Forcing the issue over the vote is a virtual win-win situation for the Palestinian Authority, as they either get what they want, or they get an excuse for another intifada, as this report notes the fear of a “wave of anger” in the Palestinian territories and across the Arab world. Indeed, this is blackmail.
The proposal of peace talks as an alternative could place great pressure on Israel, which will be held to the higher side of a double standard on expectations of its willingness to compromise. They may well be pressed just to give the Palestinians what it takes to get the job done, as if this were some golden opportunity, and not just the Palestinian Authority’s attempt to make the world “an offer it can’t refuse.”
“U.S. Appeals to Palestinians to Stall U.N. Vote on Statehood,” by Steven Lee Meyers and Mark Landler for the New York Times, September 3:
WASHINGTON “” The Obama administration has initiated a last-ditch diplomatic campaign to avert a confrontation this month over a plan by Palestinians to seek recognition as a state at the United Nations, but it may already be too late, according to senior American officials and foreign diplomats.
The administration has circulated a proposal for renewed peace talks with the Israelis in the hopes of persuading the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to abandon the bid for recognition at the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly beginning Sept. 20.
The administration has made it clear to Mr. Abbas that it will veto any request presented to the United Nations Security Council to make a Palestinian state a new member outright.
But the United States does not have enough support to block a vote by the General Assembly to elevate the status of the Palestinians” nonvoting observer “entity” to that of a nonvoting observer state. The change would pave the way for the Palestinians to join dozens of United Nations bodies and conventions, and it could strengthen their ability to pursue cases against Israel at the International Criminal Court.
Senior officials said the administration wanted to avoid not only a veto but also the more symbolic and potent General Assembly vote that would leave the United States and only a handful of other nations in the opposition. The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss diplomatic maneuverings, said they feared that in either case a wave of anger could sweep the Palestinian territories and the wider Arab world at a time when the region is already in tumult. President Obama would be put in the position of threatening to veto recognition of the aspirations of most Palestinians or risk alienating Israel and its political supporters in the United States.
“If you put the alternative out there, then you”ve suddenly just changed the circumstances and changed the dynamic,” a senior administration official involved in the flurry of diplomacy said Thursday. “And that’s what we”re trying very much to do.”
Efforts to head off the Palestinian diplomatic drive have percolated all summer but have taken on urgency as the vote looms in the coming weeks. “It’s not clear to me how it can be avoided at the moment,” said Ghaith al-Omari, a former Palestinian negotiator who is now executive director of the American Task Force on Palestine in Washington. “An American veto could inflame emotions and bring anti-American sentiment to the forefront across the region.”
While some officials remain optimistic that a compromise can be found, the administration has simultaneously begun planning to limit the fallout of a statehood vote. A primary focus is to ensure the Israelis and Palestinians continue to cooperate on security matters in the West Bank and along Israel’s borders, administration officials said.
“We”re still focused on Plan A,” another senior administration official said, referring to the diplomatic efforts by the administration’s new special envoy, David M. Hale, and the president’s Middle East adviser on the National Security Council, Dennis B. Ross. Mr. Hale replaced the more prominent George J. Mitchell Jr., who resigned in May after two years of frustrated efforts to make progress on a peace deal.
The State Department late last month issued a formal diplomatic message to more than 70 countries urging them to oppose any unilateral moves by the Palestinians at the United Nations. The message, delivered by American ambassadors to their diplomatic counterparts in those countries, argued that a vote would destabilize the region and undermine peace efforts, though those are, at least for now, moribund….