There is little doubt that the current situation between Israel and Palestine has not moved forward in decades. The whole mess has reached the point that it is impossible to figure out what either side are actually looking for.

I am a big fan of distilling data down to something that makes some sense. I am however old enough to understand how data can be manipulated. Statistics is a dance between the data and the desired end result.

Earlier this week the UN granted Palestine Observer status. A move that has potential consequences. What I round interesting was the vote itself. 138 for, 9 against, and 41 abstentions.

The nine countries saying no were:

Israel, US, Canada, Czech Republic, Panama, and four small islands in the Pacific Ocean (Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, and Palau).

The 41 countries abstaining were:

Albania, Andorra, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Colombia, Croatia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Estonia, Fiji, Germany, Guatemala, Latvia, Malawi, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Holland, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Poland, South Korea, Moldova, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Togo, Tonga, UK, North Ireland, and Fatwatu.

And the majority vote:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chili, China, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Ivory Caust, Cuba, Cyprus, North Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kirghizstan, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Lichtenstein, Luxemburg, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, New Zeeland, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Serra Leon, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Surinam, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Eastern Timor, Trinidad Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

OK, so that is the raw data. It contains very few surprises. I would have fallen off my chair had the US or Israel voted Yes. It was also not much of a shock that Canada aligned themselves with US wishes.

Of equal interest are some of the countries that did not want to get involved in the ‘dog fight’, Australia, the UK and Germany.

More fun though can be found in the ‘spin’ surrounding this vote. My absolute favorite being the Arab version of Fox News, Al Jazeerah.


This is a wonderful example of statistics at work!  They offer this description:

Anti-freedom Israeli-controlled governments (grey) vis-a-vis the Green World, which supports freedom and human rights for the Palestinian people.

Oops, they seem to have lumped the abstentions into the NO category.

Simon Barrett

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