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US veto at UN will kill all hopes of peace

America's Israeli bias will be exposed if it denies Palestinian request for recognition

Gulf News

All members of the United Nations have a duty to recognise the Palestinian state. The US plan to veto President Mahmoud Abbas' request to the UN for full membership is an outrage, and an insult to the Palestinian people. It should be clear that the Palestinians already have a state, and have done for many years. The issue is not the statehood, but international recognition of that state.

Statehood is not something that is given to a people or granted from on high. It is an essential part of self- determination, which every people in the world have a right to declare. The complicated mix of states in Central Europe decided on their own that they would become Germany and they declared their German statehood, with no reference to anyone else. The variety of British colonies in the New World decided to reject their overlords, they brought the United States of America into being without anyone's permission.

The Palestinians committed to using peaceful means to end the occupation, and formally rejected violence as a way forward. But this Palestinian commitment to peace was brutally taken advantage of by the Israeli government, which has deliberately refused to take any constructive steps, and has backed the continued building and expansion of illegal colonies on the West Bank, which are the key test of any Israeli government's commitment to peace.

It is a real outrage that the international community has totally ignored the peace process for years. After Obama's ringing oratory when he took power, it is wrong that the American administration has not pushed Israel to talk about implementing international law, and has only remembered the peace process when embarrassed by the Palestinians' request for UN recognition of their state.

This total lack of commitment to the peace process is one of the worst disappointments of the Obama administration, which came to power with a call for the cessation of all colony building in the Occupied Territories, and a recognition that the two-state solution needed negotiations between two equal partners conducted with mutual respect.

The fanatical government of Benjamin Netanyahu was badly rattled by Obama's arrival, but soon recovered its poise when it realised that the administration would do nothing to stop Israeli activity in Palestine. It has been increasingly hard for the Palestinians to endure this miserable situation, given that the Palestinian National Authority has committed to finding a peaceful solution. But negotiating for peace requires someone to negotiate with, and the Israelis have made a mockery of the whole process.

Since Obama has now said the US will veto the Palestinian request for recognition, the Americans will be doing themselves and their own principles great damage, and they will show the world that US foreign policy is managed from Tel Aviv, not Washington. The message all over the world will be very clear, and very little could be worse for what is supposed to be a global superpower.