The US is getting ready to veto a UN vote in favor of Palestinian statehood. Why? The official line insists that the best path to statehood lies through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians — not as a directive from outsiders. While the Palestinians have the votes on their side and liberals like me would love to see them get their state, this claim still warrants examination.
What would be the worst case scenario, then, if the U.N. vote actually managed to recognize a Palestinian state? Israel would not be willing, or perhaps even able, to remove its settlers from the Palestinian territories. Palestine might seek to evict its resident Israelis through a process that mirrors their own displacement a generation ago. The Israeli government would send its military in to defend its citizens. The UN would back Palestine and the US would have a difficult decision to make — one which the Obama administration might understandably wish to avoid. A veto is their safest bet.