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Palestinians Reconsider U.N. Statehood Push

Change represents victory for Israel and, even more, Obama

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Palestinian President Abbas last month.(Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

“We are trapped with September,” one Palestinan Authority official told the AP. Most of President Abbas’s top advisers are, reportedly, quietly telling him not to push a U.N. General Assembly statehood vote in September, even as there is also a sense that he has little choice but to go through with it anyway given how much he has staked on it. The main problem cited is that true sovereignty requires Security Council approval, and the United States will exercise its veto to prevent that. But the everyone has long known that. More likely, the recent change of heart is also a reflection of President Obama’s successful diplomacy, which brought symbolically important countries in Europe over to its position, namely, that Palestinian statehood should only be achieved via U.S.-brokered direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

That diplomacy began with Obama’s “1967 borders” speech, in which, it seems increasingly clear, he was cruel in order to be kind—was rhetorically tough on Israel (while giving essentially nothing away substantively) in order to buy credibility with the Germans, the British, and the French. That diplomacy continued into this week, with the U.S. effectively crippling France’s proposed talks (which the Palestinians jumped at, but which Israel and the U.S. are lukewarm on; instead, Secretary of State Clinton separately met with negotiators from both sides). The crowning moment? On Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stood beside President Obama as he bluntly requested that the Palestinians halt their unilateral statehood efforts. Because of his own efforts, it is looking more likely that he will get his wish, or, if he doesn’t, that he may as well have.

AP Exclusive: Palestinians Have Second Thoughts About U.N. Independence Drive [AP/WP]
Palestinian Leadership Divided Over Plan to Seek U.N. Recognition [Haaretz]
France to Pursue Mideast Conference Despite U.S. Reservations [Haaretz]
Clinton Meets with Palestinian, Israeli Negotiators [JTA]
Obama to Palestinians: Drop U.N. Statehood Bid [Ynet]
Earlier: Did Obama Sway Europe to Israel’s Side?

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Not to be unduly optimistic about this, but a negotiated deal would be in Netanyahu and Abbas’s interests, however narrowly they define them. Establishing a state with the blessing of the major Western powers, and Eastern for that matter, would probably qualify Palestine for receiving more aid, which would help pacify a restive population. That, in turn, would help keep Hamas, which clearly thinks it can get the better of Abbas once it has a hand on the tiller, bottled up. For Netanyahu, a negotiated settlement would demilitarize Palestinian, freeing him up to work productively with Israel’s otherwise allies, or potential allies, to work in concert to neutralize Iran. Simply put, it would win both Netanyahu and Abbas willing international constituencies who would help work toward solutions to their respective problems, viz. a stalled economy and the menace of a neighboring and possibly unstable nuclear state.

Ira L. says:

Re: “1967 borders” speech [..] was rhetorically tough on Israel (while giving essentially nothing away substantively)

Oh, please… This Obama worship is blinding you again. At least you could have mentioned that there is more than one view on the subject rather than simply declare it so. Perhaps, read a bit of Dershowitz to get another opinion: http://bit.ly/iTJwbD

Beatrix says:

Obama didn’t get England or Italy to back him, he alienated France and Israel, and though Abbas didn’t request Obama’s remark on the 1967 borders, he used it as another excuse not to negotiate. Per Abbas and Erekat, “No negotiation until Israel accepts ’67 borders.”

What is it that Obama accomplished. Oh, yes, Germany sides with him. For the moment.

Beatrix says:

By the way, the change came after Hamas rejected Fayyad, Fatah’s choice for leader. Hamas, who probably can no longer win an election, wants one of their own to lead Palestine.

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Palestinians Reconsider U.N. Statehood Push

Change represents victory for Israel and, even more, Obama

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