NIC Recognizes that Palestine’s UN bid was first step to Statehood

I’ve been unable to do much of anything lately because of a virus that still has me in its grip, but I wanted to blog about the National Intelligence Council’s “Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds” — a 136-page report that’s easy to miss this time of year (wink)  — before Lobe Log takes a break for the holidays.

The following section stuck out because the US was among the 9 nations that voted against the 139 nations that supported Palestine’s recent bid for non-member state status at the United Nations. It’s the third part of the NIC’s — which supports the Director of National Intelligence by providing strategic analysis — answer to the question, “Can an Israeli-Palestinian settlement be reached, enhancing the region’s prospects for stability?”:

Many of our interlocutors saw a Palestine emerging from Arab-Israeli exhaustion and an unwillingness of Israelis and Palestinians to engage in endless conflict. Issues like ‘right of return’, demilitarization and Jerusalem will not be fully resolved by 2030, and there will be no complete end of conflict. The way forward toward a Palestinian state will be through a series of unofficial independent actions known as ‘coordinated unilateralism,’ incrementally leading to statehood. As Hamas moves away from Syria and Iran to the Sunni Arab fold, the potential for reconciliation between the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and Hamas in Gaza would increase. Palestine’s borders will be roughly along the 1967 borders with adjustments or land swaps along the Green Line, but other issues willremain unresolved.

This was part of UN Ambassador Susan Rice’s statement following the UN vote:

We will continue to oppose firmly any and all unilateral actions in international bodies or treaties that circumvent or prejudge the very outcomes that can only be negotiated, including Palestinian statehood. And, we will continue to stand up to every effort that seeks to delegitimize Israel or undermine its security.

And this is the second to last part of the NIC’s answer:

Resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would  have dramatic consequences for the region over the  next two decades. For Israel, a permanent resolution to the conflict could open the door to regional relationships unthinkable today. The end of Palestinian  conflict would provide a strategic setback to Iran  and its resistance camp and over time undermine  public support for militant groups such as Hizballah and Hamas. Without some sort of resolution, Israel would be increasingly absorbed with trying to control  a burgeoning Palestinian population with limited political rights and a restive Gaza next door. 

Few can claim that US policy in the Middle East makes sense. But does anyone else sense a bit of Catch-22 going on here?

Jasmin Ramsey

Jasmin Ramsey is a journalist based in Washington, DC.