Statehood bid


US accepts the idea of a Palestinian state in principle; how can it oppose at UN?

It is official. Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas has formally declared he will ask the Security Council to approve full membership of a Palestinian state at the United Nations, a move which is a legitimate right but which will set the stage for a diplomatic confrontation with Israel and the United States.

Abbas will submit his statehood bid on Sept. 23 after addressing the General Assembly. To get full membership at the UN, he must go to the Security Council where the US will undoubtedly veto the measure. If Washington does veto, the Palestinians could then go to the full General Assembly which does not have the power to grant the Palestinians membership, but could recognize it as a nonmember state, a more easily obtainable goal. The Palestinians would only need a simple majority and more than 125 of the assembly’s 193 members have pledged to support the Palestinians in their statehood bid.

Both Israel and the United States are firmly opposed to the UN move, arguing that a Palestinian state can only be created through direct negotiations. But the prospect of a veto would put Washington in the embarrassing position of voting against a concept the Obama administration approves of in principle: The establishment of a Palestinian state.

The Palestinians are turning to the UN after concluding that peace talks will yield no breakthrough at this point. Talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been stalled for almost three years. The continued construction on lands the Palestinians need for a future state compromised the negotiations’ viability. Settlement construction had to stop completely as a condition for restarting talks but Israel rejected that demand.


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