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Palestinian state vote in the UN? Powder keg, match–some assembly required.

President Obama has one job area where he gets good marks, relatively speaking.  Not particularly high marks but the positive side is higher than the negative.   For the life of me, I’m not sure why, but that’s the way it is.   That area is foreign policy.

But that could take a but of a hit soon if what is afoot in the UN comes to pass:

The Obama administration has initiated a last-ditch diplomatic campaign to avert a confrontation this month over a plan by Palestinians to seek recognition as a state at the United Nations, but it may already be too late, according to senior American officials and foreign diplomats.

The Palestinians apparently see the Third World Debating Club, also known as the UN, as a venue to increase their power within the UN and use it to leverage their fight against Israel.

A General Assembly vote (the US has said it would veto a Security Council vote) would change the dynamic of the relationship the Palestinians now have with the UN.  The US does not have the votes to block a General Assembly okay, which means:

…a vote by the General Assembly to elevate the status of the Palestinians’ nonvoting observer “entity” to that of a nonvoting observer state. The change would pave the way for the Palestinians to join dozens of United Nations bodies and conventions, and it could strengthen their ability to pursue cases against Israel at the International Criminal Court.

Oh happy days.  That would certainly make the region more stable, no?

Of course, the Obama administration’s efforts at peace talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis is, as the New York Times charitably describes them, are “moribund”.   In fact, they’ve been an abject failure, partially because of the treatment Obama has meted out to Israel during his tenure.  Relations have been strained at times to say the least.  And this latest move by the Palestinians makes the situation even more difficult:

Senior officials said the administration wanted to avoid not only a veto but also the more symbolic and potent General Assembly vote that would leave the United States and only a handful of other nations in the opposition. The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss diplomatic maneuverings, said they feared that in either case a wave of anger could sweep the Palestinian territories and the wider Arab world at a time when the region is already in tumult. President Obama would be put in the position of threatening to veto recognition of the aspirations of most Palestinians or risk alienating Israel and its political supporters in the United States.

The solution?  Well, apparently the administration is trying to revive talks between the two because they seem to believe that Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has said he’d forego the vote for substantive talks.

But the key here is to be found in the last sentence of the cited paragraph above.   And it all has to do with politics.   Either way, it seems Obama is screwed.  Unless he can find an alternative both sides accept (talks) he is going to definitely alienate one side or the other and their supporters as well.   In the US that means the Jewish voting bloc that provides him much funding or the left who’ve been Palestinian state supporters for years.   In the Middle East, the veto would be seen as the US again interfering and Obama would become just as “loved” as George Bush was.

The chances of getting talks moving again?  Probably not so good:

“If you put the alternative out there, then you’ve suddenly just changed the circumstances and changed the dynamic,” a senior administration official involved in the flurry of diplomacy said Thursday. “And that’s what we’re trying very much to do.”

Efforts to head off the Palestinian diplomatic drive have percolated all summer but have taken on urgency as the vote looms in the coming weeks. “It’s not clear to me how it can be avoided at the moment,” said Ghaith al-Omari, a former Palestinian negotiator who is now executive director of the American Task Force on Palestine in Washington. “An American veto could inflame emotions and bring anti-American sentiment to the forefront across the region.”

While some officials remain optimistic that a compromise can be found, the administration has simultaneously begun planning to limit the fallout of a statehood vote.

And fallout there will be regardless of what the US does.

It could also come to haunt Obama domestically as his action (or inaction) will indeed rebound on him negatively in one or the other parts of his base.  The one area in which he gets decent marks may soon be in the cellar with all the rest.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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10 Responses to Palestinian state vote in the UN? Powder keg, match–some assembly required.

  • The lesson for today is plain. If President Obama wants to block a General Assembly Palestinian statehood resolution, he should act essentially as Messrs. Bush and Baker did. Yet Mr. Obama is highly unlikely to do anything so decisive, which is why many in America and Israel remain gravely concerned about this latest Palestinian diplomatic ploy.
    Accordingly, we should turn to Congress, which has a rich history of dealing with U.N. actions it doesn’t appreciate. Rather than wait for a Baker-like threat, Congress should legislate broadly that any U.N. action that purports to acknowledge or authorize Palestinian statehood will result in a cutoff of all U.S. contributions to the offending agency. If the General Assembly ignored this warning, all funds would be cut off to the bloated Secretariat in New York, but not to separate agencies like the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and others with their own governing bodies and funding mechanisms.

    John Bolton, in June.
    What happened?  Nada.  Obama fumbled, bumbled, and stumbled.  Now it is all but too late.

  • a last-ditch diplomatic campaign to avert a confrontation

    I’m sorry, but this made me laugh till I almost wee-weed in may pants.
    The Obama Administration has been signaling for months now that they would not veto this in the Security Council, and now, we are supposed to believe that they want to avert it from coming up in the General Assembly.  BS begots BS.

  • Fine here. Let the semi-humans have their own state. Then Israel will be justified in declaring and waging war the minute the first provocation takes place.
    They’ll lose their state within a year, two tops. Either they’ll blunder and Israel will wipe them off the map, or one of the other regional “powers” will absorb them.
     

  • McQThat would certainly make the region more stable, no?


    This has been a problem in US diplomacy since 1945: do we want “stability”, or do we want to support noble ideas like self-determination and human rights?  Do we support a dictator who is nominally on our side (e.g. Mubarrak) or do we support the overthrow of that dictator in the belief that the new government will be more or less democratic and liberal?

    sharkLet the semi-humans have their own state. Then Israel will be justified in declaring and waging war the minute the first provocation takes place.


    Unfortunately, no.  The Palis have been acting as outlaws for decades.  What has shielded them has NOT been their lack of “official” statehood, but rather the hatred the rest of the world bears Israel and the implicit threat that it will be them versus the rest of the world if they stomp on the Palis too hard.  Given who’s in the White House, there has got to be a real fear in Tel Aviv that it WILL be them against the rest of the world; maybe Bad Luck Barry will make a speech or two about how massacreing Jews is a bad thing, shouldn’t repeat the errors of the past, blah-blah-blah.  Meanwhile, the Palis and their Syrian and Iranian masters will be assiduously trying to top Schickelgruber’s record.

    • My initial reaction was the same as shark’s. From a legal standpoint, outlaws have to be treated as individuals, but war is legal against another state. There really isn’t  world (or even regional) love for the Palestinians, but supporting these “oppressed people”  vs the Israelis lets many feel like they’re on the moral high ground; and feeling like they’re doing the right thing is central for liberals. If the Palestinians get recognized statehood, the veneer of oppression gets wiped away.

      This step alone won’t show that they are a seperate nation. The catch is that to be truly independant, they need to have control of their own borders. If they can at least pretend to stop attacking Israel for a few months, advanced weaponry can be moved in and mutual defense treaties will be signed.

  • Unless he can find an alternative both sides accept (talks) he is going to definitely alienate one side or the other and their supporters as well.
    Have some faith! I am sure he can alienate *both* sides without breaking much of a sweat.
    In the Middle East, the veto would be seen as the US again interfering and Obama would become just as “loved” as George Bush was.
    Ok but seriously did anyone believe that Mr “stop the seas rising” was actually going to be beloved of the world, unite Jews and Muslims, make cats lie with dogs and all that? If it comes to choosing between losing potential support at home, or doing the “right thing” by the Palestinians (at least as far as the world who loves him is concerned) do you really think he’s going to give two stuffs about Palestine? Although whichever way he jumps it will be funny to watch his far-left base have a bitch-slapping contest with the Dems Jewish base. That will need some nifty triangulation from the waterwalker. Maybe he’ll just bomb Syria to divert attention for a while.

    • Does the dem Jewish base really care that much about Israel?  Or are they more concerned about Social Security, union jobs, Medicare, and hating the Tea Party?

  •  

    President Obama has one job area where he gets good marks, relatively speaking.  Not particularly high marks but the positive side is higher than the negative.   For the life of me, I’m not sure why, but that’s the way it is.   That area is foreign policy.


    High marks??? Positive marks? From whom?*

    Our national media has spent the past 2 1/2 years running cover for Obama’s abysmal domestic policies; they have basically ignored foreign affairs. Consequently, any good marks they give Obama are default reactions to such-and-such region or nation not “blowing up.”

    The move to get the General Assembly to recognize Palestinian Statehood has been in the works for quite a while.  IMO, the Obama Admin simply ignored this… up until the point that they realized that their political capital account is quickly falling into red.  Coupled with a tanking economy, a Palestinian state might not sit as well with all those liberal Jewish donors.  (and it certainly won’t sit well with independents and conservatives concerned that our government not sell out Israel.)

    What Obama did to Honduras is unforgivable.  After that, I know of few serious FP analysts or pundits that don’t comment on O’s foreign policies without caveats.

  • There is two sides to this story.  There is the Jewish side, and the Gentile side.  A ratio of 500:1!  It has cost the world trillions of dollars loss over thid issue!  Remember OCT. 1973, the oil embargo?  Thank the Jewish support of Israeli

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