PREAMBLE: Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu are both set to address the current UN General Assembly session shortly, with Abbas speaking first, then the Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa, and then Netanyahu.
Abbas is expected to announce his intention in principle to ask the General Assembly to upgrade Palestine’s status from that of an observer entity to a non-member state — a move opposed by Israel and the US, but one that is much less dramatic than his failed bid last September to have Palestine admitted by the UN Security Council as a full-fledged UN member state.
Jerusalem is staunchly opposed to the Palestinian gambit, with officials insisting that a genuine resolution of the conflict can only result from negotiations between the two sides and not unilateral actions. Israeli leaders know that the 193 member-states of the General Assembly, where no country has a veto right, would overwhelmingly vote in favor of upgrading Palestine.
Abbas has reportedly promised Obama to hold off on formally seeking the upgrade at this week’s GA, and to do so, instead, only after the US presidential elections in November.