1. What prompted the Palestinian Authority to seek UN recognition for Palestine at this historical juncture in the struggle for justice and the creation of an independent Palestinian state?
I think the essential motivating feature was long overdue disillusionment with the ‘peace process’ as derived from the Oslo Framework of Principles agreed upon in 1993, and looking toward the resolution of final status issues (borders, refugees, Jerusalem, settlements, security, water) within five years. More recently Obama in his 2011 speech to the UN General Assembly appeared committed to the establishment of a Palestinian state within a year, but awkwardly backed away from this kind of assessment in 2012 when he merely declared that it was difficult to achieve peace, and that only hope was direct negotiations without any preconditions. The published Palestine Papers on confidential negotiations behind closed doors between representatives of Israel and of the Palestine Authority, leaked to Al Jazeera several months ago, reinforced the impression that the Israeli leadership was not at all interested in a negotiated end to the conflict even when offered far reaching concessions by Palestinian interlocutors. Negotiations that lead no where serve Israel’s interests far better than would a clear declaration that acknowledges Palestinian rights under international law as the necessary foundation of a peaceful resolution of the conflict.