Defying U.S. and Israeli opposition, the Palestinian officially asked the United Nations on Friday to accept them as a member state, sidestepping nearly two decades of troubled negotiations in the hope this dramatic move on the world stage would reenergize their quest for an independent homeland.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas formally submitted the application for full U.N. membership after rebuffing an intense U.S.-led effort to sway him from the statehood bid earlier this week. …
A top aide, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the move, said that in the letter to Ban accompanying the application, Abbas asks the U.N. chief to immediately send on the request for full U.N. membership to the Security Council and the General Assembly, which is likely to be asked to approve a more modest status upgrade if the bid in the Council founders as expected.
The move comes as a rebuke to Barack Obama, who tried to warn the Palestinians that attempting an end-around on direct negotiations would carry significant political consequences. Abbas’ persistence appears to show that Obama has little influence on events in the conflict now, which may have its own repercussions in the US for his administration. Congress will almost certainly respond by suspending aid to the Palestinians, and Obama will have to decide whether to defy a bipartisan effort to punish Abbas for his actions.
Realistically speaking, though, this won’t change much. Obama will be forced to veto this when it hits the Security Council; he has to hope that one of the other veto-holding nations to join him. He cannot let this go through the UNSC if he wants to win another term as President. Delaying it by sending it to a “study committee” is tantamount to an endorsement, and it would make a later veto even more explosive. Abbas could focus on a General Assembly resolution, but that has no legal force in international relations.
Tony Blair was apparently impressed by Abbas’ strategy:
Ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair, now envoy to the group of Middle East negotiators known as the Quartet, acknowledged that Abbas had forced a renewed bout of activity aimed at restarting peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
“If this is a tactic in one sense it’s worked brilliantly — people are focused now on what we can do to relaunch a negotiation,” Blair told BBC radio.
The problem with this analysis is that it assumes that Abbas wants a two-state solution. The Palestinians have been repeatedly offered just that, only to not just reject proposals but negotiations as well. They want a one-state solution, and all anyone needs to do is look at the logo for the Palestinian permanent-observer mission at the UN to see what kind of borders they will accept:
I’m with Mike Huckabee, who suggested yesterday that we should be encouraging Israelis to build more housing in Jerusalem in order to pressure the Palestinians to get serious about peace. If they want a state, they need to first accept Israel, and the logo speaks volumes about their real intentions.