U.S. Administration Divided Over Response to Palestinian, French Moves in UN

Netanyahu, Kerry hold three-hour meeting in Rome.

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressing the United Nations General Assembly, at UN headquarters in New York, Sept. 26, 2014.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressing the United Nations General Assembly, at UN headquarters in New York, Sept. 26, 2014.Credit: AP

ROME - The Obama administration is split over which policy the United States should pursue regarding the Palestinian move toward statehood recognition in the UN Security Council and the French initiative to assemble an alternative proposal.

At a White House meeting last week, Obama's top foreign policy aides were unable to agree on an approach to France's potential resolution, according to a report by the Associated Press.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry suggested steering away from the effort at a time of increased Mideast violence and with the Israeli election a couple of months away, according to a U.S. official familiar with the discussion who spoke to AP.

Susan Rice, Obama's national security adviser, supported engaging allies to see if a compromise is possible.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a three-hour meeting with Kerry in Rome on Monday, where he was expected to request that the U.S. continue its years-long policy of vetoing resolutions related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the UN Security Council.

"What is at stake now is a resolution at the UN Security Council to try to force Israel to accept the creation of a Palestinian state unilaterally and within a certain time frame," a senior official in the prime minister's entourage told reporters en route to Rome.

"The consistent American policy for the past 47 years has opposed such unilateral steps," the official continued. "There is no reason for that to change, and we expect that it won't change."

The Palestinians are expected to submit this week a draft resolution on ending the Israeli occupation to the United Nations Security Council. The French one is more moderate. The main difference between the French proposal and the Palestinian one is that the Palestinian resolution proposes a time table of two years to end the occupation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, while the French resolution allocates a two year period for reaching a permanent agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

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