The United Nations Security Council met September 26 to begin informal talks on the Palestinian Authority’s application for statehood. The United States and UK oppose statehood, while Russia and France support it.
“It’s highly likely that the consultations will continue for some weeks,” the deputy head of one Western mission to the United Nations told Haaretz. “The Palestinian application is considered an extremely sensitive issue, and in particular, it’s a source of controversy between the Council’s two leading powers, the United States and Russia. Therefore, no quick decision that would produce an official debate and vote is expected.”
Despite this fact, the Palestinians are hopeful. President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas told the cheering crowd that greeted him in Ramallah: “The Palestinian spring is certainly under way, with the creation of an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital. The journey is long and there are many obstacles, but with our people’s steadfastness, we will overcome these obstacles.”
The Palestinians’ enthusiasm for a state will probably be met with a frustrating delay in the Security Council. At the best of times there is a simmering tension in Israel, but this could make it boil over.
As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed out in his masterful speech to the UN General Assembly, “The truth is that so far the Palestinians have refused to negotiate. The truth is that Israel wants peace with a Palestinian state, but the Palestinians want a state without peace.” By going to the UN this way, the Palestinians have shown they don’t want peace. If they don’t get their way there, could there be another intifada?
Sky News correspondent Tim Marshall writes from Jerusalem that “The vote on the UN could be forced, triggering the U.S. veto, which in turn would very likely lead to violence in the West Bank and Israel—and possibly against U.S. interests in the wider region.”
All the Palestinians’ bid for UN statehood seems to have done is to stir up yet more hatred for Israel in the Middle East and around the world. ▪