No real change yet

September 27, 2011

A week after the UN General Assembly, the frenetic manoeuvrings around the Palestinian Authority's bid for statehood, and the near-panic in some quarters, what has changed? Next to nothing.

Yes, Mahmoud Abbas ignored the strenuous urgings of the United States and, to scenes of wild rejoicing in Ramallah, presented his application to the Security Council. But although it was reported as something close to the nuclear option, it was no such thing.

Mr Abbas conspicuously failed to press for an immediate vote and the application now lies dormant, at least for the time being. The Palestinian crowds may have cheered him but the one thing Friday's speech was not was historic, in large measure because the president of the Palestinian Assembly went only so far. Both he and Benjamin Netanyahu, in response, stood back from the precipice and acted with sense. There was no significant Israeli response because there was, in reality, nothing much to respond to - yet. One day, the Security Council will have to decide what to do with the application. That could be weeks, months or even years away. In the meantime, the option of a negotiated settlement remains. It must not be allowed to disappear.

Last updated: 11:23am, September 27 2011