In 2009, President Barack Obama stood at the podium in Cairo and declared his support for a Palestinian state, explaining that: 'The Palestinian people have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than 60 years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations—large and small—that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: The situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. And America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.'
Fast forward two years and it was with some degree of awkwardness that Mr Obama last month directed his representatives to vote against a plan that would lead to Palestinians achieving the dignity, opportunity and a state of their own.
The US president must be acutely aware how hypocritical he must appear in voicing support for democratic transitions across the Middle East at the same time as scuppering Palestinian aspirations for recognition. Americas reputation in the Middle East is in tatters already so Mr Obama would hardly wants to be seen as being on the wrong side of the change sweeping through the volatile Arab world.
The threat of veto followed by news that Congress has blocking $200 million of aid to the Palestinians as punishment for their UN bid (admittedly Obama is attempting to get this rescinded) hardly shows America in a good light.
Now, after the Palestinians have asked to join UNESCO, the UN's cultural organization, the Obama administration is warning UNESCO to stay out of the question of Palestinian statehood or face the consequences, as America threatening to withhold tens of millions of dollars in U.S. funding if the organization agrees to admit Palestine as a member.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called UNESCO's deliberation on whether to admit Palestine 'inexplicable' at a time when the Palestinian bid for U.N. recognition and membership was being examined by the Security Council stating: 'I would urge the governing body of UNESCO to think again before proceeding with that vote.'
One good thing to come from the veto threat is that America is being asked to justify its failure to support a democratic state in the face of an illegally occupying military force and why it feels it has to issue bribes and threats to vote no and avoid the gathering of the nine votes for the resolution which would force Obama to have to cast the veto leaving the world in no doubt that despite it's fanciful talk about backing the Arab people against tyrants and repressive regimes, it is supporting the illegitimate military occupier and it will be yet another shameful day for America.