WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama said that the Palestinians' planned UN bid
for statehood is a "distraction" from the peace process, and will not aid in ending the Middle East conflict.
In a statement made on Monday night, Obama reiterated his administration's stance that the PA's unilateral move was perilous. Washington had already announced that it would veto
the Palestinian appeal for statehood should it be brought before the UN Security Council.
More on the PA's UN campaign:
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict "is only going to be resolved by Israelis and Palestinians agreeing on something," he said.
Obama said the likely scenario was that the Palestinians would have their status upgraded from the nonvoting observer entity to nonvoting observer state at the UN General Assembly.
- For full coverage of the PA's UN campaign click here
The US, he added, gets only one vote in the General Assembly but the overall vote – even if the PA's supporters in the UN carry it – "Will not change reality (on the ground)."
Still, the American president also urged Israel
against taking any radical steps against the Palestinian Authority – the likes of withholding resources and funds – should their motion be carried by General Assembly.
Any such reaction, Obama cautioned, would only serve to harm Israel's international standing.
Analysts believe that Obama – disillusioned by the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, has somewhat distanced himself from the issue, in favor of internal US issues such as the unemployment plight and the wobbling US economy.
According to various sources, he has had no real contact with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
since February, and his last meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,
in May, ended with discord.