Last updated: 18 July, 2011

Abbas ready to bypass opposition to Palestinian declaration

Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on Monday said he was ready to circumvent opposition from the United States to a bid for statehood by taking the proposal to the United Nations’ General Assembly.

Palestinians’ plan to seek UN membership for a state on the lines that existed before the 1967 Six Day War is opposed by among others Israel and the United States. It risks being blocked by a US veto at the UN Security Council.

“Until now we are waiting for the final answer of the US. We heard that they will take a veto but until now we didn’t know whether it is official or not,” Abbas said on a visit to Oslo, home of the 1993 Israeli-Palestinian peace accords.

“Our goal is to go to the Security Council. If we fail we will go to the General Assembly,” he said.

Just like South Sudan, admitted to the UN on July 12, Palestinians will need a recommendation from the Security Council for an admission vote at the General Assembly to take place, assembly spokesman Joseph Deiss said last week.

If their bid to obtain full-fledged UN membership status is blocked by the Security Council, Palestinians could in turn to the General Assembly to obtain a statehood-level status such as observer state, a Norwegian diplomat said Monday.

Palestinians have pledged to seek UN recognition of their independent state within the 1967 borders and with east Jerusalem as its capital in a move widely expected to take place in September.

Israel is fiercely opposed to such a move, arguing that negotiations are the only way to end the conflict and establish a Palestinian state.

Norway said the Palestinians’ move was “a perfect legitimate right.”

“It is multilateralism,” Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said.

“It is taking an issue to the family of nations which I think is the right of Palestinian people.”

Norway will however not take a stand on the recognition of a Palestinian state until reading the text put forth by Abbas, Stoere said.

The two countries signed an agreement on raising the Palestinian Authority’s representative in Norway to the rank of ambassador, in line with a decision taken in December.