Saturday, April 02, 2011

A Palestinian State? Ok.

As this article from the New York Times indicates, a time of reckoning may be coming soon for a potential Palestinian state. In short, Israeli and Palestinian leaders are negotiating for various West Bank territories; nothing new. What is new is the fact that there is real potential of a United Nations resolution passing in September welcoming the State of Palestine as a member nation, apparently to be composed of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.

This would, to put it mildly, not be the ideal outcome for Israel. They are expected to make an offer to transfer some West Bank territories to Palestinian authority; however, the Palestinians are expected to reject this due to the expectation of the UN resolution.

Two quick thoughts on this development. Firstly, the United States is in a bit of a no-win situation in this matter, especially pertaining to the UN resolution. The second thought is that the only peaceful way of this ending is for Israel to enter a good faith negotiation that will actually give real power to a Palestinian state. The issue of course is that this would seem to be completely out of character for the Netanyahu government.

If the United States votes against the resolution, it will raise questions about whether the United States really supports the "Arab Spring" currently occurring, which shows no signs of abating. Of course, the other option of not supporting Israel is even more of a non-starter in the current political environment.

If history is any guide, Netanyahu could push this to war, which would leave the United States in one of the worst binds of recent history if the UN resolution were to be passed. The United States could either continue to support Israel and completely invalidate the United Nations, or it could (hopefully) strong-arm Israel into accepting the international consensus. While this would be politically difficult, especially since the 2012 presidential campaigning will have started in earnest, I think this would be the best outcome for the United States. The issue of course is whether Israel would damn the torpedoes and continue on a military course.

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