Palestinian unilateralerism risks peace

WASHINGTON– In September, the Arab League will ask the United Nations to recognize the State of Palestine, using its pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital and to upgrade its status to full member state.

An official letter will be submitted to the secretary-general of the Security Council requesting that it become a member state of the UN. A committee will then debate the issue and submit a recommendation to the General Assembly within 35 days.

If the United States vetoes its vote, as President Obama committed to in a May 19th speech, Palestine will be prevented from becoming a member.

However, according to some experts, this unilateral action on behalf of the Palestinians is to make a political statement and statehood is not expected.

So why is the Arab League doing it?

Michael Singh, managing director of The Washington Institute and a former senior director for Middle East affairs at the National Security Council, said the move is symbolic.

“The real consequences will be in the diplomatic arena,” Singh said. “It will bring the peace process into a deeper freeze than it is now.”

According to Avi Issacharoff, Middle East correspondent for Haaretz newspaper in Israel, “neither Abbas nor Palestinians think it will bring them a state.”

“But 64 percent of Palestinians polled said they want the letter brought to the UN,” Issacharoff added.

Issacharoff said economic stability is on the minds of Palestinians right now, more so than immediate statehood.

And this unilateral push for statehood not only undermines peace efforts but jeopardizes economic recovery and stability for Palestinians, which is dependent on Israeli cooperation.

(According to the International Monetary Fund, the Palestinian Authority has a deficit that stands at $500 million and rising.)

“The Arab states should recognize the downsides of this unilateral action and be counseling Palestinians to take a more responsible route,” Singh said.

“All the countries supporting this, such as Britain and France, are acting irresponsibly,” Singh said. “They’re pushing Palestinians to go forward but are not the ones who will have to pay the price. The price is going to fall on the Palestinians themselves as well as the Israelis.”

Matt Mainen, a policy analyst at the Institute for Gulf Affairs said Palestinian unilateral action cannot solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and neither can the Obama Administration.

The Institute for Gulf Affairs is an independent, nonpartisan organization that publishes information about the Gulf region, its politics and international relations.

“President Obama sees a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a safe way to make an impact in the Middle East,” Mainen said. “Thus far he has failed, and unilateral Palestinian moves will only further demonstrate the Obama administration’s lack of ability to control either party.”

“We won’t see progress, everything will be moving background,” Singh said.

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