The United States is working to thwart the Palestinian bid for nonmember status at the United Nations, set to take place this week, a senior American official said Monday.
The official said the Palestinian initiative was “unwise,” and claimed that the move would not bring the Palestinian Authority any closer to realizing its aspirations for independence.
The official also said the American administration was pursuing several avenues to thwart the bid, including trying to persuade as many countries as possible to oppose the initiative when it comes up for the vote. He noted that his concern was that if the Palestinians succeeded in achieving the upgraded UN status, they would then be able to turn to the International Criminal Court in The Hague and use the forum to bring Israel to trial for actions against the Palestinians.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has led the effort to gain the Palestinians nonmember status (they currently have observer status at the UN) via the 193-member General Assembly. The move would essentially provide non-binding international recognition of a Palestinian state.
Many European countries are expected to vote in favor of the motion; a portion of countries will likely abstain in the vote.
The PA’s diplomatic push for observer status has been stalled for months. The Palestinians failed to achieve a binding unilateral declaration of independence at the UN last year via the Security Council.
The PA’s decision to move forward with the bid for recognition at the international body comes despite warnings from the United States, the European Union, and Israel, which have argued that such a unilateral maneuver takes the place of negotiations and hinders the advancement of peace. The US and Israel have also threatened that they will level economic sanctions at the PA if it goes ahead with the move.