Israeli soldiers prevent foreign peace activists from advancing during a protest against settlement expansion on Palestinian land in the Beit Omar village, north of the West Bank city of Hebron, Saturday. Palestinians and foreign activists held a protest against the construction of housing units in the nearby settlement of Karmi Tsour. — AFP
PARIS — Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas warned late Friday that he may seek to upgrade the Palestinian status at the United Nations to a non-member observer state if peace talks with Israel do not resume.
At a Paris news conference with French President Francois Hollande, Abbas made good on months of speculation that the Palestinians might seek to circumvent pledges by the United States, Israel’s stalwart ally, to block any Palestinian bid for full UN membership in the Security Council.
“We went to the Security Council. We did not obtain the vote necessary,” Abbas said. “If we don’t return to the (peace) negotiations, we’ll of course go to the General Assembly to obtain the status of non-member state, as is the case for the Vatican ..."
There are no vetoes in the General Assembly and adoption of a resolution could upgrade the Palestinians’ current status as a permanent observer to a non-member observer state.
While this would not give the Palestinians voting rights in the world body, it would give them international recognition as a “state” and the possibility of joining U.N. agencies and becoming parties to treaties including the International Court of Justice or the International Criminal Court.
Abbas did not specify when the Palestinians might take their bid to the General Assembly and he indicated it will not be easy. “Of course, we are going to encounter many obstacles,” he said. — AP