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U.N. Palestine Recognition - Possible Alternative Scenarios

In Spring 2011 the Palestinian Authoriity pusued a strategy to gain recognition of a state in September at the U.N. General Assembly. More than 120 nations apparently were prepared to endorse the idea. Israel opposed it, as did the United States, declaring that the way to a Palestinian state was through negotiations. The Obama Administration worked unsuccessfully to re-start Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. The issue of U.N. recogntion would be raised initially in the U.N. Security Council, where it was expeected that the
United States would cast a veto. The issue would then still be raised in the General Assembly, where a majority would likely approve, and Palestine's status would be upgraded to a level where it could bring legal charges against Israeli practices in the Occupied Territories to the International Criminal Court. Palestinian support for this strategy, especially among a younger generation of Palestinian leaders, reflected a widely shared sense that the negotiations route had run its course and reached a deadend.

A big question about the strategy was what would happen next after it succeeded and there were fears that it would result in a new,
intensified situation of frustration and confrontation for both Palestinians and Israelis. There were a few alternative scenarios to confrontation at the U.N. that seemed to offer more promise but were unlikely to be pursued. 1) The Obama Administration rebuffed other members of the Quartet who sought U.S. help on language for a Security Council resolution supporting recognition that the U.S. could support or at least not veto. 2) Other members of the Quartet rebuffed the Obama's Administration's effort to get the Quartet simply to endorse a U.S. framework for renewed negotiations. 3) Perhaps the most interesting idea was for the United States to seek Quartet support for a U.N. Security Council resolution mandating negotiations based on Presdent Obama's framework as presented in his May 19, 2011 speech on the Middl East. This latter idea would not only put the Security Council clearly on record that negotiations, not unlilateral resolutions, are the appropriate path to staehood, but also present a united Security Council call for negotiations - a call that both the Palestinian Authority and Israel would find difficult to refuse.