Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Abbas Demands Palestinian Statehood Recognition at U.N.

Palestinian President Abbas was the first international leader called by newly inaugurated President Barack Obama in January, 2009. Unusual choice for a first call from the new American President, but that was it.

Monday, President Obama went to New York City to tend to business at the U.N. His Israeli-Palestinian policy is coming off its wheels. President Abbas is in New York to push for a U.N. Security Council vote on Palestinian membership at the U.N., in their quest for statehood.

The frenetic diplomacy was happening as Abbas arrived Monday in New York to take his case to the Security Council's 15 members, nine of whose support — and no vetoes — would be needed for passage.

Obama arrives Monday evening, without a clear plan to successfully convince the Palestinians to drop their bid. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was scheduled to arrive Wednesday, when the U.N. gathering formally opens.

The Palestinians are frustrated by their inability to win from Israel concessions such as a freeze on settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. And with violence out of the question and bilateral talks with Israel failing, they see the U.N. route as the only viable route for progress in the short term.

To address the Palestinian concerns, Western officials have discussed the possibility of including some timeframes, however vague, in any statement put out by the Quartet, officials said. These would focus on the restart of Israeli-Palestinian talks and signs of tangible progress once negotiations begin.

No clear plan from President Obama to address this issue?

Meanwhile, Palestinian President Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas vowed not to back down despite "tremendous pressure" on the bid for U.N. recognition and membership in the world body.

Abbas insisted that the statehood goal should not derail a resumption of direct negotiations. The U.S. views the Palestinian plan as counterproductive and a potential roadblock to the peace effort. The U.S. has vowed to veto the measure in the U.N. Security Council.

The pressure from the United States and other quarters was matched by feverish efforts to offer the Palestinian leadership a viable plan forward, conscious that the current state of negotiations with the Jewish state is leading nowhere.

The Palestinians think they are at a dead end. Their insistance that Israel stop the settlements being built in the West Bank have not stopped them. However, Barack Obama does not have a friendly relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Here's a little historical perspective about the peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians offered by Danny Ayalon, Israel's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs:

Land deals for peace has never worked. By going around the peace negotiations with Israel and going directly to the U.N. to demand statehood recognition is a complete breakdown in the two state process. Palestinians are not true partners in the process. If Abbas truly wanted a peaceful, two state solution in the region, he would have accepted previous deals offered by Israelis, former President Clinton and the Bush administration. He has rejected all and the violence and Palestinian isolation continue.

Abbas does not serve his people well.

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