New York, Sept. 13 — The Palestinians announced Tuesday they will take their unilateral statehood bid to the United Nations Security Council rather than going directly to the General Assembly, possibly forcing the United States to impose a veto.
U.S. President Barack Obama said he would “object very strongly” to any such one-sided bid and that it would be counterproductive to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
The Palestinian plan to bypass negotiations, Obama said Monday (Sept. 12), is a “distraction.” A solution to the Palestinian-Israeli must be achieved through negotiations, he said.
That sentiment has been echoed by U.N. Secretary General Bank Ki-moon, who has called for Palestinians and Israelis to return to the negotiating table. Israel has said it would negotiate at any time, in any place, and with no preconditions.
A Palestinian Liberation Organization memo authored by Hanan Ashrawi, a former Palestinian negotiator and member of the PLO executive stated: “The question is not whether or not Palestinians should approach the United Nations. We have every right to pursue all legal avenues available to us.”
The United States and European countries are still trying to avert a confrontation at the U.N. and have been floating various compromise proposals aiming at getting peace talks back on track – but all have been rejected by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas.
Abbas walked out on negotiations last year after Israel declined to extend a voluntary 10-month freeze on construction in the territories. It marked the first time in the history of Palestinian-Israeli talks that Palestinians declared that ending building activity was a precondition to negotiations.
Until now, the Palestinians had not stated whether they would approach the U.N. Security Council to achieve full member-state status in the United Nations or pursue non-member status by a vote of the full U.N. General Assembly during its annual meeting this month. The Palestinians could win permanent observer status by a simple majority vote by the 193-member U.N. General Assembly.
Abbas and other top PA officials have spent the past several months traveling the globe meeting with country leaders to drum up support for its proposal for a Palestinian state, which Abbas has said would not recognize Israel as a Jewish nation.
The U.N. General Assembly is scheduled to open its annual session today (Sept. 13).