A reader writes:
Now it is easy to see the current situation as a disaster for Obama and the Palestianians, but Mr. Long Game might have some other ideas in mind. While the neocons and Bibi celebrate their short term victory of keeping the status quo, it may be Obama that is driving them down this road. The status quo does not lead back to the bargaining table or even the way things used to be, it leads to the UN Security Council and then all bets are off.
Conventional wisdom suggests that no American President would ever vote yes or even abstain from a resolution on a Palestinian state, but the truth is that this is the only place that Congressional fealty has no currency.
You can make all of the assumptions you wish about what may or may not take place under such circumstances, but this is exactly the worst place for Israel to end up because Cantor can blather, but he can't vote or even overrule the President in this forum.
The only way an American President could actually survive abstention or a positive vote is to demonstrate the total futility of direct negotiations and make a solid case that there is no alternative any longer. Maybe Obama didn’t offer Bibi the sun, moon and even a promise not to take this to the UN because he thought Bibi would go along, but rather he was convinced he would not and provide just the sort of cover he is looking for to impose peace.
Bottom line is that the best deal Israel will get is in negotiations and the worst deal is at the UN. Note that Obama said a UN resolution would be “premature” at this point, not because he isn’t done trying for peace, but he is not done exhausting the world with Israeli intransigence. When Bibi is finished killing all efforts, the look at the UN will be far different and the Israeli/Neocon fate will be entirely in the hands of someone they cannot control and do not trust.
If Bibi really believed that Obama would go along with a UN resolution, the settlement freeze would be reinstituted tomorrow and a deal would be had in months, but Obama has to prepare the ground in advance of instilling that fear in Israel. This is not a conventional President, so don’t expect him to always follow conventional wisdom even when it comes to Israel.