Last week, in Marc Tracy’s survey of the Middle East, he noted that “The Palestinian initiative to seek United Nations endorsement of statehood at the next General Assembly, in September, is only gaining speed—and the United States will not be able to veto this.” [Emphasis mine]
Turns out that last part isn’t completely true: The Grey Lady, correcting itself, realized that the resolution will have to pass through the Security Council before it gets to the General Assembly, and in the Security Council the US does indeed wield the power of the veto. Whoops.
This is good news for Israel (I mean, I say news but they probably already knew). Even if Obama wanted to withhold the veto there is no way—unless Israel makes a ridiculous misstep—that he’ll do so in the midst of the election. The things to watch for are whether Obama might attempt the kind of middle-way diplomacy that got everyone furious at him in February, or will ask for some concession—or Rand Paul (or his dad) get the Republican nomination, allowing Obama to run to the right of them on Israel. Even if he did try to play hardball, after February nobody would take him seriously. The U.S. veto is safe, and the Palestinian resolution will never see the Assembly floor.