Vetoing Palestinian statehood

President Obama will veto President Mahmoud Abbas's quest to have the United Nations recognize Palestine as an independent state.

The U.S. has lost Round 1 to Palestine, said the London Al-Quds al-Arabi in an editorial. The Americans have tried everything to prevent Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas from asking the U.N. to recognize Palestine as an independent state. The massive pressures applied included “threats to stop financial aid, withdraw diplomatic support, and give free rein to settlement activities—and probably to the Israeli killing machine in the occupied territories.” It wasn’t easy for Abbas to resist such threats, but resist he did. Palestinians are weary of being told to return to negotiations with Israel. In their minds, negotiations “are associated with the settlements, demolition of houses, confiscation of lands, and the building of the racist separation walls.” They are ready to take their case to the world.

President Barack Obama is now in an “embarrassing position,” said the Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Arab News. He has said that he will use America’s veto power in the U.N. Security Council to kill the Palestinian bid for statehood. Yet Palestinian statehood is a concept he has already openly endorsed. His veto “will not only be viewed as a hypocritical stand, but could also inflame Arab opinion at this time of huge upheaval in the Middle East.”

Is this the same Obama who famously reached out to Muslims? asked Raja al-Khuri in the Abu Dhabi Akhbar al-Arab. In his 2009 Cairo speech, Obama said, “Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel’s right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine’s.” That Obama is now gone, replaced by the candidate running for re-election and consumed by his need to win “the Jewish vote.” In taking this stance against Palestine, Obama is squandering what remains of America’s “moral standing,” said Rajab Abu-Sirriyah in the Ramallah, West Bank, Al-Ayyam. Nearly every country in the U.N. supports the right of the Palestinian people to have their own state. How can the U.S. possibly claim to be “the leader of the world” when the whole world apart from Israel disagrees with it?

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In fact, the U.S. will be humiliated, said Nazih al-Qasus in the Amman, Jordan, Ad-Dustur. After it vetoes the admission of Palestine as a member state, Abbas will take his case to the General Assembly, where the U.S. has no veto but merely a single vote, “like the tiniest country in the world.” The General Assembly is expected to grant the Palestinians the status of non-member “observer state,” rather than the current “observer entity.” That will allow the Palestinians to sign treaties and sue Israel for human-rights violations—and the U.S. will be helpless to stop it.

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