Middle East Monitor

October 2011
Monthly Media Digest

By Ibrahim Hewitt, Zulaikha Abdullah and Samira Quraishy

  • UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Palestine, Professor Richard Falk suggests that the statehood bid can be seen on two levels: Firstly as an extension of Palestinian efforts for self-determination, and on a second problematic level - the impression that the "conflict is between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel rather than between the Palestinian people and Israel.... the sense given is that this is a dispute about territory and if Israel ends the occupation of the bulk of the land taken in 1967 then it's possible to have a peaceful solution, a so-called "two state consensus". This, in effect, undermines greatly the importance of the right of return aspects of the conflict and also possibly creates an atmosphere in which Palestinian rights in Jerusalem are also to some extent sacrificed. And then, of course, it leaves out of the equation altogether the circumstances of the Palestinian minority within Israel and so on."

  • A ridiculous commentary in the Jerusalem Post, reflective of its right-wing Zionist author, suggests the Palestinians' statehood bid will act as a 'springboard' for the destruction of Israel. In it he attacks the Oslo Accords and states that the Palestinians have done nothing but embarrass 'US president after president' (!) But if you thought that was astonishing, wait until you hear his suggestions for ensuring a "peace" settlement is realised: "...the Israeli interest and the interests of the entire region will best be served if Netanyahu takes the same action that his predecessor, Menachem Begin, took 30 years ago with regard to the Golan Heights....[i.e.] annexation. The area referred to as "Area C" in the Oslo Accords, the home of more than 350,000 Israelis and to only some 50,000 Palestinians must become an integral part of the State of Israel." He suggests Israel should do whatever it needs to "even if this flies in the face of world public opinion"

  • Netanyahu's claims that the bid itself is a hindrance to peace negotiations were misjudged... perhaps the clever thing would have been to delay the new settlement expansion plan until the bid was truly dead in the water? Just a suggestion...

  • UNESCO is the first UN body to officially grant Palestine membership, much to the consternation of Israel and the US; the latter withdrawing its funding for the UN agency... However, analysts have been quick to throw caution in the wind, suggesting the withdrawal of funding from UNESCO and indeed any other international body, would seriously damage the US position in global affairs and will in effect mean the US 'giving up its vote' on executive boards. With its current standing in the world today, this is something the US cannot afford to lose.

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