A senior Palestinian official said Friday that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas may be willing to postpone a move for upgraded UN status if the US were to offer a “clear objective” for negotiations, Israel Radio reported.
According to the official, the objective must be a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Other Palestinian sources also indicated that Ramallah would be willing to reconsider a unilateral push for nonmember state status, tentatively scheduled for late November, if real suggestions were offered for ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, according to the report.
The Palestinians took the first step toward raising their status at the UN from an observer to a nonmember state Thursday by circulating a draft resolution to the 193 UN member states and asking for their support.
A letter from the observer mission accompanying the draft resolution asks UN members to support “the enhancement of the status of Palestine in the United Nations General Assembly to be considered by the assembly at a date to be announced in the near future.” The draft also calls on the UN Security Council to approve a Palestinian petition for full UN membership, which was submitted last year.
There are no vetoes in the General Assembly and the resolution is almost certain to be approved by the world body, which is dominated by countries sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. Approval of the resolution would elevate the Palestinians to the same status as the Vatican. The draft resolution states that, to date, 132 nations have recognized “the State of Palestine.”
Israel and the United States are on record opposing the move, saying the Palestinians should first negotiate their statehood with the Jewish state, not take unilateral action and sidestep talks.
The upgraded status would add weight to Palestinian claims for a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war. Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005.
The Palestinians also hope to use their upgraded status to join additional UN bodies, such as the International Criminal Court, where they could attempt to prosecute Israel.
At the same time, they have expressed fear of financial and diplomatic retaliation.
Following last year’s move by the Palestinians to join the UN cultural agency UNESCO, the United States withheld funds from the organization, which amount to 22 percent of its budget. The US also withheld money to the Palestinians, and the US Congress has threatened similar sanctions if the Palestinians proceed to improve their status at the UN again.
Israel also retaliated by accelerating settlement construction and withholding funds from the Palestinian government.