RAMALLAH, September 25 (JMCC) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' speech at the United Nations Friday was a potential game-changer, argues
Phyllis Bennis. Now diplomacy is once again squarely in the international arena and out of the court of US patronage.
How the case for Palestine and Palestinians will fare at the UN, however, remains up in the air.
No longer is the failed U.S.-controlled peace process the only diplomatic game in town. The Palestinian application for recognition as a full Member State of the United Nations places the diplomacy squarely where it has always belonged — in the UN, not in Washington. And while that may be weakened by Abbas' seeming willingness to continue to engage in this long-failed process, there is at least the basis for rebuilding a new diplomatic basis different from the current approach that maintains Israel’s huge disparity power and accepts Israeli “red lines.” This could mean something really new – diplomacy grounded in international law and human rights that ends occupation, ensures the right of refugees to return to their homes, and replaces apartheid with equality for all.
None of this, of course, is certain. Diplomacy is far more about political will and political power than it is about abstract rules; relying on the UN as both venue and player in a new process makes some new results possible — it doesn’t make them inevitable. Reality will require a huge level of new political will, certainly from some countries willing to back the membership/statehood bid, and most especially within the Palestinian diplomatic strategy and the Palestinian diplomats themselves.