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PA to unilaterally seek “non-member statehood” at the UN after US elections
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PA to unilaterally seek "non-member statehood,"
but only after US elections
 
PA Chairman Abbas:
"The first time we weren't successful,
but certainly - Allah willing -
we will succeed the second time."

by Itamar Marcus

The Palestinian Authority plans to go to the UN again this year to request statehood. However, this time they expect to succeed by using a stages plan that will bypass and neutralize Israeli, US and EU opposition. Last week, Palestinian Media Watch documented that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas expressed confidence that this time, the PA will succeed:

"We went to the UN [in 2011] in order to obtain recognition of a state. The first time we weren't successful, but certainly - Allah willing - we will succeed the second time."
[PA TV (Fatah), July 28, 2012]

PA tactic for unilaterally achieving statehood:

1- The PA plans to bypass the Security Council and avoid a potential US veto by not requesting full statehood. Rather, the PA will seek to attain the status of a "non-member state," which is determined by the UN General Assembly. In the General Assembly, the PA is assured a majority vote, with the PA hoping to "secure votes from 180 of the 193 member states of the UN General Assembly."

2- Although it will request non-member status in September, the PA plans to intentionally delay the UN vote until after the US elections in order to avoid "confrontation with the United States." According to the PA daily:
"Discussions on the wording of the suggested resolution will continue until after the upcoming US elections on November 4."
 
The PA has chosen a delaying tactic because it realizes that the US will not support their unilateral actions before the elections. The US and many EU countries have said that they oppose unilateral PA actions that violate the Oslo Accords, which demand negotiated agreements to change the status of the PA or any land under Israeli administration. However, the PA assumes that after the elections, the current US administration will be more responsive and supportive of their unilateral statehood request.

Regardless, the PA says it will ignore American wishes. According to PA Foreign Minister Riad Al-Maliki:
"The PA is not afraid of the American threat of sanctions that could lead to the end of political contacts, economic aid, and closing the PLO office in Washington... The Palestinian leadership will go to the General Assembly, no matter what price we may have to pay... We'll discuss the appropriate timing, so as to limit the damage to be done by this step... [Even] if we go after the elections in the US, there will still be damage."
 
3- Once non-member status is achieved, the PA plans to use this position to attempt to expand its territory without negotiations. According to the Oslo Accords, Jerusalem and all of the West Bank are to remain under Israeli rule unless the land's status is changed through negotiated settlements. The PA's plan is to bypass the Oslo Accords and hope that the international community will consider these lands, including Israel's capital Jerusalem, as "Palestinian" and "occupied by Israel." According to PA Foreign Minister Riad Al-Maliki:
"Israel will no longer be able to define the occupied territories as disputed lands. They will become lands of a separate, occupied state."
 
4- Subsequently, the Palestinian non-member state will continue to seek full statehood, which will then be a smaller step:
"He [the PA Foreign Minister] said that as soon as this [non-member state] has been accomplished, the Palestinians will continue their efforts to attain full member status at the UN."
 
The following are the articles in the PA press about the new PA tactic to request unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state:

Mahmoud Abbas:
"We went to the UN in order to obtain recognition of a state. The first time we weren't successful, but certainly - Allah willing - we will succeed the second time. We are a nation that deserves a state. We have all the foundations of a state. We have all the institutions of a state. We have all the minds of a state (Abbas points to the students who excelled in their matriculation examinations.) What are we missing? One thing - for the occupation to go away; to leave our country for good."
[PA TV (Fatah), July 28, 2012]
"Foreign Minister Riad Al-Maliki announced yesterday that on November 27 Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will file an application [for Palestine] to be accepted as a non-member state in the UN General Assembly. Al-Maliki told journalists at his office that 'Palestine will approach the UN immediately...We will then begin to contact all members of the General Assembly and discuss an appropriate date'...

He said that as soon as this has been accomplished, the Palestinians will continue their efforts to attain full member status at the UN. That, however, will require approval of the Security Council and of Washington...

Observers believe that filing the application without setting a date for a vote will save the Palestinians from a confrontation with the United States, so discussions on the wording of the suggested resolution will continue until after the upcoming US elections on November 4."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 5, 2012]

"Foreign Minister Riad Al-Maliki said... in the coming period they will strive to secure votes from 180 of the 193 member states of the UN General Assembly.

He said: 'The PA is not afraid of the American threat of sanctions that could lead to the end of political contacts, economic aid, and closing the PLO office in Washington.' He added: 'In spite of this [American position], the decision is that the Palestinian leadership will go to the General Assembly, no matter what price we may have to pay.' In addition he said, 'We'll discuss the appropriate timing, so as to limit the damage to be done by this step.'

In answer to a question if the move at the General Assembly will come after the US elections, Al-Maliki noted: '[Even] if we go after the elections in the US, there will still be damage.'

Al-Maliki said: 'If Palestine receives status of a non-member state in the General Assembly, there will be positive effects on all levels in the future. Palestine's level of representation at the General Assembly will be raised . . . . Similarly, Palestine will be able to sign all international protocols and agreements, thus making it possible for us as a state and as individuals to submit claims against Israel for their crimes against the Palestinians.' He added: 'If Palestine joins the General Assembly, Israel will no longer be able to define the occupied territories as disputed lands. They will become lands of a separate, occupied state, and it will be international law that will determine and pronounce judgment in the matter.'"
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 24, 2012]


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