Israel punishes Palestinians for wanting a state

On Thursday, the United Nations general assembly voted to make Palestine a state. Of the 193-member assembly, 138 voted in favor, 41 abstained and nine–Israel, the US, Canada, the Czech Republic, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Panama– voted against it. With this historic vote, Palestine went from being a “non-member observer entity” to a “non-member observer state”. The new state cannot vote, and has the same status as the Vatican, but it can, for example, join international bodies like the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“We didn’t come here seeking to delegitimize a state established years ago, and that is Israel; rather we came to affirm the legitimacy of the state that must now achieve its independence, and that is Palestine,” Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, told the general assembly.

Israel and the United States opposed Palestinian statehood, claiming it undermined the peace process. U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice delivered the following self-fulfilling prophecy:

 Today’s unfortunate and counterproductive resolution places further obstacles to peace…. No resolution can create a state where none exists….Palestinians will wake up tomorrow and find that little has changed saved the prospect of direct talks have receded.

Tell that to the Palestinians celebrating at the beginning of this video, Suze.

Despite the U.S. and Israeli objections, many people, including Israelis (see below) argue that the only hope for peace in the region, for a two state solution, and for Israeli security is the existence of a Palestinian state.

Israel responded with the peace-loving gesture punitive move of announcing new settlements and seizing funds from the Palestinian Authority. A day after the historic vote, Israel authorized 3,000 new homes in Jewish-only settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. At a cabinet meeting on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Today we are building, and we will continue to build in Jerusalem and in all areas that are on the state of Israel’s map of strategic interests.” Israel is also moving forward with a settlement that will split the West Bank in half, cutting off the northern West Bank from the south and from East Jerusalem, and making a physical Palestinian state impossible.  Hagit Ofran of the Israeli group Peace Now argued the settlement is “at the heart of the potential Palestinian state. If Israel is to build in E1, there is no possible agreement on a two-state solution, because a Palestinian state will be cut between the south and the north of the state, and it won’t be a viable state.”

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said continued Israeli settlement activity would strike a “fatal blow” to peace efforts.

And we’re supposed to believe that Palestinians’ aspirations for statehood is the roadblock to peace?


Born and raised on the mean streets of New York City’s Upper West Side, Katie Halper is a comic, writer, blogger, satirist and filmmaker based in New York. Katie graduated from The Dalton School (where she teaches history) and Wesleyan University (where she learned that labels are for jars.) A director of Living Liberally and co-founder/performer in Laughing Liberally, Katie has performed at Town Hall, Symphony Space, The Culture Project, D.C. Comedy Festival, all five Netroots Nations, and The Nation Magazine Cruise, where she made Howard Dean laugh! and has appeared with Lizz Winstead, Markos Moulitsas, The Yes Men, Cynthia Nixon and Jim Hightower. Her writing and videos have appeared in The New York Times, Comedy Central, The Nation Magazine, Gawker, Nerve, Jezebel, the Huffington Post, Alternet and Katie has been featured in/on NY Magazine, LA Times, In These Times, Gawker,Jezebel, MSNBC, Air America, GritTV, the Alan Colmes Show, Sirius radio (which hung up on her once) and the National Review, which called Katie “cute and some what brainy.” Katie co-produced Tim Robbins’s film Embedded, (Venice Film Festival, Sundance Channel); Estela Bravo’s Free to Fly (Havana Film Festival, LA Latino Film Festival); was outreach director for The Take, Naomi Klein/Avi Lewis documentary about Argentine workers (Toronto & Venice Film Festivals, Film Forum); co-directed New Yorkers Remember the Spanish Civil War, a video for Museum of the City of NY exhibit, and wrote/directed viral satiric videos including Jews/ Women/ Gays for McCain.

Katie is a writer, comedian, filmmaker, and New Yorker.

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