Palestinian officials were reported yesterday to have acknowledged that a bid for statehood at the United Nation Security Council had failed, and that the Palestinians would now seek “non-member status” from the UN General Assembly.
The comments from unnamed officials came after Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki earlier in the week blamed the US for pressuring council members “to dissuade them from voting for the Palestinian quest.” Malki told The Associated Press that due to US pressure he did not believe the Palestinian bid could get the necessary nine votes to pass. “We expected to get nine votes in the Security Council, but it’s clear now, with the US counter effort and huge intervention, that we are not going to have these nine votes,” Malki said. He added that now the Palestinians would not be calling for an immediate vote on membership. “We are not going to ask for voting on November 11. We want to hear the positions. We are standing before a hard battle, as the US has recruited all of its capacities in order to foil us.”
The Palestinians now have the option of trying to become a “non-member state” via the UN General Assembly, which cannot be affected by a US veto, and could pave the way for the PA to be regarded as a state by the International Criminal Court and other world bodies.
In related news, yesterday Foreign Secretary William Hague told the House of Commons that a UN vote on accepting Palestine as a state into the world body could take place soon but that Britain will not support the bid. “A negotiated end to the occupation is the best way to allow Palestinian aspirations to be met in reality and on the ground.” Hague said. He added that the decision was intended to speed up the establishment of a Palestinian state through the promotion of negotiated talks between the two sides. “For these reasons in common with France and in consultation with our European partners, the United Kingdom will abstain on any vote on full Palestinian membership of the UN,” he added. However, he said that Britain’s position would not necessarily be the same in a vote at the General Assembly. Hague also objected to the construction of settlements in the West Bank and called for the easing of restrictions for supplies to and from Gaza.