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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid