Friday, September 23, 2011

The Palestinians’ Bid

“Last year, President Obama’s speech to the United Nations was full of promise and determination to advance Palestinian statehood through negotiations with Israel. This year, his address was about lowering expectations and a dispiriting realpolitik as the president spoke of how “peace is hard” and vowed to veto the Palestinians’ bid for statehood if it came to a Security Council vote.
Mr. Obama had no choice but to stand by Israel, this country’s historic ally. And we agree that a negotiated deal is the only way to ensure the creation of a viable Palestinian state, guarantee Israel’s security and build a lasting peace. But there should be no illusions about the high cost both Israel and this country will pay if this stalemate is allowed to drag on any longer.
There is plenty of blame to go around. The main responsibility right now belongs to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel who refuses to make any serious compromises for peace. He appears far more concerned about his own political survival than his country’s increasing isolation or the threat of renewed violence in the West Bank and all around Israel’s borders.
The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, who is understandably frustrated, has forced a process that holds high risks for him as well. The bid to the United Nations is hugely popular among Palestinians. But he may find it hard to contain their disappointment when it becomes clear that maneuvering in New York cannot deliver a state on the ground.”

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