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Obama’s last chance of ending Israeli occupation

President Barack Obama must now muster the courage to fulfill his 2009 Cairo speech pledge to push for the establishment of a Palestinian state.
U.S. President Barack Obama looks up during his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque  - RTSOTI2
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The central question concerning politicians and pundits in Israel and the occupied territories these days is about the day after the US presidential elections. What will happen in the transition period starting Nov. 9 and ending with the changing of the guard at the White House on Jan. 20, 2017? Will President Barack Obama veto the UN Security Council resolution recognizing a Palestinian state, or will he make do with yet another speech rebuking Israel? Or perhaps he will prefer a UN vote condemning the Jewish settlements? Either way, any decision Obama makes will have far-reaching implications for millions of people in the Middle East.

If Obama opts to withhold his veto power and the Security Council turns Palestine into a new UN member of equal standing, Israel will automatically and officially become an occupier by force of another UN member state. Of course, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will then summon Israel’s UN envoy, Danny Danon, for consultations in Jerusalem in protest, as he did in reaction to the UNESCO decision over the Temple Mount, which denied Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and Western Wall. But this “punishment” is highly unlikely to stop the snowball of international sanctions against Israel by all agencies of the UN and capitals of the world.

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