European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana surprised observers on 11 July when he called, during a speech in London, for the UN Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state by a certain date even if no agreement had been reached between Israelis and Palestinians.
On its face, this proposal sounds dramatic. There must be some who still believe that a Security Council decision would result in real and drastic action. The reality, however, is that the Security Council is not the powerful executive organ it was created to be.
Yet Solana clearly angered Israel by daring to make such a proposal. Israel is not used to being surprised, and normally the big powers consult it before making any major statements about the Middle East situation. This time it seems Solana did not seek the proper Israeli permission. Yet the Israeli anger itself seemed to give added credence to the idea that Solana must have said something significant.