Entries in Statehood (3)


State Department Grows Frustrated with Palestinian Leaders

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The State Department is expressing frustration over the latest Palestinian tactic to achieve statehood without conducting peace talks with Israel.

Palestinian leaders have asked for state membership to the U.N. sub-agency on education, science and culture, called UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). The executive board of UNESCO has just approved that application, sending it to a vote in the general assembly of the cultural body.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged UNESCO to think again before proceeding. She called the move "inexplicable," questioning why a sub-agency would decide on a statehood matter when that issue is currently being debated by the main body of the United Nations. And Israel says it's another tactic to avoid negotiations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Top Palestinian Rep.: 'Viable Alternative' Can Avert UN Showdown

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration is facing a clash on the international stage this week, with a Palestinian push for United Nations statehood recognition heading for a likely American veto.

But on ABC’s Top Line Monday, the head Palestinian representative to the United States, Maen Rashid Areikat, said he’s still hopeful that a “viable alternative” will emerge that can avert the showdown, with assurances from the international community that peace talks with Israel can be put back on track.

“We are simply trying to change the political paradigm and get things moving forward so that we can end the conflict, based on a two-state solution,” Areikat said.

The Palestinians are seeking “something that will provide hope to the Palestinians that this time we will be engaged in a genuine process.  We’ll be talking about substance and not about the process itself.  Negotiations are not an end by themselves.  It’s the outcome of these negotiations, and we have been engaged for the last 20 years in bilateral negotiations, and yet we’re still under occupation and we are not free people,” he said.

While Palestinian leaders realize the U.S. will wield its Security Council veto if it comes to it, Areikat said he hopes President Obama would reconsider.

“We don’t seek a confrontation with the United States,” he said.  “We want to maintain a good relationship with the United States.  We’re still talking to the United States, but we wish that the U.S. would reconsider its position and not veto such a resolution.”

Areikat added: “The Palestinians are not interested in escalating the situation.  We believe that this is the only way to keep the hope alive among the Palestinian people that the two-state solution is viable.  And President Abbas said repeatedly we will engage in genuine negotiations the day after a resolution is approved at the U.N.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Mounts Last-Ditch Effort to Stop Palestinian Statehood Bid

Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Two top Obama administration envoys are meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Thursday in a last-ditch effort to stop him from going to the United Nations next week to get recognition for a Palestinian state, a move that would almost certainly lead to an American veto.

A top European Union official and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair are also conducting shuttle diplomacy between Jerusalem and Ramallah to try and get Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table and put off the U.N. bid.

Officials on all sides, however, admit their efforts are essentially futile at this late stage.

The United Nations General Assembly opens next Wednesday and Abbas is due to speak on Friday. The same day, the Palestinians say they will apply for full membership with the United Nations Security Council, an application the U.S. has said it would veto.


If the U.S. vetoes the Palestinian bid, Palestinians also have the option of going to the General Assembly and putting forward a resolution to have their status upgraded from "observer entity" to "observer state," akin to the Vatican. That would require a two-thirds majority in the 193-member body, votes they say they have.

Once recognized as a state by the U.N., Palestine could join bodies like the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice.

The Palestinians are working with a number of European nations to write a General Assembly resolution that most - if not all - of the 27-member European Union could support.

An American veto would isolate the U.S., especially in the Middle East where the U.S. is seen as blindly supporting Israel.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio