With the United States certain to veto a resolution calling for Palestinian statehood in the United States Security Council, more attention is being given to the impact of a vote on the same issue in the General Assembly. The GA doesn’t have the power to create a sovereign state, but it can upgrade the Palestinians’ current status at the UN from a non-member “observer entity” to a non-member “observer state.” That would give the Palestinians the same status at the world body as the Vatican. That means it could become a member of a variety of UN organizations such as UNESCO, UNICEF and the World Health Organization. Some observers see this “Vatican option” as a reasonable compromise, but a comparison between the Vatican and the Palestinian Authority ought to put this initiative in perspective.
The Vatican actually is a tiny yet sovereign state that controls a small amount of territory in Rome and is allowed the courtesy of observer status because of the respect due to a venerable church and its charitable institutions. But although the origins of the Papal state were in the power politics of Italy during the medieval era, unlike the putative Palestine, the Vatican does not harbor any ambition to take over its immediate neighbor. Nor does it form part of a unity coalition with an Islamist terrorist group or honor terrorists or pay them pensions, as does the PA.
Many nations will vote for the resolution because they believe the Palestinian people are deserving of freedom and representation at the UN. But despite the drumbeat of lies emanating from both the Arab lobby and the mainstream media, the main obstacle to their freedom remains their leadership that even now will not return to negotiations to create an independent state. Nor are they prepared to recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish state that exists next door no matter where its borders are drawn. Were the conflict over the question of Palestinian independence, it would have been settled in 2000 when Israel first offered them a state in most of the West Bank, part of Jerusalem and all of Gaza. Yasir Arafat said no to that offer and another the next year. Mahmoud Abbas said no to an even more generous proposal in 2008. Neither he nor his predecessor was prepared to end the conflict.
The essence of the drive for Palestinian independence is rooted in their war against Zionism and the existence of Israel. The goal of Palestinian participation in world bodies alongside the Vatican will be to continue that war and to seek to isolate Israel. The true face of Palestinian independence can be found in the already independent territory of Gaza, where a terrorist state already sits on Israel’s doorstep and where killers are free to plot the murder of Jews behind the protection of an international frontier. Anyone who wonders at Israel’s reluctance to allow the same situation to develop in the West Bank or even parts of Jerusalem need only consider the reality of Hamasistan. To compare a Palestinian movement with that purpose to the Vatican is an insult to the Catholic Church and an insult to common sense.