With the U.N. Resolution 377 “Uniting for Peace,” will Palestine finally achieve statehood? Most likely, it will not.
In order to adopt the resolution, all 15 members of the U.N. Security Council must affirm it unanimously. President Obama has already said that the United States will exercise its veto power if the resolution reaches the council. There is a loophole, found in rule eight of the resolution, which may allow the Palestinians to bypass the Security Council, but the chances for success are still rather slim. Palestine will probably be denied statehood, and that is unfortunate.
If Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu really wanted to put an end to the Palestinian threat — or nuisance, depending on who you ask — they would grant Palestine statehood. Let me explain.
As of now, terrorist attacks coming out of Gaza and the West Bank cannot be attributed to a country, which means that most forms of sanctions and force cannot be used against the territory from which the terrorists came. However, if Hamas or Fatah commit any act of aggression against Israel while they have political leaders in office, that can be considered provocative, and Israel can legitimately go to war with the territories comprising Palestine.
Some naïve individuals may think that giving Palestine statehood would eliminate terrorist attacks, but the Bloomberg View editorial board is probably correct in assuming that statehood followed by a predictably lethargic change in the status quo will “spark a new uprising” and “increase the chances of a terrorist attack.” These terrorist attacks could provide Israel with a legal reason to invade Palestine as both a preventive and preemptive measure.
A new uprising, which could be expected in a newly created state that is full of volatility, might also provide a window of opportunity to countries like the U.S., which would like to seize control of Palestine. Some may wonder how an uprising could provide the U.S. a chance to secure Palestine and neutralize it as a threat. Army Field Manual 100-23, Peace Operations explains everything.
Peace operations states that these measures are used “to assist in the maintenance of order and stability in areas where it is threatened.” Foreign intervention is usually only seen in instances “where the loss of order and stability threatens international stability” or where human rights violations are occurring. Russian military actions in South Ossetia and Abkhazia have been labeled as stability operations. Foreign involvement in Afghanistan has been deemed a stability operation. If Palestine had a government that denied involvement in the predicted new wave of violence, unrest or terrorism, but could not reclaim order within the state, then the international community would still have a reason to take control of the country.
Another reason not to veto the resolution would be to keep our ties with other Muslim countries healthy. Saudi Arabia has already warned that a veto would be “toxic” to diplomatic relations. The U.S. does not receive much cooperation from Middle Eastern countries as it is — so maybe allowing the Palestinians to become a state would improve diplomatic relations with Muslim countries, while making Palestine even more susceptible to foreign intervention or retaliation if the terrorism and unrest does not end.
However, assuming that Obama goes through with his plan to veto, none of this will matter. A veto, though probably venomous to diplomatic relations, would provide Israel with a new, and possibly better, option.
If Palestine gains statehood, however, Israel will then have to respect its borders and stop expanding its settlements. If the buffer zone from other Muslim countries’ advances, the West Bank will also disappear and will probably be replaced by a country with a military stationed just a few hundred feet from the Israeli border.
If Palestine does not gain statehood, then Israel could bring its own resolution before the U.N. The resolution could contain Israeli defined boundaries and extend an offer of statehood to Palestinians living in the areas outside of said boundaries. The resolution could also have a clause restricting the military capabilities of the Palestinian state, like the restrictions put on Japan after World War II.
This option may be better than granting Palestine statehood and hoping that they become unstable enough to justify an invasion. This is from Israel’s point of view. The U.S. will suffer diplomatically if it vetoes, so it may want to rely on the chance to confront Palestine as an opposing state.
Veto or no veto, if the U.S. and Israel play their cards right, Palestine will lose this game of politics.
Ondo is a member of the class of 2014.