Palestine: A New Member State?
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been going on for over 60 years now, with more than 14,500 casualties resulting. This September, the United Nations General Assembly will vote on membership for Palestine. Palestine currently has an observer seat, but no vote at the international organization. More than one hundred countries support Palestine's membership, even though the United States has historically supported Israel.
A legal advisor for the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yara Jalejel, indicated that "legally speaking the status of Palestine would not change dramatically after UN membership, it would only help Palestine to be able to be represented fully in all international venues (Palestine Monitor)." However, outsiders hope that big changes will indeed be made, especially in calming the conflict with Israel over sacred land. Palestine is claiming the 1967 border, which includes the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
(Image credit: Staple News)
Although the United States is expected to veto Palestine's membership at the Security Council, President Barack Obama is in favor of a Palestinian state with the 1967 borders. Previously, the United States endorsed earlier borders where Israel had control of both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as well as Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula. Many American Jews and pro-Israeli advocates are in uproar over President Obama's policy. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney commented "President Obama has thrown Israel under the bus. He has disrespected Israel and undermined its ability to negotiate peace (Fox News)." Moreover, Barack Obama is favoring borders which would remove land from Israel that it has controlled for over forty years, including East Jerusalem.
Partitioning the two countries is not so simple. Besides determining which party gets Jerusalem, there are significant issues such as the lack of water, military base locations, the Israeli Right of Return, prisoners, refugees, and the Palestine's former refusal of 97% of the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and Arab portion of Jerusalem.
No matter whose side you are on, it is obvious that an internationally recognized border is necessary to ensure security and peace for the people of Israel and Palestine.