The U.S.’s intention to veto Palestinian statehood is a foolish decision; a short-sighted policy choice with very bad long-term effects.
First, the U.S. has already supported the concept of a two-state solution. To take a stance now against Palestinian statehood, whatever the concerns about how problematic its implementation will be, sends a signal that we were playing games all along, and never intended to agree to their statehood, except, perhaps, on Israel’s terms.
Second, the U.S. and Israel are openly defying their own joint history when they insist that statehood can only legitimately be achieved through negotiation. Israel made it’s statehood claim much more bluntly than Palestine is doing, and the U.S. recognized them immediately (according to Wikipedia, in less than a quarter of an hour). Such hypocrisy does not go unnoticed by those seeking equal treatment.
Third, the primary Muslim criticism of the U.S. is its support for Israel against the Palestinians. Their case is somewhat overstated, as the U.S. has at times acted to restrain Israel (e.g., the Suez crisis) or at least admonish it (e.g., in response to Israeli settlements in Palestinian lands). The U.S. should not back down from supporting Israel, but that does not require it to not support the Palestinians as well, even though that is a tricky path, and aside from removing our military from Saudi Arabia, there is no other action we could take that would be comparable in its power to diminish Muslim hostility to the U.S.
What the U.S. should do is insist on implementing the two-state solution now, with an emphasis on two states. That is, while supporting Palestinian statehood, the U.S. should simultaneously announce that it is unwavering in its support of the state of Israel.
Decades of negotiations have produced little to no gains for Palestinians, while Israel has continued to take more and more Palestinian territory. No wonder Israel wants to continue negotiations. Palestinian statehood would strengthen the Palestinian hand in future bargaining over boundaries.
And of course the boundaries issue is the greatest problem here. What the Palestinians propose is a state composed of three non-contiguous portions, which is phenomenally problematic. Non-contiguous states have rarely fared well, I believe (with the U.S. as an exception). Particularly problematic is the status of East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want to claim, while Israel insists that its capital will always be an undivided Jerusalem. A two-state solution will not be a panacea that easily solves these problems, but the crucial question is whether it is a better situation than the status quo. I think the answer to that is “yes.”