(Reuters) - The United States on Friday vetoed an Arab-drafted U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories after the Palestinians rejected a U.S. offer of a milder statement.
Who wins and who loses from a vote that could further divide key players in the Middle East peace process?
* The most obvious beneficiary of the Palestinian insistence on bringing the resolution to a vote might appear to be Israel, which has seen traditional ally Washington come to its defense once again. Security Council adoption of the U.S.-proposed compromise statement, which would still have criticized settlements, would have contradicted Israel’s view that the council should stay out of the dispute. But this could be a pyrrhic victory for the Jewish state, which saw every other member of the 15-nation council, including friendly West European countries, vote for the draft.
* The Palestinian Authority also benefits in the short term from looking tough after giving the appearance to its people in the past that it was too ready to make concessions to Israel, as shown in negotiating documents leaked recently to Al Jazeera, and Washington. On the negative side, it may have seriously antagonized the Obama administration. But many Palestinians feel Obama has done little for them anyway.
* Arab states will also hope to gain some street cred from backing a firm Palestinian position at a time when many of them are facing unprecedented unrest at home. While the protests in a range of Arab countries are primarily focused on despotic rule and economic hardship, many ordinary Arabs also believe their rulers have failed the Palestinians.
* The United States has suffered a foreign policy setback but possibly gained domestically. It has seen its Middle East efforts hit yet another roadblock and looks weak after having failed to persuade the Palestinians to accept its compromise. Because of its ties with Israel it has vetoed a resolution whose sentiments it generally agrees with and has risked worsening ties with Arab states at a time when they are undergoing major changes. On the other hand, the administration may have avoided a confrontation with vocal pro-Israel critics in Congress who reacted furiously to the council statement Washington was offering. This could be helpful as Obama heads toward his campaign for next year’s presidential election.
* Washington’s European allies in the Security Council, such as Britain, France and Germany, will be particularly disappointed after making a major effort to persuade the United States to come to an accommodation with the Palestinians.
Compiled by Patrick Worsnip; Editing by Eric Beech