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US officials try to avert a UN vote on PALESTINIAN STATEHOOD to avoid using veto – TheHill.com

September 20, 2011

An American veto “enables Hamas, Hezbollah and everybody else to ramp up the PR,” Birnbaum told The Hill.He also suggested that the mere fact that the situation had been allowed to reach this point was an indictment of the Obama administration.

US officials try to avert a UN vote on Palestinian statehood to avoid using veto

By Niall Stanage – 09/20/11 09:10 PM ET

Negotiators were working furiously Tuesday to avert a United Nations vote on Palestinian statehood that poses dangers for President Obama both on the world stage and in his reelection efforts at home.

A vote on Friday would result in a U.S. veto, something the administration has promised, if necessary, but wants to avoid because it would be a diplomatic disaster in the Muslim world.

The vote would also give ammunition to Republican critics who already are saying the administration should have done more to prevent the fight from reaching the U.N.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Tuesday the looming crisis amounted to “an unmitigated diplomatic disaster,” while Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, Romney’s chief rival, went even further, accusing Obama of “appeasement.”

Convincing the Palestinians to hold off on the vote would not only allow Obama to avoid a diplomatic kerfuffle, but one-up his Republican critics to boot.

At press time, the Associated Press reported that the contours of a deal to avoid a vote were forming. There were also reports Obama will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday evening in New York. Obama was scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.

European officials, with the United States’ support, were working on a plan Tuesday in which Israel would have to accept its pre-1967 borders with land exchanges as the basis for a two-state solution and the Palestinians would have to recognize Israel’s Jewish character, according to the AP.

The Palestinians would be allowed to deliver their request for a vote but would not act on it for a year or would withdraw it at a later point, the AP noted.

A U.S. veto would leave America isolated on the issue and undermine the administration’s efforts to reset relationships with an Arab world that has seen several governments collapse this year.

It would play into the narrative, already popular in much of the Middle East, that America’s close alliance with Israel is evidence the U.S. cannot be an honest broker in peace negotiations.

Republican presidential candidates on Tuesday lambasted Obama for, in their view, allowing the United States (and Israel) to be outmaneuvered by the Palestinians. They suggested they would take a tougher stand than Obama, who is frequently criticized as being more sympathetic to the Palestinians than Israel.

Perry suggested that, if he were president, he would cut off or at least restrict U.S. aid to the Palestinians were they to attain statehood.

George Birnbaum, a onetime aide to Netanyahu who now works as a consultant for Israel’s foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, said the whole affair was a “a lose-lose for everyone.”

An American veto “enables Hamas, Hezbollah and everybody else to ramp up the PR,” Birnbaum told The Hill.He also suggested that the mere fact that the situation had been allowed to reach this point was an indictment of the Obama administration.

via US officials try to avert a UN vote on Palestinian statehood to avoid using veto – TheHill.com.

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