Martin Indyk, former US ambassador to Israel and adviser to US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, said Thursday that if no changes are made between now and September, the UN will declare a Palestinian state.
"Unless the US, Israel and the Palestinians have an alternative, the Palestinian plan can not be won," Indyk told Army Radio. "If there isn't anything else, then in September there will be a vote in the UN that will recognize a Palestinian state, just like the UN recognized Israel in 1948."
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Indyk explained that the US does not have veto power in the UN's General Assembly. "The US may vote against it, but that won't stop it," he said.
If a Palestinian state is declared, Israel could be considered an occupier of of a UN-member country, "and that would be an uncomfortable situation for Israel," Indyk said.
"Tactically, it is very easy for the Palestinians to go to the UN - it
doesn't cost them anything, and it puts pressure on Israel," Indyk told
Army Radio. "As a strategy, Israel needs to think about the day after
Indyk added that, should the UN approve a Palestinian state in
September, it will prove Hamas's point, that there is no reason for negotiations, and encourage violence.
"The real question is to find a way to return to the negotiating table,"
he said, recommending that Israel recognize a Palestinian state in
pre-1967 borders and agree to land swaps that would allow Israel to
annex settlement blocs.
Indyk also said that Washington believes that Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu can bring peace. "It's a challenge for him,"Indyk said, "but
the common opinion in Washington is that Netanyahu, as a man of the
right, is more capable than others in Israeli politics to mobilize
support from the right and the left for a two-state solution."