FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

America’s Dangerous Game at the UN

by JOHN V. WHITBECK

The number of UN member states extending diplomatic recognition to the State of Palestine has now risen to 131, leaving only 62 UN member states on the wrong side of history and humanity.

If one ignores small island states in the Caribbean and the Pacific, almost all of the non-recognizers are Western states, including all five of the settler-colonial states founded on the ethnic cleansing or genocide of indigenous populations and all eight of the former European colonial powers.

It appears that the current American strategy to defeat the State of Palestine’s UN membership application is to try to deprive Palestine of the required nine affirmative votes in the Security Council by convincing all five European members (including Bosnia & Herzegovina, which has recognized the State of Palestine) and Colombia (the only South American state which has not recognized the State of Palestine) to abstain, leaving only eight affirmative votes and thus making America’s lone negative vote not technically a “veto”.

Even though everyone knows that the Security Council would approve Palestinian membership unanimously if the United States announced its support, the explanation and expectation behind this strategy is, apparently, that, in the absence of a “veto”, no one would notice America’s fingerprints all over this result, no one (notably in the Arab and Muslim worlds) would be outraged by America’s blocking of Palestine’s membership application and Mahmoud Abbas and his colleagues would crawl back into the hamster cage from which they have so recently and dramatically escaped, duly chastened and docile, and resume running mindlessly on the Israeli-American exercise wheel.

This is not simply a breathtakingly naïve strategy but an extraordinarily dangerous one — and not only because the Ramallah leadership, having experienced enlightenment and a spine transplant, has also recovered its self-respect and human dignity and will not be crawling back into its cage.

An American veto would be neither a big deal nor a bad thing. It would unequivocally confirm the sad and humiliating reality, now almost universally recognized, that the United States of America is enslaved to Israel, paying tribute and taking orders. By doing so, an American veto would definitively disqualify the United States from playing any significant role in any genuine Middle East “peace process” which would replace the fraudulent one which the United States has been controlling and manipulating on Israel’s behalf for the past 20 years and, thereby, would finally give peace a chance.

Indeed, since state observer status would confer on the State of Palestine virtually all the same benefits as member state status (most importantly, right of access to the International Criminal Court, where it could sue Israelis for war crimes, including settlement building, and crimes against humanity), an American veto in the Security Council followed by an upgrade to state observer status by the General Assembly might actually be the most constructive possible result for Palestine — even better than full UN membership with American acquiescence but with the United States maintaining its monopoly stranglehold on any “peace process”.

One might then realistically hope that the new emerging international force, the “BRICS” countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — all current members of the Security Council which have recognized the State of Palestine and are on record as planning to vote for Palestinian membership), and the European Union could jointly mobilize the true international community behind a genuine and urgent effort to actually achieve peace with some measure of justice.

On the other hand, America’s unanimous European abstention strategy, if successful, would have catastrophic consequences. While the Arab and Muslim worlds have learned to expect the worst from the United States, they have, at least until now, maintained some hope that Europe is not their enemy. If Palestine’s membership application were to be defeated by a united Western front, the world would be confronted by a fundamental clash of the “West against the Rest”, resurrecting  memories of the most arrogant and contemptuous periods of Western imperialism and colonialism and confirming the belief, already widespread in the Arab and Muslim worlds, that the Judeo-Christian world is at war with the Muslim world.

Of course, it is within the power of one man to prevent this ugly scenario from playing out. Are the prospects of a few more votes for himself and less campaign money for his eventual Republican opponent really more important to America’s multi-racial president than preventing a long-running clash of civilizations, cultures, races and religions and permitting — indeed, promoting — progress toward a more peaceful, just and harmonious world?

The world should find out in the coming weeks.

John V. Whitbeck is an international lawyer who has advised the Palestinian negotiating team in negotiations with Israel.

John V. Whitbeck is an international lawyer who as advised the Palestinian negotiating team in negotiations with Israel.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 23, 2017
Chip Gibbons
Crusader-in-Chief: the Strange Rehabilitation of George W. Bush
Michael J. Sainato
Cybersecurity Firm That Attributed DNC Hacks to Russia May Have Fabricated Russia Hacking in Ukraine
Chuck Collins
Underwater Nation: As the Rich Thrive, the Rest of Us Sink
CJ Hopkins
The United States of Cognitive Dissonance
Howard Lisnoff
BDS, Women’s Rights, Human Rights and the Failings of Security States
Mike Whitney
Will Washington Risk WW3 to Block an Emerging EU-Russia Superstate
John Wight
Martin McGuinness: Man of War who Fought for Peace in Ireland
Linn Washington Jr.
Ryancare Wreckage
Eileen Appelbaum
What We Learned From Just Two Pages of Trump’s Tax Returns
Mark Weisbrot
Ecuador’s Elections: Why National Sovereignty Matters
Thomas Knapp
It’s Time to End America’s Longest War
Chris Zinda
Aggregate Journalism at Salon
David Welsh
Bay Area Rallies Against Trump’s Muslim Ban II
March 22, 2017
Paul Street
Russiagate and the Democratic Party are for Chumps
Russell Mokhiber
Single-Payer, the Progressive Caucus and the Cuban Revolution
Gavin Lewis
McCarthyite Anti-Semitism Smears and Racism at the Guardian/Observer
Kathy Kelly
Reality and the U.S.-Made Famine in Yemen
Kim C. Domenico
Ending Our Secret Alliance with Victimhood: Toward an Adult Politics
L. Ali Khan
Profiling Islamophobes
Calvin Priest
May Day: Seattle Educators Moving Closer to Strike
David Swanson
Jimmy Breslin on How to Impeach Trump
Dave Lindorff
There Won’t Be Another Jimmy Breslin
Jonathan Latham
The Meaning of Life
Robert Fisk
Martin McGuinness: From “Super-Terrorist” to Super Statesman
Steve Horn
Architect of Federal Fracking Loophole May Head Trump Environmental Council
Binoy Kampmark
Grief, Loss and Losing a Father
Jim Tull
Will the Poor Always Be With Us?
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s “March Massacre” Budget
Joe Emersberger
Rafael Correa and the Future of Ecuador: a Response to James McEnteer
March 21, 2017
Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt
On Being the “Right Kind of Brown”
Kenneth Surin
God, Guns, Gays, Gummint: the Career of Rep. Bad Bob Goodlatte
David Rosen
Popular Insurgencies: Reshaping the Political Landscape
Ryan LaMothe
The Totalitarian Strain in American Democracy
Eric Sommer
The House Intelligence Committee: Evidence Not Required
Mike Hastie
My Lai Massacre, 49 Years Later
James McEnteer
An Era Ends in Ecuador: Forward or Back?
Evan Jones
Beyond the Pale
Stansfield Smith
First Two Months in Power: Hitler vs. Trump
Dulce Morales
A Movement for ‘Sanctuary Campuses’ Takes Shape
Pepe Escobar
Could Great Wall of Iron become New Silk Roadblock?
Olivia Alperstein
Trump Could Start a Nuclear War, Right Now
David Macaray
Norwegians Are the Happiest People on Earth
March 20, 2017
Michael Schwalbe
Tears of Solidarity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit, Nationalism and the Damage Done
Peter Stone Brown
Chuck Berry: the First Poet of Rock and Roll
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail