As Palestine Seeks Observer State Status, A Call for Restraint

November 14, 2012

By Andrew Wilson

In the final weeks before the anticipated vote in the UN General Assembly that will likely give Palestine observer state status, President Mahmoud Abbas and his government are hanging tough against U.S. and Israeli diplomatic pressure. Abbas, who intends to submit the resolution to the UNGA on November 29, knows the value of recognition as a state by the international community. He understands that the Palestinian people are willing to pay what may be an economic price for achieving the dignity and right to national self-determination that statehood confers.

In that regard, the atmosphere is already thick with threats of punitive measures. Israel has intimated a boycott of tax revenues and accelerating the pace of settlement construction. Americans are talking about cutting off aid and evicting the Palestinian delegation from Washington. Some Palestinians are already contemplating counter-measures if Israel goes through with its tax boycott, from the cancellation of security cooperation to mass demonstrations. Meanwhile, Hamas, not wanting to be left out, has stepped up rocket barrages of nearby Israeli towns, and Israel has responded with airstrikes and talk of a possible ground offensive.

The United States should exercise restraint, as should Israel. The UN resolution should be a historic step toward founding the State of Palestine. The last thing the world needs is a new set of measures and counter-measures to plunge the region back into another cycle of violence, quashing any opportunity to reap the good that could come at this monumental juncture.

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