Palestinian Bid at UN Could Mark Shift in Peace Process

The US may be losing its front seat at the negotiating table in peace process, shifting balance toward an international consensus

US and Israeli-led efforts to stave off the Palestinian Authority’s bid for statehood at the United Nations has failed. PA President Mahmoud Abbas will give a speech on Friday before the UN, and then submit his application for full Palestinian membership.

This could mark a turning point in how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is approached diplomatically. For decades, the relevant parties have been narrowly considered to be Israel, the Palestinians, and the United States.

But the UN bid, whatever happens after it is vetoed by the US at the Security Council, may shift the responsibility for settling on a solution from trilateral talks to multilateral talks in the domain of the United Nations. For example, pressure from France and Russia for a new approach has been heavy.

“The U.S. cannot lead on an issue that it is so boxed in on by its domestic politics,” said Daniel Levy, a former Israeli peace negotiator in the government of Ehud Barak. “And therefore, with the region in such rapid upheaval and the two-state solution dying, as long as the U.S. is paralyzed, others are going to have to step up.”

After all, the Palestinian decision to go to the UN was a recognition of the failure of the so-called “peace process,” wherein the US and Israel rejected the viable two state solution in favor of gridlock and continued Palestinian dispossession. Abbas’s long-awaited official request on Friday could mark the beginning of the end of that status quo.

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Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.