No Friends of Palestine: Palestinian threats of action against the upstarts and state-blocks foiling the bid
The pioneers of Palestinian statehood have every right to be a little miffed at those who tried to sabotage their bid to become a non-member of an intergovernmental body. Denying Palestinians their inalienable right to self-determination is rich coming from anybody, but maybe particularly sore when it comes from never-before-heard-of West Pacific floating blobs, the quintessential Banana Republic (not the clothing brand) of Panama and one former Eastern Bloc satellite state.
There are some obvious strategic reasons at play here. The no’s spring by and large from the shadows, literally or geographically, of the US: perhaps it was some kind of Monroe Doctrine allegiance at work that tied North America land masses in with each others’ destinies?
Whatever their rhyme or reason for saying "I don't think so", the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs had announced before the act that a review process of the relationship with each and every one of the naysayers would start once the vote was completed. Palestine would "study, review and reassess its relationships with all the countries which vote against or abstain from the Palestinian resolution draft at the UN General Assembly in relation to the upgrading of the status of Palestine from an observer entity to non-member observer state status."
Nobody expects the closure of Palestinian embassies in Ottawa, Washington DC or Prague to be too big of a deal, but this does mean that Palestinian diplomats will have less of a chance to holiday near Fiji. Likewise, the Palestinians are seeking to upgrade their representation in all the countries which voted favorably (to recognise Palestine as a non-member state observer state within the 1967 borderline), to embassies. Some, like Max Fisher in the Washington Post blogs, have explored the wider Arab diplomatic ruptures that may arise from the vote by breaking down the chosen 9 'oddball coalition of the unwillng'.
The reasons for the objections are mixed. Canada is umbilically tied to the US, which is itself basically an Israeli colony when it comes to Middle East policy. The same goes for most of the others, some of which, like Micronesia, some people had thought might have already been consumed Montserrat-style by volcanoes. Then of course there was Panama, which people remember for the very successful raid under George Bush I to oust the coke-peddling dictator, and which also hosts a significant and substantial Jewish community, apparently.
Maybe the most disappointing no-vote cast was the Czech Republic’s (the only state on the Enlightened Continent to deny Palestinians their statehood) given its recent and not-so-recent history of battling for independence from empires near and far (first the Austro-Hungarian, and later the Soviet). Interestingly, the Czechs have read their own history into Palestine’s, and turned up with results the wrong way around. Likening the Palestinians to the Sudeten Germans--ruthlessly pushed out by Czechoslovakia after World War II, after becoming famous for their beer brewing--some Czech politicians even compared the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to Hitler, and suggested that all the Israelis need to do is ethnically cleanse them.
Of course, history can be a fool’s game if you’re living it vicariously, but it seems that the good burghers of Prague will have to wait until they are hated Arab-wide to figure that one out.
Have your say: Do you think "Palestine" proper should be unduly peeved or overly disgruntled by these uncooperative 9 who said No to their status upgrade at the UN? Or should they turn the other cheek and be the bigger player - (considering many of the naysayers make up quite trifling populations)?
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Bawaba's editorial policy.