Jewish groups mobilize against Palestinian unilateralism

Pro-Israel groups play "catch-up" against Palestinian efforts working to set the stage for a potential UNGA resolution to establish Palestinian state.

April 15, 2011 02:58
2 minute read.
Palestinian Flag

Palestinian Flag 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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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 comeuppance.

“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.

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