Palestine 'will not accept' UN observer status

Arab-Israel Relations Materials 3 September 2011 14:04
Palestine 'will not accept' UN observer status
Palestine 'will not accept' UN observer status

The Palestinian Authority has rejected the French prime minister's suggestion that a Palestinian state should take observer status in the UN like the Vatican, Ma'an reported.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad Al-Malki told Ma'an that the suggestion was unacceptable because if the Palestinians wanted to be like the Vatican, an observer, they could have updated their status at any time.

The Palestinians insist on full membership because the majority of countries in the General Assembly support Palestine, Al-Malki said denying the possibility of cancelling the bid in light of US threats.

He added that "there are 20 days before the president hands in the membership application to the secretary-general of the United Nations.

"But we will see what developments can happen that make us consider our options especially that there is a meeting today in Poland for the EU's foreign ministers and what their suggestions would be."

He added that "There will be a number of forums until the 20th and we'll study them all to see if they serve the Palestinian cause; but if not, we'll continue to the Security Council."

The minister added that there is a meeting for the Arab League leadership on Sept. 13, when Palestine will be handed the presidency of the council for six months.

A PLO official, meanwhile, said that the Palestinian leadership would continue its "political battle" at the UN even if the upcoming September bid fails.

PLO executive committee member Saleh Rafat said that if the US vetoes Palestine's UN bid for statehood in September, "we will go back again, and five times more" with initiatives for UN recognition.

Speaking to Voice of Palestine radio on Wednesday, Rafat insisted that threats from Israel could not frighten the Palestinian leadership and people out of their determination.

Israeli Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau warned earlier that the UN bid would nullify Israel's agreements with Palestinians and called for Israel to "impose our sovereignty on territories over which there is consensus -- that is, in the Jordan Valley and the major settlement blocs, and even more."

Israel has already undermined the Oslo Accords which formed the basis of limited self-rule for the Palestinian Authority, Rafat said.

"We will continue our struggle against the occupation and our fight in all the international forums until the Israeli occupation ends and the establishment of an independent state," the PLO official vowed.

Rafat also called for a cross-factional meeting to encourage implementation of May's reconciliation deal between former rivals Hamas and Fatah, which sought to end the four-year divide between their ruling governments in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Fatah and Hamas officials had announced in August that work towards implementing the deal would begin after the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which concluded Thursday.