With the Palestinian Authority’s application to the United Nations Security Council for full membership and what appears to be an impending US veto, in the transcript and video below Mouin Rabbani discusses the next steps.
In terms of what to expect now, I think it is very much an open question. The Security Council will begin consideration of the Palestinian application for full membership on Monday, but it is unclear how long those deliberations are going to take. It is equally unclear what the Palestinians are going to do when that application is inevitably rejected as a result of either a US veto or successful US bullying of other council members to vote against this application.
The next things to look at are whether and how the Palestinians go to the General Assembly and also how they are going to respond to the latest Quartet statement. If you look at the Quartet statement, I think it is fair to describe it as considerably worse than many of its awful predecessors in the sense that the current Quartet statement says virtually nothing about anything except trying to put in place another bogus process of proposals within three months, and framework agreement within a year, and peace and life for a thousand years by the end of 2012. Been there, done that several hundred times.
The point here is that the Quartet, which was basically established by the Bush administration as a substitute for the international community, was interestingly enough incapable of agreeing on terms of reference for yet another peace process. The basic reason it was unable to do so was because Washington insisted on inserting the most extreme Israeli preconditions for diplomacy into the Quartet statement and, in doing so, met resistance from the Europeans and, it seems, outright rejection from the Russians. Apart from their membership in the Quartet, the Russians have never really taken its directives all that seriously. Washington, on the one hand, rejected inserting anything about a settlement freeze into the Quartet statement basically imposing settlement construction as part of any peace process. At the same time, they insisted on inserting recognition of Israel as a Jewish State as part of the Quartet’s terms of reference. When that failed, the Quartet could do nothing more than come up with a rather lame excuse for yet another process.
I think this is likely to push the Palestinians even further down the path of internationalization. Here we see what can only be described as the extremism which has taken hold in Washington having a positive impact on the development of an alternative Palestinian strategy.
Mouin Rabbani is a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Institute for Palestine Studies (IPS) in Washington DC. He is an independent Middle East analyst and commentator specializing on Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Rabbani is in Washington, DC until October 10th and is available for media and public appearances.
VICTOR KATTAN on the Palestinian application for sovereign Palestinian statehood
Victor Kattan is the author of From Coexistence to Conquest: International Law and the Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1891-1949 (London: Pluto Books, 2009) and The Palestine Question in International Law (London: British Institute of International and Comparative Law, 2008). Victor was a Teaching Fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London from 2008-2011 where he is presently completing his PhD. Previously Victor worked for the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (2006-2008), Arab Media Watch (2004-2006), and the BADIL Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights as a UNDP TOKTEN consultant (2003-2004).
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