Last Friday, Sept. 23, the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, took his people's plight for statehood to the United Nations meeting.
He handed Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon the application after giving a speech that received applause from many of the delegations present.
Abbas told the General Assembly, “The time is now for the Palestinian Spring, the time for independence.”
Abbas called on the return to the 1967 borders of both Israel and Palestine and the designation of East Jerusalem as the capital city. Since then, the Palestinian Territories have gradually shrunken to their present state of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as the Israelis have seized control of more land for the state of Israel.
This has caused tension in the Middle East amongst the Arab nations and Israel and its Western allies.
For many years, negotiations between Israel and Palestine in order to find an agreement of existence have been moderated by the Quartet; the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the UN, but to no avail.
After Abbas’s speech, the Quartet called for a return to the negotiation tables instead of a UN resolution. Abbas felt that negotiations with Israel would be “meaningless”. However, he was willing to return to the table, but with long-standing conditions; Israel must stop building on Palestinian lands and promise to negotiate land claims similar to the 1947. Israel immediately rejected those proposals.
Student Madison Stubbs reflected similar views as those of Abbas. “I feel that Palestine has as much a right to exist as Israel does. They’ve gone through struggles just as Israel has.”
After Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to the podium to give his speech to the General Assembly. He stated that his country was willing to “make painful compromises,” but that Palestine should take into consideration Israel’s security issues and be ready for compromise.
Granite teacher, Elissa Lombardi, reflects similar views as Netanyahu. “I believe that statehood should come to the Palestinians, but only when they recognize Israel’s right to exist.”
After the speeches, the U. S. pledged to veto the application should it come to the Security Council on the grounds that it would hinder any possible future peace talks in the Middle East. In an interview with reporters, Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, said that, “We believe strongly that the road to peace and two states living side by side does not go through New York, it goes through Jerusalem and Ramallah."
David Gong paraphrased a quote from Haile Selassie, “Until the color of man’s skin is no more significant, there will be war.”
Above photo: Palestinian Prime Minister and delegates discussing the topic of being given statehood by the United Nations, during a General Assembly. (Photo by: Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/MCT)