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Old 02-16-2012, 09:27 AM   #1
EgejskaMakedonia
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Default Why Kosovo but not Palestine?

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Why Kosovo but not Palestine?

Serbia was historically more aligned with Russia, while Israel serves US foreign policy interests in the Middle East.[/b][/b]

n his September 21 speech to the United Nations, President Obama announced that he would veto UN recognition of a Palestinian state, because its independence was not a result of a negotiated settlement with Israel.

He said that "peace depends upon compromise among people who must live together long after our ... votes have been tallied ... That's the lesson of Sudan, where a negotiated settlement led to an independent state. And that is and will be the path to a Palestinian state - negotiations between the parties."

But President Obama neglected to mention a recent prominent example of unilateral independence, the State of Kosovo, which was recognised by the United States three years ago - even though its statehood did not come about through a negotiated settlement with Serbia. If an independent state of Palestine should only be recognised with Israel's approval, then why did the US recognise the independence of Kosovo in 2008, over the objections of Serbia?

Why recognise Kosovo but not Palestine?

Serbs view Kosovo as the cradle of their national identity, where the Ottoman Empire defeated them in 1389. Kosovo maintained a Serb majority for centuries, but in the late 1800s it became a seat of Albanians' national awakening, and eventually gained an ethnic Albanian majority. It became part of Serb-dominated Yugoslavia after World War I, and (after the Axis occupation in World War II), the Yugoslav Communist government made Kosovo into a province within the republic of Serbia, recognising the rights of its Kosovar Albanian majority. In 1989, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic vastly reduced Kosovo's autonomy, citing threats to the Serb minority, as the opening move in his nationalist crusade for a Greater Serbia.

"So far 83 UN member states (including the US) have recognised Kosovo - 44 fewer than the total member states that have recognised Palestine."

Like Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat first declared Palestinian sovereignty in 1988, Kosovar Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova first declared Kosovo independent in 1990. No foreign powers recognised Kosovo at that time, but 127 UN member states have since recognised the State of Palestine.

Civil war erupted between Serbian forces and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in 1998, and more than 2,000 people died in the fighting. KLA fighters targeted ethnic Serb civilians in the province, as well as moderate Kosovar Albanians, and Serbian forces targeted Albanian civilians. In February 1999, President Clinton led NATO in a bombing campaign against Serbia, triggering Milosevic's plan for the "ethnic cleansing" (or forced removal) of Kosovo's Albanian majority, which began after the bombs started falling.

When the KLA came to power with backing from NATO troops in June 1999, it in turn ethnically cleansed thousands of Serbs, Roma (Gypsies), Turks and Jews from its territory, based on the accusation that these groups had sided with Serbian forces.

These minority groups had been living in Kosovo for centuries, unlike the Israeli settlers who are mostly recent transplants imported to Palestinian soil. When Serbia had settled some Serb war refugees in Kosovo from other ex-Yugoslav republics during the 1990s, Washington condemned the program as an attempt to shift the demographics of the province. The few Serbs living in Kosovo since 1999 have been subject to periodic pogroms, and a Serb enclave in the north has periodically threatened to rejoin Serbia, generating instability in the new state.

Whereas the prevailing mythology in the United States is that Clinton bombed former Yugoslavia to stop ethnic cleansing, people in the Balkans understand that US forces intervened against Serb ethnic cleansers, but intervened on the side of Croat and Albanian ethnic cleansers. After the fighting was over, NATO rubberstamped the results on the ground of these forced removals, and deemed the silence of the graveyard a "lasting peace".

Kosovo's parliament redeclared independence in 2008, in a move that was boycotted by Kosovo Serb delegates. So far, 83 UN member states (including the US) have recognised Kosovo - 44 fewer than the total members states that have recognised Palestine. Serbia asked the International Court of Justice to rule on the secession, and last year the Court issued an advisory opinion that unilateral declarations of independence are not prohibited under international law.

So what's the difference?

Serbia has a stronger legal case than Israel to object to unilateral independence, and not only because of the Kosovo's expulsion of most Serbs. Kosovo was not only recognised as a part of Yugoslavia before the 1990s, not as a Yugoslav republic of its own, but as a province within the republic of Serbia. On the other hand, the West Bank and Gaza (not to mention Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem) have never been recognised as a part of Israel. In addition, after coming to power, KLA fighters blatantly endangered the security of neighbouring states, by seeking to militarily "liberate" ethnic Albanians in western Macedonia and Serbia's Presevo Valley.

The difference is that Kosovo is under occupation by a foreign military alliance that backs the self-determination of its ethnic Albanian majority. The West Bank and East Jerusalem are under the occupation of a foreign military force that seeks to prevent the self-determination of its majority Palestinian population, and seeks to settle its own population in their place.

Serbia and Israel have remarkably similar messages toward the West. They contend that their military occupations have been justified to prevent a repeat of the genocide directed against them in World War II. (The Palestinians had nothing to do with this genocide, though Croatia and Albania were allied with the Axis Powers.)

"Serbia and Israel present themselves as bulwarks defending Western civilisation against Islamist extremism."

Serbia and Israel present themselves as bulwarks defending Western civilisation against Islamist extremism, even though both the Palestinian and Kosovar national movements began with secular ethnic-based identities, and include members of Christian minorities. Serbia and Israel have also used ancient religious justifications (such as shrines and archeological sites) for their military presence in lands where they do not have a demographic majority.

The difference is that the Israeli lobby in Washington is far stronger than the Serbian lobby. Milosevic's massive ethnic cleansings of Kosovar Albanians (as well as Croats and Bosnians) were more recent and televised than Israel's forced removal of Palestinians from their ancestral lands, in what they term the Nakba (Catastrophe) of 1948.

The KLA has long been implicated in heroin trafficking to raise funds for the cause and cash for personal enrichment. Former KLA commanders, including Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, have even been accused of trafficking in human organs. Kosovo is also a notorious center of sex trafficking in the Balkans, especially as Western troops have been stationed there. Whatever the veracity of any of these particular charges, none of them have prevented US support for Kosovo's independence.

The difference is that the Palestinian national movement has not been implicated in such international crime syndicates. We can be sure that if any Palestinian leaders were accused of just one of these crimes, the Israeli lobby would trumpet the charge loudly as an argument against a Palestinian state, and the White House would echo the claim.

Palestine and Israel have come down on different sides on Kosovo independence. Senior adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Yasser Abed Rabbo, cited Kosovo's example for unilateral independence when he said, "Kosovo is not better than us. We are worthy of independence before them and we ask for backing from the United States and European Union."

Meanwhile, Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman categorically refused to recognise Kosovo, claiming that its independence is a "sensitive issue" that should be part of "a really comprehensive and peaceful solution" established through negotiations. So both the Palestinians and Israelis are consistent in their consideration of Kosovo's example. The party that is not consistent is the United States, which with one hand recognises a new state, and with the other hand blocks another new state.

The difference may be that, since the days of Woodrow Wilson, Washington tends to support the unilateral self-determination of peoples only if they are white Europeans. More to the point, Israel serves US foreign policy interests in the Middle East, but Orthodox Christian Serbia has historically been more aligned with Russia.

The United Nations has not recognised Kosovo because it would set a negative precedent for unilateral secession around the world. Many states in the Arab League and European Union, on the other hand, view Kosovo as a positive precedent for Palestine. Some governments may oppose sovereignty for both Kosovo and Palestine. But the US is virtually alone in its backing for the State of Kosovo, while at the same time hypocritically blocking a State of Palestine.

Americans should start asking President Obama: If Kosovo has a right to exist, why doesn't Palestine also have a right to exist?

Zoltan Grossman is a professor of Geography and and Native American & World Indigenous Peoples Studies at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. He is a civilian Member of the Board of GI Voice, an antiwar veterans group that runs the Coffee Strong resource center for soldiers outside Fort Lewis. He can be reached at [email protected].

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opi...016107881.html

This is a really interesting and thought provoking article. It's a few months old but will always hold relevance so long as Palestine is not recognised 'officially' as a state. I couldn't agree more with the majority of the author's arguments, and it truly exposes that the US foreign policy is ultimately directed at their own interests, and not what is necessarily 'right.'

The points that are in bold and underlined are significant in this issue, highlighting the degree of hypocrisy within US leaders. It also proves how powerful the Jewish lobby groups are in America, which is represented in America's unwavering support for Israel. This type of intervention happened in Macedonia during the 2001 conflict, and who knows if the US will adopt the same pro-terrorist policy they have demonstrated several times in the Balkans if a future war erupts.

Palestine has far more reasons to be recognised than Kosovo has, or ever will. Yet it has once again panned out according to the interests of the US government.

Any thoughts?
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Old 02-16-2012, 10:29 AM   #2
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dont mean to sound like a prick, but you and the author just realised this ?
Since when are things being done that is based on whats right ?
You should of never recognized Kosovo in the first place. We didnt for obvious reasons.

I used to be anti-Isreali but ever since the Turks pushed them into our arms I can honestly say Im happy with the growing relations with them. You know what, at the end of the day they are surrounded my Islamofascists planning their demise. As Christians we do acknowledge the Jews as the "chosen" people and if we are to believe in our traditions then they have a divine right to Jeruselem unless you prefer to give that away to Islam as well. I used to feel for the Palestinians but they cant even get their own act together so if they dont care for their cause, why should I ?

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Old 02-16-2012, 12:03 PM   #3
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Voltron is a confused little child and blind by his pure religion.

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As Christians we do acknowledge the Jews as the "chosen" people and if we are to believe in our traditions then they have a divine right to Jeruselem unless you prefer to give that away to Islam as well.
A typical greek. Jews=chosen people, greeks=pure race, Jews=occupiers, greeks=occupiers.

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I used to feel for the Palestinians but they cant even get their own act together so if they dont care for their cause, why should I ?
They fight and die for their future. What more do you want?
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Old 02-16-2012, 03:55 PM   #4
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the macedonians probably recognized kosovo due to it's albanian minority pressure if it didn't there would b trouble.
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Old 02-16-2012, 04:29 PM   #5
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Palestine deserves statehood much more than Kosovo.
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Old 02-16-2012, 05:00 PM   #6
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dont mean to sound like a prick, but you and the author just realised this ?
Since when are things being done that is based on whats right ?
We agree. Macedonians in Greece learned this the hard way.

The Palestinians deserve their State and they maintain their rage. IF I compare them to Macedonia, I would expect the Palestinians to cradle and preserve their State having fought so hard and so long for it. Macedonians on the other hand have been on a path of self destruction ever since Macedonia fell into their own hands.
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Old 02-16-2012, 05:08 PM   #7
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As Christians we do acknowledge the Jews as the "chosen" people and if we are to believe in our traditions then they have a divine right to Jeruselem unless you prefer to give that away to Islam as well.
I stooped reading after this statement this is what crazy Christian evangelicals believe it is what makes the US love for Israel so strong

Now that you respect the Jews so much how about acknowledging the Macedonian People are second in line
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Old 02-16-2012, 05:26 PM   #8
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I said if we are to believe in our traditional Christian teachings then they are considered the chosen people. I didnt say it the bible does. Last time I checked Palastine was actually a part of Jordan before it got split. They do have a homeland to go to, there are so many Arab countries surrounding them they can literally pick any direction and end up home. As I mentioned before I used to be a fervent Palestinian supporter, but after they started killing each other over political reasons I stopped caring.

Not to mention the rise of Islam all over the place, I came to the conclusion it would be better to have Jereusalem in the hands of the Jews than Arabs. Israel wants a state base on the Jewish ethnos which is something Palestinians reject sound familiar ? Sometimes you guys are the most inconsistent lot I have ever come across.
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Old 02-16-2012, 05:31 PM   #9
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The author fails to acknowledge some fundamental points in this article.

1. When Israel was re-established as an independent state in 1948, it did so according to the UN General Assembly Resolution 181, which called for two states - a Jewish and a Palestinian. Under this plan, the Palestinian state was much larger than the current West Bank, Golan Heights and Gaza Strip. The Israeli's accepted the plan and the Palestinians rejected it.

2. The Arab states waged 3 wars to annihilate the Jewish state, whose right to exist they never recognised.

3. The Arab states and the Palestinians, after losing three major wars, a number of minor wars and two "intifada's" all of a sudden want a two state solution, which Israel agreed to back in 1948 and has been attempting to negotiate, in between wars threatening its existence, ever since.

4. Seeing as one of the two key political movements (Hamas) does not recognise Israel's right to exist (backed by Iran which wants to 'wipe it off the map'), a Palestinian state is an existential threat to Israel. Kosovo, while causing relative chaos, is not an existential threat to any of its neighbours.
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Old 02-16-2012, 06:27 PM   #10
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4. Seeing as one of the two key political movements (Hamas) does not recognise Israel's right to exist (backed by Iran which wants to 'wipe it off the map'), a Palestinian state is an existential threat to Israel. Kosovo, while causing relative chaos, is not an existential threat to any of its neighbours.
Based on the above, it can be argued all of Macedonia's neighbours are existential threats to Macedonia.
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