US State Departement Spokesman Mark Toner 311.
(photo credit: US State Department)
The US State Department on Friday said that Washington remains committed
to getting Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table
following a televised speech by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud
Abbas in which he vowed to demand full membership for a Palestinian state at the United Nations.
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we are focused on is ... getting them back to the table so that they
can address the many final status issues and reach a comprehensive peace
agreement that results in two states living side by side," State
Department spokesman Mark Toner said.
United States has firmly opposed the PA initiative, arguing that a
Palestinian state can only be created through direct negotiations.
Palestinians say almost 20 years of on-off direct talks on statehood
envisaged by interim peace accords have hit a dead end for reasons
including Israel's refusal to stop expanding settlements in the West
Bank and east Jerusalem.
The last round of the US-backed talks between Abbas and Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu collapsed nearly a year ago when the Jewish state
declined to extend a partial moratorium on West Bank settlement
Washington has said it will veto any statehood resolution in the
Security Council. Some US politicians have said they will try to cut
American aid to the Palestinians, totaling some $500 million a year, if
they refuse to back down.
If Washington does veto the resolution, as expected, the Palestinians
could then go to the full UN General Assembly. It does not have the
power to grant them full membership, but could recognize Palestine as a
Such a move would give the Palestinians possible access to other
international bodies, including the International Criminal Court, from
where it could seek to sue Israel over its presence in the
Abbas said there was no decision on alternative options the Palestinians could pursue in the event of failure.