In the final hours before the UN General Assembly is expected to upgrade the status of the Palestinian delegation to non-member state observer status, Jerusalem shifted from trying to convince states to oppose the move to persuading some countries who will abstain or even vote for the resolution to issue a statement diluting the significance of the step.
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"What is very important for us now is that as many countries as possible who have not already bilaterally recognized a Palestinian state submit an explanation with their vote that it is a political statement confined to the UN system, and does not constitute the true recognition of an actual state in Palestine," one senior diplomatic official said.
The idea is to get as many sates as possible to elaborate that this is a vote for a change of the Palestinian status within the UN system, but not outside it, he explained. He said that Jerusalem was in contact with numerous countries encouraging them to add an explanation to their vote saying that a Palestinian state on the ground will have to come through negotiations with Israel.
The US, adamantly opposed to the step because of a fear that it will set the diplomatic process back and make it more difficult to re-start negotiations, continued until the last minute to try and get the PA to drop the move. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and US Middle East envoy David Hale met in New York Wednesday with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in a last-ditch effort to dissuade him from the move.