November 7, 2012 Naalij

Israeli Cabinet Talks ‘Punishment’ Over Palestinian UN Recognition

With Sure Victory for Observer State, Israel Looks for Revenge

Palestine’s upgrade to UN “non-member observer state” status is virtually a foregone conclusion, with an overwhelming majority of the UN General Assembly expected to vote in favor and only a handful, led by the US and Israel, in opposition.

The question then is what Israel’s reaction will be, and the nation’s cabinet met today to discuss possible “punitive” measures to punish the Palestinians for getting the enhanced level of recognition on the international stage.

Exactly what the move will be remains unclear, and with Israel already not negotiating with the Palestinians and already expanding settlements, the number of options that will actually feel like “punishment” instead of just business as usual is limited.

The most likely proposal on that front is for Israel to freeze all Palestinian tax dollars, though Israel does this too on a semi-regular basis to express displeasure, and with the West Bank’s economy already on the brink of collapse a prolonged move to cut off funds to PA employees could be diplomatically difficult for Israel as well.

In the end the most likely new moves will also be the least impactful, imposing harsh new restrictions on Palestinian detainees who by and large aren’t involved in the PA to begin with and who have no say over their recognition anyhow. This has been a go-to activity for Israel’s government several times in the past, forcing Palestinians in prison to go to court to get access to things like paper and pencils.

by Jason Ditz

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Comment (1)

  1. The question of wheehtr the relationship between Israel and Palestinians is one of oppression or one of conflict, is a critical question.There is no question in my mind that there are elements of both. To declare that the relationship is only an oppression is to misrepresent what is going on there.There are two ways the issue is not simplistic.One is that as Ralph referred, there is a long long long history of one stimuli (say from 1920), evoking a response (in 1921), which then evokes another response the other way in 1922, etc. ad infinitum, hotter at some times, quieter at others. Everyone says that the other started it.In a circle.The second is of the geography. If one looks at only one scale, Palestine is surrounded by Israel. There are only borders with Israel and Jordan, and Israel jointly controls the Jordan boundaries.But, at a slightly larger scale, Israel is surrounded by Arab states. Until 1979, they were entirely surrounded, and with a great deal of animosity. Now that there are treaties in place with Jordan and Egypt, and cooperation on security with the PA, that logic is diminished. But, at the same time, the experience of Iraq firing missiles at Tel Aviv in the fist Gulf War, even though Israel was not a party to the conflict, adds weight to the importance of Iran being able to repeat that (with either active nuclear missiles in the future, or merely with nuclear waste now)., multiplied by their near-proxy relationship with Hezbollah possessing tens of thousands of large rockets all aimed at Israeli cities as a hostage.The statement that Israel surrounds Palestine is partially true. Not perfectly true, not perfectly false, and the statement that Israel oppresses Palestine is also partially true, not perfectly true, and not perfectly false.How does one change a conflict? (Maybe with intervention to get everyone’s attention, but ultimately with mediation, not with revolution.)

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