Palestinians Launch New Push for Statehood

Diplomatic Blitz Aims for U.N. and Europe Recognition

Diplomatic Push: Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is planning a new push to win recognition for statehood.
getty images
Diplomatic Push: Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is planning a new push to win recognition for statehood.

By Reuters

Published October 30, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Multi Page

Palestinians have launched a diplomatic blitz aimed at garnering a strong majority for a vote granting them non-member statehood at the United Nations slated for next month, officials said on Tuesday.

Despite heading for a sure victory in the U.N General Assembly, mostly consisting of post-colonial states historically sympathetic to the Palestinians, West Bank diplomats are courting European countries to further burnish their campaign.

“From the E.U. we will have a minimum of 12 votes and maybe up to 15, as some are not yet decided,” Wasel Abu Yousef, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, told Reuters. There are 27 nations within the European Union.

Palestinian officials say that they can count on around 115 ‘yes’ votes, mostly from Arab, African, Latin American, and Asian states, and expect around 22 no-votes, led by the United States, and 56 abstentions in the 193-member organisation.

Frustrated in their request for full statehood last year amid U.S. opposition at the United Nations Security Council, Palestinians have launched a watered-down bid for recognition as an “observer state” – the same status given to the Vatican.

Senior Palestinian officials have fanned out around the globe to press their case, including a meeting in Paris with French President Francois Hollande at the weekend.

Speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the talks, a Palestinian official said they hoped to flip a possible French abstention into a yes-vote, while other waiverers might also switch position nearer the date.

Israel and the United States have sharply criticised the Palestinian initiative, arguing that such unilateral moves are in violation of the 1993 Oslo accords, which were intended to pave the way to a “final status agreement” within five years.

While Israel expects to lose the forthcoming vote, it is anxious to see leading Western democracies vote against, or at worst abstain. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also met Hollande on Tuesday and was expected to raise the issue.

In Europe, the Netherlands, Czech Republic and Georgia were among 5 nations that looked set to vote ‘no’, the Palestinian official said.

Palestinians see the upgrade as international recognition of the lines predating the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. They say this will then be the reference point in future peace talks.

President Mahmoud Abbas has pledged to restart the talks, stalled since 2010 over settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, “straightaway”, inferring he would drop a Palestinian precondition for a halt to the building work.

The top Palestinian peace negotiator told local newspapers on Tuesday of likely American and Israeli economic punishment should Palestinians win the upgrade.

Saeb Erekat wrote of contingencies including U.S. divestment from U.N. agencies and withdrawal of financial aid as well as the withholding by Israel of $100 million in monthly customs payments that the Palestinian Authority needs to remain afloat.

The U.S. could “freeze all or some of the funding for the Palestinian National Authority … put pressure on other governments to discourage them from providing support and/or reduce their aid to Palestine,” he warned.

Since last year’s campaign, the U.S. has withheld $192 million in economic assistance to the broke, aid-dependent Palestinian Authority and stopped funding the U.N. cultural body UNESCO after it admitted Palestine as a member.

Economic anxiety is on the rise in the West Bank following U.S. sanctions and an aid shortfall from rich Gulf states last year, leading to delayed public sector salaries and fuel price hikes which provoked violent street demonstrations last month.

The vote is set to be called on Nov. 15 or 29. Palestinian sources said the first date was more likely because it was closer to U.S. presidential elections on Nov. 6, giving Washington less time to organise a lobbying campaign.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.