By Abdulrazaq O Hamzat
The United Nations Security Council meeting, an annual event started its 72nd session a few days ago at the UN Headquarters in the United States of America. More than 100 world leaders, thousands of diplomats and advocates are presently in New York City, in an event scheduled to
hold from 19-25 September 2017 to fashion out a way forward in pursuit of global peace and security.
This year’s theme is Focusing on people — striving for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet.
On the first day of the event, precisely on 19th September 2017, world leaders took turn to address their counterparts and other participants, either in advancement of their national agenda’s, pursuit of global ideas, defense of policies or solidarity with other
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari was at the event and he spoke on a variety of issues, among which include Nigeria’s fight against terrorism and the country’s role in advancing democracy in Gambia.
President Buhari also spoke about the threat of nuclear war (North Korean missile program), which he says is a crisis equal to that of Cuban (1962), when the world was close to a war.
“All necessary pressure and diplomatic efforts must be brought to bear on North Korea to accept the peaceful resolution of the crisis.” He said.
In staying true to Nigeria’s long-term stand on the Israel and Palestine dispute, President Buhari once again declared Nigeria’s total support for a two-state solution to the conflict, calling on
world leaders not to forget about the unresolved dispute.
‘’New conflicts should not make us lose focus on ongoing unresolved old conflicts’’. ‘’For example, several UN Security Council Resolutions from 1967 on the Middle East crisis remain unimplemented.
Meanwhile, the suffering of the Palestinian people and the blockade of Gaza continue’’. Buhari said.
In a similar speech given last year on the same issue, President Buhari had stated that “our support for various Security Council resolutions restoring and respecting 1967 boundaries with Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine is firm and unshaken.
What president Buhari has done since coming to power is to re-emphasize Nigeria’s stand on the issue as often done by his predecessors. Nigeria is known to take a consistent stand on key
global issues and this is not in any way different.
The two-state solution refers to a solution of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict which calls for “two states for two groups of people.” The two-state solution envisages an independent State of Palestine alongside the Israel, west of the Jordan River. The boundary between
the two states is still subject to dispute and negotiation, with Palestinian and Arab leadership insisting on the “1967 borders”, which is not accepted by Israel. The territory of the former Mandate Palestine which shall not form part of the Palestinian State, shall be
part of Israeli territory.
After the Six Day War in June 1967, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed “United Nations Security Council Resolution 242″ calling for Israeli withdrawal from the “Israeli-occupied territories” during the war, in exchange for “termination of all claims or states of belligerency” and “acknowledgement of sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the area”. The “Palestine Liberation Organization” (PLO), which had been formed in 1964, strongly criticized the resolution, saying that it
reduced the question of Palestine to a refugee problem.
In September 1974, 56 Member States proposed that “the question of Palestine” be included as an item in the General Assembly’s agenda. In a resolution adopted on 22 November 1974, the General Assembly affirmed Palestinian rights, which included the “right to
self-determination without external interference”, “the right to national independence and sovereignty”, and the “right to return to their homes and property”. These rights have been affirmed every year since.
However, despite the resolution and endorsement by almost all countries of the world, Israel backed by the United States of America has continued to reject the solution.
While Israel doesn’t outrightly reject the two-state solution, it prefers the one-state solution and the similar binational solution.
Proponents of a binational solution to the conflict advocate a single state in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with citizenship and equal rights in the combined entity for all inhabitants of all three territories, without regard to ethnicity or religion, but most
countries of the world differ, yet are not trying to understand why Israel is reluctant to go ahead with the two states solution as resolved by the United Nations.
Many have been asking, why is Israel against the two states solution when almost all countries of the world endorsed it as the best solution? Do they really love the crisis to remain unresolved for as long as possible? If not, why are they refusing to implement a resolution the global body consider appropriate? Or better still, when will Israel agree to end this crisis that is doing more harm than good to both parties?
My understanding as a peace professional is that Israel has fears and worries, which are genuine and needed to be adequately dealt with by the global body. They understand that if those issues are not addressed before the two states solution is implemented, the two states will not be a solution; it would rather be the beginning of the greater crisis.
It is not a secret that between Israel and Palestine leadership, there is intractable mutual hatred. Individual leaders that have worked for a peaceful resolution of the crisis from both sides had been murdered for their efforts. Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and President Anwar Sadat of Egypt comes to mind here.
If Israel declare the conflict over today and allow the resolution to take place as proposed, the unaddressed mutual hatred within both parties will only give the Palestinian hardliners some legitimacy to not only acquire arms to engage in real hostility against Israel, it
would also enable them to partner with enemy nations to start a greater conflict with Israel, in furtherance of their mutual hatred. I am sure no nation would deliberately empower its hostile neighbor to have more capacity to turn against it.
In conclusion, my proposition would be that, the United Nations design a 5 years strategic confidence building programme to reduce hostility and mutual hatred between both parties.
The high level programme should carefully articulate Israel’s fear and concerns and work to address them before pushing for the implementation of the UN resolution.
The programme should be built in such a way that, both parties interact more and are given platform to commit themselves to not just being independent of each other, but working together at the highest level.
Until Israel become comfortable that it is safe in a two state solution, it would never agree for it to be implemented.
Abdulrazaq O Hamzat is the Executive Director of Foundation for Peace