PARIS – This September, Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, took the bold step of directly asking the United Nations to grant official recognition to the state of Palestine. The UN’s 193 member states look geared to vote on that request within the next few months. The world’s focus is now on Palestine.
It is almost two decades since the “quartet” – the UN, the United States, the European Union, and Russia – agreed that the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government should establish peace by coexisting as two separate states. And yet, while US President Barack Obama has referred to the quartet’s decision as his guiding principle for diplomatic action on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the situation remains as dire as ever, because the devil remains in the details.