Palestinian bid at UN ends peace process as we know it (video)
The weak foundations of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process may well come tumbling down this week.
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas declared himself "all in" last week, promising to push for a vote on Palestinian statehood at the UN Security Council. His decision puts the already-listing HMS Oslo Accords in danger of running aground on a long-ignored reality: The current paradigm isn't working.Skip to next paragraph
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After 18 years of negotiations that have so far failed to deliver the envisioned outcome of two states for two peoples, it's hard to imagine Abbas backing off from a promised vote on Palestinian statehood along borders that prevailed before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. In Ramallah last week he declared UN recognition as necessary to move forward, and promised to present the statehood demand after delivering a speech at the UN on Sept. 23.
"We need to have full membership within [pre-1967] borders in order to go to negotiations on a basis adopted by the world so that we may discuss the permanent issues of Jerusalem, borders, refugees – and our prisoners in Israeli prisons," Mr. Abbas said.
Abbas's own legitimacy has been waning. He has neither an electoral mandate nor much progress to show Palestinian constituents on the issues they care about most: curtailing Israeli settlement expansion and moving toward meaningful statehood.
In the West Bank, 60 percent of the land is still fully controlled by Israeli security forces, and economic development is not permitted in those areas, according to a recent World Bank report I wrote about last week. In the Gaza Strip, where Hamas is the de facto authority, an economic blockade enforced by Israel and Egypt remains in force. If Abbas backs off now without receiving something in return, as the US is urging him to do, it would be a crippling blow to his own standing among Palestinians.