Palestinian Officials: U.N. Statehood Will End Peace Process, Enable "Resistance" Escalation and Diplomatic Warfare

At the end of a week which saw Palestinian Authority officials repeatedly emphasizing their commitment to pursuing a declaration of non-member statehood in the United Nations - over and against the objections of American, European, and Israeli diplomats - high-ranking Palestinian officials seemed to confirm some of the most pointed Western suspicions about the motives behind the diplomatic gambit. The move violates decades of Palestinian commitments to pursuing peace with Israel from within a bilateral framework

Abbas Zaki, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, outlined Thursday how the Palestinian Authority intends to use U.N. recognition to "close" the Oslo Accords and to "go to all U.N. agencies to force the international community to take legal action against Israel."

Another Palestinian official, PLO Executive Committee member Saleh Ra'fat, warned that Israeli diplomatic retaliation would permit Palestinians to "escalate popular resistance," rhetoric considered by analysts to be a euphemism for terrorism against Israel.

The statements call into question repeated assertions by Palestinian leaders that their unilateral U.N. campaign is designed to enhance rather than damage peace talks. Zaki's words will more specifically reinforce concerns that Palestinians intend to use unilateral statehood a pretext for abandoning the Israeli-Arab peace process, risking widespread regional destabilization, and as a mechanism for waging diplomatic warfare against Israel, potentially politicizing and undermining international law.

The wisdom of pursuing unilateral statehood has been questioned even by some Palestinian leaders. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is known to be against the move, and was even rumored to have resigned in protest of the pursuit. Fayyad is said to be concerned that Palestinian unilateralism will trigger withdrawals of American and Israeli financial support, causing severe economic contractions in the West Bank.

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