Tensions are rising in the Middle East, as Palestinian leaders prepare to ask the United Nations to recognize Palestinian statehood next week. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas could ask for a simple status upgrade (from observing entity to non-member state), which the General Assembly may very well approve. He also could request recognition as a full member state, but that would require Security Council approval. The U.S. is threatening to veto, which diplomats fear could stir up violence. Will the push for U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state be a step forward, or will it, as Israel warns, ruin any chance for Mideast peace?
This is a recipe for perpetual war: Israel, "surrounded by hostile forces," has no room for error when it comes to security, says Michael Elterman at Canada's Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs. Israel can only accept a Palestinian state as part of a signed peace deal. If the Palestinians get what they want in advance, they'll have "every incentive" to avoid negotiations and wait for the world to "lose any interest in genuine peace." That's "a prescription for endless conflict."
"Palestinian bid for U.N.-sanctioned state recognition a prescription for endless Mideast conflict"
Without action, the Palestinians risk losing their land: Recognizing Palestine is the right thing to do — for the U.N., and the U.S., says Reza Aslan in the Los Angeles Times. When the Oslo accords established the framework for a negotiated, two-state solution in 1993, there were 100,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank — now there are 300,000. "Every day the Palestinians wait for a negotiated state, another sliver of that state is absorbed into Israel. A few more years and practically nothing will remain."
"Yes to Palestine"
U.N. recognition won't help the Palestinians, or anyone else: "A Palestinian state is long overdue," says Ziad J. Asali at Foreign Policy, but forcing a showdown at the U.N. won't do anyone any good. The ensuing "outburst of public anger" in the occupied territories will guarantee more checkpoints and economic sanctions for the Palestinian people to endure, and "growing isolation abroad" for Israel. That will only make negotiating a real two-state peace harder than ever.
"Train wreck in Turtle Bay"