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P.A.’s Unilateral Plan Not Finding Backers

U.S., Europeans, Hamas all voice objections

Ari M. Brostoff
November 17, 2009
(Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images)
(Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images)

The Palestinian Authority’s new strategy—unilaterally declaring independence from Israel, then asking the U.N. Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state—doesn’t seem to be going very well. Yesterday, the United States weighed in for the first time since Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat floated it over the weekend, with U.S. senators on a visit to Israel yesterday afternoon saying their country would veto an unilateral declaration in the Security Council, according to Haaretz. Later yesterday evening, the U.S. State Department formally rejected the idea: “It is our strong belief and conviction that the best means to achieve the common goal of a contiguous and viable Palestine is through negotiations between the parties,” it said in a statement. Meantime, the current European Union president, Carl Bildt of Sweden, sent his own message of non-support. “I would hope that we would be in a position to recognize a Palestinian state, but there has to be one first, so I think that is somewhat premature,” he said this morning, according to Al Jazeera.

The Arab League, which includes most Arab states in the Middle East, is still backing the PA’s plan, the BBC says. The P.A.’s rival, Hamas, however, made the valid point yesterday that the new strategy is made somewhat lamer for not being exactly new. As Haaretz put it, “a unilateral declaration of statehood had already been made by the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in 1988.”

Ari M. Brostoff is Culture Editor at Jewish Currents.