The Palestinians may appeal to the United Nations forstatehood. Again.
That was the message out of Ramallah on Sunday, June 24, when Fatah,the dominant Palestinian faction in the West Bank, concluded a meeting of itscongress.
If you listened closely, you might have heard a collectivehead slap halfway around the world at Foggy bottom. the U.S. State Department foughthard last year to derail this very process at the annual U.N. General Assemblymeeting in Manhattan. the Palestinians delivered their request, but failed togarner enough support in the Security Council, thanks to heavy U.S.and Canadian lobbying. U.S. diplomats then prevailed upon the Palestiniansto shelve their application for nonmember observer status, which would havegranted them some of the rights afforded to sovereign states, including theability to sue the Israelis for war crimes at the International Criminal Courtin the Hague.
The Palestinians backed down last year. This year, they maynot take no for an answer.
Although deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak oncesingle-handedly reined in Palestinian adventurism and prodded Palestinian Authority (PA) PresidentMahmoud Abbas back to the negotiating table, his successor, Muslim Brotherhoodleader Mohamed Morsi, may not follow suit. to put it mildly, encouragingdiplomacy with the Israelis has never been part of the Brotherhood’s platform.
Even if the military retains full control of foreign policyin Egypt (a likely scenario for the foreseeable future), it is still doubtfulthat the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces will stand in the way ofthe Palestinian statehood campaign. indeed, it’s doubtful that any Arab statewill. With the Arab Spring in full bloom, regional supporters ofPalestinian-Israeli diplomacy have long since scurried for cover.
Abbas now cites Israelisettlement activity as the reason he refuses to negotiate. it was never ared line for him in the past, but it’s now a convenient formula for him thatcan’t lose. Palestinians support it. And you hear no complaints from theregion, where anti-Israel rhetoric is growing increasingly strident.
According to Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, the PLO, which is leading the charge to TurtleBay, is now following the lead of a different regional player: Qatar. In lateMarch, Erekatannounced that the Palestinian leadership had reached an agreement withDoha to try again at the U.N. other Palestinian insiders confirm that theQataris are leading the charge, and one former official says they’re evenfunding the legal effort for the PLO, producing analysis on the costs andbenefits of the statehood initiative.
Throughout the spring, in one way or another, Palestinianofficials affirmed this new, yet familiar strategy. for example, Abbas told Tunisian representativesas much in late April, and an unnamed Palestinian official echoed the samesentiments to Xinhua in May. Citing this anonymoussource, the Chinese news agency reported that Abbas was "drumming up supportfor another battle in the United Nations to get a recognition of anindependent Palestinian state."