Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Officials Race to Avert Palestinian Statehood Vote Amid Warnings of Renewed Violence

The looming showdown at the United Nations this week over Palestinian statehood could be either a "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity to restart peace talks or the spark that inflames a new wave of violence in the region, officials said Sunday.

U.S. and European officials are scrambling to avoid or delay the vote. Senior diplomatic figures were holding a round of talks Sunday to at least minimize the fallout from the Palestinians' push to seek recognition at the U.N.

So far, Palestinians are not backing down. A top Palestinian envoy said in an interview Sunday that the delegation will move forward unless they're presented with a "viable alternative."

Absent a compromise, analysts and officials warn that the statehood push will have dire consequences for all parties. The United States would be compelled to veto the proposal in the Security Council, potentially harming U.S. credibility in the Arab world. Though the bid is unlikely to pass the Security Council, a separate affirmative vote in the General Assembly would give the Palestinians "observer" state status and access to the International Criminal Court, as a vehicle to pursue charges against Israel. The chances for renewed peace talks could further erode. more