Leaders Huddle as Palestinians Press Statehood Bid

Palestinians will appeal for full member status at U.N., Israel awaits U.S. veto

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Negotiators are meeting Sunday in an effort to revive peace talks between Israel and Palestinian officials in advance of a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly at which President Mahmoud Abbas will seek a resolution conferring statehood on Palestine.

A quartet of negotiators is meeting Sunday in New York, the Jerusalem Post reported, even as both sides prepared for a showdown over a possible vote in the General Assembly that could inflame tensions among the participants.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a cabinet meeting that the United States could be counted on to veto a resolution that grants full U.N. membership to Palestine if it reaches the Security Council, though he seemed to concede that the vote could succeed in the General Assembly.

Meanwhile, Palestinian officials told The New York Times that they would appeal directly to the Security Council, and that the choice was the best of the options remaining to the country. The others, The Times said, were "surrender or a return to violence."

The Times reports that there is hope that a debate in the Security Council might be a short-cut to the result desired by U.S. and European officials: Israel and Palestinian leaders back at the bargaining table at last.

Going to the Security Council instead of to the General Assembly, where there is no veto and where a pro-Palestinian majority is virtually guaranteed, has been considered a riskier and more confrontational approach because it invites an American veto.
But American, European and Israeli officials are now quietly arguing that the Security Council may prove easier for diplomats seeking a formula to get the Israelis and Palestinians back to negotiations. The application through the Security Council will take longer because it will involve letters, committee formation and most likely requests for more time to study the situation.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials are in the Middle East now, the BBC reported, trying to "avert" the Palestinian appeal to the U.N. Palestinian officials plan to file their appeal for full membership on Friday. Netanyahu will address the General Assembly on Wednesday.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.