Arabs to seek full Palestinian upgrade at U.N.: draft

RAMALLAH, West Bank Thu Jul 14, 2011 5:35pm EDT

A protester waves a Palestinian flag as he runs near a section of the Israeli barrier fence during a rally by Palestinian and foreign activists near Qalandiya, close to the West Bank city of Ramallah, July 9, 2011. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

A protester waves a Palestinian flag as he runs near a section of the Israeli barrier fence during a rally by Palestinian and foreign activists near Qalandiya, close to the West Bank city of Ramallah, July 9, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Mohamad Torokman

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RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - The Arab League will ask the United Nations to upgrade the Palestinians to full member status, a draft statement from a league meeting in Qatar said on Thursday.

"It was decided to go to the United Nations to request the recognition of the state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital and to move ahead and request a full membership," said the communique, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.

The statement did not provide a timeline but Palestinian officials have said they want application to be made in time for the U.N. assembly in September. A Palestinian delegate said the Arab League had appointed a committee to determine dates.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a speech later on Thursday denounced such unilateral moves.

"If they (the Palestinians) really wanted peace they would sit down for negotiations, without preconditions. There is no replacement for negotiations. Unilateral steps will not bring peace closer and will not bring any solution," Netanyahu said.

Full member status would require approval in the Security Council, where Israel's ally the United States has said it will veto any such resolution.

The Palestinians, who currently have U.N. "observer" status, had previously pledged to seek U.N. endorsement in September for their claim of sovereignty in the Gaza Strip, and the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The move has gained momentum with the lack of progress in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. The Arab League formally backed this plan in May.

But in the face of opposition from Israel and a number of world powers who say only negotiations can solve the conflict, the Palestinians had previously signaled they might opt for a more limited upgrade to "non-member state" status, which requires only General Assembly approval.

Palestinian analyst Talal Okal said the Arab League and Palestinians were aware of the obstacles they faced, including a U.S. veto, but had chosen to push forward because, with peace talks frozen, they saw no other diplomatic solution.

"The Arab consensus means that there is disappointment over the American position, that the negotiations have reached a dead end and that we have entered a stage of political battle," Okal said.

(Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi; Editing by Alison Williams)

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Comments (5)
Spidervictim wrote:
Good luck Palestinians you deserve it!

Jul 14, 2011 10:25am EDT  --  Report as abuse
mkutu911 wrote:
The Palestinians need to stop running away from negotiations and sit down to make the compromises needed for peace. Every time they have been offered peace, rather than compromising, they have chosen to either look for an imposed solution from the outside or launched a war of terrorism on Israel. There is no solution except for a negotiated one.

Jul 15, 2011 1:20pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Blaue wrote:
It started as a conflict in 1948. Jews agreed with 1947 UNGA 181 and made a state where UNGA 181 recommended. Arabs rejected UNGA 181. So now the conflict needs to be solved. As soon as the conflict is solved, Palestine will be an independent and sovereign state, and this state will join the UN with full support. Current example: Southern Sudan. A conflict. Once the conflict was solved, Southern Sudan became an independent state and it immediately joined the UN with unanimous approval.

Jul 15, 2011 1:30pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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