While Palestinians and Israelis fail to negotiate with each other in the hope of attaining a lasting peace, European nations are moving forward to give Palestine Statehood and a full membership in the United Nations.
Sweden became the first major European nation to vote in favor of the PLO which has been waiting since 1948 to be recognized. Great Britain has taken a symbolic vote. Ireland and Spain have acted in a similar fashion. Denmark will debate its decision on December 11th. A vote will be taken in Early January. French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, spoke before his Parliament and told them that if peace is not reached soon in the region, France will join their neighbors in voting for a two-state solution, which was supposed to be created in 1948.
The Danish Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, says her country will not recognize statehood for Palestine at this time. However, the pressure is mounting throughout Europe.
One of the primary reasons the European community is pressing in favor of Palestine is growing criticism of Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Under the auspices of their nation’s leader, Israel continues to build additional settlements in East Jerusalem. Former high-ranking Israeli officials, including former generals, have criticized Netanyahu for continual ‘land-grabbing.’
Recently President Obama rebuked the land acquisitions by Israel. He warned the Prime Minister of taking actions which could diminish international relationships even with his nation’s closest allies.
In response to Mr. Obama’s remarks, Netanyahu called them irresponsible. However, he did praise the President for his actions against ISIS. He spoke of the extremist groups intentions, and how their competition with Hamas and Iran for control of the region with fundamentalist Islamic doctrine is a danger to the entire Middle East. He pledged Israel’s support for any and all actions taken by President Obama.
Detractors of support for Palestine use attacks such as countries being anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist.
To be anti-Semitic is unforgivable. Hatred aimed a group of people simply because of their religious beliefs cannot be tolerated. There can be no repeat of any incident even slightly resembling the Holocaust. Opposing Zionism is an entirely different thing. Criticizing a nation for actions others deem to be illegal or immoral is acceptable.
It is understandable why critique of a nation which has continued to annex land on a regular basis even prior to1948 may be frequent and accurate. Before Israel’s statehood, acquiring land in Palestine was the goal of every Zionist organization. It simply continues today.
European countries who are pushing for a ‘two-state’ arrangement in the area may be on the right track. Jerusalem is a sacred town for Catholics, Jews and Muslims. Problems will continue to exist in the area until the Palestinians and Israelis can negotiate as equals.
By James Turnage