'Palestinians expressing second thoughts over UN path'

Sources say Abbas wants to "climb down from tree" of plan to pursue UN recognition of state, but he can't due to Palestinian pressure, AP reports.

June 9, 2011 23:52
2 minute read.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas

Abbas 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas wants to "climb down from the tree" and restart peace talks, but can't due to widespread pressure, the Associated Press reported Thursday, quoting Palestinian sources.

The sources said that faced with opposition from the US regarding plans to seek recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN this September, several senior Palestinian officials are advising Abbas to forgo the plans.

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However, the sources say there is a feeling that having announced his intentions to pursue the UN path, Abbas has "left himself with little room to maneuver and may proceed with the UN gambit simply to avoid a loss of credibility," the AP report said.

One official was quoted as saying, "We are trapped with September. We don't know what to do after that."

The Palestinian officials, who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity, said several top PA advisers were having second thoughts about pursuing the UN path.

Among them, they said, were Yasser Abed Rabbo, the second-in-command after Abbas in the PLO; PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat; and Nasser al-Qidwa, a former Palestinian ambassador to the UN.

Qidwa commented on the limits of Abbas's plan earlier this week, saying the Palestinians should still rally behind statehood efforts at the UN, "but we should distinguish between getting support and getting recognition."

He added, "We cannot get recognition simply because the US will veto it," AP quoted him as saying based on a transcript obtained by the news agency.

The comments suggest a growing realization that the UN path is problematic and promises an unclear conclusion that may not change anything on the ground, and may even backfire politically or trigger new violence if Palestinians become upset with the result, AP said.

Earlier this week, senior Israeli and Palestinian negotiators traveled to Washington and held separate meetings with US officials in last-ditch efforts to resume negotiations between the sides.

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