Around here, everyone is deeply concerned about September. In fact, that's just about the only thing anyone is talking about.
For Israelis and Palestinians, September is the universally understood shorthand for the likely
"We have no chance of winning," said
In theory, the
After the vote, senior Israeli officials predict, the Palestinians will take their case to the International Criminal Court, charging
Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian prime minister, insists that's not true. "The ICC is not a forum we can join until we are a state," he said, adding that the Palestinians aren't pursuing that as their goal in any case.
But Fayyad is rather isolated in his own government, and others see it differently.
From there, Israeli officials predict, the Palestinian Authority will seek out other legal and political forums from which to continue its political war against
But just a few weeks earlier, he told the
Netanyahu took affront in May when President Obama offered that as the starting position for territorial negotiations, with mutually agreed upon "land swaps." But here's a little-noticed fact: This has been
At the same time, in the
Fayyad throws up his hands as he declaims: "I can't deliver!
"That's not my thinking about September at all -- assert absolute sovereignty unilaterally." The truth is, he added, "the day after the vote will in no way be any different, the same as the day before." Fayyad has publicly criticized
Both he and Israeli officials worry that the misunderstanding will bring disappointment, anger and possible violence when little if anything changes on the ground.
"The public is a lot more radical about September than the leadership is," said Shikaki. His most recent poll of
"This thing could snowball," said
As the "September" initiative leads inexorably toward a showdown that could turn violent, both sides hold blame -- Palestinian leaders for raising expectations that cannot be met, Israelis for making only disingenuous proposals for peace.
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Copyright 2011, By JOEL BRINKLEY