The United Nations General Assembly appears poised to vote to grant the Palestinian Authority non-member observer status after PA President Mahmoud Abbas' rejected President Obama's last-minute plea for compromise.
On Wednesday, Abbas rebuffed an appeal from Deputy Secretary of State of State William Burns and Mideast envoy David Hale, who tried to persuade him to withdraw or amend the proposed resolution recognizing an independent Palestinian state.
A similar ploy last year failed before the U.N. Security Council. By going to the General Assembly, the Palestinians avoid losing to a U.S. veto. The U.S. maintains that a Palestinian state can be created only through negotiations with Israel.
On Thursday, Germany reversed course, announcing it would not oppose the resolution but would abstain on the vote. France has said it would support the measure, and Great Britain has indicated it would abstain.
"We lost Europe," an Israeli diplomat said. "More than half of its countries will vote with the Palestinians, and the rest will abstain."
Although Hamas was hostile to Abbas' previous U.N. statehood push, supporters of the terror group celebrated the news in Hebron and Ramallah Thursday together with supporters of Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Writing in Thursday's Jerusalem Post, Hebrew University Professor Shlomo Slonim argues that Abbas and Hamas have adopted different strategies toward achieving the same goal.
For Abbas, the diplomatic route is "simply a case of war by other means," Slonim writes. "It is a two-step strategy: The first diplomatic warfare target is Israel's presence in the territories that came under Israeli rule in 1967."
Slonim predicts that "Once a Palestinian state with pre-1967 borders – including part of Jerusalem – is not only proclaimed, but endorsed by international bodies dominated by automatic majorities, Israel's presence in the territories is further delegitimized and its self-defensive measures can be discredited."
Lawfare, involving the systematic abuse of international human-rights bodies, "could proceed apace [through the International Criminal Court], with Israel being targeted for war crimes and sundry human rights abuses. Attempts to apply boycotts and sanctions would presumably multiply," he adds. "The aim would be to galvanize as many international institutions as possible to stamp Israel an illegal entity."
In all likelihood, Abbas' Palestinian state would be one lacking control over much of its territory. Israeli U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor notes that, out of concern for his personal safety, Abbas hasn't visited Gaza in nearly six years.
Under Hamas, Gaza has become a refuge for jihadist groups. The family of nations does not need another member "whose chief exports are extremism, hatred and terror," Prosor writes.
The world applauded Israel when it unilaterally withdrew from Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted."We got applause and then rocket fire. We left Gaza, and Iran entered, exactly like what happened in Lebanon."