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

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

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