Abbas Defies Obama on UN Bid

Tension between the Palestinian Authority and the Obama administration has escalated, after Washington was unsuccessful in presenting an offer to the PA in order to overcome a diplomatic crisis at the United Nations.

The U.S. State Department seeks to prevent the request of the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas – who is seeking full membership in the United Nations for the state of Palestine – from reaching the Security Council.

“Al-Arabiya” has learned that the Obama team had sought to convince Abbas to meet with the Israeli prime minister as a condition of a bilateral meeting.
The Palestinia
ns considered this condition to be the peak of the tensions with Washington, after the meeting that took place on Thursday night between Abbas, David Hale and Dennis Ross, which was described by the Palestinians as tough and disappointing.

The two U.S. envoys presented to the Palestinian president a document advising him against going to the UN without previous coordination with the US; this document angered Abbas and his team.

According to sources close to Abbas, the Hale-Ross document can be summarized as follows:

• Highlights the need for the negotiations about borders to take into consideration Israel's security needs, as well as demographic changes that have occurred during the years of occupation.

• Cancelling the principle of returning to the borders as they existed on the 4th of June 1967.

Hale included the Israeli demand to recognize Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people, and to resolve the issue of the refugees within the borders of the Palestinian state.

It seems that Washington hardened its stance after being reassured that the Palestinians would not get the unanimous vote of the nine members of the Security Council.

Thus, the last resort for the Palestinians at the United Nations is to send their request to the members of the General Assembly to endorse the right of the Palestinians to have a non-member state in the United Nations.

Translated from Arabic by Sarah Sfeir

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