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

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More