Israel sees U.N. majority for Palestine status upgrade

JERUSALEM Sun Aug 5, 2012 9:24am EDT

Ambassador Ron Prosor speaks during a news conference outside the Israeli embassy in London March 23, 2010. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Ambassador Ron Prosor speaks during a news conference outside the Israeli embassy in London March 23, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - The Palestinians' bid to upgrade their status at the United Nations would find majority support there but would not bring them closer to statehood and peace with Israel, Israel's U.N. envoy said on Sunday.

Citing stalled peacemaking and Israeli settlement-building on occupied West Bank land where they seek sovereign independence, the Palestinians said on Saturday they would renew a bid to win U.N. recognition as a state.

Ron Prosor, the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, accused the Palestinians of trying to recapture international attention that has shifted to crises in Iran, Egypt and Syria.

"There is an attempt (by the Palestinians) to make unilateral moves in order to internationalize the conflict," Prosor told Israel Radio in a telephone interview.

"But beyond what are perhaps the feelings of frustration, it is important to remember that the path to peace really is through the negotiating table with Israel."

The Palestinians want to found a state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, which Israel captured in the 1967 war. Though Israel quit Gaza in 2005, it claims East Jerusalem as its capital - a move not recognized abroad - and says it would keep swathes of West Bank settlements under any peace deal. The United Nations deems the settlements illegal.

Full U.N. membership for Palestine would require approval by the Security Council, where Israel's ally, the United States, would likely wield its veto given its demand the Palestinians set up their state in agreement with the Jewish state.

So the Palestinians, in what they describe as an interim move, plan to ask the U.N. General Assembly next month to accord them non-member observer status, which would allow them to join a number of U.N. agencies and the International Criminal Court.

The Palestinians are currently a U.N. observer "entity" with no voting rights. A similar statehood upgrade drive last year proved short-lived amid financial sanctions and diplomatic counter-lobbying by Israel and the United States.

Prosor said the Palestinians have a "guaranteed majority" in the 193-member General Assembly - enough to bestow non-member observer status, which the envoy predicted would be used "to hurt us (Israel)" in various international forums.

Israel has accused Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of going to the United Nations to evade negotiations that would entail both territorial compromise and that he reassert control over Gaza, which he lost in a 2007 civil war to Hamas Islamists hostile to the Jewish state.

"In essence, Abu Mazen (Abbas) today has zero control in Gaza," Prosor said in separate remarks to Israel's Army Radio, adding that the Palestinians' U.N. campaign "will change nothing on the ground".

Palestinians have made a freeze on Israeli settlement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem a condition for returning to peace talks. Israel cites biblical and historical ties to the areas and says the settlement issue should be decided in negotiations.

(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Jon Hemming)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (3)
Beautiful2000 wrote:
Would have been nice to post the Palestinian side of the story, through the Palestinian voice just as you gave the Israeli voice (Ron Prosor) a lot of room in your article to make his spiel – back to journalism 101, objectivity!

Aug 05, 2012 10:45am EDT  --  Report as abuse
paintcan wrote:
“But beyond what are perhaps the feelings of frustration, it is important to remember that the path to peace really is through the negotiating table with Israel.”

Evidently not. The Palestinians already declared a state in 1986 but nobody noticed. The only people separating the Gaza strip from the West bank are the Israeli’s. Ariel Sharon built a ranch in territory that could connect them.

There are such things as injunctions. The UN agrees with the Palestinians that settlements should cease and the Israeli’s stands “in contempt of Court”.

Aug 05, 2012 10:52am EDT  --  Report as abuse
mutt3003 wrote:
So Israel has biblical ties to certain land and that gives them a right to occupy it? Since when has the bible been considered a legal document. I would think the atheists, Buddhists, et al think otherwise.
There are new religious cults popping up nowadays. They just don’t seem to have the connections, the PR machine or the easily swayed populations of 2000 years ago. Remember, back in those times, people believed pretty much everything was a god of some type.

Aug 05, 2012 11:42am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Full focus