A Chinese state-run newspaper on Friday warned of a spike in tensions in the Middle East if the United States vetoed the Palestinian bid for membership of the United Nations next week.
As peace talks with Israel stall, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas is expected to formally submit a request for UN membership next Friday, despite strong objections from Washington that the move would be “counter-productive.”
“If the US chooses to fly in the face of world opinion and block the Palestine UN bid next week, not only will Israel become more isolated but tensions in the region will be heightened even more,” said the China Daily.
“The majority of the international community deems an independent state as the inalienable right of the Palestinians,” the English-language daily said in an editorial, echoing Beijing’s official position on the issue.
The planned request by the Palestinians for UN membership comes almost a year after direct peace talks with Israel ran aground due to a dispute over Israel’s construction of settlements on occupied Palestinian land.
But the US has threatened to veto the move if it is made within the UN Security Council, saying it would harm prospects for peace talks and that a Palestinian state can only result from negotiations with Israel.
Israel is also opposed to the move, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he too will address the UN next Friday to set out his country’s objections.
Envoys from the United States and the European Union are currently holding talks with Palestinian and Israeli leaders in an effort to get them back into direct peace talks.