With the UN Security Council moving ahead with its review of the Palestinian bid for membership on Friday, it’s only a matter of time before the Council will vote on the issue. And while the Quartet continues its push to bring both parties back to the negotiating table, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ gambit at the UN only reinforced the failure of the peace process and its goal of creating two states for two peoples living side-by-side in peace and security.
From the Israeli perspective, the Palestinian statehood bid exacerbates Israel’s pessimism about the viability of a potential peace in the new Middle East. Already, events over the past year – such as Hamas increasing its stockpile of rockets in Gaza, Hezbollah tightening its grip over Lebanon, the cold peace with Egypt beginning to erode, the Muslim Brotherhood possibly gaining power in Jordan, and Iran inching closer to obtaining a nuclear weapon – have surely caused Israelis to question whether or not a two-state solution remains achievable.
Palestinians rally in support of the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN.
Indeed, an Egyptian or Jordanian abrogation of their peace treaties with Israel would deter Israel from signing anything deemed a meaningless piece of paper in the future. Furthermore, a nuclear-armed Iran would make achieving a two state solution all but impossible with Israel unable to take risks to its security amid dangerous regional threats.
Even in a world where Egypt and Jordan respect their peace treaties and Iran does not get the bomb, Palestinian intransigence to compromise and enter into negotiations might still preclude the prospect of a two-state solution.
Nearly two decades after the Israeli-Palestinian peace process began, real peace between the two parties remains as elusive as ever. Indeed, what is needed is strong leadership — perhaps more so from Washington than from Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Without it, we are left with unilateral acts, such as the Palestinians’ statehood bid at the UN, rather than measures that bring the two sides closer together. While a two-state solution remains ideal, without real leadership reaching that goal in the near term is almost impossible.