Obama opposes Palestinian UN upgrade

2012-11-12 12:00

Ramallah - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told US President Barack Obama on Sunday that he was intent on seeking a Palestinian upgrade at the United Nations despite American objections, a Palestinian official said.

Abbas spoke to Obama in a phone conversation to explain his decision, said Nabil Abu Rdaineh, an aide to the Palestinian president.

On Wednesday, the Western-backed Palestinian Authority circulated a draft resolution to UN member states that calls for upgrading its UN status to that of observer state, despite objections by the United States and Israel.

"President Abbas cited the reasons and motives for the Palestinian decision to seek non-member statehood as continued Israeli settlement activity and the continued attacks on Palestinians and their property," Abu Rdaineh said.

"Obama informed President Abbas of US opposition to the bid," he added.

The Palestinians are currently considered an observer "entity" at the United Nations. Upgrading them to a non-member state, similar to the Vatican's UN status, would implicitly recognise Palestinian statehood.

Courting Europe

It could also grant them access to bodies such as the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where they could file complaints against Israel.

The status upgrade seems certain to win approval in any vote in the General Assembly, which is composed mostly of post-colonial states historically sympathetic to the Palestinians.

Palestinian diplomats also are courting European countries to further burnish their case.

Israel and the United States say Palestinian statehood must be achieved by negotiation and have called on Abbas to return to peace talks that collapsed in 2010 over Israeli settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinians seek to establish a state in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip - which is controlled by the Islamist Hamas group who are bitter rivals of the Palestinian Authority - and want East Jerusalem as its capital.

Tax threat

Abbas has billed the move as a last-ditch attempt to advance long-stalled talks to achieve statehood by first having the world recognise Palestine as a state under Israeli occupation and its borders.

On Saturday, Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz threatened to stop collecting tax revenues for the Palestinian Authority and not hand over any money if Abbas continued to seek observer state membership of the United Nations.

In July, Israel and the Palestinian Authority agreed on a revamp of revenue collection to try to help relieve the Palestinian government's deepening debt crisis.

The aid-dependent Palestinian economy in the West Bank faces financial crisis due to a drop in aid from Western backers and wealthy Gulf states, as well as Israeli restrictions on trade.

  • tom.poe.12 - 2012-11-12 12:16

    Until the USA become a just and non biased mediator, there will be no solution......and the chances of that happening is slim indeed.

      omo.naija.750 - 2012-11-12 15:08

      The USA and Israel knows what to do to end this problem but they won't do it because they like dominating others.The Palestine story is one of the greatest evidence of man's inhumanity to man. I used to be a Supporter of Israel because my parents and family were supporters of Israel by default having being fed propaganda through the media.That however changed as i grew up and dug deeper to the root of the problem. It is sad really that Israel can get away with all these atrocities while the most of the world turns it's head away.We do not live in a just world ,we never have and probably never will.

  • Rashida Patel - 2012-11-12 12:41

    An absolute disgrace that america continues bowing to apartheid israel pressure. Poor orphan palestine !!

      ricardo.boscaglia - 2012-11-12 13:26

      There is no "apartheid" Israel. It's druze and arab citizens,be they xtian or muslim are all equal and all have the same rights in Israeli law as the jewish Israeli's. Your vile propoganda is the only disgrace here.

      matusowsky - 2012-11-12 13:48

      You've obviously never been to Israel. Don't see any Apartheid there. Seen lots of arabs and israeli's dancing, singing and eating together.

  • duncan.gill1 - 2012-11-12 17:24

    Who cares any more what the US say their opinion is no longer important and their prominence on world affairs is soon to be irrelevant!As is Israel's!

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-11-12 20:51

      Israel is looking for peaceful solutions. That is all Israel has ever done. Why would Israel not want peace with its neighbours. The arab countries in the Middle East have only attacked Israel on several occasions, and not the other way round. Considering the situation, Israels only option is to force peace by faaking up every Arab Muslim that seeks to make war on Israel. It might not succeed in creating peace, but it will succeed in protecting its citizens, indefinitely. INDEFINITELY.

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