Netanyahu speaks press conference 311.
(photo credit: Ben Spier)
A flurry of intense diplomatic activity to prevent the Palestinians’ unilateral
statehood bid at the United Nations this week is expected to take place in the
next few days, as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu prepares to head to New York
– possibly as early as Tuesday night.
Envoys from the quartet of Middle
East negotiators will meet on Sunday in New York as part of this last-ditch
Abbas: We're going to the UN to demand full membershipMideast Quartet envoys to meet in New York
“There are ongoing, behind the scenes diplomatic contacts at
different levels with the US, the Europeans and others,” an Israeli official
told The Jerusalem Post
The official did not elaborate
further, but said that diplomatic efforts would intensify this week.
next days are crucial,” said Maja Kocijancic, who is a spokeswoman for EU
foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
“It is for Palestinians to decide
on next steps, but we continue to believe that a constructive solution that can
gather as much support as possible, and allows for the resumption of
negotiations, is the best and only way to deliver the peace and two-state
solution the Palestinian people want,” she said.
“We will redouble our efforts together with our partners in the quartet to
launch negotiations between the parties as soon as possible. This remains the
only way to end the conflict,” Kocijancic said.
Presently, the EU is
split on its position with regard to the Palestinian bid for membership at the
UN as a state and has yet to decide how it will act in New York.
arrives in New York, Netanyahu is expected to meet with US President Barack
Obama, possibly on Wednesday.
Obama has no plans at the present to meet
with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Obama, who has
clearly stated his opposition to Palestinian unilateral moves at the UN, is
expected to speak of his support for a negotiated solution to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict when he addresses the UN General Assembly on
“I think he [Obama] will address, again, how we think the
parties can come back to the table, and the basis upon which they can make
progress,” said Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications
Ben Rhodes at a press briefing in Washington on Friday.
He added that the
US was working with European countries, Russia, the UN and members of the
Quartet to seek support to re-launch negotiations.
“We’ve been very clear
that we don’t believe that unilateral actions through the United Nations will
lead to a Palestinian state – that the way to achieve a Palestinian state is
through negotiations between the parties,” said Rhodes.
“So, we believe
that for peace to be lasting – for the Palestinians to realize their aspirations
– that’s going to have to be accomplished by a negotiation with Israel, not
through actions at the United Nations. So that will be the US position in New
York,” he added.
On Friday, after he addresses the UN General Assembly,
Abbas is expected to submit a formal request to the UN Security Council that it
vote on the question of accepting Palestine as a member state in the UN. It is
unclear when that vote would take place.
The US, which is one of five
countries out of the 15-member body at the Security Council with veto power, is
expected to reject the Palestinian bid. The Palestinians are then likely to ask
the UN General Assembly to upgrade their status to that of an observer member.
They already have majority support for that move in the General
In his speech to the UN General Assembly on Friday, Netanyahu
is expected to speak against Palestinian unilateral statehood moves and call on
the Palestinians to resume negotiations with Israel.
“He is going to say
Israel’s truth for the international community, even though he knows that he is
addressing a body that is ultimately biased against Israel. He believes that
these truths have to be stated,” an Israeli official said on Saturday.
advance of the UN events in New York, on Saturday night Defense Minister Ehud
Barak left for Washington where he is expected to meet with US Defense Secretary
Leon Panetta and CIA Director David Petraeus.
Minister Avigdor Lieberman left Israel on Saturday night for Canada, and is then
expected to travel to New York, where he will join Netanyahu at the
UN.Reuters contributed to this story.