What do you think this new status for Palestine in the UN will mean for Israel and the peace process?
Most likely, President Abbas will call for the recognition of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and eastern Jerusalem– all territories that were captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (and President Obama) has already rejected this unilateral move on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, saying it would threaten Israeli security and that these unilateral efforts will not facilitate peace. He probably will continue to do so.
At the same time, some Israeli public figures and military intelligence officials are in support of the Palestinian bid. Among them is former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert who has said: “The Palestinian request from the United Nations is congruent with the basic concept of the two-state solution. Therefore, I see no reason to oppose it.”
In the same vein, Yossi Beilin, the architect of the Oslo Accords, had a well-written op-ed in Sunday’s New York Times arguing for why both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama should support Palestinian statehood.
There are other complicated matters at play as well. The wounds from the most rounds of fighting between Israel and Hamas are still fresh, on both sides. It isn’t clear who came out ahead after Operation Pillar of Defense, a less than perfect translation of עַמּוּד עָנָן, and the cease-fire holds a delicate balance. The Palestinian Authority and Fatah have an ambiguous and distressing relationship with the Gaza based Islamic terrorist group Hamas. This, coupled with an imminently nuclear Iran on the horizon, has many concerned.
According to Israeli government spokesperson Mark Regev, the unilateral move on the part of the Palestinian Authority violates “both the spirit and the word of signed agreements to solve issues through negotiations.”
You might recall that Israel was granted statehood in 1947 by the UN and wonder why this is different. David Harris, the Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee, gives a good overview of the differences here. He writes, the “Palestinian gambit was not the result of UN study missions and months-long discussions involving a range of countries. On the contrary, it is a Palestinian idea, endorsed, predictably, by the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which will have no beneficial impact on the ground.”
What do you think?