The United States has condemned the Palestinians’ “unilateralism” in attempting to seek official recognition at the United Nations, and has threatened to veto the move.
According to Neve Gordon, what is undermining the possibility of a two-state solution are the unilateral moves by Israel, which have never been vetoed by Washington, not the decision by the Palestinians to request state recognition.
Consider, for example, the Jewish settler population. At the end of 1991, there were 132,000 Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem and 89,800 settlers in the West Bank. Two decades later, the numbers of settlers in East Jerusalem has increased by about 40 per cent, while the settlers in the West Bank, according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, have increased by over 300 per cent. Currently, there are about half a million Jewish settlers. . .
The US has never considered using its veto power to stop Israel from carrying out unilateral moves aimed at undermining peace.
Instead, the US has frequently used its veto to prevent the condemnation of Israeli policies that breach international law. Now the Obama Administration wants to use the veto again, with the moral justification that unilateralism is misguided. But the real question is: Why is unilateralism bad when it attempts to advance a solution, yet warrants no response when unilateralism threatens to undermine a solution?
President Obama should keep in mind that the Palestinian appeal to the international community might very well be the last chance for salvaging the two-state solution.
If the Palestinian demand for recognition falls through due to a US veto, then the necessary conditions for a paradigm shift will be in place: The two-state solution will be even less feasible, and the one-state formula will emerge as the only alternative.