Storm gathering as Palestinians eye statehood

The Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN, which has led to a furious diplomatic debate, may be altered to avoid opposition from the United States and Israel.

Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority, reportedly decided not to submit an application to the UN Security Council and will drop the “state within 1967 borders” provision from the bid he is to bring before the UN General Assembly.

Before any moves at the UN, Abbas will meet members of the Middle East Quartet, the Debka File news website reported, citing anonymous sources. It said the final decision will be taken on Friday.

The decision not to turn to the UN Security Council was anticipated, reports RT correspondent Paula Slier. The US strongly objects to the bid and promised to use all its diplomatic strength to oppose it. Washington said it would veto the bid if it comes to the UN Security Council.

This is different from applying for recognition to the UN General Assembly, however, and that body is likely to support the Palestinian bid. The reported “watering down” of the bid to the General Assembly may ensure such a decision is passed. After approval by the General Assembly, Palestine would receive observer status at the UN.

The UN bid also faces opposition among Palestinians. On Wednesday, the Hamas leadership called the plan “an unnecessary tactical move” which would compromise Palestinians’ position in their conflict with Israel. Hamas does not recognize Israel as a state and calls for the return of Palestinian territories controlled by the Jewish state through strength of arms.

The Israeli government has also objected to the Palestinian statehood bid and said if it did pass, “there would be consequences,” although the Israeli government did not specify what the consequences would be.

Both the US and Israel say that they support a two-state solution, but say fruitful direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks must be held before any talk about a Palestinian state can begin. They say a UN bid without a clear and agreed solution to the many points of conflict between the two parties is “counter-productive.”

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