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Movement for Non-Negotiated Statehood Grows

New Palestinian strategy would seek U.N. recognition

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President Obama last week.(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

So this could be a big deal. Look for the Palestinian Authority, particularly after the U.S. midterm elections, to start working various international institutions, including the United Nations, to recognize an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank. Look for Israel, of course, to vigorously oppose such recognition: As U.S. Ambassador Michael Oren said yesterday, “Like Ben-Gurion, [Prime Minister] Netanyahu will not allow the United Nations, or any other organization, to dictate our borders. They will be determined through negotiations.” But most of all, look to the United States: While it would ordinarily be expected to halt any such effort immediately, President Obama’s strong emphasis on settlements, which are once again being built now that the freeze has expired and not been extended, as well as reports that the U.S. team is immensely frustrated with Bibi’s failure to extend the freeze, suggest U.S. backing might not be quite so easily forthcoming.

Basically, several different but related trends have conspired to make this more likely. There is the increased West Bank state-building—illusory though it may actually be—led by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (who has in the past floated unilateral independence). There is the Obama administration’s emphasis on settlements, which even center-left observers like Aaron David Miller and David Makovsky have argued is misguided. There is Netanyahu’s inability to get his coalition, much of which is to the right even of him, to agree to a freeze extension (which in turn suggests that one endgame could see the split of this coalition and the union of Netanyahu’s Likud and Tzipi Livni’s centrist Kadima). Put it all together, and you can get Thomas Friedman scolding Israel for not further freezing settlements.

(To briefly lay my cards on the table: I think the settlement project has been immoral, arguably illegal, and practically disastrous historically. I also think there was a deal, itself the result of negotiating and bargaining, ten months ago, under which Israel would freeze West Bank construction for ten months; that Israel lived up to its end of the deal; and that for the Obama administration to then push further, after the agreed-upon freeze had expired, was at the very least unwise and fated to fail. I also don’t see how you can consider settlement-building to be the prime obstacle to peace when you have a radical, maximalist movement, Hamas, which governs Gaza and enjoys immense popularity in the West Bank, and indeed would be unsatisfied, even quite displeased, with a Palestinian state in the West Bank run by the Palestinian Authority.)

So what’s next? Laura Rozen, who reported that you can expect little further movement until after the November midterms, notes that said midterms might produce a more Republican House that would be less amenable to putting pressure on Israel. Netanyahu could abandon the current coalition and join with Livni. European nations could start making real noise about the settlement issue and Palestinian statehood. Ultimately, though, one gets the sense that the Obama administration holds the trump card. If it wants to stop a non-negotiated Palestinian state, it assuredly can. And if it turns the blame on the Israelis, and articulates that settlement-building is the primary obstacle to peace, and even toys with not pledging to veto a binding U.N. resolution on independence, well, that would send a different message.

Palestinians Consider Shift in Strategy on Statehood [NYT]
Holding Pattern: Middle East Peace Track at Impasse Until After Midterms [Laura Rozen]
Israel’s U.S. Ambassador: No One Will Dictate Israel’s Borders [Haaretz]
Related: How Obama Sabotaged Middle East Peace Talks [PostPartisan]
Earlier: Too Good To Be True
Bibi Floats Oath Quid for Freeze Quo

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Non-negotiated statehood will, unfortunately, only lead to more violence.

If there are no negotiations then there is no reason for either side to hold back. There is no reason for the Israelis to allow or support any functioning of the PLO in the areas that they control. This sort of action will result in a war much worse than what we have seen to date in the Middle East – and those responsible will be the PLO leadership.

Will the US or European Union want to send troops into this conflict? Will the UN? This is what would be required if there was a UN recognition of a Palestinian State.

What this is about is NOT that the Palestinian leadership are despairing of attaining a negotiated agreement but that the Palestinian leadership are not getting what they want. Negotiations lead to compromise, but the Palestinian leadership keeps on putting off agreeing to a compromise in the hope that they can get more, get everything, and keeps seeing the outcome becoming less and less of what they want.

What a laugh. The last thing that the Pal leadership wants is statehood. They will then have to stop blaming the Jews for everything and actually do something besides siphoning aid money off to their private bank accounts.

You talk about comprimize from the palastinians,yet israel spits at america and continues to tell us to take a hike.How can you negotiate and continue to take at the same time.?i don’t think that the zionists want peace,why should they no one will confront them so good luck to israel.But the world is beginning to notice something isn’t kosher no punt intended and its happening among americans.War heads or no war heads israel should be cauteous of their actions.Terrible things could be in the offing,but i hope not.

Thank you for allowing me to comment,i understand israel certainly has the right to their security,i know missiles are missiles and they should be stopped regardless of their impact are far as damage goe’s,I believe that its israel saying we’ll show them and i can understand that as well,but to kill hundreds of men woman and children and babies i can’t condone that.I once heard natanyaho say that if it were not for america israel would have no freinds,they should give their freind a little wiggle room so they won’t look like panzies and ineffectual,this to could be very dangerous for america.

This is to Dennis, ,but to kill hundreds of men woman and children and babies i can’t condone that.
I take it then Dennis that you are of course condoning all the Jewish men, women, children, and babies that the Muslims have killed. Why don’t you actually do a detailed research of this war and you will see that Israel has always been the first one to be attacked. Their children and women have been the main targets of these terrorists. How many times have you seen the residents of Israel celebrating in the streets over the massacre of the Palestinians? Now how many times have you seen the Palestinians celebrating in the streets, burning flags of the Israeli’s or even we Americans being killed by them? Perhaps you would like to tell me why you think Israel should give “any” of their land to the Palestinians? They were given that land by the British and then won the rest of what they have in a war that “they didn’t start”, by the way and now you think they should give it all back??? The Palestinians have 600 times more land than Israel has. Israel is the only Jewish land in the mideast and yet the Palestinians want to take that away from them as well. I think Israel has shown great restraint in retaliation for the deaths they have suffered at the hands of the P.A., and by the way, how dare we, or any other country try to tell Israel when they can or can’t build in their own country, or try to make them give up land for peace, especially when the Palestinians DON’T want peace, they want to wipe Israel off the face of the map. Every concession Israel has ever made has only brought more deaths to the Jews. You sir are blind to the truth of this matter. The Palestinians are not your friend either because they would love nothing better than to kill and conquer America and that is part of their plan as well. Their plan is for the entire world be be Muslim, and if you don’t agree, then sir, you will die at their hands. I think you better wake up!!!

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Movement for Non-Negotiated Statehood Grows

New Palestinian strategy would seek U.N. recognition

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