Death of UN vs. Birth of Palestine
By: Elavalagan, October 23, 2015
Which will come first, the birth of Palestine or the death of the UN?
The United Nations (UN) as we know it today will not last forever. It wasn’t the first global organization of this kind and it won’t be the last either. But what could cause the UN to lose its power hold on the world? And if the UN retains its hold on the world, what will become of the State of Palestine? The ongoing crisis between Palestine and Israel seems to have no end, and the only organization with the capability to effect change seems reluctant to do so. And because of this, the question now becomes: “Will the birth of Palestine happen before, or after the death of today’s UN?”
This question got even louder in December of 2014 after the Obama administration, with Australia’s help, defeated the proposed resolution for establishing a Palestinian state by late 2017. That was an additional 3-years advance notice for a matter that had been talked about for generations. This motion received eight “yes” votes, just one short of the 9 total needed to pass. Argentina, Chad, Chile, China, France, Jordan, Luxembourg and Russia voted ‘yes’, but Australia and the US voted ‘no’. Lithuania, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Korea, and UK abstained.
Ironically, later in 2015 one of the UN agencies, UNCTAD, said “The social, health and security-related ramifications of high population density and overcrowding are among the factors that may render Gaza unlivable by 2020, if present trends continue”. So the unjust and undemocratic UN’s words clearly implied two things; 1) Gaza (part of Palestine) will be unlivable in 5 years because of the UN inaction and 2) the UN will continue denying the largest international stage of any rightful solutions to the issue.
The UN was established on October 24, 1945 to replace an ineffective League of Nations (LN). If abandoning LN for its ineffectiveness and creating UN was practical, then replacing the current ineffective, biased and outdated UN with another can also be practical – if it fails to correct itself.
Neither LN nor UN was created on the basis of democracy, or to serve ALL of its members equally. Both were created by the incumbent superpowers to maintain control over the nations around the world. Call it colonialism, imperialism or any other name, but it was a way to maintain order in the world – but in ways which preferred and benefited the superpowers.
The Geneva-based LN was created on January 10, 1920 after the end of World War I. The superpowers of that time, including America, England and France were leading the work of formulating LN’s Charter. But the American Senate later defeated the idea with a 49-35 vote. That defeat forced America to stay out of LN. Without the participation of America, the leading superpower of that time, LN became ineffective and eventually failed and was replaced.
Then there were the Allies, the nations who joined to protect themselves from Germany, Japan and their friends during WWII. The Allies were not eternal friends, but a collection of nations that were forced to act together to survive through WWII.
The Allies, the victors of WWII, eventually got the podium to define the world we live today. The collective nations of Allies officially became the United Nations. Initially the UN had four ‘policemen’; the United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union and China (ROC, under the Nationalists). And the first declaration was signed by only 26 countries, including India – a democracy and the second largest population – just as a backbench member. Germany, Japan, Italy and their friends were the Axis and the enemy of the Allies and the UN at that time.
The UN was not designed to adapt the ongoing realities such as the emerging new superpowers of the world and the diminishing old powers. Furthermore, the foundation of the UN was not based on a generally acceptable principle like democracy either. It fact, the UN is the world’s largest un-democratic international organization we have today. Powers within the UN were fixed at the time of creation and those in power definitely would like to keep it that way. But that is not realistic. From the Emperors to Kings to Queens, power has been moving from the old power to the new not by giving it away, but by taking it away.
There are several realistic factors which will force the UN to redefine itself, or die if it fails to do so. Another possible outcome would be the emergence of other parallel International Organization(s) led by the new superpowers of the new world, joined by the smaller nations who have been betrayed by the current UN.
Though there are no procedural methods available within the UN to adopt new realities, there are very few ad-hoc approaches exercised by the leading incumbents to subdue any possible uprising by the new potential powers or superpowers. The inclusion of Germany, the prime Axis at the time of the UN’s birth, under the unofficial title of ‘P+1’ (Permanent Security Council members + Germany) in the Iran nuclear talks is a good example of an ad-hoc fix. But these undefined ad-hoc approaches will not fix all the holes the UN has. Shouldn’t the Iran nuclear matter have been more important to India than any other faraway countries? Shouldn’t the Iran embargo talk have been with P+2 and one of them being India?
Keeping India, the largest democracy and soon to be the largest population of the world, out of Permanent Security Council is one of the ticking bombs for the UN. Today’s Indian politico may be comfortable being second class members in the UN. Most of these politicos have lived as the subjects of the British Empire at some point in their lifetime anyway. But it doesn’t mean the future generation of Indians, those who were born in an independent India and spoiled with lots of wealth, will remain that way. Very soon even the threat of embargo on India to lower their aspirations of Permanent Security Council membership will become infeasible.
But there are other valid questions which will complicate this matter too. What will Pakistan, a nuclear nation with unsolved border issues, do if India becomes a Permanent Security Council member? In addition, matters like this can be used to justify the rejection of India as permanent member by those who oppose it.
And there are even more questions: how to accommodate the new powers? Will the number of the Permanent Security Council members be increased to six, seven and so on to make the room for the new members, or will the diminishing members be removed and replaced with others to maintain the total number of five? How about the other two potential candidates for permanent membership: Germany and Japan, two original enemies of the UN? How has the global political landscape changed this much, yet the UN remains so fixed in time?
The World Bank and the International Monitory Fund (IMF), the largest entities of the UN, are already facing competition from the newly formed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) initiated and led by China. This means there are now some financial supports available for the smaller nations outside the establishments controlled by the UN. This trend will continue and weaken the existing financial institutions like IMF and World Bank.
The foremost cause which may defeat the UN is the non-existing democracy within itself. Most of its meaningful decisions are made behind closed doors by the superpowers. Nothing will happen without the green light from the Security Council. The rest of the world just has to buy what the superpowers and their friendly powers say. Selling of these decisions to the smaller nations is implemented using the carrot-n-stick approach.
As of now, which global horror events are taken by the UN for inquiry, and which are ignored, have been decided within the closed doors. For example, the UN never recognized East Timor as part of Indonesia when the former Portuguese colony was occupied by Indonesia in 1975. The UN established UNTAET (United Nations Mission in East Timor) and worked relentlessly to make East Timor a new country, achieving this goal in May of 2002. South Sudan also had the maximum help from the UN to become an independent nation. South Sudan gained its independent in 2011. Breaking up former Yugoslavia and the creation of newer nations like Kosovo were fast tracked by the UN. But that kind of relentlessness is in complete opposition to the case of Palestine. The UN is allowing continued expansion of the invasion of Palestine while blocking initiation for any fair solution for the issue.
Even as a fair amount of righteous minded Israeli Jews are voicing the urgent need for the State of Palestine, the UN remains incompetent, or unwilling, in dealing with this matter. One of the polls conducted by Hebrew University in 2011 indicated that the support for the two-state solution was 58% in Israelis and 50% in Palestinians. But the incompetent UN is waiting for the American politico’s change of heart. The White House AND Congress agreeing together on that matter will not happen anytime soon.
If Obama, whose ancestors suffered through slavery and third-class treatment, cannot understand the plight of the ordinary Palestinian people, then how can one expect the same from a American President of Caucasian origin? It is very pathetic that Obama is complaining about the status of Black people in America while occupying the White House with his family and telling Palestinians that 2017 is too early.
The American politicos, the American media enterprises and even Hollywood have all been heavily dominated by the blindly pro-Israel establishments. Therefore no individual American political enterprise will engage in fixing the Palestinian issue with a fair mind. If one does, that person would be committing political suicide. The extreme irony here is that the American right-wing and the left-wing political and media enterprises are expected to oppose each other in every matter, even in the matters that are critical to the average American, yet they must unite to defend Israel blindly and unconditionally.
For the American politico, America’s foreign policy in the Middle East should be a carbon copy of Israel’s foreign policy towards the Middle East. That goal must be backed by the American forces.
On March 16, 2015, days before the Israeli election, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explicitly stated that he would never establish a Palestinian state. Days before, on March 3, he and his blindly pro-Israeli following in America were able to divide the Democrats, (who controlled the White House) and Republicans (who controlled Congress) even further. By addressing the American Congress without consulting the White House, Netanyahu proved blindly pro-Israelis can control American politics, something even American citizens have a hard time doing. But will this blindly pro-Israel populace be able to do the same with the superpowers of the future? Can one imagine a future Netanyahu visiting India or China to do the same?
If Ariel Sharon, the former General turned Prime Minister of Israel, took the Israel-Palatine issue but left it unsolved, it would be hard to imagine any other Israeli leader having the will and capacity to fix this matter. Possibly all others would run their political life on this issue, then leave it to the future generation unsolved, more complicated. Israeli politics are slowly getting into an unrealistic comfort zone: passing the time by talking, expanding the occupation and leaving the issue unsolved. At this point, getting out of it is going be very painful.
Without America in the superpower status, the future citizens of Israel might even have a belated wish – wishing they had fixed the issue at the right time. Realistic Palestinian minds could be doing that now – wishing they had settled the matter in the 60s, long before their friends of the 60s became enemies today.
Undoubtedly, the ultimate sin of the UN is its treatment of the people of Palestine. One day may even the UN be forced to eat its own words, the words it said in relation to the 1967 border? The border between Israel and Palatine is defined in the United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 (S/RES/242) adapted in 1967. Will that resolution ever been enforced under the current UN in its lifetime? Will the state of Palestine be formed under the current UN? Only time will tell.