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U.N. Palestine Recognition - Possible Alternative Scenarios

In Spring 2011 the Palestinian Authority pursued a strategy to get the level of their status at the United Nations upgraded by the U.N. General Assembly in September. 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, if it came to a vote, it was expected that the United States would cast a veto. The issue could 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 conceivably 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 had 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 to endorse a new more complex 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 directly on the framework presented by President Obama in his May 19, 2011 speech on the Middle East. This latter idea would not only put the Security Council clearly on record that negotiations, not unlilateral resolutions, are the appropriate path to statehood, but also represent U.S. support for a united Security Council call for negotiations - a call that both the Palestinian Authority and Israel would find difficult to refuse.

If you agree with this idea, send it with a personal note to President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, and U.N Ambassaodr Susan Rice.