Two perspectives on the Palestinian bid for statehood

September 23, 2011

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(AP/Seth Wenig)
President Abbas listens to President Obama's speech, a stark contrast from Obama's call for Palestinian statehood a year ago.

Despite intense U.S. pressure, this morning Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas handed a letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon requesting official recognition of a Palestinian state. The U.N. Security Council may consider Abbas’s request as early as next week.

President Obama has vowed to veto any action at the U.N. Security Council. “I am convinced that there is no short cut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades,” he told the General Assembly in a speech on Wednesday. The move may be more symbolic than practical, but it certainly put Palestinian interests back on the international agenda and underscored U.S. failure to move forward on peace talks.

We talk to Ilan Peleg, a professor of government and law at Lafayette College and author of the recent book Israel’s Palestinians: The Conflict Within. He thinks the bid pushes the Israelis and Palestinians further away from the negotiating table and discredits the U.S. position as broker between the two parties. We also hear from Adam Horowitz, an independent journalist and co-editor of the progressive Jewish blog Mondoweiss: The War of Ideas in the Middle East.