News / Middle East

Palestinians Vow to Press Full Statehood Drive at UN

French President Nicolas Sarkozy makes a point during his address to the 66th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 21, 2011.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy makes a point during his address to the 66th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 21, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio

Senior Palestinian officials say they will not back away from plans to apply for full statehood in the U.N. Security Council on Friday despite pressure from the United States and Europe. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Wednesday Palestinians should, for the time being, accept upgraded U.N. observer status and return to direct peace talks with Israel.

The Palestinians are facing heavy pressure to shelve their U.N. membership bid, including an admonition from U.S. President Barack Obama Wednesday that the “short cut” of U.N. action will bring neither statehood nor self-determination.

But top Palestinian officials insist that full U.N. member status would strengthen their hand in eventual negotiations with Israel to end  its West Bank “occupation,” and that Palestinian authority needs action to preserve its political credibility.

Speaking after Mr. Obama’s U.N. General Assembly speech, veteran Palestinian official Nabil Sha’ath said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will ask U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Friday for a statehood vote in the U.N. Security Council.

He said a parallel request for elevated observer status in the U.N. General Assembly would suggest the Palestinians aren’t really serious about their statehood aspirations.

“We will give it real try," said Sha’ath. "We’re not bluffing. We’ll really give it a real try. And if we fail, we will keep knocking at the door of the Security Council later. But when do we go to the General Assembly? It is a decision that has not been made yet. Most likely we will, but when is a decision has not been made yet.”

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

IThe United States and European allies fear that a statehood bid in the Security Council, that would face a certain U.S. veto, would inflame Middle East tensions and set back peace hopes.

Members of the U.S. Congress have threatened to cut funding to the Palestinians, and even the United Nations itself, if statehood advances in the Security Council.

In a General Assembly speech widely seen as a compromise effort, French President Nicolas Sarkozy proposed that Palestinians be given upgraded observer status while setting out a roadmap for direct talks with Israel to be concluded within a year.

“Let us begin negotiations and adopt a precise and ambitious timetable," said President Sarkozy. "Sixty years without moving one centimeter forward. Doesn’t that suggest we should change the method and scheduling here? Let’s have one month to resume discussions. Six months to find an agreement on borders and security. One year to reach a definitive agreement.”

President Obama told the assembly “there is no shortcut” to ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that peace will not come through U.N. statements or resolutions.

Later in bilateral meeting with Mr. Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said standing with Israel and supporting direct talks is a badge of honor for the United States.

“I think the Palestinians want to achieve a state through the international community, but they’re not prepared yet to give peace to Israel in return," said Prime Minister Netanyahu. "And my hope is that there will be other leaders in the world, responsible leaders, who will heed your call, Mr. President, and oppose this effort to shortcut peace negotiations - in fact, to avoid them.  Because I think that avoiding these negotiations is bad for Israel, bad for the Palestinians, and bad for peace.”

The Israeli prime minister has said he is ready to meet Mr. Abbas this week in New York to resume direct peace talks without preconditions.  

Palestinian spokesman Sha’ath, however dismissed the Netanyahu offer as theatrics. He said the Palestinians would resume the stalled talks tomorrow, if Israel would show good faith by freezing settlement activity and ending the siege of Gaza.

You May Like

Computer Crash Halts US Visa, Passport Operation

Problems with database have resulted in extensive backlog of applications, affected State Department's consular offices all over the world More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

World Bank: Boko Haram Stalls African Aid Projects

Islamist group’s terrorism sets back agriculture, health efforts in Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria 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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid