Palestinians have long sought recognition as a legitimate country. The people of Israel were finally given their promised land, and many believe birthright country, following the Second World War. The State of Israel was created but there had been other people occupying these lands in the past. So began a long and complicated division between Israelis and Palestinians.
In recent weeks conflict between the two countries spilled over into daily rocket and missile attacks. Good sense prevailed in the end but not before the death toll and destruction had risen greatly.
Part of the resolution came by way of Egyptian President Morsi who helped broker a deal between the two countries. Having done the deed mainly for the West he was then left unhindered to cause havoc in his own country. He seized more power and Egypt has now seen a return of protesters camped out in Tahrir Square.
Palestine has however moved one step closer recognition following a UN vote yesterday, November 29, 2012. SkyNews reported, "The UN General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly in favour of upgrading the Palestinians' status to a non-member observer state, defying the wishes of Israel and the US."
The vote was unanimously passed by 138-9, with 41 abstentions. Does this slight upgrade have any benefits for Palestine? Yes it certainly does. Palestine can now "join UN agencies, sign international treaties and access bodies such as the International Criminal Court (ICC)." It has been reported that Palestine will now have the same UN status that The Vatican holds.
Israeli PM Netanyahu was angry at the speech made to the UN by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Israel and the US fought hard to defeat the vote but lost spectacularly. Netanyahu claimed that the speech by Abbas was full of hate against the State of Israel and its people. He threatened some form of action.
The UK, in the form of Foreign Secretary William Hague, abstained from the vote. Those against the vote believe that the two sides need to get together around the negotiating table and now they will not.
There was a significant gesture by Palestine in the UK Hall. Abbas said of the forthcoming vote the UN was, "being asked ... to issue the birth certificate of Palestine". Once the result of the vote was announced a huge Palestinian flag was unfurled on the floor of the General Assembly behind the Palestinian delegation.
One of the fears of the Israeli authority is that now Palestine will be able to use the ICC to pursue Israel for "alleged war crimes or its ongoing settlement building on war-won land."
This move is long overdue. Simply holding a country at arm's length out in the cold forever or as a form of blackmail is not the way. Israel has been allowed to gather nuclear arms and pursue its own ends. Both sides are at fault. Is it so bad to put both Israel and Palestine on equal footing, well almost equal?