According to Bloomberg, a shuffle of the 15-member United Nations Security Council could impact Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas' statehood bid at the world body.
PA officials have said at least eight council members - Russia, China, Gabon, Nigeria, South Africa, Brazil, Lebanon and India - will vote “Yes.”
Nine votes - including positive recommendations from all five permanent members - are needed for Abbas' application for membership as a member state to be passed to the General Assembly.
But on January 1 the 193-country General Assembly will replace five of the ten rotating members of the Security Council. An unopposed Guatemala will receive the Latin American seat, replacing Brazil.
“This election won’t help the Palestinian cause,” Jeff Laurenti, a UN analyst at Century Foundation, told Bloomberg. “Guatemala will be in favor of everything Palestinian until the Americans tell them otherwise. They can be persuaded to abstain.”
That cloudy forecast may lead PA officials to push for a vote as soon as the Security Council reconvenes to discuss Abbas' bid on Nov. 11.
Any member of the 15-member council member can call for a vote within 24 hours at any time. Lebanon, as the only Arab member, is the most likely candidate.
Adding to the pressure to act is a deadline set by Quartet mediators to renew negotiations, which PLO officials have obdirately refused, saying Israel must first accept the pre-1967 lines as a basis for talks and re-freeze construction in Judea, Samaria, and the parts of Jerusalem united with Israel after 1967.
Israel, which has agreed to the Quartet proposal to renew talks with a goal of a final status agreement by December 2012, has refused preconditions saying it froze construction previously to satisfy an identical demand by PA officials to bring them back to the table only to be met with more preconditions - and the present unilateral bid at the UN.
Adding to the complications is this week's exchange of 1,207 Israeli security prisoners - some 450 of them terrorists - for Gilad Shalit. Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by the EU, US, and Israel has scored a major PR victory over rival Fatah and is seen by Arabs as the face of the 'Palestinian cause.'
Analysts say Abbas misjudged trends in the Security Council, where a promised negative recommendation by the United States, a permanent member, has effectively rendered his application a dead letter.
The rise of Hamas to the forefront of world consciousness, they say, can only further knock the winds from Abbas' sails.