In a last minute twist, four countries took it upon themselves to bring the UN Resolution to vote, and successfully passed it 14 to 0 Friday afternoon. This, unsurprisingly, incited a media storm and significant response from the global community.
In a follow-up to his article posted on Thursday, Ali Abunimah, editor of the Electronic Intifada, published another piece maintaining his original argument. He explains how despite any optimism that the passing of the resolution might spark, he stands by his earlier thoughts that no real action will occur as a result of the resolution passing. He ends stating that “Israel continues to seize Palestinian land and build settlements, while the UN Security Council issues words on paper.”
Unlike pre-vote, where most of the pro-Palestinian voices were in favor of the vote passing, there have been numerous articles, opinion pieces and blogs coming out with concerns of what the resolution means for the Palestinians. Yes, it appears to reinforce how illegal the Israeli settlements are, and seems to emphasize the importance of distinguishing the occupied territories from other parts of the land. Several articles touch upon the idea that the resolution actually justifies, and even could encourage, legitimacy of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement – specifically from the settlements. According to an Al-Jazeera article, great significance should be given to paragraph 5, which calls on “all States … to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.” This, according to ’Nadia Hijab, executive director of Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network, “is effectively a call to cease trade, economic and financial transactions with the settlements.” This is likely to boost growing efforts to subject Israel to various forms of boycotts, including the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign – especially since, as Hijab notes, “the settlements are an integral part of the Israeli economy.”
On the other hand, as Abunimah points out, this is not new. Previous resolutions have explained just this – so where is the pressure to make this a reality? Will it change anything, especially going into a Trump administration? On the positive side, if little else, the resolution passing seems to have shocked the pro-Israel community in Israel and the US and sent many into panic about the effect it will have on Israel. One author explained that “while the resolution contains no sanctions, Israeli officials are concerned it could widen the possibility of prosecution at the International Criminal Court. They are also worried it could encourage some countries to impose sanctions against Israeli settlers and goods produced in the settlements.” Both of these points could be great for Palestine, but it is unclear whether they will actually occur.
Hope everyone celebrating had a Merry Christmas here in the US, in Palestine and around the world and may we all have a wonderful New Year!
Al-Jazeera posted a video clip of Palestinian reactions to the vote – most strongly in favor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=625YI9sFk18
Here is the reaction of Abunimah:
Two Al-Jazeera articles referenced above: