News / Middle East

Analysts Question Merit of Palestinian UN Bid

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, gives a letter requesting recognition of Palestine as a state to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the 66th session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters, September 23, 2011.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, gives a letter requesting recognition of Palestine as a state to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the 66th session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters, September 23, 2011.

The U.N. Security Council is considering a Palestinian application for full membership in the United Nations.

Many analysts say the Palestinians had no choice but to go to the United Nations seeking membership in the world body.

Carne Ross is a former British diplomat at the United Nations (now director of the ‘Independent Diplomat’, a non-profit advisory group) and an expert on the Middle East.

The West Bank, settlements and the separation barrier
B'Selem
The West Bank, settlements and the separation barrier

“The Palestinians would argue that there is no meaningful peace process at the moment - this is precisely why they were forced to take this step," said Ross. "They say that they have repeatedly asked Israel to sit down at the table, to discuss a two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders and a reasonable settlement on Jerusalem. And they say that Israel has basically refused to sit down on that basis. It is only willing to talk about a very, very limited deal and that has frustrated the Palestinians.”

Ross says others have a different view.

“The Israelis and the U.S. say, on the contrary, that this [Palestinian U.N. bid] is actually damaging to the peace process, that it reduces confidence between the parties and that essentially a deal needs to be done bilaterally between Israel and the Palestinians,” said Ross.

John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, agrees.

“I don’t think it’s [Palestinian action at the U.N.] conducive to long-term stability in the Middle East or the resolution of the differences between Israel and the Palestinians," said Bolton. "I think the only way you create the circumstances for an agreed upon, lasting peace is for the parties themselves to negotiate. Nobody has any illusions about how hard Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are - but you certainly don’t make them any easier by trying something like this.”

Analysts say the key issues facing both sides are the geographic outlines of a new Palestinian state, the status of Jerusalem, the return of Palestinian refugees and the construction of Jewish settlements in occupied territories.

Peace talks ground to a halt last year when Israel resumed the construction of settlements after a moratorium expired. Palestinian officials say they will not resume talks until settlement building is stopped. Israel refuses to freeze settlements and is calling for talks without any preconditions.

Fawaz Gerges is a Middle East expert with the London School of Economics says the building of settlements continues.

“And that’s why the Palestinians are terrified. By the time they’ll sit down [to negotiations], there will be no land left to build a viable Palestinian state,” said Gerges.

As the Palestinian bid for full U.N. membership winds its way through the Security Council process, which may take weeks if not months, the so-called “Quartet” - made up of the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia - is trying to come up with a negotiating framework acceptable to Israelis and Palestinians.

Khalid Elgindy, former adviser to the Palestinian government on negotiations with Israel, says a new approach is needed taking into account the situation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The West Bank is run by Mr. Abbas’ Palestinian Authority while the Gaza Strip is under the control of the militant group Hamas, considered a terrorist group by the U.S. State Department.

“Up until this very moment, the approach of the [Obama] administration and by extension the ‘Quartet’ is to treat the ‘peace process’ as though it were separate and distinct from the situation in Gaza, the situation with regard to Hamas, the division between Hamas and Fatah in the West Bank and Gaza - and that somehow you could compartmentalize all of these things, deal with the negotiations separately, in a vacuum - and that simply doesn’t work,” Elgindy said .

Elgindy says these issues must be integrated, interconnected so that you have a comprehensive and viable peace process dealing with all issues - regional and bilateral.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs