"This is easy living.
It's all right here."
— Fox Run resident Helen Fealk,
(right) pictured with her sister
and fellow resident,
Palestinians celebrating in Ramallah on Nov. 29.
After The U.N. Vote
Will Palestinians use their new status
as a stick or an olive branch?
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December 6 • 2012
ow the United States treats
the Palestinians' new status
as a non-member state at
the United Nations depends on how
Palestinians plan to use it — as cudgel
or outstretched hand.
Beneath the outcries of disappoint-
ment at the lopsided U.N. vote on
Nov. 29, both the United States and
Israel showed signs of acquiescence to
its inevitability. There were the grim
warnings of financial consequence for
both the Palestinians and the United
Nations, but there was also a willing-
ness to take at face value Palestinian
claims that the vote is an avenue to
return to talks — something Israel and
the United States have been demand-
ing for two years.
The public statements by U.S. and
Israeli officials, however, focused on
"It places further obstacles in
the path to peace U.S. Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton said at a
Foreign Policy Group address after
the vote on Thursday. "We have been
clear that only through direct nego-
tiations between the parties can the
Palestinians and Israelis achieve the
peace that both deserve: two states for
two peoples, with a sovereign, viable,
independent Palestine living side
by side in peace and security with a
Jewish and democratic Israel:'
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu said in a statement after
the vote that the Palestinian initiative
"violated the agreements with Israel"
and that he would "act accordingly:'
That apparently presaged leaks
to media outlets on Friday that he
planned to build 3,000 new homes in
the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem,
including in the corridor separat-
ing Maaleh Adumim, a large Jewish
settlement in the West Bank, from
A broad array of Jewish groups con-
demned the vote, which passed by a
margin of 138-9, with 41 abstentions.
The American Israel Public Affairs
Committee, in one of its rare public
statements, predicted blunt and dire
consequences for the Palestinians and
the organization representing them
in Washington and New York, the
Palestine Liberation Organization.
"Congress has frequently warned the
PLO that there would be consequences
for its relationship with the United
States if the PLO refuses to demon-
strate its commitment to peace with
Israel:' AIPAC said.
"Congress has specifically linked
continued aid and the operation of
the PLO office in Washington to the
Palestinians not seeking statehood
status at the United Nations. AIPAC
applauds this congressional leadership
and urges a full review of America's
relations with the PLO, including clo-
sure of the PLO's office in Washington:'
In local reaction, Sharon Lipton,
president of the Jewish Community
Relations Council of Metropolitan
Detroit, said, "While the Palestinian
Authority has accomplished an objec-
tive at the U.N., which drew much
media attention, most Palestinians
in the West Bank and elsewhere may
eventually be disappointed.
"This action is unlikely to change
the facts on the ground and lead to a
better life for them. In fact, the U.N.
vote actually hurts rather than helps
the chances for peace between Israelis
"If Palestinian leaders are looking
for a dramatic move beyond today's
quickly fading spotlights and headlines
at the U.N., they should immediately
return to the negotiating table with
Israel and begin direct talks to achieve
the peace settlement Israelis and