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US envoys head back to Middle East
Published Tuesday 13/09/2011 (updated) 15/09/2011 11:53
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President Mahmoud Abbas (R) meets with US Mideast peace envoy David Hale
in the West Bank city of Ramallah on September 7, 2011.
[Reuters/Mohamad Torokman]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Two US envoys return to the Middle East this week to try to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and avert a Palestinian bid for UN membership, sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

US Middle East peace envoy David Hale and senior White House official Dennis Ross head back one week after a round of talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders appeared to make no headway, the sources said on condition of anonymity.

President Barack Obama's administration is scrambling to head off a Palestinian plan to seek full United Nations membership during the UN General Assembly session that begins on Monday.

US officials fear the Palestinian move could complicate flagging efforts to resume direct peace talks, which broke down last year with the expiration of a 10-month partial Israeli moratorium on Jewish settlement construction on land the Palestinians want for their state.

Tel Aviv is lobbying against the Palestinian bid, which it sees as an effort to isolate and delegitimize Israel and to extend the conflict into new arenas such as the International Criminal Court.

Speaking to Reuters after news of the US mission broke, a senior aide to President Mahmoud Abbas said the plan was still to seek full membership for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, lands that Israel occupied in the 1967 Middle East war.

"We are going to the UN and to the Security Council and we will ask for full membership for a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967," Mohammad Shtayyeh said. "This does not go against any efforts towards serious peace negotiations."

Last minute efforts

Earlier, Shtayyeh said the Palestinian leadership still had an open mind and would listen to any proposals but suggested that the current US push had come too late.

"The issue for us is not either United Nations or peace talks, we see these two things as complementary to each other and not contradictory to each other," he told a news conference.

"We are open-minded to any proposal. And we are ready to engage with any proposal. But this is not a step to really stop us from going to the United Nations," he added. "If the whole idea of a proposal is to engage peacefully then you don't really bring it in the last five minutes of the hour."

The Palestinians are now UN observers without voting rights. To become a full member, their bid would have to be approved by the UN Security Council, where the United States has said it will veto it.

The United States and Israel argue that issues such as Palestinian statehood should be decided by the two sides at the negotiating table rather than at the United Nations.

Diplomats have said it is not clear what the Palestinians will do when the UN General Assembly opens.

Rather than seeking full UN membership for a state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, they could seek status as a "non-member state," which would require a simple majority of the 193-nation assembly.

The United States, however, said it would not favor this model either.

"Our view remains that neither course, neither the Security Council nor the General Assembly, is going to lead to the result that they seek, which is to have a stable, secure state living in peace, that they have to do this through negotiations," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Monday.

Another possibility would be to propose a resolution to the General Assembly that might give greater backing to their desire for a state but not actually call for upgrading the Palestinians status at the United Nations.
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1 ) AKeen reader / UK
13/09/2011 15:51
A waste of american tax payers money which hasn't achieved any thing so far or shall I say they don;t want to. I expect that they are bringing more threats to cut aid. DON'T BOTHER TO COME AS WE KNOW ALL YOUR THREATS HALE & ROSS.

2 ) mohamed / somalia
13/09/2011 17:39
hale and ross two prominent zionist go to the hell fire together your boss the one they call him UBAMA.

3 ) Mel / USA
13/09/2011 20:02
OH!Vunderbah! Hale &Ross,LOL! 2 big Zio-goons to say,"Do as ve say or die". Zio-Ross is about as neutral as Himmler to Hitler.And Hale is just another Clinton college(Georgetownite) pro-Zionist. Talking to Ross is as good as talking to an electric cattle-prod! And Hale is just a naive Zio- ideologue.This is so embarassing to the American people.Palestine I am so sorry our USG keep sending AIPAC terrorists,in our name.Tell m where2 go!

4 ) Salma / Palestine
13/09/2011 20:07
Ross and hale can go to hell.

5 ) Nour / One State
13/09/2011 21:07
Ross is a despicable Zionist. Greet him with rotten tomatoes in the face. Palestinian independence is NON NEGOTIABLE. Turkey and the Arab states will fill the void. Toss Ross back now!

6 ) Rana / Ramallah
13/09/2011 22:04
#2 ) mohamed from somalia , i love your comments please keep up the good work, stay safe we in Palestine pray for you.

7 ) Mark of Lewiston / USA
13/09/2011 22:16
The US and Israel have nothing to offer the Palestinians to make it to their advantage to forgo the UN bid. As for talks with Netanyahu, he offers a non-state with no independence and no sovereignty with no end of occupation at this point. That is what he told the US Congress. Palestinian frustration with status quo is understandable.

8 ) Palestinians / Dispora
13/09/2011 23:18
Don't give up Abbas. And don't give these two a chance to make you step back. It September that we waited for long. Don't disappoint us please.

9 ) Nour / No State
14/09/2011 01:54
When did Turkey and Arab states filled the void last time? Never. Palestinians should forget about US aid, US contribution to UNRWA and Israeli's collected on palestinian behalf taxes and fees after failed September UN bid. We will wait to see how they survive without any money. Turkey and arabs will give them nothing, just verbal support, but talk is cheap. He-he-he.

10 ) US Envoys / Go Home
14/09/2011 04:49
Palestinians do NOT want to talk with Israel, so THEY MUST DISCOVER FOR THEMSELVES, THAT THEY HAVE NO CHOICE BT TO TALK WITH ISRAEL. Let them have their UN membership bid, and let them discover for themselves that membership & statehood do NOT follow !!! After this "self-discovery": - let the Palestinians plan next step, and - let them call the US envoys back, but ONLY when they want to talk to Israel !!!!

11 ) Lukas / AntiZionist
14/09/2011 19:36
Two Zionist extremists are going to head back to the Middle East. These are not US envoys, these are Israeli envoys.
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