Palestinian officials are gathering in New York in preparation for their anticipated bid for statehood at the United Nations. President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority may face a U.S. veto in the Security Council if he submits a bid for full UN-membership on Friday. Abbas has indicated he will seek recognition for a Palestinian state that comprises the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Already, police in the West Bank are preparing for the possibility of violence if the statehood bid fails, while Abbas is cautioning Palestinians against high expectations. Being recognized by the UN as a state would be largely symbolic, as Palestinian territory remains occupied by Israel. However, Abbas and other Palestinian leaders hope it will give them a stronger position in peace negotiations. The U.S. and Israel are opposing the bid for statehood, arguing that bilateral negotiations are the best route to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Abbas, however, sees no contradiction between seeking recognition at the UN and negotiating with Israel.
Monday, September 19, 2011