PA warns violence could follow stymied UN bid

Security Council subcommittee expected to report Palestinian Authority does not have 9 votes needed to gain full membership.

Abbas 311 (photo credit: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic)
Abbas 311
(photo credit: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic)
A Palestinian Authority official warned Thursday that the region could be headed toward “violence and anarchy” because of the failure of the Palestinian statehood bid.
PA officials in Ramallah refused to say what they were planning to do now that the bid at the UN Security Council seems to have failed.
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A UN Security Council subcommittee is expected to report Friday that the PA does not have the nine votes it needs to assure the council’s approval of its request for full UN membership.
According to the subcommittee, at least seven of the body’s 15 members won’t vote in support of the measure. Among them are the US, which will oppose it, and the United Kingdom and France, which will abstain.
The US had planned to veto the measure if it passed the Security Council.
But the PA pushed forward anyway, seeking to score a moral victory by securing the necessary backing and showing that the US was isolated in its support of Israel.
The PA’s inability to achieve this support weakens its president, Mahmoud Abbas.
Nimer Hammad, political adviser to Abbas, said that the Arab League foreign ministers would meet in the coming days to discuss the repercussions of the statehood bid’s failure at the Security Council.
He said the Arab League would discuss the options facing the PA now, but did not elaborate.
PA officials on Thursday expressed outrage with the US administration, Britain and France for opposing the statehood bid.
“The Americans, British and French leaders are hypocrites and liars,” the official told The Jerusalem Post. “They are not any better than [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu.”
It remains unclear if the PA will now turn to the UN General Assembly and ask for observer status – a move that would give it de facto international recognition as a state, but with very limited rights.
Another official told the Post that Abbas was facing growing demands from Palestinians to dissolve the PA and “throw the keys back to Israel” so it would become responsible for running the Palestinians’ affairs.
The official said Abbas was planning to consult with a number of Arab leaders before making any decision that could have serious implications for the whole region. Other officials have been talking about the need to end the Fatah-Hamas dispute and form a unity government in light of the statehood plan’s failure.
Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal are scheduled to meet in Cairo later this month to discuss ways of achieving “national reconciliation.”
Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat, meanwhile, held separate meetings on Thursday with Quartet envoy Tony Blair, US Consul-General in Jerusalem Daniel Rubenstien and UN representative Robert Serry, and discussed the future of the peace process.
A Quartet delegation plans to hold separate meetings with Israel and the Palestinians on Monday. Erekat told the officials that the PA was prepared to deal with the Quartet, “individually and collectively,” regarding all the issues related to the peace talks with Israel.
Erekat reiterated the PA’s refusal to resume direct peace negotiations with Israel unless the government halted all settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem and accepted the 1967 “borders” as the basis for a two-state solution.
Erekat also called upon the Quartet members – the US, EU, UN and Russia – to put pressure on Israel to release Palestinian prisoners, especially those who were imprisoned before the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993.
He told the three officials that the PLO remained opposed to the idea of a state with provisional borders and said that a final settlement to the conflict should include all core issues, such as borders, settlements, refugees, water, security and Jerusalem, as well as the release of all Palestinians from Israeli prisons.
The Palestinians’ bid for recognition as a state was put to the Security Council in September during the UN General Assembly meetings. Since then, experts appointed by the council have had several meetings to discuss whether or not the PA meets the criteria for statehood. A report that has been drafted by the Security Council’s committee on adding new members, summarizing their discussions as well as the different positions of the council members, is likely to be approved at Friday’s meeting.
However, diplomatic sources say a Security Council vote on the issue will not occur at that point – if at all.
Once the report is received and subsequently adopted, the council will then have the opportunity to review it and determine how it will proceed on the issue. It is unclear, however, whether a member such as Lebanon will propose to put the issue to a vote in light of the Palestinians’ admission earlier this week that they do not have the nine requisite Security Council votes to get approval for their application.
As such, diplomatic sources say, the Security Council could simply agree to continue consultations on the issue going forward.