Palestinians prepare U.N. upgrade despite U.S., Israel warnings

Thu Nov 8, 2012 3:59pm EST
 

By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The Palestinian Authority circulated a draft resolution to U.N. member states on Wednesday that calls for upgrading its U.N. status to that of an "observer state" despite U.S. and Israeli suggestions that the Palestinians could face retaliatory moves.

The draft resolution, which could be put to a vote in the 193-nation U.N. General Assembly later this month, also reiterates the Palestinian Authority's commitment to the "two-state solution" in which Israel and an independent Palestinian state would co-exist in peace.

If approved, the resolution would "accord to Palestine Observer State status in the United Nations system, without prejudice to the acquired rights, privileges and role of the Palestine Liberation Organization as the representative of the Palestinian people," according to a draft obtained by Reuters.

The Palestinians are currently considered an observer "entity" at the United Nations. Acceptance of the Palestinians as a non-member state, similar to the Vatican's U.N. status, would implicitly recognize Palestinian statehood.

The upgrade could also grant the Palestinians access to bodies like the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where they could file complaints against Israel.

The status upgrade seems certain to win approval in any vote in the General Assembly, which is composed mostly of post-colonial states historically sympathetic to the Palestinians. Palestinian diplomats also are courting European countries to further burnish their case.

Frustrated that their bid for full U.N. membership last year failed amid U.S. opposition in the U.N. Security Council, Palestinians launched their watered-down bid for recognition as an "observer state," the same status given to the Vatican.

Israel and the United States oppose the move by the Palestinians and have called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to return to peace talks that collapsed in 2010 over Israeli settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.   Continued...

 
President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 27, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson