Abbasâ Gambit Looking More Like a Bluff
I win a bet, but do not rejoice
I made a bet with my colleague Liel Leibovitz. Liel, ever the lefty idealist, asserted that the Palestinian Authority would submit a resolution for some kind of symbolic statehood to the U.N. General Assembly (and that it would then pass with a significant majority, putting real pressure on Israelâthis last part not being part of the betâs terms, but the consequence nonetheless the logic behind it). I bet him that they wouldnât; I guessed that they would bungle it. This doesnât reflect any deep-seated feeling I have about that people, but rather a clear-eyed look at their history, which has seen their leadershipâand itâs largely the same leadershipâconstantly mangle chances to advance their cause, and seemingly go out of their way to fulfill that obnoxious dictate of Abba Ebanâs that I canât even bear to write down.
Iâm probably going to win. As we know, Palestinian Authority President Abbas pledged, rather, to submit a resolution to the U.N. Security Council. There, it will take weeks, even months, even an indefinite period of time, to make its way through the system. There, it faces certain veto and in fact possible defeat without one, as six or seven Security Council countries are likely to vote against (the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Colombia, Nigeriaâthanks, Ehud Barakâand perhaps Gabon and Bosnia-Herzegovinaâthey need seven to defeat a resolution). Meantime, Abbas is free to negotiate, andâwhaddya know?âis said to be planning to meet with President Obama today on the sidelines, and has said he’d be willing to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu as well. As Hussein Ibish points out, if Abbas were truly all in, he would have already submitted his resolution, and then let the parties deal with him. (Ibish also remonstrates those who would cut aid to the P.A., noting that this would be very bad not only for them but for Israel as well.) Instead, in letting it play out this way, Abbas is very clearly doing what it takes to save face at homeâgoing up against the Americans and seeking full recognition for Palestineâwithout many actual sacrifices.
So Iâm probably going to win. And that is unfortunate for the Palestinians, who deserve leaders who have more to lose than mere credibility. And for that reason, I take no consolation from my victory (though I will take lunch at the great Lebanese place near our offices; those were the terms).
Statehood Bid Could Be Delayed for Weeks [Haaretz/Forward]
Last-Minute Deal Could Avert Collision Course at the U.N. [The National]
U.N. May Delay Vote on Statehood [LAT]
Obama Backer: Israelis Would âPay in Bloodâ for Perryâs âObsessionâ [Ben Smith]
Earlier: BREAKING: Abbas to Go to Security Council