Number 194, a Bid for Palestinian Statehood and a Right to Return?

On July 14th, 2011 the South Sudanese went out in the streets to celebrate the deliverance from “the authoritarian grip of the State of Northern Sudan”. Sudan was divided into two states and the United States of America blessed the independence of the Southern State which was recognized by the United Nations as member country number 193. All countries welcomed the new state wishing it peace with prosperity. With the renewed hostilities between North and South Sudan recently, the possibility of peace and prosperity seems to be elusive!

On the 23rd of September 2011, the Palestinian Authority (PA) went to the United Nations requesting full recognition of Palestine as a member state with the borders of June 1967 war, a move that meant going through the Security Council where the American Veto was expected to derail the Palestinian bid for independence. The other option was to go to the General Assembly to attain recognition as “a non-member state” like the Vatican which could have been accomplished very easily in view of the support of the Palestinian cause by a large number of U.N. member states.

It was noteworthy to observe Israel’s speedy recognition of the Southern State of Sudan coupled with its intention to establish an embassy in the new state while doing its outmost to prevent the recognition of the Palestinian State in the United Nations which could have held number 194 in the world body. It is going to take Herculean efforts to face the Zionist opposition and the American veto. Nevertheless, the Palestinian bid to gain UN recognition is not part of a solution but rather an outcome of a crisis created by the extreme Israeli right which killed the peace process by greatly expanding the “settlements”/colonies with the very intention of preventing the establishment of a viable independent Palestinian State. The PA has, for a long time, adhered to the policy of peaceful negotiations to obtain the Palestinian legal rights, but with the demise of the peace process, the only possible way left in such crisis was to head to the United Nations. Yet, some Palestinian forces including Hamas had opposed the Palestinian Authority’s bid to attain recognition in the United Nations fearing that the right of return for the Palestinian refugees based on UN resolution 194 would be jeopardized. It is such a happy coincidence that number 194 (of the hoped for Palestine UN member state) corresponds with the same number of the UN resolution asserting the right of return and that “permission for refugees who want to live in peace with their neighbors to return should be granted and to compensate in full the ones who choose not to return, according to international law by all responsible governments and authorities”. The Right of Return is an essential part of the international law. If anyone prevents others from exercising such a right by any means or force, will be violating the international law, as Israel has been doing with the Palestinians for the past 63 years. Notwithstanding, this right is a sacred and historical right based upon the legality of international law which every UN member state must recognize and adhere to as a condition for admittance. Palestinian self-determination can never be attained without the right of return and everything short of that will be null and void. The opposition by Netanyahu’s government to any official recognition of Palestine as a full UN member state was based, among other reasons, on the belief that the recognition of Palestine as the 194 UN member nation would probably mean the recognition of resolution 194 which asserts the right of return for Palestinian refugees. Furthermore, the Israeli opposition to the Palestinian UN bid aims to prevent any possibility of establishing an independent Palestinian state in the 1967 occupied territories. Indeed, the right-wing Israeli government succeeded in derailing the Palestinian bid for statehood because the United States is in the midst of presidential elections and President Obama is struggling to win a second term. The alliance between the Israeli right-wing government and the Republican Party is trying very hard to deny him such a victory. The Palestinian bid for recognition in the United Nations was one of the causalities of this alliance. The situation has reached a critical point preventing the Palestinian Authority from going to the General Assembly to attain a UN membership. Recent ‘negotiations about the (peace) negotiations’ between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in Amman failed to produce a positive result. This is because peace negotiations, to the extreme Israeli right, means the expansion of colonies/”settlements”, the judaization of all Palestine, especially Jerusalem, and the eventual “soft” deportation (transfer) of all non-Jews (Palestinians) from all Palestine. This is why, at this stage, there is absolutely nothing for any Palestinian to consider renewing negotiations with the current Israeli government whatsoever. Going back to a peaceful Intifada (like the one initiated in 1987) together with resuming political efforts in the U.N. General Assembly seem to be the most plausible option left for the Palestinians to pursue.