The United Nations General Assembly is expected to decide late Thursday
whether to upgrade the status of the Palestinian Authority at the world
body from an entity to a non-member state.
Delegates from member nations say support is strong for the upgrade, but
it will lack the backing of some key countries, including the United
States. More than 60 countries are co-sponsoring the resolution.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will address the General
Assembly before the vote. The Palestinians are expected to obtain well
more than the required simple majority of the 193 U.N. member states
present and voting.
The United States firmly opposes the move, saying the only road to
statehood for the Palestinians is through direct negotiations with
Senior U.S. State Department officials met Wednesday with President
Abbas in New York in a last-minute effort to urge him to reconsider the
move in the General Assembly.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Deputy Secretary
of State William Burns and Special Envoy for Middle East Peace David
Hale were at the meeting.
“The deputy secretary also reiterated that no one should be under any
illusion that this resolution is going to produce the results that the
Palestinians claim to seek," Nuland said.
In Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday the
United States has made very clear to the Palestinian leadership that it
opposes the upgrade.
“The path to a two-state solution that fulfills the aspirations of the
Palestinian people is through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not New York,” she
The status would allow Palestinians access to the International Criminal
Court, where they could ask the prosecutor to investigate Israel's
actions in their territories.
Israel discounts move
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday downplayed the
Palestinians' attempt saying it will not help them achieve their
"The decision at the United Nations today won't change anything on the
ground," Netanyahu said at a ceremony in Jerusalem. "It won't promote
the establishment of a Palestinian state; it will distance it."
Palestinians the title of "non-member observer state'' falls short of
full U.N. membership, something they failed to achieve last year.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague told lawmakers Britain would
consider embracing the request, but only if the Palestinian Authority
could give him some key assurances - including pledges to return to
negotiations with Israel and to not pursue its grievances with Israel in
Still, the Palestinians may also lack the support of some key European
Germany has announced it will abstain. France has said it will vote
"yes" for the non-member state status, but many other European Union
countries have not yet announced how they will vote.