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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid