Palestinians ask Obama: Why not endorse our Arab Spring?
President Obama is sending two Middle East envoys back to the region Tuesday for a final stab at dissuading the Palestinians from seeking a UN vote on statehood.
The United States and Israel may insist that a Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations next week will be disastrous for Middle East peace prospects, but Palestinian officials are painting the move in much more positive hues.Skip to next paragraph
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In a region where the Arab Spring is in full bloom, they argue, the Palestinian leadership has to offer its people something – especially with the peace process President Obama re-launched a year ago all but dead.
“This [UN move] is aimed at preserving the two-state solution,” said Maen Rashid Areikat, the Palestinian ambassador to Washington. “We are trying to keep hope alive among the Palestinian people that this [two-state solution] is going to be feasible.”
Speaking at a Monitor breakfast Tuesday, Mr. Areikat said that while the UN bid for statehood is not aimed at souring relations with the US, the Obama administration should consider how opposing the Palestinians’ statehood initiative will come across among freedom-seeking Arabs and around the world.
Calling the Palestinians’ UN bid “an issue of national pride for a people who want to be independent and free,” Areikat said it is not the kind of initiative that Arabs and others expect America to oppose. “I don’t think it’s the natural role for the US to block the admission of a state” to the United Nations, he said, adding that such action is not “compatible with US principles.”
The US-educated diplomat offered his comments to Washington reporters only hours after the Palestinian Liberation Organization committee reportedly decided to take the bid for statehood to the UN Security Council next week. Areikat is the chief diplomat at the PLO’s Washington office.