In his original Middle East speech, Obama spoke-out against this idea that the Palestinian Authority would unilaterally declare a state in September and be accepted into the UN, affirming that a negotiated settlement is the only way to find a peace deal. I completely support this position – declaring a state without solving the key issues (borders, refugees, security and Jerusalem) would probably just result in another war.
Well, it seems as if the President of the UN General Assembly has put that little doozy to bed. Unlucky Abu Mazen.
The Palestinians cannot circumvent the UN Security Council to avoid a likely US veto if they try to join the United Nations as a sovereign state later this year, a top UN official said on Friday.
But the official made clear a US veto would not put the issue of Palestinian statehood and UN membership to rest.
And almost symultaneously, the G8 released a statement to a similar effect. Pay particular attention to the lines in bold.
67. We are convinced that the historic changes throughout the region make the solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through negotiations more important, not less. Aspirations of the peoples in the region need to be heeded including that of the Palestinians for a viable and sovereign State and that of Israelis for security and regional integration. The time to resume the Peace Process is now.
a. Negotiations are the only way toward a comprehensive and lasting resolution to the conflict. The framework for these negotiations is well known. We urge both parties to return to substantive talks with a view to concluding a framework agreement on all final status issues. To that effect, we express our strong support for the vision of Israeli-Palestinian peace outlined by President Obama on May 19, 2011.
b. We appreciate the efforts and the progress made by the Palestinian Authority and the leadership of President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad as they are building a viable State as recently commended by the IMF, the World Bank and the ad hoc liaison Committee.
c. We look forward to the prospect of the second donors’ conference for Palestine in Paris, also in view of the resumption of negotiations.
d. We call on Israel and the Palestinian Authority to abide by existing co-operation agreements and to abstain from unilateral measures that could hamper progress and further reforms. We call for the easing of the situation in Gaza.
e. We demand the unconditional release of the abducted soldier Gilad Shalit without delay.
Why is this particularly significant? The G8 includes the US, UK, France and Russia – four out of the five permanent Security Council powers (excluding China), who all have veto power. This puts the Palestinian chances of unilateral statehood at slim to nil. Ah well, back to the negotiating table?