The Palestinian Authority is pursuing a new bid for statehood ahead of the next UN General Assembly meeting in New York City in September, where Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will ask the UN to upgrade the PA's status to that of "non-member state."
Palestinian sources told the London-based Arab newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that the United States, European Union and various Arab states are pressuring Ramallah against the move, citing bad timing – the UNGA is meeting a mere two months ahead of the presidential elections in the US.
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A "non-member state" status will allow the PA to appeal to various international organizations, including the International Criminal Court, and pursue various action against Israel. The EU is wary of the possibility, meaning that the PA must guarantee the support of 24 out of the EU's 27 member-states.
While Palestinian officials hedged that submitting the new bid in September will force Obama to align himself with Israel – for fear of losing the Jewish vote – the PA all but has to stick to the timetable, since changing it now will debunk whatever political credibility it has among the Palestinian people.
According to the report, Ramallah is bracing for the possibility that any successful outcome in the UN will spell financial sanction by the US, via a cut or a suspension of aid funds; as well as an Israeli suspension of the transfer of tax funds it collects on the PA's behalf.
First line of defense?
To ward off such measures, the PA is said to be trying to manufacture a "first line of defense" of sorts, by having the Arab League present the bid on its behalf.
Such a move may embarrass Washington and should sanctions be applied, the Palestinians will argue that they should be directed at the pan-Arab organization.
A suggestion previously made by Arab League Chief Nabil El-Arabi to submit the bid on November 29 – the United Nations' International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People – is also being considered.
Regardless, the vote itself is likely to be held only after the US presidential elections.
The Palestinian are also trying to rally more European support for their bid, and are attempting to coordinate it with France, as the latter once suggested that the PLO submit the bid in lieu of the PA.
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