NOW with Alex Wagner | November 29, 2012
>>> it's a very unfortunate outcome that the united nations will grant nonmember state observers status at the u.n. not only what it does at u.n. but even more significantly for what it allows to happen at international criminal court . president abbas now in the evil situation of trying to outdo hamas in his own way, is threatening to use the enhanced status to pursue these initiatives.
>> that was senator chuck schumer speaking last hour with a bipartisan group of senators in just two 2 1/2 hours the u.n. set to recognize palestine as a state . while israel and the united states oppose the vote the palestinians are expected to receive overwhelming support in the general assembly . in europe several countries, including france, spain, denmark, have announced they will vote to approve palestine ace nonmember state . and in a blow to u.s. and israeli opposition, germany said this morning it will abstain rather than voting no. america 's closest ally the united kingdom is expected to abstain. palestinians are also receiving support from israel 's former prime minister, who hold "the daily beast ," quote i believe the palestinian request from the u.n. is congruent with the basic concept of the two state solution. i see no reason to oppose it. once the united nations will lay the foundations for the idea we and israel have to encourage a serious -- engage in a serious process of negotiations. hillary clinton disagrees.
>> we oppose palestinian efforts to upgrade their status at the u.n., outside of the framework of negotiations to achieve a two- state solution because, no matter what happens at the united nations , it will not produce the outcome that this government, this president, certainly i, strongly support.
>> perhaps the most significant change that will come with the upgraded status palestine 's ability to where charges of war crimes against israel to the international criminal court . joining the panel now to discuss these implications and more, former assistant of state , p.j. crowley and from normal, msnbc contributor rula jebreal. welcome to the program. i want to ask p.j., in terms of dynamics here, countries moving swiftly in the course of the last year to support palestinian statehood. how much does the conflict in gaza inform that?
>> the conflict in gaza informs the desperation president abbas and the palestinian authority feels. he has to do this now to be relevant because he was largely sidelined in the recent gaza conflict. from the time they announced this a year ago all events have compelled him to take this action.
>> let's talk a little bit about how this affects israel and america in terms of their -- not negotiating power but their position in all of this, which is to say, we are to some degree isolated here, given the fact that germany, uk, france, they are effectively not on america 's side on this. how devastating is that in terms of the broader international picture?
>> once this got to the united nations ' general assembly the result is inevitable. the real issue is, as senator schumer highlighted it, it's with this political tool, club if you will, what will abbas do with this? and you know if you're an optimist, you say there's a slim possibility here that a re-elects president, potentially re-elected prime minister, netanyahu in the alex wagnelection in january, can find a way back to negotiating process otherwise this just reinforces the current stagnation that we have within the middle east peace process .
>> in terms of how this affects the men people, on the ground you have a long history here, what is your sense of this moment for palestine ?
>> well, the war in gaza empowered hamas more than ever. remember a year ago, israel negotiated with hamas , empowering hamas while abbas was submitting his first bid a year ago to the security council israel was negotiating with hamas and releasing 1,000 prisoners. every israeli policy, so far since netanyahu was in office four years has been to negotiate whether clearly or under the table with hamas and empower them and ignore abu mazen . hoping a year ago he will have some kind of recognition, some kind of settlement, political settlement. we're talking about the man that always believed in a peace process that was pro- peace process since 1993 when signed. yes, he was desperate but a smart move on his end to gather more palestinian and rally more palestinians and tell them, look, i can achieve for you something through a political and peaceful path. i think what the u.s. is doing today is humiliating more and more abbas .
>> so you -- well that -- you seem to think, then, i mean, going off on what p.j. said, this does open the door to peace negotiations?
>> i don't know if it opens the door immediately to peace negotiation but it put more pressure on the prime minister netanyahu pressure that started internally. look, three days ago, six members, six former head of the internal secret service in israel , said clearly, we need to negotiate with the palestinian because this is the only way quee hawe can have a secure, prosperous country, the only way to survive. one of them said we should negotiate with everyone, even including hamas themselves. and they have been ignored. with olmert , as you said before, he's been saying, this is actually enhances the possibility into the future we'll have two- state solution and not one- state solution. it will open a dynamic within the israeli society where now you have olmert might run against netanyahu , the former minister of foreign relations might run again, and she created a movement, they'll create more pressure internally on israel and more pressure externally. the germans decided to abstain and this is a big blow . when angela merkel , a year ago, was asked she said we don't know. but then netanyahu called her and said he was upset about this. she told him she was disappointed he did nothing towards the peace process .
>> if this does end up sort of laying the groundwork for a peace process , because it puts more pressure on the israelis and israeli leadership, where does the u.s. position itself? "the new york times" editorial board, perhaps not surprisingly, said some in congress threatened more sanctions and senators graham and schumer talking about cutting aid to the palestinians if they bring charges. they say some in congress have threatened more sanctions. israel has toned down the threat but was should drop them altogether as congress. it makes no sense to punish pun palestinian committed to a peaceful solution. it now needs to put its energies into forging commitments to restart the peace talks.
>> i think that's critical. the next two months, how we react to this, obviously congress may well try to eliminate all aid to the palestinian authority . that has its own problems in terms of driving them towards potential bankruptcy. israel has potential weapon in withholding tax revenue, collects on behalf of the palestinians . the best outcome here would be the united states goes well, we regret this, let's move on. and then the other aspect would, standing up immediately after this, but today in the u.n. and and say, i'm prepared to go into negotiations without preconditions. if you get those three, you know, legs of the stool, now you have something to kind of work with, if otherwise if everyone takes their own unilateral action you come out of this again, empowering hamas .
>> p.j., where is the white house on this? i mean, you know, the keystone has been removed from the entire process. as you know, you know, the palestinian/ israel peace process is, you know, the stuff of second terms for time in memorial. doesn't obama and whoever is going to be the secretary of state next really have to forcefully get in here for anything good to happen?
>> glenn, as you know, the administration tried something different, tried to work this in the first term, it got burned by it. two years ago the white house was not ready to push netanyahu beyond his comfort level on settlements through a mistake they embarrassed the vice president on the ground a temporary settlement moratorium but did not get it renewed. the flexibility that comes with the president --
>> to use a phrase, source, anonymous.
>> and you also will -- i mean the value of olmert 's statement this becomes part of the upcoming israeli campaign and maybe you see the reemergence of a peace center , peace left in israeli politics by has dissipated in the last five years at a minimum, puts pressure on netanyahu to go back into negotiations and/or potentially -- i think it's doubtful -- ends up with a new israeli government . either way there is with a second term you know, some -- another dynamic, a slim opportunity. we have been at this for 20 years and we've never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity but there's a slim opportunity to move us forward.
>> i will thank my guests here, p.j. crowley, rula jebreal, for painting a decidedly more optimistic picture on this than i thought possible at beginning of the segment. thank you both for your time and expertise. we hope to have you on back again soon.
>>> we just got new video of governor mitt romney arriving at the white house . his lunch with the president is under way right now. we do not know what they're having for lunch. if you have any tips, send something to our twitter feed.
>>> house republicans make it official, they take the word chairman seriously.
>> republicans in the house, picked for their 19 committee chairman, 19 committee chair men. 19 jobs, 19 men. and it turns out that story gets worse. bang.
>> we will look at the gop's continuing female troubles coming up next. look, if you