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Palestinian U.N. Membership a Very Bad Precedent


Granting United Nations membership to the Palestinians would create a vary dangerous precedent. The Palestinians aren't the only ethnic group that desire to have their own country independent of the one in which they live. Nor are they the only group that has used violence to try to gain independence.

The Kurds have long desired to set up a country they would call Kurdistan including land currently a part of Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran. If the U.N. grants membership to the Palestinians, shouldn't it also grant membership to Kurdistan? The Kurds have their own culture and language.

The Palestinians are a collection of Arab peoples who happen to live within the boundaries of the nation of Israel. They are called Palestinians not because they have a unique culture like the Kurds, but because they aren't Jewish. The term "Palestine" was used by the Romans to refer to a geographic region rather than any specific ethnic group.

Might the area of Chechnya also qualify for U.N. membership? What about the Basque region of Spain? Could Tibetans argue that they should have U.N. membership even though the Chinese currently occupy the country?

If the Palestinians should get their own country because they are Muslims, what about the Uighur Muslims in China?

Many other countries have groups that might want their own country if they thought it were possible, particularly in those areas of the world where European nations arbitrarily forced different ethnic groups to live in the same country. Granting U.N. membership to the Palestinians would encourage members of these groups to develop nationalist aspirations.

There is nothing special about the Palestinians. Many groups of people would like to have their own nations. The U.N. cannot arbitrarily grant membership to the Palestinians and ignore the aspirations of the Kurds, Basques, etc.

Nations that are considering voting for Palestinian membership should make sure they don't have groups that might make a similar request.

Over the last several thousand years regions of the Middle East have been controlled by whatever ethnic groups have been strongest at the time. Some groups such as the Persians and Assyrians have established empires. Others such as the Israelites have been content to control only small areas. The current situation in Israel has been occurred many times in the past and will likely to be repeated in one country or another in the future.

The U.N. should not attempt to arbitrarily adjust national boundaries or decide which groups should have their own countries. Many of the ethnic problems in Asia and Africa are due in part to the arbitrary national boundaries imposed by imperialistic European nations If the Palestinians, Kurds or other groups want their own nations they should handle their own situations rather having the U.N. impose a solution from outside.


jafs 3 years, 3 months ago


Well, firstly, the UN was instrumental in "creating" the state of Israel.

So, if we believe they shouldn't be doing that, then Israel loses it's legitimacy.

dcap 3 years, 3 months ago

This article is pretty inaccurate. The most glaring problem with Reasonmclucus is that the other examples of non-state entities trying to gain statehood, like the Kurds, Basques, and Uighurs are all already part of a country. The Uighurs are Chinese citizens. The Basques are legally part of Spain. Palestine is an "occupied territory", and the Palestinians are not citizens of any country. Israel occupied Palestine in 1967 and it refuses to either accept Palestine as a part of Israel or leave and allow them to form their own state.

Abdu Omar 3 years, 3 months ago

This man, who ever he is, is totally uniformed and not a reader. He doesn't know that the Palestinians occupied that territory for years and Israel was formed out of that territory not the other way around. I guess if he wanted to read a bit and do some research, he would have known that.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 3 months ago

That land has been occupied by a variety of people over the years. It has been controlled by a variety of empires over the years. The best that can be said for that land is that it has been a land in transition. And that transition has been taking place for many centuries. And that transition may continue for many more centuries. No one knows. What we can say is that the last time the people living on that land enjoyed self rule, not being ruled by some other empire, was in Biblical times.

jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

Except that Israel seems to enjoy "self rule".

jhawkinsf 3 years, 3 months ago

Correct. And the last time before that was the Jews of Biblical times. So all this talk about "who's" land it is, or was, should be put into context. The Palestinians, the most recent people to occupy that land never enjoyed self rule. In fact, they frequently did not identify as being Palestinian. They might have identified by tribe or family affiliation, or as Syrian or Turk. In addition, other groups occupied those lands simultaneously. Bedouins were there. As were small numbers of Jews. It was with those small numbers that the earliest Zionists tried to re-connect with. That began with an idea in the mid 1800's and actual land purchases later in the same century. Too many people believe that it was a huge influx of WW II refugees that sparked the Zionist movement that forced the Palestinians off their land. The movement had been going on for decades and had been happening by purchasing land and then living on that land. If the inhabitants didn't want "foreigners" to occupy their land, they shouldn't have sold the land to them. As Jewish numbers grew, so did tension in this still occupied region (Ottomans prior to WW I and the British after). That tension between Jews and Arabs existed long before the mass influx of Jewish refugees that did come after WW II. The fallacy lies with those who believe that the Palestinians had something resembling statehood and that they have since lost it. They never had it. There never was a template, something the world could look at and see how they will operate. See if they will live in peace or at war. See if their national aspirations are legitimate or are they being used as a ruse to once again attack Israel. These are open questions, honest people can honestly disagree. But in conversations with people here, those thousands of miles away, their knowledge of the history is limited. They think history began with the Jewish refugees after WW II. I've often encouraged people to put things in context. Certainly I'm a supporter of the current state of Israel. Not because I'm some huge Zionist, but because in the course of history, I believe those that acted in the name of a Jewish state committed less wrongs that those that acted on behalf of the Palestinians.

jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

The fact that there has never been a Palestinian state is part of the tragedy of that area.

And, I've already said numerous times that being at peace is not a requirement for statehood, and that the US would probably not meet the high standards you espouse if we were seeking statehood today.

It's not up to us to judge the various things you mention.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 3 months ago

Well if we're going to be all loose with requirements, then let's say the hell with it, Israel has conquered the land and it's theirs. Now I'm not saying that, but that seems just as reasonable as allowing a belligerent state with disputed borders, and no history of effective governing. At some point in time reality on the ground has to be taken into account. Israel has conquered that land and they did it in a war of aggression. The borders were not established prior to the 1967 war so why assume that they would be along those lines now.
There are things to be negotiated and they should be negotiated in good faith by both sides.

jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

Your ideas on legitimacy seem odd to me - if the US wouldn't meet your standards, how is it fair to apply them to Palestinians?

I agree that there are things to be negotiated - I just don't think it's right to tie recognition of a Palestinian state to Israel's approval, and to some sort of guarantee of security for Israel.

Borders are basically the issue that needs to be settled - settle them and allow Palestinian statehood.

You, and many pro-Israel folks seem to have some sort of "control issue" to me - and want to control the Palestinians. Let Israel defend itself, and let the Palestinians have statehood, and stop trying to control things - that's my suggestion.

Who "controls" the Israelis?

jhawkinsf 3 years, 3 months ago

Who "controls" the Israelis?" The answer is the Israelis do. No rockets are being lobbed into neighboring countries. And if they did, the Israelis would be expected to deal with it according to the law. That's the problem. Palestinians cannot control Palestinians. They can't or they won't. And without that control, there is no legitimacy. Let me propose a similar hypothetical. Suppose some rich and powerful drug lord attempted to break away from Mexico and establish a failed state type government along our southern border. Maybe they would call this country drugistan. This proposed state would have as it's official policy smuggling drugs from that state into this country. Mexico, wanting to rid itself of the drug laws washes it's hands and walks away from the region. The drug lords have no desire to obey international laws. They could care less how their policies affect the U.S. Would we be obligated to recognize this failed state? Of course not. We could and should intervene to protect our citizens. We would and should impede such a state from materializing. Israel has the same obligation to it's citizens. Rather than criticizing Israel for protecting it's citizens, why don't we look to Egypt and Jordan to fulfill their obligations to control the peoples who were under their control. And if they don't, why assume that those left behind deserve statehood. That's a leap on your part. The assumption of statehood. My assumption is of statehood with conditions. They are both leaps. why do you think my leap is unreasonable and yours is not?

jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

Many people think Israel has broken international laws - have you checked out the book Bozo recommended?

I disagree completely - we have no right to interfere with a developing country just because we don't like their policies.

When this country was founded, it was founded with violence and it was messy - the various debates about how to structure the country were not solved until we had won the war.

I'm sure that Britain, who was our controlling colonial country, didn't like our breaking away much.

Your conditions would probably have resulted in the US being denied statehood because the British didn't like it, and it involved violence and messiness.

I think that colonial control is what caused this mess in the first place - imagine if we had been under continuous control and occupation for centuries, without any chance to self-govern. I'm sure that when we first tried to do that, we wouldn't be very good at it.

So I don't think it's any sort of reasonable approach to continue that.

The problem is that we've become much like Britain was when we were a colony of theirs - it's ironic and sad.

If a country like the one you were suggested formed at our border, we could easily make a number of choices - we could choose to allow drug traffic by making drugs legal, which I think is a good idea anyway. We could choose to increase our border security and enforce it more strongly. We could pressure the country to stop smuggling the drugs, either by a carrot or stick, or combination thereof. If we wanted to, we could even declare war on them.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 3 months ago

We'll have to agree to disagree then. We have every right to block the path of emerging countries and we do it for a wide variety of reasons. We choose not to allow the Kurds their own country simply because we don't want to upset Turkey and Iraq. We don't support Chechens so as not to upset Russia. And I think it's just as legitimate to impede an emerging country if one of the reasons we're doing it is because we believe it will lead to conflicts that are not in our best interests. We do it. Everyone does it.
But your last statement puzzles me. We could declare war on them. I assume you mean with all the horrors involved with war. Civilian deaths, destruction of culture, etc. At what point do you back off what even you might describe as a strongly held principle? A million deaths, ten million? Every principle, even those that are most deeply held, need to be balanced with common sense. If even the possibility of large scale war, nuclear war, with millions of dead civilians is the result, then the hell with principle.

jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

All of the examples you give are examples of how we're entangled with other nations in ways I think are not good - all of this scheming and political machination we do.

And, again, it assumes a right to "not allow" a people to form their own state that I think is unwarranted - what gives us that right? You've never answered that question.

Or the observations I've made about our own founding.

I'm just saying that as a nation, we have the ability and the right to make decisions about our own actions, and the relationships we have with other nations. In my view, we should be more concerned about those, and whether we're making good decisions.

I don't go around trying to control people - I just act and interact in ways that I think are in my best interests, and likely to produce positive outcomes.

And, of course, I wasn't advocating war, I was simply including it as a possibility - if we and our neighbors were in a conflict, that's something that happens all the time.

We live, very unfortunately, with the possibility of nuclear war, ever since those weapons were invented. Nothing that we do can guarantee that won't happen. It's frightening, but that's the reality of our times. In my view, we would all have been better off if those weapons hadn't been created in the first place.

Denying Palestinian statehood does nothing to reduce the possibility of nuclear war, as far as I can tell. Russia and the US possess the vast majority of nuclear weapons.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 3 months ago

We decide all the time, Jafs. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to why this country and not that country. Look at the Native Americans. A Rez here, a casino there. Kurds, no. Chechens, no. Palestinians, maybe. While you're under the assumption that we should allow all of these to happen, I'm working under the assumption that the world is a complicated place. And we may say yes to one group and no to another. There is a small group that wants Puerto Rico to be it's own country. Another small group wants the same for Hawaii. Have you ever heard of the city of Danzig? In pre-WW II it was part of Germany. Now it's called Gdansk, Poland. It happens. If a country like Germany can lose territory in a war of aggression, can another?
Basically, I'm saying that there doesn't appear to be any firm rules. And in the absence of firm rules, we take 'em as they come. The world has never had firm, hard rules, why now? Each country has always acted in their own best interest. Why your rules and why now? Now you're going down that slippery slope of treating this one situation differently than you have others. What's your justification for doing that.

jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

I'm simply asking what gives us the right to allow or disallow another nation from forming - you seem to have no answer to that question.

I don't go around "allowing" or "disallowing" what other people do.

We of course act (or should try to act) in our own best interests - I think they're not actually served by all of this interference, which creates reactions. If you're just saying you think it's in our best interests to prevent a Palestinian state, I might disagree with that. But, there's a big difference between saying that, and assuming we have the "right" to prevent one.

And, I think we should as a nation act more in line with our own stated principles and values - we supposedly value freedom, democracy, self-governance, etc. So, in my view, if we're going to get involved in other nations, we should support those.

That's a bit different from the kind of political alliance/influence nonsense that goes on today - George Orwell was amazingly on target.

Russia was our ally in WWII, and then almost immediately afterward became our enemy, Germany was our enemy in two world wars, and now an ally, etc.

It's rather insane.

CN 3 years, 3 months ago

Prior to 1948 - the region known as Palestine (Roman given name) was 93% Arab (the Philistines were Greek, and, for whatever reason, disappeared early on) , less than 5% Middle East, NO EUROPEAN (generally despise ME Jews as much as Arabs. Jews, - Israel, the country, did NOT exist. Biblically, and, scientifically, Arabs were there FIRST, and, were/still are, the MAJORITY. Ishmael(Arabs) were there 10 or 20 years BEFORE Isaac(Jews) - depends on translation. Both Arabs, and, Jews have the J1 (older) and, J2 (younger) haplomarkers - Arabs have more J1, and, Jews have more of the J2 haplomarker - translation Arabs first/older in the ARABIAN, N OT< JEWS PENISULA9NON Arab Iran, and, in 1948, Israel, a part of) = Canaan = God's promised land - many do NOT realize God gave Arabs(Ishmael) land, promising to make them a great nation. Israel was only a Kingdom, consisting of a small sliver Eretz Israel, Judea and Samaria (West Bank, and, Gaza strips - this was MOT all Jews, but mixed Semitic(including Arabs, and, other NON Semitic peoples, ruled by Jews. Perhaps going back to Biblical borders is best - seriously, I support the 1967, two state, land swaps, Jerusalem shared.

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