Nicole Gaouette
Bloomberg (Analysis)
September 22, 2011 - 12:00am

The U.S. has laid the groundwork for maintaining security in the aftermath of the Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN, including the possibility of violence.

The effort includes discussions with Gulf countries, planning with Israeli and Palestinian security forces, and aid to ensure the Palestinian Authority can pay its personnel.

The U.S. has made clear its intent to block a Palestinian request for United Nations recognition. To avoid needing to exercise its veto power, the U.S. has been working with Israel to persuade members of the Security Council to abstain from voting.

Within the State Department, there is concern that the effort to knock back the Palestinian effort will create a backlash in the West Bank, Gaza, and the larger Arab world.

The State Department has confidence in the Palestinian security forces, which cooperated closely and productively with Israeli security over the past few years, said a State Department official who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Lt. Gen. Michael R. Moeller, the U.S. security coordinator based in Tel Aviv “has been working hard with Israelis and Palestinians,” the official said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also worked to ensure the Palestinian government remains solvent. She recently sent $50 million in aid for the Palestinian Authority. She has urged Arab states to do more to support the Palestinians financially. Saudi Arabia has pledged $200 million to Palestinians, the official said.

Payrolls Critical

Keeping the Palestinian Authority solvent is crucial, said Hussein Ibish, a senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, a group that advocates for a peaceful end to the Mideast conflict.
“Whatever happens at the UN, the most important thing is to make sure the security forces continue to get paid,” Ibish said in a telephone interview. “It’s going to be very hard to keep security cooperation going if people see no hope. And it’s not free operating a security service.”

Clinton and the Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, will meet with the Gulf Cooperation Council tomorrow in New York and the Israeli-Palestinian situation will be part of the conversation. The U.S. is intent on making the GCC a central part of the region’s ‘security architecture,’ the official said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nicole Gaouette in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at


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