US Remains Opposed to Palestinian UN Recognition Efforts

Amid reports the Palestinians are looking to go again to seek some sort of enhanced recognition from the United Nations in their quest for statehood, the United States reiterated on Wednesday their opposition to that approach. In comments released by the State Department, spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters that “we continue to oppose any efforts to advance their cause through the UN before they have had a full settlement with Israel.”

Nuland said that going to the UN first is “not the right sequence, and it’s not going to lead to peace.”

Last year the Palestinians went to the United Nations Security Council for full member status in the UN, which would have effectively granted them statehood recognition. However, the US and others opposed the measure and it eventually was buried in UN bureaucracy. The Palestinian approach was viewed as a backdoor that sought to re-characterize negotiations with Israel or evade them altogether.

The Palestinians suspended direct peace talks with Israel in 2010. That followed a 10-month partial settlement construction freeze by Israel intended as a gesture to encourage the resumption of negotiations. However, indirect talks did not advance to direct talks until the Israeli building moratorium was nearing its end, and the Palestinians halted the negotiations after Israel chose not to extend the freeze.

Jordan did facilitate discussions between the sides aimed at restarting peace talks at the beginning of 2012, but those efforts ultimately collapsed.

Recently, reports have emerged that the Palestinians are again planning to seek UN involvement in their conflict with Israel, a position noted by a Palestinian official this week. The WAFA Palestinian news agency quoted lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi as saying they will “persist in their efforts to seek state status, whether in the UN Security Council or in the UN General Assembly.” Ashrawi did say in her comments on Tuesday that the timing of this approach “has yet to be determined.”

Nuland said the US has “been pretty strong” on opposing the UN efforts. She said their message to the Palestinians is that “direct dialogue, direct discussion, is the way to go here; that the UN track is not going to lead to peace; that we want to support and we are prepared to continue to support any efforts that are going to get these parties back to the table.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, August 16, 2012)