Time running out for Israel and peace talks
With the push for recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations and with the Middle East in turmoil, time is no longer on the side of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
In the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, it has worked to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s advantage to play for time. It has kept him in power and his conservative coalition government together.Skip to next paragraph
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But time is no longer on Mr. Netanyahu’s side. A wave of change is coming in the Middle East and at the United Nations, where the Palestinians are building support for a September bid to win UN recognition of a Palestinian state. Far better for the Israeli prime minister to ride this wave, than to be battered by it.
Palestinians have been buoyed by statehood endorsements from countries that aren’t automatic sympathizers, such as Brazil and Argentina. This week, the Palestinians received a big boost from the International Monetary Fund. The fund released a report saying that the Palestinian Authority – which governs the occupied West Bank – is “now able to conduct the sound economic policies expected of a future well-functioning Palestinian state.”
It must be remembered that a resolution on statehood would be brought before the General Assembly, where majority rules with no big-power vetoes. It’s not as if the United States could come to the rescue with a veto – though it could certainly twist arms.
Netanyahu and Israeli President Shimon Peres traveled abroad this week to lobby against a possible statehood resolution, with Mr. Peres visiting President Obama and the UN, and Netanyahu calling on German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
Both the US and Germany are Israel’s longtime allies. Yet the Western leaders urged Israel to get back to the negotiating table. Reviving the talks is now “more urgent than ever,” said each leader, using the exact same phrase.