What's the Latest Development?
Palestinian leaders have confirmed their intentions to formally request recognition of their state and full membership of the U.N. in September despite strong opposition from the U.S. and warnings that the bid will imperil future peace talks. President of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas will travel to Lebanon this week to discuss the plan. "Lebanon will hold the rotating presidency of the U.N. security council next month and is expected to be sympathetic to the Palestinian campaign." Israel insists negotiations must continue to be bilateral; the U.S. promises to veto the bid when the Security Council meets.
What's the Big Idea?
If Palestine cannot secure statehood before the U.N. Security Council, it will appeal to the General Assembly. If it can secure an affirmative vote from two-thirds of the Assembly's 196 countries, it would then be considered a "non-member state" which is a step just short of statehood. The sticking point in current peace negotiations are Israeli settlements built on Palestinian land. While the U.S. has advocated land swaps in order to preserve existing Israeli settlements, Israel's prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu has shown little willingness to negotiate in good faith.