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Restoring The Palestinian Cause To Its Rightful Place

Al-Quds al-Arabi, London, December 13

The world has already grown accustomed to the American support of the Israeli occupation. This has become even worse during the presidency of Donald Trump, who has supported injustice wherever it occurs around the world. In a new attempt to defend Israel, Washington recently submitted a draft to the UN General Assembly calling to designate Hamas as terror organization. However, this initiative failed to pass after it received the support of 87 countries, but was turned down by 57 others (with 33 abstentions). This prevented the Americans and Israelis from reaching the two-thirds majority they needed to pass the resolution. However, the vote still provides us with a few important lessons. First, among the 87 states that supported the American-Israeli effort are some of the most powerful countries economically and militarily. This is a grave reminder that we, the Palestinian people, have still not garnered the international support we seek to gain. Some of the strongest countries in the world still don’t view the Palestinian cause as an important one. Second, the fact that many European states voted in favor of the resolution isn’t shocking. What is shocking, however, is the fact that so many Latin American nations did. Chile, for example, which is home to a sizable community of Palestinian expats and a relatively small Jewish community, decided to vote together with the U.S. This should provide us with our second lesson: That we still haven’t mastered the art of lobbying. Palestinian communities around the world have been ineffective at convincing political stakeholders to support the Palestinian cause. Jewish ones, however, have mastered this art. Finally, a look at the countries that voted in our favor reveals a long list of African nations. These are countries that have supported Palestine throughout the decades. Their interest in the Palestinian cause isn’t new. Therefore, we must ask ourselves what our embassies and diplomatic missions around the world are doing. Are they simply preaching to the choir? Or are they investing resources and efforts into growing awareness towards Palestinian suffering in new countries around the world? Finally, despite the warnings I mentioned above, there is one positive sign here: Both Russia and China, two of the world’s strongest superpowers, voted together with the Palestinians. This should remind us that these are two important arenas in which we should invest more diplomatic efforts. We should do everything we can to upgrade our ties with Moscow and Beijing and recruit their support in future votes. The time has come to move away from talking and start doing. The Palestinian cause should be restored to its rightful place at the top of the international agenda. The task, whether we like it or not, is up to us. –Riyadh Naasan Agha

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