In a speech before the United Nations plenary session last Friday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas held high a copy of Palestine’s official application for statehood. After Secretary General Ban Ki Moon reviews the application, it will be put before the Security Council for a vote. “Above all, Abbas stressed that the Palestinians’ desire for self-determination was just and lawful.” He said that anyone with “a shred of conscience” must support Palestine’s bid. For this he was rewarded with a standing ovation from the majority of delegates.
What’s the Big Idea?
A veto from a permanent member of the Security Council is enough to stop Palestine’s bid for statehood and the U.S. has guaranteed it will provide that veto. So what ground will Abbas gain for his people? The answer is unclear. In fact, the vote before the Security Council may be delayed with Abbas’ consent so that peace negotiations might continue between Israel and Palestine. Politically speaking, Abbas’ statesman-like conduct and support in the international community has won him the day; the U.S. seems the clear loser.