Palestinian Christians Support Bid for Statehood

On November 29, Palestinians will bid to become a "non-member observer state" in the United Nations. If approved, this will be a major step towards full statehood for Palestinians. Israel, and more importantly, the Unites States, are against this move, not least for fear of possible war crime investigations against Israel. Israel's rational has always been that a final resolution cannot be achieved unilaterally, but only through direct negotiations. Ironically, Israel achieved its own independence unilaterally and through the United Nations.

Palestinian Christians leaders have sent a strong message of support for this step. A statement signed by 100 community leader says:
We believe the Palestine Liberation Organization's initiative to enhance Palestine’s status in the United Nations to an Observer State is a positive, collective, and moral step that will get us closer to freedom.This is a step in the right direction for the cause of a just peace in the region. We fully endorse this bid, just as we supported Palestine's application for full membership of the United Nations a year ago.
The bid for statehood is seen by many as a last attempt to rescue the two state solution. In practicality, the two state solution is as good as dead. The Israeli settlements and the separation wall cut deep into Palestinian territories, and make it practically impossible to achieve a sovereign Palestinian state. Israel's insistance on expanding the settlements speaks louder than any statement about its desire to achieve lasting peace, and make its common appeal for Israel's right to defend itself harder to grasp.

In the same time, the one state solution remains a vague concept, and is very unlikely to gain approval beyond some academic circles. The Palestinian national identity is as strong as ever, as evident by the wide support for the first attempt in September 2011 to obtain statehood through the UN. The recent war in Gaza fueled the Palestinian national sense, and increased the animosity towards Israel. Israel on the other hand does not see it in her best interest to annex the West Bank. The last thing Israelis want is a majority of Arabs in Israel. The war in Gaza helped to strengthen the already hostile attitude most Israelis have towards Palestinians.

Which leaves us with the current status quo: The continuation of the occupation of the West Bank, the siege over Gaza, and a system of separation currently in affect in the West Bank that allows Israel to protect the settlements and sieze control of most of the Palestinian territories. (A system that was described by Desmond Tutu as apartheid)

The current status quo is very fragile, as proven by the lastest war in Gaza. The Israeli government will be delusional if it assumes that Palestinians will simply agree to remain in the current situation. The current status quo can only produce more hatred and division, and can easily yield to more violence in the future. Palestinian pastor Alex Awad warned last year before the first bid for full statehood:
The danger is this, if the Palestinian Authority fails to deliver to Palestinians an independent Palestinian state due to US and Israeli political maneuverings, in the near future, the secular Palestinian government will surely fall and only Hamas will be left to lead the Palestinian struggle for independence. This does not bid well for Israelis, Palestinians, future peace talks or for the Christian communities in the Middle East. 
Despite Hamas's somehow surprising support for the current bid, Awad's warning seems valid. If peaceful methods fail to achieve justice for the Palestinians, then the voices calling for a militant solution will be louder. All of this makes the statement by Palestinian Christians more urgent. The Palestinian's cause is a just cause. The time has come to do right to the Palestinians. It is time to unit in support for justice for Palestinians through peaceful means. Palestinians deserve freedom and dignity, and any step that brings this just and moral cause forward should be endorsed.


I hope and pray that the Palestinian state in the UN being upgraded on Thursday. Sweden will vote yes based on information from our government in our newspapers.