Khalil Shikaki is a professor of political science and director of the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research (Ramallah). He has a PhD in political science from Columbia University and has taught at several Palestinian and U.S. universities. His research has focused on the peace proces...
For lack of a better alternative, Palestinians go to the UN
Khalil Shikaki, 29 September 2011
Having lost confidence in the peace process, Palestinians, who normally do not view the UN as an effective conflict resolution instrument, seem to fully support their leadership's decision to seek UN membership and recognition. Fully aware of the harsh consequences that might follow, the Palestinian public seems to prefer these consequences over a continuation of the status quo. But public support for the step is predicated on the assumption that the UN vote in itself is inconsequential; rather, it is viewed as creating a momentum for change, including practical steps on the ground the day after the UN vote in which Palestinians assert their sovereignty throughout the Palestinian territories. Fascinated by the Arab Spring, the public has gained respect for nonviolent resistance, viewing it as potentially effective in challenging Israeli occupation and speeding up the process of statehood. Without continued progress in Palestinian state-building, coupled with a return to viable negotiations in the immediate aftermath of the UN vote, these public perceptions could make current Israeli-Palestinian cooperation unsustainable and give rise to various scenarios of conflict and confrontation.