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Israel's reaction to the latest UN Security Council debate

January 23, 2014 at 7:21 am

Israel regaled the UN Security Council with yet another regurgitated exercise in rhetoric, as the recent developments regarding the alleged peace process were debated, shedding light upon a process which fluctuates between empowerment and dependence. At a crucial time when public opinion is shifting in favour of Palestinian self-determination, the peace process essentially remains ensnared within imperial dynamics, as the US continues to assert its role in the prolonged occupation.

Riyad Mansour, permanent observer of the State of Palestine, reiterated the formal acceptance of a two state solution, thus portraying the prevalent subservient attitude towards achieving a form of peace which fails to address the ramifications of the occupation. While calling attention to Israel’s criminal activities against Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the willingness to participate in peace talks seemed mired within the confines of compromise. Failure to implement the two-state solution, according to Mansour, ‘would lead to political, legal and popular efforts to fulfil the inalienable human rights and legitimate national aspirations of the Palestinian people’. Mansour also called upon Israel to show ‘real commitment to peace through deeds’.

Adopting the usual victimised stance, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, declared recent decisions a hindrance to peace and called for caution, in order to eliminate any disruption to the peace process. Criticism was directed against the latest EU decision to withhold financial grants to entities operating beyond the Green Line, with Prosor offering a misrepresentation of Palestinians’ perception of the decision. According to Prosor, the EU regulations were perceived by Palestinians as a reward for their ‘unilateral’ actions, in reference to Palestinian resistance against Israel’s illegal occupation, thus acting as a deterrent for peace negotiations. The Israeli ambassador to the UN also unleashed condemnations regarding the UN’s monthly reports detailing the occupation’s violations of international law. Prosor stated that Israeli statistics convey a total of 2,737 ‘terror attacks’ in 2012, although Israel’s wide definition of what constitutes a terror attack was avoided, rendering the alleged total subject to considerable debate and doubt.

Featuring the US as a key player in the peace process reflects the underlying process of authority and dependency. One can assume that if the peace talks materialise, the outcome will not significantly hamper the historical Zionist dream. With the major obstacle being insistence upon Israel’s retreat to the 1967 borders, it is unlikely that any concessions made to Palestinians will consolidate the process of nationhood and self-determination. Any momentous change in favour of Palestinians would alter the imperial agenda in the Middle East and provide a formidable challenge to the illegal state. Mansour’s alternative to the two state solution – a situation in which Palestinians would pursue statehood through channels other than peace talks, exhibits the tendency towards dependency. Rather than actively seek to challenge the occupation, a mild threat is evoked which underlines a current reality, that of a cautious appreciation of symbolic gestures which might appease Israel but would also fail to prevent further displacement, illegal settlement building and atrocities committed against Palestinians.

While most UN delegations expressed appreciation and hopes for the peace process, the Cuban ambassador to the UN, Oscar Leon Gonzales, was the most resolute in his statement, reflecting the Cuban revolution’s anti-colonial stance. Far from commending the US regarding the peace initiative, Gonzales declared that ‘only the end of colonization, the release of political prisoners and the lifting of the blockade on Gaza would bring about a just solution’. In the absence of an adamant and unified approach against Israeli colonialism, it is likely that the impending peace talks will amount to nothing but vague rhetoric, appeasing most political leaders while international accountability for the Palestinians’ plight becomes even more elusive.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.