Last week's Israeli- Palestinian- U.N members events dragged all kinds of critisizm. In the past week, I was exposed to various points of view and takes on the U.N vote for the Palestinian authority's resolution and on the Israeli reaction to it, and decided it would be best to present you with more opinions, other then mine. Here are the two different ways in which Alex Zusmanovich and Ron Notkin analize the current events.
The Never Ending Story/Ron Notkin
When the Palestinian authority went to the general assembly of the United Nations, prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Bibi) set on his chair and thought: what can I do to strike back? He eventually decided to approve the project of another 3,000 units in Jerusalem and in settlements in the west bank in the most sensitive E-1 territories.
On one hand, I can say that it is Israel's right to build in the Jewish state. On the other hand, Netanyahu is acting like a winey kindergarten boy that a toy was taken from him. Why, Bibi? Why do you have to throw this fact in the face of the international community? The relationship with the President of the United States, Barak Obama, has gone downhill in the past four years, and the European Union members never had Israel's interests on the top of their agenda. Instead of patching the wounds, Netanyahu made this move.
True, the Palestinian recognition in the U.N's General Assembly is only on paper, and in order for a Palestinian state to be truly acknowledged, they have to get an approval of the Security Council. For now, Israel has the U.S can use their veto power if such a proposal rises. But in order to keep this veto relevant, Netanyahu must be very careful not to worsen his relationship with Obama, which are already quite shaky.
In the past week, we all read about the parade of Israeli ambassadors in European countries such as Great Britain, France and Germany, which were summoned for a condemnation due to the residential program in the West Bank. This is merely another step in a journey that began years ago, and will end in the loss of support from the international community.When we look at the political map in Israel, with the election coming up soon, I can safely say that Netanyahu will remain in office, with Liberman by his side, as his Minister of Foreign Affairs. Netanyahu is known as an easy to push button, and Liberman is the main finger pressing him. Taking that in mind, Netanyahu must be more aware of agreeing to ideas that might make things worse for the state of Israel and its residents.
The Israel-Palestinian conflict is going on since 1947. If anyone thinks that the solution is near, they are dead wrong. Israel will not accept the Palestinian request of withdrawal from vital territories, and the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, will not accept Israel's requests of compromise. The way I see it, both sides will go at it for hundreds of years. I have already come to the understanding that a solution will not come in my lifetime. Have you?
Notkin is an Israeli Journalist.
No Big Deal.../Alex Zusmanovich
Here, in Israel, we have a tendency to examine every topic worldwide by asking the question: "Is it good for the Jews?". Apparently the answer, considering the recent happenings at the UN General Assembly, is "no, because such one-sided political step from PLO chairman Mahmoud Abbas, draws Israel in very bad lines, and gives Palestinians some legitimacy for their self-determinate demands."
But, and this all of us should remember, the acceptance of the so called Palestinian state as an observer to the UN general assembly, has a much more symbolic aspect, than a practical one. Basically, nothing has changed – the occupation is not over and a Palestinian state is yet to be established. Which effect this will have on the interaction between the two sides in the future? Only time will tell.
Another question we, Israelis, ask ourselves all the time is: "how come the world leaders take their side over ours?" And if we translate this question relying on the recent happenings – "how come the Palestinians had such a decisive victory in the UN?" The answer for this one is simple: people tend to take the underdog's side. And there is no doubt that considering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Palestinians are portrayed as underdogs. The bottom line is that we shouldn't ask ourselves this question, because we cannot change the reality. We can try to explain people from abroad the complexity of this conflict (I don't know, for example, how many people know that the PLO and the Hamas are two different organizations, and that what happened in the UN has nothing to do with the IDF's recent operation in Gaza,) and show them that there's no right approach or a right answer to prevent the U.N members from automatically supporting the underdog, but there is no way we can make Israel appear as the underdog in this case.
If we will take those two things in mind, we will understand that nothing drastic has happened. A Palestinian state won't establish on paper, but only on the ground. The Palestinian state can only be established with an Israeli consent, and U.N is not the one to make the call on that matter. Until that happens, be sure that most U.N members will continue to vote for the underdog.
As for the Israeli government's plan for 3,000 new residential units in the E-1 area, give me a break! We are less than two months away from the election here in Israel. It is all a political trick Netanyahu and his men pull. The approval of the plan does not mean the houses would actually be built. Besides, I believe that what the media told us in the past couple of days, about Israeli ambassadors being condemned and the world leaders criticizing Israel, is all just a exaggeration of the actual story. The media is doing what it normally does- making a mountain out of a small bump.
Zusmanovich is a B.A student for Communication and Political Science.