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Palestinian statehood bid carries uncertain outcome

(Xinhua)

17:19, October 01, 2011

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- The talks of Palestinian statehood continued on Friday at the United Nations, but U.S. analysts said the question remains whether the current route can lead to peace between the Palestinians and Israelis.

Indeed, bilateral talks between the Palestinians and Israelis have dragged on with no sign of a breakthrough, and U.S. President Barack Obama's promise of a peace deal between the two sides has proved overly ambitious, critics said.

As a result, Palestinian leaders have become frustrated with the process and come to believe that Israel is unwilling to sit down and hash out a comprehensive peace agreement.

For its part, Israel insists that no two-state solution can occur without peace or the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, and the country's leadership remains in favor of bilateral negotiations.

On Friday, a UN Security Council panel met behind closed doors to tackle the issue of the Palestinian application and decided to continue the conversation next week.

Khaled Elgindy, former advisor to the Palestinian leadership and visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, told Fox News earlier this week that while the Palestinians' UN bid would change little on the ground, the Palestinians would gain the symbolic recognition as a state.

The status as a state, he said, would give the Palestinians some leverage, putting the two sides on equal footing in future negotiations.

He added that the Palestinians have been disappointed with Obama's management of the peace process and have thus elected to tap the UN.

Some analysts, however, said the UN application simply delays the inevitable and that bilateral negotiations are a crucial part of the peace process.

David Pollock, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said that while the Palestinians' impatience is understandable, taking the current course of action is unlikely to change the political situation for the better.

"I think it's counterproductive, although it's a symbol that is very popular," he said. "It won't produce any positive concrete changes. There are diplomatic benefits but not any benefits for people on the ground."

Michael Rubin, an analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, warned that the Palestinian move ensures further bloodshed.

While Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' rhetoric has been popular on the Palestinian streets, already Hamas is accusing him of begging at the UN and arguing that statehood should be achieved by force, Rubin noted.

"If Abbas isn't able to meet public perception, Hamas will make inroads in the West Bank," he said. "First there will be Palestinian-on-Palestinian violence, and then Hamas-on-Israel violence. Hopefully, this won't escalate into a wider war."

Rubin also expressed doubt over the notion that there is still a chance for a deal between Israel and the Palestinians. He contended that the land for peace formula is dead and that the Israelis are no longer willing to believe that diplomacy can lead to peace with any Arab state.

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