Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' stubborn decision to seek to upgrade the authority's status at the U.N. to that of a nonmember observer state, angering the two partners (Israel and the U.S.) vital to reaching a final agreement, has not advanced the Palestinians any closer to statehood — quite the opposite.
Abbas elected to break the rules of the game. Palestine is now perhaps a type of state, but for Israel it certainly isn't a society. Nov. 29 will now be remembered as the day Abbas destroyed, de facto, the Oslo Accords.
After the French rushed to support the Palestinian bid, we can honor them by saying that at Thursday's U.N. General Assembly they gave the Olso Accords their final coup de grace.
Just as Hamas feigns surprise when Israel responds to its violent outbursts — to which we have grown so accustomed since the disengagement from Gaza — the PA also claimed to be surprised and complained about Israel's response to its very non-innocent U.N. initiative.
Israel vowed to respond to the Palestinian's diplomatic maneuver. In the international community, as it stands today politically and demographically, it proved impossible to block the bid. But does that mean that because of the current make-up of the international community, Israel still cannot make decisions which Jerusalem believes are strategically prudent, such as authorizing the construction of 3,000 more housing units in Judea and Samaria?
There are those who rushed to criticize the decision, claiming that by approving this new construction Israel had essentially turned its back on the world — as if Israel was riding high on the world's shoulders at the U.N. on Thursday. There were several much harsher ideas on the table for Israel's potential response to the Palestinians' initiative. Israel could have gone with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who believes that causing the collapse of Abbas' regime would resolve the conflict much more quickly.
There was also the option of annexing territories. A third option was chosen, which was meant as a signal to Abbas. Israel should seek to resume negotiations with the PA, but more than it wants to negotiate, it wishes the PA would retake control over the Gaza Strip.
In the meantime Abbas has his own set of priorities, but it's difficult to renovate an apartment before you actually own it. For the sake of fairness, let us keep in mind that Jerusalem has never denied the plan to expand settlement blocs under a final-status agreement with the Palestinians. Abbas has decided that every step from now on will create facts on the ground. Israel can also play that game.
So, how should we summarize this past week? Palestine upgraded its status at the U.N. Israel upgraded the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria. Only the hypocritical world had nothing to upgrade.