Despite the rapid unraveling of Israeli ties with both Turkey and Egypt, September is still seen as the month that would precipitate a “diplomatic tsunami” as a result of the impending UN vote on Palestinian statehood, letting the fact that two Israeli ambassadors were forced to leave neighboring countries take a distant backseat.
The leftist pro-Israeli lobby J Street warned in a statement that they cannot support the Palestinian UN bid, because it won’t lead to the resolution of the conflict, and might only further escalate tensions. The PLO mission representative to Washington expressed his disappointment with J Street’s decision to align itself with other pro-Israeli organizations’ position on the vote.
The Americans for Peace Now President and CEO Debra DeLee warned in a statement on Monday that “a showdown at the UN entails real risks for Israel, the Palestinians, and the United States, particularly in the context of the ongoing upheaval across the Arab world”, urging the Obama administration to offer “a bold initiative that can forestall an unnecessary and politically explosive showdown in either the United Nations Security Council or the General Assembly”.
It’s not clear yet what the exact wording of the proposal will be and when it will be voted upon, but there are few optimists who see it as a major breakthrough. Some of these optimists gathered last week at the New America Foundation suite in Washington.
Presenting the attendants with colorful brochure titled “Palestine is ready for Statehood”, some Palestinian activists and business leaders came together, claiming the vote will be the game changer.
“There is a lot of pessimism around the table”, observed Zahi Khouri, founder and CEO of the Palestinian National Beverage Company at the gathering, adding “I don’t know who is going to be the husband and the wife, but the Israelis and the Palestinians have to sleep together.”
Khouri called on participants in the gathering to clarify this message to decision makers and the public at large that “Palestine is not only ready, it’s a major asset to the region - and to the U.S.”
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