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Obama 'warned of repercussions' if Abbas takes settlements to UN
Published Friday 18/02/2011 (updated) 19/02/2011 20:43
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US President Barack Obama and President Mahmoud Abbas in the East Room
of the White House, Sept. 1, 2010. [MaanImages/Omar Rashidi, File]

RAMALLAH (AFP) -- President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday defied US attempts to get him to abandon a UN Security Council vote against Israeli settlements after being threatened with repercussions if he did not, his aides said.

His office said he rejected a White House proposal to stop pushing for a formal resolution condemning settlements and accept instead a non-binding statement calling on Israel to freeze construction on land the Palestinians claim for a state.

His response was given on Friday during a telephone call between Abbas and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the office said.

"There is no change in the Palestinian and Arab position about the proposal presented to the UN Security Council condemning Israeli settlement on Palestinian land," it read.

One senior Palestinian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the offer, made in an hour-long phone call from US President Barack Obama, was accompanied by veiled threats of "repercussions" if it were refused.

"President Obama threatened on Thursday night to take measures against the Palestinian Authority if it insists on going to the Security Council to condemn Israeli settlement activity, and demand that it be stopped," the official said.

"There will be repercussions for Palestinian-American relations if you continue your attempts to go to the Security Council and ignore our requests in this matter, especially as we suggested other alternatives," the official quoted Obama as telling Abbas.

The US president was referring to a package of incentives laid out earlier this week aimed at persuading the Palestinians to withdraw their support for the draft resolution, which is to be put before the Security Council later on Friday.

Despite his decision, Abbas was meeting on Friday evening in Ramallah with the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the central committee of his Fatah movement to discuss the latest developments.

The draft condemns Israeli settlement activity in line with the policy of the international community, including the United States -- but Washington does not believe such issues should be tackled within the Security Council.

The Security Council session opens in New York at 3:00 p.m.

After the Palestinians rejected the initial US offer, Obama rang Abbas late on Thursday to suggest that the Security Council make a call for a settlement freeze.

During the conversation, Abbas rejected that proposal too.

"Stopping settlement activity is a Palestinian demand that will not be taken back because it was the reason the peace process fell apart," the Palestinian official quoted him as saying.

"It was a decision taken by the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian people are sticking to this demand."

It was not immediately clear at what stage in the phone call Obama warned Abbas against turning him down.

In the Gaza Strip, Abbas's rival Hamas said that the exchange proved its long-held contention that the White House was not an honest broker in the dispute with Israel.

"This confirms the total support by the American administration for the arbitrary policy of the occupation government," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said.

US-brokered peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians stalled in late 2010 after the expiry of a temporary freeze on Jewish settlement building in the West Bank.

Efforts by Washington to coax Israel into reimposing a freeze collapsed in December, and the Palestinians are refusing to continue negotiating while Israel builds on land they want for their promised state.

The United States, which regularly uses its Security Council veto power to stop anti-Israeli initiatives, is very keen to avoid the vote because it does not want to be forced to cast a veto.

Should it do so, it would be the first time the United States has used its veto power since Obama took office in January 2009.
1 ) John / USA
18/02/2011 21:14
Could any repercussions threatened by Obama be worse than a bullet to the head if Abbas concedes? Mr. Obama, why don't you just shoot this poor old man yourself! Slavery ended in the US a long time ago Mr. Obama, so why are you taking commands from AIPAC. You resisted at first, but they broke you and it is obvious they have become your master. Shame Shame

2 ) Tobias / US
18/02/2011 21:20

I hope this is true that Obama "warned the PA of repercussions",
since negotiations may be getting more likely, after all !!!

The most likely repercussion would be an end to US aid, and with
the EU already feeling that their financial aid is being wasted or stolen,
and that the need will never go away, soon that could leave only Arab or Muslim donor states, that are and will remain preoccupied with their own democratic problems for years or possibly decades !!!!!

3 ) Margaret / Canada
18/02/2011 21:20
Sorry, but this does not ring true. I don't believe that Obama would be threatening PA over Israeli settlements when he himself is not in favour of those settlements. I have no illusions about the US, and events in Egypt have turned me into a complete cynic. But I'm not stupid. Obama wouldn't be having that conversation himself in any case. We need proof, not just anecdotes about a phone call. Then I'll believe it.

4 ) John / NZ
18/02/2011 22:43
If this is true, Obama has descended to the pits, this is a disgusting bully tactic that is beneath contempt. And in stark contrast to the attempted bribery of Israel, which itself was disgraceful. There may well be repercussions, but of a quite different kind.

5 ) mohamed / somalia
18/02/2011 22:45
reperccussions because of the zionst favour this is and other in justice

6 ) Lukas / AntiZionist
18/02/2011 22:51
Obama threatens the Palestinians if they assert their rights at the UN. This truly shows the criminal nature of the US administration and the Zionist prostitute Obama.

7 ) Colin Wright / USA
19/02/2011 02:26
Repercussions. 1. The US will stop being an honest broker. 2. The US will resume foreign aid payments to Israel. 3. The US will supply Israel with arms. 4. The US won't support the Palestinian cause in the UN. 5. The US will withdraw its recognition of Palestinian independence. 6. The US will not force Israel to comply with international law. 7. The US will allow Israel to ignore the various treaties she has signed. Gee. I bet the Palestinians were frightened.

8 ) christian palestinian / usa
19/02/2011 05:42
The corrupt Obama and Hillary should both go and jump into a lake!

They are disliked by the entire world, specifically because of their blind and irresponsible support for apartheid israel.

Enough is enough!!

9 ) disappointed / usa
19/02/2011 15:37
and people think they want democracy....even in the most free country, only the rich can get elected. how is this different from countries controlled by dictators, pharoahs, or any other ruler? democracy simply gives them a cloak of many colors to hide their control behind.american people cannot figure out why their leaders veto these requests, or why we supply armies of other countries (sometimes on both sides of conflict), and why we cant seem to change the huge ugly machine of "democracy"

10 ) Carlos / USA
19/02/2011 17:19
Colin Wright you are very perceptive and right on the money. I am only scared that things can actually get worse. Israel is so much like the Nazi's I do fear for the Palestinian people. I believe Abbas did the right thing for a change. Hamas has been correct all along. The US will never support the rights of the Palestinians no matter how grievous the violations are by Israel. My country is as corrupt as Hosni Mubarack.

11 ) Outsider / EU
19/02/2011 18:00
7) Colin: my thoughts exactly! But I'm curious as to the "incentives" that could be offered.

12 ) marge / USA
19/02/2011 19:48
No suprise that Pres. Obama threatened Abbas in an attempt to stop him from going forward with UN Resolution condemning Apartheid, Zionazi Israel's illegal settlement activity. The US has history of vetoing all adverse action against Apartheid Israel in the UN and Obama was not going to change it. However, Obama definitely did not want to use his veto vote at this time because of US complicity in the unrest currently going on in the ME. Therefore, Obama threatened Abbas out of sheer desperation.

13 ) john / usa
19/02/2011 20:50
#6 Lukas: Again I have to ask you to stop insulting prostitutes by comparing them to American politicians who are bought and paid for by AIPAC. Prostitutes are bought and get fkd, but when politicians are bought every American gets fkd.
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