Mahmoud Abbas 311.
(photo credit: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)
An Arab League decision to ask the UN to recognize a Palestinian state along the
pre-1967 lines would not serve the peace process, the US said on
Blair to return in search for statehood bid solutionPA to Quartet: Tell Israel to stop building over Green LineJ'lem hopes Quartet will come out against PA's UN bid
“We’ve been clear in our conviction that unilateral approaches
to try to seek statehood via the United Nations will not lead to a comprehensive
settlement,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told The Jerusalem Post in a
statement. “That will only come via the hard give and take of negotiations and
mutual agreement, and we are committed to working with the parties to pursue it
His statement came after the publication of a communiqué by
the Arab League saying that it had decided to ask the UN to recognize a
Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital, and to upgrade its status
to that of a full member of the international organization.
League foreign ministers meeting in Doha, Qatar, also decided to entrust the
Arab group at the UN to prepare for this move, by taking all the necessary legal
measures and following up all efforts and contacts related to this issue, the
The draft statement did not provide a timeline, but
Palestinian officials have said they want application to be made in time for the
UN General Assembly’s annual meeting in September.
A Palestinian delegate
said the Arab League had appointed a committee to set dates.
Palestinian Authority welcomed the Arab League’s decision after a meeting in
Ramallah attended by PA President Mahmoud Abbas and a number of senior PA
An official in Ramallah said that Abbas was planning to visit
a number of European Union countries in the coming days to try to persuade them
to support the statehood bid at the UN.
Although 115 countries have
already recognized a Palestinian state, the United States, Canada and most of
the European Union countries have not. Such recognition by Western countries is
deemed critical to the success of the Palestinian statehood bid.
Abu Rudaineh, a spokesman for Abbas, described the Arab League decision as a
“diplomatic offensive” that would form the basis for Palestinian and Arab
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the Arab ministers had
decided to send letters to countries that still hadn’t recognized the
Palestinian state, asking them to do so ahead of the planned UN vote in
He expressed hope that the US would not veto the statehood bid
in the Security Council, noting that the Arab ministers had unanimously backed
the PA plan.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu insisted that such a
“unilateral step would not bring peace closer.”
“If they [the
Palestinians] really wanted peace they would sit down for negotiations, without
preconditions. There is no replacement for negotiations,” Netanyahu told
Chabad emissaries in Tel Aviv. “We are not strangers in this land. The conflict
is not about a Palestinian state and never has been. It’s about the existence of
a Jewish state, which they still don’t accept.”
Tony Blair, the Quartet
envoy to the Middle East, told Channel 2 that he understood why the PA was
adamantly pursuing UN recognition of a state, but that he did not think this
would produce a final-status agreement.
Blair stressed that an agreement
can only be reached through a negotiated solution and that such an agreement was
more pressing than ever.
The Quartet envoy is expected to return to the
The Quartet met in Washington this week, but failed to
release an anticipated statement on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. It
consulted again on Thursday, in an attempt to make progress in the stalled peace
The State Department said in Washington on Thursday that it saw
an opportunity to get Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating
“We continue to discuss with our partners ways to get the parties
back to the negotiating table,” Toner said of Thursday’s conference call between
the US, EU, UN and Russia. “There are still gaps between them and we’re
continuing the conversation on how to close those gaps.”
Referring to the
possibility of the sides resuming negotiations, he added: “We wouldn’t be
pushing forward as aggressively as we have been if we didn’t believe there was
an opportunity here.”
Late on Thursday night, a Gazan rocket struck in
the western Negev. There were no casualties or damage.Jeremy Sharon,
Reuters and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.