News / Middle East

Abbas: Palestinians Submitting Statehood Bid Friday

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrives for a meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at UN headquarters, Sept. 19, 2011
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrives for a meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at UN headquarters, Sept. 19, 2011

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said Monday he will formally submit an application for Palestinian membership in the United Nations on Friday.  Mr. Abbas met U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as U.S. and European diplomats continued efforts to re-start direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and prevent a political clash at the U.N.  

The Palestinian leader again said he will seek membership status in some form in the United Nations.

But his decision to submit the request in conjunction with his U.N. General Assembly speech on Friday leaves time for more diplomacy by the international Middle East Quartet aimed at heading off a U.N. confrontation that could set back regional peace hopes.

The Quartet - made up of the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations - are trying to come up with a framework for resuming Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that both sides would accept and prompt the Palestinians to set aside their membership bid in the U.N.

Addressing the Council on Foreign Relations in New York Monday, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said the status quo between Israel and the Palestinians is unacceptable and could lead to an explosion of violence.

But at the same time, he said a Palestinian bid for full-fledged U.N. membership in the Security Council - facing a U.S. veto - would yield nothing but frustration.

“If the Palestinians go to the Security Council, the resolution will not pass, of course, and you know why," said Juppe. "Maybe there will not be the nine votes to pass the resolution and if there are nine votes, the American government has announced it will veto the resolution. So there is no outcome at this level.”

The Palestinians could avoid the Security Council and seek to upgrade their observer status in the U.N. General Assembly.

That would allow them to, among other things, pursue action against Israel in the International Criminal Court on such issues as Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

But Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon warned late Sunday Israel would counter with its own ICC cases on such things as terrorism and human rights violations by the radical Palestinian faction Hamas which controls Gaza.

“I must emphasize, we stand ready to cooperate with the Palestinians, to negotiate with the Palestinians, and to come at an agreed upon solution," said Ayalon. "It has to come on both sides. Any attempt to take the conflict into international fora, be it here, be it in The Hague, be it in Geneva, will be futile."

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, special envoy for the Quartet, says the group is seeking a mutually-agreed framework on which a renewal of direct talks can be based, regardless of any statehood action at the U.N.

“What we’re looking to do is to put together a structure for this statement that makes it clear what the basic shape and direction of this negotiation should be, so a state of Palestine is viable and contiguous, sovereign and independent, so that Israelis feel that their security interests are properly protected," said Blair. "And I think there is also broad agreement now that there should be a clear time-line for this.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is holding a series of bilateral meetings with foreign ministers in New York in support of Quartet diplomacy.

In a meeting Monday with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, she urged Ankara to “keep the door open” to improving relations with Israel.

Those ties have been in a tail-spin since Israel killed nine Turkish citizens when it intercepted aid boats trying to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza last year.   

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More