Wasted Political Capital

Yesterday the UN voted to grant non-member State status to the Palestinians.  The vote does little, other than moral pressure, to change events on the ground.  Never the less, Palestinians hailed the vote as a mark of affirmation.

The US, using talking points identical to Israel’s, denounced the Palestinians and reiterated that statehood could come only from negotiations between the parties.  With 138 nations voting in favor and 41 abstaining, the US position did not seem to carry much weight.  Israel has threatened all sorts of proportionate responses (what ever that means).

It is for sure that lasting peace (or peace of any kind) can only come about if there is a negotiated settlement.  That is clear.  What is not clear is why denying the Palestinians statehood would make any difference.  Both parties will continue to act as before anyways.  Hardball negotiation tactics, however, see it differently.

In practical terms, Statehood will change little.  Israel still holds military superiority and the Palestinians are still highly influenced by “pre-modernists” who are intent on disrupting events in order to attain personal wealth and power.  The hidden hand of Iran (and possibly Russia) can be felt if not seen.  The key to Middle East peace lies in an Israeli-Palestinian settlement.  The UN vote will make no difference.  Only a change of heart by Israel or total withdrawal of third parties (no support for Hamas and Hezbollah, and a much shorter rope for Israel) will change the ground for negotiations.  I simply don’t see that coming soon.

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