World View: United Nations Creates the Nation 'Palestine'

This morning's key headlines from

  • United Nations creates the nation 'Palestine'
  • Mahmoud Abbas demands an end to the Israeli occupation
  • Israeli ambassador says that Palestinians don't want peace
  • China to step up military confrontations in South China Sea
  • Philippine lawmakers call China's new passports 'laughable'

United Nations creates the nation 'Palestine'

Palestinians celebrate in the West Bank city of Ramallah (BBC)
Palestinians celebrate in the West Bank city of Ramallah (BBC)

Schools and shops closed early across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as Palestinians partied all day to celebrate the creation of the state of Palestine by the United Nations General Assembly, on the day of the 65th anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel. However, the vote was just symbolic in the sense that the state of Palestine has no defined borders, and is a "non-member observer state" of the United Nations, not a full-fledged member. When the question came to a vote of the 193 U.N. member states, 138 voted in favor, 41 abstained, and 9 voted against, including the United States and Israel. According to analysts, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is now a crossroads with two distinct and mutually exclusive choices:

  • Return to negotiations with Israel on the "peace process."
  • Take advantage of the upgraded status of Palestine to go to the International Criminal Court and bring war crimes charges against Israel.
Neither of these choices seems particularly good. Negotiating is a waste of time, as there never will be a "peace process," and going to the ICC will further polarize the Mideast and invite retribution. BBC

Mahmoud Abbas demands an end to the Israeli occupation

Here are some excerpts of the speech of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to the United Nations on Thursday:

"The Israeli aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip has confirmed once again the urgent and pressing need to end the Israeli occupation and for our people to gain their freedom and independence. This aggression also confirms the Israeli Government’s adherence to the policy of occupation, brute force and war, which in turn obliges the international community to shoulder its responsibilities towards the Palestinian people and towards peace. ...

I say with great pain and sorrow… there was certainly no one in the world that required that tens of Palestinian children lose their lives in order to reaffirm the above-mentioned facts. There was no need for thousands of deadly raids and tons of explosives for the world to be reminded that there is an occupation that must come to an end and that there are a people that must be liberated. And, there was no need for a new, devastating war in order for us to be aware of the absence of peace. ...

The Palestinian people, who miraculously recovered from the ashes of Al-Nakba ["the catastrophe"] of 1948, which was intended to extinguish their being and to expel them in order to uproot and erase their presence, which was rooted in the depths of their land and depths of history. In those dark days, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were torn from their homes and displaced within and outside of their homeland, thrown from their beautiful, embracing, prosperous country to refugee camps in one of the most dreadful campaigns of ethnic cleansing and dispossession in modern history. In those dark days, our people had looked to the United Nations as a beacon of hope and appealed for ending the injustice and for achieving justice and peace, the realization of our rights, and our people still believe in this and continue to wait.

This is why we are here today."

Times of Israel

Israeli ambassador says that Palestinians don't want peace

Here are some excerpts of the speech of Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor on Thursday:

"Today I stand before you tall and proud because I represent the world's one and only Jewish state. A state built in the Jewish people's ancient homeland, with its eternal capital Jerusalem as its beating heart.

We are a nation with deep roots in the past and bright hopes for the future. We are a nation that values idealism, but acts with pragmatism. Israel is a nation that never hesitates to defend itself, but will always extend its hand for peace. ...

Israel has always extended its hand for peace and will always extend its hand for peace. When we faced an Arab leader who wanted peace, we made peace. That was the case with Egypt. That was the case with Jordan.

Time and again, we have sought peace with the Palestinians. Time and again, we have been met by rejection of our offers, denial of our rights, and terrorism targeting our citizens.

President Abbas described today’s proceedings as “historic”. But the only thing historic about his speech is how much it ignored history.

The truth is that 65 years ago today, the United Nations voted to partition the British Mandate into two states: a Jewish state, and an Arab state. Two states for two peoples.

Israel accepted this plan. The Palestinians and Arab nations around us rejected it and launched a war of annihilation to throw the "Jews into the sea".

The truth is that from 1948 until 1967, the West Bank was ruled by Jordan, and Gaza was ruled by Egypt. The Arab states did not lift a finger to create a Palestinian state. Instead they sought Israel’s destruction, and were joined by newly formed Palestinian terrorist organizations. ...

In fact, President Abbas, I did not hear you use the phrase "two states for two peoples" this afternoon. In fact, I have never heard you say the phrase "two states for two peoples". Because the Palestinian leadership has never recognized that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people.

They have never been willing to accept what this very body recognized 65 years ago. Israel is the Jewish state.

In fact, today you asked the world to recognize a Palestinian state, but you still refuse to recognize the Jewish state."


China to step up military confrontations in South China Sea

China will be moving additional warships into the South China Sea and will implement new military procedures, beginning in 2013. Under the new procedures, China's police will board and take control of any ship in what China considers to be its sovereign "territorial waters." As part of China's "Lebensraum" policy, China is demanding sovereignty over the entire South China Sea, including areas that historically have belonged to Brunei, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam. China's policy has become increasingly belligerent, especially since 2009, as China itself has become increasingly nationalistic and xenophobic. According to the Chinese, the following will be illegal in the South China Sea:

  • Entering Hainan province's territorial waters without permission. Hainan province itself has been extended to include much of the South China Sea.
  • Damaging coastal defense facilities.
  • Engaging in publicity that threatens national security.
The last one is a bit of a puzzle, at least to me, but I assume it refers to news gathering operations, such as those that have been conducted in the past by the BBC and al-Jazeera, using vessels to report on China's warships and military buildup in the South China Sea.

It's unclear how this new policy applies to commercial shipping through the South China Sea. The United States has taken the position that commercial shipping must continue completely unhindered, and the U.S. also occasionally sends its aircraft carrier, the USS George Washington, into the South China Sea. Obviously if China decides to confront American commercial or military ships, then the U.S. will be forced to respond. Ironically, China's increased belligerence and military buildup have caused many countries in the region to unite against China, and to wish to become full-fledged American allies. China Daily

Philippine lawmakers call China's new passports 'laughable'

As we reported last week ( "24-Nov-12 World View -- China extends its 'Lebensraum' policy to its passports"), China is issuing new passports containing maps that designate the entire South China Sea, as well as parts of India's territory, as being part of China. This is infuriating China's neighbors. India is reacting by stamping the passport with a visa stamp that contains a "corrected" map. Vietnam and the Philippines are refusing to stamp anything into the passports, and instead are issuing visas on separate pieces of paper. According a Philippines lawmaker:

"Apart from being contemptible, China’s latest move is also laughable. No country or international legal platform recognizes the nine-dash line map."

The "nine-dash line map" is China's map that identifies the entire South China Sea as sovereign Chinese territory. GMA Network (Philippines) and VOA

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