Monday, November 1, 2010

UN Settlement Freeze? Not Likely.

Egypt is the latest state to join in an Arab initiative at the UN to force Israel to freeze settlements as the first step towards a Palestinian State.

The initiative's chances of success are slim to none. Any initiative would likely be vetoed by the United States under the rationale of supporting a "negotiated solution between the two parties." But the real rationale appears to be twofold.

Firstly, the move is a way for Egypt to continue to play a key mediating role in the conflict. In this regard the tactic is likely to be relatively successful (certainly more so than photoshopping President Mubarak). By staying in the news cycle, Egypt is raising its importance as a key regional player not only in the eyes of the parties, but in the eyes of the Arab world, the international community, and the United States.

Secondly, the move appears to be a pressure tactic to keep Israel at the bargaining table. Even so, it's unlikely that the threat of a UN mandated freeze will make a difference for Israel, who is not the biggest fan of the United Nations (and in some ways rightly so).

Overall, the tactic will likely be beneficial for Egypt, but not particularly influential over the peace process.

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