NEW YORK – As spring buds begin to open on trees, most conversations with those
concerned with the issue of Palestinian unilateralism turn to September, when
members of the UN General Assembly will gather in New York and may – just may –
consider a resolution to establish a Palestinian state.
Sources say that
there is no text of such a resolution being floated around, to their knowledge,
but that the Palestinians are working ardently at “getting their ducks in a row”
in and around the United Nations, and pro-Israel groups are only just starting
to summon up similar efforts.
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“The Jewish community was slow to recognize
the threat of this Palestinian unilateralism, but in the last few weeks has
woken up and begun to mobilize,” The Israel Project’s Alan Elsner
said. “Several organizations are active and others are becoming
active. The problem is the objective fact that Israel is rather isolated
right now in the UN.”
Support for a GA resolution, many said, would
depend on its wording.
“If they decide to go for an explicit statement
that a Palestinian state should be established at the armistice line with
pre-’67 borders – in other words, reverting to the situation it was in June 1967
with Jerusalem divided – then there might be more hesitation on the part of
other countries to support it,” Elsner said. “If they add to that also a
statement about right of return, there might be even less support for that. But
none of these are a given.”
Sources said that while Israel does have many
supporters, what is often raised in discussions with diplomats about September
is that Israel needs to do something about settlements.
“The only way
Israel can avoid this is by [Prime Minister] Netanyahu coming out with some kind
of initiative, new ideas, or something that can reignite the discussion –
something that can give the US and the Quartet something to work with to get the
Palestinians back to the table,” an official from a US Jewish organization said.
“If they decide not to do anything like that, there’s very little anyone can do
to stave off what’s going to happen here in September.”
Key to staving
off unilateralism will be Britain, France and Germany, which will guide the hand
of the rest of the EU. Unfortunately, some sources said, many in the diplomatic
community want to see Netanyahu receive a degree of
“Everyone accepts that the Palestinians are not going to
gain admission to the UN immediately as full members, and that they won’t have a
state the day after this happens, but there is a real interest in giving
Netanyahu a serious diplomatic and symbolic black eye,” one source said.