The US is to oppose Palestine’s application to the UN for full membership status when the body’s General Assembly convenes in September.
Rosemary DiCarlo, the US deputy ambassador to the UN, said that the US would not support “unilateral action” by the Palestinians at the UN.
DiCarlo was speaking at the final, regular UN Security Council discussion about the Israeli-Palestinian situation.
“Let there be no doubt: symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September will not create an independent Palestinian state,” DiCarlo said.
“The United States will not support unilateral campaigns at the United Nations in September or any other time.”
DiCarlo said the US is pressing for a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, insists on a negotiated settlement, and will oppose any unilateral action by the Palestinians at the UN.
The US is among five veto-power members of the Security Council. It only considers UN admissions to the General Assembly from recommendations by its 15-member council.
In response to DiCarlo’s statement, Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian UN observer, said that with more than 120 countries already recognising an independent Palestinian state, any UN action, whether at the Security Council or the General Assembly, would not be unilateral.
“On the contrary, it is multilateral, and the consecration of the two-state solution in bold resolutions, including recognition of the state of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on the bases of the pre-1967 borders and its admission as a full member of the organisation will help to make the two-state solution more inevitable,” he said.
Western diplomats say the Palestinians have not decided whether to seek membership in the UN as a sovereign state or to press for a non-binding resolution recognising a Palestinian state without UN membership.
Mansour said “This is the time for Palestine’s independence.”
He said the Palestinians are ready to resume negotiations with the pre-1967 war borders as the foundation, but stressed “we cannot keep waiting for Israel to negotiate in good faith.”
In line with the US sentiment, Ron Prosor, Israel’s UN ambassador said “it is clear that the Palestinians are not united and are far from united for peace”.
“Now is the time for the international community to tell the Palestinian leadership what it refuses to tell its own people, there are no shortcuts to statehood,” he told the 15-nation council. “You cannot bypass the only path to peace.”
“The Palestinians will have to make compromises and make hard choices,” Prosor said. “They will have to get off the bandwagon of unilateralism and back to the hard work of direct peacemaking.”
End to occupation
The PA is debating whether to petition the UN General Assembly for full recognition as a state, or for “enhanced observer” status, which would give it standing on par with the Vatican. Either way, the resolution would demand that Israel return to its pre-1967 borders.
Palestinian officials argue that they have no choice but to seek a UN vote, because Israel’s ongoing construction of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank is eroding the prospects for two states.
Israel says both sides should resolve a few intractable issues – including borders and refugees – before Palestine seeks recognition. Talks between Israel and the PA collapsed nearly a year ago over Israel’s refusal to halt settlement growth.
The United States cannot veto the UN resolution, because its veto only applies to Security Council votes, but the Obama administration has said it opposes the measure. Israel is actively lobbying several countries for “no” votes, as well.