What comes after the speech?
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas returned to a hero's welcome after his speech to the United Nations petitioning for a recognition of statehood. In a speech on Sunday in the West Bank, Abbas proclaimed a "Palestinian Spring," one that would match the Arab Spring that has swept autocratic governments throughout the region, and in this case would mean finally achieving his long-delayed goal of a unified Palestinian state.
The actual state of peace negotiations was far less clear, though not entirely bleak. On the same day that Abbas was returning home in triumphant fashion, Israel foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman announced his approval of efforts by the U.S. and European officials to begin renewed peace talks, without preconditions. That proposal was a last effort to persuade Palestinian leaders to drop their push for a vote on statehood by the membership of the U.N, and instead to restart the long-stalled peace talks brokered by Americans, European Union leaders, and Russia.
Dropping preconditions would not be as easy as it might sound. For Palestinians, that would mean coming back to the table without an Israeli move to stop construction of new settlements in the West Bank. For Israel, it would mean resuming talks without a preliminary guarantee about the possible borders of a future Palestinian state, and with the U.N. recognition request still sitting provocatively on the table.