All the news in Israel this morning is about the United Nations–so here is your humble servant’s Wednesday morning brief update.
As I blogged two days ago, the Obama Administration is doing everything it can to avoid a vote in the Security Council–especially one in which the U.S. would have to use its veto. The U.S. is now exerting maximum pressure on the Palestinians to submit their proposal for statehood to the Secretary General, but then have it immediately frozen for 12 months. (The French are also pushing their own plan which would have the Palestinians go to the General Assembly to ask for enhanced status–an idea the Palestinians have seemingly rejected).
In any case, it does not currently look like the U.S. has the 7 votes it needs to avoid using its veto (a Security Council resolution requires 9 votes to pass–including no veto from a permanent member). If the Security Council vote were held this morning, it would be:
For Palestinian statehood: India, Brazil, South Africa, Lebanon, China, Russia
Against Palestinian statehood: U.S.
Abstain in vote: Nigeria
Still on the fence and leaning “for” statehood: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Portugal, and Gabon.
Still on the fence but leaning strongly “against” statehood: Britain, France, Germany.
However there is much talk that two or three of the four countries leaning “for” Palestinian statehood (particularly Gabon, Portugal and Bosnia-Herzegovina) might be dissuaded from supporting the statehood proposal by offers of economic aid from Washington. Assuming that Britain, France, and Germany vote “no”, the U.S. would have to get two more votes to reach the magic 7 total.
Currently, a vote on Palestinian statehood has not been calendared–meaning it could come hours, days, months, or years after being submitted.
1. For all the talk about how Fatah and Hamas don’t get along, and how Hamas cannot control the various ‘radical’ factions in Gaza, your humble servant finds its intriguing that not one single rocket has been fired out of Gaza since Abbas met with Haniyeh to discuss the United Nations bid last week. Watch and see what happens immediately after a vote is taken.
2. Unrelated to the intrigue at the UN but intriguing in its own right–As I have blogged earlier this week, Kadima is being eclipsed by Labor as the second most powerful party in the Israeli opposition to the Netanyahu coalition government. Members of Labor are voting today (the polls close at 10 pm) on whether Amir Peretz or Shelly Yacimovich will be the new head ot the party. Pundits say the race is too close to call.