Palestine’s upgrade to UN “non-member observer state” status is virtually a foregone conclusion, with an overwhelming majority of the UN General Assembly expected to vote in favor and only a handful, led by the US and Israel, in opposition.
The question then is what Israel’s reaction will be, and the nation’s cabinet met today to discuss possible “punitive” measures to punish the Palestinians for getting the enhanced level of recognition on the international stage.
Exactly what the move will be remains unclear, and with Israel already not negotiating with the Palestinians and already expanding settlements, the number of options that will actually feel like “punishment” instead of just business as usual is limited.
The most likely proposal on that front is for Israel to freeze all Palestinian tax dollars, though Israel does this too on a semi-regular basis to express displeasure, and with the West Bank’s economy already on the brink of collapse a prolonged move to cut off funds to PA employees could be diplomatically difficult for Israel as well.
In the end the most likely new moves will also be the least impactful, imposing harsh new restrictions on Palestinian detainees who by and large aren’t involved in the PA to begin with and who have no say over their recognition anyhow. This has been a go-to activity for Israel’s government several times in the past, forcing Palestinians in prison to go to court to get access to things like paper and pencils.
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