Speaking to representatives from the Jewish media on Thursday, Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the United Nations said: “We’re not negotiating any text, we’re not engaged in efforts to water down a text,” adding: “We’re making the case that this is not a productive course.”
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According to JTA, Rice dismissed as false rumors that a draft text even exists, but she said the Europeans were talking with the Palestinians about the substance of a resolution.
“There is no Palestinian text yet,” she said. “Nobody in New York has seen one.”
Rice added that either way the Obama administration will vote no, and urge others to do so, too. She noted that the Palestinian maneuver, she said, was ill-conceived, diversionary, short-sided and self- defeating. She said it would only make negotiating a permanent peace more difficult.
“It’s hardly likely that Israel will be in the mood to go to the negotiating table after the drama here in New York,” Rice said.
Earlier Thursday political sources claimed that the European Union and the Palestinian Authority were holding last minute talks in an attempt to reach a compromise over statehood bid which would allow Palestinians to upgrade UN membership status without joining International Criminal Court.
"There has been significant progress in the talks between the Europeans and the Palestinian Authority, so that they will be able to upgrade their status at the UN, but will not be able to join the International Criminal Court (ICC)," said the source.
According to the official, if the Palestinians agree to such an arrangement, the heavy-weight European nations would be able to vote in favor of upgrading the Palestinians' status and "Israel will gain from this move and will be able to live in peace with it."
EU Foreign Affairs Chief Ashton and PA President Abbas (Photo: AFP)
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki had announced that the Palestinian Authority would submit its bid for full UN membership with the UN Security Council on Friday, September 23.
However, a top Palestinian official said that the decision may still change depending on the outcome of urgent talks that are taking place with the European Union and the United States.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Thursday that he will travel to New York City and address the UN General Assembly ahead of the Palestinian bid for statehood. His address has been set for next Wednesday.
Israel's position, he said, has remained the same: "The only way for a Palestinian state to come to be is through negotiations. The PA's decision (to appeal to the UNSC) could change tomorrow. I'll be at the UN. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will be at the UN. We could save the trip – Ramallah is only 10 minutes away. Direct negotiations are the simplest way to achieve peace.
"I hope that the Palestinians will eventually understand that there is no other alternative," he said.
Yitzhak Benhorin and news agencies contributed to this report