The Palestinian Authority on Saturday warned the US against using its Security
Council veto to thwart its plan to seek UN membership for a Palestinian state
A US veto would “destroy” the two-state solution, the PA
ties strained over statehood campaign'
'remains committed' to renewing Israeli-PA talks
The warning came after PA President Mahmoud Abbas announced in a
speech in Ramallah that he would ask the UN Security Council to accept
membership of a Palestinian state.
“We are going to the Security
Council,” he declared. “As soon as I finish delivering my speech [at the UN on
Friday], I will submit the application [for membership] to the UN
secretary-general, who will relay it to the president of the Security
Abbas said that his “extensive and sincere” efforts to reach an
agreement that would end the “occupation” and lead to an independent Palestinian
state through negotiations had hit a dead end.
He blamed “Israeli
intransigence” for failure of the peace process.
Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu’s office said in response, “Peace is not achieved by taking unilateral
steps at the UN and not by linking up with the Hamas terror organization. Peace
can only be achieved through direct negotiations with Israel.
leadership of the Palestinian Authority has consistently evaded peace negotiations with Israel.
"When the Palestinian Authority will abandon
these futile and unilateral measures at the UN, it will find Israel to be a
genuine partner for direct peace negotiations.”
But in Ramallah on
Friday, Abbas said, “We seek to gain membership in the UN on the basis of the
1967 borders so that we could afterwards return to the negotiations on a clear
and internationally recognized reference.”
The statehood bid was only
part of the Palestinian strategy that is designed to “put the Palestinian state
with Jerusalem as its capital back on the geography map,” he said.
cautioned Palestinians against resorting to violence, stressing that support for
the statehood bid should be “peaceful.” Otherwise, it could “harm us and
sabotage our efforts,” he said.
Abbas said the statehood bid would not
affect the status of the PLO as “the sole legitimate representative of the
The PLO would continue to exist and function not only
until a solution to the Palestinian issue was reached, but until it was
implemented, he said.
The PLO would also continue to work toward solving
the issue of the Palestinian refugees, Abbas said. The PA is part of the PLO,
and Abbas heads both.
He said that he was aware that the Palestinians
would face major obstacles after the statehood bid at the UN. But “we must
remain determined to achieve our goal.”
Even if the PA succeeded at the
UN, “we must know that occupation would not end the day after the recognition of
the state. But we would have gained recognition of the world that our state is
occupied and that our lands are no longer disputed territories as the Israeli
government claims,” Abbas said.
Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat warned
that the US administration’s use of a veto to foil the PA move would destroy the
“Anyone who supports the two-state solution should
back the Palestinian effort [at the UN],” he said.
Erekat hinted that the
Palestinians would consider dismantling the PA if the US thwarted their
Zakariya al-Agha, the PLO’s top representative in the Gaza
Strip, also warned against the consequences of a US veto.
The PA was
going to the UN because US President Barack Obama, in his speech to the UN in
September 2010, talked about the establishment of an independent and sovereign
Palestinian state within one year, Agha said.
Calling on Palestinians to
take to the streets on Wednesday to support the statehood bid, Agha emphasized
the importance of avoiding violence, “so as not to give the Israeli government
any excuses to ignite the region.”
The statehood bid would not affect the
Palestinian refugees’ “right of return” to their original homes inside Israel,
the PLO official said.
“The Palestinian state is being established in
connection with UN [Security Council] Resolutions 242 and 338,” he said. “But
the right of return for the refugees is guaranteed through UN [General Assembly]
PLO official Nabil Sha’ath said on Saturday that the
catalyst for Abbas’s final decision to seek full membership at the Security
Council was a meeting with the US Mideast envoys two days
Speaking at a press conference in Ramallah, Sha’ath said that
Dennis Ross and David Hale presented Abbas with a document that was worded worse
than one rejected by the Quartet over a month ago, the official Palestinian news
agency WAFA reported.
Sha’ath added that the document indicated that the
White House accepted West Bank settlement as de facto policy.
reading the American paper, Sha’ath explained, Abbas “made up his mind that he
was going to the United Nations Security Council to get full membership for the
state of Palestine,” according to WAFA.
Tovah Lazaroff and Jerusalem Post
staff contributed to this report.