Palestinian Authority Backtracks on Attempt to Gain Membership in UN Tourism Body

Senior Israeli officials note the Palestinian pulled their initiative to join the UN's tourism agency due to American pressure stemming from Abbas' promise to Kushner and Greenblatt

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets with U.S. presidential adviser Jared Kushner in the West Bank city of Ramallah August 24, 2017. Palestinian President Office (PPO)/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets with U.S. presidential adviser Jared Kushner in the West Bank city of Ramallah August 24, 2017. Palestinian President Office (PPO)/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTI HANDOUT/REUTERS

The Palestinian Authority decided Wednesday to backtrack from its decision to put to a vote in the UN's tourism agency a resolution that would accept Palestine as a member state in the organization.

The chairman of the UN's tourism body announced during a meeting on Wednesday in Chengdu that the Palestinian proposal will be postponed until the organization's next plenary meeting in two years.

A senior Israeli official noted that the Palestinian decision to pull the initiative was taken following heavy U.S. pressure.

A senior White House official said the decision to backtrack from its decision was an internal Palestinian Authority decision. 

According to the official, during recent visits by U.S. President Donald Trump's special adviser Jared Kushner and Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt, the two met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who promised them they wouldn’t renew their attempts to push through unilateral decisions against Israel in the UN.

The senior official noted that the Americans made it clear to the Palestinians that advancing the resolution at the UN's tourism agency does not meet align with the Abbas' promise to Trump.

In recent days and weeks, Israel has led a diplomatic effort to thwart the Palestinians and had asked number of different nations to demand from pull the initiative.  Israel's efforts were led by Tourism Minister Yariv Levin and officials from the Foreign Ministry. Levin, who is attending the UN body's plenary meeting, conducted intensive talks with the heads of the different delegations on the issue.