Nabil Amr 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Palestinian Authority leadership has climbed a very high tree with its plan
to ask the UN to recognize a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines in
September, Nabil Amr, member of the PLO Central Council and a former PA
minister, said on Tuesday.
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“The leadership does not have any guarantees
that it would be able to climb down safely from the tree,” he cautioned,
advising the PA to delay the statehood by another year.
Amr is the first
senior PLO official to publicly express reservations about the PA’s statehood
Several other senior officials in the West Bank are also believed to
oppose the move, but have refrained from voicing their views in
Amr called on the PA leadership to delay the statehood plan by
another year out of fear that it would harm Palestinian relations with the US
and many EU countries that oppose the plan.
He said he would advise Abbas
during the upcoming meeting of the PLO Central Council to reconsider his plan
and postpone it until next year.
“The council will discuss the September
[statehood] issue and the intention to go to the UN,” Amr, a former PA minister
of information and envoy to Egypt, told the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi
“I personally will advise the leadership to delay the UN bid
by another year so that we would be able to make better preparations than what
has been done until now,” he said.
Amr expressed hope that the delay
would create a better climate for the resumption of the peace process “in line
with the interests of the Palestinians.”
He said the PA was taking a risk
by going to the UN “despite the opposition of major parties in the international
The PA leadership has failed to correctly assess the reactions of
these major parties to the statehood plan, he said.
Amr warned that the
Palestinians could lose many of their close friends if they insisted on
proceeding with the statehood initiative. He said he was opposed to “creating a
state of confrontation between the Palestinians and the US over the UN
“The Americans have not hidden their position and threats to
impose sanctions not only against us, but also against those who would vote in
favor of the statehood plan,” he continued. “On the face of it, this is an
immoral issue. But in essence it would cause us some damage.”
Amr said he
was not alone in demanding the PA leadership postpone the statehood plan. The
Palestinians, he added, should prepare well for the UN initiative “to avoid
losing this card.” Amr did not rule out the possibility that the 116 members of
the PLO Central Council, who are expected to hold a meeting in Ramallah on July
27, would nevertheless approve the plan to go to the UN in September.
negotiator Nabil Sha’ath said the PA was determined to go ahead with its
statehood plan notwithstanding the opposition of some Palestinians, the US and a
number of EU countries.
“We are serious about going to the UN and we
won’t backtrack in light of the failure of the peace negotiations [with
Israel],” Sha’ath said during a meeting with the French consul-general in
Sha’ath urged the EU to support the statehood bid and play a
major role in the peace process “in wake of the failure of the US to exert
pressure on Israel because of Washington’s preoccupation with internal
One Israeli government official responded to Amr’s statement
saying that “anyone who knows the reality, understands the UN path is a dead
end, and the only way to peace and Palestinian statehood is through direct
The official said similar messages
have been heard from foreign leaders, following their talks with Palestinian
officials. At the same time, however, the official said no one in Israel is
going on the assumption that the PA is going to pull back from its UN bid at the
“There is no optimism about that,” he said.
same time, the official said, Israeli and US officials were “working seriously”
to find options that would obviate the need for the PA to go to the
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, gave his first pan-Arab
interview on Tuesday, sitting down in his office for 30 minutes with the
Saudi-owned, Dubai based network Al Arabiya.
The message Netanyahu tried
to convey in the interview was he has the will to reach a peace agreement, and
the political ability to get the Israeli public to accept it.
He said the
Palestinians were making a mistake in refusing to engage and negotiate with him,
and that two years have been wasted.
The decision to do the interview was
an effort by Netanyahu to get his message directly to a massive Arab audience,
officials in the PMO said. Although Al Jazeera is the largest and most
influential network, it was decided to go with the competitor because it “has
more of a tradition of straight news, less incitement,” one official said. He
said Al Jazeera has played a negative role in its coverage of Israel and the