New York is paralysed

By Alan Elsner, September 22, 2011

The first week of the General Assembly is always crazy in New York. World leaders stream into the city from every continent, hotels double their prices and motorcades speed around the city, paralysing the traffic.

Demonstrations were set to take place at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, between 1st and 2nd Avenues. Some 10,000 people were expected for the big pro-Israel rally on Thursday and around 1,000 for the pro-Palestinian rally on Friday.

This year, the UN is all about the Palestinians. Everyone involved in the issue of the Palestinian unilateral statehood resolution has become an amateur pundit, counting votes in the Security Council and the General Assembly.

Without nine votes in the 15-member Security Council, the Palestinians cannot proceed. Rumours fly. Bosnia is an abstention; Nigeria has told Israel it may even vote against. On Wednesday, Gabon remained a mystery.

As of going to press, the Palestinians don't have the nine votes they need – which would represent a tremendous success for Israel and all the organisations, including my own, which have worked for months against this resolution.

Iran's Ahmadinejad usually dominates the airwaves and he's in town too. But this year, even the Iranian leader and his hateful rhetoric have to play second fiddle to the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Alan Elsner is Executive Director of The Israel Project in New York

Last updated: 2:06pm, September 22 2011