The US will veto a Palestinian request for state recognition if it is
submitted to the UN Security Council later this month, a US official
Wendy Sherman, President Barack Obama's nominee
for undersecretary of state for policy, the department's third-ranking
position, told the Senate during confirmation hearings that “if any such
resolution were put in front of the Security Council, then we would
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United States is very resolved to a veto threat in the Security
Council,” Sherman said. “What we are very resolved about as well is
urging the parties to enter into direct negotiations again.”
The US had previously voiced its opposition to the Palestinians'
unilateral move at the UN, but Wednesday's statements were the first
official confirmation that the administration would veto such an
While a Security Council veto would deny the Palestinians official member status, they could also seek upgraded observer status at the General Assembly as a non-member state.
This could be interpreted as implicit UN recognition of Palestinian statehood because the assembly would be acknowledging that the Palestinians control an actual state. The advantage of this option is that it would require only a simple majority of the General Assembly. Since around 120 countries have already recognized the state of Palestine to date, it would most likely win such a vote.
If the Palestinians were to be recognized as a non-member state, they would be able to sign certain international treaties, such as the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which they cannot currently sign.
George Mitchell, the former US special envoy for Middle East
peace, said Thursday there was little chance US officials would be able to
persuade Palestinians leaders not to seek greater recognition at the
"I think there was and is little likelihood that they will succeed in
that effort," Mitchell said at a conference on peacemaking at Georgetown
University in Washington.
Herb Keinon and Reuters contributed to this report.