Palestine to settle for second-rate UN membership
Published Saturday, June 9, 2012
Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas has admitted Palestine may have to settle for getting non-member state status at the United Nations, after the US threatened to veto any bid for full membership.
Abbas told reporters on Friday during a Paris visit that if Israel did not resume peace negotiations, "we will of course go to the (UN) General Assembly to obtain non-member status, as was the case for Switzerland and the Vatican."
The Palestinians applied for full membership of the UN last September but the application was blocked at the Security Council as the United States threatened to use its veto to block any bid at the request of its major regional ally Israel.
The United States and Israel argue that only direct Palestinian-Israeli talks can produce a definitive peace accord, but have offered no meaningful concessions towards a viable solution.
French President Francois Hollande, who met Abbas during his Paris visit, said on Friday that "we must do everything to facilitate the recognition of a Palestinian state via a negotiated process".
Direct talks between the Israelis and Palestinians on a peace deal remain in deep freeze after grinding to a halt in late 2010 over the issue of Jewish settlement construction.
Abbas has demanded the development of settlements, which are illegal under UN law, be frozen before further negotiations.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ignored such calls and has encouraged the development of the enclaves on Palestinian lands.
Israel continues to occupy the West Bank and east Jerusalem, while maintaining a siege of Gaza.