Palestine gears up for UN battle

By Rebecca Davis 6 September 2011

As Palestine goes before the UN later this month in a bid for recognition of its statehood, the pre-game jostling has already begun. The US is lobbying for Palestine to drop the idea, saying it will only cause instability in the region. By REBECCA DAVIS.

Come 20 September, when the next UN general assembly session begins, the Palestinian Authority will be ready to seek recognition as a state. This was confirmed by a senior Palestinian official on Palestinian radio this Sunday. Chief negotiator Saed Erkat appealed to the US and the EU to approve Palestine’s statehood when the general assembly convenes.

There is little chance of his appeal winning over the US. The New York Times has reported the US hopes to avoid a vote on statehood by presenting a new proposal to Israel, in the hope of opening up talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas once again. The proposal included negotiations based on pre-1967 borders and land-swaps. Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected it, however, so it’s unlikely to make much headway.

The US’s other tactic is to attempt to persuade other UN member nations to oppose the Palestinian bid, which it says will cause a new wave of instability in the region. The state department last month reportedly sent memos to more than 70 nations asking them to vote against Palestine, but Palestinian officials remain confident, saying they believe they have as many as 130 nations in support of a successful resolution.

Palestine is keen for the statehood stamp because, apart from the symbolic recognition, it would give it voting rights at the UN. It would also heighten its ability to pursue cases against Israel at the International Criminal Court. Little wonder the USA is against it. DM

Read more:

  • US effort to stop Palestine’s UN statehood bid unlikely to deflect Abbas, in The National.

Photo: Reuters.


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