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

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora