It is time for a Palestinian State

To the Editor:

Sixty-three years ago the fledgling United Nations recognized Israel as a sovereign state. It is time for the UN to accept the Palestinians' soon-to-be application for the same right.

Why appeal to the UN? The answer stares us in the face: Netanyahu announces expansion of settlements --930 more homes in Har Homa, 277 in Ariel, plans of thousands more for Jews in East Jerusalem, the go-ahead to the World Zionist Organization to disregard former requirements and oversight to get prior authorization from the Israeli Defense Minister to build settlements. Netanyahu blatantly declares "the Israeli-Palestinian conflict does not stem from a territorial dispute." At the same time Israel continues to raze a record number of Palestinian homes (from January through March, rendering 333 people, including 154 children homeless.) Settlements, whether euphemistically called neighborhoods or not, and razing of Palestinian homes constitute a territorial dispute. What is clear is that settlements are illegal under international law and in violation of the Geneva Conventions which forbid moving people into Occupied lands. This alone is reason to move the matter to to the international level, to the United Nations.

The US Administration and Israel vehemently oppose such a move because, they say, "it will jeopardize the peace process." The so-called peace process from Oslo to Camp David II, to Wye River, to Sharm el-Sheikh, to Taba has been a farce -- full of lies, unkept promises, stalling for time to build more settlements, and defying the United States' "deep concern and request to place a moratorium on settlements." All the while the U.S. continues sending tax payers' money for settlement expansion, and is turning a blind eye at certain U.S. agencies to misuse their 501-C3 non-profit status to take up the slack. The road map, the "peace process" is dead.

When special envoy George Mitchell opted out of his mission to engage both Israel and the Palestinian Authority, I knew something other than a continuation of this sham of a peace process had to be done. So, like it or not, the Palestinians are showing us that the way is a return to the UN where it all began: Enforce the existing Security Council resolutions, i.e., to challenge the UN to implement its own resolutions, such as Res. 242 and 338 and others related to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.

What will the Palestinians gain if their application for statehood is accepted? Palestine will function on the same level as other sovereign states. The whole dynamic will change. It is one thing for a sovereign state to occupy a people; it is quite another for a sovereign state to occupy another sovereign state. This will entail, of course, that Israeli settlers and soldiers pull out of the West Bank, and effectively end the Occupation and share Jerusalem as the capital of both Israel and Palestine. Palestinians will have the dignity of having a passport, not an apartheid pass permit; an acknowledgement that the creation of the state of Israel incurred the displacement and dispersion of the Palestinaian people; recognition of their very existence as a people, and their willingness to accept 22% of originally mandated Palestine, and allow Israel 78% (pre-1967 borders).

How can the U.S. Administration argue against freedom for Palestinians while telling Mubarak, Qadaffi, and Assad to step aside for freedom's sake for their respective peoples. It is long past time for a Palestinian state.

Sister Miriam Ward

Burlington, Vt.

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