arafat abbas 521.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Palestine is born. The world’s countries, with the exception of Israel and a
select few friends, voted nearly unanimously to admit “Palestine” into the
United Nations as a non-member state. Palestine is a state, most of the world
agrees, a development 25 years in the making, since the PLO famously declared
itself a state, but was rejected as such, in 1988.
In his bid to create
life, Dr. Frankenstein created something known as “Frankenstein’s Monster.” It
was meant to have had all the functions of a normal human being: to operate, to
think independently, to be a sentient human being. However, the creature was
grotesque, filled with hatred, and its sole purpose was to find another being
like itself, always resulting in disappointment and an increased desire for
revenge, eventually driving it into exile.
The same is true with the
current creation of Palestine by the international community.
Frankenstein created his monster with science, so, symbolically, did the
international community create the “Frankenstate” by admitting it to the United
Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (
However, not fully accepted, the Frankenstate felt lost,
abandoned and lacking identity as an actual state.
For a year, it was
nameless and unnameable – until the international community decided that rather
than bring it to life naturally, via negotiations with Israel, the world body
would throw the switch on its own.
Creating a state in such a manner,
however, condemns it to misery, for it will never really manifest itself and
interact, and will always have to struggle to attain equality as a normal
nation-state. It will always seek out its creators, to beg for aid and to use
the world stage as a podium to complain about the lack of progress. As Dr.
Frankenstein found out, you are responsible for what you have
The Montevideo Convention of 1933 defined a state using four
criteria: Land, Government, People and Capacity to enter into relations with
other states. A new Palestine benefiting from a state upgrade will be able to
interact with the international system. However, it will still lack the
remaining integral features of statehood:
• Land: The territory accepted to be
part of a Palestinian state is divided between Fatah and Hamas and the Israeli
Military Administration and to a limited extent actual Israeli law (in Jewish
areas and in east Jerusalem). The Jewish claims to the land of historical Judea
and Samaria and Jerusalem are substantial and cannot be disputed except through
ignorant denials by a newly declared Palestine. As such, the created state is
on, and will remain on, contested land.
• Government: There are three
governments in the new Palestinian state. A Fatah regime controls the West Bank,
Hamas controls Gaza, and the Israeli government controls east Jerusalem and vast
areas of the West Bank. The new state’s government is unable to exercise
sovereignty over all its putative territory, a state of affairs which is likely
to continue. Over certain areas, such as east Jerusalem, it will never receive
total sovereignty, due to the city’s extreme significance for the Jewish people
• People: Both the Jews and the Palestinian Arabs claim the
lands that have been accepted as a new Palestine. The Jewish claim predates the
Arab claim in parts of the West Bank, especially east Jerusalem and Hebron. As
such, there will always be a mixed population in the West Bank. A solution to
the above would be for the Jewish population in the West Bank and east Jerusalem
to apply for and accept Palestinian citizenship.
If the Palestinian state
refuses, it may lead to permanent struggle. A state that is purely Palestinian,
for Palestinians, will never exist. As is the case in Israel today, there will
always be ethnic minorities.
• Representation: There are significant
Palestinian populations throughout the Middle East. Does the new Palestine
represent Jordan, does it represent Lebanon’s Palestinians? What about Israel’s
Arabs, most of whom share common descent? The new state will likely raise more
questions than it answers.
The world has agreed to this new creation in
the international arena. While the resolution is not enforceable, it does add
certain credence to the Frankenstate, which indeed is not a true state in the
international system. In the Israeli case, the country went through a War of
Independence before an actual state emerged. The current declaration amounts to
the perpetuation of a pseudo-Palestine; contested, unresolved and lacking what
it really needs to truly exist as a proper state. Like Frankenstein’s creation,
such an entity will always struggle to find itself and to be happy.
through the legitimate channels to statehood – that is, solving the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including realizing the rights and legitimate
claims of the Jewish people – can Palestine ever find happiness.
writer is a freelance writer and journalist specializing in international law
and international relations. He has a masters degree in international relations
from the University of Toronto.