The Palestinian Authority is expected to move forward with its bid to become a non-member state at the United Nations next month, the president of the General Assembly has confirmed, to the dismay of the Obama administration and congressional Republicans who say the unilateral move would derail any chance of peace with Israel.
Vuk Jeremic said Mahmoud Abbas is expected to make his bid in November, shortly after the U.S. presidential election. The Palestinians say they're tired of waiting for the resumption of peace negotiations, which faltered in 2010 over the issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
“Come the middle of November, there's going to be an international debate on the Palestine issue in the General Assembly,” Jeremic said.
The statehood bid may well be successful, given the popularity of the Palestinian cause at the U.N.
“A lot of delegations put the issue of the statehood of Palestine center and front,” Jeremic said. “There was resounding support for a two-state solution that would take into account the legitimate concerns of both Israelis and Palestinians, and a lot of delegations called for a resumption of negotiations.”
“We continue to believe that a unilateral bid for Palestinian statehood at the U.N. will not produce the results the Palestinians seek — a functioning, independent state with all the attributes of a state living at peace with Israel,” said Edgar Vasquez, a spokesman for the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. “We believe such a move would be counterproductive, as it would set back prospects for restarting negotiations with Israel and damage relations with the United States.”
And Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called the bid by Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, "dangerous."
“In doing so, he had the audacity to condemn democratic Israel for a ‘racist climate fueled by a culture of incitement,’ when PA media and schools continue anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic incitement and Palestinian jihadists continue to target innocent Israelis,” Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement. “The U.S. and other responsible nations need to face some inconvenient truths: Abu Mazen is not a partner for peace. Abu Mazen and his cronies are part of the problem, not part of the solution. It's time to use our assistance as leverage to demand real pro-peace and anti-corruption measures by the Palestinian leadership.”
The Palestinian leadership for its part says it's pursuing all avenues to secure the success of the application through consultations with friends and allies.
According to the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, most of the recent violence in the occupied Palestinian territories has been conducted by Israeli settlers against Palestinians. However, eight Israelis were killed by Palestinians in 2011, versus three Palestinians killed by settlers and one killed by Israeli soldiers.