US will veto Palestine’s possible UN-membership-bid
US: The United States has decided to fight to the bitter end to
convince the Palestinians to abandon their bid for UN membership,
despite the rather small chance that the battle will succeed.
“We want to leave no stone unturned in our effort to get these
parties back to the table,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland
said Tuesday as two US envoys headed to the Middle East for talks with
Israel and the Palestinians.
David Hale, a special US envoy for the Middle East, and White House
aide Dennis Ross are to hold talks on Wednesday and Thursday with
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president
Their previous trip, just last week, yielded no results. For weeks,
Washington has deployed its entire diplomatic arsenal to try to persuade
the Palestinians not to submit a formal request to become the 194th
member of the United Nations, in the face of US and Israeli opposition.
The United States has repeatedly said that only direct talks between
the two sides can lead to genuine Palestinian statehood, and the UN bid
— expected on September 20 — will only raise tensions.
This week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with EU
foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and former British leader Tony
Blair, who has been the special envoy of the so-called Middle East
Quartet — the United States, Russia, United Nations and the EU — since
2007. Clinton is due to speak with Abbas again before week’s end.
“The only way of getting a lasting solution is through direct
negotiations between the parties, and the route to that lies in
Jerusalem and Ramallah, not in New York,” she said Tuesday.
“We are redoubling our efforts, not only with both sides but with a
broad cross-section of the international community, to create a
sustainable platform for negotiations.” Direct negotiations have been
stalled for nearly a year. The Palestinians have vowed to not resume
talks while Israel builds in annexed Arab east Jerusalem and the rest of
the occupied West Bank. The Palestinians have two options — if they
present their bid in the UN Security Council, they will surely face a US
If they go before the General Assembly, where they could ask to
upgrade their representation from current observer status to non-member
state, they have a very good chance of success, as Washington has one
vote and no veto.
US President Barack Obama on Monday called the Palestinian bid for UN
recognition a “distraction” and said it would not result in viable
“What happens in New York City can occupy a lot of press attention
but is not going to change, actually, what is happening on the ground
until the Israelis and Palestinians sit down,” he told reporters.
Washington and its European allies have worked all summer on a Quartet
initiative that could break the impasse.
Nathan Brown, a Middle East expert at George Washington University,
told AFP he is skeptical about any deal that could be reached. AFP