Conga-rats to the Palestinians on earning this recognition. It’s not statehood in the sense of a two-state solution. Basically, the main legal change is that the Palestinians can bring charges in international court. NBC has a decent roundtable about the political and legal challenges, and the woman discussing the Palestinian perspective here made some good points about the political side. I sincerely hope these changes show Palestinians that there is hope for diplomatic progress that sidesteps the U.S. if possible.
It seems odd for an American to want her country out of the loop, especially when we don’t have any troops in Palestine/Israel. (So this isn’t a “bring the troops home” position.) But the way I see it, the US position on this conflict is essentially corrupted. There are good reasons to condemn the Gaza Strip’s military attack, or to question whether any politician politician can adequately prevent this kind of thing. I also understand Israel’s concern about working with a political party (Hamas, in the Gaza Strip) that doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to existence. It’s a bit ludicrous to think that the weaponry the Palestinians possess is anywhere near a match for Israel, but let’s set that aside. My real point is that the Palestinians aren’t angels here. Neither side is.
Here’s the problem, though: there’s a small but vocal minority in the US who objects to Palestinian statehood for a very unrelated, and much less reasonable, reason. Some Christians believe that the blessing in Genesis, that God will bless whomever blesses Abraham, means giving preferential treatment to Israel. Some even think that gathering the Jews to Israel is a precondition for Armageddon, so we have some sort of religious obligation to oppose any peace process that will split Eretz Yisrael (the Promised Land of the Bible) into a Jewish and non-Jewish state. I don’t agree with their understanding of what it means to bless Abraham, since even in the Bible God’s “blessing” of Israel involved rebuking prophets and invading armies when Israel fell off the straight and narrow.
But even more to the point, theology has no place in the foreign relations of a secular state like ours. It’s wrong to use any group of people as a pawn in your end-times hopes, and it’s simply cruel to allow the Israelis to blockade Palestine the way they have. I get why the Palestinians are frustrated, and I’m glad they’ve just received a message from the world community that the US isn’t the only game in town anymore. I don’t know what long-term impact, if any, this will have on things. But it’s definitely some of the mos encouraging news I’ve heard in a long time.