News / Middle East

Palestinian Statehood Bid Has Strong UN Support

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (FILE PHOTO)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (FILE PHOTO)
Margaret Besheer
The United Nations General Assembly is expected to decide late Thursday whether to upgrade the status of the Palestinian Authority at the world body from an entity to a non-member state.

Delegates from member nations say support is strong for the upgrade, but it will lack the backing of some key countries, including the United States. More than 60 countries are co-sponsoring the resolution.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will address the General Assembly before the vote. The Palestinians are expected to obtain well more than the required simple majority of the 193 U.N. member states present and voting.

US opposition

The United States firmly opposes the move, saying the only road to statehood for the Palestinians is through direct negotiations with Israel.

Palestinian UN Statehood Bid
 
  •  Palestinians are seeking non-member observer state status
  •  They currently have non-member observer entity status
  •  Upgraded status would allow Palestinians to participate in General Assembly debates
  •  With state status, Palestinians could apply to join the International Criminal Court and other U.N. agencies
  •  A Palestinian bid to gain full U.N. membership failed in 2011
Senior U.S. State Department officials met Wednesday with President Abbas in New York in a last-minute effort to urge him to reconsider the move in the General Assembly.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Special Envoy for Middle East Peace David Hale were at the meeting.

“The deputy secretary also reiterated that no one should be under any illusion that this resolution is going to produce the results that the Palestinians claim to seek," Nuland said.

In Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday the United States has made very clear to the Palestinian leadership that it opposes the upgrade.

“The path to a two-state solution that fulfills the aspirations of the Palestinian people is through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not New York,” she said.

The status would allow Palestinians access to the International Criminal Court, where they could ask the prosecutor to investigate Israel's actions in their territories.

Israel discounts move

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he delivers a statement to the foreign media in Tel Aviv, November 15, 2012.Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he delivers a statement to the foreign media in Tel Aviv, November 15, 2012.
x
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he delivers a statement to the foreign media in Tel Aviv, November 15, 2012.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he delivers a statement to the foreign media in Tel Aviv, November 15, 2012.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday downplayed the Palestinians' attempt saying it will not help them achieve their long-promised state.
              
"The decision at the United Nations today won't change anything on the ground," Netanyahu said at a ceremony in Jerusalem. "It won't promote the establishment of a Palestinian state; it will distance it."

Granting Palestinians the title of "non-member observer state'' falls short of full U.N. membership, something they failed to achieve last year.
 
British Foreign Secretary William Hague told lawmakers Britain would consider embracing the request, but only if the Palestinian Authority could give him some key assurances - including pledges to return to negotiations with Israel and to not pursue its grievances with Israel in international courts.

Still, the Palestinians may also lack the support of some key European countries.
Germany has announced it will abstain.  France has said it will vote "yes" for the non-member state status, but many other European Union countries have not yet announced how they will vote.

Photo Gallery: Palestinians Rally in Support of UN Statehood Bid

  • People carry large Palestinian flags during a rally to support the Palestinian U.N. bid for observer state status, Hebron,  occupied West Bank, November 29, 2012.
  • A man holds a poster depicting late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat during a rally in Bethlehem, ocupied West Bank, November 29, 2012.
  • Palestinians hold posters of President Mahmoud Abbas during a rally in support of Mr. Abbas's efforts to secure a diplomatic upgrade at the United Nations, Gaza City, November 29, 2012.
  • Thousands of Palestinian refugees gather in front U.N.headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon, to support the Palestinian U.N. bid for observer state status, November 29, 2012.
  • Palestinians hold pictures of President Mahmoud Abbas and wave Fatah flags during a rally supporting the Palestinian U.N. bid for observer state status, Nablus, occupied West Bank, November 29, 2012.
  • People carry a large Palestinian flag during a rally Hebron, occupied West Bank, November 29, 2012.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs