As the U.N. General Assembly prepares to meet in New York this week, one issue is eclipsing all others: the unilateral Palestinian bid for statehood. Officials from the so-called "Quartet" of Mideast mediators (the U.S., E.U., Russia, and U.N.) are currently holding frenzied talks to persuade the Palestinians to abandon their campaign in favor of renewed peace talks with Israel. One European official, for example, tells The Wall Street Journal today that the E.U. might promise to support Palestinian statehood next year at the U.N. if Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agrees to give negotiations with Israel one more shot. The general consensus, however, is that the Palestinians won't emerge from this controversial statehood bid with an actual Palestinian state. So what's the diplomatic tempest all about?
The Plan: This Friday, Abbas will address the General Assembly and request U.N. membership for a Palestinian state consisting of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and east Jerusalem through the 15-member U.N. Security Council, the only U.N. body that can grant "full member" status to a state.
The Likely Result: The statehood bid will almost certainly fail in the Security Council for one of two reasons: 1) the Palestinians can't muster nine votes in favor of statehood or 2) the U.S., faced with nine or more affirmative votes, exercises its right as one of five permanent members of the council to veto the resolution. U.S. officials are telling the AP that they think the Palestinians will fall just short of nine votes, while Palestinian officials say they'll get the magic number comfortably (David Bosco at Foreign Policy is updating his vote-counting as new information surfaces).