Last updated: 5 November, 2012

Palestinians to push UN bid despite pressure

The Palestinians will push on with a bid to achieve non-member status at the United Nations despite pressure for them to back down, top negotiator Saeb Erakat said on Monday.

“No matter what pressure we are facing… we will not go back on our decision,” Erakat said in Amman after talks in the Jordanian capital between Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi.

“We tell the countries that are trying to undermine our action that we are not seeking a confrontation with America or to isolate Israel, but to isolate Israeli occupation and settlements, and to affirm the principle of the two states,” he told reporters.

Abbas and Arabi discussed the Palestinian UN bid and agreed on a number of legal and diplomatic measures related to the move, Erakat said.

Arabi, meanwhile, said Arab League ministers would meet at their Cairo headquarters on November 12 to discuss the bid and would be joined the next day by representatives of the 27-member European Union for more talks.

“It is time for Palestine to obtain such recognition at the United Nations,” said Arabi.

The Palestinians have sought to upgrade their status at the UN from an observer entity to that of a non-member state, as they aim to push for their long-promised independent state, side by side Israel.

Abbas has said he will table the resolution later this month, on either November 15 or 29, officials say.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Sunday the Palestinian bid would not bring about peace but instability, and urged Abbas to resume direct peace talks that have been on hold for more than two years.

“I am taking this opportunity to call again on President Abbas to return immediately to negotiations without preconditions because we can only advance peace around the negotiating table and not through unilateral decisions at the United Nations which will only distance peace and bring instability,” he said.

In September 2011, Abbas made a high-profile bid for for full-member status, which stalled before it was put to a vote in the UN Security Council where the United States had pledged to use its veto power.