The week’s diplomatic timeline

Timeline of events, meetings of top Israeli, Palestinian officials with world leaders ahead of UN Palestinian statehood bid.

Pro-Palestine rally at Kalandia_311 (photo credit: Reuters)
Pro-Palestine rally at Kalandia_311
(photo credit: Reuters)
Sunday, September 18
• Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas left Amman for New York, reportedly carrying a written request to UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon for recognition of Palestine as the UN’s 194th member state.
• Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in New York.
• The envoys of the Quartet – the US, EU, Russia and the UN – met to try to come up with a formula for restarting negotiations, and prevent what diplomatic officials have termed a “train wreck” at the UN.
Tuesday, September 20
• Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is scheduled to travel to the US for the 66th UN General Assembly meeting. He will join Barak, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan, Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein and Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon who will also be in New York this week to present Israel’s case and continue lobbying leaders from around the world against the Palestinian move.
In addition, Gidi Schmerling, who was just replaced as Netanyahu’s chief spokesman by Yoaz Hendel, and Yonatan Peled, who this summer completed a tour of duty as spokesman at Israel’s embassy in Washington, are setting up a media center in New York. They will be augmented by Israel’s envoy in Washington, Michael Oren, and by former ambassador to the UN Dore Gold.
Wednesday, September 21
• Netanyahu is scheduled to meet US President Barack Obama in the evening on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting. This will be the eighth meeting between the two leaders since they both took office in early 2009.
• Abbas, who last spoke by phone with Obama in February, has been invited to participate in a reception hosted by Obama at the UN. No one-on-one Obama-Abbas meeting has yet been scheduled.
Thursday, September 22
• Netanyahu will hold bilateral meetings with a number of world leaders attending the General Assembly, with an emphasis on the heads of states that are members of the Security Council, and which Israel believes may be convinced either to abstain or to vote against the Palestinian move. For the resolution to pass the Security Council, nine of 15 states must cast a “yes” vote. If the US, or any of the other four permanent members of the council votes against, the resolution is vetoed. The countries Israel believes may be convinced to either vote against or abstain are the US, Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Gabon and Nigeria. The other countries on the council are India, Brazil, South Africa, Lebanon, China and Russia.
• Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is scheduled to address the UN.
Friday, September 23
Abbas will deliver a speech, during which he is expected to announce he will turn to the UN Security Council for recognition of statehood. For the Security Council to discuss the issue, a written request must be made to the UN secretary-general. Once this is done, the request could be dealt with by the Security Council in a matter of days, unless Security Council member states tie up the resolution in committee, something that is a very possible and would mean that the issue might not be taken up by the council for weeks.
• Netanyahu will address the General Assembly after Abbas. He told the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday that his speech had the dual goals of ensuring “that this move to bypass negotiations does not succeed and is stopped in the Security Council,” and presenting “our truth and – in my opinion – the general truth, which is our desire for peace. The fact that we are not foreigners in this land, that we have rights in this land that go back ‘only’ 4,000 years, I will say this loud and clear.”
Sunday, September 25
• The prime minister is scheduled to return to Israel.