US officially asks PA to abandon UN recognition plan

David Hale, Dennis Ross meet with Abbas in Remallah; Palestinians might not petition Security Council but only the General Assembly.

David Hale 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
David Hale 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The US on Wednesday officially asked the Palestinian Authority to abandon its plan to ask the UN later this month to recognize a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines.
The request was relayed to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas by US envoy David Hale during a meeting in Ramallah, Palestinian officials said.
The meeting was attended by US envoy Dennis Ross and US Consul-General in Jerusalem, Daniel Rubenstien.
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The officials said that the US envoys did not carry any new proposals for reviving the peace process.
One official told The Jerusalem Post that he did not rule out the possibility that the Palestinians would go only to the UN General Assembly, and not to the Security Council, where the US has threatened to use the veto to foil the statehood initiative.
"We have been advised by some or our European and Arab friends not to go to the Security Council because we don't have a majority in favor of the plan and because of the US threat to use the veto," the official said. "We are now studying submitting a request to the General Assembly to accept the state of Palestine as a full member. This is also an important step because it would give us access to numerous international bodies."
Hale told Abbas that Washington wants to see the Palestinians return to the negotiating table with Israel, Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said.
Erekat quoted the US envoy as saying that the Quartet members - the US, EU, UN and Russia - were preparing these days a new initiative that envisages the establishment of a Palestinian state "on the basis of the 1967 borders."
Erekat stressed, however, that Hale did not deliver a "direct threat" to the PA leadership against going to the UN.
Erekat quoted Abbas as saying during the meeting that the Palestinians would resume the peace talks with Israel only if it halted construction in the settlements and accepted the 1967 lines as the basis for a two-state solution.
According to Erekat, the PA is only planning to apply to the UN for membership of a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines, with east Jerusalem as its capital.
"Contrary to what is being said, we are not asking for independence or recognition of a Palestinian state," he explained. It's wrong to say that the Palestinian Authority is asking for independence. The independent state was declared more than 20 years ago. We are only asking that Palestine be admitted as a member of the UN."
Erekat said that Hale came to Ramallah in an attempt to persuade the PA to refrain from going to the UN under the pretext that such a move would complicate matters and does not serve the two-state solution.
During the meeting, Abbas asked the US Administration to reconsider its position toward the statehood bid, Erekat added.
Erekat also dismissed claims that the statehood bid would affect the "right of return" for Palestinian refugees to their original villages inside Israel.
"Going to the UN won't cancel the right of return," he said. "Recognition of a Palestinian state will pave the way for the state to enter international institutions and demand all our legitimate rights, including the right of return."
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