As expected the Palestinian authority has asked the UN to recognise them as a state.
As expected the Israelis stood up to protest about the idea of giving statehood to the Palestinians and undoubtedly their tame lapdogs, the US government will veto the request.
But would it do any harm if the UN recognised Palestine as a state ? And would it actually help make things a little better ? Quite possibly. Although it would not do much in itself, it send a message to Israel that the world’s patience is limited and that it expects Israel to negotiate in good faith – which it appears unable to do so at the moment.
As an example, in his speech to the UN, the Israeli Prime Minister (Benjamin Netanyahu) kept going on about how Israel needed military security – to include the freedom to place Israeli forces inside Palestine, to demilitarise the Palestinian state, to keep control of the Palestinian air space.
The way that he put it sounded almost reasonable – well he’s a politician, so he should be able to make almost any position sound reasonable. But would Israel accept their own demilitarisation ? Or Palestinian forces being free to wander around Israel ? Or Palestinian control of the Israeli airspace ?
According to the number of casualties suffered by each side, Palestinians have far more to fear from Israeli forces than visa versa (although Israelis do have legitimate concerns) – according to the Wikipedia article on the conflict, there have been 7,978 Palestinian causalities since 1987 and 1,503 Israeli casualties. More than 5 times as many.
Recognising the state of Palestine is not going to bring peace; neither is ignoring the Palestinian request. But recognising the right of Palestine to be recognised as a state will send a signal that the world recognises their right to exist as a state – in the same way that the world recognises the right of Israel to exist as a state.