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Saturday, November 1, 2014


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Palestine requests 'nonmember state status' in United Nations






After a turbulent month, Fred Goldberg is back to his old grind.

With less than a week left studying abroad in Israel, the political science senior is back to days of leisurely waking up, working on a paper for his program and going out with friends — without the fear of hearing rocket warning sirens or radio “Code Red” announcements like he did two weeks ago.

“Finally everything has largely returned to normal, whatever normal here is, I suppose,” Goldberg said in a Skype call from Israel.

When the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas escalated earlier this month, the air strikes and the looming possibility of an Israeli ground invasion in the Gaza Strip impacted the daily lives of civilians on both sides. But when a cease-fire was reached a week ago with pressure from the U.S. and Egypt, things leveled off, and as Goldberg said, people “carry on.”

Although some people on both sides are relieved the violence has decreased, many are wary of how long the cease-fire will last.

Even since the cease-fire began, there have been a few isolated cases of violence, resulting in casualties on each side.

According to CNN, Palestinian leaders are scheduled to meet Thursday at the United Nations to request nonmember state status — a move the U.S. and Israel do not support.

France plans to vote in support of Palestine’s independent statehood, The New York Times reported.

Randa Elian, the public relations coordinator for Students Allied for Freedom and Equality, or SAFE, a Palestinian rights student group at MSU, said she has many family members in Jerusalem and in the West Bank whom she has been keeping in touch with during this rough time.

“It’s just the fact that when you just have to worry about (their) safety and you’re thousands of miles away … when they (have) heard explosions in Jerusalem,” Elian said, adding that the cease-fire has given her some temporary “peace of mind.”

Yael Aronoff, an expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at MSU, said the approval of Palestine’s request could or could not lead to more negotiations between Israel and Palestine to form a two-state agreement.

Aronoff, an associate professor of international relations and the Michael and Elaine Serling and Friends Chair of Israel Studies, said the American and Israeli governments oppose the move for fear it will not lead to serious negotiations, which are the only means of attaining statehood for Palestine.

She added that the move possibly could lead to violent demonstrations if things do not change on the ground in Palestine.

Chris Burnett, the president of SAFE, said it will be interesting to see whether Palestine’s request is granted.

Burnett, an international relations senior, said he still is unsure as to what resolution will come of the conflict. He said he believes the attacks only will hold off for a few months or so until both sides become violent again.

“I’m really happy because (the cease-fire) means that less people are going to die, which is always a good thing, (although) I’m surprised by it,” Burnett said.

Aronoff said both sides were very interested in the cease-fire, but there is no guarantee as to how long it will stand.

“I think everyone hopes that the cease-fire will be a more long-lasting one, and one where there are far fewer violations,” Aronoff said.


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