The United States officially asked the Palestinian Authority (PA) last Wednesday to abandon its plan to go to the United Nations with a bid to recognize an independent Palestinian state along the 1967 border — in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem.
Thumbing his nose at the U.S., however, one day after his meeting with White House officials, PA President Mahmoud Abbas announced that he plans to proceed with his UN endeavor, even if the U.S. or Middle East Quartet convince Israel to return to peace talks and agree to Palestinian demands, such as the total end to building in settlement areas and a Palestinian state based on Israel’s 1967 borders.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas
Time for the U.S. to stop Abbas in his tracks is running out. The Palestinian president plans to arrive in New York this Monday, where he will meet with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and hand over the Palestinian application for membership. The Secretary General will then give the application to the UN Security Council for review, where it is believed it will reach its demise with a U.S. veto. While Abbas has not stated what he will do after that, he is expected to ask the UN General Assembly to declare Palestine a UN nonmember state.
It is the Palestinian people that have the most to lose from Abbas’s maneuver. Futile acts such as going to the UN only work against progress by further straining Israeli-Palestinian tensions and, consequently, delaying peace talks — and peace. Palestinian Authority efforts would be better served at a negotiations drawing board with Israel attempting to produce real, tangible, results.