PA President Mahmoud Abbas addresses UNGA _311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Palestinian Authority wants EU countries to help draft a resolution that
would admit “Palestine” as a non-member state in the UN General Assembly in an
effort to gain EU support for the move, The Jerusalem Post has
PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat met with the heads of EU missions in
Jerusalem last month and asked them – either as individual countries or
collectively as the EU – to help draft the resolution that will be taken to the
So far no country has expressed a willingness to do
The rationale for the request is that if the EU as a whole, or even
certain EU countries, have a hand in drafting the resolution, then it would be
much more difficult for them to either abstain or vote against the
The EU has not held a formal discussion on its position on the
matter, though it may come up at a meeting of the EU foreign ministers in
Brussels on October 15.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas said at his speech to
the UN last week that he had begun intensive consultations with regional
organizations and UN member states about the step. One idea that has been
floated would be for the move to be brought to the General Assembly on November
29, the anniversary of the day when the UN adopted the Partition Plan in 1947 –
a move that was accepted at the time by the Jewish community, but rejected by
The Guardian newspaper reported Tuesday that the US warned
European governments about the Palestinian UN bid, saying it would be “extremely
counterproductive” and would lead to “significant negative consequences” for the
PA, including financial sanctions.
According to the report, the US
memorandum – communicated to EU officials at the recent General Assembly meeting
– urged the EU countries to block the bid.
A more realistic expectation,
however, would be for the EU to abstain on the move.
In recent weeks, the
Foreign Ministry has enhanced its efforts to get the EU countries either to vote
against, or – barring that – at least to abstain.
When the Palestinians
gained entrance as a state into UNESCO in November, the EU countries split, with
five countries voting against, 11 voting for, and 11 abstaining.
voting pattern runs contrary to the EU’s stated goal of a unified foreign
policy, and is something Brussels tries to avoid.
Some in Jerusalem
believe that the PA will only take its bid to the UN for a vote if Abbas is
confident of getting a “yes” vote from a significant number of established
Western democracies. This would not be the case were the EU to abstain on the
The Palestinians are believed to have delayed bringing the motion
to the General Assembly now so as not to embarrass US President Barack Obama
before the November 6 elections.
The US, however, would like the motion
pushed off well after that date to give whoever wins the election, Obama or
Republican candidate Mitt Romney, a chance to assess the situation.