UN must take the lead on Palestine
The UN Security Council's unanimous backing for a two-state solution is along expected lines and bodes well for a future Palestinian state alongside Israel. That's the easy part about the more than seven-decade-old conflict that is complicated at several levels. There's an air of uncertainty in the current atmosphere of distrust and suspicion. How does one bring the two sides who are holding their ground to the table for a dialogue when they refuse to share a stage or even strike a pose for the media? The two-state is simply a nice-sounding idea that is being raised at several UN forums but how does one get started? In other words, there is no plan because the two main parties to the dispute are on different pages and refuse to engage at any level. Covert or track 2 diplomacy is non-existent, which only dampens hopes for peace and raises fears of further violence in occupied Palestine. A separate country for the Palestinians is key to lasting peace in the Middle East. But the question is how does the UN get the two sides to talk? US President Donald Trump's Deal of the Century has been a wasted effort and the Palestinians have rejected it outright. There is lack of support from the Arab and Muslim world for the plan that gives more territory and control to Israel. The only silver lining about the pact is that it keeps the two-state solution alive. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party played no role in the drafting of the so-called agreement that had only two stakeholders - Israel and the US. The Palestinians, the aggrieved side, was left out of discussions and they were justified in throwing it out. But the Trump administration believed that the deal was a starting point for direct talks between the Palestinian leadership and Israel. What it didn't take into account was the fact that the agreement openly favoured Israel's interests over the victims of the occupation.
The Security Council statement read: "Council Members reiterated their support for a negotiated two-state solution where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace." The UN must realise that words alone will not suffice. It is clear that the US cannot be an honest peace-maker. Now is the time for the global body to move beyond grand statements. It should start with developing a confidence-building mechanism that creates an atmosphere of trust. This may be followed by talks in neutral venues that are mediated by a UN special envoy. Easier said than done, but this is an opening that the UN must seize if it is to stay relevant as a peace-making body.