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Note: Using editorials as an indicator, this series presents views, understanding and attitude of the Urdu periodicals in India towards various developments concerning the Middle East. The selection of an item does not mean the endorsement or concurrence concur with their accuracy or views. Editor, MEI@ND
The Siasat Daily (The Politics Daily), Hyderabad
Editorial, 21 September 2011, Wednesday
1. The United Nations and Palestine
If one closely observes the steps taken by the US and the UN regarding Palestine then one comes across a new conspiracy to deny the Palestinians their due rights. Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas should spell out his motives behind referring the Palestinian statehood issue to the UN. Israel has not denounced its expansionist policy in Palestine. The conspiracy to damage the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem is well known. Despite all this, the world powers are reluctant to rein in Israel. Israel is planning to create more problems for Palestinians by not allowing them access to Jerusalem. Efforts to form an independent Palestinian state have been going on for decades but any concrete step has not been taken in this direction. Rather than taking steps for establishing peace in the region the international community is ignoring human rights violations by Israel. It is more important to work for Palestinian human rights than trying for Palestinian membership at the UN. This step by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been opposed by important domestic political groups. He is trying for a UN membership for Palestine this week. The Palestinian will have to go through a long and painful process for achieving statehood. The question now is about the violations of rights, injustice and unity for achievement of these rights. The Palestinians will never accept to recognise Israel nor would they succumb to the Israeli expansionist policies. The people and the leadership of Palestine are suffering since 1967. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has opposed the Palestinian statehood bid at the 193-member United Nations. He termed this step by Mahmoud Abbas as a ‘political stunt’. President Abbas should think before taking any such step particularly when he does not have the support of all Palestinian factions. Mahmoud Abbas may have to suffer the ire of people if he does not think about the will of the people. He should be aware of the suffering of the people and the abandoning of the cause of Palestine by the world community. The international powers have not supported Palestine in its efforts to counter the Israeli aggression. The people of Palestine have a very bitter experience of peace efforts that has always been lopsided towards Israel. The mediators on the Israel-Palestine conflict have not put up a concrete plan to resolve the issue in a just manner. All such attempts have failed and no consensus has emerged even for a roadmap to peace. The US, the EU and any other power; all have been unjust in their mediations. These world powers are blindly supporting the conspiracy to confine the people of Palestine to a small piece of land and in crippling their economy. It would be a great loss if Mahmoud Abbas trade basic Palestinian rights for membership at the UN. Mahmoud Abbas will have to bear the brunt of people’s anger if he becomes a part of international conspiracy to rob the Palestinians of their rights, which is what Ismail Haniyeh has advised to reject the policy of world powers. The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seems to be working against the principle of peace which her husband and former US President Bill Clinton pursued. The Palestinian President shall better focus on the rights of people of Palestine in the United Nations.
The Etemaad Urdu Daily (The Confidence Urdu Daily), Hyderabad
Editorial, 22 September 2011, Thursday
2. The Palestinian Case in United Nations
The United Nations was formed to ensure peace in the world after the Second World War. Immediately after its formation it became the battle ground for power struggle between two blocks. At the disintegration of Soviet Union in the 1990s the Cold War ended but the main objective of the UN to ensure peace in the world remains unfulfilled. Against this backdrop the 193-member UN General Assembly will meet at it’s headquarter in New York. The meeting will certainly discuss the ongoing people’s movements in the Middle East along with other major international events and happenings. An important issue would be the Palestinian resolution for UN membership. The international community recognises the Palestinian Authority. It provides aid to the Palestinians but it has doubts regarding giving full membership to Palestine. Israel has been occupying Palestinian lands. It has violated human rights of people of Palestine. There are resolutions for restoration of boundaries to pre-1967 Arab-Israel war position. Israel has never respected the United Nations and has been in occupation of the Palestinian areas of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and has also constructed Jewish settlements in West Bank. The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is known to be friendly to the West. He has always had the backing of the US. Despite this he could not achieve a peace deal with Israel. The process of negotiations had continued, but due to Israeli stubbornness and pre-conditions no results could be achieved. It has always been ‘back-to-the-square-one’ situation. Mahmoud Abbas has given his consent for unity deal with Hamas that governs the Gaza Strip. But the Palestinian authority has failed in bringing the West Bank and the Gaza Strip under one government. The biggest challenge for Mahmoud Abbas is to strengthen his position internally and bring the Palestinian issue to the fore front of international discourse. Palestine does not have international diplomatic status. Israel has always benefitted from this situation. An attack on Palestine is not technically an attack on a sovereign state. If Palestine gets a full membership, Israel could be prevented from the daily intrusion into Palestinian areas. Palestine could go to the International Court of Justice against Israel for human rights violations. India has always supported Palestine for its rights. Mahmoud Abbas met the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and announced the submission of resolution and proposal for full UN membership for Palestine. The UN General Assembly can pass a resolution with two-third majority and then it is sent to the Security Council for approval. In the 193 member General Assembly 124 vote would be required to pass the resolution on Palestine.
India is the first non-Arab country to endorse the Palestinian resolution. The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who left to New York for participation in the UN General Assembly meeting has sent a letter to Mahmoud Abbas. He has termed the cause of Palestine as a foreign policy goal of India. India has advocated the membership for Palestine for a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestine conflict. An independent and free Palestine is necessary for peace in the world. To talk about world peace keeping the Palestine issue in the back stage would be deception to the world. The passage of resolution in the General Assembly is conditioned to the veto of five members of the Security Council. The US has already announced its intentions to veto the Palestinian bid for statehood.
Another permanent member of the UNSC, Russia has announced its support for the bid. A veto from any one member will protect the passage of the resolution. Even if the UNSC rejects the Palestinian resolution due to American veto the passage of this resolution in the UNGA will be an achievement for Mahmoud Abbas.
India’s foreign policy has been towing to the US line particularly in the aftermath of the signing of the Indo-US nuclear deal. Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru made the issue of Palestine a basis of India’s foreign policy. It is a matter of great relief that the Indian Prime Minister has written to the Palestinian leader in support of the Palestinian statehood.
India is getting support from all the sides for reforms in the UN. Any decisive results for India’s efforts for reform may not come in this General Assembly meeting but it will certainly help India’s claim for permanent membership to the UNSC in future which will be helpful in establishing peace in the world. The unbridled support of the government for the Palestinian cause is a reflection of the wishes of the people of India.
Inquilab (The Revolution), Mumbai
Editorial, 22 September 2011, Thursday
3. Testing Times for Obama’s Character
Barack Obama, as he took office, gave an impression that he will rectify all the mistakes committed by his predecessor George Bush which hugely damaged the US’s image in the world. One of his priorities was to improve America’s relation with the Muslim world and give a message to them that Washington is not an enemy of Islam and Muslims. The ‘Cairo Speech’ stands out in this regard where he tried to address the Muslim world.
But gradually it was realised that the coming of Obama has only changed the face of the American President, the policies and actions have not. He had said in his Cairo speech that the US is willing to see the people of Palestine live with dignity and achieve an independent state. He repeated the same in his address to the UN General Assembly last year where more than quarter of his speech was on Israel-Palestine issue, peace negotiations and steps for peace. One could remember the words of Obama when he said in his speech that, we should commit today that when we meet next year we will have a new member in an independent state of Palestine; when yesterday thousands of Palestinian people came to the Yasser Arafat square in the city of Ramallah demanding Palestinian membership in the UN. Obama may would have forgot his words but these are recorded in the newspapers and in the UN records asking Obama to fulfil his promises and endorse the resolution by Mahmoud Abbas. However, according to the reports the US is all set to veto the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN.
The situation in which the US currently finds itself in is known to the world; its economic might is rapidly on decline. Barack Obama is continuously being targeted by the Republican Party on the issue of problems with Netanyahu. Above all Obama has to face election in 2012. In such a situation Obama may be forced to think about the repercussions of endorsing Palestinian statehood bid and the US may veto the resolution at the UNSC. In the words of Sahir (an Urdu poet), ‘leave the story at open at an attractive turn’. According to the reports coming in Obama is in major confusion.
But before taking a decision and getting clear of the confusion he should remember his words and his promise which he made during the Cairo speech and the UN speech last year. If he fails in coming out of the traditional US bias towards the Palestine then not only would be proved a liar but also his slogan of change would be proved a deception, on the basis of which he could reach the White House three years back.
Roznama Sahafat (Journalism Daily), Delhi
Editorial, 22 September 2011, Thursday
4. This is the Time for Revolutions
How beautifully Janisar Akhter has said:
This is the time for Revolutions
Each No is bigger than Yes
It’s true that as the moment for Palestinian statehood bid in the UN is approaching, the US and Israel are trying to make their ‘No’ bigger the ‘Yes’ of rest of the world. The US is in a soup. It does not want it to be proved on the world that how far it has gone on the road away from justice and rights with Israel. Last time it was only the US that opposed a resolution in UNSC against the Jewish settlements on Palestinian land proving that it is the only friend of Israel in the world. That is why this time it is trying that some of the members of the UNSC vote against the resolution so that it does not find itself standing alone with Israel. Even though it knows well that the matter will certainly be discussed in the UN General Assembly where it cannot use any veto. Till now the US could get the support of only Germany and Columbia who are dependent on the US for economic support. The Britain and France have still not taken any clear stand. However France has dismissed its Jewish official who opposed the Palestinian statehood bid during her trip to Israel. According to Israeli officials three members of the UNSC; Gabon, Nigeria and Bosnia-Herzegovina are continuously in touch with Palestinian official. Portugal which was contemplating till few days back has now decided to vote for the resolution. The PA president Mahmoud Abbas said after meeting with the UN Secretary General ban Ki-Moon that he would present the Palestinian resolution at the sixty-sixth General Assembly meeting on Friday. Israeli Prime Minister had earlier decided to skip the session. Earlier his aides had said that his presence would not make any difference so he would not attend the General Assembly meeting but later perhaps it was seen as open defeat so the decision was changed. He would now attend the General Assembly meeting and would tell the ‘truth’ to the world. He has advised the Palestinian leadership to come to the table of negotiations rather than going to the UN. Abu Mazen has said in response that he is ready to meet the Israeli Prime Minister in New York but would not negotiate due to diplomatic code of conduct. Some of the European leaders have also advised Abu Mazen not to bring the matter to the UN and that they are ready to extend all possible help to the Palestinian cause. But the Palestinian Foreign Minister has clearly said that they would not change their stand. According to a survey 83 percent of Palestinians agree with Abu Mazen on this. Whatever may be the result, Friday is going to be a historic day for the Justice and Peace in the world.
Roznama Munsif (The Judge Daily), Hyderabad
Editorial, 24 September 2011, Saturday
5. UN Membership for Palestine
To continuously jibe in favour of peace is different and to act for it is different. When it comes to issuing statements everyone wants to take a better stand but when it comes to real action on the ground very few survive. The US which claims to be the biggest upholder of peace in justice falls in the same league when it comes to the steps on the ground. It claims to be leaving no stones unturned for peace and justice in West Asia but when the matter of accepting Palestine as a member of the UN, it has shown its back threatening to use its veto power to block the resolution at all costs. If the US really wishes to have peace in the region then it should have worked for the UN membership for Palestine. But it only claims and does not take any action. Israel is the first priority for the US because it is the US that conceived and nurtured Israel. When it comes to Israel it can never go against it.
This US policy towards Palestine is nothing new; all the previous US administrations have behaved similarly. But the people of Palestine had some hope on Barack Obama, but they had forgotten that the US is the biggest roadblock for the independent state of Palestine. It has used its veto 42 times against Palestine. This is nothing but the American support to the injustice. Even France has argued for Palestine but the US has not changed its stand. On the other hand Mahmoud Abbas has said that they are ready to give some time to the UNSC on this issue. But Obama had earlier also said that the peace shall be achieved through direct negotiations with Israel. It is the Israel that has occupied Palestinian lands and not the other way round which is illegal by all international laws. Palestine will need to have the support of nine of the ten temporary members of UNSC which Mahmoud Abbas has almost achieved. Even though the US has threatened to use its veto power Abbas is determined and has met the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
Palestine is fighting for its rights and 120 countries have recognised it as an independent state. Despite that the US is trying to shield Israel and its crimes. This is also disrespect for the UN which came into being after the Second World War to establish peace and prevent war. But now it seems that the UN has became a mistress of the US. If it really is a strong and powerful organisation then it has to act against the wishes of the US to prove its independent status to the world. This would be the only way the UN can fulfil the aims of its establishment and protect the rights of the weaker nations.
Translated and Compiled by Md. Muddassir Quamar
Md. Muddassir Quamar is a Doctoral Candidate at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Email
As part of its editorial policy, the MEI@ND standardizes spelling and date formats to make the text uniformly accessible and stylistically consistent. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views/positions of the MEI@ND. Editor, MEI@ND: P R Kumaraswamy