The Jerusalem Post reported on the recent open debate at the UN Security Council in this piece.
I agree with Israel's UN ambassador "The important thing is not more discussions in the UN and the Security Council of the kind that we were dragged into, but what happens on the ground." She also said that direct talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians are even more important now since the region is going through "period of transition ... as Israel awaits its new government and with the Palestinians seriously divided."
I am happy that the "Quartet - the UN, the US, the European Union and Russia - issued a statement calling on Israel to dismantle all outposts constructed after March 2001 and to freeze any further construction in the settlements, even to accommodate "natural growth," due to its 'damaging impact on the negotiating environment.'" But I think that this has to be part of a larger statement to encourage both sides to continue to talk rather than wait for Israel to change its stance on the settlements. I don't like the right wing settlers but I hope people realize that people in the center and left within Israeli politics have to not only negotiate with the Palestinians, but also with the right wing of Israeli politics.
At least the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is in the right mindset saying, "I will never cease to negotiate." I hope that Abbas or someone like him will be President of the PA next year even when Fatah, which controls the West Bank, forms a unity government with Hamas, which controls Gaza.
Now to the title of the blog post - Looking Forward. "The Quartet additionally suggested holding an international summit with the Israelis and Palestinians in Moscow in the spring of 2009 - several months past the hoped-for December deadline for a deal, and after a new US administration is in place." I agree with Israeli President Shimon Peres that it is very unlikely that a peace deal will be struck this year. But hopefully, if Obama is elected President of the US, he will encourage direct talks more than Bush had. In the recent presidential debate, Obama said that part of his foreign policy is to regain America's standing in the world. If he achieves that, I hope that he will use that to pressure the world to show to the Palestinians and the Israelis that they have high hopes for them. I know, it's a lot of wishful thinking but hope and vision is what changes the world.