Obama and Abbas both play the UN card
By Ted Belman
Will Mahmood Abbas have a nother shot at obtaining UN recongnition of Palestine this fall?
Jonathan Schanzer in his article, If at first you don’t succeed…, in Foreign Policy seems to think its possible.
According to Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, the PLO, which is leading the charge to Turtle Bay, is now following the lead of a different regional player: Qatar. In late March, Erekat announced that the Palestinian leadership had reached an agreement with Doha to try again at the U.N. Other Palestinian insiders confirm that the Qataris are leading the charge, and one former official says they’re even funding the legal effort for the PLO, producing analysis on the costs and benefits of the statehood initiative.
This is one more example of Qatar growing activism in the ME. It was instrumental in getting the UN to pass a no-fly zone in Libya leading to Gaddafi’s downfall and it is funding the Syrian opposition to bring about the fall of Assad. Qatar is the bridge between the MB including Hamas, and the US. Now it has taken up the Palestinian cause.
The Palestinians, notwithstanding such resistance from the Great White North, actually have broad international support for their initiative.
The PLO’s Negotiations Affairs Department claims that 128 countries back the notion of a Palestinian state, and the number could be as high as 140. Either way, this is enough support at the General Assembly, in the words of Abbas during a recent trip to Paris, “to obtain the status of nonmember state, as is the case for the Vatican.”
But Abbas will need to weigh this international support against the wall of resistance he’s getting from Washington. In an interview with the Saudi Okaz newspaper, Erekat said that U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration was threatening to suspend aid and close down the PLO mission in Washington if the Palestinians returned to the U.N.
Obama cannot afford to stand back and watch the Palestinians play for statehood as he campaigns for his reelection. If the Palestinians make it across the finish line at the General Assembly, Obama’s domestic critics will charge that he threw Israel under the bus.
Obama would love a chance to prevent such recognition during his re-election campaign. But if he is re-elected, he will no doubt threaten Israel with abstention next time around as he did first time around.