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King Abdulla II of Jordan Photo: AFP
King Abdulla II of Jordan Photo: AFP
 
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Photo: AFP
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Photo: AFP
 
 

Jordan urges Abbas to rethink UN bid

Saudi Arabia's al-Madinah newspaper says Amman has been trying to convince Ramallah to pull its appeal for UN recognition, fearing such unilateral moves may compromise Palestinian right of return

Roee Nahmias
Published: 08.31.11, 00:32 / Israel News

Jordan has appealed to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and asked him to reconsider the PA's nearing bid for UN recognition, Saudi Arabia's al-Madinah newspaper reported on Tuesday.

 

According to the report, Jordan views the move as dangerous and as one that may compromise the Palestinians' assertion of the right of return.

 

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The Saudi newspaper said Amman "advised" Abbas of its position via several diplomatic channels within the Arab world, adding that so far, the Palestinian president has chosen to shrug off Jordan's recommendation and is forging on with the plan to appeal to the UN General Assembly.

 

The PA's unilateral move is perceived as highly premature and detrimental to the peace process by many in the international community and particularly by Washington, which has already declared it will oppose the move.

 


At odds? King Abdulla and Palestinian President Abbas (Photo: AP) 

 

Several reports have suggested that Abbas is covertly seeking ways to renege on the nearing bid, but the Palestinians declared that they are adamant to see it through.

 

Should they do so, the General Assembly – which is ruled by third-world countries that are predominately Arab and Muslim – will see a majority vote in their favor. Nevertheless, General Assembly resolutions are symbolic and to truly be accepted into the UN, the Security Council – where the US has veto power – would have to grant the Palestinian's bid.

 

Legal ramifications

Israel has already recognized that it has no real chance of stopping the General Assembly vote, and is now concentrating its diplomatic efforts on establishing a "moral majority" within the UN, to vote against the bid.

 

Jerusalem is currently focusing on rallying the support of Britain, France, Germany and Spain, to name a few, with the aim of creating a 30-nation bloc.

 

Amman is not the only one concerned with the right of return: The PA has enlisted the help of several international legal experts in an attempt to fully understand the legal ramifications of the UN General Assembly's support of their bid.  

 

Renowned legalist Prof. Guy Goodwin-Gill of Oxford University, who was one of the experts retained, has reportedly stated that the PA's bid would, in fact, compromise the right of return.

 

Still, Ramallah sources seemed unfazed by the ominous approach, saying that other experts have contradicted Goodwin-Gill, assuring the PA that no harm will come to future demands pertaining to the right of return.

 

Recent reports suggesting that the Palestinians may modify their bid to one asking the UN to upgrade their observer status in exchange for EU incentives, has been dismissed by Jerusalem as a rouse.

 

The Foreign Ministry has asked all Israeli missions in Europe to clarify that the new – and so far unconfirmed – Palestinian initiative, which is being "marketed" as a compromise by Ramallah, is nothing but a ploy meant to sway the vote of UN-member nations which are still undecided.

 

The Foreign Ministry warned that even a UN "upgrade" – which will see the PA enjoy similar status to that of the Vatican – will enable it to become an active member of all UN bodies, including the International Crimes Court, a move which will enable it to seek legal recourse against senior Israeli officials.

 

Purse Strings

Meanwhile, the head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee has asked Congress to block US funds for any United Nations entity that supports giving Palestine an elevated status at the UN.

 

Republican congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is also seeking to ban US contributions to the UN Human Rights Council and an anti-racism conference seen as a platform for anti-Israel rhetoric.

 

Ros-Lehtinen has long been a critic of the United Nations. The legislation she introduced Tuesday would also withhold a portion of US dues to the international body if it does not change its funding system so that dues are paid on a voluntary rather than assessed basis.

 

She said the UN continues to be plagued by scandal, mismanagement and inaction.

 

AP and Yitzhak Benhorin in Washington contributed to this report

 

 

 

 

 

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