If the diplomats at the United Nations really gave a damn about the Palestinians, they would take action to generate new, incentive-driven proposals aimed at spurring West Bank and Gaza leadership to sit down with Israeli officials at the negotiating table and hammer out a peace deal. Perhaps with financial sweeteners. Maybe with land swaps.
Unfortunately, the UN is not that kind of institution. Instead, it is, as reflected in the recent resolution condemning US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, more interested in the administration of feckless lip service than actual action … a manifestation of its inability to serve as a realistic catalyst for transformation in the region, as well of its propensity to sway toward parties given to anti-Semitic sentiments.
Yes, anti-Semitism. For that is part and parcel of this resolution, as it does not serve any purpose other than to show the extent of the hatred directed at the Jewish state and its residents, along with any claims to sovereignty over the city that operates as the soul of the country and its most vital organ.
To a certain extent, we must consider the source of the resolution, which was co-sponsored by countries with repressive governments that are in the midst of addressing internal conflicts of their own: Turkey and Yemen. It is clear that the condemnation, which was overwhelmingly against Trump’s decision, was an attempt to divert attention from the human rights crises occurring within their own borders and direct it toward the US move. And American allies such as Britain and France, which also voted for the resolution, have done little to help spark dialogue between the Israelis and Palestinians on the peace front. Better, it seems, to reiterate, through support of this initiative, the need for negotiation than do anything substantial to help bring it about. The impotence of such a declaration is astonishing.
That may not be surprising, given the failures of the UN to address some of the worst villainy in recent history, including the ongoing genocide of the Rohingya in Myanmar, the destruction caused by the civil war in Syria, and the human rights abuses perpetrated by the leadership of North Korea. (In the case of the latter country, it has yet to be seen whether newly administered sanctions will make an impact in state policy, but given the government’s propensity for repression, a sizable dose of skepticism must be retained in expecting any positive developments.) The fact is, the organization is toothless, prone to sectarianism, and laden with red tape, rendering it unable to address serious issues with any realistic decision-making prowess. Non-binding resolutions don’t do much but make the news. A more suitable endeavor would be the implementation of activity geared to the goals of compromise and conversation.
Which are what Israel and Palestine need. We should not consider the two-state solution dead in the water, even though dialogue relating to that of late has been dormant to the point of neglect. But empty resolutions are not going to help spark change. The diplomats at the UN might want to consider such an idea. It wouldn’t be beyond their ken.
Whether it’s beyond their collective conscience is another matter altogether.