Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What pressure looks like: I

On May 11, 2009, the UN Security Council unanimously approved a Presidential Statement on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.  Such statements lack the implementation or enforcement measures associated with resolutions, but this statement was 
noteworthy for several reasons:

  • It was passed unanimously in a draft form that closely coincides with the public position of the White House.
  • The statement unequivocally reiterates the validity of all prior agreements and undertakings, including Quartet's Road Map, which gathered dust during the ineffectual mediatory efforts of Condoleezza Rice.  Implicitly, the statement reiterates the Road Map's requirement for a freeze to Israeli settlement expansion and construction.
  • The 2002 Arab League Initiative is explicitly validated in the statement.
  • Palestinian reconciliation is endorsed under the aegis of the PA, and through the offices of Egyptian diplomacy.
  • The statement endorses a conference "in 2009" under Russian auspices.

If you wonder, what significant, carefully designed pressure looks like, just ponder this statement.  It is one of a series of important signals emanating directly or indirectly from the Obama administration.  All very smooth, almost seamless in design.

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