By Sr. State Department Producer Elise Labott
Last year during his speech to the United Nations General Assembly, President Barack Obama said he hoped peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians could be concluded within a year so that a Palestinian state could be seated at the next year's General Assembly.
Now, his administration is doing everything it can to prevent that from happening.
Even as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday promised to seek full statehood for the Palestinians before the U.N. Security Council, the Obama administration - along with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Quartet envoy Tony Blair - is urging Abbas to agree on a road ahead that won't lead to the floor of the U.N.. (READ: What's at stake)
The current negotiations center around a Quartet statement of principles, which would lay out the terms of reference for peace negotiations with a one-year timeline for concluding a peace deal. In essence, it restates the ideas President Obama laid out in his May 19 speech on the Arab Spring.
For starters, Israel gets recognition as a Jewish state. The Palestinians get a state along 1967 borders with agreed-upon land swaps and a settlement freeze. Neither side will get everything it wants, but diplomats sense a softening of positions by both parties.
The United States also is trying to avoid being forced into vetoing the resolution if it is brought to the U.N. Security Council, officials said. As an alternative, the U.S. is trying to block Abbas from getting a necessary nine votes in the council, according to U.S. officials and diplomats from several other
Even with a U.S. veto, the knowledge that the resolution had a nine-vote majority would be bad for the administration. Senior U.S. officials and several diplomats say the way the math is adding up; the Palestinians would likely struggle to get to nine. That could convince Abbas to bypass the Security Council and go straight to General Assembly. FULL POST