U.S., Britain, Australia Won’t Support Palestinian Bid for Statehood at UN

Palestinian delegation in N.Y. continues to canvass members of Security Council; China, Russia and Jordan are on board with resolution pressing to end occupation, sources say.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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PA President Mahmoud Abbas speaking at the 69th United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Friday.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas speaking at the 69th United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Friday.Credit: AFP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Palestinian sources say members of Mahmoud Abbas’ delegation to the UN General Assembly in New York have received definitive “noes” from the United States, Britain and Australia regarding a proposed Security Council resolution setting a timetable for ending Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and establishing an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders.

The officials have met with envoys from all 15 member-states of the United Nations body in the past few days in order to gauge the response such a resolution could expect. China and Russia, as well as together with rotating member Jordan, told the Palestinians they would support such a resolution. The other 15 states did not give a definitive answer.

Senior members of the delegation told Haaretz that most of the countries expressed understanding for the move and recognition of the difficult situation of the Palestinians in light of Operation Protective Edge and the suspension of negotiations with Israel. They said some representatives requested more time before making their stances public.

“Our main aim at this point is to get a majority of nine,” one of the officials said. “Even if in the end the Americans use their veto, it will put the Palestinian position in a much better place for taking other steps, like approaching the General Assembly and international organizations.” All substantive Security Council draft resolutions must have the agreement of all members in order to be adopted. Any of the five permanent members of the body — China, France, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom — can use its veto power to reject a substantive resolution.

As of Sunday, the Palestinians were continuing to canvas Security Council members in search of a majority, knowing that its value would be chiefly symbolic.

Palestinian officials say the United States has been pressuring Arab states to recommend that the Palestinian proposal be delayed for a few months.

“We’ve heard comments in the corridors urging us to postpone [the resolution] for various reasons, like it will undermine the war against Islamic terror or affect the mid-term elections [in the United States],” a source told Haaretz. “That’s why [Abbas] is working to convene the Arab group and hear them declare that they support the [Palestinian] move, so as to blunt the American pressure.”

Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said a U.S. veto of the resolution in the Security Council would serve neither the Americans nor “the war on terror that the United States is leading – because in such a situation the administration will stand against justice and international law, and most countries in the world that have already recognized a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders. The United States will place itself in opposition to the nations of the world, and especially the Arab countries that are cooperating with it in the war on terror.”

According to Abu Rudeinah, the Palestinian position is supported by all of the Arab states and has the understanding of most countries. With regard to the European position, Abu Rudeinah said that all the European countries who voted for Palestine two years ago would support it this year as well, plus other countries. He noted that the resolution would be proposed after final consultations with Arab countries and member states, and would be presented to them all, including the United States.

It isn’t clear when the Palestinian resolution might be submitted, and it is doubtful it would be submitted at all unless majority support is assured.

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