Posted by Kristin McCarthy on December 17, 2014 in Blog

UPDATE: Click here for the full text of the draft resolution on Palestinian statehood as submitted by Jordan to the UN Security Council on December 17, 2014.

The United States has made a living as the chief mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for too long. I won’t take the time to recount the cycles of disappointment – from 1967 to Oslo to Camp David and all the failures along the way to Sec. Kerry’s latest initiative – but I will point you to good starter pieces here and here if you’re up for reliving the history of U.S. brokered negotiations.

Now, significant international actors are no longer shying away from changing the longstanding dynamics of the peace process. Today, we are anticipating the submission of a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution that could significantly change the course of negotiations by introducing a timeline for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank (no word on Gaza provisions). The resolution is a product of an initiative led by France, echoing earlier drafts by Great Britain and Germany. No longer would Israel be able to participate in a peace process while implementing ever more effective means of occupation. The roll-back process might begin.

But this European-led initiative faces the U.S. veto at the UNSC – which has been a historic guarantee for any Israel-related resolutions and is likely to be so again. We were afforded a small window of hope that this would not continue to be the case. Amidst many Israeli pleas for the U.S. to use its veto against the new resolution –Secretary of State Spokeswoman Jen Psaki ‘s comments just yesterday created ever so slight of a space for a resolution to pass, saying:

A UN Security Council resolution is not, in our view, a unilateral measure by either one of the parties…. our objection historically has been to measures that would prejudge the outcome of the negotiations. If you had a Security Council resolution from the Palestinians, which we've had in the past, that sought to have them recognized…as a member state, that's a unilateral action, as you all know. But if you were to do some kind of terms of reference in the Security Council resolution, that would not be what we would consider to be a unilateral step.

However, reports began leaking hours ago that the U.S. has decided to veto the Palestinian resolution. The prospective U.S. veto is nothing but an old tactic repeated ad nauseam. Once again the U.S. government is trying to anticipate positive and negative repercussions on internal Israeli politics. The U.S. has relied upon this type of guess work as the paramount consideration in how it conducts diplomacy in all arenas, whether at the negotiations table or at the UN. Our best guess work has been a disappointment time and again. It is time for a change – it is time for the U.S. to withhold its veto and let reasonable, trusted international actors help restart negotiations that deescalate and ultimately end the occupation on a guaranteed timeline.

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