US President Barak Obama says the UN bid is an unrealistic shortcut that will not produce real and lasting peace on the ground between the two sides.
But Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, riding a wave of popular support unseen in the West Bank since the late Yasser Arafat, is ruling out new talks without a “complete halt” to Israeli settlement building.
While the historical move was made on September 23, the international pressure on Palestinians will not only continue but intensify. Mahmoud Abbas acknowledged it after delivering the letter to the UN Chief “The Palestinian people and their leadership will pass through very difficult times after the Palestinian approach to the United Nations through the Security Council to seek full membership for the Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital”.
Concurrent with the consideration of the membership bid by the security council the EU quartet led by Tony Blair former British Prime Minister – is seeking a formula that would allow for greater recognition of a Palestinian state while paving the way for direct talks which could satisfy the United States.
“What we will be looking for over the next few days is a way of putting together some thing that allows their claims and legitimate aspirations for statehood to be recognized whilst actually renewing the only thing that’s going to produce a state which is a negotiation directly between the two sides,” Blair told ABC.
The EU quartet plan envisages the new peace talks to begin within a month with both sides committing to seeking a final deal this year. Middle East envoy Tony Blair told AFP the precise timings would “give everybody a chance to test the sincerity of the parties.”
The Palestinians, who pulled out of the last direct talks in September 2010 after a settlement moratorium was lifted, argue that Israel has already annexed Jerusalem and has been stealing land for the past 20 years. “We’ve been negotiating a process that had no relationship to reality. That’s the problem,” senior Palestinian negotiator Hanan Ashrawi told ABC’s “This Week” programme.
Successful UN vote will not change the situation on the ground. Abbas and his colleagues have turned to the UN in frustration after years of failed peace talks with Israel, and they believe recognition will improve their position if talks resume. International bodies like the UN and the World Bank say that after years of foreign investments and aid, the institutions necessary for statehood are in place in the West Bank.
Fro Palestinians the UN request represent a new phase in their long struggle. Mahmoud Abbas however is conscious of the pyrrhic victory and will not like to antagonize US completely which means denial of 600 million in annual US assistance for the West Bank. The chances are Palestinian will be forced to come the negotiation table again with Israel and it would be repeat of previous sterile rounds.