Nearly a year after the Palestinian Authority’s failed attempt at recognition as a full member state, Foreign Minister Riyad Malki announced last weekend that President Mahmoud Abbas would return to the General Assembly on 27 September to seek non-member observer status. Such a bid – which would require the support of only a majority of the 193 member states – would enable the Palestinians to join UN bodies including the International Criminal Court, a development that Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor warned could be used to “hurt us”.
The envoy to the UN – who said that Abbas would have a “guaranteed majority” at the Assembly – told Israel Radio: “There is an attempt (by the Palestinians) to make unilateral moves in order to internationalise the conflict. But beyond what are perhaps the feelings of frustration, it is important to remember that the path to peace really is through the negotiating table with Israel.”
Revealing the move in Ramallah, Malki said: “We are looking forward to getting 180 votes. We will become a non-member (observer) state in 2012.” However, he did not put a precise time-frame on a vote, saying: “When we are sure we have won absolute support from the largest possible number of states, we will be ready to request that the General Assembly vote on such a draft resolution.”
The Palestinians currently have observer entity status and it is believed next month would be a stepping-stone to seeking full member state.
Last September, during the build-up to the original statehood bid, the US threatened to use its veto to scupper a full statehood bid at the Security Council, stressing negotiations were the only route forward. In the end, however, the failure to garner the support from nine members of the Council meant there was no need for this.
An Israeli source was quoted by the Jerusalem Post as saying: “Refusing to negotiate and unilaterally trying to change the status is a direct and deliberate violation of the whole peace process up until now. Israel reserves the right to respond if it indeed occurs.”Learn more »