Robert M. Danin

Middle East Matters

Danin analyzes critical developments and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

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Accelerating Palestinian UN Diplomacy and Its Consequences

by Robert M. Danin
November 3, 2011

Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas holds up a letter to United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-Moon requesting Palestinian statehood at the 66th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York on September 23, 2011 (Eric Thayer/Courtesy Reuters).

The United Nations Security Council will soon revisit the Palestinian request for membership. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to discuss this upcoming development and other Palestinian-Israeli issues with consulting editor Bernard Gwertzman. For those of you who aren’t familiar with him, Bernie is a legendary former New York Times diplomatic correspondent.

In the interview, I discussed the stepped up multitrack Palestinian diplomatic effort at the United Nations and its ramifications for peace efforts. What peace efforts, you might ask? We discussed that too, as well as the rumors swirling through the Israeli press about a purported Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The overall situation between Israelis and Palestinians appears to be deteriorating rapidly. International diplomacy is largely focused elsewhere, and nobody seems to have good ideas about how to arrest this latest tailspin. Do you have any good ideas? I’d love to hear them. Feel free to post a comment.

To read the interview on, please click here.

Post a Comment 2 Comments

  • Posted by evelyn leopold

    Good Good analysis on Palestinians at the UN. What puzzles me is that it was clear in September to many journalists that the Palestinians did not have nine votes in the Security Council. (Bosnia was never on their side). So if I knew it, the Palestinians knew it. Therefore, why push for a vote since defeat cannot be attributed solely to the United States.

    The second question is whether the US will vote “no” even though the resolution will probably fail without a veto. Or is it macho time vis a visa Congress? Do we care about demonstrations in the Middle East? The US could abstain but will it?

  • Posted by Robert M. Danin

    Thank you for your comments. You raise very good points. There is a serious debate taking place among the Palestinians over what approach to adopt now. Some would prefer not to move forward with a vote, for the reasons you cite. Others, however, would still like to push for it, knowing full well it will be defeated. This camp sees a benefit to a vote in which 8 Security Council members vote in favor, and most of the others abstain, even if the United States votes no.

    If the vote does in fact happen, I believe the United States will feel committed to vote “no.” The United states does care about demonstrations in the Middle East. This is precisely why the United States worked so hard to try to keep the Palestinians from going to the UN. However, were the vote to happen, I don’t think the United States will choose to abstain—I think we can expect the United States to vote no.

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