By Jason Miks
Last week, in light of a U.N. General Assembly vote in favor of granting the Palestinians non-member status at the United Nations, GPS asked readers whether the move went too far, not far enough – and what should happen next.
Unsurprisingly, the issue prompted some passionate responses on all sides of the argument, with many criticizing the position of the United States and others in opposing the move.
“Richard” in Toronto wrote:
It is unfortunate that the U.S. and my country – Canada – have adopted a one-sided view of this situation. Israel has a right to exist as a state and so does Palestine. If we fail to support and strengthen a moderate like [Abbas] then we no longer have someone to talk to because Hamas is a terrorist organization. Even in Israel there has been renewed interest with the formation of a new moderate left wing party. People want peace however their frustration has led them to electing leaders with extreme views. Netanyahu and Hamas are two wrongs that won't make it right. Europe knows this and has voted accordingly at the U.N. As for Canada, shame on you prime minister Harper.
“Adrian Rops” agreed. “It is obvious that the United States and Canada are out of step with the world community. The Canadian vote came as a complete surprise. It is time for both countries to recalibrate their Middle East policies,” he wrote. “Israel must be reminded by the international community that building an additional 3000 homes on the West Bank and in Jerusalem is an illegal and belligerent act and will not be condoned. A line must be drawn in the sand.”
Yet while some readers suggested that the vote should be a precursor to full statehood for the Palestinians, others, including “James Dickinson” posting on Facebook, suggested that the attacks on Israel would have to stop before any progress could be made, something he said he was not optimistic would ever happen.
“It does not matter which side you are on, it is not going to happen! Lobbing bombs at Israel from crowded school rooms and mosques in Gaza will certainly keep you as you are,” Dickinson wrote. “Palestine has to join the world of peace...or live in abject misery.”
This view found echoes in a comment posted by “Patrick Hippunk,” who argued that:
“The Western countries should not forget that Israel is surrounded by latent hostility against its very existence…If the Muslim leaders really want to solve the Israel/Palestine problem, they should gather and officially recognize Israel's existence, adopt a concilient [sic] attitude and give the necessary security. Then and only then, the conditions will be gathered for two states living peacefully side by side, and not by forcing Israel through different U.N. stratagems.”
But some readers suggested that the issue isn’t just about the tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, arguing instead that other countries are pulling the strings.
“Iran is having exactly the time they need to finish their atomic bomb,” wrote “Richard Suwelack.”
“Can't you see that the real player in this whole situation is Iran? They want to be out of the focus so they can work on their bomb in peace.”
And how to move forward? GPS host Fareed Zakaria had his own thoughts on the issue.
“[T]he vote doesn’t change the reality that the only way the Palestinians are going to get a state is if Israel decides that it is in its interests to make it happen,” Zakaria argued just after the result of the General Assembly vote was known. “Israel has the power on the ground, The country’s leaders have made it clear that they are not going to be pressured by the U.N., defeated in battle, they are not going to be intimidated, they are not going to be terrorized – I think the history of the last three decades has made all of this very clear.”