Britain must vote against Palestinian statehood bid at the UN

The Palestinian leadership must prepare its people for a long term peace with Israel and stop the dangerous and diversionary tricks at the UN.

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Mahmoud Abbas
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The Commentator
On 23 September 2011 07:54

It's a big day today for Israel, the Palestinians and the entire Middle East.

Though he's still playing his cards close to his chest on the precise details, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has said that, in one form or another, he will push the United Nations in New York to recognise a Palestinian state outside the framework of negotiations with Israel.

For Abbas it's something of a legacy issue. He's indicated he's going to step down in the not too distant future and he wants to go down in history as having done something significant.

But to cool headed observers (ie. not the British Foreign Office) it is clear that the most likely significant outcome of a favourable vote on Palestinian statehood along the 1967 borders at the UN is a new round of violence. (And, as a former UN official warned on this website recently ,that violence could even come crashing down on Abbas himself.)

In terms of what Israel will do, the most likely response to any such Palestinian move will simply be to ignore it since, they argue plausibly, the 1967 borders are indefensible.

What that means is that the day after a vote for Palestinian statehood at the UN, literally nothing will have changed apart from Mahmoud Abbas's newly acquired ability to step off an airplane waving a piece of paper.

That could easily be used as a pretext for a third Intifada by the men of violence among the Palestinian leadership who will simply argue that diplomacy has got them nowhere and "resistance" -- read "terrorism" -- is the only answer.

As turmoil continues to sweep the entire Middle East it could also be used as a rallying cry for extremists such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt looking for a popular cause to enhance their chances at the forthcoming elections. 

There are many potential outcomes, and none of them are good.

In other words, the whole enterprise is like throwing a bucket of petrol on a fire in order to put it out

That is what the British Foreign Office would have the government do in pushing the Prime Minister to vote with the Palestinians at the United Nations.

He must ignore them. The Foreign Office is clueless at best on the Israel-Palestine conflict. At worst, it is so hostile to Israel's interests that it simply isn't giving the Prime Minister (let alone the Foreign Secretary) reliable, objective advice.

David Cameron has already said that this conflict will only be resolved by direct negotiations between the parties. And since Israel is practically begging the Palestinians to come back to the negotiating table, there is no excuse whatsoever for the Palestinians not to do so. 

With that and the security of the entire region in mind, it should be obvious that the only prudent and reasoned response to Palestinian moves at the UN today is emphatically to reject them.         

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