As Palestinians push for statehood, US tries to keep peace process alive
The president is seeking a statement from the European Union, Russia, and the UN – that would set the path for a resumption of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority no matter what happens Friday.
(Page 2 of 2)
President Obama is also expected to address the issue when he meets Tuesday afternoon with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as well as with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. Brazil is currently a rotating member of the UN Security Council, so it would have a vote if the Palestinian statehood bid came up for a vote in that body.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday before leaving Jerusalem for New York that he is ready to meet with Mr. Abbas in New York. That statement is seen as putting more pressure on Abbas to drop any unilateral action, even though Mr. Netanyahu made no mention of meeting any Palestinian Authority demands.
One idea floating around New York is that Abbas would present a letter of intent to seek statehood through the Security Council to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. But then, the issue would be essentially pocketed for six months while negotiations resumed. That idea appears similar to one former British Prime Minister Tony Blair floated with the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships in recent weeks.
Mr. Blair is the special envoy of the Quartet.
The US, as a permanent member of the Security Council, has vowed to use its veto to stop the Palestinian plan if it comes to a vote. The Obama administration insists that only direct negotiations between the two parties can resolve the decades-old conflict.
But the US would also dearly hope to avoid using a veto that could put it on the wrong side of history in the eyes of Arab governments and people. Already, Arab media are widely painting the US as “hypocritical” for espousing pro-democracy movements in the Arab Spring while standing firm against the Palestinians’ UN statehood bid.
As a result, US diplomats have been canvassing both permanent and nonpermanent members of the 15-member Council to assess likely vote totals and see if there might be some way for the US to avoid using its veto. To succeed, the Palestinian request for full UN membership would require nine positive votes and no veto.