On November 29, 2012, the Palestinian Authority will request that the General Assembly adopt a resolution to upgrade the Palestinian representation from Observer status to a non-Member State of the United Nations. This follows last year’s failed attempt to have the United Nations Security Council consider their Unilateral Declaration of Independence. This is a matter of great significance and potential impact.
The request for upgraded status will not resolve any of the core issues, including borders and refugees, and could trigger the cut-off of aid from the United States and other countries, as this unilateral action violates all previous agreements and is opposed by much of the Western world.
If this political maneuver is successful, not only will the conflict continue and the lives of Palestinians on the ground not change for the better, but this could potentially make things much worse. It will raise the expectations of Palestinians who will soon see that there is no improvement and perhaps, heavy losses. The proposed direct negotiations with Israel, long stalled by Abbas’ refusal to talk, would be further diminished. Israel would also take measures in response to reflect its disapproval.
Support Palestinian Statehood By YOSSI BEILIN
THE cease-fire that ended the latest round of violence between Israel and the Palestinians has enhanced the popularity of the militant group Hamas. This extremist organization has become the only interlocutor for the Arab world, for the West and, indirectly, for Israel. But Hamas refuses to recognize Israel’s existence or to negotiate with Israelis. Meanwhile, the pragmatic Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, is rapidly losing legitimacy and Israel’s recent strikes on Gaza will only weaken it further. Negotiating with Hamas may secure a lull, but Hamas cannot be a partner for peace.
If the world wants to express support for the Palestinian party that recognizes Israel, seeks to avoid violence, and genuinely wishes to reach a peace agreement in which a Palestinian state exists alongside — not instead of — Israel, it will have its chance later this week when Mr. Abbas makes his bid for recognition of Palestinian statehood before the United Nations. If American and Israeli opposition to a Palestinian bid continues, it could serve as a mortal blow to Mr. Abbas, and end up being a prize that enhances the power and legitimacy of Hamas.
It is paradoxical that Israel’s current government is so vehemently opposed to Mr. Abbas’s bid for recognition. After all, it was 65 years ago this week, on Nov. 29, 1947, that the Palestinians and their friends in the Arab world expressly rejected United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181, which recognized the need to establish a Jewish state alongside an Arab state in the former British Mandate territory of Palestine.
Related Video: Why a Unilateral Declaration of Palestinian Statehood is a Bad Idea