The Prime Minister’s Office attacked Palestinian Authority statements Saturday
regarding its intention to seek unilateral statehood at the United Nations
through an application for full-member status in that body.
It accused PA
President Mahmoud Abbas of avoiding direct negotiations and said that his
decision was both “expected and regrettable.
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“Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu still believes that only through direct and honest negotiations – not
through unilateral decisions – will it be possible to advance the peace
process,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
It issued its
comments in reaction to a Ramallah briefing by PA Foreign Minister Riyad Malki,
who said that Abbas planned to apply for full UN membership next
“I think that the president, when he gets to the United Nations
and meets the secretary general, will present the application,” Malki
He narrowed down the timing of the application to September during
Abbas’s visit to New York, but when asked to give a specific date, Palestinian
officials said it would still have to be determined.
This year’s 66th
General Assembly meetings are set to open officially on September 13, with
high-level meetings of world leaders expected to start on September
The Palestinians in the past have spoken of a September deadline for
seeking statehood from the United Nations.
A Palestinian official told
The Jerusalem Post
, however, that the Palestinian strategy now is to turn to the
UN with a request for membership. It’s a move that would give the Palestinians
UN membership requests must go through the Security
Council, which then makes a recommendation to the General Assembly. Five nations
— China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States — can veto a
membership request at the Security Council.
The United States – which has
opposed Palestinian statehood initiatives at the United Nations – has said it
would veto such bids.
The Palestinian official told the Post
, that Abbas
might separately ask the General Assembly to upgrade the PLO status at the UN
from that of an “observer mission,” to a “non-member state.”
Such a request does not have to go through the
Security Council and only needs majority approval at the United Nations. The
official said that such a move would still confer the status of statehood on the
The Israeli mission to the UN responded to the Palestinian
statements by reiterating calls to return to the negotiating table.
Israeli spokesperson said only direct talks with Jerusalem could lead to a
comprehensive peace deal, whereas unilateral moves were likely to provoke
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni (Kadima) said on Saturday that
“The Palestinian decision is bad for Israel, and only one person is responsible
for this diplomatic failure: Netanyahu.”
Livni continued: “Netanyahu’s
inability to understand the situation and his refusal to continue negotiations –
which Kadima had been holding in keeping with Israel’s best interests – are
leading Israel to one of the most dangerous diplomatic failures in its history,”
she said in a statement.
“Rather than establishing a Palestinian state
through an agreement with Israel, Netanyahu is causing the world to establish a
state in opposition to Israel’s position.
“Kadima reiterates its call to
renew negotiations before September,” she concluded.
MK Arye Eldad
(National Union) on Saturday called on Israel to cancel the Oslo Accords in
reaction to the Palestinian announcement.
“The Government of Israel
should announce immediately that with this application to the UN, the Oslo
Accords will be canceled and Israel should declare that Israeli law will be
implemented in Judea and Samaria,” Eldad said in a statement.Gil Hoffman
contributed to this report.