Report: Palestinians within two votes on UN Security Council of forcing Obama veto

The bad news? This will undo any bit of goodwill we might have earned by siding with the people against their governments during the Arab Spring.

The good news? The next big apology speech O gives in Cairo is shaping up to be a doozy.

Palestinian officials have so far enlisted the support of at least six or seven members of the 15-member Security Council in their bid to gain United Nations recognition as a sovereign state, a senior official said Tuesday…

For any decision to pass in the 15-member Council, nine affirmative votes are needed, as well as no veto by any of the permanent Security Council members. The United States holds a veto and has promised to use it, if necessary.

Even as Palestinian diplomats work feverishly to enlist the nine votes to achieve a moral victory – even if it results in a technical defeat – US diplomats were working frantically to muster a blocking minority of seven…

The Palestinians are trying to win over Gabon, Nigeria and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The first, west-central African state seemed to have made up its mind to vote for the Palestinians, but the other two remained hesitant, Malki said.

And so it came to pass that the fate of the peace process and of American influence in the Middle East fell to Gabon, Nigeria, and Bosnia, the way any smart, sane international assembly would want it. Obama’s planning to meet tomorrow with Netanyahu and Abbas in an eleventh-hour attempt to derail this statehood vote before Friday. He still has a trump card to play besides the veto and it sounds like he’s ready to play it: The U.S. and its partners could postpone a Security Council vote for weeks or even months by referring the Palestinians’ bid to a panel for further study, which would buy time to restart negotiations and hopefully let the issue slip quietly from people’s memories. However:

Officials also said Mr. Abbas could seek enhanced observer states at the U.N. through a vote at the General Assembly, which would allow the Palestinians to join such international groups as the U.N. Human Rights Committee and the International Criminal Court. If so, the U.S. and Europeans would try to water down the resolution in a way that might keep the peace process alive. Officials are calling this option “GA Light.”…

Another Palestinian official Tuesday said that the U.S. effort to stall a Security Council vote would be noticed by the Arab world, even if Washington doesn’t veto the initiative. “We all know who was behind this,” the official said.

Avoiding the high drama of having to cast a veto would be nice, if only because it would deny Islamists some easy video propaganda, but the official is right. The damage will be done regardless unless Abbas can be convinced to pull his bid first.

Here’s John Bolton from last night’s Greta offering some strong medicine instead: Tell the Security Council that if they grant the Palestinians statehood, we’ll defund the UN. Not sure how that would solve the baseline problem of preserving what little goodwill/influence the U.S. has in the region, but it’s a pleasing thought regardless. Exit question: If the Palestinians force Obama to veto and Congress retaliates with a bill that would cut aid to the Palestinian Authority, would O dare veto that? I’m guessing no with 99 percent certainty, but I reserve that one percent of doubt because he might be desperate in the aftermath to rebuild ties with Arab powers and that would be a showy way of doing it. Click the image to watch.