Palestinians say not yet decided on UN course of action

PA envoy to UN says Palestinians still undecided on whether to go to Security Council or General Assembly with statehood bid.

By JORDANA HORN, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
September 15, 2011 20:45
3 minute read.
Riyad Mansour speaks at a session of the UNSC, Tue

Riyad Mansour at UNSC_311 reuters. (photo credit: Chip East / Reuters)

NEW YORK –  The Palestinian Authority's Permanent Observer to the UN, Riyad Mansour, told a specially-gathered press conference at the UN Thursday that the Palestinians have not yet decided whether or not the Palestinians will pursue unilateral recognition of statehood via the Security Council or the General Assembly next week.

The final decision as to which path to pursue, Mansour said, will be taken “within the next few days.”

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“All these options are still available to us,” Mansour said. “We are fine tuning our options and will make the final decision soon.”

Mansour said the Palestinians decision will be announced by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas when the decision is made.

Mansour said that UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon “reiterated unconditional support for the just cause of the Palestinian people” in a letter to Mansour, in which Ban stated, Mansour said, that the decision of admitting states to the UN is a decision to be made by member states and that “he will respect and honor the position of member states.”

“We have been working for several years to reach this moment with the international community,” Mansour told the gathered journalists. “We are ready to govern ourselves in an independent state – what we need is the end of occupation.”

Mansour said that over two-thirds of UN member states have recognized the state of Palestine on the borders of 1967 – saying this is “almost double” the number of states that recognize Israel -- and should allow “Palestine to join its proper place as a member of the community of nations.”

Mansour did not reference the United States by name, instead noting that he is aware that a “powerful country” would utilize a veto against a Palestinian unilateral bid for statehood recognition in the Security Council.

If recognition through the Security Council proves not possible due to US exercise of the veto, Mansour said, “we all know that we have a path through the General Assembly.”

“What is really clear is that we have the right to join the community of nations as a full member and our quest by coming to the UN is for that objective,” Mansour said, and the question only remains of how to approach it, whether by “expressway directly to the Security Council, or the local road, which would take us through the General Assembly, which would eventually take us to the Security Council.”

“We don’t have a final decision yet as to which path we will follow first. We need to decide that first,” Mansour said. “After we decide that, we jump immediately into the technicalities of how it could be done and how it could be done in the fastest possible way.

“It is an exciting time,” Mansour said.

UN observers’ and Jewish leaders’ reactions ranged from indignation to a more passive curiosity.

 “Things are still in play,” American Jewish Committee  executive director David Harris said. “No one knows exactly what the Palestinians will do at the Security Council, or at the General Assembly, in what sequence and with what texts – plural. It’s all still up in the air.”

“Going to the Security Council, after Washington promised to veto, is a PA decision to knowingly embarrass the US,” UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer said. “More and more, the Palestinian campaign is proving itself to be an exercise in political theater, designed purely for point-scoring, that will do nothing to improve the lives of Palestinians or Israelis.

“ It’s time for President Abbas to return to the negotiating table and choose the path of peace and reconciliation, and not endless lawfare and demonization,” Neuer said. “Whatever their disclaimers about avoiding violence, the PA is about to recklessly light a match next to a powder keg.”

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