In so many ways, the situation today with Israel is what it was in 1948. Despite the widespread diplomatic recognition Israel has received, multitudes still question Israel's right to exist.

And within that mob sits Hamas, the internationally recognized terrorist organization that, together with the Palestinian Authority, constitutes the civil authority in Gaza and the West Bank.

Hamas, which recently officially joined with the Palestinian Authority, is nakedly committed to the destruction of Israel. Until Hamas reforms itself or is repudiated by the people in its own backyard, it is impossible to imagine Israel accepting its standing or authority.

The late Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill famously said that "all politics is local." That is the case with the Palestinian Authority's United Nations ploy. It is not a glorious international campaign that will bring peace and security to the region. It may play on such high-minded progressive sentiments around the world, but at its heart it is a grubby workaday strategy designed to improve the standing of the Palestinian Authority within its own backyard.

The Middle East peace process has been stalled for 10 long years. Israel's domestic politics, despite being notoriously fractious, are essentially in stalemate. As are, obviously, those of the United States. The Palestinians themselves are also deadlocked. Elections are long overdue. A rising generation of young people is dissatisfied with both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

Writing in the Guardian, Ben White — a staunch critic of Israel's Palestinian policy — declares that the problem with Palestinian political leadership is "a focus on power for its own sake rather than for the achievement of a specific goal."

Any sort of UN vote next week will not help the goal of a new Palestinian state — something, by the way, that has never existed.

In fact, it will most likely impede that dream. The only agreements that matter — spanning a host of issues, from internal security, to health care, to water rights, transportation, and economic development — are those arrived at by Israel and the Palestinians.

The Palestinian Authority is in the midst of staging a hollow piece of political theater that will boomerang. By unrealistically raising the hopes of the people it purports to represent, the Authority will not fail only to change any facts on the ground, but sadly move the possibility of a workable peace beyond any visible horizon.

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