JERUSALEM – Israelis and Palestinians are preparing for a showdown at the United Nations in September, when the Palestinian leadership will ask for recognition of a Palestinian state within the borders that existed before the Six Day War in 1967 (when Israel seized control of Jordanian-occupied territory). The details of the bid remain unclear, and the effort entails serious risks. But a sober assessment of what might follow a UN endorsement of Palestine’s borders allows for some cautious optimism.
Given the lasting stalemate in bilateral negotiations with Israel, a Palestinian focus on a non-member state bid at the UN General Assembly might very well increase the likelihood of jump-starting the process. The Palestinian plan already has resulted in an unprecedented diplomatic frenzy. While Palestinians travel the world soliciting votes, Israeli officials are engaged in last-minute efforts to dissuade countries from supporting what they perceive as Palestinian unilateralism.