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Abbas at the UN Photo: AP
Abbas at the UN Photo: AP
 
 

PA seeks November UN vote on status bid

Palestinians eye Nov. 15, 29 as possible dates for vote on status upgrade bid in United Nations; Israel attempting to block move

Elior Levy, Attila Somfalvi
Published: 10.31.12, 23:37 / Israel News

The Palestinian Authority wants to present the UN General Assembly with another bid for a status upgrade, Ynet learned Wednesday.

 

Ramallah is reportedly eyeing November 15 or November 29 as its goal dates for the vote. If the UN approves the bid, the PA would be upgraded from "observer" status to "non-member state."

 

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas sought to have the UN vote on the bid during September's Assembly in New York, but eventually deferred it over the US administration's request to wait until the presidential elections were over.

 

While the Palestinian leadership has yet to finalize its request, the two dates considered hold special significance: On November 15, 1988, Yasser Arafat declared Palestinian independence in Algeria; while November 29, 1947 was the date in which the UN voted to accept the Partition Plan for Palestine.

 

November 29 is also the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People – an anniversary adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1977.

 

Source close to the Palestinian leadership said that Abbas was adamant to bring the matter to a vote in the UN, despite the threat of financial sanctions by the United States and Israel; adding that Abbas may attend the vote in person.

 

Wary of sanctions

The Palestinians are said to be concerned that Israel will suspend the transfer of the taxes it collects on behalf of Ramallah. The PA is plagued by a crippling financial crisis and those funds make up about 33% of its budget.

 

The Arab League pledged a $100 million financial aid package to the PA, but some in Ramallah doubt that some of the League's members truly wish to share the wealth.

 

The PA also believes that Israel will revoke the VIP accreditation Palestinian Authority officials enjoy, which facilitate their travel in crossings, check points and international airports.  

 


UN General Assembly (Photo: AP)

 

Another concern is that Washington would make good on its threat to suspend its aid funds to the PA.

 

In 2011, the Congress suspended $200 million in aid after the PA defied the US and appealed to the UN to be accepted as a full-fledged member.

 

The move, however, was short-lived as the US soon realized it all but paralyzed the Palestinian security forces.

 

Another way for the US to penalize the PA is to close the PLO's office in Washington.

 

Europe – mostly Britain, France and Germany – is also pressuring Ramallah to pull its bid. The UK believes the PA should wait for the final results of the US elections to afford President Barack Obama a chance to reignite the Israeli-Palestinian peace process – should he be reelected.

 

Diplomatic countermoves

Israel is mounting considerable efforts to thwart the Palestinian move, as it did last time.

 

Israel is trying to rally the support of its international allies across Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa, and convince them to vote against the motion.

 

The current composition of the UN General Assembly affords the PA a near-automatic majority vote, but several key members could substantially dent the PA's achievement – should the bid mature to a vote.

 

Israel is also convinced that regardless of who is the next president of the United State, Washington will oppose the move; but Jerusalem is also aware that radical sanctions may derail Abbas' control over the PA irrevocably.

 

Earlier Wednesday, reports surfaced that Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad had resigned his post, in favor of forming an alternative unity government to rule the PA. Ramallah was quick to deny the reports.

 

You can contact Elior Levy, Ynet's Palestinian Affairs Correspondent, at: paldesk@gmail.com

 

 

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