The U.S. and other allies are scrambling for a path to push Palestinians back into direct peace negotiations with Israel, but prospects appear to be grim. Diplomatic efforts by Western member states aimed to head off a UN resolution on Palestinian statehood have achieved little or no progress thus far.
Although Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has complained of a pushback over the PA’s UN effort, it appears there is little chance of veering off the present course.
In a weekend interview, an Iranian official described the effort as merely another step in a much broader plan. Mojtaba Amani, Iran’s ambassador to Egypt, openly conceded in an interview with Al-Watan al-Arabi, that the PA’s push for full membership as a UN member state “is a step towards wiping out Israel,” and that “the Palestinians must follow a correct example and complete all the measures to prevent the Zionist Entity from depriving them their rights.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s offers of concession, including compromises on language describing the borders of a future state, and describing Israel as a home for the Jewish people, have been reportedly rejected by President Abbas. At this point, said Netanyahu, “until I give the speech, we have only one choice: going to the Security Council. Afterwards, we will sit and decide.”
The U.S., for it’s part, plans to veto any PA request for full inclusion as a member state. At the very least, the PA would likely secure an upgrade of its current status as a mere observer if it turned to the full UN General Assembly. Regardless, Western diplomats say that will still only lead to disappointment for the Palestinians and not get them any closer to actual statehood.
Of course, the Palestinians face risks if they refuse to alter their course. Congress may follow through on threats to cut off American aid to the PA. In which case, “the risk of PA’s collapse is very real,” said PA central bank chief Jihad al-Wazir.