September looks to be a dangerous month in the Middle East–or maybe the start of another dangerous decade.
Peace? The Palestinians continue their plan to go to the UN for recognition. But recognition of what and how? It has never been entirely clear what the Palestinians want from the UN, or what the UN can provide. Alvaro De Soto, a UN diplomat, has provided a short explanation of the possibilities and the process. There are two possibilities, he writes:
“If the idea is to bring the Palestinians up to par with Israel by pushing forward a mirror image of the resolution that led to the creation of Israel, it should be a General Assembly resolution as was the case in 1947. But as a matter of international law, neither the UN nor any other international organization can give legal validity to the creation of a state. The UN is not in the recognition business; only states can recognize states…..”
Or, “If the Palestinians were to pursue UN membership, a different procedure would apply. Ultimately UN membership is granted by the General Assembly if 2/3 of the members present and voting so decide, but the opportunity to take such a decision only arises if the Security Council puts its positive stamp on a membership application. There is no bypass mechanism, no uniting-for peace procedure in case of Council deadlock….The Council votes, with the usual requirements of 9 votes in favor and no permanent members voting against. If it is approved it goes to the General Assembly. If it is not, there will be no General Assembly vote.”
The full (and brief explanation), “What the UN Vote Means and Does Not” was posted by Bernard Avishai at TPM. I found it clarifying.
War? A rumor on which I have posted before, an Israeli attack on Iran, has been floated again by retired CIA agent, Robert Baer, and reported by MJ Rosenberg. It focuses on retired Mossad officials who believe that Netanyahu will go off the deep end. Baer, who claims to have additional information, says, “There is almost ‘near certainty’ that Netanyahu is ‘planning an attack [on Iran] …and it will probably be in September before the vote on a Palestinian state. And he’s also hoping to draw the United States into the conflict.” With the CIA one never knows what is being said and to whom. Is this a heads up to the Obama Administration that the CIA is not on board for this–as the Pentagon has signaled since the rumors began? A preemptive move against any Israeli action by the U.S. (via the CIA)? Or a warning to the Palestinians not to go to the UN? OR?
UPDATE: Palestinians to the General Assembly? Ha’aretz reports that the Palestinian Authority is likely to choose option one (above), and go to the General Assembly and follow the path of Israel in 1947. This will avoid the likelihood of a U.S. veto in the Security Council. The story also reports on US intransigence in the Quartet talks meant to ameliorate the Palestinian move.