Fearing the start of a precedent among other UN bodies that would grant Palestinians the status of a full member — with plans to seek membership to 16 other UN agencies — the US has more to worry about than just inflict reprisals for the sake of its close ally, Israel. A bigger worry should be the clear message from the international community on how it perceives the Palestinians position and how the US is fast losing credibility and influence.
As a result, Washington that left no stone unturned at practically expressing regret over this development, and has decided to withhold around $60 million payment to the UNESCO fund. So much for the golden principle of democracy or at least for the Palestinians who got more than a hundred votes among the 173 UN member states. A victory that may be largely symbolic, given the real test coming ahead before the Security Council that is most likely to be vetoed by the United States. But victory it still is, for what matters is how the world community has thrown its weight behind the Palestinians. It may not be far fetched to presume that were it not for the US power to veto, the Palestinians would gain the crucial support for full statehood at the Security Council.
Expecting Washington to reappraise its policy vis-à-vis Israel and Palestine may yet be a distant hope but in all likelihood the changing dynamics in the Middle East and the growing consensus in favour of ending the decades long issue and helping Palestinians obtain a separate state on the 1967 borders are factors that cannot be ignored.
While the US terms the Palestinian statehood bid and consequent attempts to gain membership among UN bodies as unilateral and detrimental to peace efforts, the argument lacks conviction. The responsibility for restarting the peace talks lies with Israel, since its refusal to halt settlement activity in occupied territories, has ground all peace efforts to a halt. Lest one forgets, it is the Palestinians who have been more than willing to negotiate a two-state solution to the crisis and have conceded enough ground so as to end the stalemate. For once if they decided to take a firm stand on the issue of illegal settlements it is with good reason since it is part of Tel Aviv’s plans to assimilate as much territory as possible in the eventuality of the formation of two states. It is time Washington decided if it wants to continue supporting a country that has done nothing but violate international law and is an occupying power in all sense of the word.