UNFORTUNATELY

Hazem Balousha

I arrived in New York City on the 29th of November, it was snowing. Oh my God, I thought, is it going to last for long? Will the weather here be as cold as American policy toward the Arab world, Palestine in particular? Will the American people be cold toward us, frozen by the icy autumn weather?

I have dreamed of visiting the United States for many years, but my excitement was mixed with fears about what I would find, especially following the recent American opposition to Palestinian statehood at the UN.

But New York City is a great a place– a melting of many nations. People from all over the world speaking in different languages, nobody paying attention to or bothered by anyone else.

I have met many senior officials here at the United Nations, all the way up to the Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, as well as many international journalists working here in the United States. I was amazed how everything at the United Nations is so well organized– everybody knows his duties. Hundreds, it seems like thousands of people, sitting behind desks working.

I have listened carefully to the UN officials, people from many nations, not only Americans. Their explanations sound great on the surface. Each department is taking care of its work; thousands of topics are being addressed. Everyone is specializing in his or her own area and no one will give an opinion about something out of their specialization. They simply stop the questions by saying they don’t know enough about the issue.

However, I was surprised at how many departments at the UN are working on Palestinian issues. these people don’t yet have the answers we need. I have heard many positive speeches. I am convinced of UN support for the Palestinian people, but the reality is still difficult. Whenever the subject of a Palestinian solution came up, people were quick to use the one of the more popular words at the UN— “UNFORTUNATELY.”

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