Bibi’s Folly

Benjamin Netanyahu [also known as Bibi] may have won a Pyrhhic victory in his well received address to the US Congress. But come September at the United Nations when a vote in the General Assembly may arise on admission of Palestine as a member country with borders adhering to the pre-1967 lines –  the Ship hits the Fan, no matter the outcome. With the recent settlement among the Palestinian political parties of Hamas of Gaza and Fatah ,  Palestine will push for this vote. Israel and its almost lone international partner, the US,  will come out losers regardless of how the vote goes.But if there is a vote then the US is faced with a very tough dilemma: the US would have to veto the notion in the Security Council because the vote in the general Assembly would very likely be in Palestine’s favor.

What happens if Palestine loses UN nationhood status due to a US veto? If the the US vetoes Palestinian nationhood,  AlQaeda and other terrorists get  a huge hit of rejuvenation juices. The US could be branded as unconditional supporters of Israel regardless of World opinion. Israel would meanwhile be cast more strongly then ever as obstructionist to valid Palestinian claims. Israel has every reason to continue false and ineffective negotiations. First, Israel has all the military,  political and geographic advantages over Palestinians. Second, every skirmish and war  has seen a resounding Palestinian defeat with casualties of   4-9 to 1 plus increasing devastation of Gaza and other Palestinian territories. Also there is  the ability of Israelis to accuse Palestinians of being unrepentant terrorists. Third, original Palestinian refugees whose right of return is in question will have increasingly died off. Their descendants may have mixed emotions on returning to a nation or place they have never known. Fourth, by controlling the borders, air space, and sea routes to Palestine – Israel can and does keep a travel and  economic choke hold on Palestine. Finally, what has worked in Handy-like takeover of  a  Palestinian+Bedouin lands can continue with new tokenism while ever expanding Israeli settlements  and building within Palestinian lands continues unabated. In sum , Israel becomes ever more isolated as colonizers of Palestine.

What happens if Palestine wins UN Nationhood status? The US still loses prestige if it abstains from voting or votes against Palestine nationhood. Israel loses three big bargaining chips. First, the question of control of Palestine’s  borders, airspace, and sea access becomes a legitimate question. Second, new channels of economic and other aid to Palestine become opened. Third, in the court of World opinion, Israel loses support for its thwarting of Palestinian’s diminished but still valid national aspirations.. And so by proving Obama wrong and enlisting unconditional US support of Israel’s “Reality on the Ground” – occupation of Palestinian West Bank territories to the tune of at least 450,000 settlers and growing.

So Bibi’s Folly is to win in the US Congress instead of negotiating realistically; and thus  place Israel in a losing long term strategic position.

Resources:

Israel/Palestine History – a very complex set of movements as Israel gets abandoned and only partly resettled by Jews over the past 2000 years.
Demographics of Israel/Palestine – population of 3 religious groups in Palestine – Christians, Jews, Muslims

Year Jews Christians Muslims Total
First half 1st century CE Majority ~2,500²
5th century Minority Majority >1st century
End 12th century Minority Minority Majority >225
14th cent. before Black Death Minority Minority Majority 225
14th cent. after Black Death Minority Minority Majority 150
1533–1539 5 6 145 157
1690–1691 2 11 219 232
1800 7 22 246 275
1890 43 57 432 532
1914 94 70 525 689
1922 84 71 589 752
1931 175 89 760 1,033
1947 630 143 1,181 1,970

The Partition of Palestine and creation of Israel in 1947

Jews at less than 1/3 of  total Palestine population  receive nearly 60% of the land.
Current Israeli Settlements on Palestinian Territories – as of 2006, even more since then.
Roger Cohen – in  NYTimes op-ed draws the line and say colonization of another people is indefensible.

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