New York Times: U.S. Should "Put A Map And Deal On The Table"

August 08, 2011 4:09 pm ET — Walid Zafar

In a Sunday editorial, the New York Times warns that the unilateral effort by the Palestinians to push for statehood at the United Nations would, no matter the final outcome, be impractical. Only the Security Council, where the U.S. has a veto power, can grant full membership to the body. Since the U.S. is expected to veto the move, the Palestinians will likely take their aspirations to the General Assembly. The editors argue that a probable victory there, however, will ultimately produce no change in the lives of ordinary Palestinians. "After the initial exhilaration," they explain, "Palestinians would be even more alienated, while extremists would try to exploit that disaffection."

Moreover, a U.S. veto in the Security Council would damage our credibility and weaken our ability to affect meaningful change. The only alternate, the editors explain, is for "the United States and its partners should put a map and a deal on the table, with a timeline for concluding negotiations and a formal U.N. statehood vote."

If the Palestinians want full U.N. membership, they have to win the backing of the Security Council. The United States will undoubtedly veto any resolution, and that will further isolate both Israel and Washington. The Palestinians may instead ask the General Assembly to recognize them as a state or give them observer status as a state. Either would undoubtedly pass. But it would be in name only. After the initial exhilaration, Palestinians would be even more alienated, while extremists would try to exploit that disaffection.

The best way, likely the only way, to head off this debacle is with the start of serious negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. The two sides haven't even been in the same room together since September 2010. [...]

To have any chance of inducing the Palestinians to drop their statehood bid - and finally move the peace process forward - the United States and its partners should put a map and a deal on the table, with a timeline for concluding negotiations and a formal U.N. statehood vote. The Security Council and the Arab League need to throw their full weight behind it.

We see no sign that Washington or the Israelis are thinking beyond the incremental. The United States can veto a statehood resolution. But all sides will end up paying a high price.

Read the whole thing here.

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