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Official: 51 states 'undecided' over Palestinian UN bid
Published Friday 09/11/2012 (updated) 11/11/2012 21:34
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BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Fifty-one countries are undecided over whether to support in its bid to become a non-member state of the UN, an Arab League official said Friday.

Mohammad Sbeih, secretary-general of Palestinian affairs at the Arab League, said 115 states were expected to vote for the upgrade while 27 countries would not support the bid.

Sbeih told Ma'an that 51 states were hesitant to support Palestine because of US pressure. Washington has lobbied against the PLO's UN bid.

Palestinian delegations are working to win the support of the undecided states, Sbeih said.

The PLO needs a simple majority vote in the 193-member General Assembly to win non-member observer status. Sbeih told Ma'an he expected a vote to take place on Nov. 15.

Sbeih said he had discussed the procedure for the vote with President Mahmoud Abbas in Amman on Wednesday. Abbas will attend a meeting of Arab foreign ministers on Nov. 12 to discuss the latest developments in the UN initiative.

The US has threatened to withdraw funding from the Palestinian Authority if it pursues the UN upgrade, which could grant Palestinians access to the International Criminal Court, where they could file complaints against Israel.

An Israeli official said earlier this week that if the PLO pushes on with the UN bid, Israel may cancel the Paris Protocol, a key economic accord it maintains with the cash-strapped PA.

PA Economy Minister Jawad al-Naji said Friday that the UN bid could exacerbate the government's financial crisis.

Al-Naji told Ma'an that Israeli restrictions on trade and investment had worsened the Palestinian economy in 2012. The minister said he expected further restrictions after the UN vote, and that Israel may stop transferring Palestinian tax revenues it collects on behalf of the PA.

The PA is working with various institutions to try and limit the impact of any sanctions arising from the UN bid, he said.

Al-Naji pointed out that Israel already prevents the PA and the private sector from exploiting Palestinian resources in over 60 percent of the West Bank, designated as "Area C" in the Oslo Accords.

The PA circulated a draft resolution to UN member states on Wednesday calling for the upgrade to its UN status. The draft resolution also reiterates the PA's commitment to the two-state solution.

If approved, the resolution would "accord to Palestine Observer State status in the United Nations system, without prejudice to the acquired rights, privileges and role of the Palestine Liberation Organization as the representative of the Palestinian people," according to a draft obtained by Reuters.

Frustrated that their bid for full UN membership last year failed amid US opposition in the UN Security Council, the PLO launched the watered-down bid for recognition as an "observer state," the same status given to the Vatican.

Israel and the United States have called on Abbas to return to peace talks instead of submitted the UN bid. Negotiations collapsed in 2010 over illegal Israeli settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.

The draft resolution would have UN member states express "the urgent need for the resumption and acceleration of negotiations within the Middle East peace process."

Several Western diplomats said US and European officials were lobbying the PA to delay the move to allow newly re-elected US President Barack Obama time to try to restart moribund Middle East peace talks.

Reuters contributed to this report.
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1 ) shirley / australia
09/11/2012 12:54
well done pa and keep going nothing will change and things are getting worse by the day for palestinians attacks destruction on and on and the genocide wall is creating ghetto prisons across the west bank people are not just occupied theyare in virtual work camps or worse people are denied any freedom of movement and ewven when sick are denied acess to help the current situation finacial can only get worse AL willand many will support pal state and investment Paris protocol makes things worse

2 ) shirley / australia
09/11/2012 13:07
palestinains must grab with both hands this vote this is what yiu have fought and died for for decades the Us and Isreal will destroy you if you do not go for vote now pals only need 98 votes to pass this iswell achievable and others will follow once vote achieved likedonomoes they will fall and pals may even get full state sooner than you think this is crucial step now or all is lostEu are US/ impearalist supporters PA knew this would happen waiting for US elections EU always excuses to wait

3 ) AKeenReader / UK
09/11/2012 13:42
PA should just get on with the bid at the UNGA rather than give US the opportunity to threaten these 51 states. Why publisize PA's intentions. Haven't the PA learnt their lesson yet?

4 ) Jew Settler / Judea
09/11/2012 14:23
And 34 countries are against Pilistain because of b-rab terrorism. Oi!

5 ) Robert Haymond / Israel/Gush Etzion
09/11/2012 14:45
The biggest obstructions to economic progress for Arabs east of the Green Line are the massive corruption of their own leaders (as usual) such as Abbas as well as the social welfare mentality of its populace which receives and expects handouts now unto the fourth generation.

6 ) Yes States Should / Plan To Pay
09/11/2012 15:05
All the 'states that vote Yes for the Palestinian UN bid, should
plan to dramatically increase their donations to Palestine,
because their Yes vote will result in Palestine losing donations,
from most of the traditional sources (USA Canada, EU, etc.).

7 ) Big Mike / USA
09/11/2012 17:01
There is a great likelihood that 140 nations will support this vote in favour of sovereign state recognition of Palestinian state to the Green Line.

8 ) LET US HOPE THE UN IS / fair and admits
09/11/2012 18:34
the west bank as a state but then ALLOWS GAZA STATEHOOD TOO WE NEED 3 STATES FOR TWO PEOPLES!!!!

9 ) Valary Veree Alexander / United States
09/11/2012 23:02
It is time that the world stood up to help the Palestinians have a free country & to ST0P bowing to pressure from Israel to keep them enslaved. Israel had done nothing ever to help have stability and Peace in the Middle East but has constantly made the situation worse. Give a Free Palestine a chance!

10 ) gabi / australia
10/11/2012 06:08
# 5 - have a look a a map and see where the green line is - and then compare where the "separation" wall is. A lot of land has been stolen by that wall. "East of the green line" has become irrelevant. And remind me, how much does Israel received each year from the US? 3 billion? 4 billion? who has a "social welfare mentality"? If the US stopped this assistance Israel would just implode. And Israel threatens to take the taxes but not pass it on? More outright theft. But not surprising.

11 ) Abe / UK
10/11/2012 20:46
The US and Israel are trying to blackmail the Palestinians for exercising their right under the UN Charter for self-determination, which they should have had in 1947 (which was a General Assembly decision and not ratified by the Security Council) . Israel spared no time in immediately declaring itself as a Jewish State. 65 years later, the Palestinians are being threatened with sanctions for even this limited move for 'observer status'! They should now be bold and take this step at the UN!
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