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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs