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Yesterday in Ramallah, the West Bank.(Abbas Momani/AFP/Getty Images)

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 Israel—this last part not being part of the bet’s terms, but the consequence nonetheless the logic behind it). I bet him that they wouldn’t; I guessed that they would bungle it. This doesn’t reflect any deep-seated feeling I have about that people, but rather a clear-eyed look at their history, which has seen their leadership—and it’s largely the same leadership—constantly mangle chances to advance their cause, and seemingly go out of their way to fulfill that obnoxious dictate of Abba Eban’s that I can’t even bear to write down.

I’m 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, Nigeria—thanks, Ehud Barak—and perhaps Gabon and Bosnia-Herzegovina—they need seven to defeat a resolution). Meantime, Abbas is free to negotiate, and—whaddya know?—is 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 home—going up against the Americans and seeking full recognition for Palestine—without many actual sacrifices.

So I’m 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 ‘Pay in Blood’ for Perry’s ‘Obsession’ [Ben Smith]
Earlier: BREAKING: Abbas to Go to Security Council





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