Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced that he would seek recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations Security Council next week, a move that intensifies already considerable tensions in one of the Middle East’s most intractable conflicts. By approaching the U.N. directly, Abbas will circumvent Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations that have gone on for the last 20 years.
Throughout that period, the U.S. has maintained clear support for the negotiation process. If the Obama administration vetoes Palestine’s bid as expected, American credibility in the Arab world—which is already poor—will continue to take a beating. —ARK
The New York Times:
An American veto of the Palestinian bid for full membership would serve as another blow to American credibility in the Arab world, as the Obama administration tries to place itself on the side of protesters in Arab autocracies seeking freedom, justice and a notion of dignity. For many in the region, the plight of Palestinians, under more than four decades of occupation, encapsulates those ideals.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, who toured the region this week, highlighted that sense of urgency among many in the Arab world for the Palestinians to gain what they see as long overdue recognition. “Recognizing the Palestinian state is not an option, it is an obligation,” Mr. Erdogan said at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, the first stop on his tour. “It is time for the flag of Palestine to be hoisted at the United Nations.”
The very clarity of Mr. Erdogan’s comments seemed to contrast with an American policy toward the region that critics view as muddled, as the Obama administration supports uprisings in Libya and Syria but looks the other way at a crackdown by its ally Bahrain. A veto of Palestinian statehood would almost assuredly intensify perceptions of American double standards.
Flickr / World Economic Forum
“We need to have full membership at the U.N.,” Mahmoud Abbas said in a televised speech Friday. “We need a state, a seat at the United Nations.”