UN vote can’t make Palestine a state

The United Nations Security Council tomorrow will take up the question of whether to recognize Palestine as an independent state.  Weeks or months could pass before the question is put to a vote.  But since the United States already has announced we will veto any such recognition, the only question is whether the Security Council will grant Palestine “observer” status, like the Vatican.

Palestine 2007

But even if the United Nations did recognize Palestine as a state, that wouldn’t made it one, any more than recognizing Tibet, Chechnya, the Basque homeland or the Seneca Nation of Indians as independent states would make them such.   Palestinian statehood will come only when Palestinians force or persuade the government of Israel to accept it.

UN recognition certainly would be helpful to the Palestinian cause, just as French, Dutch and Spanish recognition was helpful to the infant United States during the American Revolution, and British recognition would have been helpful to the Confederate States during the American Civil War.  But it was victory in battle that secured American independence, and defeat in battle that denied independence to the South.

Similarly UN recognition of Chiang Kai-sek’s government on Taiwan as the Republic of China did not make it so.  Mao Tse-Tung’s government in Beijing was the actual government of China long before the United States and United Nations recognized it as such.

Currently the Security Council consists of five permanent members, the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China, and 10 members elected by the General Assembly, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Brazil, Colombia, Gabon, Germany, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, Portugal and South Africa.  To pass, a “substantive matter such as statehood for Palestine, would need nine votes, including concurrence of all five permanent members.  But the General Assembly could by majority vote take “procedural” action to upgrade the Palestinian observer status to that of a non-voting “Observer State.”

For what it’s worth, I wish the Palestinians well.  I would like to see them have their own government and live in peace with Israel.  I don’t foresee this happening anytime soon.  If I were a Palestinian, the thing I would most want the United States to do is to cut back on its $3 billion annual aid to Israel and to stop supplying Israel with advanced weapons such as bunker-buster bombs.

Suzanne Fields in a column in my morning newspaper accused President Obama of “throwing Israel under the bus”  Some bus!  Israel gets one-third of the U.S. foreign aid budget, and the runner-up is Egypt, which has been getting $1.3 billion a year essentially as a bribe to stay at peace with Israel.

Aid to Israel will not be cut as part of the U.S. budget-balancing effort.  President Obama has prosposed an increase in aid to Israel.  Republicans in Congress propose cutting foreign aid to Pakistan and to Arab states bordering Israel, but not Israel.  The Republican leadership repudiated Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and his son, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who wanted Israel included in the overall budget cuts.

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