The U.N. General Assembly is expected to vote today on a proposal to elevate the status of the Palestinian Authority. The PA is currently a permanent-observer “entity.” It is seeking to become a permanent-observer “non-member state.” Last year, the Obama administration blocked the PA’s bid for full U.N. membership by threatening to use the U.S.’s Security Council veto, asserting that “efforts to delegitimize Israel will end in failure. Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won’t create an independent state.”
A unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood would undermine all internationally accepted frameworks for peace, including U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 and the U.N.-sponsored Road Map for Peace, as well as other U.N. statements that call for a Palestinian state and delineation of borders through a negotiated mutual agreement with Israel. Diplomatically and rhetorically, the Palestinians would portray elevated status in the U.N. as validation of their unilateral declaration of statehood and use it to circumvent bilateral negotiations with Israel. This effort threatens both U.S. and Israeli interests, and the administration is right to oppose it.