Friday, 30 November 2012

recognition for palestine

i'm feeling pretty happy today, particularly with the UN vote to recognise palestine by granting it non-member observer status.  ok, it's not a huge step, and it doesn't mean that peace is going to break out any time soon.  having just witnessed another round of devastation visited on gaza, it's sad that this is the reality.

even knowing this, the vote is still hugely important.  not just because it was a resounding victory - 138 for, 41 abstentions & only 9 against - but because it does have some tangible benefits:

The Palestinians can now take part in UN debates and potentially join bodies like the International Criminal Court....

"This is a whole new ball-game now. Israel will be dealing with a member of the international community, a state called Palestine with rights," senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi told the BBC.

"We will have access to international organisations and agencies and we will take it from there."

i'm so glad that nz was part of the 138, and that the government for once has taken an ethical international stance.  what is sad is that australia merely abstaining is considered a major shift, and canada voting against was pretty awful.  i guess the latter is the result of a right-wing government, but i'm glad that the same basic ideology didn't hamper our government.

and then there's america with a left-wing president, doing their level best to prevent the vote, and then having the secretary of state condemn the result.  my happiness at mr obama's win pretty much dissipated in the first couple of days after the latest assault on gaza, and it's totally gone now.  whatever he manages to achieve within america, it's pretty clear that we aren't going to see any substantial shift in foreign policy.  but then that was pretty predictable when the candidates debate on foreign policy ended up being more about local issues than about foreign ones.

still, despite their best efforts, they could only convince 9 countries to vote against this measure.  that fact alone is cause for hope.  perhaps international pressure will continue to build, which is the only way that a peaceful solution can be forced.

and if that didn't cheer you up, how about this, which i totally love:

it reminds me of this post i wrote last year, and i love the humour they've put into making the same basic point.

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