Israel. Palestine. Two good articles.

23 Sep

1. Benefits of the UN move in this economist article:

It would not make an immediate difference on the ground but would help the Palestinians on their way to the real thing by giving them a diplomatic fillip. It should be encouraged, for reasons of both principle and practice. The principle is simple: the Palestinians deserve a state, just as the Israelis do. The United States, the European Union and the Israeli government have all endorsed a two-state solution. There is broad agreement that the boundary should be based on the pre-1967 one, with land swaps allowing Israel to keep its biggest settlements close to the line, in return for the Palestinians gaining land elsewhere; Jerusalem should be shared; and the Palestinians should give up their claimed right of return to Israel proper. That still leaves much room for negotiation. But provided that the Palestinian request at the UN, still unfiled as The Economist went to press, does not undermine the basic terms of this deal…

The practical and procedural politics of the UN is trickier, but unless the last-minute negotiations deliver something dramatic, the arguments in favour of at least securing the Vatican option surely outweigh stasis…

The argument that the Palestinians must resume negotiations before getting statehood is specious. Why on earth should a change in status at the UN stop people talking? Besides, the negotiations have been going nowhere—and Mr Netanyahu has been the biggest stumbling-block.

2. Good analysis and a great title, from this International Crisis Group report:

The path to the UN has been a tale of collective mismanagement. Palestinian leaders, in a mix of ignorance, internal divisions and brinkmanship, oversold what they could achieve at the world body and now are scrambling to avoid further loss of domestic credibility. Israel, overdramatising the impact of a UN move and determined to stop the Palestinians in their tracks, has threatened all manner of reprisal, from halting the transfer of tax clearance revenues, to decreeing the death of the Oslo agreement, to worse. The U.S. administration, unable to steer events, fed up with both sides, and facing a Congress that will inflict a price for any Palestinian move at the UN, just wants the whole thing to go away. Virtually all its (dwindling) attention on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the past months has been geared toward that goal: from President Obama’s 19 May speech laying out principles guiding the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to its last-ditch attempt to produce a Quartet statement that would enable resumption of talks…



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