Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fully expects a United States veto to prevent the Palestinians from gaining full United Nations membership through the UN Security Council. At the same time, the Israeli leader also feels there is potential for renewed peace talks with the Palestinians after the UN attempt. Should the US veto a Security Council attempt by the Palestinians to acquire full UN membership status, the Palestinians can still turn to the UN General Assembly for a status upgrade. However, that carries less legal weight than a Security Council resolution and is therefore more symbolic.
In a transcript of Netanyahu’s comments in the Sunday cabinet meeting provided by the Prime Minister’s Office, the Israeli leader said of the Security Council approach, “I am convinced that the activity of the US, which is deeply cooperating with us, as well as the activity of other governments with which we are also cooperating, will result in the failure of this attempt.”
Aside from the Security Council approach, a less-significant status upgrade in the UN General Assembly is also an option for the Palestinians, which they may be able to use in a new diplomatic and legal offensive against Israel. The General Assembly has a number of Arab nations and others who traditionally support the Palestinians, giving the body an “automatic majority” for the Palestinians.
Netanyahu noted that the General Assembly is a place “in which almost any decision can be passed.” The European vote is therefore considered part of the “moral” vote in the General Assembly, an important factor in determining the eventual impact of such a UN decision.
Netanyahu hinted they are working to downgrade the General Assembly’s already limited importance. Said Netanyahu of the General Assembly, “It is possible to decide there that the sun rises in the west and sets in the east, and this would pass there. But it has neither the same weight nor the same importance. This is not the Palestinians’ avowed goal.
“Even there it is possible that there will be various actions in their regard. We are coordinating our efforts with those of the US and with other important countries, in Europe and beyond.”
European support for the Palestinians could intensify the UN aftermath for the Israelis, but Netanyahu is hopeful that the Palestinians will eventually return to talks.
“We are ready to enter into peace negotiations with our Palestinian neighbors, if they so desire,” said Netanyahu. “In my opinion, after the dust settles and after everything that is happening at the UN, in the end, the Palestinians will regain their composure, I hope, and will shelve these moves that are designed to bypass negotiations. They will return to the table in order to achieve peace and security both for us and our neighbors.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, September 18, 2011)