Israel braces for Palestinian statehood bid at UN
By Ryan Jones
Israel on Wednesday was bracing itself, diplomatically, for the scheduled UN General Assembly vote a day later on recognizing "Palestine" as a non-member observer state, and the impact it could have on the peace process.
Israel had originally threatened to respond to the unilateral motion, which is a violation of the Palestinian Authority's signed agreements with Israel, by nullifying the so-called "Oslo Accords" and launching negotiations with other groups claiming to represent the Palestinian Arabs.
But on Tuesday Israeli officials said it had been decided to instead take a "low profile" approach to the vote in the hopes that the Palestinian Authority's abandonment of bilateral negotiations would speak for itself.
Considering the international community's track record when it comes to the Israeli-Arab peace process, that seemed a foolishly optimistic approach.
Meanwhile, the vote was resolution to recognize "Palestine" was expected to pass by a large margin, despite spirited opposition from Israel, the US, Canada and several other nations.
Among those nations supporting the motion were France, Spain and Switzerland. Britain was considering voting in favor, too.
General Assembly votes are non-binding, so the resolution would have little directly legal meaning. However, it would allow the Palestinian Authority to apply for membership at the International Criminal Court and at the International Court of Justice, where the Palestinians would be certain to file regular lawsuits against Israel.
Having "Palestine" recognized by the UN would also complicate the peace process, as it would put even more leverage in the hands of the Palestinian Authority, and would present a major obstacle to Israel acting against terrorist threats in Palestinian-controlled territories.