The United Nations General Assembly voted Nov. 29 to recognize Palestine as a “non-member observer state” by 138 to 9 with 41 abstentions. This vote changed Palestine’s former status as “entity” and came on the 65th anniversary of the 1947 U.N. Resolution181,which partitioned Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states.
This overwhelming worldwide support has developed in recognition of the indomitable determination of the Palestinian people to resist destruction by Zionist Israel over decades. Palestinians, who number 4.3 million in both the West Bank and Gaza, held huge celebrations in the streets following the vote.
The United States, Israel’s military and financial backer, attacked this development. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland threatened to cut U.S. economic aid now going to the Palestinians. U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, stated that “only … direct negotiations between the parties” was useful, ignoring the failure of decades of talks by the Palestinians with Israel. (usun.state.gov, Nov. 29)
Voting against Palestine were the U.S., Israel, Canada, the Czech Republic (the only European nation voting against), Panama, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru and Palau. The last four, all former island colonies in the Pacific Ocean, vary in population from 108,000 (Micronesia) to 9,378 (Palau). Israel’s isolation was sharply defined by this vote.
The Guardian newspaper reported on Nov. 30 that “Israeli officials were shocked at the scale of European support” for Palestine. Israel’s continued expansion of settlements in occupied territories in violation of clear international law has cost it public support.
Before the vote, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdon Lieberman rabidly lashed out against the coming vote, threatening to overthrow Palestine Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. This attack may have further contributed to the votes for Palestine.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the construction of thousands of new homes for Zionist settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in retaliation for the U.N. vote. Israel also threatened to cut off the transfer of taxes that it collects for the Palestine Authority. These moves will only further anger most of the world and undermine support for the settler state of Israel.
The U.N. action followed by one week the end of eight days of Israeli military bombardment of Gaza, which killed 176 Palestinians and wounded over 1,000, mainly civilians. The elected Hamas government of Gaza, which has strong differences with the less militant West Bank Palestinian leadership headed by President Abbas, praised the U.N. vote, adding that diplomacy only works in conjunction with armed struggle.
Attacks on Gaza continue
Attacks on Gaza have continued following the Nov. 21 cease-fire. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights documented Israeli gunboat attacks on Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Gaza. From Nov. 21 to 28, Israel fired upon six boats, destroying or damaging them, confiscating all the craft and taking 15 Palestinians into custody.
The day before the vote, Jewish settlers near Bethlehem flooded the orchards of three Palestinian villages with wastewater released from the high ground overlooking the fields. Crops of olives, grapes and almonds were severely damaged. (Palestine News Network, Nov. 29)
U.S. imperialism orchestrated the Israeli state’s creation from 1947 to 1948 in response to growing nationalism among the Arab peoples in the colonized Middle East. Washington’s aim was to create a pliant client regime, armed, financed and dependent upon the U.S. in an area of huge oil wealth.
Today, the United Nations has 193 member states, but the vote in 1947 on Resolution 181 was only 33 to 13. Most of the nations of Africa and the Middle East, as well as other areas, had not yet achieved independence from their colonial overlords. Even so, to gain the two-thirds majority needed in 1947, the U.S. had to apply enormous pressure, threats and even bribery, as documented in many sources. (See for example Alfred M. Lilienthal’s book, “The Zionist Connection.”)
Washington’s imperialist goals have not changed in the 65 years since 1947. Oil profits from the region still fill the coffers of the Wall Street banks. The U.S. has maneuvered through every twist and turn after the independence of the Arab nations with the same combination of pressure, threats and bribery. Add to that the CIA covert operations, coups, direct military interventions and war, all to secure the steady flow of profits.
Yet the decades of imperialist penetration have not created security for U.S. capitalists. The uprising that began in Tunisia in December 2010 has spread throughout the region, overthrowing several oppressive regimes and threatening many more U.S. puppets, while the imperialists have stepped up their intervention to try to take advantage of the instability.
In Libya, the imperialists overthrew the Moammar Gadhafi government, leading to chaos and destruction there. The U.S.-directed war against Syria and attacks on Iran also threaten to bring on a wider war.The earlier military invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan have not brought stability.
This explains continued U.S. support and direction of the most reactionary and militarist factions in the Zionist government of Israel. Only Israel has proved to be a reliable military outpost for U.S. imperialism, an “unsinkable aircraft carrier” as Alexander Haig, President Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state, once described it.
It is certain the Palestinian people will continue to struggle for their rights to self-determination in all of occupied Palestine and that the people throughout the Middle East will continue to fight for liberation from U.S.-based economic and political oppression. The whip of reaction always breeds resistance. The people of the region can be aided by people in the U.S. building the movement here against U.S. support for Israel’s policies of racism, repression and apartheid directed against the Palestinians.