A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
November 29, 2012 -Palestinians Gain State Observer Status at UN
The UN has voted to upgrade the status of the Palestinian Authority to that of "State Observer" status. The Plestinians recevied a little less support then expected with 138 in favor 9 opposed and 49 abstaining. After weeks of threatening dire actions against the Palestinians if their new status was approved in the UN, the Israeli government is now playing down the act- stating that it's no big deal, and will have no effect on the actual status of the West Bank. Some observers agree, and some disagree. Some say that this will allow the Palestinians to sue Israel in the International Court of Justice. Others are skeptical that this would be the case.
The two things that are clear is that the Palestinians receiving State Observer status is a major diplomatic defeat for Israel on two levels. On the first, and albeit more distant level, the change produces a new and more problematic starting point for any future negotiations with the Palestinians. Instead of negotiating towards an independent Palestinian state, the UN has now recognized it as such. As a result, theoretically, now the two sides have to negotiate the differences between them. However, more problematic, is the fact that Israel lost the complete support of almost all of the European nations in this vote. The reason seems clear. There is a distinct sense that when it comes to the question of Israel-Palestinian negotiations, it is the Netanyahu government that seems unwilling to truly negotiate. Netanyahu is simply not believed when it comes to his willingness to negotiate. Of course, having Avigdor Lieberman as Foreign Minister, (a man that is unwelcome everywhere in the world but Eastern Europe), does not help bolster Israel's diplomatic efforts.
Meanwhile, the Iranian clock keeps ticking; with the US giving Teheran a deadline (until March) to reach some sort of agreement with the IAEA on its nuclear program. However, the IAEA head says openly that there are limits to what diplomacy can achieve.
Egypt remains in turmoil, with Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood attempting to pass a constitution that is opposed by all the liberal elements of the country. I am getting most of my news on the situation from Titter posts by local liberals. It appears the western media seems to be dong a terrible job of covering what is really going on.
Finally, by all accounts the rebels seem to gaining the upper hand in Syria. The next few days may be the last for Assad. Of course that has been said before.