian decision. But when has the United States stood against the colonization and Judaization of the Palestinian territories or Israel’s other counterproductive initiatives?
The U.S. veto is one-way and targets only the Palestinians. In reality, what is worrying is the American action against peace while supporting Israel’s extremism. Given that the U.S. is not a member of the ICC, does it have any right to comment on Palestine’s accession to this institution? Maybe not. Even more absurd is the declaration of the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who “presses” the ICC not to “accept” Palestine’s membership. This declaration is all the more preposterous because Israel, like the United States, has not signed the Rome Statute, which gave birth to the ICC.
It is these two countries, one of which is the premier world power, that do not recognize a U.N. body (the ICC), that claim the right to interfere in its business and that do not accept international law unless it suits them or serves their purposes. It is these destroyers of international law who say that they work for peace and security in the world.
* Editor’s Note: These quotes, accurately translated, could not be verified.