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US says Palestinian UN bid jeopardizes peace process
Published Monday 15/10/2012 (updated) 17/10/2012 14:29
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President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 67th United Nations General
Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York, Sept. 27, 2012.
(Reuters/Lucas Jackson)

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A Palestinian bid to upgrade its UN status to a sovereign country would jeopardize the peace process with Israel and make it difficult to get the two sides to return to talks on a two-state solution, the United States said on Monday.

But the diplomatic drive by President Mahmoud Abbas received support from Russia and Arab countries at a UN Security Council debate on the Middle East situation.

Having failed last year to win recognition of full statehood at the United Nations, Abbas said last month he would seek a less-ambitious status upgrade at the world body to make it a "non-member state" like the Vatican.

The president of the 193-member UN General Assembly, Vuk Jeremic, has said the issue will likely be debated in mid-November, after the US elections. Washington argues a Palestinian state can only be created through direct talks.

"Unilateral actions, including initiatives to grant Palestinians non-member state observer status at the United Nations, would only jeopardize the peace process and complicate efforts to return the parties to direct negotiations," the US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, told the Security Council.

There have been no direct Palestinian talks with Israel on peace since 2010, when the Palestinians refused to resume negotiations unless the Israeli government suspended settlement building in occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

"Any efforts to use international fora to prejudge final status issues that can only be resolved directly by the parties will neither improve the daily lives of Palestinians nor foster the trust essential to make progress towards a two state solution," Rice said.

The Palestinians' current UN status is an "observer entity." If Abbas wins, that would change to "observer state."

Joining international bodies

Being registered as a state rather than an entity would mean the Palestinians could join bodies such as the International Criminal Court and file complaints against Israel for its continued occupation of land it seized in the 1967 war.

Egypt's UN Ambassador Mootaz Ahmadein Khalil, speaking to the council on behalf of the Arab group of countries, said it fully supported the Palestinians bid.

"We expect the General Assembly to adopt a resolution during its current session to upgrade the status of Palestine to become a 'non-member observer state,' as a first step towards reaching full membership," he said.

Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said: "We believe that the initiative to gain broad international recognition for Palestinian statehood ... complements efforts to achieve a negotiated solution to the conflict with Israel rather than serve as an alternative."

"In no case should they be used by Israel to tighten the screws in the occupied territories or exert any other pressure on the Palestinian Authority," he said.

The Palestinians won admission to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in October last year, a move that prompted the United States to cut off funding to the UN agency.

A 1990s US law prohibits US funding to any UN organization that grants full membership to any group that does not have "internationally recognized attributes" of statehood.

The law could also prohibit American funding for any other U.N. organization that grants Palestinians full membership status, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency, which among other things monitors Iran's nuclear program.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said last month that the two-state solution was the only sustainable option for peace. But he said the continued growth of Israeli settlements meant that "the door may be closing, for good."

The so-called two-state solution involves the creation of a state of Palestine to exist peacefully alongside Israel.
1 ) Tobias / USA
15/10/2012 20:25
HONESTY IS IMPORTANT, and the US should have said that:
1- "the peace process is NOT jeopardized the Palestinian UN bid",
but instead by the Palestinian refusal to Negotiate, as promised at Oslo, but
2- the "Palestinian UN bid CLEARLY jeopardizes" the PA's future political support, and probably more importantly, that it jeopardizes any future financial support/donations, from the USA and other major donors to the PA !!

2 ) More / Meetings
15/10/2012 21:11
A series of consultations will be held - it sounds very promising, although we heard it before. My guess is - series of meetings will be followed by series of trips abroad by PA/PLO officials. Those trips will be extensive and long - to the remote from Middle East countries like South Africa, India, Brazil, Cuba and others. They will spend a lot of US and EU money on those meetings and trips and their bank accounts will grow as a result. This is example of really successful international policy

3 ) Risk / State
15/10/2012 21:12
What does it mean - "peace process between Israel and Palestinians is at risk"? Does it mean a war? Does it mean that palestinians will be stupid enough to start another war with Israel? They should know that they are not very good in fighting, especially in fighting Israel. They have lost every previous fight with Israel, and with losing those fights they lost more and more land. There are no any doubts that they will lose new fight as well if they are stupid enough to start it. Fighting is not

4 ) Greg / UKR
15/10/2012 21:35
Palestinians should not ask US and EU for money if they keep applying for UN membership and avoiding peace negotiations. And of cause US and EU should stop financing PA, PLO and Abbas. Palestinians should go to their strongest supporters and beg for money Syria, Iran, China, Russia, Venezuela, So. Africa, Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, Indonesia, arab brothers. Sorry, I forgot Gabon - palestinians definitely should ask Gabon for money. Please keep in mind that Gabon is not an animal, it is a country.

5 ) EE / UK
15/10/2012 21:36
What I do not understand is why palestinians keep asking US and EU for money. They should go to those countries which make up the majority at UN General Assembly. Let those countries who vote for Palestinian UN membership to foot the bill and put their money next to their votes.

6 ) Around / World
15/10/2012 21:36
It is time to de-fund UN and boot them out of New-York. Let them move their headquarter to Moscow, Beijing, Damascus, Gaza, Caracas, Ramallah, Cairo, Bengasi, Tripoli, Paris, Madrid or other nice place. Let them accept palestinians, Hamas, PLO, Hezbollah, Al-Qaida as a full members or observing members or something else. Let Coffy Annan to lead those crooks and terrorists again. US and West should not do anything to UN, just stop giving them money, let them use rubles, yuans or whatever they wan

15/10/2012 21:37
The admission of palestinians as a UN non-member observer state will mean no palestinian state probably ever and the end of the UN. Let palestinians to observe something in UN till the end of the days. But not on our money. It is time do de-fund UN, PA, PLO and Abbas. All of them together, once and for all.

8 ) Agree / Disagree
15/10/2012 21:44
I agree: "...there can be no viable, independent State of Palestine". Palestinians should abandon terror, show readiness to negotiate and compromise and only then it will be possible to start talking about palestinian state. Not before, not as long as Hamas is around.

9 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
15/10/2012 22:23
Only one solution: negotiate a peace treaty.

10 ) Ray Hanania / USA
16/10/2012 00:23
Israel has destroyed the peace process through its campaign of land greed, and racist discrimination against people because of their religion. Christians and Muslims suffer under Israeli oppression and the United States, which is the world's leading Christian nation, is incapable of standing up for Christians because of the Israel lobby's headlock on free speech and the US Congress. Israel only responds to conflict, not to peace, not to compromise and clearly not to the Rule of Law. Ray Hanania

11 ) Mel / USA
16/10/2012 15:12
LOL! When U hear Susan Rice say anything,U can assume it comes straight from the mouths of long-time mentors like NSC Madeline Albright,Richard Clarke,Kissinger & Sammy R.Berger etc,right back to 1990's,on the AAB as African "Specialist",where she spent many years pandering to African Evangeligal Christian Zionists! Rice speaks with neo-con,BUSH-tongue!'Peace-process' to her is as to all pro-Zionists. WAR! The only peace they want, is the WHOLE PIECE,by erasing PALESTINE thru'deception!

12 ) Gabi / australia
17/10/2012 01:56
# 8 - there can be no Palestinian state while Likud is around. (read their charter.) #9 - Brian Cohen - negotiate with what? The Palestinians have nothing to negotiate with. Irsael holds all the cards - and weaponry. Arafat, many years ago, agreed to recognise Israel and to stop the suicide bombers. What did he get in return? More settlements.

13 ) F netanyahoo / ashwartz
17/10/2012 17:23
I think the peace process jeopardizes the palestinian statehood

14 ) Sarah goldman / Yafa
18/10/2012 17:18
Zionists dont want peace They want to be gods Read the talmud disgusting lude acts are in writing Protocols of zion being put into play That there playbook, Even though most know about the protocols , zionist cant change course because the are aleady invested in it, Israel wants more than palestine, iraq saudi syria jordan egypt All these countries swallowed into greater israel
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