This has more to do with Palestinian infighting than it does with Israel, and it’s highly likely to backfire. Which means it’s no different from 90 percent of Palestinian political gambits.
You know the UN motto: You can never have too many Israel-hating pro-terrorist states.
[T]he vote offered a showcase for an extraordinary international lineup of support for the Palestinians and constituted a deeply symbolic achievement for their cause, made even weightier by arriving on the 65th anniversary of the General Assembly vote that divided the former British Mandate of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and the other Arab — a vote that Israel considers the international seal of approval for its birth…
A major concern for the Americans is that the Palestinians might use their new status to try to join the International Criminal Court. That prospect particularly worries the Israelis, who fear that the Palestinians might press for an investigation of their practices in the occupied territories.
Another worry is that the Palestinians might use the vote to seek membership in specialized agencies of the United Nations, a move that could have consequences for the financing of the international organizations as well as the Palestinian Authority itself. Congress cut off financing to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, also known as Unesco, in 2011 after it accepted Palestine as a member. The United States is a major contributor to many of these agencies and plays an active role on their governing boards.
The vote was 138-9 with 41 abstentions, and it was indeed the 65th anniversary of Arabs deciding that a Jewish state alongside a Palestinian one was a casus belli, not a “diplomatic solution.” So why’d they do it? Because, with his pal Mubarak swept away by the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas enjoying a new shot of jihadi cred from its latest glorious futile skirmish with Israel, Mahmoud Abbas is a forgotten man in the Middle East. He’ll take this back to the West Bank as proof of his stature, which is one of the reasons why some western nations voted for statehood (or abstained). They’re handing him a counterweight, in theory, against Hamas in the battle for Palestinian legitimacy. Just one problem: Who’s going to explain to the Palestinians back home that tonight’s vote achieved little more than the right to join UNESCO? Susan Rice, who’s celebrating her latest diplomatic “victory” this evening, at least made some sense afterward:
Today’s grand pronouncements will soon fade. And the Palestinian people will wake up tomorrow and find that little about their lives has changed, save that the prospects of a durable peace have only receded…
[T]oday’s vote should not be misconstrued by any as constituting eligibility for U.N. membership. It does not. This resolution does not establish that Palestine is a state.
The United States believes the current resolution should not and cannot be read as establishing terms of reference. In many respects, the resolution prejudges the very issues it says are to be resolved through negotiation, particularly with respect to territory. At the same time, it virtually ignores other core questions such as security, which must be solved for any viable agreement to be achieved.
Judging from the amount of celebrating in Ramallah tonight, Palestinians are verrry excited about their new status. How do you suppose Abbas’s stature will fare when they come to realize that nothing much is different, especially when Hamas starts demagoging his failure as proof that jihad and intifada are the only paths? There’s already some stirring in Congress to cut aid to the Palestinian Authority as punishment for today’s ploy; even if Congress maintains the aid for now, it’s sure to disappear if/when Abbas sues Israel in the International Criminal Court over alleged war crimes — or, more likely, settlements — which he’ll now be under tremendous domestic pressure to do. So instead of a nonexistent peace process between Israel and the PA, soon we’ll be back to spiraling hostility between the two. And if you’re a Palestinian facing spiraling hostility with Israel, why would you prefer Abbas to Hamas? (For just that reason, Israel’s already backing away from threats to impose sanctions on the West Bank for today’s UN vote. Abbas has enough problems vis-a-vis Hamas that Netanyahu will be cautious about adding to them.)
Long story short, Muslim regimes and the international left will soon have a new diplomatic tool with which to try to delegitimize Israel and the Palestinian project of ending the Zionist dream will continue to go nowhere. I read somewhere recently that O might want to try a new push for Israeli/Palestinian peace in his second term in the interest of legacy-building. That was always an exceedingly heavy lift, but given the fact that Netanyahu won’t want to reward today’s vote by restarting negotiations in the wake of it, it just got a bit heavier. Smart thinking, Abbas. Here’s Hillary at a presser yesterday. Skip to 6:00.