The Palestinian president will be moving forward with his plan to seek upgraded observer status at the United Nations in November, despite American and Israeli threats of financial and/or diplomatic retaliation, according to a statement by officials on Sunday.
The decision will set the stage for a new showdown between Israel and Palestine at the UN, following their attempt last year to have Palestine recognized as a full member state, reports Boston.com.
While the bid failed to pass through the UN Security Council, its diplomatic ramifications with Israel were felt for months. Tawfik Tirawi, a senior member of President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement, stated:
“We will go to the UN regardless of any threats. I expect the Israelis to take punitive measures against us, if we win the status, but this is our choice and we will not retract it.”
As part of their bid to be involved in the UN, the Palestinians will ask for “nonmember state” status in the UN General Assembly, where their passage will likely be assured.
The general assembly, which consists of 193-member states, is dominated by developing nations who are sympathetic to Palestine’s cause. The Washington Post notes that officials are looking for a “quality” majority, which would include European countries as well, though Germany and Britain are not fond of a Palestinian state.
In their bid, the Palestinians will seek to have international recognition of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. If this is granted, they believe the vote would require Israel to withdraw to their pre-1967 lines in the face of international legal action.
Palestine turned to the UN last year to seek status after years of deadlock in peace efforts with Israel. Negotiations have been stalled since 2008, largely because of Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
While Abbas has not formally put his request in to the UN General Assembly, but it is expected on either November 15 or November 29.