The Palestinian Authority will request full membership in the United Nations, Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said Thursday, even though the United States says it will veto such a move.
Malki said that PA President Mahmoud Abbas will submit a request to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on September 23, after Abbas addresses the General Assembly, and that in fact it will be Ban who passes it on to the UN Security Council.
U.S. ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said Thurday on the Channel 10 current affairs program "London and Kirschenbaum" that the United States intended to veto the proposal since a Palestinian state should be established through negotiations with Israel.
Negotiations over the matter continued Thursday between EU and U.S. government envoys and Israel and the PA.
Abbas, who returned to Ramallah on Thursday afternoon from Cairo, is expected to give a speech on Friday on Palestinian television. He will apparently stress his commitment to seeking UN recognition, although he might also call on the Palestinian people to avoid violence.
So far, all rallies are planned for Palestinian city centers, and PA security forces have said they will not allow protesters to clash with the Israel Defense Forces.
U.S. envoys David Hale and Dennis Ross met with Abbas last night to continue trying to dissuade him from going to the United Nations. Senior Palestinian officials have said recently that they do not intend to backtrack on their decision.
Going to the Security Council would allow the Palestinians to demand full membership in the United Nations, which has no chance of passing. It is unclear whether the PA intends to approach the UN General Assembly if its bid for full UN membership is turned down by the Security Council.
The risk the PA takes by approaching the Security Council is that the request may remain bogged down there for months. If the Palestinians then turn to the General Assembly, certain countries may not support the move since the resolution would already be under discussion in the Security Council.
The United States does not object to Abbas' turning to the Security Council as a symbolic act, which would be followed by months of deliberations. It would mean the Palestinian state would not garner recognition, averting an international crisis.
However, some analysts say that if Abbas wants to gain anything in the United Nations, the PA should first approach the General Assembly, and only then go to the Security Council.
So far, 94 countries have announced they recognize a Palestinian state, and all told, some 130 UN members are expected to vote for such recognition in the General Assembly.
However, unlike a Security Council resolution, a General Assembly resolution has no practical implications as it cannot be enforced or be used to impose sanctions on Israel or any other body.
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