9-27-11: The Palestinian Bid for United Nations Membership

September 27, 2011 at 7:55 am 2 comments

Last week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas submitted a formal request to the United Nations for membership.  Yesterday, the UN Security Council met privately to discuss the bid, and tomorrow the council will hold a formal meeting to transmit the bid to a committee on admission of new members.   President Obama opposes the move—he says it’s a step back from peace negotiations.

We want to hear Maryland perspectives on the Palestinian request for membership. In this segment, we hear from two people, but we want to hear many points of view–including yours.  You’re welcome to leave a comment here, send us an email at mdmorning@wypr.org, or to call us at 410-881-3162.

In this segment, Sheilah speaks with Mohamed Esa, professor and chair of the Foreign Languages Department at McDaniel College.  Most of the courses he teaches are in and about German, but he also teaches a course called “The Arab World.”  He’s Palestinian, and has lived in Westminster nearly 20 years.

She also talks with Alan Elsner, who is the executive director of communications for The Israel Project, a non-profit educational organization that distributes information about Israel to press and public.  He was born in Britain, but holds Israeli citizenship, and now lives in Rockville, Maryland.


Entry filed under: On Air, Policy. Tags: , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Nicole  |  September 27, 2011 at 10:12 am

    If not for lobbyist and strong Christian and Jewish American religious leadership there is no way the United State would support Isreal as its acted over the last several years. I know it’s not just me and, though I haven’t heard a scientific poll, hear more and more American citizens frustrated with this process as Isreal and America has handled it and far more sympathetic to the Palestinian people and their plight dispite what I see as the seriously skewed coverage of this conflict in favor of Isreal.

    The state of Isreal claims that it wants to negotiate a free Palestine but continues to build in disputed territories and continues to use Hamas as a excuse as it bulldozes Palestinian homes and farmland KNOWING that they’re doing nothing but creating more Palestinians with reason to hate them. I believe that most Palestinians simply want to live and an HONEST and affective negotiation from Isreal that leads to a fair parceling of land to create Palestine would significantly lessen the strength of Hamas who, unfortunately, sometimes appeared to be the only group truly fighting for the rights of these oppressed people…despite how awful their tactics.

    Palestine was right to apply for statehood with the U.N.. They had no choice. Isreal has absolutely no (obvious) incentive to act in good faith until this moment so perhaps the pressure will cause them to come to the table and truly talk peace because the world is REALLY watching and could possibly impose so consequences if they dont. I’ve never seen equal negotiations occur when one party is lacking leverage so perhaps Abasses leverage will actually begin to affect change.

    Isreal has survived so far because of strong support from the US and Great Brittian Governments and with the help of the dictators that controlled the countries around them. The dictators are disappearing, a Europe not so bogged down with religious ideology has already voiced it’s distaste for many Isreali actions and a rising generation of British, American and Isreali citizens is growing ever disgusted with the way the country has acted with impunity against the Palestinians. The winds of change are actually a monsoon for Isreal now and if it continues on the course it’s going to destroy itself.

    I know many Americans who believe that we should pull away from Isreal and simply let it fight it’s own battles, that our support of Isreal is a main excuse for terrorist activities against us. I also believe that the voices who believe this are perhaps 5 years or one good terrorist attack with a clear message against Palestinian oppression from gaining serious traction in the U.S.. This generation gets most of their news from the internet and can access balanced reporting of the conflict so the slanted news stories, lobbying efforts and other paid marketing on behalf of the state is growing less and less affective.

    I am an African American woman who was raised in the church and I have white friends with the same religious background as me. Our views on this conflict have evolved to support Palestine because, though we were taught an ideology that was completely different, we now know that the reality of that ideology conflicts with our humanity. I’m an example of where the sentiment for this conflict is headed and I hope the people of Isreal pressure the Government to do better.

    I want peace on both sides and two co-existing equal states but if that doesn’t happen and I see Isreal as still not acting in good faith I may simply opt for an end to the billions of dollars, protection and weapons we provide to the state so that America can protect it’s homeland from the growing chorus of people who dislike Isreal some, honestly, because it merely exists but most, I believe, because it’s been an arrogant, billegerent and oppressive force in a region where the people, just like Isreal, simply want to be free.

    • 2. Dan  |  September 27, 2011 at 8:45 pm

      I agree with two of your basic premises.
      1) Most Israelis and Most Palestinians want peace
      2) The effort to create settlments was and still is a foolish misguided endeavor.

      However this is where it ends. The major problem is based in two givens.
      The first is the fact that whereas most Palestionian want peace and when they say that they visualize peace with a Jewish statel of Israel, they also are very emphatic about wanting to implement the so calle “Right of Retern” (ROR). This they say is the “right” of millions of descendatns of Palestinian refugess of 1948 whe have never seen Israel to “return’ to Israel. This would mean that Israel would becmoe an Arab majority state where Jews maty or may not be allowed to stay. Furthermore, the reason Palestinians want peace is not because they have become Zionists over night but because they just want to live while still regarding the existance of Israel as unjust. This may be coupled with the fact that today there is no governance in the territoreis capable of creating a peaceloving stable Palestinian state capable of speaking with one voice. There is no way to guarantee that the day after a peace is attained there will be a Hamas takeover rejecting the peace. This makes the attainment of peace a non trivial endeavor.

      I believe there is a way to attain peace but it is not on the docket today. The way to do this is

      1) to involve the Arab states of the region in the peace efforts so that the refugees can be resettled with the help of compensation for lands which they used to own. In order to do this

      2) To agree that after afinal status is agreed upon there will be also a negotiated detailed and staged implementation agreement which will on the one hand lead to the final status and on the other will allow to do so in a controlled manner. Only a peaceloving stable Palestinian state will be able ot carry out the latter stages of this agreement. This will give the Israelis some measure of security that indeed the end will be peace with a state capable of carrying it out. It will also guarantee to the Paletinians that indeed the final status will be reached if indeed both Israel and the Palestinians want peace.


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