On the other hand, there are risks and potential loss in store for the PLO following its status upgrade at the UN today.
As it is, the PA has repeatedly defied both President Obama and the EU states who have requested it to stop this move, seeing as it will undermine trust between the parties and irreparably harm the prospects for peace:
1. Strain with US over undermining US diplomacy and “defying” President Obama will damage Palestinian efforts to gain international legitimacy and build domestic institutions
· President Obama has consistently and strongly opposed the Palestinian efforts to upgrade their status at the UN, and has consistently called on Abbas to return to negotiations.
· Abbas’s push has prompted analysis of the diplomatic consequences of Abbas openly “defying” the President on an issue central to the President’s foreign policy (see also http://is.gd/xxQfY1 & http://is.gd/mLSm3i). This shortsighted stunt will cause long-term strain with the U.S., and risks leaving the Palestinians without the diplomatic or financial capital required for long-term institution building.
· The Palestinian gambit has triggered strain between the US and critical allies. French backing for UDI led the US to “publicly disagree with France, one of its closest allies”. The groundwork for the bid involved Abbas working to distance the Arab League and the European Union from the U.S. (see also http://is.gd/Ux8Wyr).
· The unilateral Palestinian effort at the UN will complicate Palestinian efforts to gain genuine international legitimacy. U.S. law mandates diplomatic sanctions in response to Abbas's move, including closing the PLO office in Washington DC
2. Currently the Palestinian Authority lacks either the will or the ability to prevent any near-term Palestinian state from becoming a terror state
· In the Gaza Strip, Hamas has committed itself to fulfilling its genocidal declarations to destroy Israel, and Hamas has already wavered on the ceasefire which brought an end to Operation Pillar of Defense
· There are still Fatah-linked terror organizations committed to conducting terror campaigns against Israeli civilians
3. Palestinian officials have indicated that the goal of their unilateral upgrade effort is to allow them to hijack international legal forums. Their tactics in the UN are already an end-run around legitimate international mechanisms.
· The UNGA doesn’t have the power to create a state. The UN institution empowered to do that is the UNSC, which rejected the Palestinian application last year. The current attempt is an end-run around UN institutions and risks damaging their credibility.
· Senior Palestinian officials have boasted in Arabic media outlets that the Palestinian Authority will use a United Nations declaration to “sue” Israel internationally. The ICC prosecutor has previously declined Palestinian petitions on the grounds that according to the UNGA Palestine wasn’t a state.
· Overcoming that obstacle and attempting to use the Hague to attack is Israel risks politicizing that institution, which would be torn between the anti-Israel politics of some member-states and relatively clear black-letter law. It would also bring the ICC into conflict with a range of U.S. institutions and laws, risking a diplomatic crisis between the ICC and the US -- which would use financial leverage and diplomatic capital to reassert its interests. Either scenario would badly damage the credibility and viability of the ICC and of international law.
- 4. The unilateral move attempts to pocket irreversible concessions made by the Israelis under the Oslo peace framework, breaks that framework, and then seeks to start negotiations again from zero. Some have described the UN recognition of Palestine as “hammering a nail into” the coffin of the Oslo peace process
· Unilaterally seeking to change the status of the West Bank is a clear violation of the Oslo Accords (Article 31(7) of the Interim Agreement: “Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations”.
· The move will make it incredibly difficult for future Israeli leaders to sell the Israeli public on the trustworthiness of Palestinian negotiators.
· Abbas Zaki, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, described the post-UDI situation as one in which the Oslo Accords have ceased to exist, and the goal of the UN recognition of Palestine being to internationalize the conflict – not resolve it with Israel
Abbas, whose well-know incompetence is exceeded only by his restriction of Palestinian human rights and incitement of hatred against Israel will apparently finally have something approaching an achievement to show off.
The fact that this is happening nearly 4 years after Abbas's term as president legally ended is just one more indication of the emptiness of the accomplishment.
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