Over the objections of the United States and Israel, the United Nations is set to vote on ‘Palestinian statehood’ Thursday, Nov. 29. The move has the broad support of Muslim nations in the Middle East and the majority of the nations of the European Union.
Critics, however, say that the move will do nothing but further inflame the tensions that constantly brew just beneath the surface in the Middle East.
Israel has long decried moves by Arabs in the region to establish such a state, which many say amounts to a second Palestinian state since Jordan was originally conceived as the first Palestinian state. The Israelis maintain that creating such an entity right in the doorstep of the Jewish state will only heighten the danger posed by extremists who have consistently sent missiles into southern Israel and Tel Aviv.
The Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Gaza, and Hezbollah have all refused to recognize Israel’s right to exist.
But perhaps the most troubling aspect of the Palestinian move, according to Israelis and supporters of Israel in the United States, is the fact that it would move the borders of Israel back to their pre-1967 level, making East Jerusalem the capital of the new Palestinian state.
East Jerusalem encompasses “old Jerusalem’ in which the holiest sites of the Christian and Jewish religions are found. The last time Muslims held control of that part of the city, Christians and Jews were forbidden from gaining access to their holy sites. It was only after the 1967 war, during which Israel gained control over the entire city of Jerusalem, that Christians and Jews were granted the freedom to gain entrance to their ancient sites.
Muslims established a presence in Jerusalem in the A.D. 600s, centuries after Christians and Jews had already established a presence in the city. Christians began to make their presence known in the city in the first century. The ancient Hebrews, ancestors of modern day Jews, established a nation in the region roughly 3,000 years prior to the first century, and established Jerusalem as its capital.
Some Israelis and supporters of Israel within the United States believe that any U.N. mandate concerning a Palestinian state be resisted and openly defied, refusing to implement any such provisions in the region.
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