UN May Vote On Palestinian Statehood This Week—US Tries to Stop It

The UN is likely voting whether to recognize Palestine as a state this week, but representatives from the US are scrambling to keep the vote from happening, saying the vote could trample already negotiations in the peace process between Israel and Palestine. On Friday, Susan E. Rice, US Ambassador to the UN, addressed the issue: "We are supportive and we want to see the creation of a Palestinian state. There is no question about that. And President Obama said so last year, again, here at the General Assembly. But the fact of the matter is, there's only one way to accomplish that. And that is by the two parties sitting down at the negotiating table and deciding on the terms of that state and deciding on the issues that divide them. The issues are borders, security, the capitol of a new state, refugees, water and all the very complex final status issues that can't be decided by fiat and a piece of paper here in the United Nations, whether in the Security Council or the General Assembly, can only be decided by direct negotiations between the two parties and an agreement between the two parties. And that's what we are working very, very hard to foster. That's been our objective for many years, and certainly over the last two and a half years of the Obama Administration."

But some see the waffling as another way to kowtow to Israel—it's not like Netanyahu is chomping to negotiate or recognize Palestine in any way—and from a more progressive perspective the bid for statehood, largely symbolic, is a small way to acknowledge the people of Palestine in hopes of at least decreasing their destruction. Politico:

 “The aim of this is try to elevate the Palestinians to a more equal footing so that this disparity that existed over the last 18 years, which allowed Israel to exploit it to its advantage, can end and they can talk now to an equal member state of the United Nations,” said Maen Rashid Areikat, the Palestinian’s top representative to the U.S.

Areikat told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that the Palestinians could accept an alternative, but it must include “clear terms of reference to return to the negotiations, clear time frame and an endgame.”

 Meanwhile, this interesting perspective from Ya Libnan's Ghassan Karam:

Maybe what the PA should consider, rather seriously, is a declaration that they no longer want a two state solution but instead they want to demand that they become citizens of the state that has occupied them for the past 44 years. If their demands are not met then the PA will launch major civil disobedience campaigns all across Israel. Maybe it is time that the Israeli political establishment should be made to realize the consequences of its acts.

Despite US efforts, it's likely that the UN will register the vote, and that the United States will either veto or avoid voting. As New York Magazine put it, "Barack Obama is the best thing Israel has going for it right now." Keep Alternet on refresh for updates leading up to the vote.

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at September 19, 2011, 4:27am

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