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Symbolic Victories At The UN Or Tangible Achievements On The Ground?

Al-Araby al-Jadid, London, December 21

Although the United Nations General Assembly last week rejected the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, this was merely a symbolic act. Israel was defeated in the vote but the situation on the ground remains the same. President Trump is determined to establish a new order in the Middle East and, sadly, the regional political climate is allowing him to do so. Syria and Iraq have been virtually destroyed, while Yemen is crumbling before our eyes. Egypt is still struggling to recover from multiple waves of political upheaval, whereas Gulf nations are boycotting and fighting one another. Iran and Hizbullah have become a threat not only to Israel but also to the entire Arab world. Where, then, in this list of regional issues does one even place the Palestinian problem? The world has simply pushed the Palestinians to the sidelines, depriving them of their last remaining right: namely, to have their voices heard. The biggest beneficiary of this turmoil is the Israeli government. Relying on this chaos, Tel Aviv has been given carte blanche to act however it pleases. With the support of the White House, it has been working to sow irreversible facts on the ground to block the Palestinians’ path to statehood. This grim reality will not be changed with a simple UN vote, no matter how much of a victory it was. What the Palestinian people need is an action plan, one backed by Arab states and Palestinian allies around the world. The Palestinian factions must also unite in the name of Palestine, while the international community places the matter back on its agenda. Otherwise, our victories will remain merely symbolic. Israel, meanwhile, will continue altering the status quo on the ground. – Kamal Abd al-Latif

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