(NEW YORK) -- As President Obama gets ready to address the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday, the Palestinian bid for U.N. recognition weighs heavily over this week’s proceedings. The White House and its allies are scrambling to prevent a showdown, and critics, including the two leading Republican presidential candidates, say the Palestinian quest for statehood highlights Obama’s failed Middle East peace strategy.
Last year, Obama said in his address to the U.N. General Assembly that, working together, a peace agreement might be possible by the time of the next meeting. “We can waste more time by carrying forward an argument that will not help a single Israeli or Palestinian child achieve a better life. We can do that…or, we can say that this time will be different,” Obama said in September 2010. “This time we should reach for what’s best within ourselves. If we do, when we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that will lead to a new member of the United Nations – an independent, sovereign state of Palestine, living in peace with Israel.”
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is readying to bring his bid for statehood to the U.N. Friday, a move the U.S. strongly rejects and has vowed to veto.
“The only way to resolve the issues between the Palestinians and the Israelis and to ultimately create a Palestinian state is through direct negotiations. The Palestinians will not and cannot achieve statehood through a declaration at the United Nations,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters last week.
In the meantime, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her allies are engaged in an intensive diplomatic negotiations to present an alternative plan that would allow for the negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians to resume.
“We are engaged in extremely intensive ongoing diplomacy, reaching out to not only the parties but to all of the people who are here for the U.N. General Assembly. And we continue to believe and are pressing the point that the only way to a two-state solution, which is what we support and want to see happen, is through negotiations. And no matter what does or doesn’t happen this week, it will not produce the kind of outcome that everyone is hoping for. So we’re going to stay very much engaged and focused,” Clinton said Monday.
While President Obama is scheduled to meet one-on-one with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu this week, there are no plans for him to meet with Abbas.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio