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Showdown at the United Nations

The Israeli-Palestinian clash comes to Turtle Bay.

Sep 26, 2011, Vol. 17, No. 02 • By LEE SMITH
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Netanyahu’s decision to go to New York to tell Israel’s story is best understood through what’s happened over the last few weeks, like the September 9 attack on the Cairo embassy. Neighbors and other regional actors are trying to score points off Israel to enhance their own domestic prestige. Accordingly, one key question is whether Abbas’s failure might give room to local adversaries, including Hamas, to launch attacks on Israel. Some security figures are readying for the possibility of a third intifada, though others suspect that any incidents will be limited in scope and intensity.

One rule of Middle East politics, says Kramer, is that “if people are expecting something to happen, it won’t.” Most of the major events of recent regional history came out of the blue​—​from the Israel-Hezbollah war of 2006 to the Mavi Marmara incident, and from 9/11 to the Arab Spring.

In fact, some are wondering if the U.N. bid may at last provoke a Palestinian version of the Arab Spring. Doubtful, says Kramer. “If there was going to be a Palestinian Arab Spring, it would’ve happened already. But the Arab Spring has shown that the other Arabs are not all free with only the Palestinians waiting to be liberated. Rather, the Palestinians are arguably better off than lots of others around the region. What irks the Palestinian leadership is that it hasn’t been in the spotlight for a while.”

First there was the Arab Spring, and now, with Bibi coming to New York, it looks like the Palestinian Authority still isn’t going to have the spotlight to itself.

Lee Smith is a senior editor at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

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