Barring some kind of last-minute diplomatic magic trick, Mahmoud Abbas will ask the UN Security Council for membership next week, the Palestinian foreign minister said today—even as US diplomats traveled to the West Bank for last-ditch negotiating efforts. “We will see if anyone carries … any credible offer,” he said, according to the AP. “Otherwise, on the 23rd the president will submit the application.” Benjamin Netanyahu today announced that he’d lead Israel’s UN delegation to oppose the move.
The gambit puts the US in the uncomfortable position of vetoing one of its stated policy objectives. Most other countries support Palestinian statehood, so Abbas is at least likely to win “non-member observer state” status from the General Assembly. None of this will change realities on the ground, but it’s energized Palestinians, the New York Times reports, even if many fear Israeli reprisals. “We have to do it,” one said. “The consequences cannot be worse than losing all of Palestine.” (Read more Israel and Palestinians stories.)