In just a few days -- September 20, 2011 to be exact -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas will submit a request to the United Nations that it accept the state of Palestine as a UN member.
The paramount Palestinian goal for UN membership is to end 44 years of Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian territories that Israel seized during the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War in June 1967.
Although the United States -- Israel's closest ally -- has threatened to veto Palestine's request for statehood when this matter is addressed in the UN Security Council, Palestine may still be recognized as a state by the UN.
Most of the UN member nations -- including most likely all of its Arab nations -- agree that Palestine should be recognized by the UN. Consequently, if the UN Security Council vetoes Palestine's attempt of UN recognition, Palestine has said it will refer the matter to the UN General Assembly, where it will probably be recognized as an autonomous nation.
To be sure, Israel is opposed to to the UN recognition of Palestine because Israel fears that it will be pressured by the UN to return the Palestinian land it seized in 1967.
Even President Obama recently said that Israel should agree to the pre-1967 war borders with Palestine -- perhaps with some territorial swaps -- in order to establish a long-term peace in the Middle East. Israel does not appear to be in favor of such a peace plan.
In the final analysis, the decision to be made by the UN this month with respect to Palestinian statehood will have a significant impact on the Arab-Israeli peace process for the foreseeable future.
If the UN accepts Palestine as a member nation -- as it really should -- we can expect peace between Israelis and Palestinians for many years. On the other hand, if the UN rejects the Palestinian request for recognition, we can expect a multitude of conflicts, terrorist acts, and wars to prevail between Israelis and Palestinians for many years -- perhaps even for decades and centuries!