By Ray Hanania
A year before Israel declared its existence, the UN created its Special Committee on Palestine, known as UNSCOP, to investigate and find a solution to the growing conflict.
Instead of participating, the Palestinian leadership at the time did what has become the Palestinians’ political answer to everything they do not like: They boycotted it. Four months later, the special committee recommended the partition of Palestine into two states.
The UN Partition Plan for Palestine was destined to fail from the start, as it recommended one state that was overwhelmingly non-Jewish and a second that was equally divided between Jews and non-Jews. Worse, the proposed states were an overlapping checkerboard that was destined to collapse and encourage more conflict. We all know what happened then.
This week, as the world continues to drift away from justice for the Palestinians and their leaders continue their rejectionist approach to every solution they dislike, a small segment of Palestinian leaders — including 50 from various parts of civil society, one member of the Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee and one member of the PLO Central Committee — are urging the UN to do it again.
They want the UN, which this week began the 77th session of its General Assembly, to create another special committee on Palestine, or UNSCOP-2, to complete what the first failed to finish nearly 75 years ago.
Tragically, of course, the Palestinians are more divided today than they ever have been. They are dispersed in a diaspora riven by internal squabbling and conflict that makes bringing leaders together extremely difficult.
But if the Palestinians who have managed to survive the aftermath of the original UNSCOP living under Israel’s brutal apartheid system that was never anticipated by the British or the UN, but was planned by the Zionist leadership at the time, can cast aside the diaspora and do what needs to be done, maybe something can change.
The advocates of UNSCOP-2 hope that the UN will embrace the plan during meetings over the coming weeks and “produce, within four months, a comprehensive plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to report that plan back to the General Assembly.”
Turning to the UN is probably Palestine’s only hope. The UN is the only place where Palestinians have been able to find honest support for their generations-long displacement and oppression — far different from the lies and distortions of the American political system, which today has a lock on Palestine’s future.
Regardless of the differences in rhetoric and attitude of the two American political parties and their leaders, it is clear that President Joe Biden’s administration is no different to that of former President Donald Trump. The end results are the same, though the Republican route is through an entirely one-sided approach and the Democratic route is through hypocritical happy talk and intentionally broken promises.
Let me explain it this way. Palestinians are prisoners. Under Trump, the prison starved the prisoners. Under Biden, the prison promised bread, but instead of providing it, it has only offered crumbs. Sadly, when you are starving for freedom, breadcrumbs look far more appealing than they actually are.
The Palestinians must take their need for justice and statehood out of the hands of the Americans, whose political system Israel has in a tight headlock. Through masterful public relations propaganda, strategic political campaign funding efforts and simply because it is far better at diplomacy than the Palestinians have ever been, Israel is able to influence American politics when it comes to Palestine. Only by moving the issue to the UN can the Palestinians have hope.
The Palestinians in the Occupied Territories also need to extricate their efforts from those of the dysfunctional and divided diaspora, which stews in resentment, anger and uncontrollable emotions.
UNSCOP-2 would be the perfect place to begin a new campaign to erase the failures of Oslo and the old peace process, which was killed off by the Israeli right on the day Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated in November 1995.
Advocates of UNSCOP-2, including leaders of the Jewish Peace Lobby, state that “the idea of going to the United Nations to establish UNSCOP-2 first emerged in a New York Times essay in 2012 by former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, former High Commissioner of the European Union Javier Solana and Jerome Segal, founder of the Peace Consultancy, who is serving as a consultant to the new Palestinian initiative.”
They argued at a recent press conference in Ramallah that UNSCOP-2 “would create a new process of conflict resolution in which the United Nations becomes a medium for people-to-people peace-making between the Palestinian people and the citizens of Israel. It is believed that this new process can transform Israeli politics and politics in the international community, especially the United States, in ways that ultimately will give rise to an Israeli government which is a serious partner for peace, as were the governments of Prime Ministers Rabin and (Ehud) Olmert.”
I agree with them and so should every Palestinian in the diaspora who wants to see a Palestinian state become a reality.