News / Middle East

Possible US Veto Against Palestinian Statehood Bid at UN Debated

Palestinians applaud unveiling of a symbolic chair supporting the Palestinian statehood bid, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, September 20, 2011.
Palestinians applaud unveiling of a symbolic chair supporting the Palestinian statehood bid, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, September 20, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio

The United States says it will veto in the United Nations Security Council any attempt by the Palestinians for full U.N. membership.

The United States believes any attempt at Palestinian statehood should not be decided by the U.N. Security Council, but by direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. That is why Washington has threatened to use its veto power as one of the five permanent members of the Security Council.

Listen to US President Obama's remarks on Israel-Palestinians:

President Barack Obama made that point during a speech to the U.N. General Assembly.

“Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations. If it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now. Ultimately it is the Israelis and the Palestinians who must live side by side. Ultimately it is the Israelis and the Palestinians - not us - who must reach agreement on issues that divide them,” he said.

Palestinian Statehood Bid Breakdown

    The Process

  • Palestinians say they are seeking U.N. recognition after years of negotiations with Israel failed to deliver an independent state.
  • It is not clear if Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will seek U.N. Security Council approval of U.N. member status for an independent Palestine, or instead seek "non-member status" within the world body.
  • The mechanism for recognizing statehood at the United Nations is specific.
  • First, a resolution declaring a State of Palestine as a full U.N. member is introduced. Then the resolution is sent to the Security Council, which studies it and takes a vote on sending the measure to the full General Assembly. It takes two thirds of the U.N.'s membership to approve voting-state status.
  • Achieving non-member status requires only a simple majority vote in the 193-member General Assembly. Palestinians currently hold observer status at the world body.
  • Non-voting U.N. membership would provide Palestinians with a status upgrade that would allow them to petition U.N. committees and entities such as the International Court of Justice.

    Why the Palestinian bid?

  • President Abbas backed out of U.S.-led peace talks last year in protest against Israel's decision to end a freeze in settlement building on land the Palestinians want for a future state. Palestinians say because the peace process has failed, they will unilaterally seek to establish a state. Abbas said the Palestinians are the only people in the world who remain under occupation.

    Why the Israelis oppose the move?

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the Palestinians' plan to seek statehood recognition at the United Nations is "futile," and that only direct negotiations can lead to a peace agreement.
  • Netanyahu has accused the Palestinians of "consistently evading" negotiations. He called on the Palestinian Authority "to abandon unilateral steps" and said it would then "find Israel to be a genuine partner" for peace.
  • Israel leaders say that by bypassing talks and going to the U.N., the Palestinians are violating previous agreements, and that could result in Israeli sanctions.

    Why the U.S. promises to veto?

  • The Obama administration opposes the Palestinian move and says it will not help to bring Palestinians and Israelis back to the negotiating table. President Obama has called the proposal a "distraction" to attaining Mideast peace that he says can only be addressed through negotiations.
  • The U.S., one of five veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council, says it will veto a Palestinian membership bid in the Council if it comes to a vote.

Ramifications

Analysts are debating what effect a U.S. veto might have on Washington’s standing in the Arab world.

John Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, does not believe a U.S. veto would lower Washington’s standing. “No, I don’t think so," he said. "I think the Arab world fully understands where the U.S. is. They may not like it, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if the U.S. did cast a veto in the Security Council.”

But most analysts disagree with Ambassador Bolton, saying a U.S. veto will have a negative effect.

Carne Ross, former British diplomat at the United Nations [now Director of the ‘Independent Diplomat,’ a non-profit advisory group] says the United States is in a difficult situation.

“This is bad for the U.S. This is a very awkward moment for the U.S. They would rather this weren’t happening," said Ross. "But they’ve left it too late and it’s pretty clear now that the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization] are going to take a resolution to the Security Council."

"But undoubtedly, an American veto against Palestinian statehood at the U.N., against U.N. membership for Palestine, to be precise, will lower America’s standing. It will reconfirm, for many people, that at the end of the day, the U.S. is not prepared to push Israel to an equitable solution in this dispute. So undoubtedly, I think the U.S. standing in the Arab world will be lowered by this,” he added.

Double-standard

Daniel Levy, Mideast expert with the New America Foundation and former Israeli negotiator, says there is a perception that Washington employs a double-standard in the region.

“The problem for America is that if America is seen to support freedoms and rights and democracy and self-determination elsewhere, but draws an exception when it comes to the Palestinians - and if America votes along those lines at the U.N., then this is going to exacerbate all those trends of American lost credibility, difficulty in building alliances, loss of soft power that we are witness to already - but this will exacerbate those trends,” he said.

Fawaz Gerges, from the London School of Economics, believes a U.S. veto would have tremendous implications for American foreign policy.

“What we need to understand is that the Arab world has changed forever. Public opinion has become a critical variable in Arab and Muslim politics," said Gerges. "There are awakenings all over the region - from Tunisia to Egypt, from Libya to Yemen, from Yemen to Syria, from Syria to Bahrain. And the reality is, I fear, that the American veto will fuel anti-American sentiments, will mobilize segments of Arab and Muslim public opinion against the United States, will complicate President Obama’s outreach efforts to Arab and Muslim public opinion and also his embrace of the Arab revolutions.”

Pal Refugees

Political interests

Gerges and other experts say in the final analysis, the expected American U.N. veto has a lot to do with domestic U.S. politics.

“Even though President Barack Obama’s heart is in the right place, his political interests lie somewhere else," he said. "He cannot afford to antagonize the Congress now. He cannot afford to antagonize Israel’s friends in the United States because that would mean voters in the next presidential election - that means a migraine for President Barack Obama which he cannot afford. He has so much on his agenda and that’s why the president has made up his mind that he cannot afford politically the high costs of either abstaining in the Security Council or even from the General Assembly.”

Gerges says President Obama finds himself between a rock and a hard place: the rock is that he’ll likely veto the Palestinian bid for full U.N. membership and fuel anti-American sentiment and the hard place is that not vetoing the Palestinian bid will be politically costly for the president.

You May Like

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid