FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The World Has Spoken

by JOHN V. WHITBECK

The UN General Assembly has now voted, by 138 votes to 9, with 41 abstentions and 5 no-shows, to recognize the existence as a state “of the State of Palestine on the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967”.

The “no” votes were cast by Israel, the United States, Canada, the Czech Republic, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Panama.

The Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau, all former components of the U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, are “freely associated states” of the United States, with U.S. zip/postal codes and “Compacts of Free Association” which require them to be guided by the United States in their foreign relations. They more closely resemble territories of the United States than genuine sovereign states – rather like the Cook Islands and Niue, “freely associated states” of New Zealand which make no claim to sovereign statehood and are not UN member states. They snuck into the UN in the flood of new members consequent upon the dissolutions of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, when the previous standards for admission were effectively ignored.

Nauru, a tiny island of 10,000 people in the central Pacific, has, since the exhaustion of the phosphate deposits which briefly made it the country with the world’s highest per capital income, had virtually no sources of income other than marketing its UN votes (reliably joining the United States in voting against Palestine) and diplomatic recognitions (joining Russia, Nicaragua and Venezuela in recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia) and housing in tents aspiring illegal immigrants who had been hoping to reach Australia. It is a sad place, an island with no beaches, the world’s highest obesity rate and no real alternative to diplomatic prostitution.

Accordingly, only three “real” states joined Israel and the United States in voting against Palestine and the two-state solution: Canada, the Czech Republic and Panama. They must make their own excuses.

In population terms, the opponents of Palestine represent approximately 5% of the world’s population, 370 million out of over 7 billion, and, of those, the United States accounts for 314 million. It follows that countries with less than one percent of the world’s population supported the United States in this vote.

The 41 states abstaining in the vote were Albania, Andorra, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Colombia, Congo (DRC), Croatia, Estonia, Fiji, Germany, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Poland, Romania, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Togo, Tonga, the United Kingdom and Vanuatu.

It is worth noting (and a bit puzzling) that 15 of these states (Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Congo (DRC), Hungary, Malawi, Mongolia, Montenegro, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Poland, Romania, Rwanda, Togo and Vanuatu) have extended diplomatic recognition to the State of Palestine, although most of the formerly communist states of eastern Europe did so when they had communist governments.

They have been more than balanced out by the 28 states which have not yet recognized the State of Palestine but which voted in favor of Palestine: Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Eritrea, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mexico, Myanmar, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago and Tuvalu.

The Japanese and Mexican votes in favor of Palestine mean that 18 of the 20 most populous states (all except the United States and Germany) voted in favor of Palestine.

Five states did not vote: Equatorial Guinea, Kiribati, Liberia, Madagascar and Ukraine. Kiribati is no surprise. For economic reasons, it is the only UN member state which does not maintain a permanent mission in New York. Why the other four, all of which have extended diplomatic recognition to the State of Palestine, failed to push any of the three buttons is a mystery.

The European Union vote was 14 “yes”, 1 “no” and 12 abstentions. Aside from Germany, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom, all of the old “Western” members voted for Palestine. All ten of the new “Eastern” members (the three Baltic states, formerly part of the Soviet Union, the six former members of the Warsaw Pact and Slovenia) abstained or, in one case, voted against Palestine. These “Eastern” states have passed from domination by one empire to domination by another empire without ever daring to fully assert their independence. That said, all except the Czech Republic did at least dare to abstain.

It may take some time for the results of this vote to be fully digested. In the best of all possible worlds, one might hope that the United States would finally recognize that, on the issue of Palestine, it is totally divorced and isolated from the moral and ethical conscience of mankind and must now stop blocking progress toward peace with some measure of justice, step aside and permit other states with a genuine interest in actually achieving peace with some measure of justice to take the lead in helping Israelis and Palestinians to achieve it.

Since we do not live in the best of all possible worlds, and since Americans persist in believing that they are the “indispensable” nation, other states will need to make clear to the United States that its vote on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People has definitively disqualified it not only from its prior monopoly control over the “Middle East peace process” but even from any further role in it and that its further involvement in the preeminent moral issue facing the international community is no longer needed or wanted.

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

January 18, 2017
Gary Leupp
The Extraordinary Array of Those Questioning Trump’s Legitimacy (and Their Various Reasons)
Charles Pierson
Drone Proliferation Ramps Up
Ajamu Baraka
Celebrating Dr. King with the Departure of Barack Obama
David Underhill
Trumpology With a Twist
Chris Floyd
Infinite Jest: Liberals Laughing All the Way to Hell
Stansfield Smith
Obama’s Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Ron Leighton
Trump is Not Hitler: How the Misuse of History Distorts the Present as Well as the Past
Ralph Nader
An Open Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump
Binoy Kampmark
NATO and Obsolescence: Donald Trump and the History of an Alliance
Zarefah Baroud
‘The Power to Create a New World’: Trump and the Environmental Challenge Ahead
Julian Vigo
Obama Must Pardon the Black Panthers in Prison or in Exile
Alfredo Lopez
The Whattsapp Scandal
Clancy Sigal
Russian Hacking and the Smell Test
Terry Simons
The Truth About Ethics and Condoms
January 17, 2017
John Pilger
The Issue is Not Trump, It is Us
John K. White
Is Equality Overrated, Too?
Michael J. Sainato
The DNC Hands the Democratic Party Over to David Brock and Billionaire Donors
John Davis
Landscapes of Shame: America’s National Parks
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Politicians and Rhetorical Tricks
Chris Busby
The Scientific Hero of Chernobyl: Alexey V. Yablokov, the Man Who Dared to Speak the Truth
David Macaray
Four Reasons Trump Will Quit
Chet Richards
The Vicissitudes of the Rural South
Clancy Sigal
“You Don’t Care About Jobs”: Why the Democrats Lost
Robert Dodge
Martin Luther King and U.S. Politics: Time for a U.S. Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Jack Sadat Lee
I Dream of Justice for All the Animal Kingdom
James McEnteer
Mourning Again in America
January 16, 2017
Paul Street
How Pure is Your Hate?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Did the Elites Have Martin Luther King Jr. Killed?
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Clobbers Ocean Life
Patrick Cockburn
The Terrifying Parallels Between Trump and Erdogan
Kenneth Surin
The Neoliberal Stranglehold on the American Public University
Lawrence Davidson
Is There a Future for the Democratic Party?
Douglas Valentine
Who Killed MLK Jr?
Robert Fisk
The Foreign Correspondent in the Age of Twitter and Trump
Dale Bryan
“Where Do We Go from Here?”
David Swanson
The Deep State Wants to Deep Six Us
Dan Bacher
Obama Administration Orders Speedy Completion of Delta Tunnels Plan
Mark Weisbrot
Obama Should Make Sure that Haitian Victims of UN-Caused Cholera are Compensated
Winslow Myers
The Light of the World
Bruce Mastron
My Latest Reason to Boycott the NFL: Guns
Weekend Edition
January 13, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Gregory Elich
Did the Russians Really Hack the DNC?
Jeffrey St. Clair
The President Who Wasn’t There: Barack Obama’s Legacy of Impotence
Anthony DiMaggio
Ethics Fiasco: Trump, Divestment and the Perversion of Executive Politics
Joshua Frank
Farewell Obummer, Hello Golden Showers
Paul Street
Hit the Road, Barack: Some Farewell Reflections
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail