Palestinians Press Security Council Members to Back UN Statehood Bid

PA President Abbas expected to leave for Colombia, which holds a temporary seat at the UNSC, next week; Palestinian official: We expect countries that have recognized Palestinian independence in the past to support UN bid.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is due to leave for Colombia next week, in an attempt to convince officials in the South American nation to support a bid for Palestinian statehood at the United Nations Security Council.

A Palestinian official speaking with Haaretz on Friday, said that "within the Security Council there are nine nations who had already recognized a Palestinian state, so the Palestinians expect those countries to support the [UN] proposal too."

Mahmoud Abbas AP Sept. 23, 2010

"And yet," the official added, "pressure is being exerted on Columbia through sates such as Brazil, Argentina, and Chile, as well as pressure from the other side being exerted by Russia and the Arab States on Bosnia."

Haaretz has also learned that the Arab states have been pressuring Bosnia by threatening not to support a recognition of Kosovo's independence if Bosnia failed to back the Palestinian bid at the UNSC.

Bosnia and Colombia are both temporary members of the UNSC, making them crucial in the Palestinian bid to gain full recognition as an independent state in the Security Council.

Currently, the 15-member UN Security Council is reviewing the issue. The U.S. has already said it would veto the request should the Palestinians muster the required nine votes.

After the Palestinians' bid to seek full membership at the United Nations, the Quartet of Mideast mediators - the United States, the UN, the European Union and Russia - called for the resumption of talks and a deal within a year. The Quartet statement did not specifically refer to the two Palestinian demands, but listed a number of speeches, UN resolutions and other documents that contain them.

Commenting on the Quartet statement on Thursday, Yasser Abed Rabbo, the secretary general of the PLO said the Quartet statement contains encouraging elements and we call on Israel to announce its commitment to the principles and points of reference it identifies."

Abed Rabbo said that despite the encouraging elements, it is not enough to resume negotiations. The Palestinians are eager to restart talks, but Israel first has to commit to all references in the Quartet statement, "especially concerning the borders of 1967 and stopping settlement activity," he said.