Reports in the press suggest the UK government is preparing to recognise Palestine as a state in its own right. Foreign secretary William Hague is...
In all likelihood on Thursday afternoon the UN General Assembly will agree to the request of Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas to change the status of Palestine at the UN from observer entity to non-member state. Aside from the Palestinians having to print a new set of headed note paper, what will this achieve? Unfortunately, for ordinary Palestinians, the answer is very little.
The Israel-Palestine conflict touches a nerve internationally more than any other conflict. Rarely does it seem to feel like just a lot of foreigners killing each other in some far-off exotic land, it feels like it hits home more directly. The controversy surrounding Veolia exemplifies this - the opponents of Israel's occupation of the West Bank see opposing contracts with Veolia as an opportunity to give their objections an immediate voice with an immediate effect.
The Israel-Palestine conflict is a defining issue of our time, but has also ended up becoming a primary example of the so-called 'confirmation bias', where a particular position is adopted, and then retrospectively justified with selective pieces of evidence, ignoring anything which may be contradictory.
Whether the present ceasefire lasts, and whether it results in a meaningful longer term peace agreement, is yet to be seen. What is inarguable is that without justice for the Palestinians there will never be peace. Israel's security will only be guaranteed by ending the occupation, settlements expansion, and its resistance to Palestinian self determination. A policy of war-war must now give way to jaw-jaw.
While the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire is welcome, it will only last if the legitimate grievances of the Palestinian people are remedied. Similar ceasefires have failed in the past precisely because of a lack of progress towards a negotiated settlement that is fair to the Palestinians. A genuine injustice is what gives the Palestinian fanatics influence.
What this conflict lacks is a politician on either side (or both) who can see that violence serves only to perpetuate more violence. The massive wall across the length of Israel's border did stop the suicide bombings, but unless the Israelis can build it 30,000 feet high it's not going to stop the shells landing in Ashkelon. (If there are any Israeli Ministers reading this by the way, that's a joke, please don't try it.)
"This is why I started gigging under the name Miss D - because I was scared. I thought These people are so vicious they will come follow me to gigs and, because my on-stage persona was so new and vulnerable... Look, it's scary coming on-stage and telling jokes when you think you have a lot of enemies you don't even know."