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Commentary :: Human Rights
Israeli Settlement Construction Jeopardizes Palestinian Statehood Plans
24 Oct 2011
Israeli Settlement Construction Jeopardizes Palestinian Statehood Plans - by Stephen Lendman

Palestinians want and deserve long denied full UN de jure membership and official statehood recognition, including all rights granted other members.

On September 23, Abbas formally petitioned the Security Council. Normally it reviews applications for a maximum 35 days. Whether or not America vetos Palestine's bid is irrelevant. It solely recommends. Only the General Assembly admits new members.

Abbas can petition it through the 1950 Uniting for Peace Resolution 377 for an up or down two-thirds member vote to override potential Security Council rejection or inaction.

More than enough GA support assures what could have been gotten days ago regardless of Security Council members do or don't do.

On September 26, informal discussions began. No quick decision is expected. Washington plans obstruction, delay, and subversion, hoping to scuttle the idea entirely.

On October 21, new Council members were elected by secret ballot. In January, Pakistan, Morocco, Togo and Guatemala will replace Brazil, Lebanon, Nigeria, Gabon, Bosnia. After a second round vote, either Azerbaijan or Slovenia will join them.

Palestinian officials claim support from nine Council members, enough to force Washington to veto. If resolution isn't achieved before January, slippage is certain as Pakistan, Morocco and Guatemala most likely will back America.

On October 23, Ma'an News said Security Council members will finalize membership plans on November 11. Diplomats say voting then should occur.

An unnamed senior diplomat said:

"(T)he 11th (of November) will probably be the end of the Security Council consideration process, one way or the other. If the Palestinians want a vote, there will be" one.

Whether, in fact, Washington will have final say remains unknown, but don't discount its high-powered pressure and threats to get its way.

Indications now suggest PLO officials want the vote, but events ahead could change things. For example, if efforts to revive peace talks succeed, Security Council resolution may be delayed to let them proceed before acting.

At this time, however, Israel's refusal to halt settlement construction stalemates discussions. Palestinians won't resume them unless that condition's met. At least it's their rhetorical position.

More important is Palestinian statehood viability as Israel keeps stealing more West Bank/East Jerusalem land. If Palestine becomes the UN's 194 member, it may annex it, no matter how illegal.

If so, what then? Isolated cantonized statehood is none whatever. In 1948, Palestinians lost 78% of historic Palestine, in 1967 the rest now occupied.

They want that portion back unoccupied. Backed by Washington, Israel stands firmly opposed. That's where things now stand with no resolution in sight unless Abbas petitions the General Assembly under Resolution 377.

So far, he hasn't raised the possibility, suggesting he'll subvert the aspirations of his own people by not acting responsibly.

On October 23, Haaretz writer Sarah Kreimer headlined, "East Jerusalem construction scuttling two-state solution," saying:

In spite of shortages in Israel putting housing affordability out of reach for growing numbers, settlement construction proceeds apace.

"(W)hat's wrong," asked Kreimer, "with the recent government decision to advance the construction of 2,610 apartments in Givat Hamatos in (East) Jerusalem?"

Calling it a "neighborhood" can't disguise Israel's first new settlement since Har Homa in 1997. Its development stoked international controversy. Will Givat Hamatos provoke more?

Is it "Netanyahu's 'price tag' for the Palestinian decision to apply for UN membership?" Is it his way of saying nyet?

With no public debate, the project's proceeding "piece by piece. (It's) unilaterally sealing the southern border of annexed East Jerusalem with Israeli construction."

Moreover, in the past year, Israel approved or advanced 5,000 more homes in the same area, including 2,000 to expand Gilo toward Wallajeh and Beit Jala. In addition, another 1,000 will enlarge Har Homa toward Beit Sahur.

Now 2,000 more will link Har Homa with Gilo as Israel gradually steals all East Jerusalem to entirely prevent Palestinians from claiming it as their rightful capital.

Besides expropriating all valued Judea and Samaria land, Israel also wants Palestinian statehood viability subverted. In other words, if not enough land remains within 1967 borders and East Jerusalem is entirely colonized, what remains is no state at all.

As a result, Israel's expansion plans "wreak havoc with the one set of principles agreed upon by most Israeli and Palestinian negotiators." Under them, Gilo would become part of Israel in return for other land within Green Line borders.

In addition, remaining East Jerusalem territory would stay uncolonized as Palestine's capital. However, Israel's ongoing and planned construction forecloses two-state viability entirely.

Moreover, without halting construction and resolving Jerusalem's borders, peace talks are a non-starter.

There's more. Givat Hamatos, an Ethiopian Jewish ghetto, will surround Palestinian Beit Safafa, stealing "the last available land reserves that would let this" neighborhood grow.

Israel says one thing and does another. At issue is preventing peace and subverting Palestinian statehood viability.

Nonetheless, Netanuyahu rhetorically rejects unilateralism at the same time relentlessly pursing it. Expanding Gilo, Givat Hamatos and other illegal settlements resonates louder than promises made, then broken.

Netanyahu is a notorious liar. Palestinians know, or should, he's no reliable peace partner. Nor will he compromise an inch to let Palestine become the UN's 194 member.

Palestinians are on their own to get it. It's high time, PA leaders tried.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen (at)

Also visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
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