U.S. to oppose Palestinian UN bid

July 28, 2011

The U.S. is to oppose Palestine's application to the UN for full membership status when the body's General Assembly convenes in September.

Rosemary DiCarlo, the U.S. deputy ambassador to the UN, said that the U.S. would not support “unilateral action” by the Palestinians at the UN.
DiCarlo was speaking at the final, regular UN Security Council discussion about the Israeli-Palestinian situation.
“Let there be no doubt: symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September will not create an independent Palestinian state,” DiCarlo said.
“The United States will not support unilateral campaigns at the United Nations in September or any other time.”
DiCarlo said the U.S. is pressing for a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, insists on a negotiated settlement, and will oppose any unilateral action by the Palestinians at the UN.
The U.S. is among five veto-power members of the Security Council. It only considers UN admissions to the General Assembly from recommendations by its 15-member council.
Two-state solution
In response to DiCarlo's statement, Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian UN observer, said that with more than 120 countries already recognizing an independent Palestinian state, any UN action, whether at the Security Council or the General Assembly, would not be unilateral.
“On the contrary, it is multilateral, and the consecration of the two-state solution in bold resolutions, including recognition of the state of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on the bases of the pre-1967 borders and its admission as a full member of the organization will help to make the two-state solution more inevitable,” he said.
Western diplomats say the Palestinians have not decided whether to seek membership in the UN as a sovereign state or to press for a non-binding resolution recognizing a Palestinian state without UN membership.
Mansour said “This is the time for Palestine's independence.”
He said the Palestinians are ready to resume negotiations with the pre-1967 war borders as the foundation, but stressed “we cannot keep waiting for Israel to negotiate in good faith.”
In line with the U.S. sentiment, Ron Prosor, Israel's UN ambassador said “it is clear that the Palestinians are not united and are far from united for peace”.
“Now is the time for the international community to tell the Palestinian leadership what it refuses to tell its own people, there are no shortcuts to statehood,” he told the 15-nation council. “You cannot bypass the only path to peace.”
“The Palestinians will have to make compromises and make hard choices,” Prosor said. “They will have to get off the bandwagon of unilateralism and back to the hard work of direct peacemaking.”
End to occupation
The Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, territories Israel occupied after the 1967 Middle East war.
Salam Fayyad, prime minister and head of the Palestinian Authority, based in the West Bank, has limited say here, while Israel retains overall control over the territory.
Palestinian state-building efforts are often hampered by Israeli restrictions.
“We are seeking an independent state and that cannot be achieved without ending the occupation”.
Israel's current government says it's willing, in principle, to accept the establishment of a Palestinian state.
However, it says it will not give up East Jerusalem, the Palestinians' hoped-for capital, and severely restricts access to Gaza, ruled by the Hamas since 2007.
U.S. President Barack Obama announced in September 2010, as U.S.-brokered direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations resumed, that a peace treaty should be signed in a year, but those talks collapsed weeks later after Israel ended its freeze on building settlements.
The Palestinians insist they will not resume peace talks until Israel stops building settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Israel maintains that the Palestinians should not be setting conditions for talks and that settlements did not stop them from negotiating in the past.
(Source: Al Jazeera)