In September, the
While such a ploy would not give the PA formal U.N. membership, it would legitimize PA state-building efforts and put
As former House Speaker Tip O'Neil once said, "All politics is local," and domestic Palestinian politics is driving the U.N. bid. Thanks to some inept U.S. diplomacy, whereby President
Thus, for almost a year, there has been no movement in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and Palestinians have been growing increasingly restive, particularly under the influence of the Arab Spring. One of Mr. Abbas' responses was to reconcile his West Bank-based
How will the U.S. and Israel will respond to the Palestinian leader's diplomatic ploy? Both insist that a Palestinian state can only come into existence through negotiations, not via a General Assembly resolution — and the
First, the wording of the document could mirror President Obama's May 19 speech which called for a peace settlement along the 1967 lines, with land swaps and due regard for Israeli security needs. This, at one step, would eliminate the settlement issue as a barrier to the resumption of negotiations, since Israel would have to give up most of its settlements — except for those around Jerusalem — as part of a land swap.
Second, to overcome Israeli objections to such an arrangement, the document could also refer to the establishment of both Jewish and Palestinian states as part of a peace agreement. Since Mr. Netanyahu has made such a major point about the need for the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state (something that would obviate any mass return of Palestinians to Israel), it could be difficult for him to turn down such wording.
Third, the U.S. and Israel could invite Mr. Abbas to return to negotiations on the basis of the document agreed to by the General Assembly, assuming it met the above conditions. This would be a way of enabling Mr. Abbas to extricate himself from the imbroglio over the issue of
The question, of course, is whether Mr. Netanyahu would agree to such an arrangement. Israeli elections are due in the next 24 months, and a gesture toward peace would strengthen his position among swing voters, something he, as the leader of the