U.N.s Palestinian vote is another blow

Isn't the United Nations supposed to promote peace in the world rather than interfere in that effort?

There's good reason to be confused about the U.N.'s peacemaking role this week. The world body voted Tuesday to upgrade the status of the Palestinian delegation, giving it almost everything it wanted shy of voting rights.

Now the Palestinians can raise anti-Israel issues before the General Assembly, co-sponsor draft resolutions against Israel, and reply on the record against any pro-Israel speeches made at the United Nations.

But the ramifications of the U.N. action are much greater. This is clearly the first step in recognizing a Palestinian state.

While there is good reason to believe statehood will come about someday, it should happen through peace negotiations between the parties involved — not by an already suspect United Nations. The world body, unfortunately, has a long history of siding against Israel.

If the United Nations thought its latest action would stimulate the stalled peace process, then it shows incredible naiveté.

That step solidifies the feeling among Israel's right-wing that the Jewish state is almost isolated in the world. The only countries to oppose the U.N.'s vote this week, besides Israel, were the United States, the Marshall Islands and Micronesia.

With such a short list of friends, Israel can't feel very confident.

So what effect will this have on the peace process?

Undoubtedly it stiffens the resolve of the Palestinians, who now feel they have much of the world on their side. It also hardens Israel's stance against a peace plan imposed by the United States or any other nation.

The United Nations only has itself to blame for further hampering the already stalled peace plans. But judging by its history on Mideast issues, it will find a way to blame Israel alone.

What a shame.