With a UN vote looming on recognizing a Palestinian state on Sept. 20, the White House has started a last-minute diplomatic campaign to get the Palestinians to give up their attempt at statehood for more peace talks, reports the New York Times. Although the United States can veto a request to make Palestine a new state, US officials fear the reaction a veto could create around the Middle East. “An American veto could inflame emotions and bring anti-American sentiment to the forefront across the region," said a former Palestinian negotiator.
In addition, US officials worry the General Assembly could vote to raise Palestine's status to nonvoting observer state, which would give it a more active presence throughout the UN. “The most powerful argument is that this will provoke a Palestinian awakening, that there will be a new violence and that we’ll be blamed,” says a former US ambassador to Israel. But with the Palestinians having so many votes on their side, many observers think US proposals will fail. “Whoever wrote this thought we are so weak that we cannot even wiggle or that we are stupid,” said a senior Palestinian official. “Whatever is to be offered, it is too late.” (Read more Palestinian statehood stories.)